Contrasts of Australia - Melbourne, Great Barrier Reef, Sydney from $4,199 per person including international flights

In 15 Days, experience the cosmopolitan city of Melbourne, the World Heritage Listed Great Barrier Reef, and the stunning harbor city of Sydney on this independent trip, fully inclusive of flights, 4* accommodations, transfers, and small group tours. Experiences abound with incredible cities, wildlife encounters, natural wonders, and stunning architecture delivered by Australia’s best guides. Itinerary customization and Air Upgrade options for Premium & business class are available.

 

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Inclusions

  • Roundtrip International Economy Class Flights from Los Angeles, San Francisco, or Dallas (domestic US flights can be added at an additional cost)
  • Internal Australia flights
  • Four nights in Melbourne at the 4.5* Pan Pacific Hotel
  • Half Day Laneways & Arcades Walking Tour
  • Full Day Great Ocean Road Tour
  • Full Day Phillip Island Penguin Parade Ultimate Eco Tour
  • Four nights in Port Douglas at the 4.5* Shantara Resort Port Douglas
  • Full-Day Great Barrier Reef tour
  • Half-Day Mossman Gorge & Aboriginal cultural tour
  • Four nights in Sydney at the 4.5* Amora Hotel Jamison Sydney
  • Half-day small group city sights of Sydney
  • Sydney Harbour cruise
  • Sydney Opera House tour
  • Private car service transfers in Melbourne & Sydney
  • Shuttle airport transfers in Cairns
  • All airport taxes & fuel surcharges

Itinerary

Day 1 - Depart the US to Melbourne
Non-stop flights are available from LA, San Francisco, and Dallas to Melbourne, with connections from all US airports.

Ask about our upgrade options to Premium Economy and Business class.

Day 2 - Cross International Dateline

Day 3 - Arrive Melbourne
Welcome to Australia! On arrival in Melbourne, you will be met in the arrivals hall by your driver and transferred by car service to the Pan Pacific Melbourne. Enjoy 4 nights in exciting Melbourne – named the world’s most livable city for the sixth consecutive year.

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ACCOMMODATION - Shouldered by the Yarra River and in the heart of the South Wharf precinct, Pan Pacific Melbourne provides a riverside experience and a new perspective of Melbourne. Guest rooms are spacious private sanctuaries. Full-length windows infuse each room with light and provide stunning skyline views. Oversized bathrooms are calming and luxurious.

There is a lot to love about Melbourne - just ask the locals. This sophisticated world city in the southeast corner of mainland Australia inspires a deep passion in those who live there. Ranked as one of the world’s most livable cities, Melbourne is famous for its vibrant energy, restaurants, fashion boutiques, café filled laneways, cool bars, unbeatable galleries, spacious parks, and village-like inner suburbs, each with its unique character. Melbourne is less than 200 years old and never sits still. Modern, cutting-edge designs add to the fascinating mix of heritage architecture and ensure the skyline is constantly changing.

Day 4 - Melbourne - Lanes & Arcades tour
This morning Indulge with a small casual 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 5 - Melbourne - Explore The Great Ocean Road
This 11-hour tour allows you to experience this majestic coastal drive with plenty of stops along the way and fully appreciate the wonders of this world-famous route. There will be opportunities to spot some Australian fauna, so stay on the lookout for some very special animals, including whales, dolphins, echidnas, and bandicoots. Enjoy the breathtaking views over the Southern Ocean and stop for a little rainforest walk to appreciate the cool climate and heavy rain that this region enjoys. Free time for lunch in the town of Apollo Bay, and later in the day, head towards the limestone rock formations otherwise known as the 12 Apostles. Nearby you will discover another ancient natural attraction, Loch Ard Gorge, where you will hear the story of the shipwreck and its survivors. Dip your feet in the water at the Gorge’s quaint beach; you will never want to leave. Return to Melbourne after a full day exploring Australia’s most stunning coastal routes.

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Day 6 - Melbourne - Phillip Island
Your 8-hour animal adventure will start with a visit to Moonlit Sanctuary Conservation Park, where you will have time to take photos and have close encounters with animals like kangaroos, wombats, and echidnas. Head to Phillip Island and Woolamai Surf Beach to glimpse the awesome waves and die-hard surfers. Cross the island to reach the dramatic west coast and the Nobbies, where you will be awe-struck by the crashing waves. Finally, it’s time for the main event, the Penguin Parade. There is a reason that this is one of Australia’s top attractions, and the little penguins will not disappoint! You will sit on the protective platform to see possibly hundreds of little penguins waddling onto the beach. Be a witness to this magical procession – it is a treat never forgotten.

