20134
Australia
Australia: An Odyssey Down Under
Explore great cultural and natural wonders as you marvel at Australia’s unique heritage — iconic Outback, inspired cuisines, Aboriginal art and the world famous Great Barrier Reef.
Rating (5)
Program No. 20134RJ
Length
17 days
Starts at
6,399
Print All
Map details are not available for this location.
View Map
Expand All
17 days
16 nights
37 meals
14 B 12 L 11 D
DAY
1
In Transit to Program
In Flight

Activity note: Please note that participants on this program travel throughout Australia alongside the participants of program 16434 – An Odyssey Down Under: Australia & New Zealand. You will join with these participants upon their arrival in Sydney. There will be a maximum of 30 participants travelling together on this program throughout Australia.

DAY
2
In Transit to Program, Crossing International Dateline
In Flight

Activity note: A day is "lost" due to crossing the International Dateline.

DAY
3
Arrive Sydney, Walk Through Central Sydney
Sydney
L,D
Novotel Rockford Darling Harbour

Activity note: Walking a little over 1 mile; predominantly flat surfaces. Hotel check-in from 2:00 p.m. Upon your arrival in Sydney, you will be given a day-use backpack and an aluminium water bottle to use throughout your program.

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 exploration of the central business district with our local Site Coordinator.

Lunch: At a local café, we have a casual lunch with our Sydney Site Coordinator.

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 a buffet dinner in the hotel with the participants on program 16434, recently arrived from Wellington, who will be sharing our exploration of Australia with us. We will have “Welcome to Australia” wine with dinner tonight.

Evening: At leisure.

DAY
4
Sydney's Colonial History, Cruise on Sydney Harbour
Sydney
B,L,D
Novotel Rockford Darling Harbour

Activity note: Walking approximately 3 miles; predominantly flat surfaces, some stairs and cobbled laneways. Getting on/off a harbour cruise vessel.

Breakfast: Hotel buffet.

Morning: Orientation. The Group Leader and Site Coordinator will greet everyone and lead introductions. We will review the up-to-date program schedule and any changes, discuss roles and responsibilities, logistics, safety guidelines, emergency procedures, and answer any questions you may have. This program will be staffed with both a Group Leader and a local Site Coordinator at most study sites providing information and leading field trips. Some meals will be buffets, others will be plated and served; and some we will order in advance. Beverages typically included coffee, tea, water, with other beverages available for purchase depending on location. Everyone will be given an aluminium water bottle and a backpack to use throughout the program. These items are yours to keep. Free time is reserved for your personal independent exploration. Evenings at leisure offer opportunities to make the program more meaningful and memorable through personal independent exploration, attending performances or other events on your own, or simply relaxing and making new friends among fellow participants. The Group Leader and local Site Coordinator will always be happy to offer suggestions. Program activities, schedules, personnel, and indicated distances or times may change due to local conditions/circumstances. In the event of changes, we will alert you as quickly as possible. Thank you for your understanding. This morning we have an overview of our program in Sydney. We will take a short ride to the harbour underneath the Sydney Harbour Bridge. Here, led by our Site Coordinator, we will have a walking exploration of The Rocks area giving us insights into Sydney’s colonial past. The Rocks was the area of Sydney first settled by the British and it has a fascinating history and wonderful sandstone buildings.

Lunch: In an historic building in The Rocks, we will have pre-ordered, plated meals.

Afternoon: After lunch we walk to Circular Quay where we board a vessel for a cruise on magnificent Sydney Harbour. On our cruise we take in the stunning scenery and learn how the modern Sydney Harbour has evolved. We then return to our hotel and have some free time before dinner.

Dinner: We will take a short walk along the western fringe of Darling Harbour to a restaurant in the Darling Harbour precinct and have pre-ordered plated meals.

Evening: At leisure. We will walk back to our hotel. You may wish to stay longer and explore some more of the vibrant harbourside Darling Harbour precinct as you wend your way back to the hotel on your own.

