This sixteen-day itinerary highlights the many contrasts of Australia including Sydney, Alice Springs, Ayers Rock, Port Douglas & Melbourne. From the stunning beauty of Sydney harbor journey to the heart of Australia – Alice Springs and experience Aboriginal Culture first hand before continuing to Uluru and the awe-inspiring Ayers Rock. From the Red Desert Outback fly to the topaz blue waters of the Great Barrier Reef before ending your Australian adventure in the cosmopolitan city of Melbourne.
- Roundtrip International Qantas Economy Class Flights from Los Angeles, San Francisco or New York JFK (domestic US flights can be added at an additional cost)
- Internal Australia flights
- 3 nights accommodation Sydney at 4* Vibe Hotel Sydney
- Half day small group city sights of Sydney
- Sydney Harbour morning small group cruise
- Sydney Opera House tour
- 1-night accommodation Alice Springs at 4* Crowne Plaza Alice Springs Lasseters Hotel
- Half day a "town like Alice" tour
- Alice Springs to Ayers Rock coach tour
- 2 nights Ayers Rock at the 3.5* The Lost Camel Hotel - Standard Room
- Field of Light Star Pass
- Uluru highlights sunrise tour
- 4 Nights accommodation in Port Douglas at 4.5* The Shantara Resort
- Quicksilver Great Barrier Reef Cruise
- Half Day Mossman Gorge & Aboriginal Dreamtime Tour
- 3 nights Melbourne at the 4.5* Crown Metropol
- Half Day Laneways & Arcades Walking Tour
- Full Day Phillip Island Penguin Parade Ultimate Eco Tour
- Airport transfers by seat in coach shuttle
- All airport taxes & fuel surcharges
Day 1 - Depart
Qantas is the number one way to travel to Australia and your vacation begins the second you step onboard a Qantas flight with Australia just a movie, meal, sleep away. With over 95 years of experience in long haul travel, Qantas strives to ensure every passenger in every cabin has the most comfortable and authentic experience. Qantas offers direct service from Los Angeles, San Francisco, Dallas Fort Worth & New York JFK - add on fares with American Airlines available from other cities.
The Qantas onboard experience has a class for every passenger from First suites, Business, Premium Economy and Economy cabins and offers the best in comfort, Australian food and wine, amenities and exceptional service. All cabins experience the latest in inflight entertainment and technology including premium content from HBO, new movie releases, TV programs and an extensive music library with over 1500 entertainment choices.
Day 2 - Cross International Date Line
Day 3 - Arrive
On arrival in Sydney shuttle service transfer to the Vibe Hotel Sydney for your three nights stay.
ACCOMMODATION - A unique hotel offering chic accommodation in the heart of Sydney, Vibe Hotel Sydney exudes style. It is perfectly positioned for you to easily discover Sydney's vibrant CBD, Surry Hills, Chinatown, World Square and the downtown entertainment precinct that offers live theatre and music all year round. Sydney's premier tourist destinations like Darling Harbour and Hyde Park are only minutes’ walk away with public transport on your doorstep, you have easy access to Sydney's other major attractions.
Day 4 - 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.
Day 5 - Explore Sydney
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.
Day 6 - Sydney - Alice
Depart Sydney for Alice Springs and you be transferred on arrival to by shuttle service to the Crowne Plaza Alice Springs Lasseters The outback town of Alice Springs is the gateway for exploring the Red Centre. If you happen to be in Alice Springs in July you can experience the famous "Camel Cup" – a unique annual camel racing festival held in Australia. Whatever time of year you visit Alice you will have the opportunity to get up close or ride a camel – and tomorrow you will have that opportunity!
Accommodation - Crowne Plaza Alice Springs Lasseters is the center of entertainment in Alice Springs with two bars, three restaurants including Juicy Rump bar and grill, Tali featuring contemporary Australian cuisine with a hint of the Outback, and Tempo an exclusive tapas, wine and cocktails bar, as well as an international standard casino, 24-hour health and fitness facility, Lavish beauty salon and day spa, 205 four and a half star hotel rooms and adjoins the Alice Springs Convention Centre. Crowne Plaza Alice Springs Lasseters enjoys picture-perfect surroundings beneath the stunning MacDonnell Ranges, alongside the banks of the Todd River, and adjoining the Alice Springs Golf Course.
