AROUND AUSTRALIA TOUR ITINERARY
March 10 – April 02, 2020
24 days in Australia
Day 01 Tue – MELBOURNE
Arrive in Melbourne, Australia on your own international air arrangements. Transfer to the city and check in to your centrally located apartment hotel. Late afternoon there will be a group orientation followed by a tour welcome dinner.
(D) Mantra on Russell or similar (two nights)
Day 02 Wed – MELBOURNE
A sightseeing tour of exciting, cosmopolitan Melbourne beckons this morning. Your touring of Australia’s most sophisticated city will include, Southbank, Parliament House, Princess Theater, Lygon Street (Little Italy), bustling Chinatown, fashionable Collins Street, St. Patrick’s Cathedral, Fitzroy Garden, Federation Square and the renown Victoria Market where you will have the chance to shop at Australia’s most famous market venue. Your afternoon and evening are free to continue exploring this city of arcades and laneway culture on your own. Take a ride on one of the Melbourne’s unique trams and perhaps visit one or two of the city’s fine museums.
(B) Mantra on Russell or similar
Daily Activity: Short walks during city tour and Victoria Market. Afternoon free time walking options.
Day 03 Thu – MELBOURNE/HOBART/BICHENO
This morning transfer to the airport for your flight south to Hobart and the island state of Tasmania. On arrival you will travel north through blissful pastoral Tasmania to visit the historic colonial towns of Ross and Campbell Town. In early afternoon travel to the pristine east coast to visit scenic Freycinet Peninsula National Park. Short hikes to lookouts will reward with sweeping vistas of the pounding sea far below. In late afternoon check in to your sea view accommodation in the charming coastal village of Bicheno. After an early dinner you will partake of a heartwarming evening Penguins walking tour at a nearby seafront sanctuary.
(D) Bicheno Beachfront (one night)
Daily Activity: Short walks at town tour stops. Walk of .5 miles plus at Freycinet NP. Short leisurely walk at evening Penguin Tour.
Day 04 Fri – BICHENO/PORT ARTHUR/HOBART
This morning you travel south along the pristine east coast to historic Pt. Arthur, the site of Australia’s most famous and rugged convict settlement. A guided tour of the site including a harbor cruise will provide great insight into early Australian and Tasmanian history. Visit Tasman Arch before continuing on for a brief but inspiring visit with the owners of a family goat, cattle and cheese making farm to learn about their innovative farming practices and unique lifestyle. We then continue the scenic drive to Tasmania’s beautiful, hilly capital city, Hobart to check in to our hotel.
(B) Old Woolstore or similar (three nights)
Daily Activity: Apx .5 mile guided walking tour at Pt. Arthur NP followed by optional free time walking up to 2 miles.
Day 05 Sat – HOBART
Your morning is free to enjoy the charms of Hobart. Highly recommended is visiting the renown, colorful Saturday morning Salamanca Market at your own pace. All things Tasmanian will be on display in a unique harbor side setting. In early afternoon you begin a sightseeing tour of the main features of the beautiful port city including the city center, harbor front, Salamanca Place, the wharf, colonial history laden Battery Point, Mt. Nelson lookout and the Royal Botanical Gardens. This evening you will be hosted for dinner by a local service organization.
(B,D) Old Woolstore or similar
Daily Activity: Short walk from hotel to and at Salamanca Market. Leisurely walk of .5 to .75 miles at Botanical Gardens.
Day 06 Sun – HOBART
This morning you travel out the Derwent River Valley to visit the impressive Salmon Farms Heritage Hatchery and Gardens west of New Norfolk where you will learn about the fascinating history of trout and salmon fishing in Tasmania and Australia. You then continue on to Bonorong Wildlife Park for a guided up-close and personal encounter with a wide array of Australian native wildlife. Later you will explore historic Richmond and perhaps have a brief visit to a local winery before returning to Hobart.
(B) Old Woolstore or similar
Daily Activity: Short walks at Salmon Farm, Bonorong Wildlife Park and Richmond.
Day 07 Mon – HOBART/PERTH
This morning you transfer to the airport for your flight to Melbourne connecting with your onward flight westward to Perth, Western Australia. Upon your afternoon arrival you will check-in to your centrally located apartment hotel. Lunch is in-flight today.
