OFFER ID 1310439
Get ready to say G'Day with this captivating Aussie Adventure. Embark on an experience highlighting Australia's most famed regions and iconic land marks. Embrace native heritage and local wildlife as you trek through the Outback in search of your very own cultural awakening. Dive into nature's largest underwater eco-system as you step off the white sand island beaches and into the Great Barrier Reef. Wrap up your Down Under sojourn with a visit to Australia's premier city, Sydney, to explore the renowned Sydney Opera House and Sydney Harbour Bridge.
Your Itinerary Includes:
17 nights from $5,860 per person
Swain Destinations: Aussie Adventure
Day 1 Arrive in Melbourne
Welcome to Melbourne. Collect your luggage and clear Customs & Immigration and then proceed outside the Customs hall where you will find your driver who will be waiting with a sign. Your driver will take you directly to your accommodation.
Crown Promenade Melbourne
Day 2 Phillip Island and Moonlit Sanctuary
This Phillip Island Tour is full of new experiences and dramatic views. The attractions visited have a particular focus on the protection of wildlife and conservation, local history and breathtaking scenery. Your day will commence with a visit to Moonlit Sanctuary Conservation Park where you are guaranteed plenty of close encounters with an array of Australian native animals like kangaroos, wombats and echidnas. Then head to Churchill Island to visit the historic working farm that gives a glimpse into a day in the lives of the first settlers on this remote island. A visit to the Koala Conservation Centre guarantees a close-up encounter with these furry little fellas in their natural habitat. Wallabies and echidnas are often seen in the wild at the center as well. A stop is made at the boardwalk to view The Nobbies and you can appreciate the full force of the ocean and maybe spot a few penguin nests. In the summer months only, a stop is also made in Cowes for a stroll along the pier with time allowed for dinner (own expense - not included). Arrive at the Penguin Parade Visitor Centre with time to shop, have a coffee and meander down to the viewing platform to see the amusing arrival of the little penguins coming in on the surf to make their way across the beach to their sand-dune burrows. The 'Penguin Plus' exclusive viewing platform is limited to 300 people per day. Photos and videos of the little penguins are not permitted. Park entry fees are included, but dinner and refreshments are at your own expense.
Crown Promenade Melbourne
Day 3 Lanes & Arcades Walking Tour & Melbourne At Leisure
Have you ever been to a city and wondered what all the fuss was about? Or wasted time trying to find that cool local café you were told of, then ended up missing everything? Melbourne's arcades and laneways hide many of these answers. Join this indulgent morning walk through Melbourne's beautiful back streets, and become orientated in the life of the city that locals love. Discover local designers and specialty retailers that often are only found in the city. Some of the quirkiest cafes, independent designers, street art, architecture, and historical tales are found in these walkways, there is something for everyone, locals and visitors alike. Morning tea is included as well as lunch with a glass of wine.
Melbourne is Australia's second largest city (after Sydney), but it is second to none when it comes to fashion, festivals and sport. Set around the shores of Port Phillip Bay, the city itself is laid out in a large rectangle. She boasts a lively, cosmopolitan pulse, sitting on the northern banks of the Yarra River, about three miles from the bay. Visitors come for its shopping, restaurants and nightlife. Residents stay for its cultural diversity, passion for the arts and enviable sports calendar. Melbourne is renowned for playing host to a number of nationally- and internationally-recognized events each year, including the Australian Open Tennis Grand Slam, the Australian Formula 1 Grand Prix and the ever-impressive two-mile horse race, The Melbourne Cup. This is a major event that spreads an addictive buzz through the city streets. You can be sure that locals and visitors alike will embrace the energy surrounding it.
Explore the famous lane-ways and arcades of the city, catch a tram to trendy Southgate, rub shoulders with locals at the Queen Victoria Market or take in a show at the ornate Princess Theatre. For a break from the hustle and bustle, cruise along the Yarra River, or head out to one of the many beautiful beaches just outside of the city. Go in search of the unique Australian animals like Koalas, Kangaroos and the Little Penguins, and see them in the wild just an hour or two outside Melbourne. Explore one of the premier wine regions in Australia exporting wines to the U.S. to find your Yarra Valley blend. It is the closest wine region to any major Australian city, just an hour out of the city, but worlds away from the bustling streets of Melbourne.
Crown Promenade Melbourne
Day 4 Travel to Adelaide
Takeoff to Adelaide and continue on the next stage of your adventure.
