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Australia

An Australian Odyssey: From the Outback to the Great Barrier Reef

Marvel as you explore Australia’s unique heritage — astounding Outback, natural wonders, iconic architecture, Aboriginal art and the world-famous Great Barrier Reef.
Rating (4.93)
Program No. 22754RJ
Length
17 days
Starts at
7,399
Flights start at
1,250
Australia

An Australian Odyssey: From the Outback to the Great Barrier Reef

Marvel as you explore Australia’s unique heritage — astounding Outback, natural wonders, iconic architecture, Aboriginal art and the world-famous Great Barrier Reef.
Length
17 days
Starts at
7,399
Flights start at
1,250
Length
17 days
Rating (4.93)
Starts at
7,399
Flights start at
1,250
Program No. 22754RJ

Your well-being is our #1 priority

To make your experience as safe as possible, we require all participants to be fully vaccinated. See our Safety Roadmap

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We want your Road Scholar learning adventure to be something to look forward to—not worry about. Learn more

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Prices displayed below are based on per person,doubleoccupancy.
DATES & starting prices
PRICES
Sep 15 - Oct 1, 2022
Starting at
7,399
Oct 13 - Oct 29, 2022
Starting at
7,499
Nov 3 - Nov 19, 2022
Starting at
7,499
Jan 5 - Jan 21, 2023
Starting at
7,999
Jan 19 - Feb 4, 2023
Starting at
7,999
Feb 23 - Mar 11, 2023
Starting at
7,999
Mar 2 - Mar 18, 2023
Starting at
7,799
Apr 6 - Apr 22, 2023
Starting at
7,799
Sep 14 - Sep 30, 2023
Starting at
7,799
Oct 5 - Oct 21, 2023
Starting at
7,999
Nov 23 - Dec 9, 2023
Starting at
7,999
DATES & starting prices
PRICES
Sep 15 - Oct 1, 2022
Starting at
8,399
Oct 13 - Oct 29, 2022
Starting at
8,599
Nov 3 - Nov 19, 2022
Starting at
8,599
Jan 5 - Jan 21, 2023
Starting at
9,199
Jan 19 - Feb 4, 2023
Starting at
9,199
Feb 23 - Mar 11, 2023
Starting at
9,199
Mar 2 - Mar 18, 2023
Starting at
8,899
Apr 6 - Apr 22, 2023
Starting at
8,899
Sep 14 - Sep 30, 2023
Starting at
8,899
Oct 5 - Oct 21, 2023
Starting at
9,199
Nov 23 - Dec 9, 2023
Starting at
9,199

At a Glance

Home to the largest reef system in the world, Australia’s natural wonders and unique species make it a land unlike any other. From cosmopolitan cities to impossibly expansive landscapes, 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.
Activity Level
Keep the Pace
Walking up to three hours a day over varied terrain. Irregular steps without railings at times. Snorkeling in ocean currents. Getting on and off vessels.
Small Group
Small Group
Love to learn and explore in a small-group setting? These adventures offer small, personal experiences with groups of 13 to 24 participants.

Best of all, you’ll…

  • Snorkel along the wondrous Great Barrier Reef or explore it via semi-submersible vessel.
  • Discover the giant red rock formation known as Uluru and learn about its sacred meaning to the Aboriginal people.
  • Go behind-the-scenes at the Sydney Opera House and take in a performance.
Featured Expert
All Experts
Profile Image
David O'Brien
Originally from the island state of Tasmania, Dave O’Brien has lived in North Queensland for more than 30 years. Working as a biologist almost his entire career, Dave has been involved in reptile research, aquaculture, government organizations, private enterprise and owning his own business. Outside of work, Dave’s interests include birding, photography and long-distance running. He has been married since 1986 and has two adult children, presently living in Melbourne, Australia and Alberta, Canada.

Please note: This expert may not be available for every date of this program.