DAY
5
Australian History, Sydney's Coast, Bondi, Free Time
Sydney
B,L
Novotel Rockford Darling Harbour

Activity note: Walking approximately 1 mile on a series of short walks from our motorcoach.

Breakfast: Hotel buffet.

Morning: We will be joined by a local professor who will lecture on the history and settlement of Australia. We then board our coach to visit Sydney's sought-after eastern suburbs and South Head to see the narrow entrance to the harbour. Our exploration concludes in the renowned beach-side suburb of Bondi.

Lunch: At a typical, local Australian club in Bondi, we will have pre-ordered plated meals.

Afternoon: Free Time. Those who wish can stay and explore Bondi and the coastal suburbs, making your own way back to town via the easily negotiated public transport system. The motorcoach will return to the city centre and do a drop-off there en route to our hotel. Enjoy more of this wonderful city on your own.

Dinner: On your own to enjoy what you like. Sample what Sydney's restaurant scene has to offer.

Evening: At leisure.

DAY
6
Taronga Zoo, Sydney Opera House, Performance
Sydney
B,L,D
Novotel Rockford Darling Harbour

Activity note: On our feet most of the morning, walking approximately 3 miles at zoo; undulating, paved surfaces. Walking approximately 2 miles afternoon and evening, undulating paved surfaces and stairs.

Breakfast: Hotel buffet.

Morning: We will take our motorcoach across the Sydney Harbour Bridge to Taronga Zoo, located on the north shore, with delightful views across the harbour to the city. Here we will begin our study of Australian fauna. As well as meeting kangaroos, koalas and wallabies — and hoping for a glimpse of the rather more elusive wombat, echidna, and platypus — we will have a lecture from one of the keepers introducing some of Australia’s more dangerous inhabitants: spiders and snakes.

Lunch: At Taronga Park Zoo, we will have a buffet barbecue lunch.

Afternoon: Next, we will board a ferry back across Sydney Harbour to Circular Quay. We will walk around the Quay to the magnificent UNESCO World Heritage listed Sydney Opera House, where we will have an expert-led exploration of this truly wonderful, iconic building, a masterpiece of late modern architecture. Exactly which areas of the 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 open to visits changes from day to day. We will then return to our hotel and have some time to freshen up and relax before an early dinner.

Dinner: We will have an early buffet dinner at our hotel allowing us to get to tonight's performance at the Opera House in plenty of time.

Evening: Performance. We will attend 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. We will return to the hotel via motorcoach. Prepare for check out and departure in the morning.

DAY
7
Fly to Melbourne, Shrine of Remembrance, Skydeck
Melbourne
B,L,D
The Swanston Hotel Melbourne, Grand Mercure

Activity note: Field trip combines viewing from motorcoach with short walks. The flight from Sydney to Melbourne takes about 1 hour 35 minutes. Qantas typically uses a mix of Boeing 737, Boeing 767 and Airbus A330 aircraft on this route.

Breakfast: Hotel buffet.

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 (post-World War II) and, more recently, Asian. Melbourne is reputed to have the largest Greek population of any city outside Athens. We will be met by our local Site Coordinator and transferred into the city.

Lunch: At a café set in the Royal Botanic Gardens, lunch will consist of shared platters.

Afternoon: Next, we will visit the Shrine of Remembrance, a National War Memorial. We will then head up to the Eureka Skydeck 88 on the 88th floor of the Eureka Tower, where we will gain an understanding of the city’s layout. During our field trip, our Site Coordinator will give us an overview, introducing us to Melbourne and the State of Victoria. We transfer to our hotel and check in.

Dinner: At the hotel, we will have a pre-ordered, plated, two-course meal.

Evening: At leisure. For those who wish, this evening there is the opportunity to watch a video educating us on aspects of Australia's unique environment.

