Day 1: Depart Los Angeles or San Francisco Leave LAX or SFO for Sydney The adventure begins! (Other departure cities are also available)
Day 2: Cross International Date Line In flight. The flight does not actually take two days, but you lose one day because of the International Date Line. You will gain it at the end of your trip.
Day 3: Sydney. On arrival in Sydney you will be transferred to your hotel. You can have some time to rest after your flight and before your adventure begins! You will then have a guided tour of the infamous Sydney Opera House.
Option: This afternoon make your way to Bridgeclimb, located at The Rocks, where you suit up for the ‘climb of your life’. The climb to the top of the Sydney Harbour Bridge is moderate and you can enjoy informative commentary from your guide as you ascend the bridge. This is a ‘must do’ for all visitors to Sydney and the views from the top of the Bridge are spectacular. The remainder of the day is at leisure.
Day 4: Sydney.
This morning make your own way to Circular Quay where you board your Matilda Cruise vessel. Cruise the spectacular Sydney Harbor, a must for all visitors to see. Cruise the upper reaches of Sydney harbor and view the magnificent waterfront homes and parklands. See the Opera House and the Harbor Bridge from the water. Refreshments are served on board and a hostess provides an informative commentary.
Return to Circular Quay where you will have a guided walking tour through the historic Rocks area. The Rocks is one of the most visited parts of Sydney. The history of this site dates back to the famous Captain Cool. Nestled at the foot of the Sydney Harbor Bridge and on the western shores of Sydney Cove, The Rocks is the foundation place of Sydney and Australia, and of enormous historical significance. You will have the remainder of the afternoon free to enjoy Sydney. There are many options for things to do.
Day 5: Sydney.
Visit Featherdale Wildlife Park and have your photo taken with a koala. See Australian animals and reptiles – crocodiles, kangaroos, goannas & possums. Enjoy a stroll through the bush at Govetts Leap. Visit historic Katoomba. Take a ride on the world's steepest railway – Scenic Railway, the Skyway Cable Car or the new Sceniscender Cable Car (rides at own expense). See scenic Echo Point and see eucalypt-filled valleys stretching to the horizon. Learn about the 'blue haze' effect. Excellent photo opportunities of the Three Sisters rock formation. See spectacular views of Jamison & Megalong Valleys. Travel through Sydney's Olympic Site returning to Sydney hotels late afternoon.
Upgrade Option: 4WD Blue Mountains tour. Have a more intimate Blue Mountain experience and you will be served an authentic Aussie BBQ in the bush.
Day 6: Port Douglas You will take a late morning flight to Cairns. You will then take the shuttle transfer to your resort hotel in Port Douglas.
Option: When you arrive in Cairns, your private driver-guide will pick you up and give a brief overview tour of Cairns (including the Esplinade, which is the main beach area, full of restaurants, art and artistic photograph shops, etc), a drive along the coast and given information about the various beaches, Double Island and surrounding area. You will be taken to Port Douglas - a favorite area for many celebrities as well as the locals - and checked into your hotel. The hotel resorts are all just outside of the village of Port Douglas.
However, there is a shuttle that runs throughout the day which will take you into town for a small fee. You can ask the driver to stop at a local fish food market where you can pick up some fresh prawns (a kilo for about $16 Aussie dollars), sauces, oysters, clams, etc. and stop at a bottle shop (liquor store) for some wine, beer, snacks, etc. so that you can have a romantic seafood feast on your balcony of your luxury resort cottage just outside of Port Douglas.
Day 7: Port Douglas
This morning you will go to Hartley’s Crocodile Adventure, where you can see Croc feedings, if you are interested hold baby crocs, or snakes. They also have Koalas and a bird estuary. You can take a short river boat cruise, where you can see Crocs in action! You will have free time there to wander about. The rest of your evening is free. We suggest that you go to the downtown area, this a great place to eat dinner and check out the laid back night life.