Majestic Roof Garden Hotel
Day 5 Adelaide to Kangaroo Island, Island Life Shared Day Tour
This morning you fly to Kangaroo Island where you are met on arrival by the tour guide to go straight into the first day touring.
Get an introduction to Island life - where things take time. Where drivers wave as they go by - or even stop you for a chat. Have a 'cuppa' with home-made cakes before taking a walk down a country track through tall Eucalyptus trees where koalas snooze overhead, or perhaps wake briefly for a feed. Travel through some of the Island's best farming country to the North Coast and Lathami Conservation Park. Walk quietly through the bush with your guide - what makes that noise, whose tracks are those, and who left THAT little pile there? Look for wallabies which are almost extinct on the mainland, and a kangaroo found only on Kangaroo Island. Break for lunch and enjoy a delicious meal featuring local seafood, fresh salads and fine South Australian wines at a private bush location.
At Seal Bay Conservation Park walk with your guide among Australian sea lions on a beautiful sandy beach. Watch pups nursing, or playing in the surf, see old bulls bearing the scars of territorial disputes and learn about their unique breeding biology. The remainder of the afternoon is spent exploring more of the southeast region of the Island before you are dropped off to your accommodation.
Kangaroo Island Lodge
Day 6 Flinders Chase Shared Day Tour, Kangaroo Island to Adelaide
Another full day of touring, this one takes you to Flinders Chase National Park - a vast wilderness covering the entire west end of the Island, and home to kangaroos, wallabies, possums, goannas, echidnas, koalas, platypus and many birds including rare Cape Barren Geese. Visit Rocky River, site of an impressive visitor center interpreting many facets of the park and its history. At Cape du Couedic, visit a fur seal colony which now number over 20,000 after being decimated by hunting in the early 1800's. These animals may be observed at rest on the rocks or frolicking in the surf under Admirals Arch - a spectacular coastal grotto. Another impressive stone structure had a different architect. The Remarkable Rocks, huge natural granite sculptures, have been carved by relentless winds, rain and salt from the Southern Ocean.
Good wines and local produce features highly in a picnic lunch which is enjoyed out in the bush before exploring more of the Island. Depending upon the day the afternoon might include a visit to Grassdale in the heart of Kelly Hill Conservation Park, the secluded pools of the Rocky River or a rugged South Coast cove. You will be dropped off after the tour at Kingscote airport for your flight back to Adelaide.
Majestic Roof Garden Hotel
Meals: B, L
Day 7 Taste the Barossa tour
This small group wine tasting tour offers you the perfect opportunity to experience the exquisite and stunning wineries in the Barossa Valley region. The day starts off at Château Yaldara: home to what is undoubtedly some of the finest shirazes as well as magnificent and well-preserved period architecture.
From Chateau Yaldara, drive through the picturesque vineyards of the Barossa Valley, to the historic township of Tanunda for free time to wander up the high street and explore the quaint little shops or enjoy a coffee. The next stop is the renowned Peter Lehmann winery, to enjoy an exclusive structured wine tasting hosted in the beautiful Eight Songs room within their cellar door. Peter Lehmann’s is also the venue for lunch, where you will be treated to an exquisite Weighbridge platter of cheeses, olives, the region’s finest meats and assorted vegetables accompanied by freshly baked bread.
After lunch, head to the final wine-tasting experience for the day, Lindsay Wines. On the way, take in the breathtaking panoramic views of the Barossa from Mengler’s Hill Lookout. At Lindsay Wines you will be treated to a beautiful experience with the fusion of art, wine and music. The day is completed with a stop at the lovely Seppeltsfield region and another perfect photo opportunity before heading back to Adelaide.
Majestic Roof Garden Hotel
Day 8 Travel to Ayers Rock & Uluru & Sunset Tour
Takeoff to Ayers Rock and continue on the next stage of your adventure.
