Road Scholar : Home
Australia: An Odyssey Down Under

Program Number: 20134RJ
Start and End Dates:
2/5/2015 - 2/21/2015; 4/16/2015 - 5/2/2015; 9/24/2015 - 10/10/2015; 10/8/2015 - 10/24/2015; 10/22/2015 - 11/7/2015; 11/5/2015 - 11/21/2015; 11/19/2015 - 12/5/2015; 1/16/2016 - 2/1/2016; 1/28/2016 - 2/13/2016; 2/11/2016 - 2/27/2016; 2/25/2016 - 3/12/2016; 3/3/2016 - 3/19/2016; 3/10/2016 - 3/26/2016; 3/24/2016 - 4/9/2016; 4/7/2016 - 4/23/2016; 4/14/2016 - 4/30/2016; 4/21/2016 - 5/7/2016;
Duration: 16 nights
Location: Australia
Price starting at: $7,299.00 - Price may vary based on date, departure city
Program Type:
Meals: 37; 14 Breakfasts, 12 Lunches, 11 Dinners    
Meal Options: Vegetarian; Low Fat; Gluten Free; Low Salt    

From cosmopolitan cities to impossibly expansive landscapes to the amazing Great Barrier Reef, explore the highlights of Australia on this educational adventure. Examine fragile ecosystems from desert to rainforest to coral reef, compare the personalities of Sydney and Melbourne and learn the often rough-and-tumble story of Australia.


• Enjoy a behind-the-scenes visit to the Sydney Opera House.
• Marvel at the Great Barrier Reef and discuss environmental issues facing it today.
• Discover the giant red rock formation known as Uluru and learn about its sacred meaning to the Aboriginal people.

Activity Particulars

Walking up to three miles per day on uneven terrain.

Program # 16434 is a combination of this program, program #20135 "New Zealand: An Odyssey Down Under" and extension program 21740 "New Zealand's Capital."

Date Specific Information

2-5-2015, 4-16-2015, 9-24-2015, 10-8-2015, 10-22-2015, 11-5-2015, 11-19-2015, 1-16-2016, 1-28-2016, 2-11-2016, 2-25-2016, 3-3-2016, 3-10-2016, 3-24-2016, 4-7-2016, 4-14-2016, 4-21-2016

Enjoy the latest in hearing technology — listening devices — on this date.

Itinerary Summary

Arrival Sydney, 4 nights; flight to Melbourne, 3 nights; flight to Alice Springs, 2 nights; coach to Uluru/Ayers Rock, 1 night; flight to Cairns, 3 nights; flight to Sydney, 1 night; departure.

Coordinated by Road Scholar.

Overnight flight from the U.S.A.
1 night
Cross International Date Line
1 night
Arrival Sydney
4 nights

Learn from a local academic about Australia’s early settlement and study Sydney’s colonial past. Go inside the iconic Sydney Opera House guided by an expert and also attend a live performance "in the house" one evening. Be introduced to Australia’s unique wildlife at Taronga Park Zoo and take in the wonderful views of Sydney Harbour and the city it affords. Take a boat excursion on the magnificent Sydney Harbour for a unique view of the city. Visit the famous Bondi beach to gain some understanding of Australia's beach culture and the relationship residents have with the water. Enjoy some free time to explore this wonderful modern city at your leisure.

Flight to Melbourne
3 nights

Journey to Phillip Island for its famous Penguin Parade, pausing at a wildlife park en route to meet the wombat and other local critters. Explore Melbourne’s fascinating Queen Victoria Markets. A local expert discusses Australia's economy and politics. Visit the Australian collection at the National Gallery of Victoria to learn about indigenous Australian art. Have some free time to explore Australia's second city at leisure utilising its wonderfully user-friendly tram system.

Flight to Alice Springs
2 nights
Coach to Uluru/Ayers Rock
1 night

An expert lecture addresses the Aboriginal culture and heritage in Alice Springs, a centre of aboriginal culture for more than 15,000 years. An Aborigine woman teaches you about "bush tucker" and makes a dinner to show how these traditional flavours can be used in contemporary cuisine. Learn how the School of the Air and the Royal Flying Doctor Service deliver vital services to the most remote parts of the Outback. Visit the Alice Springs Desert Park to meet Australian desert wildlife. See the huge monoliths of Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park - Ayers Rock (Uluru) and the Olgas (Kata Tjuta) - up close on guided walks.

