Abercrombie & Kent
OFFER ID 1499931
Wings Over Australia
Aircraft: Embraer Legacy 600 or comparable
Aircraft and seating configuration subject to change.
Flight Details: Melbourne–Hobart (1 hr 15 min) | Hobart–Uluru (3 hr 30 min) | Uluru–Hamilton Island (2 hr 45 min) | Hamilton Island–Sydney (2 hr 30 min)
12 nights from $39,995 per person
Abercrombie & Kent: Wings Over Australia
Day 1 Melbourne, Australia
Arrive in Melbourne, where you are met and transferred to your hotel. Explore Melbourne’s landmarks before gathering with your fellow guests for a welcome dinner.
Set out for the renowned Yarra Valley, stopping at a winery for behind-the-scenes access to the winemaking team. Then, sit down to a private paired-wine master class with canapés, followed by lunch with matched wines introduced by a sommelier. Next, visit another winery, where you delight in an exclusive barrel-room tasting at their vineyard.
This morning, fly by privately chartered aircraft to Hobart, the capital of Tasmania. Upon arrival, transfer to Raptor Refuge for an A&K-exclusive insider access experience with the refuge owner. Visit its aviaries and observe wedge-tailed eagle, falcon and owl up close. Drive up Tasmania’s dazzling east coast to your luxury boutique lodge located on the Freycinet Peninsula. Tonight, enjoy dinner and drinks at Palate Restaurant while gazing out at the wide expanses of Great Oyster Bay.
Join a local guide at your lodge’s open-range Tasmanian devil enclosure for a rare encounter with the world’s largest carnivorous marsupial, and learn about the conservation work being done to save it. Following lunch, visit Freycinet Marine Farm, where you wade waist-deep into the ocean to feast on their freshly shucked, award-winning oysters, sparkling wine in hand, on a memorable Chef’s Table experience. Listen as your guides explain this important wetland and the life cycle of the oysters.
This morning, enjoy one of these Design Your Day activities.
Walk with a Guide to the Wineglass Bay Lookout to view its white-sand beaches and diverse flora and fauna.
Learn the Art of Beekeeping from a horticulturalist and take a hand in extracting honeycomb from the hive.
Enjoy a Connection to Country on a coastal beach stroll immersing yourself in the history, traditions and breathtaking landscapes of the Oyster Bay people.
After lunch back at the lodge, the remainder of the day is at leisure.
After breakfast, head to the Museum of Old and New Art (MONA) to view its striking exhibits. Fly by private charter aircraft to Uluru (Ayers Rock) and transfer to your luxury tented camp overlooking the UNESCO-listed wilderness of Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park. This afternoon, with chilled glass in hand, witness the changing light reflected on Uluru for an unforgettable Scenic Sundowner. Tonight, enjoy exclusive dining among the dunes set to the sounds of an ancient indigenous culture, and feast on four delicious courses complemented with premium Australian wines. Later, view the Southerly stars with your camp’s astronomer.
Rise early and set out for Kata Tjuta (the Olgas), stopping to view sunrise over its majestic domes. In the company of your guide, walk through Walpa Gorge and learn how eons of weathering and continental upheaval have shaped today’s stark landscapes. This afternoon, return to Uluru and traverse the Mala Walk, pausing to view cave paintings and sources of bush tucker. Later, see the walls of Kantju Gorge ablaze with the light of the setting sun as you sip sparkling wine and nibble on canapés, savoring the solitude of the gorge as the daylight fades.
Early this morning, discover peaceful Mutitjulu Waterhole and the sacred site of Kuniya Piti as the sun lights up ancient Uluru. Walk with your guide, who shares the Anangu creation story of Kuniya and Liru, for a deeper perspective on the striking monolith. After breakfast, board a private charter flight to Hamilton Island, and then Ride Like a Local, embarking by launch to Hayman Island, where your idyllic resort awaits — nestled in the heart of the Great Barrier Reef.
Experience a full day in the Great Barrier Reef on your stylish private vessel. Snorkel the local fringing reefs, observing the riot of color and movement provided by local denizens in the crystal-clear waters. After lunch, visit Whitehaven Beach, located in the heart of the reef. Discover for yourself why this unspoiled shoreline strand is widely considered one of the most beautiful beaches in the world.
Enjoy a day at your leisure, relaxing or choosing from included activities, such as a guided nature walk, fish feeding and kayaking.
Early this morning, fly to Sydney by privately chartered aircraft, enjoying a city tour on arrival. Sink your toes in the sand at the surfer’s paradise of Bondi Beach and stroll the boutique shops of Paddington, a neighborhood filled with Victorian and Georgian architecture. Transfer to your luxury hotel, perfectly set near Sydney Harbour.
This morning, embark on a privately chartered luxury yacht to cruise scenic Sydney Harbour, admiring landmarks, including the Sydney Harbour Bridge and the Sydney Opera Houses. Back on shore, stop for lunch at a local restaurant, and then commence your guided behind-the-scenes visit to the magnificent Sydney Opera House. Following some time at leisure in the afternoon, gather for your farewell dinner.
After breakfast, transfer to the airport and depart.
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.
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.
All fares are quoted in US Dollars.