Explore Sydney and beyond the way you should ... at your leisure! Marvel at the opera house over a lunch cocktail from land and sea. Stroll the famous Bondi Beach to see the pool as the waves crash in. From Sydney, we head to Byron Bay to live like the locals - slowly. Spend time on the sand, watching surfers catch the waves. We'll do what most women love - shop. We'll also discover nature while visiting the Shambala Gardens. Admire stone statues and giant crystals in the stunning bamboo garden. Our final stop is Brisbane, the capital of Queensland. You'll also have the option of visiting the Great Barrier Reef. We'll eat at delightful restaurants, sampling local cuisine and Australian wines. We'll look for souvenirs, lounge on the sand, and gaze at the ocean. What more could you want from an Australian adventure?
Here's a day-by-day itinerary of the trip.
After arriving at Sydney Airport, you'll make your way through customs. Hop into a taxi or an Uber and head to Kimpton Margo Sydney Hotel.
We'll meet in the hotel bar for cocktails after you've settled in. This is a perfect opportunity to meet each other and discuss the week’s adventures. We'll feast on a ‘Welcome Dinner’ at Quay, one of Australia's most celebrated restaurants. Chef Peter Gilmore, one of the most awarded chefs in Australia, took the helm at Quay's Kitchen in 2001. Quay has received Three Chefs Hats for 18 consecutive years and was Restaurant of the Year six times. For five years, it was on the World’s 50 Best Restaurant list and held the title of Best Restaurant in Australasia for three years.
We meet in the lobby this morning and walk to the Art Gallery of NSW for a private tour of the Yiribana Gallery. Displaying works from the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander art collection, Yiribana acknowledges the location of the Art Gallery in Gadigal Country. The inaugural display is inspired by a word from the Aboriginal language of Sydney: burbangana. Meaning ’take hold of my hand and help me up,’ burbangana is akin to an invitation. It is imbued with generosity and care, emphasizing people’s connections.
After enjoying the works of art, we'll transfer to Bondi for a swim via Mrs Macquarie’s Chair. Mrs Macquarie's Chair is a Sydney landmark. The chair was carved out of a sandstone rock ledge by convicts in 1810. Specially commissioned by Governor Macquarie for his wife Elizabeth, who was known to love the area, this is one of the best vantage points to view Sydney Harbour.
After a cooling swim, we will have lunch at Sean’s Panorama. Affectionately known as ‘Sean’s’ since opening in 1993, the restaurant serves comforting home–style food balanced with modern tastes. The menu changes daily in response to what is available from the farm harvests in Bilpin. The menu features the freshest seafood, poultry, and livestock from ethical farmers.
After lunch, we'll walk off our food with an amble along the Bondi to Coogee walk. The Bondi to Coogee walk is a cliff-top coastal walk that extends six km into Sydney’s eastern suburbs. The walk features stunning views, beaches, parks, cliffs, bays, and rock pools. This is a medium-grade urban walk with steep gradient paths and several staircases along the way. There are rest stops with great views and seating along the coast.
We'll transfer to the city and the Queen Victoria Building to shop after our walk. The Queen Victoria Building (QVB), opened in 1898, is a five-level shopping center in the heart of Sydney's CBD.
We return to our hotel, where your evening is free.
Breakfast & Lunch
After a lazy breakfast, we'll stroll to the Sydney Opera House, one of the most iconic buildings in the world. It's a place where the past shapes the future, conventions are challenged, and cultures are celebrated. Step inside and discover the stories that make the Opera House so inspiring. On our Opera House tour, we'll uncover untold stories, anecdotes, and history. From the jaw-dropping sweep of the sails to the soaring cathedral interiors, completing a tour of the Sydney Opera House without the compulsion to look up is impossible.
We'll walk from Opera House to Circular Quay – a former working port and now international passenger shipping port, public piazza, tourism precinct, heritage area, and transport node. The Aboriginal name for Circular Quay is Warrung, meaning "Little Child".
At Campbells Cove, we'll board a private luxury boat for an iconic harbor cruise around Sydney Harbour to see all the icons & highlights. This luxury cruise is the perfect opportunity for you to experience each of Sydney’s world-renowned landmarks. Gaze upon the Sydney Opera House and Sydney Harbour Bridge. Marvel at impressive waterfront real estate and enjoy cruising through picturesque bays.
We disembark at Darling Harbour, an entertainment and waterfront dining mecca. The precinct hosts Sydney's top attractions, including the SEA LIFE Aquarium, Madame Tussauds Wax Museum, WILD LIFE Sydney Zoo, and the Australian National Maritime Museum.
You'll have an opportunity to wander around before we return to our hotel.
