Australian Natural Adventures

A specialist travel agency for Australia travel, Australia tours, and all things Australian.

  Tourism Australia accredited Premier Aussie Specialist.
Accredited Tassie Specialist

Custom Itinerary for James & Shirley Feltman

Australia & Fiji

August 2005

Day 1 - Tuesday, August 23: Los Angeles / Lost In Space
Begin your South Pacific journey flying from Panama City to Los Angeles. In Los Angeles collect your bag, then you may wish to take the airport terminal shuttle to the Tom Bradley Terminal, which is at the head of thQantas logoe horseshoe of LAX terminals. However, as you have plenty of time, and you will be sitting down for over 14 hours, you can also walk. Check in for your flight to Australia, which begins the moment you step aboard your Qantas plane. The Australian style is apparent—easy going, casually efficient and very friendly. Qantas is known for its Qantas planeexcellent food and in flight service, so sit back and enjoy the hospitality, meal and a movie. I would, however, recommend having dinner at the airport – there are a wide range of options upstairs, at the end of the ticket counters – then just relaxing on the plane.              *M

Day 2 - Wednesday, August 24: Lost In Space
Lose today due to the International Dateline, but regain it on your return journey.                *M

Day 3 - Thursday, August 25: Sydney / Cairns
You arrive in Sydney this morning, pass through customs and immigration then transfer to your flight to Cairns, arriving at lunchtime. This flight departs from the domestic terminal, pelicans Cairns Esplanade Queensland Australiaand you will take the terminal shuttleCairns Esplanade Queensland Australia  - photo courtesy bus to that terminal – directions are clear in the international terminal for this. On arrival in Cairns you will be met and transferred to your hotel, Tradewinds Esplanade. You can walk out of the rear of the hotel to the Esplanade, which runs along the bayfront. It is a very short and pleasant walk through the new Esplanade Fogarty Park to the main downtown area, past cafes, shops and restaurants. Probably the best eating fish in Australia, and one of the best in the world, is Barramundi, and you should make sure this is a feature of one of your meals here. Start with an appetizer of Mud crab or Moreton Bay Bugs (both far better than they sound), followed by Barramundi done as simply as possible. A dry white Australian Sauvignon Blanc, perhaps from the Margaret River area of Western Australia, or a crisp Victorian white, will be a perfect accompaniment.             *B

Day 4 - Friday, August 26: Great Barrier Reef
Today you are introduced to 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 your trip today you experience two important features—a coral inner-shelf reef,coral cay Great Barrier Reef Queensland Australia 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, 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. Immediately offshore in waist-deep water, the first of the corals can be seen. For those not used to snorkelling, 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 us 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 glide around the coral in a semi-submersible submarine, dry and with your ordinary cameras, while a marine biologist describes the species seen and some of the processes at work. For those interested, there are guided snorkel tours led by a marine biologist; for those who are certified, scuba diving is an option, or a non-certified introductory dive. 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. Your transport to the reef is a 105 foot luxury, motor-sailing catamaran. There is time after your return this evening to visit Cairns, or you may wish to relax poolside at the hotel.                        L

Day 5 - Saturday, August 27: Cairns
Tjapukai Aboriginal Dance Troupe Cairns Queensland Australia Today learn about Aboriginal culture at the Tjapukai Aboriginal Cultural Park, enjoy a scenic train ride up the range behind Cairns, and brush the top of the rainforest trees by cablecar. Although designed as a tourist venture, the 16 year old Tjapukai concept began and remains today a means ofSkyrail Kuranda Queensland Australia introducing non-aboriginal people to the world’s oldest living culture, while at the same time showing by example to the Aboriginal people themselves that their culture, often ignored and looked down upon by its own people, is of great value and interest to others throughout Australia and the world. Through dance and Kuranda Rail Queensland Australiatheatre, and traditional activities including spear and boomerang throwing, food and medicinal plants identification, and shelter construction, there is much to learn here about Aboriginal life. Prior tRed Ochre Grill meal Cairns Queensland Australiao Tjapukai you will be picked up for the morning scenic train ride to Kuranda, then the Skyrail Cable ride down, an interesting way to see the rainforest from the canopy. Skyrail's terminus is adjacent to Tjapukai, and at the end of the day you will be returned to your hotel. A suggestion for dinner is the Red Ochre Grill, where native Australian foods are cooked and presented in gourmet style. This unique concept has introduced a whole new range of tastes to the Australian palate.

Day 6 - Sunday, August 28: Cairns
Today is free to look around Cairns.