(B,L) Mantra on Murray or similar ( four nights)
Day 08 Tue – PERTH
This morning commence a sightseeing tour of alluring Perth St. Georges Terrace, Perth’s main street, Barrack Street Jetty, the Swan Bell Tower, the Perth Mint and amazing Kings Park, the largest city park in the southern Hemisphere. At Kings Park you will enjoy the sweeping views over the city and Swan River and have time to explore Perth’s famed Botanical Gardens on your own. August through early October the gardens are ablaze with the exotic, colorful wildflowers of Western Australia. Continue with sightseeing enroute to the historic port of Fremantle for more touring then free time for visiting the museums and other attractions on your own. In mid afternoon enjoy a scenic cruise on the Swan River back up river to Perth city. The cruise will include a selection of Western Australia wines for tasting. Upon disembarking the cruise walk to your hotel.
(B,D) Mantra on Murray or similar
Daily Activity: Walk of .5 to 1.5 miles at Kings Park and Botanical Gardens. Self guided walking in Fremantle 1 to 2 miles. After cruise walk .5 miles from Perth Jetty to hotel with some ascending incline.
Day 09 Wed – PERTH
Today travel south to Margaret River, a bustling market town and popular wine growing region located south west of Perth. The Margaret River district is also famous for its gorgeous coast line and beaches, caves and nearby giant Karri forests. Enjoy a visit to the famous Busselton Jetty, the longest in the Southern hemisphere. Next is Yallingup, nestled on a ridge with spectacular views over Yallingup Beach out to the Indian Ocean. After a stops at a unique fruit farm and winery visit the town of Margaret River with free time for exploring. You also visit Yahava Koffee Works before returning to Perth where you will arrive in the evening.
(B) Mantra on Murray or similar
Daily Activity: Several short walks during day tour
Day 10 Thu – PERTH
A glorious day at leisure beckons to sample the treasures of Perth and surrounds at your own pace. In the city you can use the visitor friendly free bus system to travel wherever you wish. Perth touts several fine museums including the highly recommended guided tour of the Perth Mint. Perth is known for its relaxed, alfresco way of life. Those wishing to explore outside of the city can choose from a large array of experiences including Swan River winery cruises, cruises to offshore Rottnest Island and several longer full day land tours to exotic destinations such as Wave Rock.
(B) Mantra on Murray or similar
Daily Activity: Free day self guided walking options.
Day 11 Fri – PERTH /ALICE SPRINGS
Early transfer to Perth Airport for our flight eastward to Australia’s isolated desert gateway to the Red Center, Alice Springs. Alice is a most unique town; a true mixing of colonial heritage, and fascinating aboriginal cultures with the many challenges of remote outback living. On arrival, commence a sightseeing tour with an overview of Alice Springs from Anzac Hill. Continue on to visit three important Northern Territory landmarks including the historic Overland Telegraph Station; an outpost which served as the vital link in connecting frontier settlements across Australia. Enjoy a tour of the Royal Flying Doctor Service with its impressive history of providing medical services throughout remote Central Australia, and tour the famed School of the Air that has been delivering air schooling to children on remote outback stations for decades. After checking into our centrally located hotel the evening is free to begin exploring outback Alice on your own including observing the desert locals at work and play. Breakfast in-flight.
(B) Mercure Alice Springs Resort ( two nights)
Daily Activity: Short walks during city tour, .5 mile walk at telegraph station. Evening free time walking opportunities. Hotel is .5 mile from town center pedestrian mall.
Day 12 Sat – ALICE SPRINGS/AYERS ROCK/ALICE SPRINGS
Depart for awe inspiring Uluru (Ayers Rock) at sunrise on a true outback adventure with a breakfast stop en-route. On arrival our first stop is Kata Juta and a walk in the spirited Walpa Gorge. We next visit the educational Uluru 7/12 Visitors Center to learn about the fascinating history of the local Aboriginal groups. In the afternoon enjoy two guided walking tours including an exploration of the base of the giant monolith where you learn more of the history and lore of the local Aboriginal inhabitants. Later, enjoy the enthralling Ayers Rock sunset at Sunset Point where we toast the setting sun before enjoying a delicious BBQ dinner. Return to Alice Springs across the Outback guided by the stars arriving late evening.
