Australian Natural Adventures

A specialist travel agency for Australia travel and Australia tours

  Tourism Australia Premier Aussie Specialist
Accredited Tassie, Northern Territory, NT Outback, NSW, Victoria & Queensland Specialists
Matai Fiji Specialist


Custom Itinerary Prepared for

Lundie Spence & Bob Bacon, and Robin Spence & Shipley Lucas

October 17 to November 24 2007

Barossa Valley Australia

Day 1 – Tuesday, Dec 25: Lundie/Bob: Charleston/Los Angeles/Melbourne
Fly from Charleston on American Airlines flight 3474 departing at 11.30am and arriving in Dallas Fort Worth at 1.30pm. Change planes to American flight 745 for Los Angeles, departing at 5.30pm and arriving at 6.45pm. Transfer to the Tom Bradley International Terminal, the next one to your left as you exit the American terminal, for your 11.15pm Qantas flight 94 to Melbourne, Australia. (*D)

Day 2 – Wednesday, Dec 26: Lost in Space
Day lost due to the International Dateline, but regained on the return journey.

Day 3 – Thursday, Dec 27: LIS/Melbourne
Arrive in Melbourne, Australia at 9.30am this morning. Pass through customs and immigration then pick up your rental car and drive to your hotel located just behind the Arts Centre across the Yarra River from downtown. It’s an easy walk into town, but the location avoids needing to drive through the city, as the freeway exit and entrance ramps are nearby, including the one from the airport. The rest of the day is free to explore Melbourne and possibly get in a few holes at Albert Park Golf Club, about ten minutes from your hotel, or at Parkville just north of downtown in Royal Park, also the location of Melbourne Zoo. Melbourne has some tricky turns, found only in this city, but Parkville can be reached with a straight shot up Swanston St with no turns made until you are well past the tricky ones. (*B)

Day 4 – Friday, Dec 28: Brisbane Ranges
Today is free to continue to explore and play golf. There are several courses available within an hour’s drive of Melbourne, all of which can br reached without driving into the city itself. Some free time would be well spent at the nearby Art Gallery, and its satellite at Federation Square. The Royal Botanic Gardens, across St Kilda Rd from your hotel, are world class. If you play golf on the Mornington Peninsula there are several small parks, and some excellent wineries that can be visitied, or if the weather is nice a little beach time may be in order. There are both bay and surf beaches within a few miles of each other, and the surf beaches should be patrolled by lifesavers at this time of the year. (B)

Day 5 – Saturday, Dec 29: Melbourne / Great Ocean Road / Port Fairy
Over the nest two days you travel along the Great Ocean Road and on through southern South Australia to Adelaide. Along the way visit Geelong, beachside towns famous for their surf, the Otway Ranges and many other interesting places. Your journey starts as you head west out of Melbourne and through the coastal city of Geelong down to Torquay. A short while later, at Anglesea, you begin the GOR proper as it winds its way around the cliffs overlooking the Southern Ocean. However, make a detour at Anglesea to the golf course, where Grey Kangaroos laze about on the fairways. An early start this morning will allow time for 9 rounds on the course. At the end of the road, or at least your journey today, are the offshore sandstone stacks know at London Bridge – fallen down now, just like in the nursery rhyme – and the Twelve Apostles, again due to erosion and possibly original poor arithmetic, just the seven apostles. Overnight at Merrijig Inn, Port Fairy, a little way past the end of the scenic part of the Road, but on the beach and scenic in its own right. Port Fairy was one of Victoria’s earliest settlements. (B)

Day 6 – Sunday, Dec 30: Warrnambool area/Wellington
Continue west this morning to Wellington, in South Australia. You can either continue along the coast, perhaps turning in to Tower Hill Reserve, and wildlife area in the crater of an extinct volcano. Alternatively you may wish to drive straight to Mt Gambier, then head north 65 miles to Naracoorte. A series of caves here have provided one of Australia’s best fossil records, especially mammals, and there are cave tours and a museum. A more central route goes via Coonawarra and Padthaway, two prime wine regions. Continue up (or head back to) the coast and along The Coorong, a significant bird area, but now a concern due to low water and pesticide runoff from the Murray River. Swing north along the eastern edge of Lakes Albert & Alexandrina, part of the Murray estuary, to the tiny town of Wellington, on the Murray River, to overnight. (B)