Profile Image of David O'Brien
David O'Brien View biography
Originally from the island state of Tasmania, Dave O’Brien has lived in North Queensland for more than 30 years. Working as a biologist almost his entire career, Dave has been involved in reptile research, aquaculture, government organizations, private enterprise and owning his own business. Outside of work, Dave’s interests include birding, photography and long-distance running. He has been married since 1986 and has two adult children, presently living in Melbourne, Australia and Alberta, Canada.
Profile Image of Ruth Pullin
Ruth Pullin View biography
Dr. Ruth Pullin wrote her Ph.D. thesis on the Australian colonial artist Eugene von Guérard and was guest curator of a major exhibition at the National Gallery of Victoria in 2011, "Eugene von Guérard: Nature Revealed." She is the principal author and commissioning editor of the book of the same title. She derives great joy in discussing with Road Scholar participants Australians’ relationship to the land as a key way in which Australian artists have established a sense of our cultural identity.
Profile Image of Brian Clarke
Brian Clarke View biography
Sydney native Brian Clarke set off from a young age to explore Australia. He found work as a diver, fisherman, and yachtsman on the Great Barrier Reef before eventually working as one of the last professional crocodile hunters. His travels have taken him to the remarkable wildernesses of Australia, Sri Lanka, India, Southeast Asia and Central America. He’s been running his own educational travel business for the past 17 years and has been living in a remote cabin in Kuranda for the past 40 years.
Profile Image of Sue Grebenschikoff
Sue Grebenschikoff View biography
Sue Grebenschikoff is an instructor and site coordinator in Cairns. Originally from Sydney, Sue moved to Cairns 20 years ago after she fell in love with the tropical region. Sue has a bachelor’s degree in commerce with a concentration in marketing, is a keen gardener, and loves to travel and meet people. She has worked in various capacities for many years on award-winning wilderness adventure programs around tropical North Queensland.
Profile Image of Brian Kirkham
Brian Kirkham View biography
Brian Kirkham is an Australian transplant by way of England. He spent 32 years in sales and marketing for an Australian airline and, when he retired early in 1995, held a position with the Sydney Olympic Organizing Committee in the lead-up to the 2000 Summer Olympics. Brian has since volunteered with Australia’s Olympic Youth Camp, the Rugby World Cup, Wheelchair Sports Australia and the Sydney Marathon. He relishes introducing visitors to the Land Down Under.
Profile Image of Rayleen Brown
Rayleen Brown View biography
Rayleen Brown is an Aboriginal who worked as a project officer to help Aboriginals secure their traditional land. She now owns and operates a successful catering business that’s been specializing in traditional bush products and foods for the past 10 years. In addition, Rayleen is a member of the national Bush Foods Council, an educator for schools across Central Australia and a mentor with the local Desert Leadership Program. She continues to be a strong advocate for the Aboriginal people to this day.
Profile Image of Richard De Gille
Richard De Gille View biography
Richard De Gille has recently retired after practising as a lawyer for the past 30 years. For the last 20 years, he was a partner of a large suburban legal practice in outer Melbourne. He holds degrees from Monash University in economics and politics, education and law. In his spare time he enjoys cycling, bushwalking, gardening and reading.
Profile Image of Martin Ludgate
Martin Ludgate View biography
Martin Ludgate was a lecturer at Charles Darwin University in Alice Springs, where he lectured and managed the educational travel program. Now semi-retired (although still doing some lecturing and leading educational excursions), Martin has a keen interest in local history and culture as well as the landscapes, flora and fauna of the Northern Territory. “The great pleasure of enabling Road Scholar participants to bring alive their desire to experience a sense of Outback Australia, which they have heard so much about, makes my involvement so rewarding,” Martin says.
Visit the Road Scholar Bookshop
You can find many of the books we recommend at the Road Scholar store on bookshop.org, a website that supports local bookstores.
My Place
by Sally Morgan
In 1982 Sally Morgan travelled to her grandmother's birthplace, Corunna Downs Station in Western Australia. She wants to trace the experiences of her childhood andolescence in Perth in the 1950's. Through memories and images, hints and echoes begin to emerge and another story unfolds - the mystery of her aboriginal identity. Gradually her whole family is drawn in to the saga and her great-uncle, her mother and finally her grandmother tell their stories in turn. My Place is a work of great humour, humanity and courage.
Chasing Kangaroo
by Tim Flannery
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 Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander peoples.
In A Sunburned Country
by Bill Bryson
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.
My Brilliant Career
by Miles Franklin
A fierce, irreverent novel of aspiration and rebellion that is both a cornerstone of Australian literature and a feminist classic. Miles Franklin began the candid, passionate, and contrary My Brilliant Career when she was only sixteen, intending it to be the Australian answer to Jane Eyre. But the book she produced - a thinly veiled autobiographical novel about a young girl hungering for life and love in the outback - so scandalised her country upon its appearance in 1901 that she insisted it not be published again until ten years after her death.
A Fortunate Life
by A. B. Facey