(B,L,D) Mercure Alice Springs Resort
Daily Activity: Three guided walks at Ayers Rock, 2 miles on flat surfaces.
Day 13 Sun – ALICE SPRINGS/DARWIN
The morning and early afternoon are free to relax and explore some of Alice’s attractions on your own. Among your many choices are the Alice Springs Desert Park, Kangaroo Sanctuary, Road Transport Hall of Fame, Women’s Pioneer Museum, the Araluen Arts Centre and Yubu Napa Art Gallery, featuring Aboriginal arts and culture. In late afternoon we transfer to the airport for our flight north to the tropical top end of the Northern Territory and its colorful multi-cultural capital, Darwin. On arrival transfer to your apartment style hotel on the Esplanade overlooking the Arafura Sea.
(B) Mantra on Esplanade ( two nights)
Daily Activity: Morning free time walking options. Morning tour options. Optional evening walking options.
Day 14 Mon – DARWIN
On tap this morning is an exploration of tropical Darwin, a true racial and cultural amalgam. You will experience some of most important landmarks and learn about Darwin’s fascinating history and diverse culture as you tour the city’s distinct precincts. We visit the highly regarded Defense of Darwin Exhibition which chronicles the Japanese bombing raids of the city in early WWII and Australia’s overall important military history. Continue on to the famed Museum and Art Gallery of the Northern Territory which is home to the largest permanent display of Aboriginal Art and artifacts in Australia as well as other important collections and visiting exhibitions. In the afternoon there will be free time for investigating fascinating Darwin on your own including the expansive and diverse George Brown Botanic Gardens.
(B) Mantra on Esplanade
Daily Activity: Short walks at tour stops. Botanical Gardens optional walks .5 to 1.5 miles.
Day 15 Tue – DARWIN/KATHERINE
This morning drive south to Katherine and the famed Kakadu Gorge. On arrival enjoy a two hour dreamtime Aboriginal heritage discovery cruise which will include two scenic gorges and a guided walk. You will learn from our indigenous guides about the cultural significance of the gorge as well as the history and life of the traditional owners, the Jawoyn Aboriginal people that have occupied the region for centuries. In late afternoon check into your hotel.
(B,D) Ibis Styles
Daily Activity: 400 meter walk on rocky paths between the two gorges during afternoon cruise.
Day 16 Wed – KATHERINE/KAKADU/MARY RIVER WILDERNESS RETREAT
This morning travel the back road into the famed World Heritage Area of Kakadu National Park. In Kakadu you visit the Warradjan Aboriginal Cultural Center where you will gain insight into the history of the primary traditional owners of the park, the Bininj People. Later enjoy a guided walk at the Nourlangie Rock art site and a brief stop at the Kakadu National Park Bowali Visitor Center. Then continue on to Mary River and your nature retreat home for the next two nights.
(B,D) Mary River Wilderness Retreat Hotel ( two nights)
Daily Activity: Guided walk of 1 mile at Nourlangie Rock artsite. Optional nature trail walks of varying lengths at Mary River wilderness retreat.
Day 17 Thu – MARY RIVER WILDERNESS RETREAT
After breakfast we enjoy an exhilarating cruise on the Corroboree Billabong which literally teams with wildlife including an amazing array of bird life, the treacherous Australian Crocodile and the large tasty Barramundi which are so prized by NT fishermen. Later back in camp you are free to traverse several nature trails of differing lengths and enjoy the pool and other facilities of your nature retreat.
(B,D) Mary River Wilderness Retreat Hotel
Daily Activity: Optional nature trail walks of varying lengths at wilderness retreat.
Day 18 Fri – WILDMAN RIVER/DARWIN/CAIRNS
This morning we travel back to civilization and the Darwin Airport for our mid day flight to vibrant tropical Cairns on the coast of North Queensland. On our arrival we have brief sightseeing of the city before checking in to our resort hotel situated in a relaxed tropical setting on the foreshore of the Bay. Your private balcony rewards with entrancing sea views over Cairns Harbor. Our hotel operates an hourly shuttle to Cairns city center. Dinner tonight is hosted by a local Cairns service organization.
