Day 1 ARRIVE IN MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA.
G’day—welcome to Melbourne, Australia’s second-largest city. Hotel rooms are available for immediate check-in. Please schedule flights to arrive by 3 pm in order to attend this evening’s welcome briefing and dinner at your hotel. (D)
Day 2 MELBOURNE.
Today’s sightseeing tour includes landmarks such as Parliament House and the Shrine of Remembrance, a tribute to Australia’s war heroes. Visit beautiful FITZROY GARDENS, then drive past the lush Royal Botanic Gardens. You’ll discover the city’s differing architectural influences as you see the Victorian Arts Centre and other buildings of significance. Then, a truly unique lunch experience on board the historic [LF] COLONIAL TRAMCAR RESTAURANT as it winds its way through the streets of Melbourne. Tonight’s optional excursion to see the world-famous Penguin Parade on Phillip Island is highly recommended. (B,L)
Day 3 MELBOURNE.
Enjoy a full day at leisure to explore this multicultural and cosmopolitan city. Dine at a local restaurant and immerse yourself in Melbourne’s passionate food and wine scene or walk along Chapel and Brunswick Streets, famous for great shopping. Take a trip out of town to sample award-winning wines in the Yarra Valley or drive along the spectacular Great Ocean Road to see the “Twelve Apostles.” (B)
Day 4 MELBOURNE–HOBART.
Fly to Hobart, Tasmania, home of the famed Tasmanian devil. Enjoy a guided [LF] WALKING TOUR of Hobart’s historic waterfront district followed by dinner at a local restaurant. (B,D)
Day 5 HOBART. EXCURSION TO PORT ARTHUR.
Tour the scenic Tasman Peninsula with its blowhole, Devil’s Kitchen, and Tasman Arch coastal formations. Visit PORT ARTHUR, which began housing convicts in the 1830s. On a guided tour of the penal settlement, see the ruins of the penitentiary and the model prison—grim reminders of Australia’s days as a penal colony. Stop at the TASMANIAN DEVIL CONSERVATION PARK to see the world’s largest carnivorous marsupial. (B,L)
Day 6 HOBART–ADELAIDE.
Today, fly via Melbourne to Adelaide. Upon arrival, take a brief orientation tour along the wide, tree-lined streets and well-manicured gardens. The remainder of the day is at your leisure. (B)
Day 7 ADELAIDE. EXCURSION TO KANGAROO ISLAND.
Early this morning, depart Adelaide and travel by motorcoach and ferry to [LF] KANGAROO ISLAND, one of the world’s last unspoiled habitats. Visit SEAL BAY with a national park ranger to see a colony of rare Australian sea lions. Explore FLINDERS CHASE NATIONAL PARK, a sanctuary for native Australian animals, including kangaroos, wallabies, and koalas. Stop here for a walk on REMARKABLE ROCKS, with stunning views of the sea. You will also take a boardwalk down a rugged cliff face to ADMIRALS ARCH, a unique rock formation and home to a colony of New Zealand fur seals, which can be seen resting on the rocks and playing in the waves. Return to Adelaide late this evening. (B,L)
Day 8 ADELAIDE–ULURU (AYERS ROCK).
Fly this morning from Adelaide to the “Center of Australia.” This evening, visit Ayers Rock, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, known also by its Aboriginal name: Uluru. This massive sandstone monolith is one of the world’s most mysterious and religious sites. Enjoy a DRINK as you watch the sunset and the changing colors as they fall across the landscape. Later, enjoy a truly unique Aussie experience: an [LF] OUTBACK BARBECUE featuring a meal of typical campfire fare and awe-inspiring Outback ambiance. (B,D)
Day 9 ULURU (AYERS ROCK).
For an unforgettable experience, you may choose to rise early for an optional camel ride to watch the sunrise at Uluru. Today, enjoy a TOUR around the base of the rock, learning of its significance to the Anangu Aboriginal people. Time to relax at your resort before the afternoon takes us to a popular lookout to enjoy views of the magnificent KATA TJUTA (the Olgas), a geological splendor of views of some 36 brilliant domes. This evening is at leisure.
