Australia with an Australian Open Option: Featuring Melbourne, Kangaroo Island, Ayers Rock, the Olgas, and Sydney (January 13-25, 2017)

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Australia with an Australian Open Option: Featuring Melbourne, Kangaroo Island, Ayers Rock, the Olgas, and Sydney (January 13-25, 2017)

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TOUR PRICE:  $4799.00 per person based on double occupancy for the land package and intra-Australian flights on Qantas, Virgin Australia and Regional Express.   If you do not wish to provide your own trans-Pacific air to/from Australia, we can offer it on Cathay Pacific at only $1579.00 per person round trip.  

AVAILABILITY:  Accepting reservations.  Space is limited.  

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ArawjoTours, LLC is delighted to present this magnificent tour to Australia and to the Australian Open Tennis Tournament.  LET ME FIRST SAY THAT YOU DO NOT HAVE TO BE A TENNIS FAN TO PARTICIPATE IN THIS TOUR. The Australian Open tickets will be purchased separately by those interested in visiting the open for one or two days during the opening of the tournament.  You are free to skip the Open entirely and still enjoy the wonderful city of Melbourne and the rest of the terrific sightseeing that this package has to offer.  

The itinerary described below  takes you to the iconic and contrasting cities of Melbourne and Sydney, as well as Kangaroo Island, the Galápagos of Australia and the spiritual heart of Australia, and to Ayers Rock (Uluru) and the Olgas (Kata Tjuta).

Kangaroo Island in particular is considered one of the best places in Australia to see wildlife in in its natural habitat. It has a glorious coastline and plays an important part in Australia’s pioneering history. More than a third of the island is preserved as Conservation or National Parks and it has five significant Wilderness Protection Areas.   

I encourage you to take a close look at the itinerary below and to consider experiencing the Land Down Under with us during one of the great sporting events of the year.  The whole journey will be a festive occasion and I am sure you will not be disappointed. 

 

DAY 1 - FRIDAY, JANUARY 13, 2017 - DEPARTURE FROM THE USA FOR MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA

DAY 2 - SATURDAY, JANUARY 14, 2017 - ARRIVAL MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA

On arrival into Melbourne, you will be met by your  professional guide and transferred by private coach to your accommodation. Your room has been pre-registered for immediate occupancy and the remainder of the day is at leisure to relax after your long flight. 

Melbourne, the capital of the state of Victoria, is known as the Garden, Arts and Sports capital of Australia. It has beautiful tree-lined boulevards, many parks and gardens and beautiful Victorian terrace houses, great restaurants, wonderful theatre and art galleries together with international sporting events all combine to make this elegant city one of the world's most livable.
 
The Pullman Melbourne on the Park is situated in picturesque East Melbourne overlooking the iconic MCG, Melbourne Park and the beautiful Fitzroy Gardens. A short stroll from the shopping and theatre districts, this upscale hotel is an escape from the ordinary.  Guests enjoy a wide range of comforts, including a chic lounge area, a swimming pool, and fitness centre and day spa. 

Overnight: Pullman Melbourne on the Park / Standard Rooms 

DAY 3 - JANUARY 15, 2017 - MELBOURNE - CITY ORIENTATION TOUR AND THE YARRA VALLEY (BREAKFAST AND LUNCH INCLUDED)

Melbourne has it all - magnificent architecture, fine restaurants and bars, beautiful gardens, a fascinating history and a great diversity of arts and culture. 

With its Victorian architecture, stunning gardens and edgy bar, culinary, fashion and live music scenes, Melbourne is an obvious start to any visit to Victoria. Enjoy a brief orientation tour with your local guide, getting a real insight into what makes this cosmopolitan city tick. 

Continue onto the Yarra Valley through some beautiful rural countryside, where you will have the opportunity to see wild kangaroos in their natural habitat. Begin at the De Bortoli Winery, a third generation, Italian family owned winery and one of the biggest wine companies in the Yarra Valley. Here we enjoy a hosted tasting of cheese from the Cheese Maturation Room matched perfectly with their Yarra Valley estate wine.

