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Highlights of Australia
Melbourne ... Alice Springs ... Uluru ... Queensland ... Cairns ...
Great Barrier Reef ... Sydney
Day One - Welcome to Melbourne - Welcome to stylish and elegant Melbourne! You'll be transferred to your hotel before starting your travels on a high note. Welcome to your highlights of Australia tour.
Day Two - Discover Melbourne's Sights - Start your first full day seeing the best of Melbourne on a private walking tour with your Tour Manager sharing their in-depth knowledge of the city. You’ll stroll past postcard-worthy Victorian architecture, arcades, and eclectic little laneways filled with colorful street art. As Melbourne’s signature coffee aroma wafts through the air, head to grand Federation Square, filled with shops, galleries, and exhibits and home to many cultural events. Have a look at the nearby neighboring 19-century neo-gothic cathedral, St Pauls and see the famous Hosier Lane full of more unique street art. After a big morning getting acquainted with the city, you have the rest of the day free to explore more tempting haunts and eateries or join an Optional Experience such as a trip to Phillip Island to see the famous penguin parade. Here you’ll watch the Little Penguins make their daily trip from the sea to their onshore burrows. It’s a once in a lifetime wildlife viewing experience. Don’t miss it!
Day Three - Melbourne, there's More to It! - You have a free day in Melbourne to explore as you like. Stroll this stylish city browsing antique shops, checking out Brunswick Street’s quirky boutiques, and taking in the town at one of the many cafes or world class eateries. Foodies will want to be sure to visit the historic Queen Victoria Market stopping for nibbles at one of the many stalls. If you’d rather venture outside of the city, join an Optional Experience taking the ultimate road trip on the Great Ocean Road. Driving along this stunning coastline, you’ll be in awe of breathtaking scenery from one moment to the next. Admire the famous Twelve Apostles towering limestone formations jutting out of the sea against jagged cliffs. From sea-hugging structures to seaside towns, you’ll also stop in the quaint towns of Lorne and Apollo Bay. Whether you adventure in the city or along the sea, there’s so much to experience in Melbourne and its surroundings.
Day Four - Alice Springs in the Red Centre - Go from city to desert today as you fly into the heart of the continent to Alice Springs. Here in the red desert against the distant McDonnell Ranges, you’ll visit the School of the Air with a Local Specialist. Learn how this remote school provides educational support to children in the surrounding communities as you tour the school and see teachers in action. Then enjoy a history lesson at the birthplace of the Alice Springs township, the historic Telegraph Station. Travel in time to its beginnings in 1871 relaying messages between Darwin and Adelaide with a single wire - a monumental step in connecting Australia's north and south. After learning so much about the area, soak in the natural surroundings and Connect with Locals on an immersive Outback experience.
Day Five - To Magnificent Uluru - Get excited for a bucket list experience today as you depart Alice Springs to the sacred, ancient site of Uluru. Journey past dry salt lakes and Outback Roadhouses through red desert, on your first of many visits to Uluru Kata Tjuta National Park over the next two days. In Aussie’s cultural heartland amidst the rusty red landscape, you’re treated to a classic Uluru sundowner of nibbles and sparkling wine. Sit back and watch the sky ignite in red, yellow, and purple gazing at massive and powerful Uluru. At 348 meters high, ‘The Rock’ is taller than the Eiffel Tower and a magnificent site to behold. Take it in and connect to the land as the sun sets and the spinifex grasses blow in the red dirt. You’ll conclude your epic day watching the changing desert colors and enjoying an informative star talk of the southern night sky.
Day Six - Behold Uluru and Kata Tjuta - Experience Uluru in a different light with magical sunrise. Savor every second as, hot cocoa in hand, the dawn makes its way across the desert and illuminates Uluru. After a grand start to the day, tour the base of Uluru with your Tour Manager to learn about its ancient rock and art hear stories of the Anangu people, caretakers of this remote arid landscape. After history and natural beauty are interwoven in this memorable morning, you’ll then have a bit of free time to go for a dip in the pool or browse the shops and galleries of Town Square shopping village before continuing your journey through the desert plains to Kata Tjuta. Explore on a walk amidst its towering, mindboggling domes through Walpa (“wind”) Gorge to a lookout. You're then treated to another stellar sunset from a different vantage point at Kata Tjuta. Without the crowds at Uluru, you may have the beauty of this Hidden Gem to yourself. A glass of sparkling wine with new travel mates in a beautiful setting is the perfect way to end your day.
Day Seven - Cairns in Far North Queensland - Your last day at Uluru is off to another gorgeous start with an exclusive, private visit to the kaleidoscopic Field of Light art installation of artist Bruce Munro. Experience the darkness of night change to a rainbow-colored dawn lit up from a field of changing colors with Uluru in the distance. You’ll feel like you're walking through flowers in this totally unique Uluru sunrise experience, then as dawn continues to creep across the land, you’ll end the experience watching the desert awaken over Uluru from the top of a sand dune, coffee or tea in hand You’ve already seen so much beauty this morning and now it’s time to make some of your own as you Dive Into Culture with a Local Specialist Aboriginal artist at Maruku Arts Dot Art Experience. You’ll learn about Western Desert Art from Indigenous artists before painting your own piece of Australian aboriginal art as a memento. End your day heading to Cairns for a change of scenery and more beautiful sites.