The is the extraordinary life of an ordinary man. The autobiography of Albert Barnett (Bert) Facey - farmer, labourer, jackaroo, WWI veteran - lived from 1894 to 1982, predominantly in Western Australia's frontier territory. Facey's story, published at the age of 87, brings to life his experiences as a child labourer, itinerant rural worker, soldier and Depression-era farmer. Despite the trials faced, he always considered he led "a fortunate life". It is considered a classic of Australian literature. It is one of Australia's favourite books.
Songlines
by Bruce Chatwin
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.
My Brother Jack
by George Johnston
The Miles Franklin award-winning classic. Through the story of the two brothers, George Johnston created an enduring exploration of two Australian myths: that of the man who loses his soul as he gains worldly success, and that of the tough, honest Aussie battler, whose greatest ambition is to serve his country during the war. Acknowledged as one of the true Australian classics, My Brother Jack is a deeply satisfying, complex and moving literary masterpiece.
Dark Emu : Aboriginal Australia and the birth of agriculture
by Bruce Pascoe
History has portrayed Australia's First Peoples, the Aboriginals, as hunter-gatherers who lived on an empty, uncultivated land. History is wrong. Using compelling evidence from the records and diaries of early Australian explorers and colonists, Bruce Pascoe reveals that Aboriginal systems of food production and land management have been blatantly understated in modern retellings of early Aboriginal history, and that a new look at Australia's past is required - for the benefit of us all. Dark Emu, a bestseller in Australia, won both the Book of the Year Award and the Indigenous Writer's Prize in the New South Wales Premier's Literary Awards.
Field Guide to the Birds of Australia
by Ken Simpson • Nicholas Day
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.
Aboriginal Art
by Wally Caruana
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
by Stella Martin
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.
Deep Time Dreaming: Uncovering Ancient Australia
by Billy Griffiths
In this important book, Griffiths investigates a twin revolution - the reassertion of Aboriginal identity in the second half of the twentieth century, and the simultaneous uncovering of the traces of ancient Australia by pioneering archaeologists. Deep Time Dreaming is about a slow shift in national consciousness. It explores what it means to live in a place of great antiquity, with its complex questions of ownership and identity. It brings to life the deep time dreaming that has changed the way many Australians relate to their continent and its enduring, dynamic human history.
A Commonwealth of Thieves, The Improbable Birth of Australia
by Thomas Keneally
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 Phillip, 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".
Tirra Lirra By The River
by Jessica Anderson
One of Australia's most celebrated novels: one woman's journey from Australia to London and back again. A book about the sweetness of escape, and the mix of pain and acceptance that comes with returning home. Winner of the 1978 Miles Franklin Award.
True History of the Kelly Gang
by Peter Carey
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.
Journey to the Stone Country
by Alex Miller
Betrayed by her husband, Annabelle Beck retreats from Melbourne to her old family home in tropical North Queensland where she meets Bo Rennie, one of the Jangga tribe. Intrigued by Bo's claim that he holds the key to her future, Annabelle sets out with him on a path of recovery that leads back to her childhood and into the Jangga's ancient heartland, where their grandparents' lives begin to yield secrets that will challenge the possibility of their happiness together.
Cotter: A Novel
by Richard Begbie
A strong story of banishment, displacement, and crucial first contact, Cotter tells of a moving friendship between two very different men, ultimately powerless against the forces of history.
Position Doubtful
by Kim Mahood
Since the publication of her prize-winning memoir Craft for a Dry Lake, in 2000, writer and artist Kim Mahood has been returning to the Tanami desert country in far north-western Australia where, as a child, she lived with her family on a remote cattle station. The land is timeless, but much has changed- the station has been handed back to its traditional owners; the mining companies have arrived; and Aboriginal art has flourished. Comedy and tragedy, familiarity and uncertainty are Mahood's constant companions as she immerses herself in the life of a small community and in groundbreaking mapping projects. What emerges in Position Doubtful is a revelation of the significance of the land to its people - and of the burden of history.
Batavia
by Peter Fitzsimons
The Shipwreck of the Batavia combines in just the one tale the birth of the world's first corporation, the brutality of colonisation, the battle of good vs evil, the derring-do of sea-faring adventure, mutiny, ship-wreck, love, lust, blood-lust, petty fascist dictatorship, criminality, a reign of terror, murders most foul, sexual slavery, natural nobility, survival, retribution, rescue, first contact with native peoples and so much more. Peter Fitzsimons has long maintained that this is "far and away the greatest story in Australia's history, if not the world's."
The Tears of Strangers
by Stan Grant
A family memoir charting the political and social changes of Aboriginal Australians over the past 40 years.
A Town Like Alice
by Nevil Shute
Nevil Shute's most beloved novel, a tale of love and war, follows its enterprising heroine from the Malayan jungle during World War II to the rugged Australian outback.
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17 days
16 nights
36 meals
14 B 11 L 11 D
DAY
1
In Transit to Program
In Flight
DAY
2
In Transit to Program, Crossing International Dateline
In Flight
DAY
3
Arrive Melbourne, Orientation, Remembrance Shrine, Skydeck
Melbourne
L,D
Melbourne Marriott Hotel

