Arrive Melbourne, Australia
Upon arrival into Melbourne, you are met by an A&K representative and transferred to your accommodations for a morning at leisure. Later, embark on a private walking tour of the city. Continue on via tram, exploring Melbourne’s labyrinth of arcades and alleyways lined with edgy art galleries, trendy cafés and funky boutiques, pausing to tour the iconic Gothic Bank and Block Arcade. After your city tour, enjoy the rest of the evening at your leisure.
Travel southwest from Melbourne to experience one of the world’s most beautiful coastal drives. The Great Ocean Road stretches along the southern coast of Victoria, spanning charming towns, huge cliffs, roaring seas, tranquil coves, magnificent waterfalls and secluded beaches. Next, head inland through towering forests toward Port Campbell National Park, pausing to take in the awe-inspiring Twelve Apostles, a formation of giant limestone columns towering dramatically from the sea. Return to Melbourne and spend the evening at leisure.
Fly to Uluru (Ayers Rock) and transfer to your hotel for two nights in the heart of the Outback. Set out on a privately guided tour to marvel as the sun sets against the backdrop of Kata Tjuta's domes. Delve into the geology of this diverse environment as you walk along the mighty rock walls with your guide. Finally, enter Walpa Gorge to learn how the 36 domes that make up Kata Tjuta have evolved over millions of years. Return to your hotel where the evening and dinner is at your leisure.
Rise before the dawn to experience Uluru at its most compelling with a privately guided sunrise tour of Australia's iconic monolith. Marvel as Uluru’s silhouette meets the dawn, strikingly framed against the blazing horizon. Next, explore the waterholes and rock paintings where the local indigenous people have shared their tradition of dreaming stories for thousands of years. Return to your hotel for an afternoon at your leisure. This evening, experience the Field of Light, a unique art installation that harnesses the beauty of an Uluru sunset. Marvel as the installation’s 50,000 frosted-glass spheres bloom in the ebbing twilight, mirroring the brilliant starlit sky as darkness falls over Australia’s spiritual heartland. Enjoy a special dinner under the night sky before returning to your accommodations.
After a morning at leisure, transfer to the airport for your flight to Cairns. Upon arrival, enjoy a scenic drive along the coast en route to your resort in Port Douglas.
Great Barrier Reef
Embark aboard a beautiful vessel for a full-day exploration of the Great Barrier Reef, a UNESCO World Heritage Site rivaling any marine landscape imaginable. Spanning more than 1,000 miles of Queensland’s seaboard, this massive coral treasure is the largest living thing on earth — so big in fact, it’s visible from outer space. If you wish, dive in and snorkel with the colorful schools of fish that swirl among this dazzling wonder of the natural world. Enjoy lunch on the reef before making your way back to port.
Travel north toward the Daintree Rainforest, a UNESCO World Heritage Site bursting with a stunning diversity of ecosystems. Begin at Mossman Gorge, a rugged valley carved by a meandering river. Learn about the traditions of the local indigenous people as you trace the twisting riverside trail. Next, encounter a staggering array of rare tropical plants at the Botanical Ark, a private ethno-botanical garden in the heart of the rainforest. Relax over lunch, conversation and a very exotic fruit tasting with the garden’s founders. Rejoin your vehicle to cross the Daintree River by ferry, continuing on to stroll the rainforest beneath a towering canopy of palms and ferns on the Jindalba Boardwalk. Follow along as your guide explains the intricate workings of this unique tropical ecosystem. Cap your excursion off with a stop at the Daintree Ice Cream Factory before returning to your hotel for an evening at leisure.
Transfer to Cairns and connect with your flight to Sydney. Check in to your luxurious hotel near picturesque Sydney Harbour and the city’s historic Rocks area to enjoy the remainder of the day at your leisure.
This morning, tour the star of every Sydney postcard, the world-renowned Opera House. More than just a pretty picture, the Opera House is a true masterpiece of late modern architecture. Feel the grandeur of its soaring “sails,” taking in the groups of locals that congregate to relax on the welcoming steps of the quayside. Next, embark on a shared-basis lunch cruise of Sydney Harbour. Your captain and host guides the way as you take in the Sydney Harbour Bridge, Opera House and other sights nestled among the harbor’s myriad of coves and bays. Enjoy a three-course barbecue lunch complete with regional wines, local beers and five-star service. After lunch, feel free to fish, kayak, swim, or simply sit back and relax in one of the boat’s inviting sunbeds.
Venture northward to the Blue Mountains National Park, a vast UNESCO World Heritage Site of rugged peaks and cavernous valleys bathed in a slate-colored haze. Pause for morning tea in a peaceful clearing among wild kangaroos and birdlife. Continue on to Wentworth Falls, strolling down a misty path flanked by flora and fauna. After lunch at a local restaurant, continue your cliff-hugging drive toward Katoomba, pausing to take in a scenic overlook of the iconic Three Sisters rock formation and the Jamieson Valley beyond. Next, pass farm markets and orchards en route to Mount Tomah botanical garden. Finally, raise a toast with Champagne and cheese before driving back to Sydney, passing through the historical towns of Windsor and Richmond along the way.
This morning after breakfast, you are transferred to the airport for your international departure.