DAY
8
Contemporary Australia, Queen Victoria Market, Penguins
Melbourne
B,L,D
The Swanston Hotel Melbourne, Grand Mercure

Activity note: Walking approximately 2 miles; flat, paved surfaces. The drive to Phillip Island is about 90 miles (140 kilometres), approximately 2.5 hours each way. Depending on the time of sunset in different seasons, dinner today may be after our penguin viewing.

Breakfast: Hotel buffet.

Morning: We will be joined by a local attorney who will give a lecture on contemporary Australia, touching on areas of interest such as health, education, and the political system. With our local Site Coordinator we will then walk from our hotel through some of Melbourne's famously funky laneways before hopping aboard Melbourne’s iconic tram system for the short trip to visit the city’s well-known and quirky Queen Victoria Market. Here we have time to explore on our own and soak up the vibrant, cosmopolitan atmosphere. The Vic Market, also know as the Queen Vic, has been a highlight of Melbourne for more than a century. This historic landmark is spread over two city blocks.

Lunch: Sample the fare you fancy at Queen Victoria Markets.

Afternoon: We will have some time to explore on our own before returning independently to the hotel. We will then board our motorcoach bound for Phillip Island. En route, we will pause at a local wildlife conservatory with another opportunity to see some of Australia’s most recognisable residents: kangaroos, koalas, and maybe a wombat or two.

Dinner: At a small-town bistro in San Remo near Phillip Island, we will have pre-ordered plated meals.

Evening: We will move on to Phillip Island Nature Park in time for the Penguin Parade. Here we can watch the gorgeous little penguins come ashore at dusk after their day out fishing. After viewing these wonderful creatures we will board our coach and return to our hotel and bed.

DAY
9
National Gallery of Victoria, Australian Art, Free Time
Melbourne
B
The Swanston Hotel Melbourne, Grand Mercure

Activity note: Walking approximately 2 miles on flat surfaces.

Breakfast: Hotel buffet.

Morning: We will walk the short distance to the National Gallery of Victoria (there is a tram available for those who prefer) for an introduction to Australian art. A local art historian will give us a lecture on Australian art. We will then have an expert-led exploration of the Aboriginal art exhibition.

Lunch: This meal has been excluded from the program cost and is on your own to enjoy what you like.

Afternoon: Free Time. Take this opportunity for personal independent exploration to see and do what interests you most in this cosmopolitan city. The Group Leader and local Site Coordinator will be happy to offer suggestions.

Dinner: On your own to enjoy what you like. The Group Leader and Site Coordinator will be happy to offer suggestions for Melbourne's renowned restaurant scene.

Evening: At leisure. Prepare for hotel check out and transfer tomorrow.

DAY
10
Fly to Alice Springs, School of the Air, BBQ, Southern Stars
Alice Springs
B,L,D
Chifley Alice Springs Resort

Activity note: The flight from Melbourne to Alice Springs is approximately 2 hours. Qantas typically uses Boeing 737 aircraft on this route. Walking approximately 1.5 miles; paved surfaces.

Breakfast: Hotel buffet.

Morning: We will check out of our hotel and transfer to Melbourne Domestic Airport for our flight to Alice Springs, gateway to the Red Centre. 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 have an overview of Alice Springs and the Red Centre on the way to our hotel.

Lunch: At the hotel, we will have a platter lunch before we check in to our rooms.

Afternoon: Our field trip this afternoon is to the School of the Air. In Australia’s vast territories, most people live near the coast. Those in the Outback — remote, rural, sparsely populated interior regions — often suffered from a lack of educational opportunities. The School of the Air was established in 1951 as a radio network for two-way teaching and learning broadcasts. New technology and the Internet have since made things much easier. We will visit the School of the Air Visitor Centre to gain an understanding of the techniques employed to provide education across the isolated and remote expanse of the Outback. We will then return to our hotel for a lecture with our local Site Coordinator introducing the culture, art, and heritage of the Aborigines of the Red Centre.

