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Start your Australian adventure in the Sunshine State’s capital city, Brisbane, located on the banks of the Brisbane River and enjoys a subtropical climate year-round. Enjoy two days exploring Brisbane by foot and on the River before continuing to the stunning Whitsunday Islands and your Island destination, Hamilton Island. Perfectly situated on the edge of the Great Barrier Reef, amongst the 74 Whitsunday Islands, Hamilton Island offers an experience like no other: glorious weather, azure waters, brilliant beaches, awe-inspiring coral reefs, fascinating flora and fauna, fine food and wines, and activities almost too numerous to mention. Sunny, sexy and sophisticated, Sydney is the shining star of the southern hemisphere. The white-sailed Sydney Opera House over the waters of Sydney Cove, and the Sydney Harbour Bridge are the pride and joy, but there's far more on offer. Discover the harbour, the city's historic enclaves, restaurants and cafes, beaches, museums and art galleries. Conclude your trip in the cosmopolitan city of Melbourne with time to explore the hidden laneways & arcades and experience the wildlife phenomenon that is Phillip Island.

Inclusions:

  • roundtrip Virgin Australia International Economy class flights - see pricing panel below for your departure city
  • 2 nights Brisbane at the Emporium Hotel South Bank
  • Brisbane Walking Tour
  • Brisbane River Cruise & Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary
  • 3 nights Hamilton Island Beach Club
  • Half day Great Barrier Reef snorkeling tour
  • Half Day Whitehaven Beach cruise
  • 3 nights Sydney at the InterContinental Sydney
  • Half day small group city sights of Sydney
  • Sydney Harbour morning small group cruise
  • Sydney Opera House tour
  • 4 nights Melbourne at the 4.5* Crown Metropol
  • Half Day Laneways & Arcades Walking Tour
  • Full Day Phillip Island Penguin Parade Ultimate Eco Tour
  • Shuttle airport transfers in Brisbane, Sydney & Melbourne
  • All taxes & fuel surcharges

Itinerary

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Day 1 - Depart US
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 Date Line

Day 3 - Arrive Brisbane
The capital of the Sunshine State, is located on the banks of the Brisbane River and enjoys a subtropical climate year-round. During the last decade, the city has matured into a unique blend of historic buildings and sophisticated architecture. To cuddle a Koala, take a cruise along the Brisbane River to the Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary. Visit the South Bank development, the former site of the 1988 world expo and the Botanical Gardens. Upon arrival, you will be transferred by shuttle service to the Emporium Hotel Southbank

ACCOMMODATION - Emporium Hotel South Bank sets a spectacular new standard in exquisite boutique luxury accommodation and award-winning service. 143 luxuriously appointed suites feature all the comforts you could ask for, while an abundance of premium food and beverage options by acclaimed Brisbane chef Josue Lopez will leave you spoilt for choice. On level 21 you will find a magnificent 23m infinity edge pool and bar with panoramic views over South Bank Parklands, the Brisbane River, city and beyond.

This afternoon the perfect introduction to Brisbane, three-hour City Essentials Tour covers all the main sights in the City Centre and takes you where vehicles can't go. See King George Square, the Story Bridge, the City Botanic Gardens, the oldest church in Queensland, Eagle Street Pier, the City Hall Clock Tower, and lots of hidden secrets along the way. You'll also see out the best City bars, cafes and restaurants for every budget, so you can make the most of your time here.

Day 4 - Brisbane River Cruise & Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary
The Koala and River Cruise is a memorable journey on the Brisbane River to the oldest and largest Koala Sanctuary in the world. The cruise travels through the city's most historic landscapes, iconic attractions, historical homesites and interesting wildlife habitats as you listen to an entertaining and informative commentary. Enjoy 3 hours exploring Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary then back on board for a relaxing cruise back to the city.

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Image: Tourism Australia

Day 5 – Brisbane to Hamilton Island
On arrival into Hamilton Island you will be met and transferred to the Beach Club for your three nights stay. Surrounded by landscaped gardens on Catseye Beach, the Beach Club Hamilton Island is a boutique retreat exclusively for adults. Romantic, intimate and perfect for couples, the luxuriously appointed rooms have a stylish and relaxed beach house vibe, tailor-made for relaxing. All rooms at the Beach Club Hotel have a private courtyard or balcony looking onto palm-fringed Catseye Beach and the Coral Sea.

