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10 Days in Australia

G'day and welcome to Australia, mate! A vast landscape with pristine beaches, iconic skylines and natural wonders are yours to explore on this 10-day adventure down under that ends with the world-famous Mardi Gras in Sydney (February departures) or the world-famous New Years Eve fireworks spectacular in Sydney (December departure). 

Our adventure begins in Southeast Queensland with a real Australian 'barbie', some wildlife encounters, and endless white-sand beaches to check out. After a couple of days settling in, we'll head to Melbourne for 3 days to get a taste of this cultural and cuisine-fueled metropolis and its surrounds, before heading to the red centre where we'll be introduced to the outback and the iconic 'Uluru' through the heart and soul of it's indigenous culture. From here, we head to Sydney to finish on a high with some harbour-cruising, bridge-climbing, beach-going days.

Days 1 & 2 - BRISBANE

Your warm welcome to Australia begins in Brisbane, the country's third largest city (with direct international connections). Here you'll find a vibrant cosmopolitan city with laid-back country charm. Many of our travelers like to arrive a day or so early to settle in and feel rested before the group trip starts, and Brisbane is the perfect place to do just that. There are many great parks to explore along the river, great restaurants, rooftop bars, and a lively gay scene in 'the valley' to get you started. Then...  

On the first day at 2:30 PM we'll meet in the hotel lobby and kick things off with your first true-blue Aussie experience; a barbie! (not the toy, barbie is Aussie for barbeque!) What better way to get to know your fellow travel buddies than with an afternoon in the great outdoors enjoying delicious food and local wine - ahhhh bonza mate! OK, we'll stop with the slang now.. 

For our second day, we know you're all eager to get to those world-famous white-sand beaches, so we'll head straight down to Surfers Paradise (~1hr drive) for the morning where you can take a dip or join a surf lesson (2 hrs). Afterwards, we'll get you up close to some Australian wildlife (not the kind that's trying to kill you!) back in Brisbane, at the Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary where you can feed, pet, and even sponsor some of your newest friends including koalas and kangaroos. 

Included activities:

  • Welcome 'barbeque' dinner, including drinks & ferry transport to/from
  • Entrance to Wildlife Sanctuary
  • Trip to Surfers Paradise

Some recommended optional activities:

  • Moreton Island 4x4/sand-dune tour, Story Bridge climb
Days 3, 4 & 5 - MELBOURNE

Get ready to explore one of the most multicultural cities in the world, and also one that's been ranked one of the most "liveable" in the world many times. Melbourne is Australia's mecca for all things trendy and tasty. With famous restaurants, exhilarating sports and abundant opportunities to experience art throughout the many creative laneways packed with hidden boutiques and hole-in-the-wall cafes and bars, there's no shortage of places to explore during our 3 days here. And if you're looking for the perfect caffeine-hit to fuel your days here, you're in the right place! There's an entire coffee-culture in Melbourne - they even have their own drink that you won't find anywhere else; the Melbourne Magic!

During our first morning in Melbourne (Day 4), we'll kick things off with a guided walking tour. Then, you'll have lots of options for how to spend the rest of your time here. You could head up to the Skydeck, take a sightseeing cruise, rent a bike and explore the trails along the river, or check out the galleries and markets dotted around the CBD, or take a ride on one of the old trams (is that a euphemism for something?), or just wander through the laneways stopping in at cocktail bars and coffee shops along the way.

On your second free day here, you'll have the option to catch a hot air balloon ride (weather-permitting) over central Melbourne, the only major city in the world where commercial hot air balloons are able to fly over the CBD, or take a tour out to the Yarra valley to sample some of that famous Australian wine directly from the vineyards, or, if you don't mind a long drive, you could join a tour that will take you down along the Great Ocean Road to see the Twelve apostles, an iconic rock formation dotted along a stunningly scenic coastline. 

Included activities:

  • Walking tour (3 hours).
     

