Day 1 – USA to Melbourne
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
Melbourne is Australia's second largest city (after Sydney), but is second to none when it comes to fashion, festivals and Sport. Set around the shores of Port Phillip Bay, the city itself is laid out in a large rectangle. She boasts a lively, cosmopolitan pulse, sitting on the northern banks of the Yarra River, about three miles from the bay. Visitors come for its shopping, restaurants and nightlife. Residents stay for its cultural diversity, passion for the arts and enviable sports calendar. Melbourne is renowned for playing host to a number of nationally and internationally recognized events each year including the Australian Open Tennis Grand Slam, the Australian Formula 1 Grand Prix and the ever impressive two mile horse race - the Melbourne Cup. A major event in Melbourne spreads an addictive buzz through the city streets and you can be sure that locals and visitors alike will embrace the energy surrounding it.Starting Accommodation:
Day 4 – Koalas and Kangaroos, in the Wild
Depart Melbourne to travel just 45 minutes west to the bushland of You Yangs Park. The park is home to a healthy population of wild Koalas, which are researched and monitored to ensure the best possible sightings.Take an easy walk through the gum trees, searching for koalas, wallabies, kangaroos and birds in their natural setting. Your Wildlife Guide will point out plants and features of interest, explain some of the history of the area and, where possible, introduce you to known, named Koalas that are part of the research project.Help collect important data, remove Boneseed (a weed) and make a difference to koala habitat.
The area is also of great significance to the local Aboriginal People of the Wathaurong Tribe. Many signs of their occupation remain, and the guide will share their knowledge with you. Though you will not meet any Aboriginal People on this tour, guides act with the knowledge, consent and support of the Wathaurong Community. A picnic lunch is usually served under the gum trees and includes gourmet sandwiches, fruit and cakes, and delicious Australian 'Billy tea'.
At Serendip Open Range Sanctuary, drive, then walk through the gum trees and across grasslands in search of mobs of Eastern Grey Kangaroos. Also look out for curious Emus, and take a short walk to the billabong, home to large populations of water birds.
At the end of the day all participants will receive a certificate of thanks for helping wildlife, and an opportunity to stay in touch with each of the Koalas seen on the day. The tour is vehicle-based, with short walks during the day; includes a substantial picnic lunch and pick up/drop off to Melbourne city between 5 and 6pm. NOTE:this itinerary is an indication only, due to conditions on the day it can change slightly to maximize wildlife viewing opportunities.Starting Accommodation:
Day 5 – Lanes & Arcades Walking Tour
Have you ever been to a city and wondered what all the fuss was about? Or wasted time trying to find that cool local café you were told of, then ended up missing everything? Melbourne's arcades and lane ways hide many of these answers. Join this indulgent morning walk through Melbourne's beautiful back streets, and become orientated in the life of the city that locals love. Discover local designers and specialty retailers that often are only found in the city. Some of the quirkiest cafes, independent designers, street art, architecture, and historical tales are found in these walkways, there is something for everyone, locals and visitors alike. Morning tea is included as well as lunch with a glass of wine.Starting Accommodation:
Day 6 – Melbourne to Adelaide
Today you will be transferred to the airport for your flight to Adelaide.InterContinental Adelaide
Along the banks of the shimmering River Torrens is the InterContinental Adelaide, an elegant haven in the bustling city center. Gleaming gold staircases wind around marble pillars when you enter the hotel’s lobby, built to showcase the natural environment of the park lands outside and the three atriums inside. Suites feature furniture and artwork selected from across the world, bringing an international touch to the contemporary décor. Large windows offer sweeping views of the city, particularly the extravagant Casino and Festival Center and the picturesque Riverbank Promenade. InterContinental’s two restaurants showcase the culinary trends and influences of the area – an authentic Japanese restaurant and a riverside eatery showcasing local produce and recipes.Starting Accommodation:
Day 7 – Kangaroo Island - One Day Adventure
This full day tour starts with a flight from Adelaide to Kangaroo Island. Meet your host on arrival who will be on hand through the day to introduce you to the lifestyle, culture and wildlife of this large and diverse Island. Start out in the Cygnet Valley which is great koala habitat. Enjoy a morning tea overlooking the Island's best farming country before taking a bush walk through the habitat of kangaroos, wallabies and bird life. Break for an elegant barbecue lunch with great local wines at a private lunch-site before heading on to Seal Bay. This beautiful sandy beach is home to some 1000 Australian sea lions - walk with your guide Galapagos-style amongst them and learn about their lifestyle and ecology.Starting Accommodation:
Day 8 – Classic Adelaide - Culture & Heritage
