Day 1: Depart North America
Day 2: Enroute to Sydney
You will cross the International Dateline.
Day 3: Arrive Sydney
Welcome to the island continent of Australia! On arrival in Sydney, Australia’s largest city, we will be met and transferred to our hotel where a porter will assist. The remainder of the day is at leisure. Sydney, Australia’s gateway city and the capital of New South Wales, is a vibrant city of unsurpassed style and variety. Established in 1788 as a convict settlement, Sydney has grown from these humble beginnings to become Australia’s biggest, oldest and liveliest city and one of the great international cities of the world. Today, over 5 million people live in Sydney and its suburbs. Sydney is built around one of the largest and most beautiful natural harbours in the world. Miles of surfing beaches stretch north and south of the city on the shores of the Pacific Ocean.
The most famous of Sydney’s landmarks are the Harbour Bridge and the spectacular Opera House with its graceful ‘sails’ – the centre of Sydney’s cultural activities. Combined with a sunny climate and a relaxed outdoor lifestyle, Sydney is a magnet for the best the world has to offer.
We will have a Welcome to Australia dinner at the O’Bar & Dining Revolving Restaurant which is on the 48th Floor with breathtaking 360 degree views of Sydney. Dinner included.
Stay 3 nights: Radisson Blu Plaza Hotel Sydney
Day 4: Sydney Sightseeing – City Tour / Sydney Opera House / Sunset Dinner Cruise
After a relaxing breakfast this morning at our hotel, we head out of downtown Sydney via the historic Rocks area and through the suburb of Paddington known for its turn-of-the century terraced houses before arriving at Sydney’s famous surfing mecca, Bondi Beach. Here we will enjoy a lifesaving demonstration followed by morning tea. Later, we return to the city following the scenic route through Watson Bay and Rose Bay before arriving at the Sydney Opera House for a guided walking tour followed by a ‘Tasting Plate’ lunch at the venue. The Opera House is Australia’s premier venue for the performing arts and home to the Australian Opera Company, the Australian Ballet, the Sydney Symphony Orchestra and the Sydney Theatre Company.
It was designed by Jorn Utzon, and, on completion in 1973, was officially opened by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II. Beneath the huge sail roofs are four major halls which are acoustically balanced to suit its own particular form of entertainment. In addition to the spectacular architecture, the appeal of the Opera House is its location on the harbour foreshores, bounded by the Botanical Gardens, Circular Quay and overlooked by the Harbour Bridge. At completion of the tour, we will return to our hotel and have free time until the late afternoon.
Early this evening, we will take a short stroll to Circular Quay where we will join Captain Cook’s Sunset Private Dinner Cruise on Sydney Harbour which departs at 5:00PM. Relax and enjoy the sights of Sydney’s foreshore suburbs and the upper and lower reaches of Sydney Harbour while enjoying a unique dining experience. We then cruise past Fort Denison, a fortress island also known as “Pinchgut,” where convicts prone to escaping were detained on a diet of bread and water. Looking back at the city skyline we gain a totally different perspective of Sydney’s best known landmarks – the Sydney Opera House and Harbour Bridge. At the end of the cruise, which concludes at 6:30PM, it is just a short stroll back to our hotel for a free evening. Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner included.
Day 5: Blue Mountains
A full day tour today takes us to the Blue Mountains outside of Sydney. On arrival into the small town of Leura, we will visit the Tea Pot Museum and have morning tea. Afterwards, we have rides on the Skyway, a glass bottomed aerial cable car and the Scenic Cableway, the steepest aerial cable car in Australia followed by a short walk through the Cold Mountain Rainforest. We then stop for a 2 course lunch after which we head to one of the lookout points to experience the full beauty of the Blue Mountains. The views from the park’s lookouts are magnificent; we will look out over hazy blue forests, waterfalls and interesting rock formations.
To end our stay in the Blue Mountains, we visit the Mount Tomah Botanical Gardens and relax with a glass of sparkling wine while viewing its beautiful landscaped gardens and spectacular vistas. We return to Sydney in the late afternoon. Breakfast and Lunch included.
