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The best tours to explore Australia in 2021

Whether journeying in a private plane or on a luxury boat, here are the exclusive Australian tours to inspire your travels in 2021 – and beyond.

Explore Australia’s Native Isles

New South Wales, Tasmania

What The 11-day ‘Australia’s Native Islets’ itinerary takes you from Sydney to Lord Howe Island and Tasmania, with stays in two of the country’s Luxury Lodges of Australia: Capella and Saffire Freycinet. Upscale accommodation aside, you’ll travel with friends and family in the company of a private guide and with access to exclusive attractions.

When Flexible departures.

Departs Sydney

Dedicated to crafting bespoke Australian journeys, The Tailor’s luxury travel experts are available to offer itinerary suggestions – whether urban adventures or journeys that unveil Aboriginal culture – and then add in experiences to match your interests and time limitations, from a couple of days to a couple of weeks.

Lord Howe Island
Lord Howe Island © Capella Lodge

Fly to 4 diverse regions in 7 days

South Australia, Western Australia, Northern Territory

What The seven-day ‘Whale Sharks and Wines of the West’ itinerary is a Sydney round-trip taking in Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park, the Ningaloo Coast, the Margaret River region and Port Lincoln, among other highlights.

When 2 May 2021

Departs Sydney

Group size 35

Captain’s Choice recently revealed a portfolio of seven all-inclusive Antipodean adventures, with private jets and planes your mode of transport between destinations. There’s space for a limited number of fellow travellers in your exclusive sky-high chariot, with a Tour Director and Tour Doctor on hand to ensure that no expense is spared en-route.

Snorkelling in the Ningaloo, Western Australia
Snorkelling with whale sharks

Discover Cape York and the Gulf of Carpentaria

Queensland

What The 14-day ‘Cape York & The Gulf’ itinerary explores the northern tip of Australia, with bucket-list expeditions to Carnarvon Gorge, through the Daintree Rainforest and across to Torres Strait island, with everything taken care of along the way.

When Departures 19 and 25 July 2021.

Departs Melbourne

Group size 8

Operating since 1977, Air Adventure takes intimate groups of sophisticated travellers around the Australian outback in private aircraft. The portfolio ranges from tailor-made itineraries for you and your family to no-expense-spared one-day adventures – a gourmet hop to King Island for exclusive food and wine experiences and scenic flights, perhaps – and immersive two-week journeys.

Stylish transport with Air Adventure
Stylish transport with Air Adventure

Australian Outback tour

Queensland, Northern Territory, South Australia

What Get a taste for the diversity of the country with ‘The Gulf to Gulf Air Tour’, an 11-day private plane excursion taking you from the south of the country to the very north, and back again. Visit parts of Australia most will never have the opportunity to glimpse in such a short period of time, with a small group of fellow passengers.

When Multiple departures from June 2021.

Departs Adeliade

Group size 8

Book your exclusive air tour with Bill Peach Journeys, then forget about everything else. From private jets to meals to entrance fees and managing your luggage, your hosts take care of all the details. Expect to stay in some of Australia’s best hotels, wherever your journey takes you.

South Australia’s stunning Flinders Ranges
South Australia’s stunning Flinders Ranges © Bill Peach Journeys

Cruise the Kimberley

Western Australia

What The 13-night ‘Kimberley Ultimate’ travels from Wyndham to Broome, stopping at some of the least populated corners of the country along the way, where soaring cliffs appear to cleave off the edge of the Earth and enormous crocodiles sit on mangrove-lined banks.

When Multiple departures for 2021.

Departs Kununurra

Group size 35

There’s only space for you and 35 friends on True North, a sleek yacht that has set the standard for cruising in West Australian waters. The boat’s itineraries now take you beyond this Indian Ocean shoreline, but until these journeys resume, you can enjoy rebooted explorations around one of Australia’s last true travel frontiers.

Read our review of the Kimberley journey here

King George Falls
King George Falls © True North

Do Kakadu with a luxury 4WD

Northern Territory

What The five-day ‘Kakadu’s Ancient Secrets’ itinerary reveals the wonders of the Top End, from waterfalls to vast wetlands, ancient culture to Dreamtime art. Begin your journey at Litchfield National Park before travelling on to Kakadu, Katherine Gorge and Darwin.

When Multiple departures from May 2021.

Departs Darwin

Specialists in small-group journeys and escorted tours around Australia (and New Zealand), Inspiring Journeys’ all-inclusive tours are as much about adventure as they are luxury. Yes, you stay in hand-picked accommodation around the country, but you also have eye-opening experiences and experience remote destinations that many other tour operators don’t visit.

Relaxing at Gunlom Falls
Relaxing at Gunlom Falls © Tourism NT

Top End cruising

Western Australia, Northern Territory

What The ‘Kimberley Coast to the Top End’ expedition is an 11-day whirlwind taking you to 16 destinations, from Broome to the Horizontal Falls to Montgomery Reef, King George Falls and, finally, Darwin. You’re cruising and staying in style the entire way.

When Multiple departures from May through July 2021.

Departs Broome

Family-owned APT’s new portfolio of tours around Australia allow you to select your destination, then choose your travel style – think air tours, short breaks, rail journeys, ocean cruises – to discover a wealth of carefully curated itineraries highlighting the best of the country. There are also tailor-made experiences available, should you wish to go your own way.

Exploring Horizontal Falls
Exploring Horizontal Falls © APT

Cross the outback onboard The Ghan

South Australia, Northern Territory

What The three-day Adelaide to Darwin ‘Outback Spirit’ journey is aboard The Ghan, your all-inclusive adventure cutting through the Red Centre with stops at Nitmiluk Gorge, Katherine and an outback cattle station.