(B,D) Holiday Inn Harborside ( four nights)
Daily Activity: Optional evening walking on Cairns Esplanade.
Day 19 Sat – CAIRNS/GREAT BARRIER REEF
Today features an exciting visit to one of the planet’s great wonders, the Great Barrier Reef. Your journey includes a visit to Fitzroy Island then four glorious hours at the reef. Once moored at the reef pontoon you can choose from many activities. Those preferring not to snorkel can experience the magic of the colorful reef corals and abundant sea life from an underwater observatory, glass bottom boat rides and submersible craft. Any tour member who prefers not to travel to the reef today can receive a cruise credit if the notification is made prior to departure from the USA. Those not traveling to the reef have a day at leisure and may arrange alternative activities. Your tour director can assist with advisory.
(B,L) Holiday Inn Harborside
Daily Activity:Optional short walks on /Fitzroy Island. Optional evening walks on Cairns Esplanade.
Day 20 Sun – CAIRNS/DAINTREE/CAPE TRIBULATION/CAIRNS
The far north Queensland rainforest and natural world take center stage today as we depart early traveling north to the Daintree River, Cape Tribulation and the Bloomfield Track in a purpose built 4wd safari vehicle. With our expert guide, see crocodiles and tropical birdlife on a Daintree River nature cruise and learn about local Aboriginal culture and rare flora and fauna on nature walks in the pristine rainforest. Later marvel at up-close encounters at an animal refuge center where you will also have a BBQ lunch. Then travel off the grid on the 4wd Bloomfield track to a magical forest setting to explore the natural wonders of Emmagen Creek. In the afternoon walk on the sands at famed Cape Tribulation as UNESCO World Heritage areas merge where the rainforest meets the sea. Today will combine the best of the North Queensland rainforest natural world with many surprises including impressive tropical taste sensations. Return to Cairns arriving early evening.
(B,L) Holiday Inn Harborside
Daily Activity: Several short walks during long day tour.
Day 21 Mon – CAIRNS
Free day in Cairns to choose from a large variety of optional half and full day tours and cruises or enjoy a day of leisure in Cairns at your resort hotel. Your tour director will advise in advance regarding your many options.
(B) Holiday Inn Harborside
Daily Activity: Optional walks in Cairns. The city center is 1 mile from the hotel.
Day 22 Tue – CAIRNS/SYDNEY
This morning fly south to enthralling Sydney. Upon your early afternoon arrival commence a tour of the magnificent harbor city. Tour features will include Circular Quay, the historic harbor front Rocks area, Mrs. Macquarie’s Point featuring fabulous views of the Sydney Opera House and Darling Harbor. The tour continues with fashionable Rose Bay, Watson’s Bay, the narrow cliff face Gap entrance to Sydney Harbor and strolling the sands of the famed surfing mecca, Bondi Beach. You will quickly discover why Sydney is rated as one of the world’s most exciting cities. Your evening is free to continue exploring amazing Sydney on your own.
(B) Holiday Inn Old Sydney or similar (two nights)
Daily Activity: Several short walks during Sydney city tour.
Day 23 Wed – SYDNEY
This morning you will experience entrancing Sydney Harbor on a cruise which will reveal the true beauty of this unparalleled scenic waterway. Cruising among a plethora of ferries, sailboats and commercial vessels you view the many attractions of perhaps the most beautiful natural harbor on the planet. Your experience will include the attractive harbor side residential communities that line Middle Harbor. Your afternoon is free to explore the limitless attractions of the harbor city on your own. Tonight enjoy a tour farewell dinner celebrating your In-depth exploration of the magnificent island continent of Australia.
(B,D) Holiday Inn Old Sydney
Daily Activity: Walk as a group to Circular Quay ferry apx. .5 miles. Afternoon free time exploring in Sydney.
Day 24 Thu – SYDNEY – USA OR EXTENSION ARRANGEMENTS
Today transfer to the airport for your flight homeward or begin an extension on your own arrangements in Sydney or another destination. If you are returning to the USA today you will cross the International Dateline again regaining the day you lost enroute to Australia.