Sydney, Cairns, Uluru, Melbourne, Bora Bora
Dates are flexible and customizable for private departures.
Where to next for your vacation? A tropical island getaway? Or maybe an iconic once-in-a-lifetime destination? Combine both with a 16-day getaway that will provide a revered combination in fusing Australia’s famous experiences with the private escapism of Bora Bora, a volcanic island of exotic colors in the Pacific. For the first week, you will explore Sydney, the Blue Mountains, the Great Barrier Reef, Aboriginal culture, Uluru and Melbourne, and kangaroos and other wildlife....
Sydney – Welcome to Australia
Australia stands in the world’s lost corner, an immense island where everything is bigger and more dramatic than elsewhere with mountains, a desert that covers a continent, rainforest and reefs, beaches and beautiful cities on the edge of the world. Regardless of where you fly from, reaching Australia requires a long journey. And even when you touch down in a bustling city, you can sense the promise of the wild. You are chauffeured to a stylish five-star hotel in Darling Harbour and the day is at your leisure. You can find many excellent restaurants and bars within walking distance, along with a cluster of sights in the heart of the city. You will find yourself in Sydney’s most illustrious neighborhood, and it is all at your fingertips.
Sydney – The Harbor Bridge, Opera House, and Other Sydney Icons
Tentative steps will take you across the cold steel archway of Sydney’s icon. You can climb across the exposed frame, looking down at the blue of the Parramatta River. Forests and suburbs and beaches roll into the distance, while the towers of the city center reflect in the harbor below. Climbing Sydney Harbour Bridge is a famous introduction to Australia, and your experience is followed by another world icon, as you take in the elegant sails of Sydney Opera House. On a guided tour, you can go beneath the famous facade, where props stand in vast rooms of velvety seats. The rest of the day is at your leisure for a chance to explore the shops of the center, perhaps beaches like Bondi, or the suburbs where Sydney has its origins.
Sydney – Exploring the World Heritage Blue Mountains
A strange blue mist hangs over a eucalyptus forest, floating and fluttering like a magical carpet. Rugged sandstone peaks offer a backdrop, sculpted over millions of years, afforded mysterious Aboriginal tales. It only takes one viewpoint to realize why this landscape is known as the Blue Mountains. On a small group tour, you can visit many viewpoints, zigzagging off the beaten track to gaping valleys and gushing waterfalls, walking trails and the scent of marsupials. This World Heritage Site is the perfect day trip from Sydney, and you will return to the city by water on a river cruise for a relaxing way to conclude an adventurous day in the wilderness.
Cairns – Finding a Tropical Retreat in Australia’s Empty North
The landscapes dramatically change as you cross Australia and all of them stretch across a staggering scale to showcase a country where everything is massive. Flying to Cairns, you will skirt the edges of the Great Barrier Reef, cross thousands of miles of sugarcane plantations, and then touch down close the thick rainforest of the north. After a short airport transfer, the afternoon will be at your leisure in Cairns. There is an excellent boardwalk along the Pacific Ocean and an ambiance that is more like a village than a modern city. Rest and relax, before the next couple of days bring you closer to an intimate world that surrounds this gateway town in northeast Australia.
Cairns – Snorkeling and Helicoptering the Great Barrier Reef
Spend the day with the world’s greatest living thing as more than a thousand miles of individual reefs forms a barrier along Australia’s northeastern coast. Go snorkeling, and you can tell the reef is alive with so much vibrancy to the colors and so much diversity in both the reefs and the marine life. From this intimate angle, everything feels impossibly real. Soar above the Great Barrier Reef in a helicopter, and the scale of the spectacle seems surreal. It continues beyond the horizon in all directions, the reefs so luminous amongst the darkened color of the deep ocean. Your full-day Great Barrier Reef tour from Cairns visits one of the outlying reefs, away from the crowds, with excursions in a semi-submersible craft complementing the snorkeling.
Cairns – Authentic Aboriginal Encounters Including Making Your Own Art
Aboriginal culture is diverse and intriguing in a country of more than 1,000 tribes, each with their own territories and skills. While they all lived off the land, how they survived was relevant to their particular region. Today’s Aboriginal Dreaming tour starts with a showcase in how to hunt, as you wander barefoot across the beach with a spear, searching for rock crabs as well as tiny insects and grubs. It will all be boiled up for lunch and is just the start of your immersion in the culture. Learn how to smoke an insect for a snack, lick a particular bug to relieve a cold, make natural soap by rubbing leaves together, and which trees and plants are used for building shelter.
There is an authenticity to your ancestral-led experiences, which you must then tell through a typical Aboriginal painting. Using a bamboo stick and only three earthen colors, a local artist shows you the secrets, how every painting is not just art but a story of what’s gone before. This is a full-day tour and one of the best ways of delving deeper into a very misunderstood culture, from wandering through the bush to hunting for your lunch and connecting with the locals that continue ancient practices.