ACCOMMODATION - The Beach Club Resort has a private infinity-edge swimming pool overlooking Catseye Beach and private beach area in front of the hotel. Enjoy la carte breakfast and dinner served poolside at the exclusive Beach Club Restaurant. Guests have exclusive use of the Beach Clubs lounge and bar, and the in-house library is stocked with books, magazines and CDs. The Beach Club has room service and 24-hour reception, and a VIP chauffeured buggy service transports guests around Hamilton Island.

Most of the car-free island is covered in bushland, and the coast is fringed by coral reefs. Tours offer up-close sightings of koalas, kangaroos, wallabies and kookaburras. Trails lead up to Passage Peak in the east, with views of the surrounding islands. Throughout your stay at Beach Club you have use of catamarans, windsurfers, kayaks, stand up paddleboards and snorkeling equipment as well as access to the gym, spa, sauna & tennis courts.

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Image: Tourism Australia

Day 6 - Hamilton Island - Great Barrier Reef snorkeling tour
Experience a half-day snorkeling adventure taking you to selected moorings within the Whitsundays. Locations that are selected include Luncheon Bay or Manta Ray on Hook Island. Your experience will include approximately one hours scenic cruising each way up the Whitsunday Passage, to the best available snorkeling sites. Includes 2 hours on location for snorkeling and in water activities.

Day 7 - Hamilton Island - Whitehaven Beach
An intimate, half-day cruise visiting the remote Hill Inlet and beautiful beach. Kick a ball, take a guided bushwalk or simply bask in the beauty of Hill Inlet, at the northern end of Whitehaven Beach. Departing Hamilton island Marina, you'll cruise towards Whitehaven Beach where you'll disembark at Tongue Bay, our access point to Hill Inlet. Once on land, we'll take you on a guided bushwalk to Hill Inlet where you'll be able to look out at and take pictures of the iconic swirling sands from many different lookout spots. From there, you'll head down to the picturesque Whitehaven Beach where you can relax, explore, take a swim and enjoy the crystal clear waters and white silica sand.

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Image: Tourism Australia

Day 8 - Hamilton Island to Sydney
On arrival in Sydney shuttle service transfer to the InterContinental Hotel Sydney for your three nights stay.

ACCOMMODATION - The InterContinental Sydney is internationally acclaimed as one of the world's best hotels and a true expression in luxury and style, positioned on the edge of the world's most stunning harbour, InterContinental Sydney overlooks the Opera House, Sydney Harbour Bridge and Royal Botanic Gardens.

This premium smoke free accommodation pampers its guest with its comfortable 509 guest rooms including 28 suites which have been home to world leaders, heads of state and visiting celebrities from across the globe and Club InterContinental- Sydney's only rooftop club lounge with a wrap-around terrace. Each room contains high speed internet access, air conditioning, mini bar, digital LCD TV, pay per view movies, in room safe, work desk, free morning newspaper delivered to room, private bathroom, tea/coffee making facilities, luxury window seat and a picture frame view of the city skyline, Royal Botanic Gardens, Opera House or Harbour Bridge.

Day 9 - 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 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.

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Image: Destination New South Wales / Tourism Australia

Day 10 - Sydney - Explore Sydney Harbour
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.

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Image: Destination New South Wales / Tourism Australia

Day 11 - Sydney to Melbourne
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 12 - Melbourne - Lanes & Arcades tour
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.

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Image: Tourism Australia

Day 13 - Melbourne - Phillip Island
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.

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Image: Visions of Victoria

Day 14 - 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 15 - Depart Melbourne
This morning you will be transferred by shuttle service to Melbourne International airport. Board Virgin Australia for your flight back to Los Angeles

 

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  Los Angeles San Francisco New York Denver Boston Miami
01 May - 30 Jun 2019 $3,999 $4,199 $4,299 $4,299 $4,399 $4,399

 

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.

 

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On 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.

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International Economy Class

An inclusive Economy Class experience when travelling on international long haul services. Economy guests receive complimentary food, beverages and in-flight entertainment. Economy Space+ enables you to speed through the airport and enjoy additional on-board benefits to standard Economy.

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International Premium

With more legroom than any other Australian airline, and an intimate cabin that enhances our award-winning service, you'll find Virgin Australia's new Premium experience on-board the Boeing 777 aircraft is a class apart from anything you have experienced before.

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'The Business'

Introducing "the Business", an exceptionally stylish, relaxing and refined way to fly on Virgin Australia's Boeing 777 aircraft. Stretch out in your cocoon-like private suite, or enjoy a drink with others at The Bar, enhanced with the unparalleled, award winning service Virgin Australia is famous for.

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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.