Australia Multisport

Do it all Down Under – surfing and bridge climbing in Sydney, snorkeling the Great Barrier Reef, hiking, mountain biking, rafting, and learning aboriginal culture – an amazing Australia adventure.

Australia – we don’t have to tell you there’s nowhere on earth like Australia. Not just desert and kangaroos, you’ll experience a land of flowing waterfalls, ancient aboriginal culture, the world’s top coral reef, and amazing wildlife found nowhere else on earth.

You’ve heard about Australia all your life: now is the time to see it for yourself! You’ll explore cosmopolitan Sydney with its iconic sites, jungle-draped canyons in Cairns, and a turquoise underwater universe at the Great Barrier Reef.

This active adventure captures the scenic gems of Sydney and wild Australia – attractive enough to be the whole trip, or a great focal trip for a longer adventure “down under.”


For more information about this tour or to book your next group adventure, contact us today and we will create a fun and exciting adventure you will cherish forever.

Solar Eclipse Tour: November 10-18, 2012

(Due to limited lodging and flight availability, we highly recommend booking this tour before February 1, 2012)

Day 1 (Nov 10): Arrival in Sydney, Bridge Climb and City Highlights Cruise

Welcome to Australia!

Today learn more about the cultural, historic and natural sites of Sydney as you walk the city streets, cobblestone lanes and seaside paths of this attractive city.

Take in sites like Darling Harbour and the Rocks historic district as you learn where history happened, where what movies were filmed, and what locals like to do.

Visit the Royal Botanic Gardens, only a few minute’s walk from your accommodation. One of Sydney’s most spectacular sites, these are considered among the great botanic gardens of the world. In the afternoon, take in views of the entire city atop the Sydney Harbour Bridge with an incomparable bridge climb.

Yes – you’re climbing the bridge! Led by a professional climb leader, you will “hike” to the summit of this world famous bridge, 134 meters (440 feet) above Sydney Harbour.

It is a 3½ hour journey to the top of the Bridge along catwalks and all the way to the summit high above the Harbour. You will be roped in for complete safety and escorted by experienced, helpful guides.

The steady incline to the summit leaves you free to focus your attention on your Sydney experience; 360 degree views include east to the Sydney Opera House, west to the Blue Mountains, and the Harbour city surrounds. Bring your camera!

When you reach the top you will have a sense of achievement you will remember forever – you’ve conquered an Australian icon recognized the world over and – literally – achieved a height that few attain!

Later, you’ll relax on board a cruise taking you all around the harbor and showing you all of the highlights of Sydney from the water– the Rocks, Harbour Bridge and the iconic Opera House, just to name a few.

You’ll even be able to point and say “I was there, on top of that bridge!” This is the perfect introduction to the Land Down Under. (D)*

Day 2 (Nov 11): Surf Camp on Manly Beach and Opera House Tour

Nothing soaks in the true spirit of Australia like surfing, so today you get your feet wet learning to catch some waves. At Sydney’s famous Manly Beach, you “hang ten” and learn surfing fundamentals from professional instructors.

You start with ocean hydraulics, tides, rips and surf-related safety skills. Then you learn about proper standing and paddling techniques, surfing etiquette and how even first-time surfers can catch a wave. By the end of the morning, you should be standing and shredding – Cowabunga!

Later in the afternoon, after lunch, you get a peek into one of the world’s most recognizable buildings, and the icon of Australia – The Sydney Opera House. One of the busiest performing arts centers in the world, the Opera House is a work of art that came into existence against impossible odds and is a miracle of architecture and engineering.

You will get a guided tour of this amazing structure, and visit one of the venues that hosts performances every day—from opera to circus, rock, and cabaret. As a special treat, opt to see a performance in this world famous venue. (Extra cost, prices vary.)

For those not attending an Opera House performance, join an astronomy lesson and star gazing at the Sydney Observatory. During this presentation, get an introduction to the myriad southern constellations—including the Southern Cross—most of which cannot be seen from North America.

