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Australia

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

Program No. 22754RJ
Marvel as you explore Australia’s unique heritage — astounding Outback, natural wonders, iconic architecture, Aboriginal art and the world-famous Great Barrier Reef.

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Prefer to enroll or inquire by phone? 800-454-5768
Select your type of room
Price will update based on selection
Prices displayed below are based on per person,doubleoccupancy.
DATES & starting prices
PRICES
Apr 4 - Apr 20, 2024
Starting at
7,799
Filling Fast!
Apr 11 - Apr 27, 2024
Starting at
7,799
Sep 12 - Sep 28, 2024
Starting at
7,999
Sep 26 - Oct 12, 2024
Starting at
8,099
Filling Fast!
Oct 3 - Oct 19, 2024
Starting at
8,099
Nov 21 - Dec 7, 2024
Starting at
8,099
Jan 9 - Jan 25, 2025
Starting at
8,399
Jan 23 - Feb 8, 2025
Starting at
8,399
Feb 27 - Mar 15, 2025
Starting at
8,399
Mar 6 - Mar 22, 2025
Starting at
8,399
Mar 27 - Apr 12, 2025
Starting at
8,699
Apr 10 - Apr 26, 2025
Starting at
8,499
Apr 17 - May 3, 2025
Starting at
8,499
Sep 11 - Sep 27, 2025
Starting at
8,499
Sep 25 - Oct 11, 2025
Starting at
8,699
Oct 2 - Oct 18, 2025
Starting at
8,599
Nov 20 - Dec 6, 2025
Starting at
8,599
DATES & starting prices
PRICES
Apr 4 - Apr 20, 2024
Starting at
8,899
Filling Fast!
Apr 11 - Apr 27, 2024
Starting at
8,899
Filling Fast!
Sep 12 - Sep 28, 2024
Starting at
9,249
Sep 26 - Oct 12, 2024
Starting at
9,349
Filling Fast!
Oct 3 - Oct 19, 2024
Starting at
9,349
Filling Fast!
Nov 21 - Dec 7, 2024
Starting at
9,349
Jan 9 - Jan 25, 2025
Starting at
9,599
Jan 23 - Feb 8, 2025
Starting at
10,369
Feb 27 - Mar 15, 2025
Starting at
9,599
Filling Fast!
Mar 6 - Mar 22, 2025
Starting at
9,599
Mar 27 - Apr 12, 2025
Starting at
10,269
Apr 10 - Apr 26, 2025
Starting at
9,699
Apr 17 - May 3, 2025
Starting at
9,699
Sep 11 - Sep 27, 2025
Starting at
9,799
Sep 25 - Oct 11, 2025
Starting at
10,269
Oct 2 - Oct 18, 2025
Starting at
9,879
Nov 20 - Dec 6, 2025
Starting at
9,879

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 miles at a time at a normal public walking pace over varied terrain. Standing at least three hours daily; climbing stairs (at times without handrails), getting on/off buses and boats, carrying own luggage. If you believe you require wheelchair assistance to get through an airport you are not fit enough to participate in this program.
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
Ruth Pullin
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 Scholars the relationship of Australians to the land as a key way in which Australian artists have established a sense of our cultural identity.

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

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 Scholars the relationship of Australians to the land as a key way in which Australian artists have established a sense of our cultural identity.
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 Andrew Fitzgerald
Andrew Fitzgerald View biography
Andrew Fitzgerald is a keen astronomer with considerable experience presenting information on stars, planets, our solar system, and the galaxy to large groups. He regularly presents a session on the local radio station informing locals and visitors of current astronomical features and events. Andrew’s wealth of knowledge enhances sessions exploring the features of Southern Hemisphere skies.
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 Michael Kidd
Michael Kidd View biography
Michael Kidd is a retired secondary school principal and teacher. After teaching mathematics at four Sydney high schools, he was appointed the principal of Hurlstone Agricultural High School, a school on 200 acres of farmland with 300 boarders, mostly from the country in New South Wales. He and his wife Robyn (also a retired secondary school principal and Road Scholar group leader) have traveled extensively with their two daughters. As group leader, Michael loves to share his passion for his homeland with Road Scholars.
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.
Profile Image of Russell Boswell
Russell Boswell View biography
Russell Boswell is the manager of savannah guides and savannah way limited. A long-term Cairns resident, Russell’s background is in education and marketing. His tourism career has included group and safari operation, magazine publishing and training local experts. Russell sits on several industry committees and has been the proud recipient of a Cassowary Award for services to Wet Tropics nature-based tourism.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
The Tears of Strangers
by Stan Grant
A family memoir charting the political and social changes of Aboriginal Australians over the past 40 years.
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.
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.
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".
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.
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.
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.
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.
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."
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.
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.
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.
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.





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