Australia Explorer (Private Tour)
12 days with Alexander+Roberts Rating:
Day 1 Welcome to Melbourne, Australia
On arrival, you’ll be warmly greeted and escorted to the sophisticated 5-star Sofitel on Collins. The balance of this day is yours to relax or explore at your own pace.
Day 2 Discover Melbourne
After breakfast, join our engaging Australian guide for a morning sightseeing tour, starting with an orientation walk to get a feel for the city’s lively spirit. As your tour continues, you’ll discover that Melbourne’s bustling streets are home to handsome Victorian buildings, lovely gardens and inviting cafes, boutiques and galleries. Along the way, our expert guide will enhance your experience with insightful stories about Melbourne and its multi-cultural residents. Enjoy a guided stroll through the lovely Royal Botanic Gardens and learn about Australia’s wartime history at the Shrine of Remembrance. Then visit the delightful coastal enclave of St. Kilda and walk along the beachside promenade before returning to your hotel. The afternoon is at leisure to explore, relax or shop as you wish.
This evening, you’ll board the Colonial Tramcar Restaurant for a delightful and memorable culinary experience. Enjoy a delicious, freshly-prepared 3-course dinner accompanied by fine Australian wines as the glossy, Victorian-era tramcars make their way through the streets of Melbourne. (B+D)
Day 3 The Beautiful Mornington Peninsula
Today’s full-day excursion takes you outside of town to explore the dramatic coastal scenery, quiet fishing hamlets, picturesque farms, and award-winning vineyards of the Mornington Peninsula. Begin with an introduction to the town of Mornington and then continue to the harbor pier for wonderful views across Port Phillip Bay. At the southernmost tip of the Peninsula, you’ll discover Cape Schanck which separates the wild ocean surf of the Bass Strait from the tranquil waters of Western Port Bay.
A scenic drive promises fine coastal views, glimpses of quiet fishing hamlets and the pastoral scenery of the Peninsula’s farms and vineyards. Your morning ends at Green Olive, a 27-acre family farm. After a tour of the property including its olive groves, vineyards and kitchen gardens, you’ll sit down to a delightful farm-to-table lunch featuring fresh produce, quality meats and fine wines – all produced on the property! After lunch, you’ll visit Arthur’ Seat; from the top of this 1,000-foot summit, you’ll have spectacular views of Port Phillip Bay and the Peninsula’s coastal towns and golden beaches. On a clear day, you can even see the Melbourne skyline in the distance! You’ll be back in the city with time to refresh and relax before dining on your own tonight. Our in-the-know guide will be happy to make personal recommendations for dining and evening entertainment. (B+L)
Day 4 Onward to Cairns, the Queensland Rainforest + Palm Cove
Check out after breakfast and transfer to the airport for your included flight to Cairns. On arrival, you’ll be met by our resident North Queensland guide to begin your adventures – starting in Kuranda, a mountain village surrounded by the vast expanse of pristine rainforests that extend for more than 300 miles along the tropical coast of North Queensland. Next up is the Skyrail Rainforest Cableway, a 4.5-mile adventure that takes gliding just a few yards above the treetops before descending through the lush canopy layers and deep into the heart of the forest at Skyrail’s two rainforest mid-stations for the ultimate tropical rainforest experience. At the conclusion of your 1.5-hour cableway adventure, our motorcoach will take you to Palm Cove, a charming beach community just north of Cairns, where you’ll enjoy a 3-night stay at Paradise on the Beach; our inviting oceanfront boutique hotel is set in a lush tropical Eden of palms and giant Melaleuca trees. The restaurants, boutiques and galleries of Palm Cove are just a short stroll away along the town’s shaded Esplanade. (B)
Day 5 The Great Barrier Reef
After breakfast, you’ll be escorted to the Cairns Marina to embark your full-day cruise adventure to Michaelmas Cay on the Great Barrier Reef. Situated nearly 25 miles off the coast and close to the pristine outer reef systems, Michaelmas is the largest of the uninhabited coral cays in the Cairns region. It’s home to 35 unique species of sea birds and its gently sloping beach offers comfortable entry into the sheltered waters that surround the cay. With complimentary snorkeling equipment, you’ll discover a colorful undersea realm teeming with colorful marine life – including sea turtles, hundreds of species of tropical reef fish, mollusks, and other invertebrates. The reef surrounding Michaelmas Cay is particularly renowned for its abundance of giant clams! Throughout the day, our engaging and knowledgeable marine biologists are on hand to answer questions and enrich your exploration. In addition to snorkeling, the reef lagoon offers excellent swimming and you can always take some time to explore the flora and fauna of the Cay. You can also join an available guided snorkeling tour - or stay dry as you explore the reef world from a semi-submersible vessel! A smorgasbord luncheon and roundtrip transfers between our resort and the Cairns marina complete this unforgettable Great Barrier Reef adventure. (B+L)
Day 6 A Free Day in Paradise
This entire day is yours to enjoy the amenities and beachfront setting of our tropical resort. You can also wander into Pam Cove to shop, dine, explore and just enjoy its inviting ambience. (B)
Day 7 Fly to Ayers Rock + Discover Kata Tjutu
We’ll take you to the airport today for your flight into the Outback. On arrival in Ayers Rock, you’ll be met and escorted to the Desert Gardens Hotel; our enchanting resort is set amidst shading gum trees and surrounded by gardens of native shrubs and flowers. Later this afternoon, you’ll venture through these captivating landscapes as our in-the-know guide offers insight into the flora, fauna and unique geology of the region. Your destination is Uluru Kata Tjuta National Park where a guided walk in Walpa Gorge promises spectacular views of the 36 towering red-rock domes that comprise Kata Tjuta (The Olgas). You’ll learn about the importance of Kata Tjuta as a sacred Aboriginal ceremonial site and gaze in wonder up the scale of the rock walls that surround you.
