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The Spectacular Australia - Itinerary
DATES & COST 

April 1 - 11, 2020
11 Days / 10 Nights
Tour starts in Melbourne and ends in Sydney

$6,160 per person/double occupancy
$1,480 optional single supplement
Early arrival $360 (single or double), including airport transfer
Includes all fees and taxes

TOUR DIRECTOR 
TOUR MAP 
Click on the image to enlarge the map

This tour may be combined with the North Island and South Island tour to New Zealand (March 22 - 31, 2020)


This tour starts at 5:00PM on Wednesday, April 1, 2020 in Melbourne.
Your flight should arrive no later than 3:00PM. Otherwise, we recommend arriving a day early.

Day 1: Melbourne - Arrivals 

On your arrival in Melbourne Airport (MEL), you will be met by a Sights and Soul representative for your private transfer to the hotel. If your flight arrives in the morning, you'll get a chance to rest after the long flight or get acquainted with the colorful area around the hotel, featuring the Fitzroy Gardens, Batman Park, Federation Square, cafes, and art galleries. Melbourne is ideal for strolling, savoring the ambiance and the lifestyle, and the central district, where the hotel is located, has a stunning skyline with intriguing modern architecture. In the afternoon, we'll meet the rest of the group for our welcome dinner at the traveling 1948 Melbourne Tram Restaurant. We'll enjoy our first taste of the amazing local food and fine Australian wines, as we glide along the scenic city streets of Melbourne in a vintage tram.
Meals: Dinner
Accommodations: The Savoy Hotel on Little Collins, Melbourne

Day 2: Melbourne 

This morning, we'll set out to explore Melbourne, the city that has it all: magnificent architecture, beautiful gardens, a fascinating history, great diversity of arts and culture, fine restaurants and night life. Our private guide will share with us the sights and experiences (and the amazing coffee) of the city considered to be one of the most livable on Earth, its history and cultural presence. We'll see the Old Treasury Building, the Parliament House, the Shrine of Remembrance and the Royal Botanic Gardens, Victorian buildings nestling among the skyscrapers, intricate ironwork decorating the mansions testifying to the wealth of the city during the gold rush, city parks reflecting their British heritage, and the Royal Exhibition Building. We'll end the tour at the city's icon, the gold plated Eureka Skydeck 88 on the South Bank of the Yarra River. After spending some time admiring the 360 degree views of Melbourne from the highest observation deck in the Southern Hemisphere, we'll celebrate the experience with lunch at a lively, contemporary city cafe.
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch
Accommodations: The Savoy Hotel on Little Collins, Melbourne

Day 3: Great Ocean Road 

Today, we'll set out from the city to experience the majestic Great Ocean Road, one of the world's great coastal drives. As we follow the road that hugs the side of sheer cliffs, where the native bushland and eucalyptus forests meets the blue waters of Australia's spectacular coast, we'll experience some of the world's most inspiring scenery, watch out for whales, dolphins, echidnas and bandicoots. We'll stroll along the wild beaches and stop for coffee at the striking Split Point Lighthouse to take in the awe-inspiring scenery. We'll experience the temperate Eucalyptus Forest,as we walk in the splendor of the gigantic rainforest trees, watching the kangaroos hopping alongside and visit the tranquil seaside town of Apollo Bay. This perfect day will be topped off with the magnificent vistas and tragic romantic stories at the ancient rock formations of the Twelve Apostles and Loch Ard Gorge.
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch
Accommodations: The Savoy Hotel on Little Collins, Melbourne

Day 4: Melbourne to Uluru 

After breakfast, we'll take an early flight to Ayers Rock / Uluru in the Australian Outback. After checking into our resort, we'll have some free time to rest or to explore the resort: we can join a bush yarn at the Circle of Sand with a local storyteller, visit the Wintjiri Arts + Museum showcasing the local Anangu art, browse the indigenous art markets to marvel at the beauty of the Mutitjulu artists' dot paintings or head to the Yulara Town Square for lunch and shopping. Two hours before sunset, we'll board camels and ride across the red desert to the Sounds of Silence dinner, for a unique gourmet dining experience enhanced by stargazing and followed by exploration of the Field of Lights art installation, as the darkness descends over Australia’s spiritual heartland.
Meals: Breakfast, Dinner
Accommodations: Desert Gardens Hotel, Ayers Rock

Day 5: Uluru to Cairns 

An hour before sunrise, we'll set out towards the majestic Uluru to arrive at a perfect spot to witness the sun rise over this amazing rock. We'll marvel at its vast shape rising from the sand dunes in the early dawn light, changing its color with each reflection, from light brown to purple, then pink, before it transforms to its signature ocher red. Rising 1,148 feet above the desert floor, Uluru is one of the largest monoliths in the world, and the land around it has always been sacred to the Aboriginal Anangu people. After witnessing the sunrise at Uluru, we'll return to the hotel for breakfast, then we'll explore Kata Tjuta, with its 36 steep-sided, dark orange colored domes rising out of the desert. We'll walk through the Walpa Gorge, following a path gently rising through the surreal landscape to an ephemeral stream, ending at a grove of spearwood, where we'll enjoy our picnic lunch. In the afternoon, we'll transfer to the airport for our flight to Cairns. After arriving at our beautiful Cairns hotel, we'll have a free evening today to rest after a long and busy day.
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch
Accommodations: Pullman International Hotel, Cairns