Day 6: Fly Sydney to Cairns (Palm Cove)
This morning we transfer to Sydney Airport for our flight to Cairns.
Cairns is a modern, vibrant city and the unofficial capital of tropical North Queensland. Not only is the city the gateway to two amazing natural wonders, the Great Barrier Reef and the Daintree National Park, it is also connected to a strong Aboriginal Culture and historical links to WW II and the battles for the Pacific.
This evening we are transferred to the Tjapukai by Night and you are taken you on a magical adventure into the legends of Australia’s dreamtime. Enter another world as Australia’s Aboriginal culture is brought to life through a series of award winning performances as you feast on modern cuisine from the Far North. Enjoy a welcome drink on arrival before the performers lead a didgeridoo blessing ceremony followed by a spectacular fire performance and cultural dance celebration. If you are keen, you can even take to the stage to learn a traditional dance yourself! This evening of entertainment is complemented by a delicious dinner, photo opportunity with the Tjapukai warriors & even time to shop in the retail gallery full of authentic souvenirs. Breakfast and Dinner included. Stay 3 nights: Pullman Palm Cove Sea Temple Resort and Spa.
Day 7: Full Day Kuranda Rail/Rainforestation Tour
After breakfast, we board the train for one of the most spectacular journeys in Australia. We will enjoy “Royale Champagne Service” as the train slowly winds its way up the epic pioneer track with every turn revealing a new panorama – sugar plantations, Barron Falls and Stoney Creek Falls. Our Royale service includes champagne and orange juice which we can sip while we listen to the informative commentary as the majesty of this area unfolds.
On arrival into Kuranda Station – a cool, tropical environment of native shrubs, ferns and flowers – we meet up with our coach driver for the short transfer to Kuranda Village, where we will have some free time to browse around the quaint township before enjoying lunch at Frog’s Restaurant. After lunch, we head to our next adventure at Rainforestation.
Our visit includes the Pamagirri Aboriginal Dancers who perform in the Rainforest Amphitheatre, a guided Dreamtime Walk, a boomerang throwing demonstration and an exciting ride on an amphibious army duck for an informative tour through the rainforest. Later we will also have the opportunity to visit the native animal enclosure to meet “Matilda”, “Walter” and “Kiah” – our three koalas who are proudly sponsored by Goway Travel. From Rainforestation, we take our coach back down to Palm Cove and the hotel.
Tonight enjoy a sumptuous 3 course dinner at the hotel.
Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner included.
Day 8: Full Day Great Barrier Reef
Another great day today as we board our coach and take the scenic drive to Port Douglas. On arrival, we enjoy a full day of cruising on the Great Barrier Reef on a Sailaway cruise. This will be a day to remember with a reef and island cruise to the Low Isles, an unchanged coral cay on Australia’s Great Barrier Reef. Low Isles is situated on a large oval 200 hectare coral platform and consists of a small coral cay, a large mangrove island, mudflats, seagrass beds, and coral reefs. The islands are surrounded by 5.5 acres of coral reef very close to the islands making it an ideal area for snorkelers. Living among the corals in the blue lagoon are a large variety of reef fish including angelfish, damselfish, anemones, giant trevally, sweetlip, fusiliers and many green turtles.
The vessel moors up in the sheltered blue lagoon for 4.5 hours. From here, you can join the guided snorkel tour and relax or explore the island. You can experience a trip on the glass bottom boat viewing incredible coral and fish. The tour includes a delicious buffet lunch including fresh garden salads, cold meats, prawns and tropical fruits. After a great day on the reef just laze on the deck as we sail back to Port Douglas.
There is a guided snorkel tour and the equipment will be available with instruction and water assistance if you would like to participate. For all today’s options, we strongly recommend you take a hat and plenty of sunscreen lotion. This evening is at our leisure. Breakfast and Lunch included.
