Experience the unexpected in Australia by starting in the top end. This journey starts in Darwin, the gem of a city in the Northern Territory. Then commence a small group tour of Kakadu National Park and Katherine Gorge. Travel in a more intimate group and go places off the beaten track whilst staying in unique outback accommodations, then this is the trip for you. Finish in the cosmopolitan city of Sydney and enjoy the stunning harbor, Sydney Opera House and iconic harbor bridge.
- Roundtrip Economy Class Airfare on Virgin Australia from Los Angeles to Sydney (Addon flights from your local airport can be added at an additional cost)
- Virgin Australia Internal Australia flights
- 2 Nights 4* Novotel Darwin in a Superior room
- 5 Days/4 Nights Small group tour of Kakadu & Katherine Gorge including unique accommodations, meals and touring
- 3 Nights at the 5* Primus Hotel Sydney in an Executive room
- Shuttle airport transfers in Darwin
- Car service transfers in Sydney
- All airport taxes & fuel surcharges
Day 1 - Depart the United States
What makes Australia truly special is not just the accents, iconic destinations and the wildlife, but the warmth of its people. You’ll experience this warmth with Virgin Australia when you fly direct from LA to Sydney. Considering upgrading your flight? Consider premium economy from $700 per person additional each way or a life flat bed in business class from $2,000 each way for travel Monday - Thursday
Day 2 - Cross International Dateline
Day 3 - Arrive in Australia
On arrival into Darwin, you will be transferred to your centrally located hotel by shuttle service
ACCOMMODATION - Novotel Darwin - conveniently located in the city center, overlooking Darwin Harbour. This 4-star hotel is a short stroll from the Mitchell Street dining and entertainment precinct. Boasting 140 spacious rooms, Novotel Darwin Atrium features a magnificent tropical indoor rainforest, complete with cascading vines and palm trees. Try the famous cocktails in the bar or enjoy a delicious meal in the restaurant.
Day 4 - Commence 5 day 4WD tour: Darwin – Mary River Wetlands
This morning meet your local driver guide and board your luxury 4WD vehicle to begin your journey of discovery in the Top End. Travel across the Finniss River to Litchfield National Park. You'll enjoy a swim to cool off at tumbling Florence Falls and you'll also visit Wangi Falls, surrounded by tropical monsoon rainforest and hear about its importance in Aboriginal custom before stopping for lunch. Get ready for a cross-country journey via the unsealed Marrakai Track (seasonally accessible), through cattle stations and back country to The Mary River region. Late-afternoon you'll arrive at Wildman Wilderness Lodge, where you'll stay in private permanent safari tents. Situated in the Mary River Wetlands and renowned for its incredible wildlife, the property seamlessly combines comfort and chic with the beauty of the surrounding landscape. Enjoy a beverage while the sun sets over the floodplains and after dinner maybe sit back with a nightcap by the fire pit. (Lunch & Dinner included today)
Overnight accommodation at Wildman Wilderness Lodge, Mary River
Day 5 - Kakadu National Park
Wake up to the evocative sounds of the floodplains. Head out to Corroboree Billabong and enjoy a wonderful wildlife cruise. You'll join local, Scotty Mac on his safari style boat to see a myriad of different bird species, spot estuarine crocodiles and simply enjoy the stunning Mary River floodplains system. Next stop is Australia's largest National Park Kakadu. World Heritage listed, as both a cultural and natural sanctuary, Kakadu National Park is an Australian icon. Visit park headquarters, Bowali Visitors Centre then check in to your hotel where the buildings are shaped to represent a crocodile the region's most famous resident! Relax and unwind with a refreshing dip in the hotel's shaded outdoor pool or even wander through the on-site art gallery before you join your Driver Guide on a sun set walk at Ubirr rock art site. You'll see ancient rock art and take a walk to discover remarkable views over the surrounding wetlands and escarpments from the fantastic vantage point, Nadab lookout. An Ubirr sunset is something that has to be seen to be believed, you will remember it forever. Return to your hotel for a delicious dinner. (Breakfast, lunch & dinner included today)
Overnight accommodation at Mercure Crocodile Kakadu, Jabiru
Day 6 - Kakadu National Park to Katherine Gorge
If you're an early riser there's a chance to take an early morning scenic flight over Kakadu and Arnhem Land, or, perhaps you might just want to sleep in before your day of activities. This morning you'll visit Nourlangie to see its fascinating Aboriginal rock art for yourself. You'll also hear first-hand from your Driver Guide a detailed interpretation of the art and the rich Aboriginal culture as you explore the various outdoor galleries' with art that dates back some 20,000 years. Later you'll veer off the sealed road and onto a gravel track for a scenic cross-country journey to Gunlom Falls. You'll have time to take a hike to the top of the falls for a splash in picturesque natural plunge pool where you're awarded with spectacular views over the National Park. Take in the natural beauty of the area while you enjoy a picnic lunch. This afternoon you continue through Katherine to Nitmiluk National Park. Indulge in five-star luxury at Cicada Lodge, a stunning architect designed eco-lodge surrounded by nature, where each room has a private balcony that opens to the glories of Nitmiluk National Park. (Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner Included today)
Overnight accommodation at Cicada Lodge, Nitmiluk National Park, Katherine.
