2 nights from only $495
Single Supplement: $195
6 nights from: $2445 Single Supplement: FREE
Meet Sydney’s lively residents and marvel at the sea life of the Great Barrier Reef on this extension.
A visit “Down Under” isn’t complete without the natural splendors of Australia’s Great Barrier Reef and the gems of cosmopolitan Sydney. Revel in the myriad colors and vibrant life of the Great Barrier Reef … Stroll along iconic Sydney Harbour and discover its fascinating history … This trip combines the best of both worlds.
- It's Included:
- Airfare between Wellington and Cairns, and Cairns and Sydney
- Accommodations for 3 nights in Palm Cove and 3 nights in Sydney
- 9 meals—6 breakfasts, 1 lunch, and 2 dinners
- 3 small group activities
- Services of a local O.A.T. Trip Leader
- Gratuities for local guides, drivers, and luggage porters
- All transfers
Today we conclude our Pure New Zealand adventure and begin our journey to the Great Barrier Reef, located off the northeastern coast of Australia. Our O.A.T. Trip Leader, who has been with us throughout our New Zealand trip, continues with us on our extension.
We transfer to the airport for our flight to Cairns via Sydney or Brisbane. We arrive in Cairns in the evening and transfer by coach to Palm Cove, known for its pristine beachfront, where we stay for the next three nights. We have dinner at our hotel this evening.
After enjoying a leisurely breakfast at our hotel this morning, you’ll have the rest of the day to explore idyllic Palm Cove independently. This quiet beachside village is renowned for its calm waters, clean beaches, swaying palm trees, and exceptional restaurants—one of which you may choose to try tonight for dinner on your own.
Or, join our optional Kuku Yalanji Dreamtime Gorge Walk, where an experienced guide will show you how the local aboriginals are connected to the land and the unique wet tropical rain forest.
Possibly the best description of the Great Barrier Reef we've ever heard comes down to five simple words: “the world's largest living thing.” Its nomination for World Heritage status stated, “The Reef supports the most diverse ecosystem known to man ... an ecosystem which has evolved over millions of years.”
But even facts like these can only hint at the sheer immensity and awesome beauty of the Reef. Our first peek, through diving masks or a glass-bottom boat, will bring into view its otherworldly character. It's a true sensory explosion, an azure scene of non-stop activity. We'll witness brilliant tropical fish darting about amid sea fans and anemones swaying with the waves. You may well feel as if you've dropped into a scene from the animated movie Finding Nemo. But no computer could generate such a spectacle. And it's all mere inches from the water's surface.
There's no one “right” way to explore the Reef, so we'll be given a choice. You can swim or snorkel among the fish and wide array of corals, or, if you wish to observe this spectacular underwater world without getting wet, you can view parts of the reef from a semi-submersible sub. An experienced guide will point out the astonishing tropical fish and giant clams here. However you do it, you are in a prime spot to experience the nature of the largest coral reef in the world.
After cruising back to shore, we return to our hotel in Palm Cove. Dinner tonight is on your own.
We fly to Sydney today following a leisurely breakfast. After we transfer to our hotel, our Trip Leader will take us on an orientation walk. The rest of the day is free for you to enjoy the relaxed lifestyle in one of Australia’s most exciting cities. Dinner is on your own tonight.
This morning, we explore Sydney, beginning with The Rocks, one of the first parts of the city to be settled. We continue to Sydney's eastern suburbs, a modern fashion center boasting 19th-century architecture, and Bondi Beach, long known as the "playground of the Pacific" and the center of Australia's robust surfing culture. By mid-day we arrive at the world-famous Sydney Opera House, whose distinctive architecture has made it the city's signature attraction. This visually spectacular performance facility boasts four auditoriums that host symphony concerts, theater productions, and opera. After touring the Opera House, you'll have time for lunch on your own.
In the afternoon, enjoy free time or join us for an optional Sydney Harbour Cruise. We begin at Circular Quay, at the hub of Sydney Harbour, where we'll board our vessel and cruise for over two hours. We'll get striking views of the memorable city skyline as we blend into the perpetual bustle of water-borne activity.
Dinner is on your own this evening.
Today is yours to explore the city. You might want to start by strolling through Sydney’s Royal Botanic Gardens, a beautiful park that showcases the flora of the South Pacific. Founded in 1816 as the “First Farm” of colonial times, it is a humble vegetable plot still maintained here as a piece of living history. There is one site near the gardens that has such wonderfully scenic views that a former governor Macquarie had a seat built here for his wife, and it is now known as Mrs. Macquarie’s Chair. Enjoy the scenery from her special vantage point.
Or visit the historic Rocks district. The Rocks boasts some of the oldest buildings in Sydney. Some of the original European settlers camped here amid the rocks of the sandstone ridges, hence the area’s name. Because many of the first Europeans to arrive were exiled convicts, the history of this part of town is unusually colorful. Imagine a Wild West-like collection of bars and houses of ill repute where drunken brawls were common. Today, The Rocks is an amiable neighborhood that invites visitors to stroll its cobblestone lanes and take refreshment in its tearooms.
You can also revisit Circular Quay at the heart of Sydney’s waterfront. Circular Quay is a hub of activity where a constant flow of ferries and water taxis transport commuters and day-trippers to their destinations all around the harbor. You can board a vessel and cruise around Sydney Harbour, getting striking views of the city skyline and the perpetual bustle of water-borne activity. Take in the sights and fragrances of Chinatown, with its characteristic street lanterns and graceful archways. However you spend your day, you’re sure to find your own ways to mingle with “Sydneysiders,” who are not known for being shy.
In the evening we gather together again for our Farewell Dinner at a local restaurant, where we share stories, laughter, and memories from our adventure "Down Under."
This morning, transfer to the airport for your flight home. You'll cross the International Date Line en route and regain the day you lost at the beginning of your trip.
Please note: If you make your own international air arrangements, your extension price will increase due to internal air transportation. This extension may not be available on all departures. Ask our Adventure Specialists for details. Call 1-800-955-1925.