Posted November 30th, 2013, 02:47 AM
What are the details for the land portion of this tour? Awhile back, somebody asked for comments on their cruisetour and the land portion had them going all over Australia (similar to your itinerary) in a week or less. That was utter madness and I recommended they skip it because they'd see more of Australian airports than of Australia. A tour from Sydney to Uluru (Ayers Rock) to Darwin to Kakadu to Cairns/PD and back to Sydney should not be attempted in fewer than 12 - 14 days.
Now, having said that, January and February are probably the worst months of the year to visit those locations. Uluru is going to be beastly hot (100+ Fahrenheit); Darwin and Kakadu are in the midst of "The Wet" in Jan/Feb so it will be hot, humid and rainy; it's hot and humid in Cairns/PD and it's also cyclone season and stinger (deadly jellyfish) season.
If I were traveling in Australia at that time of year (which I have), I would stay south of Sydney, e.g. Canberra, Melbourne, or Tasmania.
Finally,we have made the flight to Australia many times and the worst one was when I had the "bright idea" of overnighting in L.A. after our flight from the U.S. East Coast. It only complicated everything by having to schlep everything from the airport, pay for a hotel for one night and then schlep everything back to the airport and deal with TSA yet one more time. I felt no more refreshed when we arrived in Sydney than I had when I made that long trip in one go. Unless you are spending 2 -3 days in L.A., skip the stopover.