Day 7– Monday, August 29: Cairns/ Atherton Tableleands / Cairnsblack opal Queensland Australia
This morning is free to look around Cairns. A suggestion is a visit to the Outback Opal Mine, where as well as buying opals you can learn from a educational film and display how and where they are mined. A call to this interesting store and museum will have them coming to collect you, and drop you off later, at no obligation.

tree kangaroos Queensland AustraliaEarly this afternoon you will be picked up for an afternoon/evening tourfan palm Queensland Australia to the rainforest of the Atherton Tablelands. These World Heritage listed rainforests, at an elevation of about 2,500 ft, are home to some of Australia’s rarest and most unusual animals, including four kinds of very restricted possums, gliders, and the definitely weird tree kangaroo, a kangaroo which has adapted to a life in the trees, rather than on the ground. Your guide will take you to a small stream to wait for platypus, the egg-laying mammal unique to Australia, all the time describing the plants and dynamics of the surrounding rainforest.platypus in stream Australia A variety of rainforest birds and other animals, perhaps including the leaf-ulysses butterfly Queensland Australiatailed gecko - eight inches long and colored and shaped like a piece of bark - will be found and seen. After dinner out, a couple of hours will be spent spotlighting for nocturnal animals, always a highlight of the day. The return to Cairns will be late, around midnight, but the long day will remain in your memory for years to come.                       D

Day 8 - Tuesday, August 30: Cairns / Ayers Rock
This morning taxi to the airport for your 9.15am Qantas flight to Ayers Rock, arriving at 11.35am. This flight gives you a wonderful look at the desert landscape from the air. Here you are transferredUluru Ayers Rock Australia to your accommodation, Yulara Resort, a few miles from the base of Uluru, as Ayers Rock is known to the local Aboriginal people (although there is a little controversy as to what Uluru really is referring to, and by which group.) You will have a couple of hours to relax, perhaps visiting the nearby cultural and display center, then about one hour before sunset you will be picked up and transferred to a sand dune a little way from Uluru. Hear a didgeridoo’s sounds greet you, and you watch the sun set on Uluru, one of the most inspiring sights possible. As the colors change, you will be sipping on canapés and champagne. Afterwards sit down,Sounds of Silence dinner Ayers Rock Uluru Australia under the southern stars, for a truly memorable dinner. Once dinner is over you have the opportunity to observe the constellations and stars through a telescope, while your guide explains which is which. Don’t forget to ask how to find south, and tell the time, by the stars.              D

Day 9 – Wednesday, August 31: Ayers Rock
This morning you are picked up at 7am to explore Uluru itself. After witnessing sunrise on Uluru, and event not to be missed, and a picnic breakfast, you will combine a drive and walk around the base, about 6 miles. Short walks will bring you to this wonderful and powerful place, viewing rock Ayers Rock tour Uluru Australiaart, waterholes and appreciating the unique flora and fauna of Uluru. A special feature is the appreciation of the exquisite as well as the dramatic sculpturing of Uluru. There is time to amble, to absorb images and to gain an insight into Uluru's remarkable presence, while your guide will introduce you to the geology of Uluru and describe how plants and wildlife have adapted and survived in such a forbidding environment. The fascinating relationship of the Anangu people to Uluru is also described. After lunch Kata Tjuta the Olgas Ayers Rock Australiayou will explore another fascination and significant formation, Kata Tjuta, or The Olgas. Kata Tjuta is a series of huge rounded rocks hills, and once again an important Aboriginal area. Your guide will show you the area, and describe stories of the Dreamtime relevant to Kata Tjuta (not in full as the stories are only fully available to tribal members), as well as geology and history. The day ends with a sunset some say equal to that on Uluru itself. You return to the resort in time for dinner.

Day 10 - Thusday, September 1: Ayers Rock / Sydney
After a free morning - perhaps you'll take a short walk to a viewing area in the dunes Sydney Harbor Bridge Australianear the resort to once again view sunrise on Uluru, return to the airport for your flight to Sydney, arriving about 5pm. Your hotel taxi or shuttle to your hotel, the Harbour Rocks, located in the RocksSydney Australia restaurant meal, the historical heart of Sydney. As well as a good range of interestings shops, some of Sydney's oldest and most colorful pubs, and best restaurants, are found within a ten minute stroll. Australia has developed its own cuisine, a far cry from the stodgy English-based fare of earlier years. Restaurants featuring a fusion of Asian, European and even native Australian food abound, often featuring the superbly fresh fish abundantly available from Australia's long coastline.


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