Australian Natural Adventures

nature travel, wildlife tours, adventure travel and general travel to Australia, New Zealand and the Pacific

 

Custom Itinerary for
Dennis, Jeanie, Courtney & Kelly Truax

Australia
December 17 to December 31

 

Day 1 - Friday, December 17: Starkville / Los Angeles
Fly to Los Angeles and overnight at the Radisson, Los Angeles airport. A call from the hotel's airport phone will send a free hotel shuttle for you.

Day 2 - Saturday, December 18: Los Angeles / In Flight
Begin your South Pacific journey by taking the hotel shuttle to the Tom Bradley Terminal, which is at the head of the horseshoe of LAX terminals. Check in for your Qantas flight QF8, leaving at 12.50pm 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 excellent food and in flight service, so sit back and enjoy the hospitality, meals and a movie or two. The seats have individual video screens, and a range of entertainment options.
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Day 3 - Sunday, December 19: In Flight / Sydney
You arrive in Sydney this everning at 10.20pm, pass through customs and immigration, pick up your bags and look for your transfer driver, who will take you to your hotel, The Grace, in the heart of Sydney.
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Day 4 - Monday, December 20: Sydney
This morning walk or bus to the Rocks area to enjoy an introduction to the city of Sydney and its history by joining a small group for a 10.30am 90-minute guided walk around The Rocks, the historical center and oldest part of Sydney. Many buildings were built by the earliest settlers, including convicts transported to Australia from England as punishment for their crimes. Houses, hotels, woolsheds and other buildings dating from the very early 1800s (Australia was first settled in 1788) are seen, many of which now house some of Sydney’s most interesting shops, with wares ranging from Aboriginal artifacts to the latest high fashion. The Rocks is at the base of the Sydney Harbour Bridge, right adjacent to Circular Quay. Across the Quay is the Opera House, which you can tour, and lining the quay are cafes and restaurants, many offering al fresco dining. Sydney’s famous ferries depart from Circular Quay, and one of the best ways to appreciate the beautiful harbor is to take a ferry ride or two.

The rest of the day is free to continue discovering this vibrant city. Just a short walk from your hotel are the Botanic Gardens, which has good views of the harbour, an abundant bird life, and a colony of huge but appealing Grey Flying-foxes, whose wingspans are approximately three feet. They are easily seen during the day as they roost hanging from the trees. Many birds, from Black Swans to colorful Rainbow Lorikeets can usually be seen about the Gardens. Immediately south of the Gardens is a park called The Domain, also a good place for walking, and which houses the Art Gallery, featuring an excellent collection of Australian and overseas art, including Aboriginal Art. A little further south, at the corner of Hyde Park, is the Australian Museum, with possibly Australia’s best collection of Aboriginal artifacts and other pieces. It is also a very good natural history museum, naturally featuring Australian wildlife, geography and geology. 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. Public transport is excellent in Sydney, and is the recommended way to get about.

Day 5 - Tuesday, December 21: Sydney
Continue to get to know Sydney. 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. The best way to really see Sydney Harbour is on a ferry. 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 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. 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. You may wish to take a guided tour of the Opera House; tours leave on the half hour from 9.30am until 4.30pm, and the cost is about $9. Everything is within walking distance of your hotel, but you may wish to take the bus or a train at times - Sydney is extremely well-serviced by buses and the underground.

Day 6 - Wednesday, December 22: Blue Mountains
This afternoon you are picked up at 1pm for an afternoon and evening in the Blue Mountains, a little west of Sydney. Your route takes you much 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. You will enjoy several short bushwalks, look for kangaroos, experience the tall Eucalyptus forest, and enjoy some typically Australian food and early non-urban architecture. Your guide will tell you much abut the history, geology and nature of the areas visited. You are returned to your hotel about 9pm. Although you will have an afternoon tea, dinner is not included, nor is there a break for it, so you will want to have a good lunch, and take some snacks with you.

 

 

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