Day 7– Monday, Dec 31: Wellington/Yankalila/Kangaroo Island
This morning cross the Murray River by cable ferry. This is definitely old-fashioned – the ferry runs 24 hours per day, is free, and simply sits at either bank looking for the next vehicle on either side, crossing on demand. It only takes a few minutes to cross. A little way It’s about 1.5 hours to Normanville, where you meet your dive guide to dive in Rapid Bay for Leafy Sea Dragons. As you will be diving out of Victor Harbour if the wind is not suitable for Rapid Bay, you should give Kerry a call before you leave this morning to avoid possible backtracking. The Links Lady Bay golf course, considered the third best in South Australia, is 2.5 miles from Yankalila, near Normanville. There’s also an 18 hole par 72 at Victor Harbour. Continue north to Adelaide airport for your 6.55pm Rex ZL4773 flight to Kangaroo Island, where you are met and transferred to your foreshore hotel for the night. Happy New Year’s Eve! (B,D)

Days 8 – Tuesday, Jan 1: Kangaroo Island
You are picked up by your tour guide to begin your exploration of this wonderful island. You’ll first visit the redgum forest along the Cygnet River valley to seek out koalas sleeping in the forks of the trees, then travel through some of the best wool-producing areas on the island to a conservation park on the north coast. Here we walk through the habitat of Kangaroo Island Kangaroos, Tammar Wallabies and the endangered Glossy Black Cockatoo. For lunch enjoy a delicious seafood barbeque served with fine South Australian wines before heading to a colony of Australian Sealions. At Seal Bay Conservation Park a walk among Sealions on a beautiful sandy beach may reveal watching pups nursing or playing in the surf. Old bulls bear the scars of territorial disputes, as your guide explains when he tells us about their unique breeding biology. In the afternoon we visit Cape Gantheaume Conservation Park including D'Estrees Bay - where ospreys nest, and kangaroos come out late in the day to feed. After this you are dropped off at your accommodation. This evening enjoy a trip to the beach to see Fairy Penguins, the world's smallest, return to their burrows after a day at sea. The walk starts at your hotel, and the penguins live just across the road in the low dunes. This walk is led by Park Rangers and you should arrange the walk with your hotel. You can also do this the evening prior, or both. (B,L,D)

Day 9 – Wednesday, Jan 2: Kangaroo Island / Adelaide
Flinders Chase National Park is a 74,000 hectare (190,000 acre) wilderness which covers the entire west end of the Island. We’ll visit Rocky River Homestead - originally a small farm and now the Park headquarters. This area is home to kangaroos, wallabies, possums, goannas, echidnas, koalas, platypus and many birds including the rare Cape Barren Goose. At Cape du Couedic on the south-west tip is a New Zealand furseal colony which is rapidly expanding. These animals can be observed at rest on the rocks or frolicking in the surf under Admirals Arch - a spectacular coastal grotto. On the headland above is Cape du Couedic Lighthouse which plays an important role in navigation. Further down the coast are the Remarkable Rocks, huge natural granite sculptures on the cliff top. Lunch today is a picnic in the bush before exploring more of the Island. Depending upon the day you might take a walk to a secluded cove, or watch for a platypus by a quiet pool. You return to the eastern end of the island via Vivonne Bay, one of the few protected bays on the south coast. Fly back to Adelaide at 6.30pm on Rex ZL4772, arriving at 7.05pm and taxi to your hotel. (B,L)

Day 10 – Thursday, Jan 3: Adelaide/Sydney
Return to the airport and depart at 8am for Sydney on Qantas flight 740, arriving at 10.25am. Robin & Ship will get in at 8.00am, and it will take them about an hour to get through to the outside world, occasionally up to 30 minutes longer, and the plane could be late – it is coming from LAX. Meet your relatives at the airport. It is suggested that the pick up Robin & Shipley first at International, then drive round to domestic to pick you up, as they should be clear of customs by the time you arrive. (*B)

Day 11 – Friday, Jan 4 to Day 17 - Thursday, Jan 10: Sydney

Own itinerary in Sydney and New South Wales. If you get up to the Hunter look for the special Hunter Valley Semillons, little known outside the region and mostly produced at smaller wineries.