This evening, we'll dine at the Harbour Front Seafood Restaurant in The Rocks. The restaurant boasts panoramic views of the Sydney Opera House and Sydney Harbour Bridge. It serves the finest Australian fresh produce with a modern twist.
Breakfast, Picnic Lunch, Dinner
This morning, we're off to the airport for our flight to Ballina. From here, we'll head to Byron Bay, our base for the next few nights. It takes 30 to 40 minutes to drive from Ballina to Byron. We'll stop en route at The Farm for a fabulous light lunch. The Farm is a working farm, plant nursery & sustainable market garden with an onsite restaurant & a bakery.
We're eating at The Three Blue Ducks café, with dishes reflecting a shared ethos of honest, seasonal dishes packed with nutrients and flavor. The decor is purposely low-key but comfortable.
The undercover outdoor patio has sweeping views from Byron’s hinterland in the west, north to Mt Warning, and east to Cape Byron Lighthouse. The terrace houses a 12-meter outdoor kitchen, including a double spit, a wood-fired pizza oven, and an Argentinian grill.
After wandering around the farm, we'll transfer to our accommodation – Elements of Byron Bay. Nestled on 50 acres of stunning beachfront, Elements of Byron Resort & Spa features private beach villas. Each villa boasts modern beach architecture and interiors inspired by Byron Bay’s natural beauty. The central pavilion houses the restaurant and bar, overlooking the sunken fire pit and lagoon pool. Other features include a spa, poolside cafe, beach lounge, rainforest walks, and horse stables.
The afternoon is yours to swim, relax, or spa (optional). The on-sight Osprey Spa is a tranquil, light-filled spa.
This evening, we dine at the Azure Bar & Grill. Separated into Azure Bar and Grill Terrace and Azure Bar and Grill Dining Room, this culinary duo celebrates Byron Bay’s finest produce with creative restaurant menus served in unforgettable moments.
Flight to Byron Bay
After a lazy breakfast, we're off to Wategos’ Beach for a swim. Wategos Beach is 2 km east of the Byron Bay town center. It's a peaceful, sheltered little beach ideal for swimming. The minor arc of the beach is named after the Watego family, who settled in the area in the 1930s, growing bananas and vegetables where the houses now stand.
Lunch is at Rae’s on Watego. Rae's Dining Room serves modern Australian cuisine with a Mediterranean influence in the idyllic Wategos Beach surroundings. Thanks to head chef Jason Saxby, Rae's Dining Room is a culinary destination in its own right. Top-notch Northern Rivers produce and native ingredients form the foundation of the food, and while many of Saxby’s dishes take inspiration from fun and nostalgia, this is serious food.
We'll spend some time shopping in the town of Byron Bay. Pop into a local crystal shop and buy a souvenir for your living room.
After all that shopping, it's time for a cocktail! Let's meet at the likes of Balcony Bar for a pre-dinner cocktail.
After a cocktail or two, we dine at Karkalla. Owned by proud Bundjalung woman of the Widjabul Wia-bul clan, Mindy Woods, Karkalla gives indigenous food a natural place to shine – and yes, karkalla, that crunchy, salty beach succulent stars. This is all about ancient ingredients and modern flavors.
We return to Elements for a good night’s rest.
We journey into the Hinterland. Stretching inland from Byron, the hinterland is filled with gorgeous villages, stunning scenery, and a tranquility that washes away urban stress. The rolling hills boast countless examples of breathtaking nature and charming towns to fall in love with.
The first stop is Bangalow, a village focused on a single street and just a 14-minutes from Elements of Byron. There’s plenty to keep you wandering slowly along Byron Street, from choice cafes to delightful home and clothing shops. We'll grab a coffee and something sweet at Woods before moving on.
In Newrybar, another seven minutes beyond Bangalow, we'll stop at the Harvest Restaurant and Deli. This eatery celebrates local, wild, and seasonal produce. Their exceptional local suppliers (many of them small, artisanal producers) sell ingredients when they're at their prime. As a result, the chef is free to create inventive, exciting, and spontaneous dishes – an expression of the region at that moment. The award-winning restaurant, deli, and bakery are spread throughout three beautifully restored buildings, producing a truly unique dining experience.
Across the road is Newrybar Merchants, where local artisans share a curated space filled with one-off homewares and designs.
We continue to Mullumbimby, where we visit the enchanting Shambhala Gardens, exquisite subtropical landscaped gardens filled with amazing treasures. You'll encounter enormous stone statues and extraordinary crystals on your peaceful garden walk. Some are 500 million years old. The sacred gardens are filled with unusual flowering plants, and you will also discover hidden charms, such as a labyrinth, a stone spiral, an amethyst rock wall, rare crystals, ancient geodes, and fossils in the lush setting. This healing sanctuary has many beautiful spots for contemplation. The ambiance will leave you recharged and serene.