Departing your accommodation at Yulara resort, today's excursion will travel through the landscape to the entrance of Uluru Kata Tjuta National Park. From this point, it is only a matter of minutes before the spectre of Uluru rises from the sand dunes to demonstrate its enormity and presence - the first stop allows you a photographic opportunity of this amazing icon. With Uluru looming in front, walk with your guide to a place of tranquility at the base. The closer you wander, the more you surrender to the realization of the sheer size of this monolith. Driving around the base, immerse yourself in the area. Stops are made for a short walk into Mutitjulu Waterhole. There, you will visit rock-art sites and the local waterhole with your guide to learn of Uluru's significance to the Anangu (local Aboriginal people). As you continue the drive around the rest of the base, experience the Mala walk before adjourning to the Talinguru Nyakunytjaku viewing area where you will observe a sunset from a different perspective over Uluru with Kata Tjuta in the distance. Enjoy sparkling wine and light refreshments. You will return to your accommodations at Yulara Resort. The tour duration is around 5 hours, and you will be travelling in a small group of up to just 12 people. It is recommended you wear covered shoes and bring bottled water, fly nets, sunscreen and a brimmed hat.
Day 9 Kata Tjuta Sunrise Tour
Revel in the early morning serenity of a truly spiritual place as the sunrise colors change on Kata Tjuta. Enjoy an outback picnic breakfast. Learn about this diverse environment while walking between the mighty conglomerate rock walls and into Walpa Gorge. Hear how the many domes that make up Kata Tjuta have evolved over millions of years. Take time to listen to the wind (Walpa) far above and view the scale of the rock walls that surround you. The spirituality of this amazing location embraces everyone who ventures here.
Day 10 Ayers Rock to Cairns
Takeoff to Cairns and continue on the next stage of your adventure.
Peninsula Boutique Hotel Port Douglas
Day 11 Quicksilver Outer Reef Full Day Excursion
The Quicksilver vessel departs from Reef Marina for a fabulous full-day tour out to the Agincourt Reef, which is part of the spectacular Great Barrier Reef of Australia. Agincourt is the most southerly link in the chain of ribbon- like outer reefs on the extreme edge of continental Australia. Here, you will view some of the most beautiful reef life in Australia. The air-conditioned 30-meter Quicksilver cruises at 27 knots and can reach Agincourt in just 90 minutes. Once at the pontoon, you have the opportunity to snorkel, swim or scuba dive (extra expense) among the reef. You may also view the reef from glass-bottom boats and semi-submersible subs - a fantastic experience!
Peninsula Boutique Hotel Port Douglas
Meals: B, L
Day 12 Walkabout Adventures - Ngana Julaymba Dungay
Start your tour with a pick up from your accommodation spending the day with a local Aboriginal tour guide, learning about culturally significant areas and the relationships the Kuku Yalanji still have with their land. Learn the history, culture and traditions of the local Aboriginal people and the area. Enjoy a walk through the rainforest and coastal habitats learning about the environment, different foods and medicines utilized from nature, sample some bush tucker, collect shellfish and try traditional Aboriginal hunting practices, have a go at spear throwing and if you are lucky, catch a mud crab. Complete the adventure by cooling off in a pristine freshwater stream.
Peninsula Boutique Hotel Port Douglas
Meals: B, L
Day 13 Hot Air - Classic Balloon Flight - Dawn Experience & Day at Leisure in Port Douglas
Watch the crew prepare your balloon as the sun gently rises to unveil the surrounding beauty. Then, experience the fun and unique sensation of being in a hot air balloon, flying gently over the Atherton Tablelands. During this 40-minute ride, enjoy the picturesque landscape at dawn and breathe in the wide open spaces.
Enjoy time at leisure in Port Douglas, a Cinderella city located just over a 1-hour drive from Cairns. Once a sleepy, seaside hamlet, today Port(as it's called by locals)has transformed into a trendy, tropical resort. In a town where the building code dictates that nothing is taller than the palm trees, sleek resorts, sparkling white marina toys, and chic restaurants line the streets, while celebrities stretch out on the golden sand of Four Mile Beach, tending to their tans. Although it is easy to get star struck by the Port's shiny veneer, the town still has remnants of its humble beginnings, and colonial buildings can be found lazing in the shadows of 5-star hotels. It is almost symbolic how the road into town passes through stoic sugar-cane fields before widening into streets lined by prim palm trees - imported no less.
Peninsula Boutique Hotel Port Douglas
Day 14 Travel to Sydney
Takeoff to Sydney and continue on the next stage of your adventure.
Parkroyal Darling Harbour
Day 15 The Sydney Classic Bicycle Tour & BridgeClimb Summit - Day Climb
The Sydney Classic is Bonza Bike Tour's most popular tour. You are taken to all of the iconic sights, and tons of the other sights you may miss on your own. Expert guides give you the information you need to get the most out of your trip to Sydney. You will be taken to see the Sydney Opera House, Sydney Harbour (right next to the yachts themselves), the Sydney Harbour Bridge, Darling Harbour, the Royal Botanic Gardens (including the Flying Foxes), Hyde Park, the Anzac War Memorial, China Town, Sydney Tower, Parliament House, Queen Victoria Building, Museum of Contemporary Art, The Art Gallery of NSW and over 30 more great attractions! There's even a stop to take in a warm, friendly pub as a half-way point!