Some recommended optional activities:

  • Hot air ballooning, wine tasting in the Yarra, Great Ocean Rd tour, Phillip Island penguin day-excursion, trams, galleries, bike rental.
Day 6 - ULURU

Next up.. we visit the Outback to see the unique desert landscape and one of the most famous rock formations on the planet, Uluru, and be introduced to Australia's indigenous culture and its people. 

Australia, as you've likely come to learn, is a VERY BIG country. In fact, if you put a map of Australia on top of a map of the USA, you might be surprised to learn that both countries are similar in size. Meaning that for us to get to the 'red centre' for our quintessential outback experience, we'll need to travel a bit. So, today (Day 6) we'll get an early start and fly to Ayers Rock Airport then be whisked through the outback 'Priscilla: Queen of the desert' -style 10 whole minutes to our stunning accommodation in the Outback. 

After a bit of downtime to relax by the pool, we'll head out to the imposing and iconic Ayers Rock to explore the trails and viewpoints around it, led by a local Australian guide to give us local context and history.  The evening culminates with a spectacular sunset behind the rock.  As the night sky twinkles to life above the Outback, we'll gaze up (or is it gays up?) in awe of how many stars we'll see without any light pollution! 

Included activities:

  • Uluru guided viewpoint hike with transfers
  • Sunset BBQ 
  • Entrance fees to Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park

Some recommended optional activities for the next morning:

  • Sunrise heli tour, indigenous art galleries and workshops (time permitting, based on flight schedules)
Days 7, 8, 9 & 10 - SYDNEY

On our 7th day, we'll board our last flight of the trip (~3 hours direct) to none other than ... Sydney!

There's no other city like it on Earth, with its iconic beaches, stunning harbour, vibrant gay scene, famous architechture, world-class cuisine, coffee to rival Melbourne's, galleries, shopping, cocktail bars ... it's all waiting for you, and so much more! 

During our few days in Sydney, we'll get out on the harbour for a sightseeing cruise, and take you down to the world-famous Bondi Beach. There's also a stunning coastal walk you can do from Bondi to Coogee (~2 hrs). Want to climb one of the most famous bridges in the world? That's an option too (it's optional, but totally worth it!). 

As with all of our trips, there are no scheduled activities on the last day, so you can make travel plans from this day onwards. Not ready to go home? We don't blame you! That's actually why we purposely end our itinerary in Sydney - so you can extend your trip if it's possible. A few more days in Sydney perhaps? Or maybe a trip up to check out the Great Barrier Reef for a few more days of fun in the sun or to unwind before heading home. Our team are ready to assist with providing advice to help with your post-trip plans and/or hotel extension needs. 

Included activities:

  • Harbour cruise with lunch

Some recommended optional activities:

  • Bridge Climb, Mardi Gras events (Feb 2025 only), galleries, museums, transit to Bondi and/or Manly beaches.

We don't like staying in smelly shacks on our vacations and we're pretty sure you don't either! You work hard to go on vacation and we believe you deserve an enjoyable, comfortable place to wind down at the end of each day. We put a LOT of time into finding the perfect accommodation for your trip. After rigorous Wi-fi signal testing, fluffing pillows, and taking a shower or two, we've narrowed down our favorite properties. Check out our approved accommodation to see where we've stayed in the past and where we'll likely be staying on your trip.

BRISBANE: Capri by Fraser Hotel

 Sleek apartment hotel in a modern high-rise building located in the centre of downtown Brisbane and just a 4-minute walk from Brisbane City Botanic Gardens.  Amenities include an indoor swimming pool, a sauna, and a 24/7 fitness centre.  The on-site Black Fire Restaurant produce some of Australia’s finest Mediterranean cuisine, serving delicious organic and fresh seasonal produce grown and sourced locally.

 ULURU: Sails in the Desert Hotel

Shaded by sails and set amid the Red Centre outback, this breezy hotel is about as close as you can get to Ayers Rock, and the nicest property in the area too. There's a laid-back restaurant and a lobby bar, as well as an outdoor pool, a pool bar and a spa offering massage.