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Image: Tourism Australia

Day 7 - Fly Melbourne to Cairns
This morning you will be transferred to Melbourne Airport by private car service. Board your flight to Tropical North Queensland and the city of Cairns. On arrival, meet your shuttle transfer to Port Douglas (approximately 1.5 hours - Upgrades to private car service available, ask an Aspire consultant for the additional cost)

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ACCOMMODATION - Stay four fabulous nights at Shantara Resort & Spa, 400 meters from 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, which offers an array of trendy gourmet restaurants, cafes, and boutique shopping to suit all tastes. With a choice of spacious studio rooms or sizeable 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
This morning board your vessel at Crystal Brook Marina Port Douglas to commence a full-day cruise. Travel aboard Silversonic, a 29-meter luxury catamaran custom-designed for small groups of adventure-minded people to revel in the thrill of diving and snorkeling. Silversonic features a state-of-the-art ride control system for a super smooth journey, a submerged platform for easy water access, hot freshwater showers, change rooms, air-conditioned lounges, and a licensed bar. With over five hours to explore the delights of this underwater world, snorkelers can explore three different outer reef locations at Agincourt Reef, on the very outer edge of the Great Barrier Reef. Snorkel briefs at each site and a guided free snorkel tour are included in your day.

Day 9 - Port Douglas – Daintree Rainforest Dreamtime Gorge Walk
Experience the wonders of the World Heritage-listed Daintree Rainforest and Aboriginal culture on this half-day tour.

NGANA JULAYMBA DUNGAY: “We All Going Daintree” tours are based around the Mossman, Mossman Gorge, coastal habitats & the Daintree River area. Discover the Kuku Yalanji people's environment, learn about different foods and medicines utilized from nature, sample some bush tucker, collect shellfish, and try traditional Aboriginal hunting practices. Have a go at boomerang and spear throwing and if you are lucky, catch a mud crab. Take a guided rainforest walk through the southern Daintree rainforest and visit the Mossman Gorge before being transferred back to Port Douglas.

**Optional Extra – Upgrade from a half-day to a full day tour for an additional $60 per person including lunch*.

Day 10 - Port Douglas
Explore Tropical North Queensland at your leisure or consider adding one of our tour options - Some of our favorites (additional cost applies):

  • 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 vast 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; be immersed within the Wetlands environment while enjoying the cacophony of sounds and colors of Wildlife as they wander freely amongst you while enjoying a tropical breakfast.

  • 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 trip 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 to enjoy a walk through the rainforest or visit the CSIRO Interpretive Centre.

  • Daintree Rainforest & Cape Tribulation
    Travel north along the scenic coastal road, crossing the Daintree River onto 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. Next, visit 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.

Day 11 - Depart Port Douglas - Sydney
This morning you will be transferred by shuttle service to Cairns Airport. Board your flight to Sydney. On arrival you will be met by your driver for a car service transfer to the Amora Hotel Jamison 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.

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ACCOMMODATION - Stay four nights in the Heart of Sydney; The Amora Hotel Jamison Sydney features stylish accommodations, along with a contemporary restaurant & bar, day spa, indoor heated swimming pool, sauna, Wi-Fi, and 24-hour room service. An easy walk to Harbour Bridge, Opera House, Circular Quay, The Rocks, Queen Victoria Building, and only a few minutes from Wynyard train station make Amora one of Sydney's most desired locations.

Day 12 - Sydney - Half Day City Sights tour
This morning you will be picked up from your hotel for your small group Panoramic Sydney tour. Visit the historic Rocks area and hear about early convict history. Enjoy magnificent views of the Opera House and Harbour Bridge. See the city's shopping heart, Queen Victoria Building, and Sydney Tower. Visit Sydney's trendy Oxford Street district and travel through Paddington with its terrace houses before arriving at the Pacific Ocean. See the magnificent coast cliff walk around Tamarama and Bronte. Travel on to famous Bondi Beach and visit the beachfront promenade with time to enjoy a coffee or cool drink (at your own cost). See Aussie lifesavers and Sydney's best panoramic view at Dover Heights. Return to Sydney via Double Bay, Kings Cross, and Mrs. Macquarie's Point for a final magical viewpoint over the harbour before returning to the city center. Tour concludes at Darling Harbour or Circular Quay.