Nestled in the heart of the Yarra Valley is where you enjoy a single flute of Chandon sparkling wine at the acclaimed Domaine Chandon Winery. You will be settled behind the iconic Edwardian arched window overlooking the magnificent vines, your vantage point from the brassiere giving you 270 degree views as you dine.

After a delicious 2 course lunch at Rochford wines, visit Coldstream Hills Winery, one of the most popular wineries in the region where you will be greeted like an old friend and treated to some world class tastings including varietals and reserves.

The final stop of your journey of the Valley is at 9th generation winemaker Dominique Portet for afternoon tea where you can soak in the stunning surrounds and passion of the family owned winery.

Tonight experience one of Melbourne’s hidden gems and marvel at the breathtaking heritage buildings and grand boulevards under lights.

Overnight: Pullman Melbourne on the Park / Standard Rooms 

DAYS 4 AND 5 - JANUARY 16 AND 17, 2017 - THE AUSTRALIAN OPEN (OPTIONAL) OR TWO FREE DAYS (BREAKFASTS INCLUDED)

The following two days are spent at leisure to attend the Australian Open at Melbourne Park for the 1st and 2nd days of play.

Please note: For the journey to Kangaroo Island tomorrow there is a luggage limit of one suitcase (14 kilos) per person. Please pack an overnight bag for your visit to Kangaroo Island. Excess luggage may be stored at the Regional Express counter.

Please note:
Please ensure that you pack the following for your visit to Kangaroo Island;    
    Comfortable walking shoes (preferably closed in)
    Long trousers to protect your legs from the bush
    Warm jackets to counter the fresh ocean breeze
    Sun protection

Overnight: Pullman Melbourne on the Park / Standard Rooms

DAY 6 - JANUARY 18, 2017 - KANGAROO ISLAND VIA ADELAIDE (BREAKFAST, LUNCH AND DINNER INCLUDED)

After a leisurely breakfast, meet your  guide in the hotel lobby and transfer by private coach to the Melbourne Domestic airport.
     
Fly from Melbourne to Adelaide.  On arrival into Adelaide you will be met by a guide who will assist you with your excess luggage.  Upon your return to Adelaide from Kangaroo Island the stored luggage will be available at the Regional Express Terminal. 

Fly from Adelaide to Kangaroo Island.  Kangaroo Island is just off the mainland of South Australia, below Adelaide. It's known for its diverse wildlife and nature reserves, including Flinders Chase National Park and its kangaroos, wallabies, koalas and many bird species. At Cape du Couedic, the park's southwestern point, sit the huge, striking Remarkable Rocks granite formations. Nearby, Admirals Arch is a rock bridge with an adjacent fur-seal colony.

Meet the local guide on arrival into Kingscote airport and then enjoy this private tour, commencing with a visit to Seal Bay Conservation Park. Learn how the Australian sea-lion survives the rigours of the Southern Ocean. The colony of bulls, cows and pups rests on the beach where you can walk amongst them. Journey further south and traverse the rural areas of the middle of the Island via the Parndana Wildlife Park. This park was set up as an 'animal refuge', where sick, injured, orphaned or unwanted animals could find a home. Marvel at the colours of the Australian Birds here, pat a Koala and feed a Kangaroo! Lunch today is a picnic of marinated Chicken breast, fresh salads, tangy Lemon Tart, complimented again by the above beverages. The north coast beaches of Snellings and Stokes Bay are perfect for a leisurely stroll. Enjoy the sound of waves breaking on the pristine sandy coast, or if the weather allows, go for a swim in some of the clearest water you will ever experience. Later in the day enjoy a nature walk through the drooping she-oaks of Lathami National Park and observe the kangaroos and wallabies. This is also the habitat of the rare Glossy Black Cockatoo, and great country for the elusive echidna (spiny ant-eater) The first day's touring concludes with your return to your Island accommodation.

Tonight enjoy dinner at your leisure in the Lodge. 

Kangaroo Island, one of Australia's great wilderness destinations, is best known for its magnificent coastal views, unique landscapes, uncrowded beaches and fascinating wildlife, including kangaroos, wallabies, koalas, Australian sea-lions, New Zealand fur seals, Little penguins and an abundance of bird life.

