Exploring Australia

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Explore fascinating Australia during this captivating vacation. From the Outback to the Great Barrier Reef, on this vacation you experience the beauty of Australia’s unique scenery and the adventure of its cities. Your trip begins in Brisbane, where you drive to the Sunshine Coast. Here, visit the Australia Zoo of Steve “Crocodile Hunter” Irwin fame, and come face to face with many of Australia’s native animals. Then fly north to Cairns, gateway to the Great Barrier Reef, one of the Seven Natural Wonders of the World. Board a catamaran and experience Australia’s Great Barrier Reef firsthand on Green Island, one of the many tropical islands on the Great Barrier Reef. Snorkel, take a glass-bottom boat tour, or walk through the island’s rainforest.

Activities Great Barrier Reef Cruise
Botanic Gardens
Yellow Waters Cruise
Sightseeing
Wildlife Sanctuary
Sydney Harbour Cruise
Opera House

Fly to Darwin and experience the rich Aboriginal heritage of Kakadu National Park with its 7,300 square miles of unspoiled waterways. Cruise waterways where you may view crocodiles and walk ancient trails to see Aboriginal rock petroglyphs. Tour Darwin then travel to Alice Springs to discover life in the Outback. Enjoy a tour around the base of Ayers Rock and witness the changing colors of the Rock at sunset. Then board The Ghan for an overnight train journey to Adelaide and for fascinating perspectives of the Outback. Take a city tour of Adelaide and enjoy leisure time before traveling outside Adelaide to sample some of Australia’s premium wines at the beautiful vineyards of the Barossa Valley.

In Melbourne, Australia’s second-largest city, enjoy a sightseeing tour and see beautiful Fitzroy Gardens. Drive to Philip Island for the Penguin Parade, where every evening at dusk, the Little Penguins come home from the sea. From the waves, across the beach, and to the sand dunes, the Little Penguins can almost be touched as they waddle to their burrows. It is the nightly ritual of these little flightless birds, which will enthrall you as you observe from the exclusive viewing platform.

Next, fly to Hobart, Tasmania, and enjoy an excursion to Port Arthur, where the first convicts arrived in the 1830s. In Tasmania, you also have an opportunity to see the famous Tasmanian Devil, a rare marsupial wolf, at a wildlife sanctuary. Then fly to Sydney, the largest city in Australia. In Sydney, cruise on Sydney Harbour and enjoy a guided tour that includes the Sydney Opera House, A UNESCO World Heritage Site. A full day of leisure in Sydney offers you an opportunity to join an optional excursion to the Blue Mountains, or you can climb to the top of Sydney’s Harbour Bridge. A special farewell dinner at a waterfront restaurant with fantastic views of Sydney’s highlights is a perfect way to end this spectacular Australia vacation. It’s a trip of a lifetime!

Transpacific flight

images Day 1-2: Board your transpacific flight and skip a day as you cross the International Date Line on your way Down Under for the adventure of a lifetime.

Brisbane – Sunshine Coast, Australia

images Day 3: G’day and welcome to Australia! Upon arrival, take an 80-mile drive through forests and past the picturesque Glass House Mountains before arriving at the Sunshine Coast. The remainder of the afternoon is free for you to relax at your resort hotel. This evening your Tour Director hosts a special welcome dinner.

Sunshine Coast. Excursion to Australia Zoo

images Day 4: Come face-to-face with many of Australia’s native animals at the AUSTRALIA ZOO. You’ll see a crocodile demonstration and witness the feeding of the koalas.

Sunshine Coast – Brisbane – Cairns

images Day 5: Enjoy an orientation drive through Brisbane before your flight to Cairns, gateway to the Great Barrier Reef, one of the Seven Natural Wonders of the World. Dinner is at your hotel.

Cairns. Great Barrier Reef Excursion

images Day 6: Board a fast catamaran for a CRUISE to Green Island, one of the many tropical islands on Australia’s famous Great Barrier Reef. Here you can choose to SNORKEL, take a GLASS-BOTTOM BOAT TOUR, or walk through the island’s cool rainforest. This afternoon you may wish to upgrade to a full-day excursion on the Outer Barrier Reef. In the evening, consider a unique experience at the famous Flames of the Forest, where you enjoy tropical dining in an actual rainforest and authentic Aboriginal culture through storytelling and music (operates seasonally). Or you can enjoy a sunset cruise followed by a delicious dinner at a waterfront restaurant.

Cairns – Darwin

images Day 7: Morning at leisure in this tropical paradise. Perhaps join our optional trip to Kuranda via the old scenic rail route. See magnificent scenery, lush rainforests, and twisting waterfalls from the comfort of a restored, historic mountain train. For the return journey you may choose to take the Skyrail Rainforest Cableway. Or, take a tour to Tjapukai Aboriginal Cultural Park—a fascinating portrayal of Aboriginal culture, dance, and folklore. Then, fly to the top end of Australia to Darwin, famous for its strategic importance during WWII.

Darwin – Kakadu National Park

images Day 8: Today, see giant termite nests on the way to KAKADU NATIONAL PARK. Explore parts of nearly 7,300 square miles of unspoiled waterways with a rich heritage of Aboriginal culture and stop at the Bowali Visitor Centre to learn about Kakadu’s habitats. CRUISE waterways where you may view crocodiles, and walk ancient trails to see Aboriginal rock petroglyphs. An optional light-aircraft flight over the park should not be missed. Dinner tonight is at your hotel.

