Australia - See It All!

October 15 -25, 2014

(includes FIVE internal flights)

October is the ideal time to adventure outdoors for the best of Australia: Sydney, the Outback and the Tropical North.  If you go in September, Sydney is too cool and if you go in November, the Outback is too hot.  Australia is HUGE, impossible to see in ten days without flying, so our itinerary includes FIVE internal flights.  Relaxing on the white sands of Whitehaven is idyllic – just what you’d expect on one of the most beautiful beaches in the world.  We see dolphins while sea kayaking and maybe even a distant crocodile while horseback riding!  Hiking around the sacred Uluru is totally memorable and holding a koala will touch your heart.  We’ll hike the Blue Mountains with an Aborigine descendant who’ll teach the culture of his ancestors.  Serenity is luxury camping in the Outback where the Southern Cross hangs low in the night sky.  In Alice Springs we’ll visit the Flying Doctors and Schools of the Air and even have a didgeridoo lesson.  And of course we explore Sydney, often called the “best address in the world.”  Whether you’re swimming, sipping Aussie wine or watching colorful birds fly by, you’ll feel the spirit of Australia, wonderfully alive.

Consider an unguided two-night stay in Fiji as a pre-trip option for an extra $645.  Relaxing on Beachcomber Island is a perfect way to defeat jet-lag.  Fiji Airways allows you to interrupt your international route with a penalty-free Fijian stopover.  If you choose this option you’ll need to leave LAX on Saturday October 11.

If you have the time, consider an extra couple of days at the end of our trip exploring Sydney on your own.  Public transport is excellent and it’s fun to hop from train to tram to ferryboat to monorail to bus.  You’re never lost for long!  There are also plenty of city tours to choose from and private tour guides who’ll lead you to exactly the places you choose.

Lois G, NY - Yes Aussie is truly AWESOME! Your love and understanding of the aboriginal people - and all Aussies really came across. Trip #6 for me! Thanks for all that you do.

Jackie C, PA - Thank you for taking us Down Under with such organization and enthusiasm. What a beautiful land of extremes. I feel there is very little that I missed.

Karen C, OR - This has been a great trip. I've enjoyed all the outdoor activities - the only way to see a country. I'm not ready to go home!

Airfares are NOT INCLUDED in Canyon Calling trips. It is your responsibility to get yourself to the assembly point of a trip and home afterwards. There are many reasons for this policy including customers wanting to use their air miles, people wanting to go early or stay on after the trip, some wanting to drive etc. Jane at Jane’s Travel in Phoenix has helped our customers with booking their flights for the last 17 years. You can phone her at (480) 755-1388 or send an email to  Internal flights are included in trip prices when they fall inside a tour like on our Costa Rican, Peruvian Andes, Australian and Hawaiian Islands trips.

Monday October 13
Assemble at the international airport in Sydney by noon on Wednesday Oct 15.  This means you have to leave the US by at least today in order to account for losing Tuesday 14 October to the International Date Line.  The least expensive fare is on Fijian Air 811 departing LAX today at 11.30pm.  There are direct flights from LAX to Sydney that cost about $350 extra and arrive between 6am and 9am on October 15.

Tuesday October 14 
Lost to the International Date Line!  Don’t worry, you’ll get this day back on your way home!

Wednesday October 15
Fijian Air flight 811 arrives in Fiji at 5.35am.  It connects with Fijian Air flight 911 departing Fiji at 9am arriving Sydney 11.30am.  Your guide will meet you in the international arrivals hall at noon.  We’ll transfer to our downtown hotel and check in at 2pm.  You’ll have an hour to freshen up and grab a snack to go before meeting the group in the lobby.  We’ll head to the Sydney Opera House for a fascinating one-hour tour of this iconic building.  Sydney has been called “the best address in the world” and you’ll enjoy stunning views of the harbor as we climb one of the towers of the Harbor Bridge.  We’ll walk through the historic Rocks district back to our hotel for dinner and likely a very early night to sleep off jet-lag! D (dinner)

Day 2
Breakfast at a train station café and pick up a sandwich for lunch before we board our train to the Blue Mountains.  Our Aboriginal ancestral guide will lead us on a four-hour walkabout through the eucalyptus trees teaching us the culture of his Darug forefathers.  This is a gentle bushwalk with 300” sections of gradually sloping up and down trail, suited to the moderately-fit.  We’ll walk the ancient song line of the Emu man, carved in stone.  Our guide will demonstrate ochre bark painting while kookaburras and lorikeets entertain with a cacophony of sounds.  Dinner is at a local pub before returning on the train back to our hotel in Sydney.  D

Day 3
It’s a 6am departure from our hotel today to transfer to the airport for our 9am flight to Brisbane.  Our local guide will meet us and we’ll travel two hours south by van to beautiful Byron Bay.  You’ll love the sweeping coastline view from up at the lighthouse.  This afternoon we’ll sea-kayak around Cape Byron, the most easterly point in Australia.  There is a 90% chance of seeing some of the 300 resident bottlenose dolphins that live year-round in Byron Bay.  We may also see a humpback whale as our tour is within the migration season.  Back in town we’ll check into our motel and dine at a favorite local restaurant.  D

