This fifteen day itinerary to Melbourne, Port Douglas and Sydney highlights the many contrasts of Australia – from the cosmopolitan city of Melbourne with its hidden laneways & arcades to the breathtaking coastlines and majestic Great Barrier Reef & Daintree Rainforest finishing with the beauty of Sydney harbor. Enjoy free hotel nights and special touring offers as we transport you around Australia with Virgin Australia.
- roundtrip Virgin Australia International Economy class flights - see pricing panel below for your departure city
- 4 nights Melbourne at the 5* Crown Metropol
- Half Day Laneways & Arcades Walking Tour
- Full Day Phillip Island Penguin Parade Ultimate Eco Tour
- 4 nights Port Douglas at the 4.5* Shantara Resort & Spa
- Full Day Quicksilver Great Barrier Reef tour including lunch
- Half Day Mossman Gorge & Aboriginal Dreamtime Walking tour
- 4 nights Sydney at the 4* Rendezvous Hotel Sydney Central
- Half day small group city sights of Sydney
- Sydney Harbour morning small group cruise
- Sydney Opera House tour & Lunch
- Shuttle airport transfers in Melbourne, Cairns & Sydney
- All taxes & fuel surcharges
Day 1 - Depart Los Angeles non-stop to
Melbourne with Virgin Australia
What makes Australia truly special is not just the accents, iconic destinations and the wildlife, but the warmth of its people. You’ll experience this warmth with Virgin Australia when you fly direct from LA to Melbourne. Considering upgrading your flight? Consider premium economy from $600 per person additional each way or a life flat bed in business class from $2,000 each way.
Day 2 - Cross International Dateline
Day 3 -
On arrival into Melbourne you will be transferred to the Crown Metropol by shuttle service. Enjoy 4 nights in exciting Melbourne – named the world’s most livable city for the sixth consecutive year.
ACCOMMODATION - Crown Metropol offers fresh, vibrant, modern and stylish accommodation. From the moment you take in the hotel's elegant form and enter the uniquely designed reception area, you will feel a sense of peace and calm that makes every visit to Crown Metropol a welcome escape from day-to-day life. Crown Metropol is conveniently located adjacent to the Crown Entertainment Complex, home to a 24 hour casino, more than 50 restaurants, cinemas, luxury and general fashion shopping and entertainment.
Wander through Melbourne’s labyrinth of connecting laneways and arcades, intimate spaces and mystery, as well as home to many of Melbourne’s bar, dining and shopping secrets. Melbourne also has a strong cultural and intellectual heritage. With a range of galleries and museums, the city provides a canvas for artistic expression – the laneways are home to constantly changing street art. Melburnians love a party, with the year-round calendar of events offering something for everyone, see live music, go to a football match or join in at a festival! Melbourne’s multicultural population contributes to the city’s unique atmosphere – and more importantly, the city’s incredible dining scene. With a vibrant energy and unique offerings, Melbourne’s lifestyle is sure to find something for all visitors to enjoy.
Day 4 - Melbourne - Lanes & Arcades
This morning Indulge with a casual small group guided walking tour through Melbourne's lanes and arcades in small groups to engage in the life of this city which many miss. Discover local designers and specialty retailers, tiny cafes and more. A little history and attention to amazing architecture will inspire locals and visitors alike. Get orientated and return to those places you like best in the afternoon, at your leisure.
Image: Tourism Australia
Day 5 - Melbourne - Phillip
Late morning depart Melbourne on your small group tour for Phillip Island. Get up close and personal with the friendly residents of Moonlit Sanctuary Wildlife Conservation Park, hand-feed kangaroos and wallabies, have your photo taken with a koala (small fee applies) and learn about the conservation of these amazing animals. This Eco-certified sanctuary showcases the famous and endangered faces of Australias wildlife, including the southern bettong, eastern quolls and rare fluffy gliders. From here we travel to historic Churchill Island, where you will see sheep shearing and working dogs in action. On Phillip Island we visit the stunning Cape Woolamai surf beach, see the Nobbies and Seal Rocks before arriving at the Penguin Parade where you will view the penguins from the "Penguins Plus" viewing platform; Home to Victorias largest colony of little penguins, Summerland Beach provides the backdrop to the world famous Penguin Parade. Watch as hundreds of little penguins make their way across the beach and return to their sand dune burrows.