Explore the Cultural Boulevard, walking amongst the statuesque Government and University buildings. Visit the renowned Art Gallery with Rodin Sculptures and Museum with its unique desert garden, all the buildings have stories to tell. Visit Artlab to view the talented team restoring historic paintings, books and fabrics. Enjoy visits of little streets & lanes whilst indulging in a taste of fine chocolate from famous icon producer Haighs. Visit South Australia's own Jurlique store, discovering hidden secrets along the way which only a local would know. Wander past the historic Queen Adelaide Club & Adelaide Club home to Adelaide's elite. Perhaps complete the 4-hour tour in a picturesque atmosphere with a tasty lunch at South Australia's Art gallery.Starting Accommodation:
Day 9 – The Ghan from Adelaide to Alice Springs
Join the Ghan Train for a legendary journey on a legendary train. The Ghan is internationally recognized as one of the world's most famous long distance trains. Named after the Afghan camel drivers who did so much to open up the heart of Australia last century, this magnificent train is of great historical significance to the nation, so relax and watch the vast Australian Outback unfold as you journey from Adelaide to the 'Red Centre.' (L, D)
Day 10 – Arrival to Alice SpringsDouble Tree by Hilton Alice Springs
Double Tree by Hilton Alice Springs provides easy access to the myriad attractions of this ruggedly beautiful region. The hotel is located a mile from downtown Alice Springs, and adjacent to an International Golf Course. Rooms are air-conditioned, attractively decorated and feature a balcony with views of the MacDonnell Ranges. Facilities & activities include pool, tennis, golf and star-gazing. There is also a fully equipped health club with spa and sauna, plus a coin laundry for guest use.Starting Accommodation:
Day 11 – Alice Springs to Uluru (Ayers Rock) Uluru Sunset Tour
You will arrive at 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 tranquility 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:
Day 12 – Touring Australia's OutbackKata Tjuta Sunrise
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.
As you approach the entrance to Walpa Gorge which was named for the wind (Walpa) that whistles between the massive domes that shape Kata Tjuta, your guide will share the significance of this men's sacred ceremonial site. We take a stroll between these mighty conglomerate rock walls as your guide explains how the environment and the geology has evolved over millions of years and how the domes resulted from eons of weathering and continual upheaval.Bush Tucker
Join your guide for an adventure into the outback bush environment and discover the importance of traditional bush food to the local people and meet some of the reptiles of the region. You will wander through country and learn how the local people lived in such a hot desert climate and survived on a variety of bush seeds and animals. Grind native seeds, try your hand at throwing a spear and taste a selection of these bush seeds traditional and contemporary. Meet the reptiles and learn about these amazing creatures that roam our desert landscape.A Night at Field of Light
A night at Field of Light combines the award-winning 'Sounds of Silence' buffet BBQ dinner under the outback sky with the once-in-a-lifetime Field of Light art installation. With magnificent views of Uluru at sunset, a special three-course bush tucker menu, premium selection of Australian wines & beers, fascinating star talk and a self-guided walk through the Field of Light art installation, your 'A Night at Field of Light' experience is complete.
As the sun sets on the horizon to the music of a lone didgeridoo, enjoy gourmet canapés and chilled sparkling wine. As darkness falls and the colored lights of the 50,000 glass spheres gently come to life, join your table of fellow travelers for an exceptional three-course menu infused with bush tucker flavors. As the night ignites with countless stars, settle back and listen to the resident star talker decode the southern night sky.Starting Accommodation:
Day 13 – Uluru (Ayers Rock) to Port DouglasPort Douglas Peninsula Boutique Hotel
Perched on the edge of the seemingly endless Four Mile Beach is the Port Douglas Peninsula Boutique Hotel, a luxurious getaway just a short walk away from the heart of Port Douglas. The seaside hotel is in the perfect spot to explore the white sands and Great Barrier Reef just off the coast, as well as the quaint shops, restaurants, and galleries in town. Suites are spacious and comfortable with rainforest and ocean views, touches of tropical flowers, aromatherapy burners and private balconies. Tiered heated pools and whirlpool spas allow guests to relax after exploring the tropical village. Breakfast is included, along with complimentary Wi-Fi access for all guests.Starting Accommodation:
Day 14 – Daintree Dreaming Ngadiku Tour
Experience the regions rich Aboriginal history and culture on this exclusive day tour adventure. Travel along one of Australia's most scenic coastal drives as you head north of Port Douglas to Cooya Beach (Kuku Kuku). This special place is a traditional fishing ground of the Kuku Yalanji people. There are three diverse ecosystems - beach, mangroves and coastal reef. Here one of the Kubirri Warra brothers of Kuku Yalanji Cultural Habitat Tours will teach you how to throw a spear and other Aboriginal hunting techniques. Walk with the brothers on their traditional lands as they demonstrate how to track and hunt for fish, mud crabs, and mussels. Learn about bush tucker and medicines before enjoying home-made damper and the catch of the day.
