The Golden Kangaroo
Activity and Adventure
Ready to see the best of Australia? Once you touch down in Sydney you’ll be met and transferred to the centrally located Grace Hotel where you’ll have time to refresh. Later that day, enjoy a one hour guided tour of the iconic Sydney Opera House. Afterward head on to the Rocks, housed inside refurbished historic warehouses and factories, a lively cultural center with shops and cafes. The following morning it’s off to Bondi Beach to learn how to surf like a local. After you’ve carved up some gnarly waves, tour the surf lifesaving club and tuck into a beachside lunch.
Your last full day in Sydney will be spent enjoying the beautiful Blue Mountains. Over the course of a day visit Calmsley Hill, a working farm that is also home to some of the best native wildlife including kangaroos, emus, wombats, and koalas. Later hike from Evans Lookout to Govett’s leap and enjoy sweeping valleys across Australia’s very own Grand Canyon: the Grose Valley. The waterfalls here drop a staggering 180 meters! Wrap up with a trip to Mount Tomah Botanic Garden, where you can enjoy a glass of sparkling wine with more fine views.
It’s just a short flight from Sydney to Adelaide, also known as the City of Festivals. In the summer Adelaide is home to many festivals, but it’s also known for its easy access to Australia’s wine country. Listed as one of the most liveable cities on the planet, take a wander around and discover why. Take the ‘City of Great Building’ trail and you’ll see the arresting Adelaide Town Hall which was built in 1854, as well as the recently restored Darling Building and Adelaide’s first post-war skyscraper, the MLC building. During your time here, you'll stay at the Rockford Adelaide, located in the vibrant arts district in the West End.
The next day it’s off to one of the most quintessentially Australian named places in the country – Kangaroo Island! Enjoy a full day exploring the island with a friendly local guide. With over a third of the land here a dedicated nature reserve, the island is teeming with wildlife including sea lions, koalas and a range of bird species. Later, enjoy a nocturnal guided tour where you’ll be able to spot the nocturnal animals of the island like wallabies, echidnas, and bats. Don’t forget to look up – ask your guide to point out the Southern Cross, as this constellation is only visible in the Southern Hemisphere. You'll stay overnight at the Mercure Kangaroo Island Lodge, which has a fab outdoor pool and overlooks Eastern Cove. If you get up early enough, you can feed the local pelicans.
The next day visits Flinders Chase National Park, known for penguin colonies and impressive coastal rock formations. Tuck into a BBQ lunch made with local produce and served in the bush, before heading on to Hanson Bay Wildlife Sanctuary, which is home to a big population of koalas. Finish the day at Kelly Hill Conservation Park and enjoy seeing the mobs of kangaroos.
Today it’s off to the hip city of Melbourne, where you’ll uncover the city’s best bits on a Hidden Secrets Tours Lanes and Arcades walking tour. During the walk, you’ll discover local designers and specialty retailers that are only found here, as well as quirky cafes, street art, and impressive architecture. Stay overnight at the stylish Doubletree by Hilton, walking distance from Federation Square.
Sports fan? You’ll enjoy the next day! Melbourne is home to many international events including the Australian Grand Prix, the Australian Open and the Ashes. Today you will explore behind the scenes of the venues that host some of the country’s favorite sporting events. Head to Albert Park, which is on the Melbourne F1 Grand Prix Circuit. Next choose to tour behind the scenes of either the Melbourne Cricket Ground, Rod Laver Arena or the National Sports Museum. Visit the media centers and check out the exclusive members' area. There’s even the chance to enter the changing rooms and walk on the turf. Afterward, you’ll drive to either the Etihad Stadium or Docklands precinct for a pub-style lunch.
It’s time for the self-drive portion of your trip to Phillip Island! Along the way, you may like to stop at Warrock Cattle Farm, where you’ll enjoy traditional Aussie hospitality at a historic homestead. You might also want to check out the Koala Conservation Centre and walk amidst treetops in search of koalas. Later on, why not tuck into an Australia Rock Lobster Dinner? Afterward, drive down to Penguin Parade at dusk and watch the unforgettable sight of the penguins waddling in from the sea and heading for their burrows. Your home for the night is the Ramada Resort Phillip Island, which features quirky cottages spread out over a garden, and a big outdoor pool.
Listed as one of National Geographic’s 20 best places in the world, a trip to the Mornington Peninsula is a must. Just 45 minutes out of Melbourne, you don’t want to miss this coastal wine and produce region. Swing by Sunny Ridge Strawberry Farm where you can tuck into a delicious dessert or pick your own berries straight from the fields. You might also like to stop at one of the many local wineries for a tasty lunch. In the afternoon head for Victoria’s first natural thermal mineral springs, Mornington Peninsula Hot Springs, and unwind in style. Check into the Peppers Moonah Links, a beautifully designed mid-century modern style building overlooking two 18-hole championship golf courses.
Head for Sorrento then board the 40-minute car ferry to the Bellarine. This crossing might be practical, but it’s a highlight of Victorian coastal travel too - look out for dolphins as you cross! Then you’ll drive along the Great Ocean Road to the Twelve Apostles, another must-see Australian sight.
Check in to the Southern Ocean Villas, where you're spoiled for space with a whole villa to yourself, and just a short stroll to the town center and beach.
Once you arrive in Cairns, you’ll pick up a new rental car ready to explore this region. Make your way to Port Douglas and uncover the beauty of the famous Captain Cook Highway Drive, where the rainforest meets the ocean. Be sure to stop at the famous Rex Lookout point for sweeping views across the turquoise Coral Sea. Spend the next day here as you please; relax at a local spa or head to Macrossan Street and do some shopping at the chic boutiques. Your base for the next four nights is the Mantra Aqueous, which is walking distance to Port Douglas' shops and restaurants and boasts four lagoon pools.
The next day enjoys a full day trip out to the Great Barrier Reef. Out at the reef, you’ll have a chance to go snorkeling, diving, fishing or simply kick back and enjoy the boat ride. Your last full day in Port Douglas will be spent exploring Daintree National Park with your rental car. Be sure to swing by Alexandra Lookout, Thornton Café by the Beach, the boardwalks in the rainforest and mangroves. Afterward visit the Daintree Discovery Centre and Ice Cream Factory where you can walk through a beautiful fruit orchard. Finish up at PK's Jungle Village in Cape Tribulation, with a classic Aussie meal and a beer.
On day 18 you'll drive back to Cairns, to catch your flight home, taking memories of your golden time in Australia.