Image: Visions of Victoria
Day 6 - Melbourne
Enjoy Melbourne at your leisure or consider adding one of our tour options - Some of our favorites (additional cost applies) :
- Great Ocean Road
Commence the scenic drive south west of Melbourne and onto spectacular views of the Southern Ocean known as the Surf Coast. Arrive at Split Point Lighthouse for a photo opportunity and coffee break (own expense). Wildlife in the area depending on the season may include whales, dolphins, kangaroos, echidnas and many different birds. Arrive at Apollo Bay for lunch then see koalas and kangaroos up close on the Eucalyptus Forest Walk at the renowned Great Ocean Road Ecolodge. Then visit the spectacular Twelve Apostles and Loch Ard Gorge, the site of the most famous 19th century Australian shipwreck.
- Yarra Valley Wine Experience
Commence the day with a visit to Punt Road Wines where the cellar door staff will share with you some of their award winning wines. The winery has a rich history and is the ideal place to sample a selection of exciting wines that reflect the personality of the Yarra Valley. Travel to Balgownie Estate, one of the most stylish venues in the Yarra Valley with wines to match, and enjoy lunch with a glass of Balgownie Estate wine to compliment your meal. After lunch travel to Yering Farm Vineyards, a charming boutique winery. Experience wines made with traditional wine making methods in their cellar door which showcases antique copper wine making tools used by pioneer winemakers over a century ago - a fantastic environment to enjoy superb wines. Next, visit French Champagne company Moet and Chandon's Australian production house - Domaine Chandon. The perfect way to finish the day with a guided tour through the winery which shows how the wine is made, followed by a relaxing glass of Australia's best bubbly and a view that will leave you in awe.
- Koalas and Kangaroos In the Wild
Walk through natural bushland to meet wild koalas, then learn about each one's history and social life from your Wildlife Guide and Koala Researcher. Help collect important data, remove Boneseed (a weed) andmake a difference to koala habitat. Join wild mobs of Kangaroos on the plains and in open forests. Their natural instinct is to flee humans, but with care guests can often get close enough to take photographs and observe their complex social life. While the walk, help the Guide record sightings of all native wildlife. The natural environments that's visited are also home to parrots, fairy-wrens, emus, honeyeaters, possums, wallabies and lizards. The Wildlife Guide will help guests to find and understand them, and teach guests survey techniques that will be useful to them wherever they go. At the end of the day all participants will receive a certificate of thanks for helping wildlife, and an opportunity to stay in touch with each of the Koalas seen on the day.
Day 7 - Fly Melbourne to
On arrival you will be met by Exemplar for your shuttle transfer from Cairns airport to Port Douglas (approximately 1.5 hours).
ACCOMMODATION - Stay 4 fabulous nights at Shantara Resort & Spa, located 400 meters to Port Douglas’ famous Four Mile Beach with its palm fringed beach, relax or swim in the warm calm waters. Take a stroll to Macrossan Street (400metres) that offers an array of trendy gourmet restaurants, cafes and boutique shopping to suit all tastes. With a choice of spacious studio rooms or large comfortable one bedroom self-contained apartments, Shantara is an adult haven, ideal for couples looking for a tranquil, romantic and relaxing getaway.
Day 8 -
Great Barrier Reef Day Tour
Travel aboard Quicksilver's 45.5-meter-high speed wave piercing catamaran in air-conditioned comfort to a spacious reef activity platform moored in protective lagoons at the renowned Agincourt Reef, on the edge of the Great Barrier Reef. Quicksilver has facilities to enable both swimmers and non-swimmers to experience this stunning reef world. Explore the reef from the comfort of a semi-submersible, the underwater observatory or by snorkeling. A range of optional activities are available including up to two dives for certified divers, and novices can experience the magic of scuba with a qualified dive instructor or an Oceanwalker helmet dive. Also available are guided snorkeling tours with a marine biologist and scenic helicopter flights over the reef (all optional activities at own expense).
Day 9 -
Port Douglas – Daintree Rainforest Dreamtime
Experience the wonders of the World Heritage-listed Daintree Rainforest and discover pristine waterfalls, mountains and vivid flora and fauna on this half day tour. Your experienced Indigenous guide will demonstrate traditional plant use, identify bush soaps and ochre paints. After your guided walk, spend time browsing through the center’s contemporary Indigenous art gallery, visit the gift shop or relax at the Mayi Cafe.
Image: Tourism Australia
- Port Douglas
Explore Tropical North Queensland at your leisure or consider adding one of our tour options - Some of our favorites (additional cost applies) :
Daintree Rainforest & Cape Tribulation
Travel north along the scenic coastal road, crossing the Daintree River for a morning tea stop at the Daintree Discovery Centre. Take a guided boardwalk through the rainforest before continuing to Cape Tribulation Beach where time is allowed for a beach walk or to relax in a tranquil setting. Enjoy a delicious lunch in a rainforest setting. A stop is then made at the Alexandra Lookout for panoramic views out to sea and the mouth of the Daintree river, followed by a cruise to observe the fauna and flora of this region.