Kangaroo Island Lodge is situated on the banks of Eastern Cove in American River, with all rooms perfectly perched offering exceptional water views over the bay. Amid lush coastal vegetation, KI Lodge is designed to blend in with its natural surroundings. There is no better place to unwind and to enjoy the peace and tranquility. Kangaroo Island Lodge is nestled on a hillside in lush native bushland. The seclusion of this area allows for the abundance of wildlife to roam free.

Overnight: Mercure Kangaroo Island Lodge / Water View Rooms 

DAY 7 - JANUARY 19, 2017 - KANGAROO ISLAND - FLINDERS CHASE NATIONAL PARK - KELLY HILL CONSERVATION PARK (BREAKFAST, LUNCH AND DINNER INCLUDED)

After a cooked breakfast, depart with your Akorn driver/guide to Rocky River, headquarters of the Flinders Chase National Park. Here, kangaroos laze and Cape Barren geese graze. The Chase is home to all our varieties of native animals and birds. On to Admirals Arch, an ancient limestone formation close to the ocean, a perfect haul-out area for an active colony of the New Zealand fur seal. To Remarkable Rocks, via the spectacular coastline of Cape du Couedic, where the forces of nature have carved modern sculptures out of the granite. A short bush walk searching for the Echidna (spiny ant-eater) and observing the colourful Kangaroo Island endemic Crimson Rosella. Head back for a BBQ lunch of marinated steak, onions and potatoes, cooked in front of you by your guide (now turned chef!). This is complimented by fresh salads, local KI wines and other refreshments. For dessert spoil yourself by indulging in our special Pears poached in KI red wine, accompanied by KI's unique Sheep's Milk Yogurt. All this served in the bush, nestled amongst the beautiful tall Gum trees. After our meal, we head for Koala Avenue just outside the Park where Koalas are easily seen in the 'Manna Gums' that grow in the area. Your guide will then take you down a bush lined track and into 'Grassdale', part of the Kelly Hill Conservation Park. Here you will enjoy viewing the large 'mob' of Kangaroo's that graze the grassy flats and shelter in the surrounding bush. Also listen for the many parrot and other bird species that live in the tall gum trees. Wonder through some of the old relics that speak of a by gone era of early pioneer farming. Head for Vivonne Bay, with its crystal clear turquoise water. Your guide will take you to Point Ellen where you can fossick for shells on the beach and possibly sight a penguin in its rookery.  The tour concludes at your accommodation.

Dinner this evening is included at the Lodge.

Overnight: Mercure Kangaroo Island Lodge / Water View Rooms 

DAY 8 - JANUARY 20, 2017 - AYERS ROCK AND THE OLGAS (BREAKFAST AND DINNER INCLUDED)

After a cooked breakfast, meet your driver/guide and transfer by private coach to the Kingscote airport in time for your departure flight. Fly Kangaroo Island to Adelaide.  On arrival into Adelaide, connect with your onward flight to Ayers Rock.

The giant red monolith has come to represent Australia itself. The massive sandstone rock - the summit of a buried mountain - generates an almost mystical power. ‘The Rock’ is 8.8 kilometres around the base, 3.6 kilometres long, 2.4 kilometres wide and towers 348 metres above the surrounding plain. The Anangu people believe they are the direct descendents of the ancestral spirits who gave them the laws and rules that they live by. They believe they are responsible for the protection of the lands and ask visitors to respect their wishes not to climb the rock. Its significant power can be felt particularly in the early morning or at sunset as the Rock undergoes an extraordinary transformation of colour

Later this afternoon, your  driver/guide will collect you from the hotel for a private tour of Kata Tjuta. Travel to Kata Tjuta where your guide will reveal the many attributes of this diverse environment.  Arriving at Walpa Gorge you will walk between the mighty conglomerate domes and hear how these many domes that make up Kata Tjuta have evolved over millions of years.  Your guide will return you to your accommodation in time for the Sounds of Silence dinner.