You’ll learn more about the universe, experience the 3-D space theatre, and view historic astronomical and meteorological objects on display. With massive telescopes, you are also able to look closely at star clusters, red giants, nebulae where stars are being born, globular clusters, and distant galaxies. (If viewing through the telescopes is not possible due to sky conditions, a fun beanbag planetarium session is provided instead.) (B, L, D)

Day 3 (Nov 12): Fly to Cairns, Afternoon Mountain Biking and Special Solar Eclipse Presentation

Note: Due to the influx of solar eclipse travelers in the area, we highly recommend you book your Sydney to Cairns airfare ASAP. The flights departing Sydney mid-morning and arriving in Cairns at noon are very popular, so please book early to insure availability. Contact Return On Adventure if you need assistance.

In the morning, you leave the urban jungle of Sydney for the tropical jungle of Cairns. Then in the afternoon, you can ride the 1996 UCI World Mountain Bike Championship courses, both cross country and downhill.

The courses weave through tropical rainforest and offers ‘interesting’ challenges – it’s been used for two rounds of the Grundig World Cup Series. (The ride is for experienced mountain bike riders adept at steep descents and with a good level of fitness.)

Making sure you get the full local flavor, you may stop for “a stubbie” at a classic Aussie pub at the route’s end.

As a special treat tonight, we have 2011 Nobel Laureate Dr. Brian Schmidt introducing us to total solar eclipses.  By studying exploding stars, astrophysicist Dr. Schmidt helped discover the universe is expanding at an accelerating rate, for which he won the Nobel Prize for Physics in 2011.

He has extensive public speaking experience, having given last year’s Halley Lecture (named after Edmund Halley, as in the comet) at Oxford and appearing occasionally on ABC Television’s Catalyst.  Dr. Schmidt will cover a variety of topics this evening, speaking in layman’s terms about astronomy and the significance of total solar eclipses. (B, L, D)

Day 4 (Nov 13): Whitewater Rafting

The Tully River ranks high with rafting enthusiasts around the globe for its reliable year-round flows and stunning course through national parklands and thrilling Class III-IV rapids. First-timers and experienced rafters alike will enjoy being spoiled by the Tully’s non-stop action and pristine wilderness.

From Cairns, you travel to your put-in at Tully Gorge National Park where you are fitted with a life jacket and helmet. After a safety briefing, you are on the water. You raft through UNESCO World Heritage rainforest and below waterfalls that tumble from the walls of the gorge.

Rousing rapids with evocative names like The Staircase, Corkscrew and Alarm Clock mark the start of your day, after which you paddle through another 41 rapids, stopping midway for a riverside BBQ.

This is an action-packed day with friendly and skillful guides who will keep you safe and entertained. (Optional napping as you return to our lodging!)

Day 5 (Nov 14): Eclipse Day! Hiking Wooroonooran National Park – Walsh’s Pyramid 

In the early morning, you prepare for a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity – the chance to see a total solar eclipse as the shadow of the moon passes over you.  The Cairns region will be one of the best places in the world to witness this exciting event, and this morning you have a phenomenal site on Walsh’s Pyramid for viewing and champagne toasts. 

Totality will last just over two minutes after which the shadow will move out across unpopulated areas of the South Pacific.

Wooroonooran National Park is a scenic gem within Queensland’s Wet Tropics Region – a celebrated UNSECO World Heritage site. (It’s also one of our favorite place names and you love saying it out loud! You will, too.) Today’s hike up Walsh’s Pyramid, a steep but stunning route, is widely considered “the worlds-largest natural pyramid mountain”.

Each year in August the pyramid hosts a race to its summit – its cash prize attracting many athletes from the region.  Your walking track follows a steep, narrow spur through open woodlands of beautiful white mahogany and pink bloodwood trees.

At about the halfway point the vegetation becomes sparser, dominated by ferns, casuarinas, acacias and numerous grasstrees. The route ends at the Pyramid’s summit point, 922 meters (3,000 feet) above sea level.

