Australian Natural Adventures

Custom Australia, New Zealand & Pacific tours and travel



A  Family of Australia  Zoo  Lovers

family with Bindi Irwin Australia Zoo


May 25 to June 11, 2009

Day 1 – Monday, May 25: Home City/Los Angeles / Lost In Space
Depart your home city for Los Angles on United flight 7217 at 3.12p for Denver, arriving at 5.14pm.Change planes to United flight 498 for Los Angeles, departing at 5.55pm and arriving at 7.22pm. Once again change planes to United flight 839 for Sydney, departing at 10.24pm. (*D)

Day 2 – Tuesday, May 26: Lost In Space
Lose today due to the International Dateline, but regain it on your return journey.

Day 3 – Wednesday, May 27: LIS /Melbourne
Arrive in Sydney at 6.10am this morning, pass through customs and immigration, after which change to the domestic terminal for your 9.15am Virgin Blue flight 826 to Melbourne. On arrival at 10.45am you are met and transferred to your hotel, a 2 bedroom fully self-contained apartment overlooking Carlton Park. The hotel is just a few minutes walk from downtown and has a stop immediately outside the door for the free tram that circles and crosses the city. Although your room may not be ready, you will be able to leave your bags. Short free tram ride takes you to the Yarra River, and within walking distance over the river and through the park is the Shrine of Remembrance, Victoria’s major war memorial. There is a free guided tour at 2pm.       (*B)

Day 4 – Thursday, May 28: Melbourne

Free day in Melbourne to explore this interesting city. You may take a trip down to Phillip Island to see the Fairy Penguins waddle ashore at dusk. Captain Cook’s Cottage, the actual house the discoverer of Australia lived in growing up in England is now located in a inner city park in Melbourne and can also be visited.

Day 5 – Friday, May 29: Melbourne / You Yangs / Melbourne
This morning you are picked up at 9.15am by Roger or Janine of Echidna Walkabout for a full day outing to the hills and plains west of Melbourne to see wild kangaroos and koaas, abundant birdlife and discover a rich Aboriginal heritage. You’ll learn about native animals and plants both in the open-range grasslands of Serendip Sanctuary on the Western Plains and in the bush lands of Brisbane Ranges National Park. Within easy reach from the centre of the city of Melbourne, these environments provide the perfect introduction to Australia's unique wildlife and indigenous culture. You’ll see and walk amongst Grey Kangaroos in large free ranging groups, and find emus, wallabies, koalas and other unique Australian wildlife. A delicious bush lunch is provided. The Brisbane Ranges are home to a large and healthy population of wild koalas and we rarely miss out on multiple sightings of these delightful creatures. In additional to the wildlife of the region during your journey your guide will share with you the great significance of the Western Plains to Aboriginal people.      (L)

Day 6 – Saturday, May 30: Melbourne/Ayers Rock
Fly this morning at 7.15am to Sydney on Qantas flight 410, arriving at 8.40am. Change planes to Qantas flight 728 to Ayers Rock, which departs at 9.50pm, arriving at 12.55pm. Take the shuttle bus to your hotel, Emu Walk Apartments. At sometime prior to your tour pickup walk to the Outback Pioneer hotel to collect your rental car. At about 4.30pm you are picked up from the Desert Gardens Hotel, next to yours, to ride camels to near Uluru where you watch the sun set, turning Uluru from orange to red to black. You are returned to your hotel by bus.


Day 7 – Sunday, May 31: Ayers Rock/Cairns
Drive to Uluru early this morning (check with the hotel for the best time and travel time, but sunrise is at 7.23 this morning) to view sunrise on Uluru. You can either check out before leaving, or return after Uluru and do so, in both cases leaving your bags to be picked up later. (The later checkout will add about $AU5 to the rental rate as there is a per kilometer charge, and reduce your available walking time by about half an hour, but may make things easier than packing and checking out very early.) Continue on to Kata Tjuta and walk the trails through this section of the park. Return to your hotel to pick up your bags, return your car at the airport and fly to Cairns on Qantas flight 1853 at 3.30pm, arriving at 6.30pm. Take a taxi into your hotel, a 2-bedroom apartment style located on Cairns’ scenic Esplanade.         (*M)


