Starting your Australian journey in multicultural Melbourne, enjoy a few days in this marvelous city before setting out on the open road for a multi-day self-drive along the country's breathtaking southeast coastline. Drive the Great Ocean Road past the iconic surf spots of Torquay and Bells Beach, then onto the vacation haven of Lorne and the magnificent Twelve Apostles. Walk through waterfalls and lush forest in Otway National Park and watch whales from historic Warrnambool. Soak up seafaring history in Port Fairy and Portland, near the towering sea cliffs of Cape Bridgewater. See the fossils of giant marsupials in World Heritage Listed Naracoorte Caves and enjoy a night in the quaint and charming seaside town of Robe. Cruise the Coorong and perhaps explore the inviting beaches and wineries of the Fleurieu Peninsula on your way to Kangroo Island. Spend two days on Kangaroo Island, Australia's zoo without fences, and come face to face with wildlife such as kangaroos, koala, wallabies, sea lions and over 250 species of birds in their native habitat. After two full days of exploration on Kangaroo Island, decompress in Adelaide before continuing on to Uluru to experience the Field of Light art installation by internationally acclaimed artist Bruce Munro. Finish in cosmopolitan Sydney, a modern and vibrant city with something for everyone.
- Virgin Australia flights from Los Angeles – Melbourne /– Adelaide - Uluru - Sydney - Los Angeles. (Domestic US flights can be added at an additional cost.)
- Seat in coach airport shuttle transfers
- 4 nights 4.5* The Blackman, Melbourne in a Studio Suite Balcony
- Half Day Lanes & Arcades tour
- Phillip Island Penguin Parade Ultimate Eco Tour
- Full Size Car - pick up downtown Melbourne, return Adelaide airport
- 1 night Apollo Bay Guest House, Apollo Bay
- 1 night Oscars Waterfront Boutique, Port Fairy
- 1 night Ann's Place, Robe
- Car and Passenger Sealink transfers
- 2 nights Kangaroo Island Seafont
- 1 night Majestic Roof Garden Hotel, Adelaide
- 2 nights Desert Gardens, garden view room, Uluru
- Field of Light pass
- SEIT Uluru highlights
- 4 nights Amora Jamison, Sydney in a deluxe room
- Half day small group city sights of Sydney
- Sydney Harbour morning story cruise
- Sydney Opera House tour
- All taxes & fuel surcharges
Day 1 - Depart US
Flights on award winning Virgin Australia airlines to Brisbane or Sydney, on to Cairns, down to Sydney then back home again. Our price includes options in Economy, Premium Economy and Business class – you choose!
Day 2 - Cross International Dateline
Day 3 - Arrive Melbourne
Upon arrival in Melbourne seat in coach transfer to accommodation.
Built within and above the historic Airlie Mansion, this property offers an edgy, boutique interior which features the works of one of Australia's most celebrated artists, Charles Blackman. The hotel also employs an in-house art curator who runs tours of the property for guests, providing insights into Blackman's art.
A food and wine lover’s paradise, find your flavor in Melbourne! You’re guaranteed to find something for everyone with fines restaurants, eclectic cuisines, country pubs, regional produce and endless wineries. Melbourne's beautiful parks and gardens, mixed with fine Victorian architecture, elegant tree lined boulevards, modern skyscrapers and diverse shopping and cuisine make for an unforgettable stay. With hundreds of unique activities right on the doorstep of Melbourne - you're sure to have a one of a kind experience.
Day 4 - Half Day Lanes & Arcades tour
This morning indulge with a casual walk through Melbourne's lanes and arcades in small groups to engage in the life of this city which many miss. Discover local designers and specialty retailers, tiny cafs and more. A little history and attention to amazing architecture will inspire locals and visitors alike. Lunch is included. Get orientated and return to those places you like best in the afternoon, at your leisure.