Kuranda Scenic Rail & SkyRail
Enjoy a full day Kuranda, Scenic Rail and Skyrail Tour. Board the Kuranda Scenic Railway for a breathtaking journey on one of the world's most scenic train routes. The journey will take you through hand-hewn tunnels and across bridges with amazing views. Stop at Barron Gorge to view the Falls before arriving at beautiful Kuranda station. Your Kuranda Boarding Pass offers discounted entry into Birdworld, Kuranda Koala Gardens, The Australian Butterfly Sanctuary and Rainforestation as well as a detailed map of Kuranda - the Village in the Rainforest. At the scheduled time, bypass the ticketing lines and go directly to the Skyrail boarding area, to board Skyrail for the world's most beautiful rainforest experience. Glide over the Rainforest canopy and take advantage of the two stops enroute to enjoy a walk through the rainforest or visit the CSIRO Interpretive Centre.
The award-winning Wildlife Habitat is Australia’s leading immersion exhibit - an open and interactive environment for guests and animals to mingle in a spacious and natural setting. Visitors wander along elevated boardwalks, observing up close a huge range of flora and fauna as birds fly and roam freely. The original Breakfast with the Birds has been a visitor must do for two decades. Guests are immersed within the Wetlands environment whilst enjoying the cacophony of sounds and colors of Wildlife as they wander freely amongst the guests and are treated to a fantastic tropical breakfast buffet.
- Depart Port Douglas - Sydney
This morning you will be transferred by shuttle service to Cairns Airport to board your Virgin Australia flight to Sydney.
Blessed with a temperate climate, Sydney is Australia’s favorite city with the world’s most beautiful harbor. The harbor provides a playground for jet boating, sailing, swimming, harbor scenic flights, dining, fishing, climbing the harbor bridge and sightseeing at the Opera House. On arrival into Sydney you will be met by your driver and transferred to the Rendezvous Hotel Sydney Central.
ACCOMMODATION - In the heart of central Sydney, opposite Central Railway Station, the Rendezvous Hotel Sydney Central is located minutes from Darling Harbour, Chinatown and the ICC Sydney. The hotel features 116 rooms and suites with modern decor and clean simple lines.
- Sydney - Half Day City Sights tour
This morning you will be picked up from your hotel for your small group Sydney Sights tour. First stop is Observatory Hill which has a beautiful view of the Harbour and Harbour Bridge from the Gazebo Platform. Learn about the arrival of the first fleet and convicts, and see the historic Rocks area. Drive through the city to view iconic buildings on the way to Mrs Macquarie's Chair with views of the Opera House and Harbour Bridge. Head to famous Bondi Beach for the opportunity to walk from Icebergs Restaurant South Bondi around the Esplanade to North Bondi. Then head to Watsons Bay for views of the city and shimmering water, and South Head. Travel back into the city and cross over the Sydney Harbour Bridge to North Head to view Balmoral Beach and enjoy a leisurely walk. Visit a secret location in Middle Head with amazing panoramic views of all of the Sydney region from North Head to the South including the City. Tour concludes at Taronga Zoo Ferry Wharf with an option of taking the ferry back to Circular Quay or enjoying the rest of the day at Taronga Zoo (entry at own expense). Or re-join your vehicle for transfer back to the city with drop off at Circular Quay or Darling Harbour.
Image: Destination New South Wales / Tourism Australia
- Explore Sydney Harbour and Sydney Opera
This morning, enjoy the company of a small group aboard a 52-foot motor yacht. Your captain and host will share the rich history of Sydney Harbour and its foreshore as you take in the sights of the Sydney Harbour Bridge, the Sydney Opera House and the bays and coves of Sydney Harbour. Enjoy a light morning tea with coffee, tea, juice and water.
This afternoon enjoy a guided tour of the Sydney Opera House. The Sydney Opera House is one of the world's most recognizable landmarks and this is your chance to truly get up-close. Run your hands over the world-famous shell tiles, take a seat in the elegant custom-made white birch timber chairs and marvel at the vaulted ceilings. Visit areas off-limits to the public and capture photographs from rare vantage points. Explore theatres and foyers where more than 1600 concerts, operas, dramas and ballets take place each year.