Day 4
After a lazy breakfast we’ll drive north back to Brisbane to Lone Pine Sanctuary, voted one of the Top 10 zoos in the world.  Here we can hold a koala and with its scent of eucalyptus, this will be one of the highlights of your trip!  Australia is a wonderland of exotic animals and at Lone Pine you’ll get up close to wombats, platypus, kangaroos and even Tasmanian devils!  There’s also time to watch sheep shearing and a sheep dog demonstration.  Ours is a relaxed visit and includes lunch.  From the zoo we’ll board a cruise boat and enjoy a narrated trip down the Brisbane River seeing modern mansions and historic Queenslander homes. Our van will meet us at the city pontoon and deliver us to our hotel.  Dine at an RSA Club, a unique Aussie experience. B (breakfast) D

Day 5
Transfer to the airport for our mid-morning flight to Proserpine Airport, gateway to the 74 Whitsunday Islands.  Transfer into the town of Airlie Beach. This is a time-out day in a relaxed Queensland seaside community.  Check into our motor lodge for a two-night stay.  It has lush gardens and a pool and it is only a 5-minute walk to both the town and the popular lagoon.  The palm-ringed lagoon has a large grass area to sit on and the swimming is perfect.  We’ll all meet-up for an Aussie BBQ dinner at our lodge.  There is an option today to take a scenic flight out over famous Heart Reef. D

Day 6
The Whitsunday Islands are our favorite part of the Great Barrier Reef – the largest living organism.  Our all-day cruise boat trip delivers us to the crystal clear waters and pristine white silica sand of Whitehaven Beach.  This is repeatedly voted one of the best beaches in the world!  We’ll wander up to the spectacular overlook at the north end and then swim and soak up the sun at the southern end.  We’ll picnic on the beach at lunchtime.  If sea conditions permit, we will cross to nearby Esk Island, a delightfully scenic and rarely visited place. If the tide is right, there is a small reef area to snorkel.  We’ll arrive back into Airlie Beach before sunset and wander into town later for a relaxed dinner. L (lunch) D

Day 7
Time to head back to the airport!  It’s a short mid-morning flight to Cairns in tropical north Queensland.  Transfer to our hotel for a two-night stay.  It’s a little early to check in but we’ll store our luggage and drive to the nearby Sky Rail terminal.  We’ll board an enclosed gondola for a 5-mile ride across pristine rainforest to the mountain town of Karunda.   Kuranda is world famous for its markets selling Aboriginal artifacts, handmade leather and wood products plus Australia’s famous opals.  There’s entertainment from wandering buskers and lots of stalls selling fruit, snacks and ice cream.  We’ll have spectacular views of the Barron gorge to look forward to on the return gondola trip.  This is a deep chasm of dense rainforest draining into the Barron River.  Dinner tonight is in downtown Cairns.  B, D.

Day 8
Breakfast with the birds at a wildlife habitat near Port Douglas.  Feast on a tropical buffet while the colorful birds wander freely among us.  You’ll see the rare cassowary, plus pythons and crocodiles.  Drive into Port Douglas where you’ll and a free couple of hours to shop and lunch.  This afternoon we’re horseback riding just outside of Cairns.  We’ll change into jeans upon arrival at the ranch.  Ours is a 1.5-hour meander through pockets of rainforest, mangrove wetlands, sugarcane fields and native bush.  Back at our hotel there’s plenty of time for happy-hour tonight before dinner. B, D.

Day 9
Breakfast at our hotel before heading to the airport for our flight to Alice Springs departing at 11.25am. In Alice we’ll spend a few hours visiting the School of the Air and the Flying Doctor Service, two uniquely Australian organizations so important in the lives of the people of the Outback.  Relax at our motel’s pool in the heat of the afternoon.  Dine in town prior to our Didgeridoo Concert – a musical and visual journey through the ancient landforms, history and space of the Outback featuring impromptu didgeridoo lessons!  B, L, D.

Day 10
An Aussie guide will pick us up early and we join a land trip south though the Outback to Uluru (Ayers Rock).  We will travel through picturesque ranges stopping at a camel farm where you have an option to try riding a camel.  Lunch will be a picnic at our camp near Uluru.  This afternoon we hike the red rocks of Kata Tjuta (the Olgas). We’ll catch the sunset at Uluru before returning to our campsite where we are served a camp oven dinner.  Shower at camp and sleep cozily on surprisingly comfortable cot beds in safari tents.  L, D.

Day 11
Breakfast in camp before heading off to circumnavigate Uluru. This is a leisurely six-mile walk around the monolith.  You’ll see eroded rock faces and unusual formations. Your guide will take you on a Mala walk exploring sacred waterholes, ancient caves and Aboriginal paintings. We return to camp for lunch and showers before catching our 1.20pm flight to Sydney arriving 5.45pm.  Transfer to our airport hotel.  We’ll celebrate the end of our Australian journey with a farewell dinner.  Tours ends.  B, D.

Sunday October 26
Departure for USA.  Make your own way to the airport by shuttle bus or taxi. Fijian Air flight 910 departs at 12.45pm and arrives in Fiji at 6.40pm.  This connects with Fijian Air flight 810 departing 10pm and arriving at LAX at 2pm October 26 - still!  This is the day you lost on the flight over!!  Connect with your homeward bound flights.



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