MELBOURNE: Lancemore Crossley Hotel

Centrally located between the Paris end of Bourke Street, Theatre District, and Chinatown, this cosmopolitan boutique hotel has a rooftop terrace featuring views of the city. There's also a 24/7 gym and a sleek lobby bar.  Home to 113 art-filled accommodation rooms, with a style that is richly layered, complex and unique.

SYDNEY: A by Adina Sydney

Perfectly located only seconds away from Sydney's Australia Square, this hip and modern hotel will have you immersed in the heart of Sydney life. Take a dip in the pool, workout in the gym, or simply lay back and take it easy in your contemperary stylish rooms. Room features include air conditioning, kitchenette, wifi and bashroom with complimentary amenity kit.

*Please note that due to availability, these exact hotels may not all be available during all Detours trips. However, we will always replace these with similar hotels.

The Climate

It'll be Summer in Australia when we're there, so that means the sun will be shining, temperatures soaring and the beaches dazzling (except in the far north where it's wet season). There's no denying it - it will be hot! It's nicknamed 'the sunburnt country' after all, so you'll likely see temperatures reach the high 20's 'C / 80's 'F with some days (especially in the outback) even getting into the mid 30's 'C / mid 90's 'F. The evenings are warm as the temperature rarely drops below 20'C / 68'F.

The People and LGBTQ+ friendliness

Australia has a reputation where everyone's your 'mate', and you'll feel that warm genuine welcome from the minute you arrive til the moment you leave. Australia has 26.5 million people, with 30% of the population born from overseas making it one of the most multi-cultural countries in the world.

Same-sex marriage has been legal in Australia since 2017 and LGBTQ+ rights around Australia have advanced over the latter half of the 20th century and early 21st century making Australia one of the most LGBTQ-accepting countries in the world. With its long history of LGBT activism and annual Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras festival, Sydney has been named one of the most gay-friendly cities. While most people (78% according to a recent study) are welcoming of homosexuality, there may still be people, especially in rural areas, who may not be comfortable, and so out of respect we usually suggest keeping your excitement and affection for your partner to more private locations.

Meals

We could write a whole chapter on typical Aussie "tucker" (food), but instead we'll summarize some of the items you'll likely encounter (& should absolutlely try!) during your visit down under:

  • Barbeque - When you think of Australia you think of surfing, nice weather, kangaroos and... the barbecue. “Throw another shrimp on the barbie” is a quote often said even though Australians call them prawns and not shrimp! In fact, many Aussies dislike this phrase and claim that it’s just another Australian stereotype. A typical Aussie barbecue will have snags (sausages), burgers, steak, fresh seafood, bread and tomato or barbecue sauce, they sometimes include salad but it’s mainly about the meat and fish (and of course a few stubbies – that’s beer to the non-Australians)
     
  • Vegemite - don't knock it til you try it! It's a yeast extract, served with butter/margarine on toast/sandwiches.
     
  • Fairy bread - funny name for a kids' treat, but also the perfect name for a gay bakery wouldn't you agree? This is buttered-bread with sprinkles (100's & 1000's) on it.
     
  • Tim-tams - chocolate biscuits (cookies), that have become popular around the world now, best enjoyed as a tim-tam-slam!
     
  • Meat pies - you'll find these everywhere, and they're not the same anywhere else in the world, crisp puffy pastry filled with loads of options inside (steak, chicken, veggie, etc.) Always topped with tomato sauce.
     
  • Chicken parma - Loads of pubs have a parma night where you can grab a decently priced chicken parma with a beer. A chicken parma is a chicken schnitzel topped with a tomato sauce and melted cheese on top. 
     
