A short circuit journey from Brisbane offering daily world heritage guided walks in the Australian Gondwana rainforest, Main Range, Girraween, New England and Oxley Wild Rivers National Parks. An unsurpassed range of scenery and protected habitats from open woodlands to sub-tropical and snow gum forests at 1564m, before descending to the beaches of the Pacific Ocean and Cape Byron – 7 days departing Brisbane
Single Supplement not available. Special Discounts apply to this tour. See Clause 4 of the Terms and Conditions. Early Bird price reverts to the Regular Price 6 months prior to each tour departure date. Minimum number of guests for this tour is 4.
2019 prices available and bookings received from mid 2018. Meanwhile register your interest for pre-release advice.
Witness the last retreat and evolution of ancient rainforests, dating back 200 million years.
The character of early Australia will unfold
Be inspired by the dramatic scenery, world heritage areas protecting a variety of habitats and wildlife species
You’ll return to Brisbane through the intensely beautiful big rivers and “rainbow country” preferred by today’s alternative life-stylers seeking life enhancing energy and environment.
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Pre departure administration in Brisbane as guest arrivals determine.
Departing from Brisbane, you’ll travel through a rich tapestry of farming lots across the Fassifern Valley and Darling Downs, with the ever presence of the Scenic Rim drawing near, then a short ascent to the world heritage Main Range National Park and a series of 4WD creek crossings through the Condamine Gorge at the head of the Darling River basin. Here are the headwaters of Australia’s longest and most historic inland waterway. A bush picnic lunch in the gorge and then time to enjoy a short 1 hour circuit walk in mixed habitats to view the Queen Mary Falls plummeting over its volcanic barrier. Experience a close encounter with some of our colourful fringe forest birds – parrots, rosellas, satin bower birds and wrens. You’ll then settle into your private cottage for the night, remotely located high on the scenic rim with spectacular views of local peaks (and the morning sunrise) plus delightful evening cuisine from our host to match.
Accommodation: Spring Creek Cottages, The Head
After a wholesome country breakfast, you’ll travel along remote back roads to the largest granite monolith in the southern hemisphere for a 2 hour return trail walk to its summit and amazing 360 degree views of the granite belt which stretches for 400 kms across two States. Then it’s a short drive to the regional historic township of Tenterfield, made famous by the impassioned speech of an English immigrant turned politician, giving rise to “the birth of our nation”.
There is much to explore in the township set around bush legends and our First Nations Peoples before we take a short drive to the Girraween National Park with its granite features, abundant bird and wildlife and seasonal wildflowers.
Accommodation: Girraween Environmental Lodge (2 nights)
A relaxed dawn start to an energetic day roaming as you wish around your free-standing lodge viewing large numbers of resident Eastern Grey Kangaroos and fleeting birdlife. Breakfast on the deck and then a full day offering a number of walking options on undulating and climbing national park trails. Walks range from 2 to 4 hours each, to Castle Rock,The Pyramid, Turtle Rock and The Sphinx or the granite slabs of Bald Rock Creek. Girraween National Park is the merging point of ranging wildlife and birds from all points of the compass.
Today you travel south onto the New England Tableland where fine Merino sheep and wool production created a number of pastoral dynasties and led to the growth of historic Armidale with its cold climate gardens and parks and institutions of higher regional education. The afternoon journey will take in a dramatic gorge and falls of the Oxley Wild Rivers National Park where we’ll search for the endangered and shy Brush-tailed Rock Wallaby and follow the haunting cries and powerful flight of Peregrine Falcons which nest seasonally on the precipice of the 120m ravine.
Accommodation: Armidale based motor-inn or historic guesthouse
An early start for more startling scenery, of tortuous gorges carving their way into the Great Divide escarpment and plummeting waterfalls. Search for our largest bird of prey, the Wedge-tailed Eagle, soaring up to 2000 metres on the thermals or detect the shuffle in the bush of an Echidna, one of our unique living fossils. We walk up to 2 hours along undulating trails to view two of Australia’s most dramatic ravines and gorges.
This exceptional day continues with a visit to the wilderness edge of the world heritage New England National Park, a reserve of high geological significance, diversity of habitats, plants and animal species. Impenetrable ridges of volcanic origin dating back 500 million years protect dense sub-tropical rainforest through to high country snow gums and a windswept plateau of stunted heath. 1000 plant species are protected here. Be ready for a chance meeting with a Scarlet Robin, the Superb Lyrebird or a Spotted-tailed Quoll. Enjoy the high-point panorama stretching over 75 kms of trackless wilderness to the rolling waves of the Pacific Ocean. Deep in the cool temperate rainforest you will discover remnant examples of the ancient Antarctic Beech Trees, thousands of years old, having direct link to the super-continent of Gondwanaland, 125 million years ago. There is a choice of two 1.5 to 2 hour walks in this iconic National Park. Late afternoon you’ll visit the twin drops of Ebor Falls before a winding descent from the Great Divide onto the scenic farming and rain forested plateau of Dorrigo.
Accommodation: Mountain Retreat Motel suites at Dorrigo
Greet the day at a leisurely hour before walking the rainforest canopy walk and trails at the Dorrigo National Park. We continue down The Divide to the eclectic village of Bellingen for a sidewalk morning tea with the”alternative” locals then embarking on a scenic drive through the historic “big river country” of fertile valleys and rolling hills of Macadamia orchards. You are bound for the eastern most landfall of the Australian mainland at iconic Byron Bay. The “Byron” as it is affectionately known is the lifestyle retreat for alternative communities and hideaway celebrities. Time this afternoon to relax with a stroll along the beach observing the sunset and preparing for a pre-dawn trek to Cape Byron for a Pacific sunrise.
Accommodation: Byron Bay resort style motor-inn.
Irresistible is the adventure of a pre-dawn moonlit walk along the beach and over the headlands on constructed pathways to Cape Byron, arriving for a magnificent elevated view of the Pacific Ocean at sunrise.
Here you will overlook extraordinary beaches, precipitous slopes down to rolling azure waves, possibly sea turtles and rays, dolphins at play and (in season) migrating whales.
The nearest landfall north is Siberia, south the Antarctic ice mass and east, Chile.
After an alfresco surf side café breakfast you’ll travel on toward and through the World Heritage Border Ranges National Park. Road conditions will determine the route across the border into Queensland under the shadow of Mt Warning and traversing the Numinbah Valley behind the Gold Coast.
Your holiday concludes in Brisbane approx 5.00pm, fond memories hopefully lasting forever.
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