22810
Australia
Australia at a Slower Pace: An Odyssey Down Under
From the bustling coasts to the remote Outback, discover the contrasts of Australia from the wine country to the Great Barrier Reef and the Red Centre to the Sydney Opera House.
Rating (5)
Program No. 22810RJ
Length
16 days
Starts at
5,899
Flights start at
1,575
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16 days
15 nights
33 meals
13 B 10 L 10 D
DAY
1
In Transit to Program
In Flight
DAY
2
In Transit to Program, Crossing International Dateline
In Flight

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

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

DAY
3
Arrive Melbourne, Remembrance Shrine, Skydeck, Orientation
Melbourne
L,D
Mercure Melbourne Treasury Gardens

Activity note: Those arriving on the designated Road Scholar flights will be met and transferred to our hotel to drop off baggage. At 11:00am we will commence with a city orientation excursion via motorcoach en route to lunch. Hotel check-in from 2:00pm.

Morning: Welcome to 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. We will commence our program with a motorcoach-based guided orientation to the city en route to lunch.

Lunch: At a café set in the Royal Botanic Gardens, we will have platters of sandwiches and beverage choices of coffee, tea, water; other beverages available for purchase.

Afternoon: Next, we will visit the Shrine of Remembrance, a National War Memorial. During our field trip, our Site Coordinator will provide an overview of Melbourne and the State of Victoria. We will transfer to our hotel and check in, then have our Orientation session. 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. 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 is an “on your feet” program. Please refer to the activity notes for information specific to each day. 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, 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 Road Scholars. The Group Leader 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
Mercure Melbourne Treasury Gardens

Activity note: 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. We will then board our motorcoach to visit the city’s well-known and quirky Queen Victoria Market. Here we have time to explore on our 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: On your own to sample the fare you fancy at Queen Victoria Markets.

Afternoon: We will have some time at the Markets before boarding our motorcoach bound for Phillip Island. En route, we will pause at a local wildlife conservatory with 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 coffee, tea, 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 coach and return to our hotel.

DAY
5
Yarra Valley, Wildlife Sanctuary, Winery
Melbourne
B,L,D
Mercure Melbourne Treasury Gardens

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

Breakfast: Hotel buffet.

Morning: We board our motorcoach and travel out to the Yarra Valley. The Yarra Valley features distinctive Australian landscape offering nature features and a range of horticulture. It is home to a thriving wine industry on Melbourne's doorstep. We visit the Healesville Wildlife Sanctuary where we will get to meet some more of the local wildlife. A local expert will introduce 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 winery in the Yarra Valley, we will have a pre-ordered, plated lunch.

Afternoon: After lunch, we will have a guided wine tasting and learn something of the wines of the Yarra Valley. We transfer back in to Melbourne and our hotel.

Dinner: At our hotel.

Evening: At leisure.

DAY
6
National Gallery of Victoria, Aboriginal Art, Free Time
Melbourne
B
Mercure Melbourne Treasury Gardens

Activity note: Walking at National Gallery of Victoria.

Breakfast: Hotel buffet.

Morning: We will board our motorcoach and transfer to the National Gallery of Victoria for an introduction to Australian art. A local art historian will give us a lecture on Australian art. We will then join her for an expert-led exploration of the Aboriginal art exhibition. The remainder of the day is free to relax or explore as you wish.

Lunch: This meal has been excluded from the program cost and is on your own to enjoy what you like. The Group Leader will be happy to offer suggestions.

Afternoon: Free Time. Take this opportunity for personal independent exploration to see and do what interests you most in this cosmopolitan city. Please refer to the list of Free Time Opportunities. 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
7
Fly to Alice Springs, Aboriginal Culture, Bush Ballads, BBQ
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.

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: After lunch, we have a lecture a lecture with our local Site Coordinator introducing the culture, art, and heritage of the Aborigines of the Red Centre. We then board our motorcoach and transfer to the Alice Springs Telegraph Station. In the company of our Site Coordinator, we learn about the origins of Alice Springs. We will also gain an understanding of the Aboriginal Stolen Generations. We return to the hotel for some time at leisure before we transfer to the Botanical Garden for dinner.

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: Returning to our hotel, 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: A buggy is available at the Alice Springs Desert Park.

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. While at the Desert Park, we will join the expert Birds of Prey demonstration where we will learn of the birds of their desert, their natural behaviours and their skills for survicing the harsh central Australia environment.

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

Afternoon: From the Desert Park we head to the Royal Flying Doctor Service (RFDS) to 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 organizations 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). We then transfer to the Araluen Cultural Precinct, home to the Araluen Arts Centre and the Museum of Central Australia. Here we will view the Aboriginal landscape water colours and the traditional aboriginal "dot" paintings of Central Australia. The Museum of Central Australia hosts interpretive displays of the natural history of Central Australia along with local Arrernte aboriginal cultural information from the collection of TGH Strehlow, a noted anthropologist in the region. We return to our hotel and have some time at leisure before heading out for dinner.