Day 5 - Phillip Island Ultimate Ecotour
Get up close and personal with the friendly residents of Moonlit Sanctuary Wildlife Conservation Park, where you learn about the conservation of these loveable native animals. The eco certified sanctuary also showcases some lesser known but equally adorable endangered species including the Southern Bettong, Eastern Quolls and rare Fluffy Gliders. Visit historic Churchill Island and see sheep shearing in action, with time to explore the historic buildings. Next, visit the Koala Conservation Centre to see koalas in their natural environment. Take a stroll along the boardwalks at the Nobbies and Seal Rock Centre, before arriving at Summerland beach for the nightly penguin parade. Home to Victoria's largest colony of little penguins, Summerland beach provides a spectacular backdrop to the world famous penguin parade. Watch as hundreds of little penguins make their way across the beach and go home for the night.
Day 6 - Melbourne at your leisure
Explore Melbourne at your leisure or consider adding one of our tour options - some of our favorites (additional cost applies):
Explore Melbourne at your leisure or consider adding one of our tour options - some of our favorites (additional cost applies):
- Sunrise Hot Air Balloon Flight with Champagne Breakfast
Your pilot will give you a short briefing. You will then be transported to the launch site where you may help with the launch, or stand back and take pictures. Then away we go, drifting gently over the city of Melbourne in our beautiful balloon. Your flight will last for approximately one hour. After we make our final landing and pack the balloon away, we will head back to the Pullman on the Park for a full buffet champagne breakfast.
- Melbourne River Cruise
This evening, enjoy a delightful river cruise, taking in all the sights of Melbourne. This combined River Gardens and The Port and Docklands cruise allows you to discover all of Melbourne's river attractions including Southgate, The Victorian Arts Centre, historical docklands, river gardens, shipping port, Sporting Precinct and panoramic city skyline. Discover the routes of the early settlers with this historical look at our famous Yarra River and surrounds. Experience the history of the Southern Hemisphere's largest port and relive it's involvement in Melbourne's settlement. Cruising up river is a rare chance to view wonderful scenic river gardens and Herring Island. The river passes one of the world's great Botanic Gardens, as well as the landscaped river banks and Melbourne's famous Sporting Precinct.
- Colonial Tramcar dinner
A delightful innovative approach to dining in the first travelling Tramcar Restaurants in the world. As the glossy, burgundy trams cruise the scenic streets of Melbourne, diners enjoy a seasonal menu, quality Australian wines or a selection of beverages from a fully stocked bar.
- Yarra Valley Wine Experience
Learn how to swirl, sniff and slurp, then you’ll be ready to taste some of the Yarra's best wines, Yering Station’s award winning classic Australian wine, Rochford Wines with traditional wine making methods in their cellar door and French Champagne company Moet & Chandon's Australian production house -Domaine Chandon.
Day 7 - Melbourne - Apollo Bay
Depart Melbourne for the township of Geelong. The waterfront has plenty of restaurants for a lovely breakfast with views over the marina, before you head west onto the Great Ocean Road, widely regarded as one of the World’s most scenic drives. This Australian National Heritage listed stretch of road provides you with a diverse array of things to see and do on your journey.
These world-famous wavesculpted rock formations stand defiant against the surging waves of the Southern Ocean and are located in the Twelve Apostles Marine National Park. For a fresh perspective, descend Gibson Steps to the beach and see how the Twelve Apostles stack up at ground level. What could possibly beat standing on a cliff-top viewing deck soaking up the beauty of the Twelve Apostles? A breathtaking helicopter flight to view the entire coast from above. Imagine soaring over the Twelve Apostles and the Bay of Islands.
PORT CAMPBELL NATIONAL PARK
The park hugs the wild coastline for 27km between Princetown and Peterborough. Just 4km narrow at its widest, the park attracts literally millions of visitors each year and envelopes one of Australia’s most iconic stretches of shoreline. Dramatic wave-sculpted landforms such as the Twelve Apostles, London Bridge and Loch Ard Gorge are the superstars of the park. But there’s an amazing support cast off the beaten track.
GREAT OTWAY NATIONAL PARK
An ancient, pristine place where waterfalls thunder, goliath trees reach for the sun and wildlife thrives in the cool temperate rainforest. Such is the Great Otway National Park. Over 103,000 hectares of natural environment spanning the coast and hinterland from Torquay to Princetown. Awesome forests. Spectacular coastline. It’s a natural adventure space that will keep you wondering at every turn. Walk it, bike it or drive it … just make sure you do it.