Day 18 – Friday, Jan 11: Sydney / Brisbane
Fly north to Brisbane on Qantas flight 544 departing at 6.05pm and arriving at 6.35pm (there’s a one hour time difference as Queensland does not have daylight saving. Pick up your rental car at the airport and drive via the Gateway Arterial Road to Eight Mile Plains and your motel for the night. (*M)

Day 19 – Saturday, Jan 12: Brisbane / O’Reillys
About 4 kilometers southeast of your hotel is Daisy Hill State Forest, a small protected area of native bush. In addition to the Koala Conservation Centre here, where you can see koalas up close, there are over 130 wild koalas in the surrounding bush. A morning walk along the tracks should provide both a pleasant birding experience as well as the opportunity to find some wild koalas. Continue from Daisy Hill a few more kilometers south then take the road to Tamborine, Canungra and O’Reillys, one of Australia’s first ecolodges. Set in the lush mix of temperate rainforest and eucalypt forest of the mountains, O'Reilly's prides itself on its wonderful location, quality guides and accommodations. This afternoon begin your exploration of the surrounding forests. (D)

Day 20 – Sunday, Jan 13: O’Reillys
Continue your exploration of the park. There are guided walks and talks by resident naturalists, as well as time to explore on your own, and the canopy walkway. At night there is spotlighting for nocturnal animals (although you'll also see the Brushtail Possums and Pademelons right at the lodge itself, as well as bowerbirds and parrots)), bush poetry and maybe a dance, and audio-visual presentations. Make sure you get a seat near the main window in the dining room at breakfast and dinner to enjoy the wildlife that also comes in to dine. (B,D)

Day 21 – Monday, Jan 14: O’Reillys / Brisbane

You have most of the day in the forests of Lamington before driving down to Brisbane and your apartment hotel just a few minutes from the airport. Although not in the city, there are several restaurants within walking distance. (B)

Day 22 – Tuesday, Jan 15: Brisbane / Heron Island
Return your car at the airport and fly to Gladstone on your 8.50am Qantas flight 2332, arriving at 9.55am. You will be met to be transferred to the jetty for your launch trip to Heron Island, arriving about lunchtime. The afternoon is free to explore this wonderful coral atoll. Heron is one of only two developed islands that are true coral atolls, sitting directly on and surrounded by coral reef. Queensland NPWS has a major long-term turtle study here, and the University of Queensland has a research station. You can watch researchers go about their work during your stay. (*B)

Day 23 – Wednesday, Jan 16: Heron Island
Continue to enjoy Heron Island. As it is the turtle and bird breeding season, there will be plenty of wildlife activity as well as the coral immediately offshore. And, of course, the spa services. (B)

Day 24 – Thursday, Jan 17: Heron Island / Gladstone / Brisbane
The launch leaves Heron this afternoon at 2pm and gets in to Gladstone at 3.45pm. You are immediately transferred to the airport, about 10 minutes away. Your Qantas flight 2307 leaves at 5pm for Brisbane, where you taxi to the same hotel as you stayed in before. (B,*M)

Day 25 – Friday, Jan 18: Brisbane / Los Angeles / Charleston or Baltimore
After an easy morning packing and relaxing return to the airport by taxi to depart Brisbane at 12.10pm on Qantas flight 175. Due to the Dateline you arrive back in Los Angeles at 7am this same day and connect back to the east coast. Lundie and Bob depart Los Angeles from the same terminal you arrived in at 12.05pm on American flight 2442, arriving at Dallas at 5.10pm. Here they change to American flight 3483 departing at 6.20pm, finally arriving at Charleston at 9.45pm. Robin and Shipley will either walk or shuttle to the Southwest terminal where they leave at 11.10am on Southwest flight 3186 nonstop for Washington BWI, arriving at 8.05pm. (*L,*D,*B)

B: Breakfast; L: Lunch; D: Dinner; M: Meal; * in flight meal