Activity note: Hotel check-in from 2:00 p.m. As tap water is drinkable in Australia, upon your arrival in Melbourne you will be given a Road Scholar water bottle to use throughout your program. This is yours to keep.

Morning: Welcome 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 rush 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 multicultural, and Melbourne has many strong ethnic communities from three major periods of migration including: Chinese and German (after the gold rushes), Italian, Greek, and southern European (post-World War II) and, more recently, Asian. Participants who have booked their flights to and from Australia through Road Scholar will be met and transferred in to our hotel to join those participants who have arrived earlier. From the hotel, we will have an orientation to parts of the city on the way to our lunch venue. Those participants who have arrived in the city earlier or who are making their own travel arrangements should ensure that they are at our Melbourne hotel by 10:30 a.m.

Lunch: At a café set in the Royal Botanic Gardens.

Afternoon: After lunch, we visit the Shrine of Remembrance, a National War Memorial. During our field trip, we will get an overview of Melbourne and the State of Victoria from our local Site Coordinator. We then head up to Eureka Skydeck 88, located on the 88th floor of the Eureka Tower. Taking advantage of the panoramic outlook over Melbourne, we gain an understanding of the city’s layout. We transfer to our hotel and check in with some time to freshen up before our Orientation session. Orientation. Our Group Leader and local 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. We will review COVID-19 protocols and will adhere to local COVID-19 guidelines and requirements throughout the program. This program will be staffed with a Group Leader as well as a local Site Coordinator at most study sites providing information and leading field trips. Ground travel and transfers will be via private motorcoach unless noted otherwise. Some meals will be buffets, others will be plated and served, some we will order in advance. Beverages typically include coffee, tea and water, with other beverages available for purchase depending on location. Free time is reserved for your personal exploration. Evenings at leisure offer opportunities to make the program more meaningful and memorable through independent exploration, attending performances or other events on your own, or simply relaxing and making new friends among fellow Road Scholars. The Group Leader and local Site Coordinators 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.

Dinner: At the hotel. We will have “Welcome to Australia” wine with dinner tonight.

Evening: At leisure. We have an early night tonight to rest up following our long flight.

DAY
4
Contemporary Australia, Queen Victoria Market, Penguins
Melbourne
B,D
Melbourne Marriott Hotel

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. Please note that tonight will be a late night - the penguins do not start to come ashore until dusk.

Breakfast: Hotel buffet.

Morning: We begin today with 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: This meal has been excluded from the program cost and is on your own to enjoy what you like. Sample the fare you fancy at Queen Victoria Markets.

Afternoon: We will have some time to explore the market on our own before returning independently to the hotel. We will then board our motorcoach bound for Phillip Island. En route, we will pause for a comfort stop at a local wildlife conservancy offering an 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 with water included; other beverages available for purchase.

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 motorcoach and return to our hotel and bed.

DAY
5
Healesville Sanctuary, Yarra Valley Wine
Melbourne
B,L,D
Melbourne Marriott Hotel

Activity note: The drive to the Yarra Valley is about 40 miles (65 kilometres), approximately 1 hour.

Breakfast: Hotel buffet.

Morning: We will board our motorcoach and head into the Yarra Valley. Our first visit will be to the Healesville Sanctuary where we will get to meet some more of the local wildlife. A local expert will introduce us to some of the conservation work the Sanctuary is undertaking. It is also home to the Australian Wildlife Centre that trains wildlife veterinarians and treats more than 2,000 sick and injured native animals every year.

Lunch: At a local winery in the Yarra Valley, we will have lunch and an expert-led wine tasting, giving us an introduction to Australian wine varieties and wine-making techniques.

Afternoon: We return to Melbourne on our motorcoach. We will have some time to freshen up and relax prior to dinner.

Dinner: At the hotel.

Evening: At leisure.

DAY
6
National Gallery of Victoria, Australian Art, Free Time
Melbourne
B
Melbourne Marriott Hotel

Activity note: Walking approximately 2 miles.

Breakfast: Hotel buffet.

Morning: At the hotel, a local art historian will give us a lecture on Australian art. We will then walk the short distance to the National Gallery of Victoria. Our art historian will then lead us on an exploration of the Australian art collection.