Uluru – The Color Changes of the Great Rock in the Desert
Uluru does not make sense in photos as there is no scale and no way of understanding the enormity of the monolith. On your direct flight from Cairns, you can glimpse its size while on the transfer to your hotel, you will be led by its allure and feel its seductive pull. On your small-group tour, you will begin to understand the spirituality and how it holds a mystique as ineffable as its size. Listen to the Aboriginal stories, and then find a hidden vantage point to watch the sunset. Uluru glows through the colors, luminous red to ochre to flaming orange and then the blackness of night. Within moments of sunset, the Milky May shines. After dinner, you will be guided by an astronomer for a deeper insight into the stars above as Uluru is hundreds of miles from any town and thousands of miles from a city, offering one of the world’s greatest dark night experiences.
Uluru to Melbourne – Kata Tjuta at Sunrise and the Melbourne Riverfront
Uluru is not the only red rock in the middle of the desert as sporadic columns of sandstone rise just 50 miles from the monolith, a site that continues to be used as a sacred meeting point for Aboriginal cultures. Watch it emerge in the light of dawn as the towers move from black to maroon, and then to the bright red brought by the bright sun of the day. Only about 20% of the site is open to visitors, and you can feel the spirituality, particularly when you walk to small springs beneath the vertiginous cliffs. The solitude and serenity is inspiring, Kata Tjuta often providing a more profound memory than the main reason you ventured into the Australian outback, Uluru. Later in the morning, you will board a direct flight to Melbourne and enjoy a two-hour introductory tour of the city and admire how the crumbling colonial buildings stand next to glass-fronted skyscrapers. Start in the Victorian arcades, and then continue down to the Yarra River as buskers provide the soundtrack at Melbourne’s vibrant evening hangout.
Melbourne – Finding Koalas and Kangaroos in the Wild
Two koalas cling to the trees, wrapped around the eucalyptus trunks and open their eyes at an almost painfully slow pace. Walk a little further, and you can spot another, closer to the ground, crawling up and down with such unhurried speed. Turning their heads, they return your gaze, eyes alive with a glimmer of curiosity that lingers on in your memory and sometimes your photos. On the second half of today’s tour, you can wander onto open fields as kangaroos bounce in large mobs. Move quickly, and they run away, but tiptoe and it will be possible to get very close. Females leave their scent for two big males to compete over and follow as newborns are cradled in small pouches, and two males start to box and kick for control. These iconic marsupials will complete your Australian experience, and it is nothing like being in a zoo or wildlife sanctuary as these are wild animals yet there is a real intimacy.
Papeete via Auckland – Full Day Travel to French Polynesia
Tahiti is roughly halfway between Melbourne and Los Angeles, so it will be a full day of travel with a change of planes in Auckland. Touch down, and you will spend the night at a four-star hotel very close to the airport. This, being Tahiti, does not mean that you are in an urban setting. It will be possible to take off your shoes and wander onto the beach from your suite with the sand illuminated by moon light.
Bora Bora – The White Sand Awaits
You will hop on another flight this morning, but it will be well worth your hour to fly between Papeete on Tahiti and the isolated island of Bora Bora. Your five-star hotel is hidden on the eastern side of the island, only accessible by boat from the airport. Check in and remove your shoes, feeling the cooling white sand beneath your toes as the adventure of the previous 11 days slip away, replaced by an equally welcome atmosphere, that of an island without the need for marking time. Perched on wooden stilts above a sapphire lagoon, your spacious villa offers a place of solitude and serenity.
Through the glass-to-ceiling window, there will be an uninterrupted vista over the lagoon towards the looming volcanic peak of Mount Otemanu. When you wander outside, this same inspiring view is available from your private plunge pool and shaded deck. To reach the beach you can swim 50 meters across the lagoon, or you can walk along the raised decking that separates your villa from the rest of the resort. Bora Bora offers a completely different type of vacation from Australia, and after you check in it is easier to spend the next days doing absolutely nothing, other than soaking up the glamour and romance of this volcanic island in the Pacific.
Bora Bora – Complete Tranquility and Endless Views of Mount Otemanu
Look out to Mount Otemanu as forests cling to its near vertical slopes. Colors of the Tropics meet on the lagoon below bringing surreal tones of blue and green that are difficult to capture on camera. The surf laps gently onto the shore, usually the only sound you hear during the day and night. A sprinkling of salt arrives on the breeze, mingling with scents of fresh coffee or cocktails that are delivered to your villa. Hours slip by, and whole days can slip by easily with nothing keeping you company but the massif of Mount Otemanu and perhaps a good book.
Bora Bora – Sailing the South Pacific Archipelago to Uninhabited Beaches
Spend the day away from the resort as a private yacht sweeps you off into the South Pacific. Wind power leads you to majestic beaches on uninhabited parts of the islands, with strips of sand that go days without seeing people. Sometimes you will drop anchor and swim in an exotic lagoon, and there the marine life will keep you company. Or you can snorkel the reefs, with various species of rays providing a poignant memory. This day tour will take you all around the island with your captain able to stop at anywhere you like the look of. For most, that means the deserted lagoons and beaches, but others may want to visit local villages on the island. Lunch is included, freshly caught seafood barbecued on the beach.