Day 8: Cairns
You will be picked up from your hotel by coach and taken to the Cruiser or a full day cruise to the outer Barrier Reef. After just 90 minutes you arrive close to Australia's continental shelf where you will moor over one of the most beautiful sections of the Great Barrier Reef. It offers some of the best snorkeling and diving anywhere in the world, with the warm waters of the Coral Sea affording crystal-clear visibility, and the marine life is a riot of living color. You can take a closer look at the breathtaking beauty of this seascape with its sunlit valleys and coral cliffs, teaming with brilliant fish by swimming, snorkeling (equipment provided) or cruising in the Subsea Explorer or glass bottom boat.
Sometimes described as the largest living structure on the planet, the Great Barrier Reef is actually a collage of nearly three thousand individual reefs and islands stretching for more than two thousand kilometers along the Queensland coast. It is the largest system of coral reefs and associated plants and animals in the world, and nothing to rival it has ever existed on Earth. It covers an area larger than Great Britain and about half the size of the state of Texas. Enjoy a sumptuous smorgasbord lunch including fresh seafood and tropical fruits. Morning and afternoon tea are also included. At the end of the cruise you will go back to Port Douglas. You should reclaim your luggage at that time. You then have the option to be transferred back to your hotel in Cairns via the cruise ship or by bus.
Day 9: Cairns
You will be taken from your hotel to the Freshwater Station for the Kuranda Rail journey up the scenic Barron Gorge to Freshwater Connection. You will arrive just below the Kuranda village, where shuttle buses will take you up to the village. Once you are at Kuranda village, there are many things to do. There are many shops, restaurants as well as a small koala park, a kangaroos and wallabees feeding area, a bird aviary and a butterfly aviary. Then you can proceed to the Sky-rail for your ride over the rain forest. Here you will have a spectacular perspective of the rain forest area.
There are also optional stops along the way where you can walk along environmentally sensitive trails in the midst of the rain forest and learn more about this wonderful part of nature. When you have reached the end of the ride you proceed over to the Tjapukai History, Dance and Creation Theatre and Cultural Village. There you will have lunch. After lunch there will be an Aborigine cultural show which includes dances, music, and informative talks about their lifestyles, foods and culture. You can also try your hand at throwing the boomerang, an Aborigine spear and playing the diggeree doo. The day concludes with a multi-media presentation of the Aboriginal Creation story and an informative film of Aborigine history. At the end you will take a coach to transfer to your hotel. The rest of your night is free.
Day 10: Cairns
Free Day in Cairns. Cairns has a large number of free activities to do around the city. Visit the Lagoon, which is a large swimming pool that the city created so that there was a nice place to go swimming. There are a large number of artist shops around this city center that have great art and photography that you might want to check out. (Also Cairns is the best place to get souvenirs!! There are shops everywhere, which means great prices.).
Option: White Water Rafting Depart your hotel for a full day tour full of spills and thrills! Raft through World Heritage rainforest, negotiating more than 45 rapids. There is over 5 hours of rafting on the Grade 4 Tully. Be sure to bring swimming costume, lace up shoes, towel, water resistant sunscreen and a change of clothes.
Option: Hot Air Balloon Ride Pick-up at hotel, one hour transfer, pickup times confirmed on booking. Experience the fun & unique sensation of hot air ballooning downunder. Enjoy the picturesque landscape at sunrise, enjoy a 30 or 60 minute flight. Breathe in the wide-open spaces! Return and Landing, balloon pack-up and lots of laughs. Come down to earth and enjoy breakfast at Tjapukai Cultural Park, champagne, fresh juices, eggs & bacon, tropical fruits & a hot and cold buffet is all yours as you relax & look over the Skyrail valley. Return transfers to your accommodation, or other places around town. Free Commemorative flight Certificate.
Day 11: Ayer's Rock. This morning you will fly to Ayers Rock, (Uluru to the Aboriginals). You will have a little while to relax in your hotel or to check out the Resort facilities. Then you will have an afternoon tour of Kata Tjuta (also known as the Olgas).
Option: This evening you will experience the Sounds of Silence Dinner where you will be able to view millions of stars and experience a desert night. This tour also includes a fascinating informative talk about the Southern Skies.
Day 12: Ayer's Rock. You will have a late afternoon tour given by an Aboriginal, of Uluru then you will have the infamous opportunity to see the Rock change colors. Your evening is free.
