Australia's biggest attraction is its natural beauty. The landscape varies from endless sun-baked horizons to dense tropical rainforest to chilly southern beaches. Scattered along the coasts, its cities blend a European enthusiasm for art and food with a laid-back love of sport and the outdoors. Visitors expecting to see an opera in Sydney one night and meet Crocodile Dundee the next will have to re-think their grasp of geography in this huge country. It is this sheer vastness that gives Australia - and its diverse population - much of its character.
In cities, visitors will experience a blur of fashion-festooned boutiques and plate-clattering restaurants, then lose themselves in a long fluid moment inside a beer or wine glass. In the interior, they might be harangued by the thump of rocks under their 4WD, only to be transfixed by a slow, silent swirl of outback dust. Around the coast, they'll take an endless breath in the depths of a rainforest, then slowly realize they have an entire beach to themselves.
Day 1- Sydney, Australia
Today when you arrive at Sydney International Airport, you will be met and driven to your hotel for check-in. Enjoy the balance of your day at leisure in Sydney.
You will be confirmed for three nights at the Grace Hotel in a Superior room. The landmark Grace Building is recognized as one of Sydney's most elegantly restored Neo Gothic buildings located in the heart of Sydney. Modeled after the Chicago Tribune building and opened in 1930, the Grace Building was originally the headquarters of the Australian department store, Grace Bros. Converted into The Grace Hotel in 1997 it stands beautifully renovated with many of the original features restored and retained. The Grace's 382 spacious guest rooms were designed with the frequent traveler in mind. These luxuriously appointed rooms are complete with thoughtful amenities to ensure being away from home and the office is a pleasure for all the senses. The pièce de résistance in every room is the exceptionally comfortable bed with its soft feather comforters and pillows.
Sydney, the capital of the state of New South Wales, is Australia's most well known city. With its extraordinary icons both natural and man-made, this is a city that never fails to please the eye. It's magnificent natural harbor spanned by the 'coat hanger', the Sydney Harbor Bridge, and the man-made sails of the Sydney Opera House are just some of its most widely photographed views.
The Grace Hotel- Superior Room
Day 2- Sydney
Enjoy the morning at leisure. This afternoon you will be orientated with Sydney from the most enviable vantage point - on the water! Cruising on Sydney Harbour is a classic Australian experience, and today you will board 'Calypso' - a 52 foot motor cruiser with a minimum of two and a maximum of twelve guests onboard.
Whilst cruising this iconic harbor you will have the opportunity to swim, fish or kayak. However most choose to sit back with a glass of Australian beer or wine, relax on the sunbeds and take in the amazing sights - the Harbour Bridge, the Opera House, Luna Park, Fort Denison and the waterfront homes of the rich and famous. A barbeque lunch is served on board, while anchored in a secluded cove. Your four hour experience on the water ends at Commissioners Steps in Circular Quay, approximately a 15 minute walk from your hotel.
The Grace Hotel (B, L)
Day 3- Sydney
Enjoy a full day at leisure in Sydney. Most of the major attractions of the city are within easy walking distance of your accommodation - Sydney Opera House, Darling Harbor, Centerpoint Tower, Circular Quay, The Rocks etc. Our local office can assist you with dinner reservations, sightseeing excursions and/or theater and opera venues.
The Grace Hotel (B)
Day 4- Sydney- Ayers Rock (Uluru Kata Tjuta National Park)
Today you will be driven to Sydney Airport for your flight (not included) to Ayers Rock. When you arrive in Ayers Rock, you are met and transferred to the Desert Gardens Hotel.
Desert Gardens Hotel is set amongst magnificent ghost gums and flowering native shrubs. With over 65 tours, local activities attractions within the resort and the Uluru Kata Tjuta National Park, your stay will be action packed.
This afternoon, join your tour to Kata Tjuta ("the Olgas"). Discover the magnificence of the Olgas, as your guide walks you through the Olga Gorge describing the geology and Aboriginal plant use in the area. You will return to the hotel for approximately one-half hour before your pick up for the Sounds of Silence Dinner tour. Here you will dine under the stars amongst the serenity of the outback desert. Upon completion of the tour, you will be returned to your hotel.
