Outback and Reef Adventure

11 days

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Explore Australia’s incredibly diverse landscapes and meet its’ friendly, easygoing residents on this exploration of city, islands, and bush. Start your journey exploring Sydney’s iconic Opera House, Harbor Bridge, and colonial history. Immerse yourself in nature, stunning scenery and Aboriginal culture at the heart of the Australian bush in Kakadu National Park. Your journey culminates with intimate moments on the soft white sand beaches and turquoise waters surrounding the Great Barrier Reef, teeming with tropical fish and exuding an island way of life.

Highlights

  • Discover the tropical islands of the Great Barrier Reef by scenic flight, boat, and snorkel
  • Delve into Aboriginal culture and history in protected Arnhem Land
  • Explore gorges, crystal-clear waterholes, wildlife and wetlands of the great Australian bush
  • Ascend the famous Sydney Harbor Bridge at sunrise
  • Epicurean barefoot dining on white sand beaches at sunset
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Itinerary

DAY 1

Arrive Sydney – Dinner with a Harbor View

Welcome to Sydney. Whet your Australian palette with an exciting overview of Sydney’s best-known sights. Explore the stunning harbor front to witness the Harbor Bridge and Opera House along with other favorite spots for amazing photos. Spend three nights at the Park Hyatt Sydney, with views of the Opera House. We highly recommend a delicious dinner featuring local Australian cuisine along the waterfront this evening. 

DAY 2

Sydney – Sydney City Tour, Private Boat Cruise on the Harbor

A day of adventures awaits, as your guide walks you through Sydney’s history, hidden secrets, and lesser-known nooks of the city. Discover the colonial history, community markets, a local coffee haunt, and botanical gardens. Revel In an afternoon cruising Sydney’s famous harbor, passing under the Harbor Bridge and stopping at a picturesque bay for a gourmet lunch of fresh seafood and a traditional Australian barbeque with salads.  

DAY 3

Sydney – Sydney Harbor Bridge Climb, Private Opera House Tour

Before sunrise, savor a coffee and head to the Sydney Harbor Bridge. Your inner adventurer is calling; the Bridge Climb is one of the world’s top ten experiences by Lonely Planet! Climb ladders, traverse catwalks, and summit to the top of the world-famous Sydney Harbor Bridge to witness a magical sunrise over the harbor. Return to your hotel for a leisurely breakfast. An exclusive Opera House behind the scenes tour is scheduled today. Afterward, take lunch at a local café and spend the afternoon visiting Sydney’s famous beaches.

DAY 4

Kakadu National Park – Airboat Safari and Wildlife Boat Cruise

Board your flight to Darwin, and take a scenic drive to the World Heritage Listed Kakadu National Park for a taste of the Australian Bush. Explore the Fogg Dam Reserve, home to local bird species and wildlife. Discover the Mary River wetlands by airboat safari across the floodplains, above blankets of lilies and reeds. Next, delve into Kakadu National Park on a boat cruise, keeping your eyes peeled for crocodile, local mammals, and prolific birdlife. The next three nights will be at Lord’s Private Tented Camp, an earthy escape nestled deep in the romantic Australian bush.  

DAY 5

Kakadu National Park – Koolpin Gorge

Relish breakfast in the bush, then heat to Koolpin Gorge, the ‘Jewel in the Crown of Kakadu’. Meander, hike or climb the seemingly endless series of gorges across an ever-changing landscape of crystalline waters and infinite views. Plunge pools, waterfalls, and white sand beaches are waiting to be discovered. This evening listen to the crackle of the campfire with your favorite beverage in hand, under a blanket of a thousand stars.

DAY 6

Kakadu National Park – Arnhem Land Aboriginal Discovery

Spend today on an exploration of Arnhem Land, home to an ancient Aboriginal settlement for tens of thousands of years, to gain insight into the Aboriginal culture and history. Stop by the Injalak Arts and Craft Centre to witness traditional arts in action while speaking with local artists, learning about Dreamtime stories. Visit Inajalak Hill, featuring layers of ancient rock art and cave paintings, some up to 8,000 years old. Take a picnic lunch in the bush with breathtaking views encompassing the floodplains and Arnhemland escarpment and enjoy a scenic drive back to camp this afternoon.

DAY 7

Cairns – Barramundi Gorge

This morning, explore Maguk (Barramundi Gorge) on foot, traversing sub-monsoon rainforest, small waterholes, and a scenic plunge pool. Take a dip in the crystal clear waters, and enjoy the tranquil surroundings. In the afternoon, transfer to Darwin for your flight to Cairns. Your evening will be spent at the Riley Hotel in Cairns, with panoramic views over the harbor and ocean. Enjoy an afternoon stroll along the Cairns waterfront this evening, and perhaps a sunset dinner by the harbor.

DAY 8

Lizard Island – Scenic Flight over the Barrier Reef, Snorkel with Turtles, Sunset Degustation Dinner

This morning, a scenic flight will have you soaring above Australia’s Great Barrier Reef, with unforgettable views across turquoise waters and remote islands fringed with coral reefs. Touch down at Lizard Island Resort, an idyllic island retreat where the prominent sounds are the resident birds and the ocean lapping against the shore. Spend some time exploring the island by kayak, paddle board, snorkel, or on foot. Travel to a nearby beach to snorkel with Green sea turtles. A degustation journey awaits at sunset this evening, as you taste your way through Australia’s cuisine on a private pavilion by the ocean.

DAY 9

Lizard Island – Private Charter Boat to the Great Barrier Reef, Stargazing

Rise for an optional yoga session on an ocean view platform, followed by breakfast. Board your boat and cruise to the heart of the Great Barrier Reef, to experience incredible snorkeling and scuba diving on tropical reefs to an array of colorful fish, hard and soft corals. A gourmet lunch will be served onboard, between stops of idyllic tropical islands. In the evening, you’ll be guided on a stargazing exploration across the night sky, accompanied by a telescope.  

DAY 10

Lizard Island – Bird Watching, Reef Research Station, Picnic on the Beach, Blue Lagoon Walk

The early bird catches the worm; rise early to discover the colorful native bird species of the island on a birdwatching walk. Return to the resort for a leisurely breakfast. Mid-morning, join the resident naturalist guide on a tour to the research station, to gain an understanding of the reef conservation efforts underway in the area. A barefoot dining experience awaits, as you are whisked away by motorboat to a private beach for a gourmet picnic lunch. Finish your day with a gentle hike to the blue lagoon, en-route taking in picturesque views across the islands and mainland.

DAY 11

Flight to Cairns – Begin Your Journey Home

Savor your final morning in this paradisiacal island, before your scenic flight to Cairns. As you soar above the turquoise waters and tropical islands, this flight serves as a final culmination of the beautiful regions you’ve encompassed on your journey across Australia’s spectacular highlights. Upon arrival in Cairns, check-in for your international flight home.