This evening enjoy the 'Sounds of Silence' Dinner. Travel out to a private dining setting in the desert. As the sun dips behind the many domes of Kata Tjuta (Olgas) and Uluru (Ayers Rock) sip champagne while listening to the haunting sounds of the didgeridoo. After a gourmet Barbeque dinner the lanterns will be dimmed. Hear the sounds of the great Outback while an astronomer takes you on a tour of the southern night skies. View the stars through an onsite telescope before returning to the hotel. The resort provides return coach transfers.

Magnificent ghost gums and flowering native shrubs are the setting for the stylish Desert Gardens Hotel.  Stroll down shaded walkways to spacious poolside rooms.

Overnight: Desert Gardens / Garden View Rooms

DAY 9 - JANUARY 21, 2017 - SUNRISE OVER ULURU (AYERS ROCK) - TRANSFER TO SYDNEY (BREAKFAST INCLUDED)

An early start, but one definitely worth getting out of bed early for!

As you travel towards Uluru its vast shape rises from the sand dunes as the early dawn light highlights its precense in this country.  Your guide will take you to a special location with uninterrupted views to watch the sun rise over this amazing monolith.  Enjoy a light breakfast before you experience the highlights of Uluru.  Your guide will escort you to Mutitulu Waterhole where you will learn the creation stories of Liru (poisonous snake) and Kuniya (Phthon). You will drive around the base of Uluru before returning to the Town Centre. 

Upon returning to the Resort (mid-morning) you will have the remainder of the day to relax before your transfer to the airport for your onward flight to Sydney.
     
Fly from Ayers Rock to Sydney.  Sydney, the capital of the state of New South Wales, is Australia's most well-known city. With its extraordinary icons both natural and man-made this is a city that never fails to please the eye. It's magnificent natural harbour spanned by the 'coat hanger', the Sydney Harbour Bridge, and the man-made sails of the Sydney Opera House are just some of its most widely photographed views.

On arrival into Sydney, you will be met by your  guide and transferred by private coach to your accommodation, where the remainder of the day is at leisure. 

Rydges World Square is a luxurious 4.5-star hotel set in a prime location in the centre of Sydney. Local places of interest include Chinese Garden of Friendship, Chinatown (Sydney) and Queen Victoria Building. Other points of interest are Sydney Tower, Australian Museum and Centerpoint (AMP) Tower.’

Overnight: Rydges World Square / Deluxe Rooms 

DAY 10 - JANUARY 22 - SYDNEY - TARONGA ZOO - SYDNEY OPERA HOUSE - THE ROCKS (BREAKFAST AND LUNCH INCLUDED)

After a leisurely breakfast, meet your  guide for your private Insiders look at Sydney. 

Catch the ferry with your guide to Taronga Zoo and enjoy an exciting face-to-face journey with an expert guide to tour the zoo's wonderful Australian displays. Your walkabout tour includes a visit to the Kangaroos, koalas, wombats, dingoes, echidnas and Australian birds.  Enjoy a round trip on Taronga's sky safari cable car which provides fantastic views of the zoo, Sydney harbour and the city skyline.

Following your Taronga Zoo visit, catch the ferry back to Circular Quay for an exclusive tour of the Sydney Opera House.  Begin your journey by exploring underneath the sails with a spectacular Sydney Opera House Tour, taking you inside one of the world's greatest performance venues. You will see inside the theatres, discover the stories, history and magic of the House and learn of how architect Jorn Utzon's heritage-listed masterpiece came to life.

Enjoy your Opera Kitchen three-tier gourmet tasting plate as lunch. There's nothing more to do than sit back at Sydney's newest dining spot and indulge in famous oysters, mini wagyu Burgers or dumplings and soak in the Sydney Harbour views.  

Opera Kitchen is home to Sydney's best chefs, food artisans and producers that will tantalise your tastebuds and leave you spoilt for choice. The perfect way to experience one of the world's most stunning icons and Sydney's newest dining destination.

Following your tasting plate, embark on a walking tour of The Rocks. Be entertained with lively tales of The Rocks colourful past and fascinating present! Take a leisurely stroll with your specialist guide through this unique heritage precinct of beautifully restored buildings situated in its picturesque, harbour side setting. Hear entertaining accounts of Sydney's colourful past and cosmopolitan present times. Explore the sandstone heritage through hidden narrow back alleys, shady courtyards, and cobblestone lanes. Enjoy some free time at leisure before returning back to your hotel.

