Australia is roughly equivalent to the U.S. in size, with many variations in climate. Summer, the rainy season in the tropical north, lasts December to February. November to March is hottest. Spring and autumn are mild and the best time for bush walks. Winter, June to August, is mild with snow in southern mountains and balmy temperatures in the north. In general, April to September temperatures are between 18°C/66 °F and 31°C/88°F. September and October are warm but not extremely hot.
Eastern Standard Time GMT +10 NSW, ACT, Victoria, Queensland and Tasmania
Central Time GMT +9.5 Northern Territory and South Australia
Western Time GMT +8 Western Australia
Australian Dollar (AUD)
Day 1: Melbourne, Australia
Upon arrival at Melbourne International Airport, you are met by a representative, who will hand over your Australian documentation and transfer you by private vehicle to your accommodation. The remainder of the day is at leisure. Equally passionate about football and ballet, food and fashion a new face of Melbourne – cosmopolitan, avant-garde, conservative – is revealed at every bend of the Yarra, in every tiny city arcade and in each of the colorful suburbs of the city fringe. Enjoy optional activities that can be tailored to your family’s interests and include a private tour of Melbourne with a local expert guide; a visit to the Victorian Arts Centre, the Victorian Gallery and Como House; a unique and fun dining experience on board the Colonial Tram car; shopping at fashionable Toorak and South Yarra; explore the cafes and beaches of St Kilda; discover Federation Square, a civic center and cultural precinct that has become Victoria’s second most popular tourist attraction; or take the "Art from the City Circle" tram ride or a walk through city streets, laneways, and squares and along the Yarra River. Crown Towers (B)
Day 2: Melbourne / Great Ocean Road / Cape Otway
This morning, you pick up your medium rental vehicle, which includes unlimited kilometers, daily insurance, and GPS satellite navigation, to begin the drive on your own to your accommodation on the Great Ocean Road, approximately a three-and-a-half-hour drive, to Cape Otway.
This evening, enjoy a guided dusk walk. The Great Ocean Ecolodge lies within the grounds of the Conservation Ecology Centre, a dedicated wildlife rehabilitation and ecological research center. Observe the wild kangaroos, koalas and other animals and learn about the conservation projects. Learn to surf, browse the boutiques of the fashionable beachside townships or explore the cool fern gullies and cascading waterfalls of the Great Otway National Park. Great Ocean Ecolodge (B,D)
Day 3: Cape Otway
This morning is at leisure. Discover some of the most extraordinary coastal landscapes. The road winds precariously through the wilderness and along Victoria’s spectacular southwestern coastline. Charming villages, dramatic limestone cliffs, world famous surf beaches line the way with the 12 Apostles – a landmark series of striking rock stacks that rise out of the Southern Ocean. Other activities available include a scenic helicopter flight over the Twelve Apostles, a visit to the Cape Otway Lighthouse and the Otway Fly, freshwater fishing, golf or take a walk on Wreck Beach. This afternoon, you back to Melbourne. Crown Towers (B)
Day 4: Melbourne / Hobart
Today you will be met at your accommodation by your private driver and vehicle and transferred to Melbourne Airport for your onward flight to Hobart (additional cost) on the island of Tasmania. Nestled between the foothills of Mt Wellington and the banks of the Derwent River, Australia’s smallest and second oldest city is an intriguing blend of maritime heritage and a vibrant modern culture. Salamanca’s Georgian waterfront warehouses are abuzz with some of the city’s finest cafes, restaurants and craft shops, as they look out over the bright spinnakers and fishing boats of Hobart’s busy port. Upon arrival at Hobart Airport you will be met by your private driver and vehicle and transferred to your accommodation. The Henry Jones Hotel - Deluxe Spa Room (B)
Day 5: Hobart / Maria Island
This morning, you are met at your accommodation by a representative to begin your four-day, small group walking tour (no more than ten people) of Maria Island, Tasmania's only island National Park.
Please note: This tour caters to clients who can walk 8-15 km/4.9-9.3 mi a day. Participants over 70 years of age require a medical certificate. Guests carry a light backpack (between 5-8 kg/11-17.6 lb) with their own personal items, which can be packed at the city office. Packs can be supplied together with waterproof jackets, silk sleeping sheets, and head torches. Guests should have their own walking boots, well-worn with good ankle support.