After a fantastic day, we return to Elements of Byron. You're free to do your own thing this evening.
Breakfast & Lunch
Spend the morning at Elements soaking up the serenity before we transfer to Brisbane, which will take around 2.5 hours. We'll stop at the ever-popular Cape Byron Lighthouse Café to take in the spectacular views of Byron Bay before we leave.
The drive to Brisbane will take us through Coolangatta, Burleigh Heads, and the Gold Coast. We check into our hotel, and your afternoon is free.
Our accommodation is at the stunning Calile Hotel - Brisbane’s first urban resort is in the hip precinct of James Street. You'll pass laneways unfurling with glossy greenery, high-end retail stores, and brutalist concrete facades.
Walking into the hotel's lobby is like entering a luxurious Palm Springs resort. The 28-meter pool with its mint green cabanas and sun lounges are the shining stars at The Calile. For a sensory escape, head to Kailo Medispa — a calming space with ochre tiles, white walls, and sheer pink curtains separating the wellness pods. The treatments range from utterly relaxing to more interventionist. You can even shop at The Calile on the ground floor retail stretch with a phenomenal 11 stores to browse.
Lady Elliot Island
Today, You can do as little or as much as you like.
A day trip to Lady Elliot Island offers international visitors wanting to explore Australia’s Great Barrier Reef an opportunity for a day visit. Lady Elliot Island is on the southern tip of the Great Barrier Reef, 80km northeast of Bundaberg, just to the north of Fraser Island. This trip offers you the chance to experience one of the Seven Wonders of the Natural World from the air, land, and water... all in one day! Being a coral cay, Lady Elliot Island is part of the Great Barrier Reef. The fantastic array of colorful marine life makes this one of the best snorkeling destinations in the country.
Your tour starts with a pickup from your hotel at around 6.30 a.m. and a complimentary transfer to Redcliffe Airport for a scenic flight to the coral cay of Lady Elliot Island. Upon arrival, the guide will take you on a brief orientation tour and escort you to the day guest facilities to collect your snorkel equipment. You will take a glass-bottom boat & guided snorkel tour to view the coral and brilliantly colored fish. There's also a possibility you'll encounter turtles, dolphins, and the resident manta rays. A hot & cold buffet lunch is served in the Beachfront Dining Room and includes a choice of wine, beer, and soft drinks. After lunch, join your guide for fish feeding in the fish pond, and at 2.30 pm, depart on the scenic flight back to Redcliffe. The tour concludes at approximately 4.15 pm with a return transfer back to your hotel. Expect a light breakfast and afternoon tea (water & biscuits) on the flight.
Alternatively, you can go on a sightseeing adventure around Brisbane. Discover places like Mount Tamborine, North Stradbroke Island, Lamington National Park, or Moreton Island Tour. Rent a bike for a Brisbane City Tour and see it all.
Or stay at the hotel and relax.
This evening, we'll meet in The Lobby Bar for a farewell cocktail and a chat about our fabulous journey from Sydney to Brisbane.
Day on Great Barrier Reef
After breakfast, it's time to pack your bags and bid farewell to your fellow travelers and newfound friends. Transportation to the airport will be arranged based on your flight time.
Located in the heart of Sydney, this art deco-inspired hotel will be your home in Sydney. With a rooftop pool, Kimpton Margo Sydney has views of the bay and the city.
Located on the beachfront, Elements of Byron Bay is a unique hotel specializing in relaxation and nature. Relax on the beach or shop in town while staying here.
Delve into Australia
Enjoy spectacular Sydney before exploring more stunning destinations in New South Wales. Discover Byron Bay and the breathtaking natural beauty of the South Coast. The Blue Mountains are known for their soaring sandstone ridges. Darling mountain towns, ancient Aboriginal rock art, and plenty of nature all lie nestled in this beautiful wilderness.
Everything stated in itinerary above including all meals plus wine or beer with dinne
All in-country transport
All guides and tours
A small group experience
Additional wine, beer or spirits beyond what is offered at meals.
Internation roundtrip airfare
Travel and Medical Insurance (required)
Any spa treatments desired
Any personal souvenirs or purchases
The trip officially starts on Friday, March 1, 2024, but if you are traveling across an ocean to get to Sydney, consider arriving a day early so you have time to relax and adjust to the local time zone. If you do decide to arrive early, please let us know and we will book the room for you and make sure that you stay in the same room until the trip starts.
We will have a zoom call about 6 weeks before the trip starts to discuss all that information and give you a packing list. Here is a great website that we love that will help you with packing and travel trips.