Overnight: Rydges World Square / Deluxe Rooms 

DAY 11 - JANUARY 23, 2017 - FULL DAY BLUE MOUNTAINS TOUR (BREAKFAST AND LUNCH INCLUDED)

Meet your  guide in the hotel lobby for your full day private Blue Mountains Tour.  Your first stop is at the Featherdale Wildlife Park, which houses one of Australia's largest collections of native animals in a natural bush setting. Hand feed Kangaroo's, Wallaby's or Emu's and get up close with a Koala.

After visiting the wildlife park, travel to the Waradah Aboriginal Centre.  Witness Australian Aboriginal culture in a contemporary gallery. Experience traditional dance, take part in interactive didgeridoo performances, examine authentic artworks, and take home genuine Aboriginal souvenirs. 

Enjoy a scrumptious 2 course lunch at the esteemed Wintergarden restaurant at the Hydro Majestic. 

Following lunch, transfer to Scenic World in the Blue Mountains and discover this beautiful area. The Greater Blue Mountains region includes Australia’s most accessible wilderness area. Changing in elevation from near sea level to 1,300 metres, the area covers 1.03 million hectares with dominant geographic features including sandstone plateaux, escarpments and gorges. With your ultimate pass, you are welcome to unlimited rides on the railway, skyway, cable way and walkways. 

DAY 12 - JANUARY 24, 2017 - FREE DAY IN SYDNEY (BREAKFAST INCLUDED)

Today is at leisure in Sydney.  Explore the harbour, beaches and inner-city precincts of this exuberant city. See dawn break from the top of the Harbour Bridge or the sun set on the Opera House. Fine dine along the Woolloomooloo finger wharf or experience theatre and dance along the redeveloped wharves of Walsh Bay.  Take the ferry to Manly, walk from Bondi to Bronte along the spectacular sea cliffs or relax in a beer garden with harbour views in Watsons Bay. Discover the unique character of Surry Hills, Kings Cross, Glebe, Newtown or Balmain. Spend your final day indulging at wineries, restaurants or day spas of the Hunter Valley.  The choice is yours!

Overnight: Rydges World Square / Deluxe Rooms

DAY 13 - JANUARY 25, 2017 - RETURN TO USA (BREAKFAST INCLUDED)

Your adventure comes to an end today as you are transferred by private coach to the Sydney International airport to board your international flight home.

TOUR FEATURES:  This tour includes round trip trans-Pacific air on Cathay Pacific Airline (optional - see below for "land only" price/package); all air flights inside of Australia on Qantas, Virgin Australia and Regional Express Airlines; eleven total nights in Australia, including four in Melbourne, two on Kangaroo Island, one at Ayers Rock and four in Sydney; a comprehensive sightseeing program as per the itinerary above;  fantastic accommodations in hotels and lodges throughout the journey; a total of 21 meals, including 11 breakfasts, five lunches and three dinners; the opportunity to visit the incredible Australian Open for one or two days (optional); the services of an ArawjoTours tour leader (Kevin Arawjo) and a pre-departure orientation.  This is a rare opportunity to travel to Australia during one of the world's most revered sporting events, the Australian Open. 

TOUR PRICE:  We are offering two prices for this trip:  a "land only" price which includes everything noted above except the trans-Pacific flights on Cathay Pacific, and a complete air-inclusive package which does include the trans-Pacific segment.  The "land only" package is $4799.00 per person based on a minimum of 25 participants.  This rate of course includes all of the flights inside of Australia from one place to another (see attached itinerary).  If you purchase the "land-only" package, you are free to make your own arrangements to Australia.  We did, however, obtain a magnificent group air rate on Cathay Pacific for the trans-Pacific flights.  If you opt to participate in the group rate, you would add $1579.00 pp for the trans-Pacific air to the land package above.  If you book on your own, you will find that Qantas is over $1000.00 more than Cathay for flights to Australia.