Flight to Cairns
3 nights
Flight to Sydney
1 night

On a full-day boat excursion exploring the magnificent Great Barrier Reef, choose to snorkel and/or go reef-viewing in a semi-submersible vessel. Observe the North Queensland tropical rainforest from above the canopy on the SkyRail Rainforest Cableway as you "float" down the Kuranda Range. Visit a local cultural park to gain an understanding of coastal Aboriginal culture and lifestyle. Fly to Sydney and overnight in an airport hotel prior to your flight home to the USA.


From expansive desert to the 1,616 mile Great Barrier Reef, the planet’s smallest continent is also one of the most diverse. Native Aboriginal culture dates back nearly 30,000 years, and with the arrival of Europeans colonists followed by a Gold Rush, Australia evolved into a true amalgam of ethnicities and cultures. Its cities, outbacks and beaches harbor tales of pirates and penal colonies, marine wonderlands and a modern, multi-national citizenry.

Sydney: Hotel on Darling Harbour. Melbourne: Four-star hotel in City Centre. Alice Springs: Resort hotel. Ayers Rock: Outback lodge. Cairns: Resort with lagoon-style pool. Sydney: Hotel near airport.

Road Scholar Instructors
These instructors are participating on at least one date of this program. Please note that changes may occur.
David O'Brien

Dave O’Brien has been involved with Road Scholar programs since 1999, providing lectures on the eco-systems of the World Heritage-Listed Great Barrier Reef and assisting participants as they have hands-on experience with the fish and corals of the reef during snorkeling excursions. He says, “I am a dyed-in-the-wool biologist and thoroughly enjoy what I do, and I still see the occasional new fish species!”
Meals and Lodgings
   Novotel Rockford Darling Harbour
  Sydney, Australia 4 nights
   The Swanston Hotel Melbourne, Grand Mercure
  Melbourne, Australia 3 nights
   Chifley Alice Springs Resort
  Alice Springs, Australia 2 nights
   Desert Gardens Hotel
  Uluru (Ayers Rock), Australia 1 night
   Novotel Cairns Oasis Resort
  Cairns, Australia 3 nights
   Mercure Hotel Sydney Airport
  Sydney, Australia 1 night
 Novotel Rockford Darling Harbour
Type: Hotel
  Description: Overlooking Darling Harbour, the hotel is located beside Chinatown and the Entertainment & Convention Centres. It is a five-minute walk of the heart of the city.
  Contact info: 17 Little Pier Street
Sydney NSW 2000,   Australia
phone: +61 2 8217 4000
  Room amenities: Room facilities include tea/coffee making facilities, television, telephone, hairdryer, refrigerator and internet access.
  Facility amenities: Hotel facilities include a safety deposit box, gymnasium, indoor heated lap pool and foreign exchange facilities. Valet laundry service is available or a commercial laundry is located nearby.
  Smoking allowed: No
  Elevators available: Yes
  Additional nights prior: On form in Prep. For additional pre- and post-program accommodation, please contact Road Scholar Travel Services at (800) 241-1404 or via email to

 The Swanston Hotel Melbourne, Grand Mercure
Type: Hotel
  Description: Located in the heart of Melbourne, close to major attractions and adjacent to major tram routes.
  Contact info: 195 Swanston Street
Melbourne, VIC, NA 3000 Australia
phone: +61 3 9663 4711
  Room amenities: Room facilities include tea/coffee making facilities, cable television, telephone, refrigerator, hairdryer and iron/ironing board.
  Facility amenities: Hotel facilities include laundry, gymnasium, heated indoor swimming pool, foreign exchange, safety deposit box facilities and internet access.
  Smoking allowed: No
  Elevators available: Yes

 Chifley Alice Springs Resort
Type: Hotel
  Description: Situated on the banks of the famous Todd River, with its magnificent river red gums, the hotel is only a five minute walk from the town centre.
  Contact info: 34 Stott Terrace
Alice Springs NT 0870,   Australia
phone: +61 8 8951 4545
  Room amenities: Room facilities include air-conditioning, tea/coffee making facilities, refrigerator, television, in-house movies, telephone, radio, internest access, iron/ironing board hairdryer.
  Facility amenities: Hotel facilities include a swimming pool, guest laundry, dry cleaning service, internet kiosk, foreign currency exchange and safety deposit box facility.
  Smoking allowed: No

 Desert Gardens Hotel
Type: Hotel
  Description: The hotel is located as a part of the Ayers Rock Resort very close to Uluru.
  Contact info: Yulara Drive
Yulara NT,  0872 Australia
phone: +61 -8-8957-7714
  Room amenities: Room facilities include air-conditioning, tea/coffee-making facilities, refrigerator, television, ISD/STD phone, in-house pay movies, hair dryer and iron/ironing board.
  Facility amenities: Hotel facilities include a swimming pool, laundry/dry cleaning service and safety deposit facilities.
  Smoking allowed: No