The first two nights are spent in elegant, permanent wilderness camps nestled in behind own private beaches. Guests enjoy twin share cabins with polished wooden floors, which are connected with boardwalks to the large main dining cabin. The environmentally sensitive camps have rainwater tanks for drinking and private washing and toilet facilities too. The solar-powered, composting toilets are well maintained, pleasant and hygienic. Please note there is no power at the wilderness camps. The final night is spent in the historic and authentically restored Bernacchi House where guests enjoy hot showers and fresh linen beds, wood fires, a library, piano and sweeping views of the sunset over Mercury Passage. Fresh sleeping bags are provided at each camp and fresh linen at Bernacchi House. Light day packs are also available for use on side trips from Camp 1 and Bernacchi House.
The unspoiled natural beauty of Maria Island is just off the east coast of Tasmania and boasts breathtaking beauty and spectacular wildlife work in harmony to invigorate, recharge and stimulate hikers. It has a Mediterranean-style climate and contrasting landscape that includes rugged coastline, untouched beaches, striking mountains, 15 forest communities and diverse geology. As a national park, it is home to wallabies, wombats, kangaroos, fairy penguins, the world’s second rarest goose - the Cape Barren goose - and several other rare and unusual bird species, including 11 of the 12 endemic Tasmanian species. It also provides access to diverse marine life such as dolphins that chase baitfish through Mercury Passage and whales on their migration path to the Antarctic. The island is 11,550 hectares/28,541 acres, and is about 19 km/12 mi long and 13 km/8 mi wide.
Please Note: On the rare occasions when sea conditions make the crossing to Maria Island uncomfortable, there may be delays or alternative arrangements will be made.
After a short drive to Triabunna (approximately an hour and a half), you enjoy a marine adventure in a private catamaran to the remote southern end of Maria Island, arriving in ample time to enjoy stunning views and walk through beautiful forests with abundant wildlife. Enjoy fresh Tasmanian produce and fine wines in Casuarina Camp before heading to your comfortable cabin. (Walking Distance: approx. 3 km/1.9 mi and 12 km/7.5 mi). Maria Island - Twin Cabin (B,L,D) One Night - Double Room
Day 6: Maria Island Walk
Today’s walk encompasses approximately 14 km/8.7 mi from Riedle Bay across the rare land formation of the isthmus to Shoal Bay. Explore the convict cells at Point Lesueur and visit an ochre pit at Bloodstone Point, one of the original ochre sources for the Tasmanian aborigines. This afternoon. Savor a refreshing swim and, after the perfect day, relax with your fellow walkers before enjoying another gourmet feast with fine Tasmanian food and wine. Maria Island (B,L,D)
Day 7: Maria Island Walk
Head inland to green forests that are a prime habitat for the endangered Forty-Spotted Pardalote - one of Australia's rarest birds and by far the rarest pardalote, as it is found only in the south-east region of Tasmania! Take the gentle inland track to Hopgrounds Beach and the Painted Cliffs or continue to the 709-meter/2,325-foot summit of Mt. Maria for breathtaking views.
Finish the day with a sumptuous banquet and accommodation in the historic colonial home once occupied by Italian entrepreneur, Diego Bernacchi. (Walking Distance: approx. 6 km/3.7 mi and 17 km/10.6 mi). Maria Island - Double Room (B,L,D)
Day 8: Maria Island / Hobart / Coles Bay
This morning, you take a last walk through the woodlands and forests with rare endemic birds, wallabies and wombats at the northern tip of Maria Island, and experience Darlington’s rich history, its convict years, the industrial era and the fascinating farming history of the area. Continue onto the dramatic sea cliffs of Fossil Bay and then head down to the remarkable fossils at Fossil Cliffs. Enjoy a farewell lunch overlooking Darlington. You continue on to the dramatic sea cliffs of Fossil Bay and then head down to the remarkable fossils at Fossil Cliffs. Enjoy a farewell lunch before boarding the boat to go back to Tasmania. Upon arrival at Triabunna, on the mainland, you will be met by a representative of Saffire Freycinet for a private transfer to your accommodation in Coles Bay (approximately an hour and a half). Saffire Freycinet (B,L,D)
Day 9: Coles Bay
Enjoy time at leisure during your stay on the Freycinet Peninsula on Tasmania’s beautiful east coast, characterized by sheltered white sand beaches, dramatic wilderness and the breathtaking vistas of Wineglass Bay. Towering walls of pink and grey granite, dotted with orange lichen, soar dramatically out of the water, while timid wildlife and beautiful orchids grace the lush green forests of this national park. The area hosts a wide range of activities, although some do not always operate daily. Enjoy a guided tour to the Freycinet Oyster Marine Farm, hike around beautiful Wineglass Bay, or savor a twilight guided exploration of Australian marsupials on the Freycinet Peninsula. Canoe Pelican Bay, cook with the chef, or explore the coast along the Tasman Sea on a Quad Bike. Try the Tasmanian Devil Experience, kite flying, mountain biking, star gazing and more. You can feast of local oysters, mussels, olives, cool climate wines and creamy ice cream!