Day 6: Great Barrier Reef 

Today, we'll spend the day on the Great Barrier Reef, as we set sail aboard a luxury catamaran for a memorable day in Michaelmas Cay’s unique reef environment. A low lying vegetated sand cay encircled by a spectacular fringing reef, Michaelmas Cay is a National Park and a protected sanctuary for migratory seabirds. It is a major natural seabird habitat that is rich in sea life, with green sea turtles, mollusks and hundreds of species of tropical reef fish including Humphead Maori Wrasse. During the cruise, we'll also have a chance to view the coral reef from the semi-submersible, listen to the ecological presentations by on-board Marine Biologists and enjoy a tropical smorgasbord lunch. We can spend time snorkeling around the reef, take guided nature tours of the island and the bird sanctuary, or just relax and enjoy a leisurely day on the Great Barrier Reef.
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch
Accommodations: Pullman International Hotel, Cairns

Day 7: Kuranda Scenic SkyRail 

This morning, we'll board the Skyrail Rainforest Cableway gondolas and travel over Australia’s tropical rainforests, stopping at several stations for the up-close wilderness experience. The journey comprises unsurpassed views of dense rainforest, steep ravines and picturesque waterfalls. At Red Peak station, we'll explore the grandeur of the ancient forest from the ground level, with lush palms, giant ferns and a diverse array of plants and wildlife. At Barron Falls, we'll watch the vibrant splashes of the electric blue Ulysses butterflies dancing through a million shades of green of the canopy, accompanied by a chorus of calls from the native Cockatoos, we'll enjoy the views of Barron Gorge and Barron Falls and we'll visit the state-of-the-art Rainforest Interpretation Centre. At the final station, Kuranda Village, we'll explore the Heritage Markets, the Koala Gardens, Birdworld and the Australian Butterfly Sanctuary, where we can cuddle a koala, get close to a kangaroo, see and feed one of the world’s largest birds, the Cassowary, and be surrounded by the graceful motion of over 1,500 native butterflies. Then, we'll take the Gold Class Scenic Railway back to Cairns, enjoying the luxurious club class seating with Victorian decor, while sipping a drink and sampling locally produced delicacies. In the evening, we'll get together again to share our impressions of Cairns over dinner at a modern, upscale restaurant.
Meals: Breakfast, Dinner
Accommodations: Pullman International Hotel, Cairns

Day 8: Cairns to Sydney 

After breakfast, we'll transfer to Cairns Airport for our flight to Sydney. After checking into our Sydney hotel and some time to rest, we'll take a leisurely walk around Circular Quay at Customs House which offers spectacular sweeping views across Sydney Harbour, before enjoying a leisurely dinner at one of Sydney's most iconic dining experiences. Circular Quay is the hub of Sydney, at a small inlet of Sydney Cove, the founding site for Sydney and Australia. The landscaped walkways lead to the Sydney Opera House, Royal Botanical Gardens, the Harbour Bridge and The Rocks, one of the oldest, most attractive and interesting parts of Sydney. In the evening, we'll board M/V Sydney 2000, to enjoy the million dollar views of Sydney Harbour by night, accompanied by a fine dining experience accompanied by vintage Australian wines and live music.
Meals: Breakfast, Dinner
Accommodations: Sir Stamford @ Circular Quay Hotel, Sydney

Day 9: Sydney 

This morning, we'll get an insight into the soul of Australia, as we take an intimate journey revealing the Story of Sydney. From The Rocks, the birthplace of the nation through historic sights, the back streets of Sydney's most fashionable suburbs, Sydney Harbour Bridge and Opera House, Bondi Beach, Woollahra and Paddington's village atmosphere, Chinatown and Darling Harbour, this experience will give us a warm connection to Australia's most dynamic city. At the conclusion of the tour, we'll have some free time for lunch, before continuing with an exclusive, private tour of Sydney Opera House, to discover the stories, secrets, history and magic of this iconic building underneath the famous sails. This graceful piece of urban sculpture in patterned tiles, glistening in the sunlight and aglow at night is a masterpiece of late modern architecture, admired internationally and proudly treasured by the people of Australia. Today, the afternoon will be at leisure to experience Sydney according to everyone's preferences.
Meals: Breakfast
Accommodations: Sir Stamford @ Circular Quay Hotel, Sydney

Day 10: Rocks Dreaming 

In the morning, we'll take a short walk to Cadman’s Cottage for the Rocks Dreaming Tour, an alternative way of seeing the historic Sydney's Rocks area through indigenous eyes, and an opportunity to appreciate how the ancient Aboriginal dreaming is still alive within the modern Sydney landscape and how the land, marine environment, sandstone strata, waterways, flora and fauna influenced Aboriginal people who lived in the area. We'll start with an ochre painting activity, we'll hear stories of the saltwater lifestyle of the Gadigal people and of the spiritual importance of the land around the modern Sydney Harbour. After the Rock Dreaming experience, we'll continue our course in Australian culture appreciation, as we visit two Southern Highlands vineyards, producing award-winning, world class wines. The wine tasting will be accompanied by lunch and an entertaining presentation on Australian viticulture. In the evening, we'll meet for our Farewell Dinner at the upscale Cafe Sydney featuring gourmet Australian cuisine and unforgettable views over the city, the Sydney Opera House and the Sydney Harbour.
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Accommodations: Sir Stamford @ Circular Quay Hotel, Sydney

Day 11: Departures 

Depending on your flight departure time, you may have some free time in the morning before your private transfer to the airport, in accordance with your flight's departure time.
Meals: Breakfast

The tour ends after breakfast on Saturday, April 11, 2020, in Sydney.

Itinerary specifics subject to change.

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Why travel with other women?
Many women do not have families or compatible friends who wish to travel. When going on a main-stream tour, women often find that most activities are geared towards couples and quite often they feel left out. Singles' tours are not always what women are looking for. If you do not have a traveling companion, there is also the issue of the expensive "single supplement", sometimes as much as 50 or even 100 percent of the tour cost. By going on women-only tours, women can easily avoid paying for the single supplement by sharing a room with another woman traveler.
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