 Novotel Cairns Oasis Resort
Type: Hotel
  Description: The resort-style hotel is located within easy walking distance of the stunning waterfront esplanade and the compact city centre.
  Contact info: 122 Lake Street
Cairns QLD 4870,   Australia
phone: +61 7 4080 1888
  Room amenities: Room facilities include tea/coffee making facilities, television, telephone, refrigerator, hairdryer, iron/ironing board, in-room safe and internet connection.
  Facility amenities: Hotel facilities include lagoon-style pool with a sand-beach entrance, gymnasium, valet laundry/dry cleaning and guest laundry.
  Smoking allowed: No
  Elevators available: Yes

 Mercure Hotel Sydney Airport
Type: Hotel
  Description: Situated next to riverfront parkland and overlooking an 18 hole golf course, the hotel is located only 1.2 miles from Sydney’s International and Domestic Airports but is away from the direct flight path.
  Contact info: 20 Levey Street
Wolli Creek, Sydney NSW 2205,   Australia
phone: +61 2 9518 2000
  Room amenities: Room facilities include air-conditioning, tea/coffee making facilities, refrigerator, television, pay-to-view movies, telephone, iron/ironing board and hairdryer.
  Facility amenities: Hotel facilities include a laundry/valet service, computer centre, outdoor swimming pool, gymnasium, tennis courts and squash courts.
  Smoking allowed: No
  Elevators available: Yes
  Additional nights after: On form in Prep. For additional pre- and post-program accommodation, please contact Road Scholar Travel Services at (800) 241-1404 or via email to

Travel Details
  Start of Program:
Sydney, Australia. The program commences with the arrival of the group flight - QF18 due at 9:35am - at Sydney Airport. You will be staying at Novotel Rockford Darling Harbour that night.
  End of Program:
Sydney, Australia. The program ends after breakfast on Day 17. Participants on the designated group flight - QF11 departing at 11:45am - are then transferred to Sydney Airport. You will be staying at Mercure Hotel Sydney Airport the night before.
  Required documents:
The Road Scholar Health & Safety Form is required. All US passport holders travelling to Australia must obtain an electronic visa prior to entering the country. You will not receive a visa stamp inside your passport, nor will you receive anything in writing. Instead you will be registered with the Australian Government as valid to enter/exit Australia. Road Scholar Travel Services will process the visa electronically and will send the visa confirmation to participants three to four weeks before departure. There is no charge for this service.
  Parking availability:
Transportation (For Independent Travelers)
To Start of Program
  Location:  Sydney
  Nearest airport:  Sydney Airport
  Transportation to site: The easiest and most direct way to get from Sydney Airport to the first hotel is by taxi. Each terminal has its own sheltered taxi rank with supervisors on hand in peak hours to ensure a smooth flow of taxis for travelers. The signage in the airport will direct you to the taxi rank. The fare to the hotel will be approximately AU$50. If taking a taxi to the hotel, please be sure to ask for the "Novotel ROCKFORD Darling Harbour" as there is also a Novotel Darling Harbour in a completely different location. Alternatively, participants can take the train from the airport stations into Central Station. The signage in the Airport will direct you to the station for your terminal. The fare to Central is approximately AU$16 per person. From Central Station take the light rail and get off at the Paddys Markets stop. The fare for the light rail is around AU$3.50 per person. Once disembarking from the light rail, carefully cross the tracks and walk up past the Entertainment Centre (keeping it on your left). Across the grassy square past the Entertainment Centre is your hotel.
  From End of Program
  Location: Sydney
  Transportation from site: For participants making their own way to Sydney Airport at the conclusion of the program, there is a scheduled airport hotel shuttle service that runs from the final hotel to the airport. It can be booked at hotel reception when you arrive at the hotel for your final night. The cost is currently AU$6 per person.
    (Additional transportation information same as above)
Equipment Requirements: Your bathing suit is a must! A long-sleeve sun-protection cover-up are highly recommended for your day out on the Great Barrier Reef.
The prices listed for commercial services and facilities that are not included in the program cost, such as airport shuttles or extra nights lodging, are subject to change without notice. Since Road Scholar cannot guarantee the accuracy of these prices, we strongly suggest contacting the companies directly for the most up-to-date information.

Daily Schedule

Day 1: Departure
(Thursday, February 5)
 Evening: Depart the USA on overnight flight to Australia.

Day 2: In Flight
(Friday, February 6)
 In Transit: Cross International Dateline.