Day Eight - It's Your Turn to Explore Cairns - Today you get to experience Cairns your way with a full day to explore this tropical city or head out on an Optional Experience. Why not take in the view with a balloon flight over the Atherton Tablelands, the hot air ballooning capital of the southern hemisphere? Or, explore the Daintree Rainforest diving into nature on a guided, interpretive walk learning traditional hunting and gathering skills as you search for bush tucker of mud crabs, fish, and mussels and feast on your catch. You could also see the rainforest on a historic rail journey winding across bridges and through tunnels to Kuranda village where you’ll explore its colorful and interesting arts and crafts. Enjoy a different view soaring through the trees on your return trip on the Skyrail Rainforest Cableway. Looking for a bit of wildlife on your adventure? Pair your trip to Kuranda with a visit to Hartley’s Crocodile for a wetlands cruise through the ecologically significant Melaleuca wetlands, the home of the saltwater crocodile.
Day Nine - Cruise to the Great Barrier Reef - Experience the beauty of the UNESCO World Heritage Site Great Barrier Reef over a day of play on the water. The day begins as you board a high-speed catamaran and then it’s up to you how you’d like to explore this underwater wonderland: Don your mask and fins (equipment provided) for an immersive look at this kaleidoscope of fishes and reef. Or, stay dry and explore the world’s largest living reef system from the comfort of a semi-submersible craft. However, you adventure, the whole way you’re surrounded by beauty and insights on the local ecology and environment from your local guide. Be sure to just kick back, too. Your cruise includes an onboard tropical lunch and plenty of time to soak up the glorious Aussie sunshine. Sure to be a bucket list day, relive the highlights with your travel mates over dinner on the Cairns’ waterfront at Salt House.
Day Ten - Sydney, the Harbour City - It’s ‘farewell, Cairns’ and ‘hello, Sydney!’ on the last leg of your Australia highlights tour. Check into your centrally located hotel in Darling Harbour and the rest of the day is yours to explore this walkable harbor city. Why not begin in the famous Rocks District dating back to before the arrival of British settlers in the late 1700s for a look at the historic buildings and pubs? Or, take in culture viewing aboriginal artefacts at of one of the city’s many museums. For a peaceful break among the flowers, check out the tucked away Royal Botanic Gardens. And if you’re looking for more of a local scene lined with boutiques and cafes, the hot spot neighborhoods of Paddington and Surry Hills call. Wherever you venture, there’s dining options aplenty from the waterfront Circular Quay to Chinatown’s famous yum cha to a rooftop bar for dazzling views of the harbor.
Day Eleven - Sydney Through Your Eyes - Enjoy a full free day to explore Sydney or consider joining an Optional Experience to discover even more further afield. Take a day trip to the spectacular Blue Mountains, whose eucalypt haze you’ll see looming in the distance, for fresh mountain air and stunning natural scenery. You’ll see the famous Three Sisters rock formation - each of which stands over 900 meters high - and hear the Aboriginal legend behind these massive structures. Animal lovers will not want to miss a visit to the Sydney Zoo to see some of Australia’s unique native animals including the wombat, Tasmanian devil, and yes, the koala. You can even sign up for a special encounter to get up close to visit with some of the animals. This evening, spend some time getting to know this spectacular city. Love a good view? Head to SkyFeast at Sydney Tower. On this sky-high dining experience, you’ll indulge in international cuisine while seeing the city from 82-floors up with rotating, 360- degree views.
Day Twelve - Sights of Spectacular Sydney - There's plenty to discover in Sydney today and you’ll kick it off on a behind-the- scenes guided tour of the iconic Sydney Opera House. Entering through the stage door, you’ll hear the story of a building 'that changed the image of an entire country' as you learn the history of this iconic structure and appreciate its beauty from another perspective. Then see the city from the water on a Sydney Harbour Lunch Cruise enjoying a menu focusing on local food and wine as you’re rewarded with stellar views around the harbor. Next up is another iconic Sydney site: Bondi Beach to see the Bondi Icebergs ocean pools and, toes in the sand, soak up the surfer life. The afternoon is yours to see the sights or take an Optional Experience climbing the iconic Sydney Harbour Bridge. If you love adventure and views, this climb up 134 meters above Sydney Harbour is a great way to spend the afternoon. This evening, gather with your Travel Director for a celebratory Farewell Dinner at Portside Restaurant at the Sydney Opera House.
Day Fourteen - Farewell Sydney - It’s been an incredible trip of wildlife, wild places, and stellar city sites but sadly your journey comes to a close today. Enjoy one last breakfast before saying goodbye before your transfer to the Sydney airport.