The strenuous walk is a four to six hour challenge for the fit, but at the top you are sufficiently rewarded with magnificent 360 degree views of the surrounding ranges, Cairns, and beyond to the Coral Sea.

After our early morning excursion, you have the afternoon to relax and take in the city sites of Cairns. For something a bit more exciting, there is always bungy jumping!

Tonight you are on your own to explore the many fine restaurants Cairns has to offer! (B, L)

Day 6 (Nov 15): Aboriginal-Guided Hunting & Tracking, Rainforest Walk and Reef Presentation

The Kuku Yalanji are the only tribal rainforest people in Australia who still have their own culture and language. Today, you will see their land through their indigenous eyes. In the care of an aboriginal elder guide, you discover how these aboriginal people found their way through dense rainforest and learn what native plants were used for food, medicine, and even soap.

Your guide also explains the tribe’s rites of passage, the meaning of rock art, and the significance of the boomerang. Listen for the call of the wild cockatoo or the laughing kookaburra, and perhaps paint your faces with traditional ochre rock paint.

Then listen to a demonstration of the haunting sounds of the didgeridoo–an integral part of ceremonial and spiritual life, and perhaps one of the most meaningful symbols of aboriginal Australia.

At Mossman Gorge, cross a suspension bridge and explore the jungle paths, or take a swim among the Gorge’s giant boulders in a swirling river. Later you walk with two aboriginal brothers of the Kuku Yalanji tribe along the coast they’ve called home for thousands of years.

Their specialty is helping you find mud crabs, mussels, and other “bush tucker” (food) among the mangroves. In a small group, you’ll learn how to throw spears and try your hand at catching food the traditional way.

You’ll learn about local customs, hear tales of the indigenous “Dreamtime” and eat your day’s catch. Today is truly a timeless adventure.

In the early evening, you can attend a fun and dynamic presentation by a marine conservationist designed to help you understand coral biology and ecology, the major invertebrate groups and the different types fish that live at the Great Barrier Reef.

This is great preparation for the final phase of our trip! In addition, you learn about threatened species and the consequences of climate change on the reef. On the lighter side, you’ll discover fish that change color and gender, and see which animal breathes through his “bum.” There’s plenty of hands-on time in this great way to enhance your reef experience. (B, L, D)

Day 7 (Nov 16): Snorkeling or Diving at The Great Barrier Reef 

No trip to Cairns is complete without a visit to the outer Great Barrier Reef–another UNESCO World Heritage Site and easily one of the world’s top natural wonders. On this journey, you’ll avoid the crowds and do the reef in style and comfort aboard a 35-metre (116 foot) live-aboard catamaran with professional crew.

Early this morning you travel to the outer Great Barrier Reef, your captain choosing between fourteen permanent moorings (including Norman and Saxon reefs) that allow snorkelers fantastic access to this underwater universe.

Upon arrival at the reef, snorkelers will delight in viewing the incredible array of life and colors that exist just below the surface. Snorkelers can also opt to learn about SCUBA diving one-on-one from the dive instructor — intro diving (known as “resort diving”) is a fantastic way to see the reef without having a certification.

SCUBA divers can log 7 dives during these two days at the reef, diving along bommies and coral walls with mysterious swim-throughs that dance with light. Divers can also get to experience the magic and glow of the reef at night. The reef must been experienced – words and pictures simply can’t explain its wonders.

You enjoy sumptuous buffet meals on your live aboard boat, while accommodation is in twin shared cabins with bathroom, air conditioning and television. This is a perfect way to meet other divers as well as experiencing the reef on a very deep level. (B, L, D)

Day 8 (Nov 17): Snorkeling or Diving at The Great Barrier Reef 

Today you can rise early for a fantastic sunrise over the ocean, with a cup of hot coffee in your hands. You’ll spend another day exploring the wonders of the Great Barrier Reef, snorkeling or diving on reefs that offer you exclusivity and a variety of underwater features.