Image: Destination New South Wales / Tourism Australia
Explore Sydney at your leisure or consider adding one of our tour options - Some of our favorites (additional cost applies):
- World Heritage Listed Blue Mountains day tour
This boutique tour provides an intimate touch, travelling in the luxury of a Mercedes Benz minivan. Explore the Blue Mountains and see hidden locations and beautiful views of the region. From Echo Point, the closest and best view of the Three Sisters, you will be able to witness the blue haze and the vast expanse of the Jamison Valley and experience for yourself the raw magic the Blue Mountains creates. Take a 1.5 hour hike down the Furber Steps walking track which offers scenic views and waterfalls, to the bottom of the valley. Visit a beautiful waterfall with great photo opportunities at Katoomba Falls Cascade and see breathtaking views of either Jamison Valley or Megalong Valley away from the crowds in a private location. Enjoy a hot filling lunch including a glass of beer, wine or soft drink. After lunch visit Featherdale Wildlife Park to see some of Australia's native wildlife. Your trip to Sydney is not complete without a cruise on the Parramatta River to Sydney Harbour. You will travel under the Harbour Bridge and past the Opera House before disembarking at Circular Quay, where your tour will conclude.
- BridgeClimb Sydney
This is the opportunity to climb the world famous Sydney Harbour Bridge. A comprehensive briefing and safety demonstration is conducted as well as being provided with a bridge-suit, communications equipment and a bridge harness that is linked to a static line throughout the climb. You will be led by one of BridgeClimb's professional Climb Leaders, on a 3.5 hour guided journey (including preparation and briefing), to the top of the Sydney Harbour Bridge. The Climb takes you along the outer arch of the Bridge on catwalks and ladders all the way to the summit, 134 metres above Sydney Harbour. The steady incline to the summit leaves you free to focus your attention on the surroundings, with the opportunity to witness 360 degree views of Sydney including east to the Sydney Opera House, west to the Blue Mountains and the Harbour city surrounds. Upon conclusion receive a photograph of your climb group, a personalised commemorative climber certificate and climber cap
- Depart Sydney
This morning you will be transferred by shuttle service to Sydney International airport. Board Virgin Australia for your flight back to Los Angeles with Virgin Australia.
|Los Angeles||San Francisco||New York||Denver||Boston||Miami|
|01 May - 10 Jul 2019||$2,699||$2,899||$2,999||$2,999||$3,099||$3,099|
Additional Charges ETA to enter Australia $25 per person
Note: Daily departures, this package is an independent itinerary with flexible departures (not a group tour), the above costs apply for travel within each date band when you depart & return within these dates, ask an Aspire Down Under consultant for a quote when your travel dates cross over the date bands.
Additional departure gateways & pricing
- Add on airfares (coach) available from most major airports - Add $250 from Dallas, Seattle, Add $300 from Chicago, Houston, Minneapolis, Add $450 from Washington DC, Atlanta - ask an Aspire consultant for a quote from your local airport.
* * Based on Monday through Thursday travel - ask an Aspire consultant for the add-ons for travel Friday through Sunday
Optional Activities, Extensions or Add-Ons & pricing:
- Upgrade to premium economy from $600 per person each way*
- Upgrade to business class from $2,000 per person each way*
- Can take the upgrade one way or round trip and combine premium/business classes on same ticket
* Based on Monday through Thursday departures for travel 01 May - 10 July 2019 - ask an Aspire consultant for the upgrade fee for travel Friday through Sunday and for other travel periods.
Board Virgin Australia
Virgin Australia launched over a decade ago and instantly changed the way people fly. Today, Virgin Australia represents a new level of style, sophistication and professionalism. With constant innovation at the heart of everything they do, superior products and award-winning service set them apart and lets you enjoy a world-class experience on every flight.
Terms & Conditions:
Package from pricing is based on double occupancy (2 people sharing a room) for travel Monday - Thursday for purchase by December 31, 2018 . $60 air supplement applies each way for travel on Friday - Sundays. $40 per person supplement applies for a Saturday night at the Crown Metropol Hotel Melbourne. Add-on fares are available from other cities. Certain blackout dates may apply on the accommodation and tour value add offers - check with your Aspire consultant. Seats are limited and may not be available on every flight. Hotels are subject to availability. All prices reflect a discount for purchases made by cash/wire transfer/check, please see terms and conditions for credit card payments. There are no discounts for payment made by credit cards. Cancellation penalties and other restrictions apply. An Electronic Travel Authority (ETA) is required to enter Australia; Aspire Down Under can process the ETA on your behalf for a processing fee of $25 per person. A valid passport with at least six months validity is required.