BridgeClimb is a 3.5 hour guided journey to the top of the Sydney Harbour Bridge. It takes you along the outer arch of the bridge on catwalks and ladders all the way to the summit, 400 feet above Sydney Harbour. In climb groups of up to 14 people, you'll be led by a professional BridgeClimb leader on an adventure of the world's most recognizable bridge. The steady incline to the summit leaves you free to focus your attention on your Sydney experience, with opportunities to witness 360-degree views of Sydney, including east to the Sydney Opera House, west to the Blue Mountains and the Harbour city surrounds. When you reach the top you will have a sense of achievement that you will remember forever - you've conquered an Australian icon recognized the world over! The professional Climb Leaders will take pictures of you on the climb and at the end you will receive a commemorative Climber Certificate, a complimentary Climber Cap and group photograph, with all climbers in the group receiving an identical photo.
Parkroyal Darling Harbour
Day 16 Sydney At Leisure
It is no surprise that when the British first arrived in Sydney they named the area Botany Bay. Even today, with a population of over 4 million people and a reputation for fun rather than flora, one is still surrounded by bush land in this bustling city. Native Waratah wind their way through the historic Rocks area, palm trees frame long stretches of pristine beach, and Eucalyptus embrace the endless and beckoning bays of Sydney Harbour.
It is Sydney's man-made wonders, however, that draw most visitors. The Sydney Opera House and the Sydney Harbour Bridge are the most photographed icons on the continent. Choose a Seaplane Safari experience and enjoy a bird's eye view of the Opera House's signature sails. See the Harbour Bridge up close and personal by climbing the metal monolith to enjoy stunning 360-degree views of the glittering vista below with BridgeClimb as you climb to the top. Whether it is an early morning visit to the largest fish market in the southern hemisphere, or your very first surfing lesson on Bondi Beach, in this vibrant metropolis you will find no lack of energetic escapes and dynamic distractions.
There are many ways to enjoy the harbor: on a small luxury motor cruiser or sailing yacht, or ferries that take you to Taronga Park Zoo or Manly and the harbor suburbs. Take the Darling Harbour Rocket that connects Circular Quay to Darling Harbour where there are many restaurants and attractions such as The Sydney Aquarium, Wildlife World, The IMAX Theater and the Naval Museum. For a more leisurely afternoon, take a walk through the Royal Botanical Gardens and Hyde Park, or learn about Australia's National Gemstone, the Opal, at Altmann; Cherny or The National Opal Collection, right in the heart of the city on Pitt Street.
Parkroyal Darling Harbour
Day 17 Depart Sydney
Ahead of your flight, you will be transferred from your accommodation to Sydney International Airport.
Melbourne is a maze of hidden laneways, opulent bars, exclusive restaurants and off-the-beaten-track boutiques. Here you can soak up culture, hit the sporting grounds, taste the dynamic food and wine scene, dance til dawn or wander the parks and leafy boulevards. Visit Federation Square, the city's landmark cultural space, and enjoy a sunset beer on the St Kilda promenade. Shop till you drop on funky Brunswick Street or upmarket Chapel Street. Wander Southbank's cafes, bistros and bars and get a world tour of cuisines in Carlton, Richmond and Fitzroy. Take an Aboriginal Heritage Walk through the Royal Botanic Gardens and cheer with a capacity crowd at the Melbourne Cricket Ground.
Five Must-Have Melbourne Experiences:
1. Shop till you drop
Bag a bargain at the Rose Street Artist's Market and browse the funky boutiques on Brunswick Street. Buy designer labels such as Akira Isogawa and Zimmerman on Chapel Street in Prahran or in the historic Melbourne General Post Office, which covers an entire city block. For everything from fashion to furnishings at fantastic value, visit Bridge Road in Richmond. Melbourne is a shopper's haven, offering eclectic boutiques, high-end fashion, funky homeware stores and European style piazzas in the city's arcades and hidden laneways.