Next, travel to the Mossman Gorge Centre for lunch before joining the Ngadiku Dreamtime Walk, conducted by a local Indigenous guide. Ngadiku (Nar-di-gul) means stories and legends from a long time ago in local Kuku Yalanji language. You are greeted with a traditional smoking ceremony. This ceremony is conducted by Aboriginal people with specialized cultural knowledge to welcome people to their land. It is a ceremony of spiritual cleansing, to ward off evil spirits and to ensure that, while you are on the traditional land of Kuku Yalanji people, you are accepted and honored. The walk then meanders through stunning rainforest and takes in traditional huts or humpies. Your experienced interpretive Indigenous guide demonstrates traditional plant use, identifies bush food sources and provides an enchanting narrative of the rainforest and their special relationship with this unique tropical environment. Your guide demonstrates traditions like making bush soaps and ochre painting. At the end of the tour enjoy traditional bush tea and damper.Starting Accommodation:
Day 15 – Calypso - Pure Snorkel
Calypso Reef Charters is a family owned and operated company providing daily reef cruises from Port Douglas to the Great Barrier Reef. An experienced crew provides friendly and professional service. Enjoy sailing the reef, mooring at spectacular sites on the Great Barrier Reef to snorkel or just relax on board. Catering for all types of guests - from novices to those with experience, with vessel capacity limited to 65-85 passengers on board, the team on Pure Snorkel will ensure a safe and memorable day for all.Starting Accommodation:
Day 16 – Port Douglas to SydneyFour Seasons Hotel, Sydney
The spectacular Four Seasons Hotel Sydney is just a stroll away from the harbor and the Opera House, and lies in the center of Sydney's business district. Well known for its impeccable service, the hotel also features comfortable rooms and impressive views of the city and harbor.
The hotel offers 531 rooms & suites, elegantly decorated in a luxurious contemporary style. Views from the guest rooms include Sydney's most famous icons: the sunrise over the Royal Botanic Gardens and the Sydney Opera House, the harbor, the Sydney Harbour Bridge, Darling Harbour and beyond.Starting Accommodation:
Day 17 – Totally Sydney - Bondi to Manly
The moment your Just Sydney guide collects you from your hotel, the 'Totally Sydney' tour delivers a sensational day of historic landmarks, cultural spaces, superlative views, delightful lunch and hidden local treasures. Hear about Sydney's early history gliding through the historic 'Rocks' area. Always on show, Australia's twin global icons - The Sydney Opera House and Sydney Harbour Bridge. Reflect on stories and enjoy views of Sydney's colonial past as you travel on historic Macquarie Street past Parliament House, St Mary's Cathedral, old Mint building and Hyde Park Barracks. Next the Royal Botanic Gardens, with time for a stroll and great photo opportunities. A panorama of Opera House, Bridge, Fort Denison, ferries and yachts. Chance a meeting with a Sulphur Crested Cockatoo or couple of Lorikeets on your way to Woolloomooloo.
Next the heritage terraces of Paddington and Woollahra with their 'Sydney Lace'. Home to art galleries, boutiques, antique shops and many of Sydney's finest providers. A stop is made at a local cafe where it is just the locals and a great barista. Bondi Beach is on every visitor's to-do list. Check out the historic pavilion where swimming was first sanctioned in 1905. Take a short stroll on part of the world famous Sydney Coastal Walk from Tamarama Beach back along the cliff walk. Motor across the Sydney Harbor Bridge to the stunning vistas from Middle Head and Mosman, a leafy and prosperous residential area with hidden inner harbor beaches. Relax over lunch in a local restaurant. Next, travel to Manly Beach, home of Surf-boarding in Australia, before travelling up to the North Head Sanctuary. Your Just Sydney guide escorts you to the Manly Ferry for a cruise back to Circular Quay where your tour ends.Starting Accommodation:
Day 18 – Taronga Zoo - Aboriginal Discovery Tour
Located on traditional Cammeraigal Country, Taronga Zoo acknowledged the Cammeraigal people, their Country, spirit and traditions as customary owners. Aboriginal traditions of Caring for Country have strong links to Taronga's wildlife conservation goals.
'Nura Diya' meaning 'this country or camp', allows you to discover more about the oldest living culture on earth as it evolves into the future. Developed with Aboriginal people, and led by an Aboriginal Guide, the tour will take you on a walk-through introduction to Australia's wildlife from an indigenous perspective - all framed by views of beautiful Sydney Harbour. The many cultures of Aboriginal Australia are rich and diverse, and all use unique natural resources for shelter, food, medicine, tools and art. Nura Diya celebrates these diverse cultures and delivers personal insights, as you learn about Australian wildlife through the experiences of an Aboriginal guide. You'll hear stories of the Dreaming, a time of creation, when landscapes, plants and animals took shape, and of the strong bonds between people, plants and animals; and responsibilities for the land they all share. Starting Accommodation:
Day 19 – Sydney to USA
You will be transferred by private vehicle from your city accommodation to Sydney Airport to begin your journey back to the USA.