Day 14 - 15
Bora Bora – Completing the Tropical Island Getaway With Various Included Activities
Kayak across the lagoon and paddle towards deserted beaches that are back-dropped by swaying palms, or paddle away on a stand-up paddle board, moving around the island to places that rarely ever see visitors. Extending from the resort, there is a variety of hiking trails and opportunities to travel beneath the forest canopy. Mountain bikes are also included in your stay, and the trails can take you to other sides of the island, perhaps even to a traditional village. Sailing can be part of your day, maybe a sunset cruise across the lagoon or something more adventurous. All of these activities are included in your stay, and on each day in Bora Bora, you can customize the program to your interests. Of course, the main reason for being here rings true every day of the year as you can also just lie back and appreciate the classical feeling of escapism provided by one of the world’s greatest tropical islands.
Bora Bora – Departure
After a relaxed morning, you will take a boat transfer back to the center of the island and board a flight to Papeete to meet your international departure.
- Immerse yourself in the grandeur of Sydney, including climbing Sydney Harbour Bridge, cruising along the Parramatta River, and escaping into the World Heritage Blue Mountains
- Snorkel the Great Barrier Reef and then helicopter above it, admiring both the intricate details and the inspiring scale
- Visit the world’s great monolith and spend the whole afternoon with Uluru, watching its red facade change hue as the sun crosses the sky
- Explore Aboriginal culture, as told by those that continue ancestral practices including an artist and a spear fisher in Daintree
- Admire the art and architecture of Melbourne, a city that is perfect for exploring at leisure
- Search for wild kangaroos and koalas, moving quietly to enjoy a wonderful proximity to the marsupials
- Remove your shoes and delight in the barefooted escapism of Bora Bora with nearly a week on this remote island paradise
- Sail the waters of the South Pacific, spending a day cruising to uninhabited white sand beaches
- Customize your getaway on Bora Bora with many activities to select from as you peel yourself away from the sand for hiking, kayaking, snorkeling and a tour to Mount Otemanu
It is always a challenge to choose a vacation destination as nearly everything is possible. You can opt for culture, city, cuisine, the island getaway or the iconic country that seems so far away from everything else, but this handcrafted luxury tour is a combination of two very different vacations to offer it all. After days packed with adventures around Australia’s iconic sights, you will then experience the tranquility of doing nothing on a tropical Pacific island. A mesmerizing menu of experiences fills the first part of the tour, from famous landscapes like Uluru and the Great Barrier Reef to the unmissable cities and authentic encounters with Aboriginal culture. You can do and see a lot as you hop between the four destinations on this giant island of the Pacific. When you are done exploring, fly across the ocean blue to a tiny volcanic island, where the best thing to do is lie back and soak up the serenity.
Touch down first in Sydney, climbing the Harbour Bridge an excellent introduction to the cityscape. Check out Sydney Opera House, take a cruise on the Parramatta River, spend a day amongst the strange scenery of the Blue Mountains, and then fly north to Cairns. This is your gateway to the Great Barrier Reef as you combine snorkeling and a helicopter flight to experience the natural wonder from complementary angles. Spend a day following ancestral Aboriginal practices, and then fly to the sacred rock of Uluru, a monolith as spiritual as it is beautiful. Nearby, the pinnacles of Kata Tjuta reveal that Uluru is not just one giant red rock in the desert. A couple of nights in Melbourne will bring your Australian leg to a close, as wild koalas and kangaroos are amongst those that enchant in Australia’s south.
It will then be a full day of travel to Tahiti with a change of planes in Auckland before soaring out into the heart of the Pacific Ocean. The next morning, a short flight will bring you to the even more remote island of Bora Bora. Bora Bora is an island of pleasure, where what could be done today can be put off until tomorrow. Tropical colors swirl with the turquoises and sapphires and the shimmering whiteness of the sand. Your suite stands over a lagoon, accessed only by a bamboo walkway and for the best part of a week, you can indulge in simple pleasures as you soak up the equanimity and enchantment of one of the world’s great island escapes. Various activities are included in your package, but you do not have to do anything. When you can forget about time, these days will provide a balance to the exploration that has gone before. Looking for the best Bora Bora travel ideas? Consider browsing our Bora Bora travel reviews page.
$4,395 per person (excluding international flights)
Your Zicasso trip is fully customizable, and this sample itinerary is a starting place for your travel plans. Actual costs are dynamic, and your selection of accommodations and activities, your season of travel, and other such variables will bring this budget guideline up or down. Throughout your planning experience with your Zicasso specialist, your itinerary is designed around your budget. You can book your trip when you are satisfied with every detail. Planning your trip with a Zicasso travel specialist is a free service.
- In-country transportation
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Your final trip cost will vary based on your selected accommodations, activities, meals, and other trip elements that you opt to include.
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