  • Kangaroo - While visitors usually take pictures of kangaroos bouncing around. Aussies actually eat Kanagroo meat. You’ll see them packed on supermarket shelves and on restaurant menus. Kangaroo is lean red meat, it’s healthy and you can prepare it in many ways – steaks, burgers, sausages, and much more
     
  • Lamingtons - Made up of a deliciously, delicate soft, sponge cake, and topped with decadent chocolate topping and immersed in coconut flakes, the ole’ Lamington has been a fixture on the dessert table here for generations.
     

Detours doesn't believe in limiting your choices by including all of your meals at pre-decided restaurants as part of the trip package. Instead, we include all of your breakfasts to start your day off as well as select meals through the trip, then encourage you to explore all of the different restaurant options available to you for other lunches and dinners. This way you can eat when you want, where you want, with whomever you want, and spend what you want! Your trip leader definitely has their favorite spots so if you'd like some advice on the best in each location, just check with them.

What to Bring

Our advice is simple. Pack your bag, then take half of those things out and leave them back home. It’s common to hear people wishing they’d packed less stuff, but we’ve never heard anyone complain that they didn’t bring enough. Everywhere we visit on our itinerary is convenient for grabbing any last-minute things as you go, so if you realize you forgot to pack a crucial item you can just pick it up on the trip. We'll include some trip-specific packing advice based on expected weather as part of our update email to you, sent 10 days prior to your trip.

Money

Australia uses the Australian Dollar (AUD). In an effort to avoid bank fees, we suggest arriving to Australia with some local currency (around 300 AUD) and ATMs are widely available, so your debit card from home will be the most economic way to withdraw local currency as/when you need more. Credit cards are widely accepted, and you should have no problems paying for your portion of the group meal with card or cash. AMEX isn't widely accepted in Australia, mostly just Mastercard and Visa.

1 USD = approx. 1.5 AUD 

It can sometimes be challenging to use large-denomination bills at shops and restaurants, so we encourage you to request small denomination bills when getting cash prior to your trip.

If possible, it's always a good idea to travel internationally with a credit card that doesn't charge foreign transaction fees.  The savings will add up over the course of your trip and may end up being worth the work of getting a new card prior to your trip.  Once you're overseas, if presented with the option to pay in the local currency or your home currency, we suggest always choosing the local currency to further avoid fees.

Tipping

While tipping isn't a native custom in this destination, those working in the tourism industry all over the world have come to expect gratuities when providing good service.  This extends to local guides, restaurant wait staff, bus drivers, taxis and your Detours trip leader.  Of course the actual amount is left up to your discretion, if you've been provided excellent service we suggest leaving around 15% for restaurant/wait staff as well as the local equivalent of a few dollars to bus drivers and luggage porters, as well as around $10-15 USD per day for local guides and your Detours trip leader.

Accommodation

We have pretty high standards when it comes to choosing our accommodations, and trust us, we’ve done plenty of room-sniffing, pillow-patting, and bathroom inspections to make sure we stay at quality spots. To be approved as a Detours accommodations provider, a guesthouse must preferably be locally owned (to support the local community), be in an amazing location (close to the beach or other hot spots), AND be gay-owned or gay-friendly. We won't be staying in 5-star Ritz-Carltons but we also won't subject you to anything we wouldn't want to stay in ourselves. Clean, comfortable, well-located spots that'll put a smile on your face, you can count on that!  Click on the "accommodations" tab to get a better idea of what accommodation we use on this trip.

Trip leaders

Your Detours trip leader will be there with you every day to help ensure that this is your trip of a lifetime by taking the hassle out of your trip and enabling you to experience everything you came to Australia for. Consider them like a friendly concierge that's traveling along with you.  All of our trip leaders are gay and all are well-traveled and experienced in the destination they're leading in, so they'll be a great part of your experience!

Alarm clocks

We do absolutely everything possible to avoid needing such a mundane awakening. A world without alarm clocks is one we want to be part of! Our travel days might start a bit earlier (due to flight schedules) but for the majority of your adventure you'll be welcome to start each morning at your leisure, come on down to breakfast when you wake up and are ready to start the day. In most places your natural alarm clock will be the sound of a laughing kookaburra or magpie outside your window encouraging you to seize the day. Don't worry these are peaceful sounds and very Australian!