Day 9: Fly Cairns to Ayers Rock
A box breakfast is arranged by the hotel due to an early flight this morning. This morning we transfer to the airport for our flight to the “Red Centre” of Australia and Ayers Rock. Upon arrival into Ayers Rock Airport, our coach will be waiting to transfer us out to the Olgas also known in the Aboriginal language as “Kata Tjuta” translated as “many heads.” The Olgas are a collection of smaller, more rounded rocks, located 32km to the west of Ayers Rock. Each of the 36 domes has a story in mythology and is of significance to the Aboriginal Dreamtime (legends).
Before heading to the hotel, we stop at the Cultural Centre for lunch (at own expense).
We have time to freshen up at our hotel before being transferred to the site of the amazing Sounds of Silence Dinner Experience. This evening we will absorb the haunting sounds of the didgeridoo and dine, al fresco, on true outback cuisine whilst witnessing the sunset. After a feast of Northern Territory delights including barramundi, kangaroo, emu, crocodile, bush salads, and classic Australian desserts, we will then be treated to some of the world’s best stargazing before returning to our hotel.
Breakfast and Dinner included. Stay: Desert Gardens Hotel 1 night.
Day 10: Coach Ayers Rock/Alice Springs
We have an early start this morning for our Sunrise Base Tour of Ayers Rock with tea and coffee. The Rock has become one of the symbols of Australia that is recognized everywhere in the world. Nothing can give a sense of its size except standing beneath the towering 348 meters wall of rock.
As we tour the Rock’s base with our knowledgeable driver/guide, we will fully appreciate not only its size but also the way it appears to continually change. From one angle it looks almost like a huge box; from another, it sprawls elegantly across the plain. After sunrise and the base tour, we will return to the hotel for a well-deserved breakfast.
After breakfast, we join our coach for the journey to Alice Springs via the Lasseter and Stuart Highways. Places of interest along the way include Curtin Springs Station and Roadhouse, one of the largest in the district, and Mt. Connor, a large rock formation which is often mistaken for Ayers Rock and is visible from the roadside. A lunch-stop will be made enroute (own expense).
This evening, we enjoy an exciting Outback experience at the Mbantua Sunset and Starlight Dinner under the Milky Way! Here we have a chance to take in some spectacular scenery while getting some insights into bush foods and Aboriginal culture while enjoying a delicious meal prepared by an Aboriginal Master Bush Chef. Breakfast and Dinner included. Stay: DoubleTree by Hilton Alice Springs, 1 night.
Day 11: Fly Alice Springs to Adelaide
Our morning begins with a tour of Alice Springs, the main service centre for the vast Outback region. Alice Springs is set against the rugged mountain backdrop of the magnificent MacDonnell Ranges 1500kms from the nearest capital city. ‘Alice’ was originally known as Stuart Town after the first European who, on his fifth attempt to cross Australia from Adelaide to Darwin surveying the route for the Overland Telegraph Line, discovered the spectacular mountain range now known as the MacDonnell Ranges. The largest of the many repeater Telegraph Stations completed in 1872, it was situated at Stuart Town, later renamed Alice Springs after the Postmaster’s wife.
Our tour includes visits to the Royal Flying Doctor Service to see how this marvelous facility operates to provide a “Mantle of Safety” to the people of the Outback as well as a visit to the School of the Air. After our tour, we transfer to the airport for our flight to Adelaide in the state of South Australia. On arrival, we are met and transferred to our hotel. Dinner is included at our hotel this evening.
GHAN OPTION (must be pre-booked):
Our morning begins with a tour of Alice Springs, the main service centre for the vast Outback region. Alice Springs is set against the rugged mountain backdrop of the magnificent MacDonnell Ranges 1500 kms from the nearest capital city. ‘Alice’ was originally known as Stuart Town after the first European who, on his fifth attempt to cross Australia from Adelaide to Darwin surveying the route for the Overland Telegraph Line, discovered the spectacular mountain range now known as the MacDonnell Ranges. The largest of the many repeater Telegraph Stations completed in 1872, it was situated at Stuart Town, later renamed Alice Springs after the Postmaster’s wife.