2. Bar hop and dance till dawn
Sip a cocktail in a converted sea container in Chinatown, enjoy a sunset beer in a St Kilda pub or listen to cabaret in lush retro surroundings in jazz bars in the city. Linger over exquisite tapas and exotic wine in a Little Collins Street bar and mingle in a pink parlour with fake grass in Bourke Street. You can party from dusk in the bars of Brunswick Street. Or dance till dawn in bars in the city's lantern-lit laneways, secret apart from the spill of coloured light under heavy brass doors.
3. Get into the gourmet goodness
Let the aroma of good coffee waft over you in Melbourne's gothic European laneways. The city is famous for its coffee and old-world café culture but there's so much more to explore. Once you've downed a 'short black' or taken an afternoon aperitif, try tea in a nineteenth-century hotel or salivate over your silver spoon in acclaimed restaurants like Nobu, Botanical and Becco. Pick up fresh fruits, vegetables and seafood at the Queen Victoria Market on a Saturday, known for its bustling crowds and buskers. Try out the restaurants, cafes, bistros and bars in Southbank or Federation Square. Make your way around Melbourne's multicultural cosmos of cuisines: Carlton for Italian classics, Richmond for budget-friendly Vietnamese and Fitzroy for Spanish tapas.
4. Fill up on culture
See a performance by the Australian Ballet, which is based here in Australia's cultural capital. Or enjoy a dazzling musical at the Princess Theatre. Browse the Southern Hemisphere's best collection of international art at the National Gallery of Victoria. Or visit the Australian Centre for the Moving Image in Federation Square, a landmark cultural 'space' for Melbournians. Challenge yourself with the creative collections in the Australian Centre for Contemporary Art in Southbank. To learn more about Melbourne's Aboriginal cultural heritage, see contemporary and dreamtime art or take an Aboriginal Heritage Walk through the Royal Botanic Gardens.
5. Go sports mad
Cheer for an Australian Rules Football game with a capacity crowd at the Melbourne Cricket Ground over winter. Go cricket mad in summer, when the city hosts the Ashes and one day internationals. Or join the huge crowds watching the Australian Tennis Open at Melbourne Park. Rev heads head to Melbourne in March for the Australian Formula 1 Grand Prix in Albert Park. And whether you are a racing fan or just a casual punter, you won't want to miss the Melbourne Cup - the world's richest horse race on the first Tuesday in November.
This elegant city is known for its colonial stone architecture, expansive parklands, lively festivals and incredible sense of space. Explore the museums and libraries of North Terrace, dine on dedicated 'eat streets' or picnic in gardens that sprawl over almost half the city. Go bike riding in Botanic Park or row past rose gardens in Rymill Park. Swim with dolphins or learn to sail in Glenelg or fish from the jetty in Henley. Just beyond the city centre you'll find the picturesque Adelaide Hills and the world-class wineries of the Barossa Valley.
Five ways to immerse yourself in Adelaide:
1. Hit the eat streets
Sample everything from Asian fusion to Argentine cuisine in the exotic, bustling foodhalls of Chinatown. Embrace the alfresco ambience of Rundle Street in Adelaide's East End or live it up in one of the city's many elegant wine bars and fashionable restaurants. Enjoy a beach sunset with your meal in the coastal suburbs of Glenelg and Henley Beach or wind down with a wine at the National Wine Centre. If you're a fresh food addict, Adelaide Central Markets offer premium produce from growers across the state.
2. Feel green and serene in Adelaide's parks
Hire paddleboats and bikes in Elder Park or row past formal rose gardens in Rymill Park. Picnic in the local's beloved Botanic Park or cycle from the hills to the coast in River Torrens Linear Park. For serious tranquility, head to the classic Japanese oasis of Adelaide-Himjei Garden. Adelaide's 29 parks take up almost half of the city, and come with walking trails, quiet spaces and sporting fields for everything from football to archery.
3. Head for the coast
Swim with dolphins or learn to sail in Glenelg, which bustles with sidewalk cafes, alfresco dining and summer entertainment. In the beach suburb of Henley, you can fish from the jetty or go on a culinary world tour at the ethnic food stores and eateries. Explore the museums, markets and historic harbour of Port Adelaide, the city's maritime heart. Or see heritage buildings and colourful summer sideshows in family-friendly Semaphore. Further along the spectacular Le Fevre Peninsula, you can swim on protected beaches and walk one of the state's few heritage-listed jetties at Largs Bay.