Day 3: Arrive in Sydney / Course Overview / Orientation to Sydney
(Saturday, February 7)
 Morning: Welcome to Sydney! Sydney’s stunning natural harbour forms the centrepiece of a dynamic city that has grown dramatically since its beginnings as a prison colony. Situated in the temperate area of Australia, Sydney is surrounded by National Parks and has a beautiful range of flora and fauna. It is Australia’s largest city with nearly 5 million citizens thriving in a multi-cultural society in a congenial climate. Sydney is dominated by Sydney Harbour, of which Port Jackson is only a small part. The city covers a large area, twice the size of London with half the population, and has large parks and sparkling sandy Pacific Ocean beaches, such as the well-known and very popular Bondi and Manly. Upon your arrival in Sydney you are met by our Sydney Site Coordinator. We transfer to our hotel in Sydney's Darling Harbour precinct, having an orientation to the city en route. After unloading our luggage, we go on a walking tour of the central business district with our local Site Coordinator.
 Lunch: We have lunch with our Site Coordinator in a local cafe.
 Afternoon: After lunch we return to our hotel and check in. We have the remainder of the afternoon at leisure.
 Dinner: We come together for dinner with the participants on program 16434, recently arrived from Wellington, who will be sharing our exploration of Australia with us.
 Evening: After dinner we have an overview of our Australian course and a brief introduction to Sydney.
Accommodations: Novotel Rockford Darling Harbour
Meals Included: Lunch, Dinner

Day 4: Introduction to Australia / Orientation to Sydney's Beachside Suburbs & Harbour Heads / Sydney Opera House tour
(Sunday, February 8)
 Breakfast: In the hotel.
 Morning: This morning a local professor gives us a lecture introducing us to the history of Sydney and, by extension, Australia.
 Lunch: In the hotel.
 Afternoon: After lunch we visit Sydney's sought-after eastern beach-side suburbs and South Head to see the narrow entrance to the harbour. We return to the magnificent World Heritage-listed Sydney Opera House. Here we have an expert-led exploration of this truly wonderful, iconic building, a masterpiece of late modern architecture. Please note that exactly which areas of the Sydney Opera House we see will depend upon what performances and rehearsals are taking place at the time. There are five main performance spaces at the Sydney Opera House - the Concert Hall, the Dame Joan Sutherland Theatre (formerly the Opera Theatre), the Drama Theatre, the Playhouse and the Studio - and the availability of these spaces to visit changes from day to day. We walk approximately two miles this afternoon and evening on undulating paved surfaces and stairs. We return to our hotel and have some free time before dinner.
 Dinner: This evening we take a short walk along the western fringe of Darling Harbour where we have dinner at a local restaurant in the Darling Harbour precinct.
 Evening: At leisure.
Accommodations: Novotel Rockford Darling Harbour
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 5: Sydney's Colonial History / Cruise on Sydney Harbour
(Monday, February 9)
 Breakfast: In the hotel.
 Morning: This morning we have a walking exploration of The Rocks area giving us an insight to Sydney’s colonial past. The Rocks was the area of Sydney first settled by the British and it has a fascinating history and wonderful Sydney sandstone buildings. We finish our walk at Circular Quay where we board a vessel for a cruise on magnificent Sydney Harbour. On our coffee cruise we take in the stunning scenery and learn how the modern Sydney Harbour has evolved. We will walk up to three miles this morning.
 Lunch: We disembark our cruise vessel and walk to a restaurant in The Rocks for lunch.
 Afternoon: The afternoon and evening is free to allow you to explore this wonderful city at your leisure.
 Dinner: Dinner is at own arrangements this evening allowing you to explore and sample what Sydney's restaurant scene has to offer.
 Evening: At leisure.
Accommodations: Novotel Rockford Darling Harbour
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch

Day 6: Taronga Park Zoo / Performance at the Sydney Opera House
(Tuesday, February 10)
 Breakfast: In the hotel.
 Morning: This morning we coach across the Sydney Harbour Bridge to Taronga Zoo, located on the north shore with delightful views across the harbour to the city. Here we begin our study of Australian fauna. As well as meeting kangaroos, koalas & wallabies and hoping for a glimpse of the rather more elusive wombat, echidna and platypus, we will have a lecture introducing us to some of Australia’s more dangerous inhabitants – its spiders and snakes. At the zoo we will walk in excess of three miles over undulating paved surfaces. We will be on our feet for most of the morning.
 Lunch: We have lunch at Taronga Park Zoo.
 Afternoon: You are given a ferry ticket for the journey back across the harbour to the city centre. The remainder of the afternoon is at leisure allowing you to perhaps linger and explore the zoo further or to head back across to the city to investigate more there.
 Dinner: We come together back at the hotel for an early dinner allowing us to get to tonight's performance at the Opera House in plenty of time.
 Evening: This evening we enjoy a performance in one of the five main performances spaces in the Sydney Opera House - one of the world's great pieces of architectural design.
Accommodations: Novotel Rockford Darling Harbour
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 7: Flight to Melbourne / Course Overview / Introduction & Orientation to Melbourne / Eureka SkyDeck 88 / Shrine of Rememberance / Evening Video
(Wednesday, February 11)
 Breakfast: In the hotel.
 Morning: This morning we check out of our Sydney hotel and coach to Sydney Domestic Airport for our flight to Melbourne. Melbourne, Australia’s second-largest city, is the capital of Victoria, a state in the south-eastern corner of Australia. During the gold era Melbourne possessed great wealth and many of the city’s fine buildings were built during this period of prosperity. Its magnificent streetscapes and extensive parks and gardens provide an ideal setting for its many elegant buildings. In the past Melbourne was a larger business centre and city than Sydney and today the two cities continue a friendly rivalry. Both are cosmopolitan and multi-cultural and Melbourne has many strong ethnic communities from three major periods of migration including: Chinese and German (after the gold rushes), Italian, Greek, southern European (1939 – 1945) and, more recently, Asian. Melbourne is reputed to have the largest Greek population outside Athens. We will be met by our local Site Coordinator and transferred into the city.
 Lunch: We have lunch in a cafe set in one of Melbourne’s parks.
 Afternoon: After lunch, we visit the Shrine of Remembrance. We then head up to the top of the Eureka 88 Skydeck offering panoramic views over the city, giving us an understanding of the layout of Melbourne. During our field trip, our Site Coordinator will give a lecture introducing us to Melbourne and the State of Victoria. We transfer to our hotel and check in.
 Dinner: In the hotel.
 Evening: This evening we can watch a video educating us on Australia's unique environment.
Accommodations: The Swanston Hotel Melbourne, Grand Mercure
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 8: Australia's Economy and Health System / Melbourne's famous Queen Victoria Markets / local wildlife park - meet the wombat & friends / Phillip Island Penguin Parade
(Thursday, February 12)
 Breakfast: In the hotel.
 Morning: This morning we have a lecture introducing us to Australia’s Economy and Health System. We then hop aboard Melbourne’s famous tram system and visit Melbourne's well-known and quirky Queen Victoria Market, where we soak up the vibrant, cosmopolitan atmosphere. We will walk at least two miles this morning and evening.
 Lunch: We will be given money to get our own lunch, sampling whatever fare we fancy at Queen Victoria Markets.
 Afternoon: We return to our hotel to board our coach bound for Phillip Island. En route we pause for a comfort stop at a local wildlife conservatory where we again have the opportunity to meet some of Australia’s most recognisable residents – kangaroos, koalas and maybe a wombat or two. We continue on to Phillip Island Nature Park in time for the Penguin Parade. Our Site Coordinator will get us an ideal location, from which we can watch the gorgeous little penguins come ashore at dusk after their day out fishing.
 Dinner: We will have dinner at a quintessential Australian local country pub bistro in San Remo near Phillip Island. Please note that, depending on when dusk is due to fall, we may either have dinner before or after our Phillip Island penguin experience.
 Evening: At the conclusion of our Phillip Island penguin experience we board our coach and return to Melbourne.
Accommodations: The Swanston Hotel Melbourne, Grand Mercure
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 9: Introduction to Australian Art at the National Gallery of Victoria / Remainder of day at leisure
(Friday, February 13)
 Breakfast: In the hotel.
 Morning: This morning we can walk or take the tram to the National Gallery of Victoria for an introduction to Australian art. A local art historian will give us a lecture and an expert-led exploration of the Aboriginal art exhibition. We walk approximately two miles this morning.
 Lunch: Lunch today is at leisure in the city.
 Afternoon: The afternoon is free to explore this cosmopolitan city.
 Dinner: Dinner is at own arrangements giving participants an opportunity to explore and sample Melbourne's renowned restaurant scene.
 Evening: At leisure.
Accommodations: The Swanston Hotel Melbourne, Grand Mercure
Meals Included: Breakfast