Day 8 – Monday, June 1: Great Barrier Reef
Today explore one of the natural wonders of the world—Australia’s Great Barrier Reef, a series of reefs extending for about 1,250 miles along the coast of Queensland, nearly to Papua New Guinea. On our trip today you experience two important features—a coral inner-shelf reef, and the sandy vegetated cay formed on one end. Michaelmas Reef lies about 22 miles off the coast just north of Cairns, with Michaelmas Cay on its southern tip. It is an important seabird rookery, which becomes apparent as you approach the mass of birds swirling constantly above the cay. The four primary species are Crested, Lesser-crested and Sooty Terns, and Common Noddy. Lesser Frigatebirds are usually present, occasionally Greater, as are Silver Gulls, Brown Boobies and Ruddy Turnstones. The cay, most of which is off limits, is a National Park within the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park. However, the birds are very tolerant of visitors and stand thickly along the beach, allowing us to approach them within a few yards and less. Immediately offshore in waist-deep water, the first of the corals can be seen. For those not used to snorkeling, there is no easier introduction—just walk up to your waist, and bend over. Brilliantly colored fish, giant clams, beche de mer and coral outcrops can all be seen. Easy swimming in shallow water brings you over coral “bombies,” heads of coral with their assortment of fishes, and hard and soft corals. Parrot fish glean algae from the coral, and small and medium predators search for food. Schools of fish twist and flash between the outcrops. An occasional sea turtle may be seen. You can also glide around the coral in a glass-bottomed boat, dry and with your ordinary camera, while a marine biologist describes the species seen and some of the processes at work. There are guided snorkel tours. On your trip out, one of the marine biologists explains the development of this and other reef systems and gives us an introduction to many of the animal species that you see. Lunch is a tropical smorgasbord. In the afternoon you return to Cairns, under sail if the winds are right.        (L)


Day 9 – Tuesday, June 2: Daintree
Pick up your rental car and drive north to the Daintree River, where you take a one hour boat cruise, looking at the rainforest, mangroves, birds, fruit bats and especially the large Saltwater Crocodiles that inhabit the river. This is definitely Croc Hunter territory. The drive is very scenic, and you can cross the river further downstream by car ferry and explore the rainforest a little further north, or take it more slowly and stop in at Mossman Gorge for the rainforest there. The river is very clear and good for swimming, if a little cool at this time of the year. If the cane season has started you can tour the Mossman Mill to see the process of turning sugar cane into sugar. (Season starts in June but the exact day is variable.)


Day 10 – Wednesday, June 3: Cairns / Brisbane
This return your car at the airport this morning fly south to Brisbane at 10am on Virgin Blue flight 778, arriving at 12.05pm. Pick up another car and head about an hour and a half north to Mooloolaba on the coast near Australia Zoo and your hotel. Relax with a stroll along the beach.


Day 11 – Thursday, June 4: Australia Zoo
The big day! Make your way across to Australia Zoo today for the rewards of your wonderful video. Spend the whole day here, meeting the animals, and staff who have worked with Steve over the years. You have animal encounters to meet some of the locals close up, see the Wildlife Warriors show at the Crocoseum, and have all day to explore this wonderful zoo.


Day 12 –Friday, June 5: Australia Zoo
Today spend another day at the Zoo, meeting the animals, seeing the displays, and getting to know the animals that live here.


Day 13 – Saturday, June 6: Mooloolaba Area
Today is free to explore the Sunshine Coast, from Nambour to Glasshouse Mountains. In addition to the great local beaches there are pineapple farms, National parks to walk (or canoe) in, and other attractions. There’s a deer farm, or a drive into the hinterland rainforest will be a change from the coast; there are cool forests trails for walking, and many small craft stalls.