Our tour includes visits to the Royal Flying Doctor Service to see how this marvelous facility operates to provide a “Mantle of Safety” to the people of the Outback as well as a visit to the School of the Air. After our tour, we transfer to the train station in time to board the world famous Ghan for our overnight journey through the remote outback region to Adelaide. This is one of the world’s great and legendary train journeys. This famous train was named after the Afghan Cameleers and their camel trains, the most efficient transport through the desert in the late 1800s, linking Central Australia and other parts of the continent. After settling into our first class berths, lunch will be served as the train pulls out of Alice Springs Station. Relax and enjoy the rhythm of the rails for the afternoon before our dinner sitting in the comfortable dining car. Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner included. Stay 2 nights Hilton Adelaide.
Day 12: Adelaide Sightseeing
Breakfast is at your leisure this morning. We then join our coach late morning and head to the train station to pick up our Ghan passengers. Once our group is back together, we head to the Adelaide Hills and the historic village of Hahndorf for wine tasting and a 2 course lunch at Maximilian’s, a superb restaurant where you will delight in the sweeping views over the lake and vineyard. We also visit the National Wine Centre in Adelaide, where it boasts Australia’s largest tasting room experience with visitors able to sample 120 different wines, thanks to the installation of state-of-the-art Enomatic wine preservation and dispensing machines. The remainder of the evening is at leisure.
GHAN OPTION (must be pre-booked):
Enjoy breakfast this morning on the train before arriving into Adelaide Station. After disembarking, we meet up with the rest of our group and head to the Adelaide Hills and the historic village of Hahndorf for wine tasting and a 2 course lunch at Maximilian’s, a superb restaurant where you will delight in the sweeping views over the lake and vineyard. We also visit the National Wine Centre in Adelaide, where it boasts Australia’s largest tasting room experience with visitors able to sample 120 different wines, thanks to the installation of state-of-the-art Enomatic wine preservation and dispensing machines. The remainder of the evening is at leisure. Stay: Hilton Adelaide, 1 Night. Breakfast & Lunch included.
Day 13: Fly Adelaide to Melbourne
This morning, we transfer to Adelaide airport for our flight to Melbourne. On arrival in Melbourne, we are transferred to our hotel for check-in and freshening up before starting our city tour. Melbourne is a magnet for people because its distinctive characteristics create memorable experiences and a vibrant lifestyle. Encircled by parkland, Melbourne is the cultural capital of Australia with everything from grand opera to sidewalk art. The city is rich in its multi-cultural identity, classic buildings, beautiful parks and gardens, sophisticated dining and enviable shopping. Later, we travel to Phillip Island to enjoy watching the little penguins return from their day at sea as dusk falls over Summerland Beach during what is known as the Penguin Parade. The sight of the little penguins waddling along the beach to their burrows is utterly priceless. We then enjoy a 3 course dinner at Harry’s on the Esplanade before returning to Melbourne.
Later, we travel to Phillip Island to enjoy watching the little penguins return from their day at sea as dusk falls over Summerland Beach during what is known as the Penguin Parade. The sight of the little penguins waddling along the beach to their burrows is utterly priceless. We then enjoy a 3 course dinner at Harry’s on the Esplanade before returning to Melbourne.
Breakfast and Dinner included. Accommodation: Crown Promenade Hotel, 2 nights.
Day 14: Melbourne Sightseeing
This morning, we discover the secrets and hidden treasures of Melbourne’s lanes and arcades on a walking tour. We will immerse ourselves in the heritage and culture of this cosmopolitan city, visit local artisans and up and coming fashion designers. Join the café society and soak up the atmosphere of old world charm as well as discover a little history, architecture, street art and more! There will be a tea/coffee stop in the middle in addition to bottled water and chocolate tasting.
Our afternoon is free to explore Melbourne on our own. Early evening, enjoy a dinner on board the converted air-conditioned 1927 tram that has become The Colonial Tramcar Restaurant. The atmosphere is cozy, the service friendly and the food a culinary delight. As you cruise the scenic streets of Melbourne, enjoy a 3 course dinner with wine and a trip into a little piece of history .Breakfast and Dinner included.
Day 15: Depart Melbourne
This morning, enjoy breakfast and your farewells to the group before you are transferred to Melbourne Airport for your onward flight home. Breakfast included.