4. Soak up Aboriginal and European heritage
Do a cultural tour of the Adelaide Botanic Gardens with traditional custodians the Kaurna people. You'll learn how native plants have been used for sustenance, shelter, ceremonies and medicines for thousands of years. Browse the world's largest collection of Aboriginal antiquities at the Aboriginal Cultures Gallery at the South Australian Museum and visit Tandanya, the National Aboriginal Cultural Institute. Adelaide also has a proud European heritage for you to explore -in the museums and libraries of North Terrace, in Adelaide Town Hall and in Port Adelaide, the state's first declared heritage area.
5. Escape to the hills
Drive to the Adelaide Hills, where the picturesque farmlands and charming villages have inspired many generations of artists. Stay in Bavarian-inspired chalets and browse the bakeries, craft shops and galleries of Hahndorf, Australia's oldest surviving German village. Visit The Cedars, once the gracious old home and studio of famous landscape artists Sir Hans Heysen. Then hit the markets of Lobethal, a fairytale town which celebrates Christmas with metres and metres of colourful lights.
Enjoy one of the world's most beautiful and unique wilderness holiday destinations in which the locals include wallabies, goannas, koalas, kangaroos, echidnas, dolphins,
sea lions, penguins, fur seals, eagles, whales and ospreys.
Share with them the pure air and clean water that makes Kangaroo Island one
of the last unspoiled wonders of the world. The people of Kangaroo Island see prosperity in tourism but know the value
of what they have and are working hard to find the right balance between development
The world's largest monolith, located 280 mi/450 km southwest of Alice Springs, is a truly stunning sight, especially at sunset when its burnt-orange glow seems to set the desert on fire. Called Uluru by the Aborigines, the sandstone rock is huge (1,140 ft/350 m high, 9 mi/13 km around) and reddish brown most of the time, taking its color from iron oxide, or rust. Its presence is made more powerful by the mostly barren plain that surrounds it and disappears into the horizon. In 1985, ownership of the rock was returned to its traditional owners. It is rarely referred to as Ayers Rock anymore.
Considered sacred by the Aborigines for thousands of years, the rock is now part of the expansive Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park, one of the country's biggest tourist attractions. The park includes the Olgas/Kata Tjuta, a cluster of 36 giant domelike rock formations about 20 mi/35 km west. If you want to visit both, plan to spend at least one night. You'll want to see Uluru at both sunset and sunrise. The Olgas are equally magnificent at both times of day. (But be prepared to jockey for position at either place; tour buses disgorge hundreds of visitors laden with binoculars, cameras and video equipment.)
Start your visit to the park with a stop at the cultural center. Run by the Anangu (a local Aboriginal clan), the center is a wonderful introduction to the unusual rock formations and to the people who lived in their harsh shadows for centuries. Aboriginal artwork and artifacts are on display. You can also see re-enactments of life in the bush and watch informative videos. Most visitors explore the rock as part of a tour led by park rangers, Anangu guides or private tour companies. But you can also pick up a printed walking guide at the cultural center and set off on your own.
Only one trail leads to the top of the rock, and it's fairly steep—those with heart conditions, high blood pressure, asthma, fear of heights or the like should remain earthbound. The Anangu prefer you walk around—not on—the rock because of its spiritual importance. If you do decide to climb it, allow two to three hours and take along a snack and plenty of water. The view from the top is spectacular, but hiking around the base is more educational and less strenuous. We suggest taking one or more of the shorter walks that pass water holes and rock paintings, allowing you to observe the rock's many faces at a leisurely pace. (Walking around the entire base of the rock takes about three hours.)
Allow at least an afternoon to visit the Olgas/Kata Tjuta. A frequent debate among visitors is whether the Olgas outshine the rock. It's a close call—the Olgas are taller, reaching 1,790 ft/545 m at the highest point. Made of conglomerate (pebbles and boulders cemented together by mud and sand), they are off-limits to climbers, but you can explore some of the valleys and chasms between the rocks.
Most visitors fly to Uluru or drive from Alice Springs. About the only place to stay in the area is the Ayers Rock Resort, or Yulara, whose five hotels and a campground can accommodate visitors in all price ranges. Longitude 131 is a magnificent safari camp with 15 luxury tents. Dozens of tours leave from Ayers Rock Resort, including sunrise camel rides around the rock, sunset champagne dinners in the desert, Aboriginal culture tours and stargazing. You can also rent a car there and explore on your own.