When Departs Sundays (February to November 2021).

Departs Adelaide

The Australian outback is best absorbed from the comfort of the country’s most opulent train experience: enter Journey Beyond’s Platinum Service, a sumptuous moving suite on either The Ghan (Adelaide to Darwin) or Indian Pacific (Perth to Sydney).

Platinum service with Journey Beyond
Platinum service with Journey Beyond

Charter your own aircraft

Australia-wide

What Catch an Execujet helicopter from Sydney to Pretty Beach House, linger in your private pool, then chopper in to Newcastle where you fly private north to remote Mount Mulligan resort on a working Queensland station, or to a far-flung island in the Great Barrier Reef where you can swim with turtles and dolphins.

When Flexible departures.

From helicopters to light jets to business liners, ExecuJet has all your charter aircraft needs covered. Aside from the extensive fleet of first-class air cruisers, the company has a concierge team on call to plan the places and experiences you can fly to – in style – before checking in to exclusive resorts.

Exclusive charters with ExecuJet
Exclusive charters with ExecuJet

Personalised luxury travel experiences

Australia wide

What From Pretty Beach House and Wolgan Valley in New South Wales, to Makepeace Island and Qualia in Queensland, Southern Crossings has a little black book packed with top addresses and the connections to exclusive luxury travel experiences.

When Flexible departures.

No two itineraries are alike with Southern Crossings – discuss your interests, the destinations you wish to visit and your time limitations with experts, who will curate an itinerary featuring luxury lodges, private island hideaways, outback stations and five-star city hotels.

Pretty Beach House
Pretty Beach House © Luxury Lodges of Australia

Experiences other travellers would never dream of

Australia wide

What Whether wine regions, the outback or the Great Barrier Reef, Addicted to Australia offers access to the country’s most covetable resorts and retreats.

When Flexible departures.

Specialising in boutique, luxury travel around the country, Addicted to Australia’s mission is to give you experiences most other travellers would never dream of – one-off food, culture and nature adventures that are only possible thanks to the team’s wealth of connections.

Bedroom at Sequoia Lodge
Sequoia Lodge

Pre-designed private travel

Sydney, Adelaide, Kangaroo Island, Melbourne, Cairns

What The ‘Australia 2021’ package offers 11 days of roaming the east coast of the country, taking you from Sydney to Adelaide, Kangaroo Island, Melbourne and Cairns.

When Flexible departures

Lakani World Tours’ pre-designed private travel experiences unite everything that’s great about a particular part of the world, with a luxurious touring itinerary – select meals, accommodation, transport, entrance fees, guides – in place that you can simply book on the dates that meet your holiday schedule.

Lakani experiences
Sailing with Lakani © Tourism and Events Queensland

Houseboats or Tasmanian devils

Murray River or Maria Island

What Gather family and friends for an unforgettable journey along the magnificent Murray River, hiking during the day and bedding down in a houseboat at night. Or, discover the wonders of the ‘Maria Island Walk’, with the chance of spotting Tasmanian devils on moonlight safaris.

When 5 July and 20 September 2021 (Murray); 7 January and 11 April 2021 (Maria).

Purveyor of luxury touring, Abercrombie & Kent has a freshly minted portfolio of domestic experiences including a pair of exclusive, privately charted walking expeditions, designed to remind you just how beguiling this country really is – but with creature comforts the entire way.

A&K’s Murray River tour
A&K’s Murray River tour © Quentin Chester

Conservation, culture and luxury

Northern Territory 

What The seven-day ‘Seven Spirits Bay & Darwin short break’ includes five-star accommodation on the Northern Territory’s remote Cobourg Peninsula, with adventure activities including cruises, scenic flights and 4WD beach drives with champagne and canapés.

When 8 April 2021

Incredible experiences across Australia with a focus on conservation and luxury – these are the promises Outback Spirit brings to every tour around the country. The company also has a mission to support Aboriginal communities wherever it journeys, which means your tour may uncover stories and art dating back 60,000 years.

Seven Spirit Bay
Seven Spirit Bay

19 days in Northern Australia

Broome & The Kimberley

What Over 19 spectacular days, ‘The Kimberley and Bamurru Plains’ itinerary takes you and 17 others to some of northern Australia’s most legendary sights. From Darwin to Broome, your days and nights are filled with luxury lodge stays, airboat journeys across wetlands, stargazing sessions, guided walks to spot ancient rock art and barramundi fishing.

When 24 April 2022

Experts in privately chartered tours featuring handcrafted itineraries, Latitude 33’s global portfolio of journeys hark back to the golden era of travel, with everything included and no luxury spared. Exploring in small groups offers the opportunity to experience destinations larger parties can’t venture, with private guides and one-off adventures along the way.

Airboat safari in the NT
Airboat safari © Tourism NT

Australia by Air

Australia wide

What The flagship ‘Australia by Air’ itinerary lasts 32 days, circumnavigating the country with stops in destinations from Tasmania’s Freycinet Peninsula to Lizard Island in Queensland.

When Flexible departures.

Brand-new Crooked Compass by Air is taking to the skies with a portfolio of eight signature curated journeys featuring travel by private plane and helicopter, accommodation in Australia’s finest hotels and lodges, exclusive dining experiences and knowledgeable guides. For the adventurous, there are one- or two-day mystery flights, and epic air safaris lasting more than a month.

The Twelve Apostles by private plane
The Twelve Apostles by private plane © Visit Victoria

This article originally appeared in volume 37 of Signature Luxury Travel & Style magazine. To subscribe to the latest issue, click here.