Your group

Our trips operate with a maximum group size of 16 plus your Detours trip leader (with the exception of Mardi Gras departures which have a maximum group size of 30 plus two trip leaders). Ages of group members vary but the average travelers are in their 40's to 60's.  Whatever the age of the guys on our trips though, everyone's got something in common, an exciting new experience in a new country! The Australia trip will be led by your Detours trip leader(s) who are there to ensure everything goes off without a hitch, allowing you to focus on having the time of your life!

Solo Travelers

Traveling solo? No problem! About 60% of our travelers come solo and our trip will provide plenty of chances to meet great people both inside and outside of our group, including other solos. As far as your accommodations go, you’ve got two choices. We can either pair you up with another solo group member in a two-bed room, or you can have your own room for a reasonable surcharge.

Electrical Outlets

Australia uses only one plug shape so it's important to bring a "Type I" plug shape on your trip here. Australian electricity runs on 220-240 V and 50 Hz. Please make sure your electronics accept 220 – 240 volts (V). If your device uses 110 – 120V, common in North America, you will need a step down transformer. However, these days, the majority of items that are plugged into an outlet are built to handle varying voltage and frequency levels, but just to be sure, we suggest checking your item for its accetable range.

Staying Connected

To ensure you don't lose connection along the way, your cell phone provider likely has several roaming options available.  We suggest reaching out to them prior to the trip to find out which package is right for you as it will depend on how much you intend to use your phone while traveling.  Keep in mind that all accommodation and most restaurants have free WiFi available as well.

What's included? • All taxes • Accommodations for your 10-day Detours experience • All full breakfasts •  Three one-way domestic flights from Brisbane to Melbourne, Melbourne to Uluru, and Uluru to Sydney • Australian BBQ with food and drinks (welcome dinner) • Koala centre visit in Brisbane with transport • Trip to Surfers Paradise with transfers • Walking tour of central Melbourne • 3 hour harbour cruise in Sydney Harbour • Guided walk to Uluru (Ayers Rock) • All transfers between itinerary stops • Knowledgeable and fun Detours trip leader 

What isn't included? • Meals and drinks outside of those listed above • Activities outside of the those listed above • International Airfare to/from Australia • Arrival/departure airport transfers • Optional gratuities •

Additional spending budget?  Your big-ticket items are included through the trip, but you'll want to budget for additional spending such as additional meals, drinks, shopping, activities, etc. These costs can vary dramatically with differing personal habits but we suggest expecting to spend an additional $900 USD at the lower end for the more budget-conscious and $1300 USD at the higher end for the splurgers.  We suggest arriving to Australia with some local cash, approximately the equivilant of $200 USD.



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A koala bear resting on a person's hand.
Three kangaroos eating carrots.
Uluru in the outback, australia.
Two people toasting champagne in front of uluru.
A bunch of colorful masks hanging on a wall.
A bridge over a river.
An aerial view of a lobby with people sitting at tables.
A green trolley on a street.


Trip Reviews

Saul V. - USA

March 13, 2023

Detours is the perfect company to travel with, I’ve done four different tours and each and everyone of them were amazing, the tour guide are very knowledgeable and helpful with anything that may arise during the trip, you can be busy exploring or relaxing if that’s your wish, very accommodating and just the Best , Dan and Kyle are great tour guides, I recommend this company to everyone.

Michael G. - USA

March 2, 2023

We just completed our third Detours trip, and each trip has gotten better and better, and the first one was fantastic! Miles, Brandon and Dan are all wonderful guys who were really into making sure everyone has a great time! (Haven’t had the pleasure of meeting the other Detours trip leaders yet.) Loved all accommodations, activities, and places we visited, and very importantly the camaraderie developed with fellow travelers. Looking forward to our next Detours trip!

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