After checking into your hotel, head into town to the Todd Mall, which is lined with commercial galleries dealing in Aboriginal art. Stop at Papunya Tula Artists to see the renowned dot paintings, then at Mbantua Art Gallery and Cultural Museum, which has one of the largest collections of Aboriginal art in Australia and specializes in art from the Utopia region.
This afternoon enjoy an afternoon tour of Alice. See the sights of 'The Alice' including the historic Telegraph Station, which marks the original site of the first European settlement in Alice Springs. It features the original buildings of stone which have been restored with house furnishings and artefacts from the early 1900's. At the Royal Flying Doctor Service see how medical aid reaches those who live in the remote 'outback', and at the School of the Air learn how children who cannot access schools are educated by radio. There may be an opportunity to listen to and observe actual lessons in progress on air. A stop is made at the Alice Springs Reptile Centre, where you can see up close some of the lizards and snakes that frequent Central Australia's semi-arid desert, such as the Perentie Lizard and the Thorny Devil. The tour concludes with a panoramic view of the township of Alice Springs and the MacDonnell Ranges from the top of Anzac Hill.
Day 7 - Alice Springs to Uluru (Ayers
Travel south through the MacDonnell and James Ranges. Your friendly Driver Guide will provide comprehensive commentary of your surrounds. Visit a camel farm where there is time to take a short camel ride (own expense). Later you will have the opportunity to purchase a light lunch at Erldunda Road House. Marvel at majestic Atila (Mt. Conner) before arriving at Ayers Rock Resort. Check into the Lost Camel Hotel.
Accommodation - Contemporary, studio-style accommodation, The Lost Camel features 99 guest rooms decorated in bright colors and crisp, clean whites. Stylishly framed photographs based on Aboriginal themes, such as hands weaving baskets or sifting through berries, adorn the walls to enhance this new hotel's distinctive, modern ethos. The lobby features modern furnishings, bright open spaces and an intimate bar and the resort offers a swimming pool and deck. Furnished in a stylish mix of Aboriginal and urban themes, The Lost Camel brings a fresh, exciting feel to the Resort.
Uluru (Ayers Rock), in the heart of the Red Center, has a desert climate - mostly dry, with brilliant blue skies all year. It is a World Heritage Area, managed jointly by the Aboriginal traditional owners and the Australian Nature Conservation Agency. You will spend two nights at The Lost Camel Hotel, Ayers Rock Resort. The resort is a short stroll to numerous lookouts, where you can view what is arguably Australia's best sunset, with the spectacular play of colors across the face of Uluru and the surrounding desert. This evening enjoy sunset over Uluru & “The Field of Light”. The Field of Light Star Pass experience begins with a convenient pick-up from the Desert Gardens Hotel and transfer to the remote desert location with majestic views of Uluru. A knowledgeable host will provide you with insights and background to the art installation. You are welcomed at a raised viewing area from which you can watch as the last sun rays hit Uluru as the sun slowly sets behind you. As darkness gradually falls and the colored lights of the glass spheres come to life you are invited to walk through and interact with Field of Light. You are then welcomed back at the raised viewing area 30 minutes prior to departure for sparkling wine and canapés whilst viewing the illuminated installation in the darkness.
Day 8 - Ayers Rock - Uluru Sunrise
This morning you will be picked up from your hotel for your small group Uluru Highlights sunrise tour. Travel towards Uluru where its vast shape rises from the sand dunes in the early dawn light highlighting its presence in this country. Stop at a special location to watch the sun rise over this amazing monolith and enjoy a picnic breakfast. Travel to Mutitjulu Waterhole where you will learn the Creation stories of Liru (poisonous snake) and Kuniya (python). Then drive around the base of Uluru hearing the cultural stories of the Mala people before returning to the resort.