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

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

Dinner: On your own to enjoy what you like. Your 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
7
Fly to Alice Springs, School of the Air, BBQ, Bush Ballads
Alice Springs
B,L,D
Mercure 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 Aboriginal Australians for in excess of 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 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 Indigenous Australian peoples 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: We return to our hotel via motorcoach. The remainder of the evening is at leisure.

DAY
8
Desert Wildlife, Flying Doctors, Aboriginal Bush Tucker
Alice Springs
B,L,D
Mercure 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 travel to Simpson’s Gap in the Western MacDonnell 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 Aboriginal caterer and businesswoman will introduce native Aboriginal bush foods, describe their traditional use and explain 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: Weather permitting, 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. We return to the hotel on our motorcoach. Prepare for hotel check out and transfer in the morning.

DAY
9
Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park, Sunset at Uluru
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 Aboriginal Australian people. Uluru is a red sandstone monolith, the world’s second largest at 5.5 miles (8.9 kilometres) around, with smooth slopes rising to 1,098 feet (335 metres). 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 peoples 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 (200 metres) 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 Red Centre Site Coordinator will explain something of the significance of the Rock to the local Aboriginal peoples. We will then transfer to our hotel and check in. 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
10
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 undulating 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: After lunch, 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. They will give us insights into what we might see tomorrow on our study cruise out to this spectacular natural icon.

DAY
11
Great Barrier Reef Study 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, flotation jackets and lycra sun suits provided.

Breakfast: In the hotel.

Morning: Sure to be one of the highlights of our program, we will have a full day study cruise on the Great Barrier Reef where we can view the coral reef 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. 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 study cruise continues. We will 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
12
The Rainforest, Kuranda, Skyrail
Cairns
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Novotel Cairns Oasis Resort

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

Breakfast: In the hotel.

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 independent exploration before lunch.

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

Afternoon: We walk to the Skyrail Rainforest Cableway to take the stunning cableway journey sweeping above the canopy of the 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.

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

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

DAY
13
Free Time, Fly to Sydney
Sydney
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Novotel Sydney Darling Square

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: We have a leisurely start this morning before we transfer to the airport for our flight to Sydney.

Lunch: On your own, although the airline will provide a light meal on board our flight.

Afternoon: 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 over 5 million citizens thriving in a multicultural 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 our arrival in Sydney, we will be met by our Sydney Site Coordinator and transfer to our hotel for check in. We will have an overview of our program in Sydney on our motorcoach en route to our hotel. We have time to freshen up and relax 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 Darling Harbour precinct as you wend your way back to the hotel on your own.

DAY
14
Taronga Zoo, Sydney Opera House, Performance
Sydney
B,L,D
Novotel Sydney Darling Square

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. Depending on the theatres available to visit, the Opera House guided visit involves between 150 and 200 stairs. This program was finalised well before the release of the Sydney Opera House's 2022 performance schedule. Detail of tonight's performance will be included in your final information packet.

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 conclude 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 take 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: We will attend a performance in the Sydney Opera House. We will return to the hotel via motorcoach.

DAY
15
Sydney's Harbour & Coast, Bondi, Free Time
Sydney
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Novotel Sydney Darling Square

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 educator who will lecture on the history and settlement of Sydney. We 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 beachside suburb of Bondi.

Lunch: At a typical, local Australian RSL (Returned Services League) 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
16
Sydney's Colonial History, Cruise on Sydney Harbour
Sydney
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Novotel Sydney Darling Square

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: We will take a short motorcoach ride to the harbour. Beginning at the base of the Sydney Harbour Bridge, 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 The Rocks, we will have pre-ordered, plated meals.

Afternoon: Next, we will walk to Circular Quay and board a vessel for a cruise on magnificent Sydney Harbour. On our cruise we take in the stunning scenery and gain an understanding as to how Sydneysiders interact with their gorgeous natural highlight. Returning to the hotel, the remainder of the afternoon is free.

Dinner: We will have our farewell dinner at our hotel this evening. We will have "farewell to Australia" wine with dinner.

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

DAY
17
Program Concludes
In Flight
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Activity note: Hotel check out is by 10:00 a.m. For those participants who have booked their long-haul flights through Road Scholar, please see your program’s travel details regarding transfers. If you are an independent traveller (POP status), see “For participants NOT taking the group transfer.”

Breakfast: At the hotel.

Morning: Our program concludes with breakfast. After breakfast, we check out of our hotel. Those participants who have booked their flights through Road Scholar will be transferred to Sydney Airport. 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!






Important registration tip:
If you want to attend the live lecture, please do not wait until the last minute to enroll.
If you enroll after a lecture is complete, we’ll send you a recording of the event.