Day 14 – Sunday, June 7: Australia Zoo
Spend today with a final visit to the zoo or exploring the region, or both. Head back to Brisbane about 1pm and fly to Sydney at 4.15pm on Qantas flight 541, arriving at 5.45pm. You are met and transferred into town where you overnight for the next three nights in Sydney, once again in a centrally located apartment style hotel.       (*S)



Day 15 – Monday, June 8: Sydney
Discover Sydney today, a wonderfully cosmopolitan city. A 20 minute walk through the city (the desk can give you directions), or a short bus ride is the office of The Rocks Walking Tours, from where you will start your 10.30am easy 90-minute walking tour of this historic and vibrant area if you have chosen this option. Many of the buildings date from the very first years of the settlement, and are convict-built. You will get a good insight to the history of Sydney, and Australia. The rest of the day is free to explore this vibrant and friendly city. In addition to great shops to buy the needed souvenirs and gifts, just a short walk is the Botanic Gardens and the Domain, which has good views of the harbor, an abundant bird life, and a colony of huge grey fruit-bats, whose wingspans are approximately three feet. The Australian Museum, with its impressive collection of Aboriginal artifacts and art, is also close by. The Taronga Zoo is a ferry ride across the harbor, and a lunch or dinner cruise is a good way to truly appreciate this water-side city. During today or tomorrow you may wish to take a guided tour of the Opera House; tours leave on the half hour from 9.30am until 4.45pm. Much is within walking distance of your hotel, although The Rocks is a little far and you may wish to take the bus or a train - Sydney is extremely well-serviced by buses and the underground. Lunch can be taken on a cruise on the harbor, with views of the Opera House and Harbour Bridge, as well as the boats and ferries of what is often called the most beautiful city harbor in the world. While there are tours that utilize the ferries, usually with lunch or morning tea, the cheapest way to do this is to simply buy a return ticket to one of the up-harbor places such as Homebush (where the Olympics were held). You’ll see a map of all the places they go at Circular Quay. The ferries have a snack/meal bar, and you can just get an easy lunch or snack there, sit back, and enjoy the ride. The ferry to Manly goes in the other direction, and as it passes the Entrance, where the harbor enters the Pacific, can get interestingly rough at times. This ferry will pass the Opera House and various other landmarks, and is also a good run, especially as the sun sets behind the bridge and opera house, and the lights are coming on. The ferry from Taronga Zoo also provides a good sunset run.


Day 16 – Tuesday, June 9: Sydney
Continue to explore Sydney today. In addition to the immediate Rocks area there are many more historical parts of Sydney, chronicling Australia’s beginnings. Hyde Park Barracks is Australia's first government-built convict barracks, and the only remaining barracks building and complex from the Macquarie era of convict administration. It marked a turning point in Australia's management of transported convicts from Britain. It is also significant because it was designed by Australia's first architect Francis Greenway, and is regarded as one of his best works. Visitors can explore the museum dedicated to Australian history, and join a guided tour. At Campbell’s Cove adjacent to Circular Quay is a replica of Captain Bligh of mutiny fame’ ship the Bounty, which was used in the film. It now sails out in the harbor for dinner cruises. You can also stroll the pedestrian walkway across, or into the center of, the Sydney Harbour Bridge; there is a museum in one of the pylons, which has a good view as well. Mrs Macquaries Chair, the point of the Botanic Gardens that juts into the harbor, offers sweeping views of the Opera House with the bridge in the background. The walk takes you past the Naval Shipyard; in Darling Harbor, the other direction, is a very good Maritime Museum.


Day 17 – Wednesday, June 10: Sydney / Los Angeles / In Flight
Sadly you leave Australia today, but taking many memories and permanent souvenirs. Taxi back to the airport mid-morning for your 1.55pm United flight 840 for Los Angeles. Due to the International Dateline, you arrive back into Los Angeles at 10.19am this same morning. After clearing immigration and customs board you have a long connection time before your next flight. You may consider hiring a car and visiting the La Brea Tar Pits, or possibly going just a little further to Hollywood to see the famous sights. Marina del Rey, with its sandy interior and open beaches, famous Venice Beach and the beach, pier and shopping of Santa Monica are also a short drive away. At 11.20pm take United flight 126 for Chicago.      (*D,*B)


Day 18 – Thursday, June 11: In Flight/Chicago/Home City
After arriving at 5.13am change planes to your last flight to home.



<<<  back to general itineraries