Day 10 ULURU (AYERS ROCK)–ALICE SPRINGS–GHAN TRAIN.
Today, travel through the heart of the Outback, keeping a lookout for red kangaroos, dingoes, camels, and feral horses, known as “brumbies.” Arrive in Alice Springs and board the historic GHAN TRAIN, a highlight of your vacation. Taking its name from the intrepid Afghan cameleers, the Ghan has become a symbol of nationhood and pioneering spirit. (B,D)
Plan to pack an overnight bag with necessities for the train portion of this tour, including medications, eyeglasses, and other important items. Your other baggage will be checked and you will not be able to access it until arrival in Darwin.
Day 11 GHAN TRAIN–KATHERINE–DARWIN.
This morning, the train stops at Katherine with a visit to nearby [LF] KATHERINE GORGE. Located in Nitmiluk National Park, Katherine Gorge is home to incredible scenery, Aboriginal history, and unique birds and animals. There will be several included activities to choose between, including an included scenic CRUISE in the gorge. Arrive this evening in Darwin, capital of the Northern Territory. (B,L)
_Off-train experiences are subject to change and will be advised by your Tour Director while on tour._
Day 12 DARWIN–KAKADU NATIONAL PARK.
After time at leisure this morning, depart your hotel for KAKADU NATIONAL PARK. Stop at WINDOW ON THE WETLANDS VISITOR CENTRE & BOWALI VISITOR CENTRE to see interactive displays on Kakadu habitats and fauna. Dinner tonight is at your hotel. (B,D)
Day 13 KAKADU NATIONAL PARK.
Explore parts of nearly 7,300 square miles of unspoiled waterways with a rich heritage of Aboriginal culture. [LF] CRUISE the wetlands, where you may see crocodiles, and walk ancient trails to see Aboriginal rock petroglyphs at NOURLANGIE ROCK. An optional light-aircraft flight over the park should not be missed. (B,L)
During the wet season (December through April), it can be difficult to see crocodiles in the wild.
Day 14 KAKADU NATIONAL PARK–DARWIN–CAIRNS.
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. This evening, fly to Cairns, “Gateway to the Great Barrier Reef,” one of the Seven Natural Wonders of the World. (B)
Day 15 CAIRNS. EXCURSION TO THE OUTER GREAT BARRIER REEF.
Today, prepare for the experience of a lifetime when you board a catamaran and CRUISE to the Great Barrier Reef. Explore this underwater world that is a dazzling kaleidoscope of color and brilliance. Choose to SNORKEL, take a semi-submersible WATERCRAFT TOUR, or attend a presentation by a marine biologist. (B,L,D)
Day 16 CAIRNS.
A full day at leisure in this tropical paradise. For a truly amazing experience, consider our optional trip to Kuranda via the old scenic rail route. See magnificent scenery from the comfort of a restored, historic mountain train. For the return journey, you may choose to take the Skyrail Rainforest Cableway—or maybe spend the day in the magical Daintree Rainforest, thought to be the planet’s oldest surviving tropical rainforest. (B)
Day 17 CAIRNS–SYDNEY.
This morning, enjoy a special visit to HARTLEY’S CROCODILE ADVENTURES for your chance to meet Australia’s native animals. You’ll also enjoy a talk by a wildlife keeper, and the opportunity to have your picture taken with a koala! Afterward, fly to Sydney, the largest city in Australia. (B)
Day 18 SYDNEY.
Explore one of the world’s most beautiful cities. Visit the SYDNEY OPERA HOUSE, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, for a guided tour of its interior and theaters. Travel to Mrs. Macquarie’s Chair in the city’s BOTANIC GARDENS for a great photo opportunity and sweeping views of the harbor, Opera House, and Harbour Bridge. Visit world-famous BONDI BEACH with time to explore on your own. Afterward, a CRUISE on Sydney Harbour highlights some of the city’s best views. (B)
Day 19 SYDNEY.
Enjoy a full day at leisure. Perhaps join our optional excursions to the Blue Mountains or to the 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 dinner at a WATERFRONT RESTAURANT
overlooking Sydney Harbour.
Day 20 SYDNEY.
Your tour ends with breakfast this morning. (B)