Dinner: At the Olive Pink Botanic Garden, we will have a BBQ dinner. As we dine a local musician will entertain us with ballads and yarns of the Australian bush. From the official Australian government website: “The bush has an iconic status in Australian life…especially as expressed in Australian literature, painting, popular music, films and foods. The bush was something that was uniquely Australian and very different to the European landscapes familiar to many new immigrants…revered as a source of national ideals.”

Evening: A local astronomer will introduce 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.

DAY
11
Desert Wildlife, Flying Doctors, Aboriginal Bush Tucker
Alice Springs
B,L,D
Chifley Alice Springs Resort

Activity note: On our feet most of the morning, walking approximately 2.5 miles; well-cared-for dirt surfaces. In the afternoon, walking approximately 1 mile; fairly even surfaces, some sand.

Breakfast: Hotel buffet,

Morning: We will visit Alice Springs Desert Park where our local Site Coordinator will help us gain an understanding of the beauty and mystery of the Australian desert and the life that exists there.

Lunch: At Alice Springs Desert Park, we will have a buffet lunch.

Afternoon: Next, we will we travel to Simpson’s Gap in the Western McDonnell Ranges and view the permanent waterhole in its stunning location under the towering cliffs of the Simpson Range. Returning to Alice Springs, we will visit the Royal Flying Doctor Service (RFDS) and learn how aircraft and technology are used to deliver medical services in the huge distances of central Australia. Founded in 1928, the RFDS is now one of the largest and most comprehensive aeromedical organisations in the world, providing primary health care and 24-hour emergency service to people over an area of nearly 3 million square miles (7.3 million square kilometres).

Dinner: At a local restaurant, an indigenous caterer and businesswoman will introduce native Aboriginal bush foods, their traditional use and how they are being incorporated into contemporary cuisine. We will have dinner at the restaurant where our taste buds will discover for themselves just how contemporary Australian cuisine is utilising traditional Aboriginal flavourings.

Evening: Returning to the hotel, the remainder of the evening at leisure. Prepare for hotel check out and transfer in the morning.

DAY
12
Uluru Kata-Tjuta National Park, Sunset at Ayers Rock
Uluru (Ayers Rock)
B,L,D
Outback Pioneer Hotel & Lodge

Activity note: The drive from Alice Springs to Uluru is about 310 miles (500 kilometres), approximately 6.5 hours. Walking approximately 2 miles in a series of short walks; flat surfaces.

Breakfast: Hotel buffet.

Morning: We will check out of the hotel and board our motorcoach for the journey to Uluru with an excursion to a camel farm en route. We will also 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, we will have a buffet lunch.

Afternoon: We will explore Uluru by motorcoach and on foot. 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. We will then transfer to our hotel and check in, leaving our large bags locked on the coach for the night. 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: In the hotel, we will have pre-ordered plated meals.

Evening: At leisure.

DAY
13
Kata-Tjuta, Fly to Cairns, Great Barrier Reef Introduction
Cairns
B,L,D
Novotel Cairns Oasis Resort

Activity note: Walking approximately 2 miles, 1 hour; gently climbing surface. The flight from Uluru to Cairns is approximately 2.5 hours. Qantas typically utilises Boeing 717 aircraft on this route.

Breakfast: Hotel buffet.

Morning: We check out of the hotel and 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 wonderful views across the Outback.

Lunch: Returning to the hotel, we will have pre-ordered plated meals.

Afternoon: Next, we will transfer 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 UNESCO World Heritage listed areas: the Great Barrier Reef and the Wet Tropics Rainforest.

Dinner: On board our flight.

Evening: Upon our arrival, we will be met by our Cairns Site Coordinator and transfer to our hotel, with an introduction to Cairns and our program en route. After check in, we will be joined by a local marine biologist for a lecture on the Great Barrier Reef. He will give us insights into what we might see tomorrow on our cruise out to this World Heritage listed icon.