Day 8 - Apollo Bay - Port Fairy
This morning you’ll briefly leave the coast to drive through the grand forests of the Otway Ranges. Stop and walk through the rainforests at Maits Rest. Back on the coast road, stop to view the magnificent Twelve Apostles, the world famous rock towers that thrust up out of the ocean. For a truly amazing perspective, take a helicopter flight over the Apostles. This afternoon, step back in time in Port Fairy with its old whitewashed cottages, quaint shops and a pub on nearly every corner. Overnight at Port Fairy.
Day 9 - Port Fairy - Robe
Follow the coastline to Mount Gambier, home of the mysterious blue lake and on to Penola to explore this charming, historic town. Walk along Petticoat Lane and learn about Mary MacKillop, Australia’s first saint. Just north of Penola is the famous Coonawarra wine region. Sample some of Australia’s best reds at one of the many cellar doors. Travel to Robe via Naracoorte to explore the labyrinth of caverns and amazing fossil beds that make up the Naracoorte World Heritage-listed fossil site. Enjoy a heritage walk through the pretty seaside village of Robe or stroll along stunning 17 Mile Beach. Overnight at Robe.
Day 10 - Robe - Kangaroo Island
Continue along the coast road which skirts the Coorong, a 142km tapestry of lagoons, wetlands and sand dunes that ends at the mouth of the Murray River. Once you cross the river at Wellington, you’re on the Fleurieu Peninsula. Catch the car/passenger ferry across to Kangaroo island.
Spend the afternoon exploring by car the east side of the island. Join a tour of the Cape Willoughby Lighthouse, taste the wineries of the Dudley Peninsula, visit American River and the town of Kingscote (don’t miss the pelican feeding), the little penguin colonies and any of the nearby beaches. Overnight at the Kangaroo Island Seafront.
Day 11 - Kangaroo Island
Head west to the wild side of the island. Highlights include Seal Bay Conservation Park, where you can join a ranger to walk among endangered Australian sea lions; Flinders Chase National Park, Remarkable Rocks, Admiral’s Arch and Little Sahara. Enjoy beaches galore – and remember to stop and try the island’s amazing local produce. Overnight at the Kangaroo Island Seafront.
Day 12 - Kangaroo Island - Adelaide
This morning catch the car/passenger ferry across from Kangaroo island to Cape Jervis and complete the self drive to Adelaide.
South Australia’s capital city, Adelaide, is a vibrant hub buzzing with life, boasting great food and wine at more than 700 restaurants cafes and pubs, great retail therapy in Rundle Mall and the “cultural boulevard” of North Terrace. It is home to some of Australia’s best museums and the South Australian Art Gallery. Everything is so close in Adelaide, with the beach just 20 minutes by tram from the city center, and many of the state’s regions within two hours drive away. Enjoy a day at leisure and take in everything that Adelaide has to offer.
Overnight at the Majestic Roof Garden Hotel. It is a 5-minute walk from Rundle Mall and 10 minutes from the Art Gallery, Adelaide University and Museum. Adelaide Convention Centre, National Wine Museum and Adelaide Zoo are 20 minutes away.
Day 13 - Adelaide - Uluru
Transfer to Adeliade airport and your flights to Ayers Rock. Upon arrival take the courtesy shuttle to the Desert Garden hotel - your base for two nights.
Uluru (Ayers Rock), in the heart of the Red Center, has a desert climate - mostly dry, with brilliant blue skies all year. It is a World Heritage Area, managed jointly by the Aboriginal traditional owners and the Australian Nature Conservation Agency. You will spend two nights at the centrally Desert Garden Hotel, Ayers Rock Resort. The resort is a short stroll to numerous lookouts, where you can view what is arguably Australia's best sunset, with the spectacular play of colors across the face of Uluru and the surrounding desert.
ACCOMMODATION - Offering the only rooms with views of Uluru in Ayers Rock Resort, the 4.5 star Desert Gardens Hotel features welcoming rooms, locally inspired dining options and interactive arts experiences within an oasis of native gardens. Accommodation options are diverse from deluxe rock view rooms to shady poolside rooms all located under a canopy of towering gum trees and garden beds dotted with native flowers.