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 utilizing 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
9
Alice Springs School of the Air, Fly to Cairns
Cairns
B,D
Novotel Cairns Oasis Resort

Activity note: The flight from Alice Springs 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 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 then transfer to the airport and check in for our flight to Cairns.

Lunch: We will be given a light refreshment on our flight to Cairns.

Afternoon: 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. Upon our arrival, we will be met by our Cairns Site Coordinator. We will have an orientation to Cairns and introduction to our program en route to our hotel. After checking in to our rooms, the remainder of the afternoon is at leisure.

Dinner: At our hotel, we will have a buffet dinner.

Evening: At leisure.

DAY
10
Great Barrier Reef Lecture, Cruise & Snorkel
Cairns
B,L
Novotel Cairns Oasis Resort

Activity note: Getting on/off a large catamaran; into/out of a semi-submersible vessel. Snorkels, masks, flippers provided.

Breakfast: Hotel buffet.

Morning: After breakfast, 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 on our cruise out to this World Heritage listed icon. Sure to be one of the highlights of our program, we will have a 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 and its docking pontoon, 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
11
Kuranda Scenic Railway, Butterflies, Skyrail, Rainforest
Cairns
B,L,D
Novotel Cairns Oasis Resort

Activity note: Getting on and off a train. Getting on and off gondolas; 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 then take our motorcoach to Cairns Railway Station where we board the historic Kuranda Scenic Railway bound for the village of Kuranda, a mountain retreat surrounded by rainforest. Upon our arrival we have an expert-led visit to the Australian Butterfly Sanctuary, the largest butterfly aviary in Australia, home to many local tropical species including Kuranda's iconic, electric-blue Ulysses Butterfly.

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

Afternoon: After some time to explore Kuranda independently, we 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 reboard our motorcoach and transfer the short distance back to our hotel.

Dinner: At our hotel we will have a buffet dinner.

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

DAY
12
Fly to Sydney, City Excursion
Sydney
B,L,D
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. Getting on/off a motorcoach.

Breakfast: Hotel buffet.

Morning: We check out of our hotel this morning and transfer to Cairns Airport for our flight to Sydney.

Lunch: Aboard 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 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 our arrival in Sydney, we will be met by our Sydney Site Coordinator. On our motorcoach en route to our hotel, we will have an orientation to parts of central Sydney. We arrive at our hotel and check in. We have time to freshen up and relax before dinner.

Dinner: Hotel buffet.

Evening: At leisure.

DAY
13
Sydney City, Bondi Beach, Opera House
Sydney
B,L,D
Novotel Sydney Darling Square

Activity note: Getting on/off a 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 Australian RSL club in Bondi, we will have pre-ordered plated meals.

Afternoon: We continue our exploration of Sydney's harbourside suburbs en route to the UNESCO World Heritage listed Sydney Opera House. Here 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 dinner.

Dinner: We will take our motorocoach to a restaurant in the Darling Harbour precinct where we have pre-ordered plated meals.

Evening: At leisure.

DAY
14
The Blue Mountains
Sydney
B,L
Novotel Sydney Darling Square

Activity note: The drive from our hotel to Katoomba in the Blue Mountains takes 2 - 3 hours each way, depending on traffic conditions. Getting on/off a motorcoach; short walks at various sites; Getting on/off a cable car.

Breakfast: Hotel buffet.

Morning: We will board our motorcoach and transfer to the Blue Mountains on the western fringe of the Sydney Basin. The area offers spectacular vistas, rugged cliffs and picturesque villages. Named for the blue haze created by the local eucalyptus forests, the Blue Mountains is home to the Three Sisters, one of Australia's best-known rock formations. Guided by our Site Coordinator, we will take a number of short walks from our motorcoach to take in the sights. We will ride down in to the rainforest on one of the world's steepest railways.

Lunch: At a local cafe, we will have a plated lunch.

Afternoon: After lunch we will transfer back towards the city. En route we will pause at Homebush and learn how this former industrial land was transformed into the site of the 2000 Sydney Olympics.

Dinner: On your own to enjoy what you like. The Group Leader and Site Coordinator will be happy to offer suggestions.

Evening: At leisure.

DAY
15
Historic Sydney, The Rocks, Sydney Harbour
Sydney
B,L,D
Novotel Sydney Darling Square

Activity note: Getting on/off a motorcoach; short walks at various sites; Getting on/off a cruise vessel.

Breakfast: Hotel buffet.

Morning: We will be joined by a local educator who will lecture on the history and settlement of Australia, focussing on the Sydney area. We then travel down to the shores of the harbour and begin exploring The Rocks - the historic centre of Sydney - with short walks from our motorcoach.

Lunch: In an historic building 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 will take in the stunning scenery and learn how the modern Sydney Harbour has evolved. We return to our hotel on our motorcoach and have some time to relax before our farewell dinner.

Dinner: At our hotel, we will have pre-ordered plated meals and "farewell to Australia" wine with dinner. Share favorite experiences with new Road Scholar friends.

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

DAY
16
Program Concludes
In Flight
B

Activity note: Hotel check out is by 10:00 a.m. See your program’s travel details regarding transfers. If you are an independent traveler (POP status), see “Ground Transportation from Last Location.”

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!






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