DAY
14
Great Barrier Reef Cruise & Snorkel
Cairns
B,L
Novotel Cairns Oasis Resort

Activity note: Getting on/off a large catamaran and on/off a small tender shuttling between the boat and the cay. Walking on a sandy cay, snorkeling on the Great Barrier Reef. Snorkels, masks, flippers provided.

Breakfast: Hotel buffet.

Morning: Sure to be one of the highlights of our program, we will have a full day cruise on the Great Barrier Reef where we can view the World Heritage listed coral reefs. We will be able to snorkel among the spectacular coral reef and/or view the reef from a semi-submersible vessel. As UNESCO notes, “The Great Barrier Reef is a site of remarkable variety and beauty on the north-east coast of Australia. It contains the world’s largest collection of coral reefs, with 400 types of coral, 1,500 species of fish and 4,000 types of mollusc.”

Lunch: Aboard our cruise vessel, we will have a buffet lunch.

Afternoon: Our cruise continues this afternoon. We return to Cairns in the late afternoon.

Dinner: On your own to enjoy what you like. The Esplanade's wide range of restaurants is only a block or two from our hotel.

Evening: At leisure.

DAY
15
The Rainforest, Kuranda, Skyrail, Coastal Aboriginal Culture
Cairns
B,L,D
Novotel Cairns Oasis Resort

Activity note: Getting on/off gondolas; walking approximately 2 miles; flat surfaces, some stairs at cable car.

Breakfast: Hotel buffet.

Morning: We will have a lecture by a local expert introducing the second of Cairns’ World Heritage listed features, the Wet Tropical Rainforests of North Queensland. We will gain an understanding of the abundance of life in the tropical rainforest. We will then transfer to the village of Kuranda, a mountain retreat surrounded by rainforest, with some time for self directed exploration before lunch.

Lunch: At a local restaurant in Kuranda, we will have pre-ordered plated meals.

Afternoon: Next, we will walk to the Skyrail Rainforest Cableway to take the stunning cableway journey sweeping above the canopy of the World Heritage-listed rainforest. At the Rainforest Interpretive Station, our lecturer will lead a walk on a circular track of boardwalk as we learn more about this special environment. We will then take the short walk to Tjapukai Aboriginal Park to learn about the lifestyle of the northern coastal Aborigines. Here we will have an opportunity to see if we can make our boomerangs come back. We reboard our motorcoach and transfer the short distance back to our hotel.

Dinner: In our hotel, we will have our farewell dinner. We will have "farewell to Australia" wine with dinner.

Evening: At leisure. Prepare for hotel check out and transfer in the morning.

DAY
16
Free Time, Fly to Sydney
Sydney
B,D
Mercure Hotel Sydney Airport

Activity note: The flight from Cairns to Sydney is approximately 3 hours. Qantas typically uses Qantas 737 aircraft on this route.

Breakfast: Hotel buffet.

Morning: Free Time. Take this opportunity to see and do more of what interests you most, whether exploring Cairns or final packing. We come together at the hotel and transfer to the airport for our afternoon flight to Sydney.

Lunch: On your own, although we will get a light meal on board our flight.

Afternoon: We fly to Sydney this afternoon. Upon our arrival in Sydney, we transfer in our motorcoach 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. Prepare for hotel check out and departure in the morning.

DAY
17
Program Concludes
In Flight
B

Activity note: Activity Notes: Hotel check out is by 10:00 a.m. See your program’s travel details regarding transfers. If you are an independent traveller (POP status), see the information “For participants NOT taking the group transfer”.

Breakfast: Hotel buffet.

Morning: We will check out of our hotel and transfer to Sydney Airport. This concludes our program. If you are returning home, safe travels. If you are staying on independently, have a wonderful time. If you are transferring to another Road Scholar program, detailed instructions are included in your Information Packet for that program. We hope you enjoy Road Scholar learning adventures and look forward to having you on rewarding programs in the future. Please join our Facebook page and share photos of your program. Visit us at www.facebook.com/rsadventures. Best wishes for all your journeys!






<% %>
Click here to provide website feedback
Website Feedback