Admission to limited time "Field of Light" art installation included. Delve into the experiential artwork in a number of different ways with the Field of Light Pass which includes return coach transfers to the remote site with ample time to experience the installation. Consider additional "Field of Light" tour options to enhance your experience (additional cost applies):
- A night at Field of Light
A Night at Field of Light' experience begins with a convenient hotel pick-up and transfer to the remote desert location with majestic views of Uluru. With Uluru as the backdrop, guests enjoy canaps and chilled sparkling wine to the sounds of a didgeridoo as the sun slowly sets. As darkness gradually falls and the coloured lights of the 50,000 glass spheres come to life guests enjoy local Indigenous performance, welcoming them to this unique country, before being invited to join their fellow travellers at their dinner table for a special three-course bush tucker inspired buffet menu. A knowledgeable guide will provide insights and background to the monumental installation and guests are invited to immerse themselves and walk through Field of Light. After dinner guests are welcomed back at the dune viewing area to enjoy a sweet treat, hot chocolate or port whilst viewing the illuminated installation in the darkness.
- A night at Field of Light by Camel
A Night at Field of Light' experience begins with a convenient hotel pick-up and transfer to the remote desert location with majestic views of Uluru. With Uluru as the backdrop, guests enjoy canaps and chilled sparkling wine to the sounds of a didgeridoo as the sun slowly sets. As darkness gradually falls and the coloured lights of the 50,000 glass spheres come to life guests enjoy local Indigenous performance, welcoming them to this unique country, before being invited to join their fellow travellers at their dinner table for a special three-course bush tucker inspired buffet menu. A knowledgeable guide will provide insights and background to the monumental installation and guests are invited to immerse themselves and walk through Field of Light. After dinner guests are welcomed back at the dune viewing area to enjoy a sweet treat, hot chocolate or port whilst viewing the illuminated installation in the darkness
- Sounds of Silence
Entered into the Australian Tourism Hall of Fame, Sounds of Silence offers the best of the Red Centre distilled into four magical hours. An unforgettable evening, eating beautifully prepared food under the sparkling outback sky. The journey begins on a lone sand dune. A meandering path takes participants to an uninterrupted, 360 degree view of this vast landscape. In front is the fabled Uluru; behind are the domes of Kata Tjuta and, possibly the most spectacular sunset you have ever seen. Here enjoy sparkling wine and a selection of delectable canaps. As the sun sets in a blaze of reds and oranges, and well into the starlit night, feast on a gourmet barbecue buffet of authentic Australian delicacies including barramundi, kangaroo, emu, crocodile, bush salads and classic desserts, complemented by some of Australia's finest wines. Attention then turns to some of the world's best stargazing, as the resident astronomer takes diners on an unforgettable tour of the spectacular southern night sky. As dinner winds down, select from a choice of tea, coffee or port. In winter, guests gather around a campfire to savour a special treat of hot mulled wine.
Day 14 - Ayers Rock - Uluru Sunrise Tour
As the sun rises over the desert walk around the base of Uluru. Enjoy a picnic breakfast and explore the most profound and culturally significant monolith in Australia. Visit water holes and rock art sites and embrace the culture and stories of the Anangu people OR In the afternoon visit Kata Tjuta – a place where unique floras and fauna thrive. Learn about the cultural significance of Kata Tjuta as a sacred Aboriginal’s ceremonial site. Listen to the wind, wonder at the dome walls and embrace the spirituality of this amazing location.
Day 15 - Uluru - Sydney
This morning you will be transferred to Uluru airport. Fly Uluru to Sydney. Upon arrival seat in coach transfer to accommodation
Stay 4 nights in the Heart of Sydney This award-winning 5-star luxury hotel in the heart of Sydney features stylish accommodations, along with 2 restaurants, 2 bars, a day spa, swimming pool, fitness center and business center. Amora Hotel Jamison Sydney is just a 10-minute walk from Circular Quay, Sydney Opera House, Sydney Harbour Bridge and The Rocks. It is a 15-minute walk from Darling Harbour. The city’s best shopping, dining and nightlife are on the hotel’s doorstep.