Day 13 - Explore Sydney
Explore Sydney harbor onboard the Hop on Hop Off Sydney Harbour Explorer. Travel aboard a 25-meter motorized Rocket Ferry vessel and enjoy a fun and easy way to explore Sydney, including commentary on selected routes. Then, sit back and relax as your vessel cruises around Sydney Harbour and stops at six harbourside attractions, including Circular Quay, Manly, Taronga Zoo, Watsons Bay, Shark Island, and Darling Harbour. Then, hop off and reboard as many times as you wish as you explore the best of Sydney!

This afternoon enjoy a one hour 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. Next, visit areas off-limits to the public and capture photographs from rare vantage points. Finally, explore theatres and foyers where more than 1600 concerts, operas, dramas, and ballets occur each year.

Day 14 – Optional tour: Sydney – Visit the World Heritage Listed Blue Mountains
Today consider adding an optional small group full day tour to the Blue Mountains, costing $165 per person

This boutique tour provides an intimate touch, traveling in the luxury of 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 create. This will be our first stop in the Blue Mountains, and you will have the option of ordering morning tea (At your own expense) while enjoying the amazing views. Visit Scenic World and dare yourself to ride the steepest Railway in the World. The Scenic Cableway and Skyway offer spectacular views of the Three Sisters and the Valley. Scenic World is included in the price of our tour. The Tour Guide will take you down to the valley floor whilst explaining the area. See breathtaking views of either the Jamison Valley or Megalong Valley away from the crowds in a secluded location. Visit Leura and enjoy the quaint village with multiple lunch venues (at your own expense). The last stop on the tour is Featherdale Wildlife Park, Sydney's ultimate wildlife experience. See the Koalas and feed the baby wallabies before returning to Sydney.

Day 15 - Depart Sydney
This morning you will be transferred by private car service to Sydney International airport. Bid farewell to Australia as you depart Sydney for your flight to the US, arriving the same day.

 

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Costing Per Person starting from $4,199 per person

  • Note: Daily departures, this package is an independent itinerary with flexible departures (not a group tour)
  • Single Supplement: From $1,460

Australian Entry Requirements

Before committing to a trip, please ensure you have a valid passport. Australia welcomes US travelers with an approved Electronic Travel Authority (ETA) to enter Australia.

Read More about the Australian entry requirements

Additional departure gateways & pricing

Add on airfares are available from most major airports – please ask an Aspire consultant for a quote

Upgrade Options

  • Upgrade to premium economy from $1,100 per person each way*
  • Upgrade to business class from $4,000 per person each way*
  • Can take the upgrade one way or round trip and combine premium/business classes on same ticket

* Upgrade from pricing based on Sunday through Wednesday departures from Los Angeles - ask an Aspire consultant for the upgrade fee from other departure points and travel Thursday through Saturday.

 

 

Terms & Conditions:

The package from pricing is based on double occupancy (2 people sharing a room) for low-season stays for travel Sundays through Wednesdays from Los Angeles. A $50 air supplement applies each way for international travel from Thursday to Saturday. A $75 per person supplement applies for a Saturday night stay in Melbourne. Add-on fares are available from other cities. Specific blackout dates apply to the accommodation and tour value add offers. Seats are limited and may only be available on some flights. Hotels are subject to availability. All prices reflect discounts for purchases made by check/wire; please see the terms and conditions for credit card payments. Cancellation penalties and other restrictions apply.

To guarantee the package price & purchase the airline tickets, full payment is due at the time of booking. The purchase of travel Insurance is highly recommended for travel to Australia. Aspire Down Under partners with CSA Travel Protection. Travel insurance covers cancellation penalties under the cancellation benefit should you test positive for COVID-19 immediately before traveling to Australia. In the unlikely event your scheduled travel date is impacted by Australian government entry restrictions, Aspire Down Under will permit a change of travel dates within 12 months from your original booking date without any fees or penalties (the applicable price of the new trip itinerary will apply).

 

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