Day 7 - Katherine Gorge
Today meet Manual Pamkal who will welcome you with a traditional welcoming tune on the didgeridoo. Manual was born and raised immersed in his rich traditional culture. He'll share with you stories of growing up in the bush and teach you the fine art of rarrk painting using a special brush from a reed called Julk. Call up the inner artist within you and paint your own masterpiece to take home! Journey to Mataranka for a swim in the relaxing natural spring fed thermal pool. The pool is said to have the power to soothe your aches and pains and bubbles up at a fairly constant 34 degrees. Just glorious! This evening, relax on a special dinner cruise along Katherine River. You'll marvel at the gorges while you spot wildlife and learn about the history and culture of the local Jawoyn people. Enjoy the peaceful ambiance during the candle-lit three course dinner cook on board your boat. (Breakfast & Dinner Included today)
Overnight accommodation at Cicada Lodge, Nitmiluk National Park, Katherine.
Day 8 - Katherine Gorge to Darwin
This morning, either have a lay in or take the opportunity to grab a canoe for a paddle on the river. It's the most relaxing way to experience the National Park, completely immersed in nature in the mystical morning light. Travel north along the Stuart Highway stopping at Edith Falls along the way for a relaxing dip. Continue to Adelaide River War Cemetery. During WWII, Adelaide River was the headquarters to a large military base and a large cemetery was created especially for those who gave their lives in the service and defence of their country. Your small group tour concludes on arrival in Darwin. (Breakfast & Lunch included today)
Overnight accommodation at Novotel Darwin
Day 9 - Darwin - Sydney
Shuttle transfer to airport in time for your flight to Sydney. On arrival car service transfer to your hotel.
ACCOMMODATION - In December 2015 one of Sydneys finest examples of art deco glamour opened its doors as the 5* Primus Hotel Sydney. Perfectly positioned in the heart of the city, this heritage sensitive refit of the former Sydney Water Board headquarters has breathed new life into an iconic 1930s building. The hotel showcases a lobby bar, an adjoining restaurant, The Wilmot, and a rooftop pool. The generously sized 159 rooms and 13 suites feature lavish contemporary interiors that create an authentic and engaging experience.
Days 10 & 11 - Sydney
Explore Sydney at your leisure or consider adding the following discounted sightseeing package at a cost of $255 per person
- Panoramic City Sights small group half day Tour
Commence your half day small group Panoramic Sydney Sights tour with a visit to the historic Rocks area, followed by magnificent views of the Opera House and Sydney Harbour Bridge. Visit Sydney's trendy Oxford Street, then travel through elegant Paddington with its Victorian terrace houses before arriving at the Pacific Ocean. See the superb coast cliff walk around Tamarama and Bronte, then travel to famous Bondi Beach. See bronzed Aussie lifesavers and Sydney's best panoramic view at Dover Heights. Return to Sydney via Double Bay, Kings Cross and Mrs Macquaries Point for a final magical viewpoint over the harbour before returning to the city center.
- Sydney Harbour small group Harbour Cruise
Board your Sensational Sydney Cruises vessel at Circular Quay to commence a morning two hour Harbour Highlights cruise. Enjoy the company of a small group aboard a 52 foot motor yacht. Your captain and host will share the rich history of Sydney Harbour and its foreshore as you take in the sights of the Sydney Harbour Bridge, the Sydney Opera House and the bays and coves of Sydney Harbour. Enjoy a light morning tea with coffee, tea, juice and water.
- Blue Mountains Day small group day Tour
Enjoy a small group tour to the Blue Mountains and see hidden locations and beautiful views of the region. From Echo Point, the closest and best view of the Three Sisters, you will be able to witness the blue haze and the vast expanse of the Jamison Valley and experience for yourself the raw magic the Blue Mountains creates. Take a 1.5 hour hike down the Furber Steps walking track which offers scenic views and waterfalls, to the bottom of the valley. Visit a beautiful waterfall with great photo opportunities at Katoomba Falls Cascade and see breathtaking views of either Jamison Valley or Megalong Valley away from the crowds in a private location (If prefer not to hike your guide can take you to the Scenic World rides - additional cost applies). Enjoy a hot filling lunch including a glass of beer, wine or soft drink. After lunch visit Featherdale Wildlife Park to see some of Australia's native wildlife. Your trip to Sydney is not complete without a cruise on the Parramatta River to Sydney Harbour., you will travel under the Harbour Bridge and past the Opera House before disembarking at Circular Quay.
Day 12 - Depart for US
This morning you will be transferred by car service to Sydney International airport. Fly to Los Angeles with Virgin Australia.
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 add-ons for travel Friday through Sunday
Optional Activities, Extensions or Add-Ons & pricing:
- Upgrade to premium economy from $700 per person each way*
- Upgrade to business class from $2,000 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.
Package from pricing is based on double occupancy (2 people sharing a room) for travel Sunday - Wednesday 08 April – 30 November 2017 for purchase by 15 May 2017; $60 supplement applies each way for travel on Thursday to Saturdays. Ask an Aspire consultant for pricing for other 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. A passport with extended validity past your travel dates and an Electronic Travel Authority (ETA) is required to enter Australia; Aspire Down Under can issue your ETA for a processing fee of $25 per person. A copy of the picture page of your passport and payment for your ETA is required at the time of booking.