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Custom Itinerary for Ronie and John Lundgren
July 21 to August 10 2005
Day 1 - Thursday, July 21: Los Angeles /
Lost In Space
Check in for your Qantas flight QF108 departing 11.50pm to Australia
in the Tom
Bradley Terminal, which is at the head of the horseshoe of LAX
terminals. Australia begins the moment you step aboard your Qantas
plane. The Aussie style is apparent—easy going, casually efficient
and very friendly. Qantas isknown for their
excellent food and inflight service, so sit back and enjoy the
hospitality, meal and a movie or three. 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 - Friday, July 22: Lost In Space
Lose today due to the International Dateline, but regain it on your
Day 3 - Saturday, July 23: LIS / Sydney
You arrive in Sydney at 7.25am this morning, pass through customs
and immigration then transfer to your hotel ,
Rocks, located in the Rocks,
the historical heart of Sydney. As well as a good range of interesting
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. Due to
your early arrival your hotel room may not be available, however you
can leave your bags there, and freshen up. 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-harbour
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
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
can get interestingly rough at times. This ferry will pass the Opera
House and various other landmarks, and is also a good run. Return
to your hotel for a well-deserved night's rest, but make sure you
are not tempted to lie down before about 8pm. You need to stay awake
all today, then sleep on Sydney's time, to best adjust to the new
time zone. *B
Day 4 - Sunday, July 24: Sydney
today, a wonderfully cosmopolitan city. Just a short walk from your
(the desk can give you directions) is the office of The Rocks Walking
Tours, from where you will start your 11.30am easy 90-minute walking
tour of this historic and vibrant area. 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 harbour, an
abundant bird life, and a colony of huge grey fruit-bats, whose wingspans
are approximately three feet. The Rocks Markets are in full swing
today (and yesterday), and are a good place to find a wide range of
Australian arts and crafts, ranging from high quality art and Aboriginal
artifacts to the usual tacky trash.
people think of opals when they think of Australia, and we can recommend
a visit to
the National Opal Collection
downtown. It has a mining and information display about opals in association
with The Australian Museum, and offers tax-free buying; we’ve
included brochure which also entitle you to a discount and a free
gift. You should take your passport and airline ticket to buy tax-free.
Day 5 - Monday, July 25: Sydney
Today is free to continue your exploration of Sydney. The
with its impressive collection of Aboriginal artifacts and art, is
close by.It is also a very good natural history museum, naturally
featuring Australian wildlife, geography and geology. The Taronga
Zoo is a ferry ride
across the harbour, 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.
This can be followed by dinner and a show, or just a show, in one
of the Opera House theatres, depending on your tastes. A calendar
of events can be found here.
Everything is within walking distance of your hotel, although the
Museum 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.
On the other side of Hyde Park are the Hyde
Park Barracks, home to over 15,000 convicts in Australia’s
formative years. Other areas of interest in Sydney are Darling Harbour,
with its world-class Aquarium,
and a little further out the once-notorious area called Kings Cross.
The inner suburbs of Wooloomooloo and Paddington
are now home to restaurants, boutique shops, and other less touristy
and more local-flavored shopping and dining opportunities. Your hotel
desk can help you visit any of these areas.
Day 6 - Tuesday, July 26: Sydney
Continue to discover Sydney. Your hotel desk can help with
suggestions for other activities. If the weather is fine
you may wish to visit the Blue Mountains. If so, this can be arranged
the day before through your hotel. We recommend two tour companies,
Mount 'N Beach Safaris and Oztrails. Oztrails is more casual, and
less expensive than Mount N Beach, but still gives a very good experience.
Mount 'N Beach visits a zoo on the way, so if you don't want to do
this - you'll be seeing most of what they have in the wild during
your trip - the Oztrails may be the best choice. Either way, your
itinerary will be similar to the Oztrails
"You are picked up this morning for a full day out to the Blue
Mountains just west of Sydney, following a
route that travels the same way as the early explorers who sought
a way across the mountains to the fertile grazing land beyond. The
views from the lookouts, including the Three Sisters, are quite spectacular.
Enjoy short bushwalks, look for kangaroos, experience the tall Eucalyptus
forest - and try some billy tea while there - enjoy some typically
Australian food in an country pub, or homestead for lunch, and see
early Australian non-urban architecture. The incline railroad and
scenicsender are unique ways to experience the edge of the mountains.
Your guide will tell you much abut the wildlife, history and geology
and of the areas visited. Return to your hotel about 6pm."
B,(L if tour taken)
Day 7 - Wednesday, July 27: Sydney / Cairns
This morning taxi back to the airport for your Qantas flight QF924
9.40am flight to Cairns.
On arrival at 12.40pm you will be met and transferred to your hotel,
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
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. We suggest checking
the tide times once you get to your hotel, as the period from about
15 minutes after the high tide through the next hour is the best for
the shorebirds on the Esplanade, and the best place for them is right
behind your hotel.
8 - Thursday, July 28: 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. Your boat today is Tusa, a smaller dedicated snorkel and dive
boat, which will take you to at least two separate places on the outer
reef. You are picked up from your hotel at 7.25am to begin your day.
Don't forget your towel (the hotel has special reef towels available),
hat, sunglasses and sunscreen. Most of the Great Barrier Reef, including
the parts visited today, are multiple-use Marine Park. Brilliantly
colored fish, giant clams, beche de mer and coral
outcrops can all be seen. Easy swimming in 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. Lunch is a tropical
smorgasbord aboard. There is time after your return this evening to
visit Cairns, or you may wish to relax poolside at the hotel.
Day 9 - Friday, July 29: Cairns
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 of
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 theatre,
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 to
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
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.
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