As the sun dips towards the horizon, we’ll take you to a prime vantage point to witness the sun set over Uluru (Ayers Rock). Enjoy a glass of sparkling wine and experience the shifting moods of Uluru as darkness begins to fall. (B)
Day 8 Sunrise at Uluru + Bush Tucker Adventure
Arise early this morning for a delightful picnic breakfast in an al fresco setting that offers dramatic views of Uluru at sunrise – its vast presence seeming to emerge from the arid desert landscape as the day brightens. Enjoy a guided walk to a nearby waterhole as our guide shares the Creation stories of the region’s indigenous inhabitants and drive around the base of Uluru on your return to the Desert Gardens Hotel.
Later this morning, our Bush Tucker + Reptile Adventure takes you deep into the wilds of the Outback to learn how early settlers and native residents survived in the harsh desert climate. You’ll learn about the animals that sustained them and sample the native bush seeds that they relied on. You’ll also see and learn about some of the reptiles that survive in these arid landscapes before returning to your resort for some leisure time.
Tonight, you’ll enjoy canapés and sparkling wine on a viewing platform overlooking Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park. As darkness falls, listen to the haunting sounds of the didgeridoo and enjoy a congenial dinner and an introduction to Aboriginal culture with a traditional Anangu performance. (B+D)
Day 9 Onward to Sydney
You’ll be escorted to the airport today for your included flight to Sydney. On arrival, you’ll be greeted by our resident guide and transferred to the deluxe Sir Stamford, at Circular Quay Hotel, ideally located close to the waterfront in the heart of this vibrant city. (B)
Day 10 Out and About in Sydney
Arise early this morning for our exclusive insiders-access tour of the iconic Sydney Opera House, a stunning architectural landmark with a dramatic harbor-front setting. Taking you behind the scenes to areas normally accessible only to staff and performers, you may have the opportunity to stand on the Concert Hall stage, take up the conductor’s baton in the Opera Theater orchestra pit, or even peek inside the stars’ dressing rooms. The Green Room is usually the private domain of performers and crew, but this is where we’ve arranged for you to enjoy a hearty breakfast – a highpoint of our exclusive backstage tour!
[Please Note: The Opera House is very much a working center for the performing arts; as such, the specifics of our exclusive behind-the-scenes tour and breakfast will be determined by rehearsal and performance schedules on the day of our visit.]
From the Opera House, you’ll continue your guided tour with some of the city’s other well-known landmarks, including the Harbour Bridge and Botanic Gardens. From Mrs. Macquarie’s Chair, you’ll have a breathtaking view of the Bridge and Opera House. A guided walk through the historic Rocks district is enlivened by colorful tales of the convicts, sailors and rogues who were among the city’s earliest settlers! See the Parliament House and St. Mary’s Cathedral and drive through some of Sydney’s most vibrant districts including Kings Cross and Paddington. Strolling along Bondi Beach, you’ll see surfers and world-famous Aussie lifeguards! Then take in the view from Sydney Heads, situated at the mouth of the harbor, before enjoying lunch and a glass of wine at Doyles on the Beach. Beloved by city residents and visitors alike, this inviting seafood restaurant overlooking Watsons Bay has been owned and operated by the same family for more than 5 generations. After lunch, we’ll take you back to your hotel so you can enjoy the rest of your afternoon as you wish. (B+L)
Day 11 At Leisure in Sydney
This day is yours to enjoy as you wish! Take advantage of our hotel’s heart-of-it-all location to explore more of this friendly city at your own pace. This evening, you’ll join our guide aboard a water taxi to cross Sydney Harbour to Sails on Lavender Bay. Perched on the waterfront with picture-perfect views of the Opera House and Harbour Bridge, this delightful restaurant is known for its seasonal locally-sourced menu of refined contemporary Australian cuisine. (B+D)
Day 12 Depart Sydney
After breakfast, you’ll be escorted to the airport for your onward journey. (B)
All This Included
Our small group Australia tour with like-minded travelers and engaging Down Under guides will show you the amazing diversity of their native land – from the Queensland rainforest, Great Barrier Reef and Ayers Rock to its alluring cities, cuisine and wine!
Melbourne: Citadines on Bourke
Palm Cove: Paradise on the Beach
Sydney: PARKROYAL Darling Harbour
Terms and Conditions
For Alexander+Roberts terms and conditions, please click here.
* The prices shown are U.S. dollars per person, based on double occupancy, and subject to availability. Prices quoted for land/cruise arrangements are subject to increase without notice. Once we have received your deposit, land/cruise prices are guaranteed. Air prices quoted via phone or email are subject to increase and are guaranteed only from the time that full payment is received. Also, air prices or air promotions mentioned on this site or on the phone do not include baggage fees imposed by airlines.