Day 1 – USA to Melbourne (Via Sydney)
Today you will begin your Swain Destinations customized itinerary. Please note, international air has not been included in this package price.
Day 2 – Cross the International Date Line
Cross the International Date Line, an imaginary line on the surface of the Earth that runs from the North to the South Pole - and defines one calendar day from the next. Crossing the International Date Line adds one day (24 hours) traveling west, and subtracts one day (24 hours) traveling east.
Day 3 – Welcome to Melbourne, Australia
On arrival into Melbourne you will need to clear customs and make your way through the main arrivals hall where you will be met and transferred to your accommodation.
At first glance, Melbourne may resemble any other modern city with its skyline full of concrete and glass. However, if you look a little closer, you'll find the real Melbourne, a city of unique charm.
There are the clanging trams (street cars), swanky boutiques, friendly taxi drivers, Australian Rules Football, fickle weather and ‘BYO’s’, by the hundred (restaurants to which you bring your own liquor or wine). Add to this, Melbourne's traditional virtues of tree lined boulevards, glorious parks, elegant buildings and imposing Victorian Banks and Churches, and of course the giant Melbourne Cricket Ground and you’ll have some idea of the city.
Melbourne has become a polyglot society with a huge diversity of cultures, Italian, Greek, East European, Middle Eastern and Asian. This diversity is reflected in the food styles, the lifestyle, & even the language spoken in the street.Starting Accommodation:
Day 4 – Koalas and Kangaroos, in the Wild
A one day cultural and nature tour where you may see and learn about native animals and plants both in the famous open-range grasslands of Serendip Sanctuary on the Western Plains and in the bush lands of Brisbane Ranges National Park. We search for kangaroos, koalas, birdlife and discover a rich Aboriginal heritage.
Departing from your city hotel, we travel the short distance to the western plains of Victoria - one of the largest volcanic plains on earth. Open grasslands stretch in all directions with the occasional extinct volcano or ancient mountain range rising steeply out of the plain. There is a distinctly 'Australian' feel about the region.
Our first stop is Serendip Sanctuary, an open range reservation for rare and endangered indigenous wildlife of the Western Plains. Run by the National Parks Service, Serendip plays a pivotal role in the conservation of some of Australia's rarest birds, including the Bustard, Brolga and Cape Barren Goose. Seek out the large free-range mobs of our tallest kangaroo, the Eastern-grey and family groups of the world's second largest bird, the Emu.
We have a bush lunch before traveling to the Brisbane Ranges National Park, to walk a wide Savannah of grass, bush and wetlands searching for kangaroos and koalas. The park has a large population of wild Koalas and we very rarely miss out on sighting a number of these delightful creatures, we also visit places of importance to the Aboriginal people of the region.Starting Accommodation:
Day 5 – At leisure, Melbourne
Melbourne, the capital of Victoria and a cultural hub, is known for the good things in life - fashion, food, entertainment and sport. This is a city of style, architecture, trams, theatres and art. The influence of decades of immigration from all over the world has made Melbourne a paradise for those who love food and wine. Whole streets are dedicated to food, whether it be Indian, Spanish, Italian, Japanese, Chinese, Greek, or a host of other styles. You can't miss the world-class wines either. You’ll barely meet a visitor who hasn’t fallen in love with Melbourne. Rattling trams, parklands singing with blackbirds, stately architecture and palm trees - it’s like northern Europe on the Mediterranean.
Colonial Tramcar Restaurant
Tonight, dine in style aboard the unique Colonial Tramcar Restaurant. Enjoy fine Australian cuisine and wines as you travel around the city aboard this specially renovated Tramcar. The tracks take you all over the Melbourne area past the city center and into the more exclusive suburbs Melbourne is known for.Starting Accommodation:
Day 6 – Melbourne to Uluru/Uluru Sunset Tour
Transfer from your Melbourne accommodation to the airport aboard the Sunbus shuttle service. Please note that you are joining a share shuttle service with set pick up times that are not flexible. Private transfers are available.Uluru Sunset Tour
Departing your accommodation at Yulara resort, today's excursion will travel through the landscape to the entrance of Uluru Kata Tjuta National Park. From this point, it is only a matter of minutes before the spectre of Uluru rises from the sand dunes to demonstrate its enormity and presence - our first stop allows you a photographic opportunity of this amazing icon. With Uluru looming in front, walk with your guide to a place of tranquillity at the base. The closer you wander, the more you surrender to the realization of the sheer size of this monolith.
As you drive around the base, your guide takes you to the entrance of Mutitjulu Waterhole, a semi-permanent watercourse nestled in the contours of Uluru. Here, learn the Creation stories of Liru (poisonous snake) and Kuniya (python) and their battle for control of Uluru as well as a number of other stories associated with other prominent Tjukurpa (Dreaming) stories. See the rock art of the ancients and learn how Uluru was, and still is, a significant location for teaching young Aboriginal people. We then adjourn to the Talinguru Nyakunytjaku viewing area where you will observe an uninterrupted view of Uluru with Kata Tjuta in the background.Starting Accommodation:
Outback Pioneer Hotel (B)
Day 7 – Sounds of Silence
Tonight is an outback dining experience to remember, with Desert Oaks framing the view, the sounds of the didgeridoo, the taste of outback cuisine, the ‘sounds of silence’ and the Milky Way.