Day 10: Fly to Alice Springs / Course Overview / School of the Air / Aboriginal Culture / Olive Pink Botanical Garden BBQ / Stars of the Southern Hemisphere
(Saturday, February 14)
 Breakfast: In the hotel.
 Morning: This morning we check out of our hotel and coach to Melbourne Domestic Airport for our flight to Alice Springs. Alice Springs is located almost exactly at the geographic centre of Australia and has been a home for Aborigines for 30,000 years. Many of the physical features of the land have great cultural significance. Originally established in 1888 as Stuart, the town developed through the need for an overland telegraph line to assist Australia with its communications to the world. Today, “The Alice” is a pleasurable, modern town and is a major access point for the many tourist attractions of central Australia. On arrival we are met by our Red Centre Site Coordinator and are given an overview of Alice Springs and the Red Centre.
 Lunch: We transfer to our hotel and check in in time for lunch in the restaurant.
 Afternoon: This afternoon we visit the School of the Air to gain an understanding of the techniques employed to provide education across the vast isolated and remote expanse of the Australian outback. We walk approximately a mile and a half this afternoon. We return to our hotel and have a lecture introducing us to the culture, art and heritage of the Aborigines of the Red Centre.
 Dinner: This evening we have dinner at the local botanical garden. As we dine we are entertained with ballads and yarns of the Australian bush.
 Evening: After dinner a local astronomer will introduce us to the stars of the southern sky – we can look for the Southern Cross and other southern constellations in the clear air of Australia's Red Centre, free of the lights of the big city.
Accommodations: Chifley Alice Springs Resort
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 11: Alice Springs Desert Park / Western MacDonnell Ranges / Royal Flying Doctor Service / Aboriginal Bush Foods
(Sunday, February 15)
 Breakfast: In the hotel.
 Morning: This morning we visit Alice Springs Desert Park where we gain an understanding of the beauty and mystery of the Australian desert and the life that exists there. As we explore the park with our guide we will be on our feet most of the morning and will cover approximately two and a half miles on even, well-cared-for dirt surfaces.
 Lunch: At Alice Springs Desert Park.
 Afternoon: After lunch we travel to Simpson’s Gap in the Western McDonnell Ranges where we view the permanent waterhole in its stunning location under the towering cliffs of the Simpson Range. The walk is approximately one mile in length and is on fairly even surfaces including some sand. We return back into Alice Springs where we visit the Royal Flying Doctor Service and learn how aircraft and the radio are used to deliver medical services in the huge distances of central Australia.
 Dinner: We then head to a local restaurant where a local indigenous caterer introduces us to native Aboriginal bush foods, their traditional use and how they are being incorporated into contemporary cuisine. We have dinner at the local restaurant where our taste buds get to discover for themselves just how contemporary Australian cuisine is utilising traditional Aboriginal flavourings.
 Evening: At leisure.
Accommodations: Chifley Alice Springs Resort
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 12: Uluru - Ayers Rock / Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park Cultural Centre / Sunset viewing
(Monday, February 16)
 Breakfast: In the hotel.
 Morning: This morning we check out and board our coach for the journey to Uluru with an excursion to a camel farm en route. We will pause for morning tea at a typical Outback roadhouse. Rising from the arid heartland of Australia are the haunting geological marvels of Uluru (Ayers Rock) and Kata Tjuta (The Olgas). They lie within Uluru Kata Tjuta National Park, which is owned by the local Aborigines. Uluru is a red sandstone monolith, the world’s second largest at 5.5 miles around, with smooth slopes rising to 1,098 feet. For thousands of years this rock has been the focus for religious, cultural, territorial and economic inter-relations among the Aboriginal peoples of the Western Desert. Caves around the base of the rock were used by Aboriginal people for shelter and were decorated with their paintings. Kata Tjuta is a collection of smaller, more rounded rocks that are very captivating. The tallest rock, Mt Olga, is nearly 656 feet higher than Uluru.
 Lunch: At Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park Cultural Centre.
 Afternoon: This afternoon we explore Uluru by coach and on foot (covering approximately two miles in total). This sacred Aboriginal site is truly awe-inspiring. Our Northern Territory Site Coordinator will explain something of the significance of the Rock to the local Aborigines. In the late afternoon we will take in a sunset viewing of Uluru, watching the amazing colours of the Rock as the sun sets.
 Dinner: We have dinner at our hotel tonight where we may have the opportunity to sample some of Australia's more "interesting" native meats.
 Evening: At leisure.
Accommodations: Desert Gardens Hotel
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 13: Kata Tjuta (The Olgas) / Fly to Cairns / Orientation to City / Course Overview / Great Barrier Reef lecture
(Tuesday, February 17)
 Breakfast: This morning we check out and head across for breakfast at Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park Cultural Centre.
 Morning: After breakfast we travel out to Kata-Tjuta, the spectacular formation of 36 rounded domes. Kata Tjuta means "many heads" in a local language. Here we will walk up Walpa Gorge, affording us wonderful views across the Outback. We will walk nearly four miles over some uneven surfaces.
 Lunch: We return to Yulara for lunch at the Outback Pioneer.
 Afternoon: We coach to Ayers Rock airport for our flight to Cairns. Cairns, on the east coast of Australia, is the most northerly city in the state of Queensland. It is always green and lush with abundant tropical plants and flowers. It is also one of Australia’s fastest-growing cities and, in addition to its role as a regional centre for dairy, timber and sugar production, it is an important tourist destination. Cairns is uniquely situated between two World Heritage-Listed areas – the Great Barrier Reef and the Wet Tropics Rainforest.
 Dinner: On board flight to Cairns.
 Evening: Upon our arrival we we are met by our Cairns Site Coordinator and transfer to our hotel in Cairns. We will have an introduction to Cairns and our program en route to the hotel. A local marine biologist will give us a lecture this evening on the Great Barrier Reef. He will give us an insight into what we might see tomorrow on our cruise out to this World Heritage-listed icon.
Accommodations: Novotel Cairns Oasis Resort
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 14: Cruise on Great Barrier Reef, one of Australia's most remarkable natural gifts
(Wednesday, February 18)
 Breakfast: In the hotel.
 Morning: Today we have a full-day cruise on the Great Barrier Reef where we can view the World Heritage-listed coral reefs in the company of our dedicated marine biologist. We will be able to snorkel among the spectacular coral reef and/or view the reef from a semi-submersible vessel.
 Lunch: We have a buffet lunch today on board our cruise.
 Afternoon: Our cruise continues this afternoon. We return to Cairns in the late afternoon.
 Dinner: Dinner is at own arrangements this evening with The Esplanade's wide range of restaurants only a block or two from our hotel.
 Evening: At leisure.
Accommodations: Novotel Cairns Oasis Resort
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch

