Day #1 1 and
Day #2 Depart from Home - Today, begin the adventure of a lifetime when you board your transpacific Qantas flight. Crossing the International Dateline en route, you skip a day ahead.
Day #3 Sydney, Australia - Tour Begins - Your journey starts today in the cosmopolitan and stylish city of Sydney, the capital of the state of New South Wales. Sydney is one of the most beautiful cities in the world, situated along the shores of its beautiful, natural harbor. Tonight, meet your fellow travelers - or “mates” as they say in Australia - for a special welcome dinner.
Day #4 Sydney - Today, embark on a tour of Sydney highlighting the lively Kings Cross entertainment district, the graceful Harbour Bridge, Chinatown, the historic Rocks neighborhood, Circular Quay, the Botanic Gardens, and the hip and trendy suburb of Paddington. Discover one of the world’s most perfectly designed buildings during a guided tour of the Sydney Opera House, named a UNESCO World Heritage site as a “masterpiece of 20th century architecture.” Later, get a behind-the-scenes look at the world of opals – Australia’s national gemstone. From dark mine shafts to jewelry stores around the world, discover how raw opals are transformed to beautiful jewelry when you enjoy a fascinating presentation followed by a demonstration.
Day #5 Sydney - Today is yours to personally explore one of the world’s most magnificent cities! Sydney beckons you with its excellent shopping, famous beaches and an entire world of cuisines. This evening, enjoy a dinner cruise on Sydney Harbour with unforgettable views of the most spectacular hallmarks of Sydney – the Harbour Bridge and the Opera House. After the dinner cruise, return to the Opera House to enjoy an unforgettable performance and experience its acclaimed acoustics firsthand!
Day #6 Sydney - Hobart, Tasmania - Fly this morning to the state of Tasmania, an archipelago of 300 islands, set just off of Australia’s southern coast. Forty percent of rugged Tasmania is protected land. Arrive into Hobart, Tasmania’s beautiful capital. Centered around its historic harbor and framed by Mount Wellington, Hobart charms with colonial architecture. Explore Australia’s second oldest city and southernmost capital during your two night stay here.
Day #7 Hobart - Get a glimpse of Australia’s dramatic past with a guided tour of the Port Arthur Historic Site, the best-preserved British penal colony in Australia. Port Arthur - separated from the main island by the narrow isthmus, Eaglehawk Neck, and surrounded by allegedly shark-infested waters - was once considered inescapable. Dating back to 1833, Britain sent the most hardened criminals from England and Ireland to this hard-labor prison in the remotest reaches of the empire. Today, the site features many stabilized ruins, restored Georgian buildings and illustrates the moving stories of the men and boys who lived and died here. Visit the interpretive center and learn about life for the convicts. Later, see the spectacular coastal rock formations: Tasman Arch, Devil’s Kitchen and the Blow Hole. This afternoon, meet Tasmania’s most famous and vocal icon, the Tasmanian Devil! Found only in Tasmania, the devils play a critical role in the ecosystem as eaters of carrion. Learn about these remarkable creatures, recently named an endangered species, their plight for survival and the great efforts to save them from extinction.
Day #8 Hobart - Cradle Mountain - This morning begin your journey north to Cradle Mountain. While en route visit Ross, a well-preserved village on the Macquarie River, and the Heritage Highway, known for its elaborately and humorously carved sandstone bridge and long convict history. Later, take a walk through six generations of Tasmanian history when you visit the exquisite Woolmers Estate. First settled in 1817 and owned by the same family until 1994, this prestigious estate is an outstanding example of 19th century rural settlements in Australia and fine colonial architecture. It is also home to the National Rose Garden. Take a stroll through one of the finest collections of historic roses in the southern hemisphere. Next travel to Cradle Mountain, part of the Tasmanian Wilderness UNESCO World Heritage Area, in one of the world’s last expanses of temperate rainforest! Cradle Mountain’s jagged peaks rise above the icy waters of Dove Lake. Enjoy two nights in this beautiful region teeming with Tasmanian wildlife.
Day #9 Cradle Mountain - Travel to the small farming town of Sheffield, nestled in the foothills of Mount Roland, where sheep, cattle and emu farming are the main occupations. Less than one thousand people reside in this remote place where history and art fuse together to create a town vibrant with fascinating murals. A local will share with you the story behind the colorful murals and the artists who created them during a walking tour of the town. This afternoon, enjoy the remainder of your day at leisure in Cradle Mountain, home to the world’s largest carnivorous marsupials including the Tasmanian Devil. The platypus and echidna make their home in this wilderness, where wallaby sightings are also common.