Please note that many optional activities listed on your itinerary, including Spa treatments at Saffire require a minimum 24hrs advance notice. Please contact Southern Crossings or the property direct for any booking requests.
Day 10: Coles Bay / Hobart / Sydney
This morning you will be met at your accommodation by your private guide and vehicle for a scenic transfer to Hobart. Travel to Bonorong Wildlife Sanctuary to experience Tasmanian devils, wombats, wallabies, echidnas, quolls and other Australian animals first hand. This dedicated team of wildlife care-givers provides an invaluable service to the research and protection of native wildlife in Tasmania. For every guest visiting the sanctuary five dollars will be donated towards the Tasmanian Devils cancer research. Enjoy an introduction to Tasmania’s capital city, Hobart and its engaging history. Lunch is included. Upon conclusion of your scenic drive, passing quaint coastal fishing villages, you will be transferred to Hobart Airport for your onward flight to Sydney (additional cost). Upon arrival in Sydney, you will be met by your private driver and vehicle and transferred to your accommodation. Four Seasons Hotel (B)
Day 11: Sydney
This morning you will be met at your accommodation by your private guide and vehicle for your full day exploration of Sydney. Sunny and stylish, energetic and inviting, Sydney shines all year round. Ferries, yachts, jet-boats and harbor cruises share the sparkling waters framed by the world famous white sails of the Opera House and coat-hanger-like Harbour Bridge. The colonial sandstone warehouses of the lively Rocks district nestle at the foot of tall glass towers and contrast with the modernity of the neighboring Darling Harbour. Enjoy a drive around the historic Rocks precinct, visiting the first church in Australia, the observatory, the convict-built cottages, Circular Quay, the iconic Sydney Opera House and the magnificent Botanic Gardens. Here, you will take a short walk to view Mrs Macquarie’s chair and the excellent harbor views. Continue through Woolloomooloo, Kings Cross and into Rushcutters Bay. Enjoy a lunch at the Cruising Yacht Club of Australia, Australia’s premier yacht club and home to what is considered yachting’s ‘Everest’ – the Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race.
Then travel through Darling Point, one of Sydney’s most affluent suburbs and see some of Sydney’s most sought after addresses. Pass by Double Bay, Rose Bay, Vaucluse and Watsons Bay, before traversing along the coastline to Sydney’s most famous beach, Bondi Beach. Here you will have some time to soak up the atmosphere of this beachside magnet. Stroll down the esplanade with the locals and maybe enjoy an ice cream before re-boarding your vehicle.
Return to the city, via Oxford Street Paddington, arriving at Darling Harbour where your yacht awaits for a two-hour cruise around Sydney Harbour. Returns to the dock. You may decide to eat out at any one of the dozen or more restaurants, stay and enjoy the entertainment before returning to your hotel at your leisure or transfer with your driver/guide to your accommodation in late afternoon. Four Seasons Hotel (B)
Day 12: Sydney
Today is at leisure to pursue your own interests. Sydney offers something for the entire family – from the Sydney Aquarium and Taronga Park Zoo to climbing the Sydney Harbour Bridge to the Sydney Opera House for dinner and a performance. Take a surfing lesson at Bondi or Manly Beach; shop at Pitt Street Mall, the Queen Victoria Building and Oxford Street Paddington; take an exhilarating scenic seaplane flight over the beaches and spectacular harbor; learn about Australia’s natural history at the fascinating Australian Museum; tour Australian and international art exhibitions at the Art Gallery of New South Wales and the Museum of Contemporary Art or spend a day in the Hunter Valley wine region. Families can enjoy a day tour to the World Heritage-listed Blue Mountains by car or by helicopter or take a guided bike ride around Sydney’s icons. Four Seasons Hotel (B)
Day 13: Sydney / Depart
Today you will be met by your private driver and vehicle and transferred to Sydney International Airport for your onward flight. (B)
Land price, per person, double occupancy: Price starts from US$650 per person per day.