Coral thrives in this clear water, creating spectacular gardens and drawing a mosaic of marine life. Among the 1,800 species of fish and 450 species of coral, you can expect to see turtles, Wally the gigantic wrasse, giant clams, fan corals, sea cucumbers, stag horn coral gardens, and just about the whole cast of “Finding Nemo.” On the way back to Cairns, keep an eye out for dolphins swimming and playing in the wake. (B, L, D)

Day 9 (Nov 18): Departure

Eventually all good things must come to an end. After breakfast, you transfer to Cairns International airport for your flight home.

Optional – Your Return On Adventure doesn’t have to end yet! We’d love to work with you to expand your Australian Return On Adventure. Please talk with us to learn about additional adventure travel options before or after this tour.

*(B=breakfast, L=lunch, D=dinner)

While the above information describes a typical itinerary, the tour’s actual itinerary may vary due to changes in transportation, weather, lodging availability, local events or safety conditions. We reserve the right to alter the tour due to these circumstances should the need arise.


For more information about this tour or to book your next group adventure, contact us today and we will create a fun and exciting adventure you will cherish forever.

Tour Dates:

(Custom dates available upon request)

Prices: (based on double occupancy):

(Custom prices available upon request)

Price Includes: Fully guided trip with a local guide, 2 nights in central Sydney historic hotel, 5 nights in central Cairns boutique hotel, 1 night on live aboard sailboat, all meals (except for 1 dinner on Day 5), all transportation during the trip in air-conditioned 12-passenger vans or smaller, snorkeling gear and wetsuit rental, mountain bike and helmet rental, whitewater rafting gear.

A 25-square meter rainforest block will be adopted in your name by the Australian Rainforest Foundation and certificate. Carbon offsetting through Sustainable Travel International’s ClimateCare™ portfolio to neutralize your carbon footprint

Price Excludes:International and domestic airfare, alcohol, items of a personal nature, $40 AUD Reef tax payable on board the boat, 1 dinner on Day 5, optional guide gratuities, optional certified or Intro SCUBA diving (includes equipment hire).

Single Supplement Policy:  All tour pricing is based on double occupancy lodging. A single supplement is paid by participants who specifically request single accommodations, subject to availability.

If you are traveling alone and wish to share accommodations, we will try to match you with a roommate of the same gender.  If you reserve your tour at least 90 days ahead and a roommate is not available, you will only be charged a “forced” single supplement  of half the standard single supplement (unless otherwise noted in the detailed itinerary). 

Single accommodations are limited so you are encouraged to reserve early.


For more information about this tour or to book your next group adventure, contact us today and we will create a fun and exciting adventure you will cherish forever.

Activities: Intro surfing, bridge climb, mountain biking, hiking, whitewater rafting, aboriginal culture, snorkeling and optional SCUBA diving.

Rating:  Moderate

Group Size: 2-3 (special pricing) – 10 maximum

Length:  9 days/8 nights

Meeting Time & Place:  The Russell Hotel, Sydney on Day 1, time to be determined. Sydney airport code is SYD.

Note: Due to the influx of solar eclipse travelers in the area, we highly recommend you book your Sydney to Cairns airfare for Day 3 (Nov. 12) ASAP. The flights departing Sydney mid-morning and arriving in Cairns at noon are very popular, so please book early to insure availability. Contact Return On Adventure if you need assistance.

Departure Time & Place:  Cairns International Airport (airport code CNS) on Day 9.

Best time to travel:   Cairns is a tropical place, and outdoor activities can be enjoyed year-round.  Sydney has a temperate climate, with warm summers and mild winters.

Weather and Climate:  May – August has warm days and cool nights & little rain in Cairns and cool temperatures in Sydney; December – April has balmy days and warm nights in Cairns and warm temperatures for Sydney; September-November an ideal time for both cities – little rainfall and warm days. 

More detailed weather information is available by visiting

Physical preparation:  This trip is appropriate for adults who feel comfortable being active 4-6 hours a day.  Walsh’s Pyramid is 3025 feet tall and quite steep so you need to be fit to make the climb. 