Day #10 Cradle Mountain - Launceston - Adelaide - Barossa Valley - Today, take flight for Adelaide, the capital of South Australia. Travel to Barossa Valley, one of the best wine-producing regions in the world. In 1842 the Barossa Valley was established by immigrants from England, Germany and Poland. They laid the groundwork for what is now one of the richest and most prolific wine regions, specializing in Shiraz and Riesling production. Enjoy a lovely dinner at your hotel which overlooks the expansive vineyards of world-famous wineries like Jacob’s Creek. More than 60 wineries are nestled in the Barossa’s greenery, from small boutiques to huge international labels.
Day #11 Barossa Valley - The lush Barossa and Eden valleys, known collectively as the Barossa, are home to 500 families who cultivate Shiraz, Cabernet Sauvignon, Grenache, Riesling, Semillon and Chardonnay grapes, creating wines treasured the world over. Today, enjoy tours and tastings at two very different but equally fascinating wineries. Your first stop is Jacob’s Creek, named for the creek that runs through the Barossa, and the site of the very first vintage produced in the region in 1850 in a small ironstone cellar on the banks of the creek. Today, Jacob’s Creek is Australia’s largest wine brand which exports to over 60 countries, but that small cellar by the creek still stands as a testament to the region’s rich wine heritage. At the Jacob’s Creek visitors center you will sample from the wide range of wines that make this vineyard famous and learn more about the region and the winemaking process. Next, visit Kies Winery, a boutique vineyard in its fifth generation of family ownership, set in the utopian hamlet of Lyndoch. Stand at their cellar door, overlooking the landscape of the Barossa, and sample some of their award-winning wines, representing over 150 years of winemaking experience.
Day #12 Barossa Valley - Adelaide - Ayers Rock - Fly today into the heart of the Outback to Ayers Rock, a UNESCO World Heritage site, also known by its Aboriginal name, Uluru. This huge monolith is an icon of the Outback. It and the sandstone domes of the Olgas were created through a geologic process of upheaval and erosion. Explore the area and learn about the site’s spiritual and cultural significance to the Aboriginal people. Later, enjoy a champagne toast as you experience the magic of Ayers Rock at sunset, when its quietly gorgeous hues change before your eyes.
Day #13 Ayers Rock - Cairns - Today, discover postcard-perfect vistas when you journey to the incredible Northern Beaches of Queensland - the gateway to the Great Barrier Reef.
Day #14 Great Barrier Reef - Board a high speed catamaran and zip across the turquoise waters for a full day excursion to the Great Barrier Reef. From the incredible Outer Reef, enjoy many ways to explore this amazing ecosystem, a UNESCO World Heritage site so large, it is visible from space. Sail these famous waters in a glass bottom boat*, embark on a rainforest walking tour, relax upon the beaches, or just stroll the pier as fish and sea turtles swim past. For a more adventurous encounter with the reef, you may opt to partake in scuba diving, snorkeling and outer reef tours*.
Day #15 Cairns - Dunk Island - This morning you’ll travel to Mission Beach, an isolated town hidden by rainforest and perched on the sandy shore. Ferry across the warm waters to an island the first inhabitants called Coonanglebah – the Isle of Peace and Plenty. Now called Dunk Island, this rainforest-covered island resort and national park is your home for the next two nights. Dunk Island is a tropical oasis and offers endless activities from the tranquility of the palm fringed beaches, to the creativity of the artists’ colony, to relaxing and trying to spot one of the brilliant blue Ulysses butterflies alighting.
Day #16 Dunk Island - Enjoy a day at leisure to independently explore this idyllic island paradise. Walk along a path in the rainforest and cherish the spectacular views from Mt. Kootaloo. Snorkel at Muggy Muggy Beach. Indulge in your resort’s spa. Or perhaps take a cue from the island’s most famous resident, naturalist Edmund James Banfield, also known as “Beachcomber,” who lived on the island he loved from 1897 to 1923 and wrote about it in The Confessions of a Beachcomber, and simply do nothing at all.
Day #17 Dunk Island - Cairns - Today you travel back to Cairns. Enjoy time at leisure in this tropical seaside city before joining your fellow travel “mates” for a farewell dinner.
Day #18 Cairns - Tour Ends - Your tour ends today in Cairns. From the sophistication of Sydney to the wilds of Tasmania, you’ve visited five Australian states - taking home with you a true experience of the great land Down Under.