Day 15: Wet Tropical Rainforests / Kuranda / SkyRail / Tjapukai Aboriginal Cultural Park / Program Review
(Thursday, February 19)
 Breakfast: In the hotel.
 Morning: This morning we have a lecture introducing us to the second of Cairns’ World Heritage-listed features – the Wet Tropical Rainforests of North Queensland. We gain an understanding of the abundance of life in the tropical rainforest. We then coach to the village of Kuranda, a mountain retreat surrounded by rainforest. We have time to explore before lunch.
 Lunch: At a local restaurant in Kuranda.
 Afternoon: We then walk to the Skyrail Rainforest Cableway to take the stunning cableway journey sweeping above the canopy of World Heritage-listed rainforest. En route to the cableway terminus at Caravonica, we stop at the Rainforest Interpretive Station where our guide will lead us on a rainforest walk teaching us more about this special environment. From the teminus we then walk to Tjapukai Aboriginal Park where we learn about the lifestyle of the northern coastal Aborigines. Here we will have the opportunity to see if we can make our boomerang come back.
 Dinner: We have our farewell dinner tonight in our hotel.
 Evening: At leisure.
Accommodations: Novotel Cairns Oasis Resort
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 16: Flight to Sydney
(Friday, February 20)
 Breakfast: At accommodation.
 Morning: We have some free time this morning to do our final pack or to explore Cairns at leisure. We come together at our hotel to transfer to the airport for our flight to Sydney.
 Lunch: Lunch is at own arrangements although we will get a light meal on board our flight.
 Afternoon: We fly to Sydney this afternoon. Upon our arrival in Sydney, we coach to our Sydney Airport hotel in the safe hands of our Group Leader.
 Dinner: We have dinner tonight in our Sydney Airport hotel.
 Evening: At leisure.
Accommodations: Mercure Hotel Sydney Airport
Meals Included: Breakfast, Dinner

Day 17: Departure for the USA.
(Saturday, February 21)
 Breakfast: At accommodation.
 Morning: After breakfast, we check out of our hotel and transfer to Sydney Airport. We check in to our flight to Los Angeles and home.
Meals Included: Breakfast
Important information about your itinerary: Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy and completeness of the information featured on this website. Itineraries are based on our best information at this time. Circumstances beyond our control may require us to adjust itineraries or other details. We regret any inconvenience this may cause and appreciate your understanding. Information will be sent to you from your Program Provider approximately three weeks prior to the program start date. The prices listed for commercial services and facilities that are not included in the program cost, such as airport shuttles or extra nights lodging, are subject to change without notice. Since Road Scholar cannot guarantee the accuracy of these prices, we strongly suggest contacting the companies directly for the most up-to-date information.