Desert Gardens Ayers Rock- Standard Room (B, D)
Day 5- Ayers Rock (Uluru Kata Tjuta National Park)
Beginning prior to sunrise, this 9.4km walk, including a light breakfast, will introduce you to the geology of Uluru and you will hear how plants and wildlife have adapted and survived in such a forbidding environment. Hear of the relationship of the Anangu people to Uluru, which provided shelter, water and a tangible link with their creation ancestors. On the walk around the base hear and see the creation time stories of these ancient people unfold, see where they lived and carried out ceremonies. From a distance Uluru is spectacular; from close up it is powerful and deeply moving. Enjoy the rest of the day at leisure.
Desert Gardens Ayers Rock (B)
Day 6- Ayers Rock- Cairns- Palm Cove
Late morning transfer to the Ayers Rock airport to board your scheduled flight to Cairns (flight not included). On arrival in Cairns you will be met and transferred to Palm Cove.
The Beaches of Cairns stretch for 26 km along a beautiful coastline beginning north of the city. One of them is Palm Cove - just 20 minutes north of Cairns, and considered one of the top 10 beaches in Australia. Palm Cove's beach offers warm tropical water year round and a silky sandy beach lined with majestic Palm trees with beautiful views of the Coral Sea - the ingredients for an idyllic tropical holiday; warm seas, watersports and uncrowded sand with a sweeping backdrop of rainforest mountains.
Pullman Palm Cove Sea Temple Resort & Spa is your temple for relaxation. Located beachfront on the southern end of Palm Cove, this world class luxury 5 star resort offers guests a tranquil escape. Pullman Palm Cove Sea Temple Resort & Spa is created to provide the utmost privacy and tranquility. Choose from an amazing selection of 126 Asian inspired, beautifully detailed studio rooms or apartments and Villas with the option of luxurious swimouts, private plunge pool and rooftop terraces. Drift into bliss at the Mii Spa or enjoy a cocktail overlooking the central lagoon pool before a sunset walk on the beachfront. Pullman Palm Cove Sea Temple Resort & Spa is the serenity you've been looking for in a paradise you'll love.
Pullman Palm Cove Sea Temple Resort & Spa- Studio Spa Room (B)
Day 7- Great Barrier Reef
Transfer to Marina Mirage in Port Douglas and board 'Quicksilver' cruise for a full day excursion to Agincourt Reef. Situated on the very edge of the Great Barrier Reef, Agincourt Reef provides a sheltered anchorage for the Quicksilver vessel and the perfect spot for passengers to snorkel, dive, and view the spectacular coral formations. An adventure Snorkel with a marine biologist is included. Return to Port Douglas and transfer by coach to Sebel Reef House.
Pullman Palm Cove Sea Temple Resort & Spa (B, L)
Day 8- Palm Cove
Enjoy a full day at leisure at Sebel Reef House. Perhaps join in some of optional activities available from the lodge such as spa and massage treatments, hiking, freshwater swimming, canoeing, tennis, golf, fishing and bike riding. Or take a guided walk through the rainforest during the day or evening.
Pullman Palm Cove Sea Temple Resort & Spa (B)
Day 9 - Palm Cove- Cairns- Depart
Transfer to Cairns International Airport for your departing flight.
Depart any day! Contact an iExplore Adventure Consultant for details.
2013 Price: $4099 based on two people sharing one room
· Sydney airport meet and assist upon arrival and welcome packet
· Accommodation as detailed:
The Grace Hotel - Superior Room
Desert Gardens Ayres Rock - Standard Room
Pullman Palm Cove Sea Temple Resort & Soa - Studio Spa Room
· Airport transfers in Sydney, Ayres Rock and Cairns by private vehicles
· Meals as indicated (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)
· All sightseeing excursions and transfers are on a non-exclusive basis
· Entrance fees while sightseeing
· International and Domestic air and taxes
· Internal air: Sydney-Ayers Rock-Cairns
· Internal air: Cairns-Sydney
· Meals other than those indicated
· Optional sightseeing excursions
· Items of a personal nature
· Travel Insurance
· Departure tax
· Holiday surcharges
All prices are in US dollars and do not include international airfare, unless otherwise noted.
Prices displayed are based on the lowest season base price and assume double occupancy. Prices are shown in U.S. dollars and may or may not include administrative fees, taxes, meals, airfare (where applicable) and Single Supplements. Cancellation penalties, blackout dates and other restrictions may apply.