Kakadu National Park – Darwin

images Day 9: Depart your hotel this morning and stop at WINDOWS ON THE WETLANDS VISITOR CENTRE, an interactive display of Kakadu fauna. Return to Darwin for sightseeing. See the elegant colonial architecture of the city’s historic buildings that survived Cyclone Tracy in 1974. Visit the splendid BOTANIC GARDENS and beautiful East Point, an area rich in WWII memorabilia. Also visit the ART GALLERY to view fine collections of Aboriginal art.

Darwin – Alice Springs – Ayers Rock

images Day 10: During a brief stop in Alice Springs, enjoy a visit to the SCHOOL OF AIR to learn how education services are provided to children living in the vast Outback. Then, visit the OLD TELEGRAPH STATION to discover how the locals live in this remote area and to learn the history of how the early settlers developed communication. On to Anzac Hill, a tribute to Australia’s and New Zealand’s war heroes. Afterward, fly to Ayers Rock. Travel to a popular lookout to enjoy views of the magnificent Kata Tjuta (the Olgas), a geological splendor of some 30 brilliant monoliths. There is time to take photos before returning for a TOUR around the base of Ayers Rock and to “Sunset Strip” for a drink and canapés and to witness the changing colors of the Rock.

Ayers Rock – Alice Springs

images Day 11: For an unforgettable experience, rise early for an optional camel ride to watch the sunrise at Ayers Rock. Then, fly to Alice Springs and visit the ROYAL FLYING DOCTOR SERVICE to appreciate how medical service is provided to those in remote regions. The afternoon is at leisure. You may want to visit the Desert Park to learn more about the flora and fauna of the Australian desert. Tonight, enjoy a unique Aussie experience—an OUTBACK BARBEQUE that features a meal of typical campfire fare, fascinating tales of the Outback, and Aboriginal folklore.

Alice Springs – Ghan Train

images Day 12: This morning, enjoy free time to relax. Later, a highlight of your vacation begins as you board the GHAN TRAIN for an overnight journey that offers a fascinating perspective of the Outback.

Ghan Train – Adelaide

images Day 13: Arrive in Adelaide for a city tour along the wide tree-lined streets and well-manicured gardens. The rest of the afternoon is at leisure.

Adelaide

images Day 14: The day is at leisure. You may choose a full-day trip to Kangaroo Island, one of the world’s last unspoiled habitats.

Adelaide – Barossa Valley

images Day 15: Today, drive to the BAROSSA VALLEY with its Bavarian villages, baroque Italianate chateaux, and stunning vineyard scenery. Breathe in the beauty of the Adelaide Hills in the leafy greenness of the quaint yet charming villages. Enjoy a sumptuous lunch and sample some of Australia’s premium wines at a LOCAL WINERY. Later this afternoon, fly to Melbourne, Australia’s second-largest city.

Melbourne

images Day 16: Today’s tour includes landmarks such as Parliament House and the Shrine of Remembrance, a tribute to Australia’s war heroes. Visit beautiful FITZROY GARDENS and then drive past the lush Royal Botanical Gardens. You’ll soon discover the differing architectural influences of this city as you see the Victorian Arts Centre and other buildings of significance. For a unique dining experience, join an optional outing on board a historic tramcar restaurant as it winds its way through the streets of Melbourne. Later this afternoon, drive to Phillip Island to see a PENGUIN PARADE from an exclusive viewing platform.

Melbourne – Hobart

images Day 17: Fly to Hobart, Tasmania, home of the famed Tasmanian Devil.

Hobart. Excursion to Port Arthur

images Day 18: Today’s tour of the scenic Tasman Peninsula features the blowhole, the Devil’s Kitchen, and the Tasman Arch coastal formations. Visit PORT ARTHUR, where the first convicts arrived in the 1830s. A guided tour of the Penal Settlement shows you the ruins of the 4-story penitentiary and the model prison—grim reminders of Australia’s days as a penal colony. Also included is a short stop at a nearby WILDLIFE SANCTUARY to see the famous Tasmanian Devil, a rare marsupial wolf.

Hobart – Sydney

images Day 19: Today, fly to Sydney, the largest city in Australia. The afternoon is at leisure for you to discover this exciting and beautiful city on your own. Your Tour Director will have suggestions for optional activities.

Sydney

images Day 20: Today, explore one of the world’s most beautiful cities. Your tour includes a CRUISE on Sydney Harbour that highlights this bustling waterway and a guided tour of the SYDNEY OPERA HOUSE, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Travel to Mrs. Macquarie’s Chair in the city’s BOTANICAL GARDENS for a great photo opportunity of the harbor, Opera House, and Harbour Bridge. Tour the world-famous BONDI SURF BATHERS’ LIFE SAVING CLUB and enjoy a lifesaving demonstration! See some of the city’s original suburbs, followed by the historic Rocks area, home to Sydney’s original convicts. Also visit one of the country’s leading OPAL COMPANIES to discover how the beautiful gems are mined. The balance of the day is free.

Sydney

images Day 21: Enjoy a full day at leisure. Perhaps join our optional excursions to the Blue Mountains or to Hunter Valley, one of Australia’s leading wine-growing regions. You can even climb to the top of Sydney’s Harbour Bridge! Your Tour Director will help you make the most of this exciting city. Tonight, enjoy a special farewell dinner at a waterfront restaurant with fantastic views of the highlights of Sydney.

Departure from Sydney

images Day 22: Your homebound flight from Paris arrives the same day.

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