Option: Your morning begins with a before dawn camel ride to secluded sand dunes with 360° views of Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park and the surrounding desert. As the sun edges over the distant horizon, settle back with a coffee, tea, orange juice or even a glass of champagne and delicious pastry. In this tranquil setting, you can’t help but reflect and contemplate. You move to an open air dining site where a mouth watering buffet breakfast is served. Choose from fried or scrambled eggs, grilled bacon, roasted button mushrooms in herb butter, chipolata sausages and roasted tomatoes, or an oven roasted potato rostie, fresh fruit, yoghurt and assorted pastries. You can also try authentic camp-fire Billy Tea and fresh damper bread. After breakfast, some of the most beautiful and feared predators of the desert wilderness will be introduced to you by expert guides. Refreshed and invigorated, you will be returned to your hotel.
Option: Follow the oldest walking track on earth around the base of Ayers Rock on a 9km easy amble. Hear some of the Aboriginal creation-time stories associated with the Rock and view ancient Aboriginal art. Marvel at the diverse plant life and quietly watch wildlife commence their daily activities. Examine tracks of nocturnal animals. Experience the beauty and mystery of Uluru at dawn. The 5 hours spent on this tour will live long in your memory.
Day 13: Alice Springs
You will have a morning flight to Alice Springs. Then you will be transferred to your hotel. Join your coach this afternoon and tour the Town. Tour the sights of 'The Alice' including the historic Telegraph Station and the Royal Flying Doctor Service. Learn how this marvelous facility operates to provide a 'Mantle of Safety' to the people of the 'outback'. Visit the School of the Air, where sometimes you are able to listen to the children take lessons on air, as well as the Alice Springs Reptile Centre where you will see unique Central Australian reptiles such as the Perentie lizard and Thorny Devil. Take in a panoramic view of Alice Springs from Anzac Hill.
Day 14: You have an early flight to Melbourne. Upon arrival you will be transferred to your hotel. You will then have a half day city sights tour of Melbourne. There are tons of great places to shop in Melbourne. We recommend seeing the Queen Victoria Markets, which is a delightful assembly of shops.
Day 15: Melbourne. Today you will see the famous Great Ocean Road. You will have a coach tour along the Great Ocean Road, where you will be able to see the Twelve Apostles, Island Arch, Razorback and the rugged coastline. You will be returned to your hotel in the late evening.
Day 16: Melbourne
This afternoon travel south to Phillip Island. Stop at Warrook Cattle Farm for afternoon tea (own expense). Visit the Koala Conservation Centre and enjoy dinner at Cowes (own expense), where there is a variety of cafes and restaurants. Visit the Nobbies and Seal Rocks Life Centre and view the treacherous Bass Strait. The Penguin Parade is one of Australia's most popular natural tourist attractions. Witness the Penguin's daily journey from the sea to the land, returning to their nests to feed their awaiting families. Return to Melbourne late this evening.
With Extra Days we would recommend: Wine Tasting (Sydney Area) Leaving your hotel, you will wind your way through the leafy Northern Suburbs & then escape through the brilliant sandstone outcrops of Ku-ring-gai National Park to reach the mighty Hawkesbury River. You will stop for morning tea deep in the bush & & then continue on to the historic township of Wollombi, famous for its local brew called Dr Jurd’s Jungle Juice.
We stroll through the villages before departing for the Broken Back Range & climb the escarpment to Mt View before descending into the Hunter Valley to begin our wine tasting at a few of the very special boutique wineries in the area. We chat to the owners, admire their cottage locations & let them show off the best of their vintages. In the foothills of the Broken Back Range, we enjoy a gourmet lunch & spend the afternoon visiting some of the larger vineyards for more superb wine tastings. As the afternoon approaches we return to Sydney via the scenic freeway to conclude this relaxing and enjoyable day.
Day 17: Return to Los Angeles or San Francisco Leave Melbourne for LAX or SFO with a lifetime of wonderful.
Also see tour packages in:
Australia and Oceania Australia Local Culture Cultural Journey Wildlife Viewing