Day 16 - Sydney - Half Day City Sights tour
This morning you will be picked up from your hotel for your small group Panoramic Sydney Sights tour. Commence a morning Panoramic Sydney Sights tour. Visit the historic Rocks area (Old Town of Sydney) and hear of the early convict history. Enjoy magnificent views of the Opera House, see Sydney Harbour Bridge and the shopping heart of the city including the Queen Victoria Building and Sydney Tower. Visit Sydney's trendy district, Oxford Street and elegant Paddington with its terrace houses. Arrive at the famous beaches - see Tamarama, Bronte and stop at the Bondi beachfront to stroll and enjoy a morning coffee or tea (at own expense). See surfers, famous Aussie lifesavers and Sydney's most spectacular panoramic viewpoint. Return to Sydney via Sydney Heads lookout, Watsons Bay, Kings Cross & Mrs Macquaries Point for unsurpassed views of the Harbour Bridge & Opera House.
Day 17 - Sydney Harbour Morning Cruise & Opera House
Begin your day with a sensational morning tea cruise. A unique, Sydney Harbour Highlights two hour cruise experience. Enjoy the company of a small group aboard a 52 foot motor yacht. Your personal captain & host will share the rich history of Sydney Harbour and its foreshore as you take in the sites of the Sydney Harbour Bridge, the Sydney Opera House and the bays and coves of Sydney Harbour. Enjoy lite morning tea with coffee, tea, juice, water and 5-star service.
This afternoon explore 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 buildings of all time. 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.
Day 18 - Sydney at your leisure
Day 19 - Depart Sydney
This morning you will be collected for your shuttle transfer to Sydney airport. Depart Sydney on your Virgin Australia flight back to Los Angeles (onward connections available to your local airport)
Note: Daily departures, this package is an independent itinerary with flexible departures (not a group tour), the above costs apply for travel within each date band when you depart & return within these dates, ask an Aspire Down Under consultant for a quote when your travel dates are outside of the above date bands.
Additional Charges ETA to enter Australia $25 per person
Additional departure gateways & pricing Add on airfares available from most major airports - Add $190 from San Francisco, Add $250 from Dallas, Seattle, Add $300 from NYC, Chicago, Houston, Denver, Minneapolis, Add $380 from Boston, Miami, Add $450 from Washington DC, Atlanta - ask an Aspire consultant for a quote from your local airport.
* Based on Monday through Thursday travel - ask an Aspire consultant for the add-ons for travel Friday through Sunday
Optional Activities, Extensions or Add-Ons & pricing:
- Upgrade to premium economy from $499 per person each way*
- Upgrade to "The Business" from $1,999 per person each way*
- Can take the upgrade one way or round trip and combine premium/business classes on same ticket
* Based on Monday through Thursday travel - ask an Aspire consultant for the upgrade fee for travel Friday through Sunday
On Board Virgin Australia
Virgin Australia launched over a decade ago and instantly changed the way people fly. Today, Virgin Australia represents a new level of style, sophistication and professionalism. With constant innovation at the heart of everything they do, superior products and award-winning service set them apart and lets you enjoy a world-class experience on every flight.
Terms & Conditions:
Starting from pricing is based on double occupancy (2 people sharing a room) for travel Monday - Thursday for purchase by 15 December 2017; $60pp air supplement applies each way for travel on Friday to Sundays. Ask an Aspire consultant for pricing for your travel dates. Add-on fares are available from other cities.
Certain blackout dates apply on the accommodation and tour value add offers - check with your Aspire consultant. Seats are limited and may not be available on every flight. Hotels are subject to availability. All prices reflect a discount for purchases made by cash/wire transfer/check, please see terms and conditions for credit card payments. There are no discounts for payment made by credit cards. Cancellation penalties and other restrictions apply.
An Electronic Travel Authority (ETA) is required to enter Australia; Aspire Down Under can process the ETA on your behalf for a processing fee of $25 per person. A valid passport with at least six months validity is required..