For experienced hikers, the ascent and descent takes approximately 3 hours.  The other challenge is the Sydney Harbour Bridge Climb, which consists of 465 steps to the summit of the bridge (but if Oprah did it, you can too!).


For more information about this tour or to book your next group adventure, contact us today and we will create a fun and exciting adventure you will cherish forever.

SYDNEY: The Rocks is the historic district where Sydney began, and the location of the famous weekend market. Warmth of character and old world hospitality characterizes your delightful historic bed and breakfast boutique hotel, the Russell Hotel.

The hotel features a rooftop garden for viewing the Sydney skyline, a lovely sitting room and library, and a stylish wine bar downstairs. All rooms are equipped with ceiling fans, opening windows, television, tea and coffee making facilities, fluffy bathrobes, hairdryers, iron and ironing board.  

Shops, fun eateries, the Museum of Contemporary Art and the bustling Circular Quay are just steps from your hotel.

CAIRNS:Your Cairns accommodation is at Water’s Edge in Cairns  three-bedroom suites are superbly appointed with granite countertops, stylish furniture and well-equipped kitchen. Rooms feature large balconies, lounge and dining area, air conditioning, tea & coffee making facilities, broadband  internet access, plasma tvs, CD/DVD players and private laundry.

Two infinity pools provide a pleasant place to sunbathe, relax and refresh, and provide unique “swim up” access to your veranda.  Directly facing the ocean and centrally located in the restaurant and shopping district, Water’s Edge is the perfect base from which to have your adventures.

GREAT BARRIER REEF: OCEANQUEST is a 36 meter catamaran over 3 decks. With twin share or double cabins, enjoy overnight on the reef in unrivalled comfort and luxury.

Relax with sumptuous buffet meals on your live aboard boat, air conditioning and television. (No single supplement available on the boat).

We have hand-picked 4-star, boutique eco-friendly accommodation that will please even the fussiest traveler. What makes hotels “eco” is their use of such things as recycled grey water, solar panels, aerated taps, recycled building materials, and their involvement with reforestation projects, on-site interpretation, and contribution to local conservation efforts.

We use eco-lodges and hotels with amenities such as a pool and outdoor spa, cardio gym, laundry facilities, WiFi, piped in pure spring water, yoga classes, and rooms with air conditioning, en suite bathrooms, satellite TV and DVD players. Some are free standing rainforest villas, while others have won ecotourism awards.

Accommodation on custom trips can include these accommodations as well.


For more information about this tour or to book your next group adventure, contact us today and we will create a fun and exciting adventure you will cherish forever.


For more information about this tour or to book your next group adventure, contact us today and we will create a fun and exciting adventure you will cherish forever.


I would like to express appreciation to Return On Adventure for an absolutely perfect ten-day trip to Guatemala a couple of years ago. The hotels, were very nice and the guides were always on time, provided excellent information, answered questions, and escorted me to wonderful sites in the country. I highly recommend this company, as my experience was wonderful! — Lee W. Fort Collins, CO

Your next trip needs to be this one! The highest place in Africa is absolutely spectacular!! Excellent service and attention to detail. Incredible guide and support. Great food. Quality gear. I would highly recommend Return On Adventure. There was excellent service and attention to detail throughout. — Andrea D. San Francisco, CA

In 2010, Dean created a three week Alaskan tour for my two sons and me. For all the trips I`ve ever taken in my life, and I`ve traveled quite a bit, this was by far the most customized trip I`ve ever taken. He did a great job of challenging us and catering it to our desires. The whole thing was exquisitely coordinated. — David K. New York, NY

I have traveled with Dean on more than one occasion and I cannot speak highly enough about his professionalism, friendliness and dedication to his guests. Dean is an excellent guide and he makes every trip an adventure. His excellent attitude ensures that every guest will have a great time. I am looking forward to traveling with Return On Adventure because I know any trip that Dean facilitates will exceed my expectations. — Janet H., San Diego, CA

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