This evening consider the Sounds of Silence Dinner (additional
Entered into the Australian Tourism Hall of Fame, Sounds of Silence offers the best of the Red Centre distilled into four magical hours. An unforgettable evening, eating beautifully prepared food under the sparkling outback sky. The journey begins on a lone sand dune. A meandering path takes participants to an uninterrupted, 360-degree view of this vast landscape. In front is the fabled Uluru; behind are the domes of Kata Tjuta and, possibly the most spectacular sunset you have ever seen. Here enjoy sparkling wine and a selection of delectable canapes. As the sun sets in a blaze of reds and oranges, and well into the starlit night, feast on a gourmet barbecue buffet of authentic Australian delicacies including barramundi, kangaroo, emu, crocodile, bush salads and classic desserts, complemented by some of Australia's finest wines. Attention then turns to some of the world's best stargazing, as the resident astronomer takes diners on an unforgettable tour of the spectacular southern night sky. As dinner winds down, select from a choice of tea, coffee or port. In winter, guests gather around a campfire to savor a special treat of hot mulled wine.
Day 9 - Ayers Rock -
This morning you will be picked up from your hotel and transferred to Ayers Rock airport by shuttle service, for your flight to Cairns, the colorful capital of Tropical North Queensland and the major gateway to the Great Barrier Reef. The city is a gateway to an amazing selection of touring options encompassing the Reef, the Outback and the Rainforest. An hour north of Cairns brings you to Port Douglas, the closest town to the Great Barrier Reef with Rainforest clad mountains sweeping down to sparkling sandy beaches. Upon arrival into Cairns you will be transferred to the Shantara Resort Port Douglas for your 4 nights stay
ACCOMMODATION - With a choice of spacious studio rooms or large comfortable one-bedroom self-contained apartments, Shantara is an Adults only retreat with Boutique Holiday Apartments suited for couples or the independent traveler looking for tranquility. All rooms have an outdoor balcony facing one of the pools. Located walking distance to restaurants, shops and Four Mile beach.
Day 10 - Port Douglas – Great Barrier
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 11 - Port Douglas – Daintree
Rainforest Dreamtime Walk
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.
Day 12 - Port Douglas – At
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
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
- Wildlife Habitat
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.
Day 13 – Cairns to
Transfer by shuttle to Cairns Airport for your flight to Melbourne. Enjoy 3 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. Melbournians 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 14 - 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.
Day 15 – 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 Australia’s 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.
Day 16 – Depart
Depart Melbourne on Qantas for your return flight to Los Angeles, San Francisco, Dallas or New York (addon flights available to local airports)
Note: Daily departures, this package is an independent itinerary with flexible departures (not a group tour)
Single Supplement: From $749
ETA to enter Australia $25 per person. Before committing to your trip please ensure you hold a valid passport with at least six months’ validity from the date you plan to return to the USA.
Add on airfares available from most major airports - Add $200 from New York JFK, Add $250 from Seattle, Chicago, Houston, Denver, Minneapolis, Add $380 from Boston, Miami, Add $450 from Washington DC, Atlanta - ask an Aspire consultant for a quote from your local airport.
- Upgrade to premium economy from $700 per person each way*
- Upgrade to business class from $2,000 per person each way*
- Upgrade to International First Class suite from $6,900 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 travel 01 Apr - 21 Jun & 24 Jul - 17 Sep - ask an Aspire consultant for the upgrade fee for travel Friday through Sunday and for other dates.
$3999pp Package from pricing is based on double occupancy (2 people sharing a room) for travel Monday - Thursday. $60 supplement applies each way for travel on Friday to Sunday. Ask an Aspire consultant for pricing for other travel dates. Add-on fares are available from other cities. Certain blackout dates 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.
A passport with extended validity past your travel dates and an Electronic Travel Authority (ETA) is required to enter Australia; Aspire Down Under can issue your ETA for a processing fee of $25 per person. A copy of the picture page of your passport and payment for your ETA is required at the time of booking.