08 OCT ARRIVE SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA G’Day and welcome to Australia! On arrival in Sydney this morning, you will be met by our local guide who will assist you with transfer to the hotel to check in. Accommodation: Vibe Hotel Darling Harbour
9 OCT SYDNEY CITY SIGHTSEEING Breakfast & Lunch (B/L)
We have a full day tour today. We drive through the historic 'Rocks' area where Australia was first founded with its maze of terrace houses, restored warehouses, pubs and restaurants. Drive under the famous 'coat hanger', the Sydney Harbour Bridge and view Sydney's famous architectural masterpiece, the Sydney Opera House. We continue through the commercial area of the city passing the historical buildings of Macquarie Street – Parliament House, The Mint and Hyde Park Barracks. Alight at Mrs Macquarie's Chair for breathtaking views of the city and harbour. Proceed through cosmopolitan Kings Cross and exclusive garden suburbs to the Gap on the ocean headland at Watsons Bay. Return to the city via famous Bondi Beach and Paddington, a Victorian suburb of restored terrace houses richly decorated with cast-iron lace. Afterwards, you board the Captain Cook Lunch Cruise to glide around Sydney Harbour, which most travel experts agree is one of the most scenic harbours in the world. You will see spectacular views of Sydney Harbour Bridge, Circular Quay, The Rocks, Opera House, Fort Denison, Point Piper, Watson's Bay. Enjoy à la carte dining, coffee and upper deck seating. Dine indoors and then if you like you can take in the scenery from the viewing deck. At the end of your cruise, you will disembark at Circular Quay and your guide will lead you to the Sydney Opera House for your private tour, which offers the opportunity to experience the Sydney Opera House in its daily operation. You are guided into theaters, given a fascinating account of the history and architecture of the House and introduced to the magic of performance. With its white, sculptural 'shells' rising from the harbour foreshore at Bennelong Point, the Opera House is Sydney's most recognizable building and, officially, one of the seven wonders of the 20th century.
10 OCT HUNTER VALLEY FULL DAY TOUR (B/L) We take on a Full Day Hunter Valley Tour today. The Hunter Valley is Australia’s oldest commercial wine producing district established over 150 years ago with over 7000 acres under vine. It is credited with being one of the finest wine-growing regions in the world. With more than 70 regional wineries, the Hunter Valley boasts both tiny, boutique wineries and larger wine producers. During the day there will be an opportunity to taste a selection of local wines as well as witness the Wine Theater at Hunter Valley Resort.
11 OCT After breakfast at the hotel, the rest of the day is at leisure to enjoy on your own.
12 OCT SYDNEY FULL DAY BLUE MOUNTAINS TOUR (B/L) We depart for a full day Blue Mountains Tour. En route, you will stop at Featherdale Wildlife Park for a memorable and unique experience in a natural and well-established bush setting. View Koalas, kangaroos and wallabies, wombats, fairy penguins and Australian reptiles. You will then continue on the trail of Australia's early explorers as we ascends into the Blue Mountains National Park. The mountains are a natural wonderland of untamed bush, spectacular rock formations and native wildlife. We drive along Cliff Drive to Echo Point to view the world famous "Three Sisters", perched on the edge of the escarpment, Echo Point precinct provides panoramic views of the southern Blue Mountains. You will have lunch at a local restaurant and then continue on to Scenic World, renowned for providing the ultimate Blue Mountains Adventure. You will unlimited experience on the Railway, Skyway, Cableway and walkway. On your return to Sydney travel through Sydney Olympic Park before returning at your hotel.
13 OCT DEPART SYDNEY TO MELBOURNE by flight (not included) (B) You will be transferred to the airport for your flight to Melbourne. Upon your arrival, meet your local guide who will assist you with the transfer to your hotel by private coach.
Accommodation: The Savoy Hotel on Little Collins
14 OCT MELBOURNE CITY & PHILLIP ISLAND PENGUIN TOUR (B/D) This morning, you will be collected from your hotel and taken on a Half Day City Sights Tour. This tour is a discovery of Melbourne's past and present. The drive will take in the central business district with its eclectic architecture, past the 170 million dollar Victorian Arts Centre. View the beautiful Fitzroy Gardens with avenues of huge English elms planted along gently contoured lawns. Pass by the Botanical Gardens and observe the hustle and bustle of the famous Queen Victorian Markets. Continue along taking in views of the Shrine of Remembrance and St Patrick's Cathedral. The tour concludes at your hotel and free at leisure until this late afternoon we pick you up and transfer to the bridge to Phillip Island. On the island, stop off at Koala Conservation Centre and Churchill Island. We visit Koala Conservation Centre to meet ‘face to face’ with koalas in their natural habitat. Explore the treetop boardwalks and stroll through the woodlands, home to many animals including wallabies, echidnas, bats and birds. Then we have a tour at Churchill Island Heritage Farm. We journey back in time and explore the heritage and tranquil scenery. Wander the old homestead and experience daily heritage farming activities including cow milking, sheep shearing and working dogs demonstrations. Finally, at Phillip Island Nature Park, witness the nightly ritual of the fairy Penguin Parade. Hundreds of little penguins emerge from the sea and waddle resolutely up the beach to their nests. The parade takes place like clockwork a few minutes after sunset each day. Experience the magic of one of the largest penguin colonies in Australia from the Penguins Plus viewing platform. You will have dinner at a local restaurant before heading back to the hotel.
15 OCT MELBOURNE DAY AT LEISURE (B) Today you are free to explore Melbourne at your leisure.
16 OCT MELBOURNE GREAT OCEAN ROAD FULL DAY TOUR (B/L) You will have a highlight tour of the trip by enjoying a Full Day Great Ocean Road Tour. This tour is some of the most spectacular and breath-taking coastal scenery found in Australia, a rewarding experience for the camera enthusiasts. Travel over the Westgate Bridge through Geelong to the famous coastal town of Torquay for a short break. We arrive on to the seaside resort of Apollo Bay with time to enjoy
lunch at a local restaurant, and a leisurely stroll along the beach. At Princetown the Great Ocean Road returns to hug the coastline along the entire length of the Port Campbell National Park. We will view the Apostles - huge stone pillars rising from the surf, remnants of London Bridge, a rocky promontory arch carved out by the continual force of the sea, Lock Ard Gorge – site of the dramatic shipwreck the “Loch Ard” over 100 years ago. The tour concludes upon return to your hotel.
17 OCT DEPART MELBOURNE (B) We check out of the hotel and transfer by private coach to the airport for your flight to your flight back to the US. You will cross the International Dateline again on this flight to gain a day and so arrive back in the US on the same day you left Australia.