Because of the excessive heat in summer, the best time to visit is April-November (winter in Australia). Always take along plenty of drinking water. If you are flying to the Outback, we suggest going overland one way from Alice Springs (four to five hours) but flying the other way—the desert drive is scenic, but it can be tedious the second time around. http://www.environment.gov.au/parks/uluru.
Soak up Sydney’s gorgeous harbour, seductive outdoor lifestyle and great natural beauty. Kayak under the Sydney Harbour Bridge or wave at the Opera House as you ride a ferry across the harbour to Manly. Learn to surf at Bondi Beach or swim in the calm waters of Coogee. Lose yourself in the cobblestone cul-de-sacs of The Rocks or in the markets, boutiques, cafes and pubs of Paddington. As well as a world-famous harbour and more than 70 sparkling beaches, Sydney offers fabulous food, festivals and 24-7 fun.
Five Sydney Experiences Not to Miss:
1. Explore the historic Rocks
Discover Sydney’s colorful convict history in the harbourside quarter where it all began. Just five minutes from Circular Quay, you can hear stories of hangings and hauntings on a ghost tour, wander the weekend markets or climb the span of the Harbour Bridge. In amongst the maze of sandstone lanes and courtyards, you’ll find historic workman’s cottages and elegant terraces, art galleries, hotels with harbour views and Sydney’s oldest pubs. See people spill out of them onto a party on the cobblestone streets when The Rocks celebrates Australia Day on January 26th, Anzac Day on April 25th and New Years Eve.
2. Hit the world-famous harbour
Sail past the Opera House on a chartered yacht or paddle from Rose Bay in a kayak. Take a scenic cruise from Circular Quay or Darling Harbour, past waterfront mansions, national parks and Shark, Clark, Rodd and Goat islands. Tour historic Fort Denison or learn about the life of Sydney’s first inhabitants, the Gadigal people, on an Aboriginal cultural cruise. Watch the harbour glitter from the green parklands of the Royal Botanic Gardens, which curves around its edge. Or take in the view from a waterfront restaurant in Mosman, on the northern side of the bridge, or Watsons Bay at South Head. Walk from Rose Bay to Vaucluse or Cremorne Point to Mosman Bay, on just some of the 16 spectacular routes hugging the harbour foreshore.
3. Visit Manly on the ferry
Travel across Sydney Harbour on a ferry to Manly, which sits between beaches of ocean surf and tranquil inner harbour. Wander through native bushland on the scenic Manly to Spit Bridge walk, learn to scuba-dive at Cabbage Tree Bay or ride a bike to Fairy Bower. Picnic at Shelly Beach on the ocean and sail or kayak from Manly Wharf round the harbour. Hire a scooter and do a round trip of northern beaches such as Narrabeen and Palm Beach. Explore the shops, bars and cafes along the bustling pine tree-lined Corso and dine at world-class restaurants with water views.
4. Enjoy café culture and top shopping in Paddington
Meander through the Saturday markets, browse fashion boutiques on bustling Oxford Street or discover the antique shops and art galleries in upmarket Woollahra. Visit the 1840s Victoria Barracks Army base, open to the public once a week, and see restored Victorian terraces on wide, leafy streets. Ride or roller-blade in huge Centennial Park, then stop for coffee and lunch on Oxford St or in the mini-village of Five Ways. Catch a movie at an art-house cinema or leaf through a novel at midnight in one of the huge bookstores. Crawl between the lively, historic pubs. They hum even more after a game at the nearby stadium or a race day, when girls and guys arrive in their crumpled trackside finery.
5. Walk from Bondi to Coogee
Take in breathtaking views of the Pacific Ocean as you walk the winding, sea-sculpted sandstone cliffs between Bondi and Coogee. Swim in the famous Bondi Icebergs rock pool or just watch the swimmers with a sunset cocktail from the restaurant above. See wild waves in Tamarama, nicknamed Glamarama for the beautiful people who lie on its golden sand. From mid-October to November, the stretch from here to Bondi is transformed into an outdoor gallery for the Sculptures by the Sea exhibition. You can surf, picnic on the grass or stop for a coffee at family-friendly Bronte. Or swim, snorkel or scuba dive in Clovelly and tranquil Gordon’s Bay. See the graves of poets Henry Lawson, Dorothea Mackellar and aviator Lawrence Hargrave in Waverley Cemetery, on the edge of the cliffs. Finish your tour in the scenic, backpacker haven of Coogee.
All fares are quoted in US Dollars.