Suggested Reading List

A Commonwealth of Thieves, The Improbable Birth of Australia

Author: Thomas Keneally

Description: With drama and flair, novelist Keneally illuminates the birth of New South Wales in 1788, richly evoking the social conditions in London, the miserable sea voyage and the desperate conditions of the new colony. His tale revolves around Arthur Phillips, the ambitious (and bland) captain in the Royal Navy who would become the first governor of New South Wales. You may be familiar with Keneally as the author of the acclaimed work (made into an equally-renowned film) "Schindler's List".

Aboriginal Art

Author: Wally Caruana

Description: This well illustrated survey of Aboriginal art, ancient and modern, focuses on the spiritual and geographic sources of art and ritual traditions in Australia. It covers the range of art from all parts of the continent, including a chapter on the Wandjina rock art of the Kimberley region. The concise text is augmented by 187 well produced black-and-white and color illustrations.

Bradt Australian Wildlife

Author: Stella Martin

Description: A guide not just to kangaroo and koala, this compact, illustrated survey, featuring 250 color photographs, takes in habitats, parks and conservation, marsupials, birds and bats.

Chasing Kangaroo

Author: Tim Flannery

Description: An ode to the kangaroo in all their splendid diversity and oddity. Revisiting his early love of kangaroo fossils, Flannery weaves engaging tales of his adventures on the trails of marsupials past and present with his travels and encounters with eccentric scientists and Aborigines.

Dirt Music, A Novel

Author: Tim Winton

Description: Among Australia's finest writers, Tim Winton fashions powerful and elegant tales set within the arid outback of Western Australia. An alcoholic mother and a down-on-his luck poacher are the protagonists of this recent novel, where landscape and nature play just as much a role as the characters themselves.

Field Guide to the Birds of Australia

Author: Ken Simpson • Nicholas Day

Description: A handbook and field guide to Australia's birds with 2,000 vivid color illustrations, each accompanied by a brief description and revised range map. This more compact seventh edition features 16 new or revised color plates, new maps and condensed information.

In A Sunburned Country

Author: Bill Bryson

Description: Bill Bryson revels in Australia's eccentric characters, dangerous flora and fauna, and other oddities. As has become his custom, he effortlessly imparts much fact-filled history in this wildly funny book. Included at the end is a short bibliography. This book is published as "Down Under" in Australia, New Zealand and Great Britain.


Author: Bruce Chatwin

Description: Rory Stewart provides the introduction to this 25th anniversary edition of Bruce Chatwin's celebrated travelogue, which is as much about its gifted author - and the meaning of travel - as about the Aboriginal people and their ways of life. Chatwin transforms a journey through the Outback into an exhilarating, semi-fictional meditation on our place in the world.

The Fatal Shore

Author: Robert Hughes

Description: A celebrated social history, both scholarly and entertaining. Hughes traces the fate of those who were transported to the penal colonies of Australia between 1787 and 1868 in this engaging popular account, drawn from the experiences of the colonists themselves. A precursor to the gulags and prison camps of the 20th century, the British penal colonies in Australia are an oft-forgotten experiment in 19th century social reform and colonization. While the colonies were concentrated mainly in small coastal sections of New South Wales and Tasmania, the book helps elucidate how this first chapter in their history was the most vital factor in defining the early Australian character.

The Turning, New Stories

Author: Tim Winton

Description: These 17 overlapping stories, steeped in everyday life on western Australia, follow the fates of a handful of characters in a small coastal town outside Perth. Winton, short-listed twice so far for the Booker Prize, has published a string of memorable novels, children's books and stories, all richly set in the working class milieu of the sparsely populated coastal desert.

True History of the Kelly Gang

Author: Peter Carey

Description: A powerful, daring novel, steeped in the colonial history of late 19th-century Australia. Outlaw, folk hero, thief and patriot, the Irish immigrant Ned Kelly and his clan figure large in the Australian mindset. Carey's Booker Prize-winning novel (his second after "Oscar & Lucinda") takes the form of a series of rough, captivating letters by the barely literate gang leader to his young daughter. Kelly was hanged in Melbourne in 1880, where his mother was also imprisoned.

You can't find a better value than Road Scholar.

As a not-for-profit organization, we are dedicated to providing all-inclusive educational programs at great value. From lectures to gratuities to field trips to accommodations - the tuition you pay up front is all that you pay.

Specifically, this program includes:

Plus these special experiences...

View the Daily Schedule to see more

And included with all Road Scholar programs:

© Road Scholar 2015 | Call toll-free: 1-800-454-5768