Journey into the desert and see the brilliant outback sunset over Kata Tjuta. Enjoy a three course meal prepared before we dim the lanterns and listen to the sounds of the great outback. Look up to see the brilliant southern skies, the Milky Way gleaming amongst stars and constellations. Kata Tjuta Sunrise Tour
Today's excursion will travel through the landscape to the entrance of Uluru Kata Tjuta National Park. From there, it is a 40km journey through the desert landscape to the mighty rock formation. On arrival at the viewing area, you walk to the best vantage point to see the 36 domes that comprise this spiritual place while watching the sun's morning glow as the desert comes alive. Your guide will lead you to the western side of Kata Tjuta where you will have the opportunity to relax and enjoy a picnic breakfast.Starting Accommodation:
Outback Pioneer Hotel (D)
Day 8 – Ayers Rock to Cairns
Transfer to the airport for your flight to Cairns. Upon arrival you will be met and transferred to your hotel. The heart of the tropical north, Cairns offers great access to reef and islands and is a perfect base for exploring the wider region. With 600 day tours departing the city daily there is plenty to do.Starting Accommodation:
Cairns Colonial Club
Day 9 – Great Barrier Reef tour
This morning, transfer to the wharf for your full-day excursion to the Great Barrier Reef. You will have four hours at the reef site, to explore what makes the Great Barrier Reef one of the wonders of the world.
The day trip has been designed with the water enthusiast or novice alike - snorkel gear and instruction is provided for all guests, or stay dry and explore the stunning reef from the comfort of a semi-submersible vessel, just one meter underwater.
Introductory and certified dives are run in conjunction with snorkeling day trips at an additional cost, and guided snorkel trips with a marine biologist are also available for a nominal fee. A tempting hot and cold buffet lunch is included, as well as morning and afternoon tea on board.Starting Accommodation:
Cairns Colonial Club (L)
Day 10 – Kuranda tour
Board the train, sit back and enjoy the scenic journey through tunnels and past waterfalls to Kuranda.
On arrival, you are taken to Birdworld (optional extra cost), followed by some leisure time to explore the village and markets before meeting your host back at the Skyrail Terminal. Marvel at the spectacular views as you glide silently above the rainforest canopy. There are two stations en route where you can alight to walk through the rainforest to scenic lookouts.
Skyrail ends at Caravonica Lakes where we have a buffet lunch at the Boomerang Restaurant. Next, enter the Tjapakai Aboriginal Cultural Centre – you will be personally escorted by an Indigenous guide during your time at Tjapukai. There are stage shows, movie theatres, craft demonstrations and an Aboriginal Village - just a few of the attractions that provide an insight into Aboriginal culture and history.Starting Accommodation:
Cairns Colonial Club
Day 11 – Hot Air Ballooning
You are collected from your Cairns or Palm Cove hotel prior to dawn and transferred to the departure point – Mareeba. Watch the crew prepare your balloon as the sun gently rises to unveil the surrounding beauty.Starting Accommodation:
Cairns Colonial Club
Day 12 – Cairns to Sydney
You will be transferred to the airport for your flight to Sydney. Upon arrival you will be transferred to your accommodation.
Sunny, sexy, sophisticated - Sydney basks as the shining star of the southern hemisphere. The stunning Sydney Opera House and Sydney Harbour Bridge are the pride and joy, but there's much more to offer.
Sydney’s sparkling harbor is the jewel in the city’s crown. It’s flanked by golden beaches and bush land, and is bisected by one of the most famous bridges in the world. Islands sprinkle its waters, and it's crisscrossed by all manner of craft, from water taxis and yachts to tour boats and ferries.Starting Accommodation:
Day 13 – Sydney City Tour
Sydney truly is one of the most beautiful cities in the world with its spectacular harbor setting, fascinating convict history, bustling downtown area and an exciting blend of architecture, ranging from convict built early colonial style reflecting our heritage, through to the world famous Sydney Opera House.
Enjoy a city sights tour, which will provide you with an introduction to the highlights of this fabulous city, giving you a taste of what you may wish to further explore during your stay.Starting Accommodation:
Day 14 – At leisure, Sydney
At your leisure to explore the city of Sydney. It’s been said that Sydney never sleeps. In daylight hours the city buzzes with life and remains active long after workers have left their offices. All-night pubs, cutting-edge dance clubs, and gay reviews could keep you out until dawn. Fancy a late-night meal or a final coffee - that’s not a problem. Be seen on trendy Oxford Street from Darlinghurst to Paddington or try the Woolloomooloo Finger Wharf, Surry Hills, the quay or the Rocks.Starting Accommodation:
Day 15 – Sydney to USA
You will be met and transferred to the airport for your departure flight.