Culture, Nature & Wine Tour of Australia

A More than 18 day trip to Australia 
4
4 out of 5 stars
1 reviews

The stunning rust red of the desert fades to the opulent blue of the East Coast. The dense green of the valley’s trees absorb the ocean and fill the canyon below. Open the door and smell the decadent meal that awaits you. Filled with culture, majestic scenery, and delicious food, this is not a dream; this is Australia in a grand fashion.

Customize This Trip For Me
Most tours are customized for private travel.

General Information

Photos
close detail of people on the top of sydney opera house
australia group of aboriginal men and didgeridoos
australia people on beach watching penguins at sunset ocean
Uluru (or Ayers Rock) in the Australian Outback.
Flinders Street Station on a busy day.
bow of ship near to the great barrier reef australia
a group of kangaroos in the hunter valley on a misty day
aerial view of the sydney opera house on a sunny day
people walk through hyde park on a warm day in sydney
view of the red rocks in kata tjuta alice springs
the sculpture in cairns lagoon at sunset
Detailed Itinerary

Places Visited 

Sydney, Hunter Valley, Melbourne, Phillip Island, Alice Springs, Uluru (Ayers Rock), Cairns, Great Barrier Reef, Kuranda

Departure Dates 

Dates are flexible and customizable for private departures.

Detailed Itinerary 

Day 1 – The Adventure Begins

Depart for Sydney, Australia where the vast expanse of Australia’s natural life waits for you.

Day 2 – A Change in Time

Cross the International Dateline sending you a full day forward. You are one step closer to the beauty of the sea and the awe of the desert.

Day 3 – Adventurous Sydney

Arrive in Sydney in the morning, light glistening on the waterfront. Transfer to the luxuries of the Rydges Jamison, with incredible views of downtown Sydney and rooms full of homey comfort. Take the day to absorb the city, first with a coffee cruise. The cruise will take you through Sydney Harbour, the arches of the bridge high above you, the comforts of coffee and the smell of the ocean stirring your senses. The Sydney Opera House sits in the harbor like a pearl, the structure’s roof raising itself into the sky like sails, ready to weigh anchor.

To end your first night in Sydney, experience a revolving restaurant on the 47th floor. With an incredible 360-degree view of downtown, the twice-cooked crispy skin pork belly with a sweet apple vanilla marmalade is almost enough reason to visit Sydney, and it is still your first day.

What’s Included: Accommodation, Tour

Day 4 – Darling, Sydney

A tour of the city on land will take you up close to the Opera House. The esplanade leads you right to the water’s edge, the brick of the walkway blending into the brick of the building. Darling Harbor is full of lively street performers juggling bowling pins on stilts or posing like statues—still for hours at a time. The smell of popcorn and seawater fills the harbor. Families and couples stroll along the walkway and through the impeccably pruned Chinese Gardens. Chinese Wisteria dangle over walkways and spill a rainbow of color from the sky.

Make your way over to Glebe, one of the many Sydney neighborhoods close to the University of Sydney, with the picturesque Victoria Park encircling the Sydney University’s campus. Glebe is known for its cafes, bookstores, and unique boutique shops. Bohemian artists mix with students on the crowded sidewalks and busy cafes. Sappho Books is a combination of café, wine bar, and secondhand bookstore combining ambiance, relaxation, and peace of mind in one spot. The aroma of fresh roasted coffee drifts through the bookshelves and almost coats the pages of the books.

What’s Included: Accommodation, Tour

Day 5 – Surrounding Sydney

The Southern Badlands are Sydney’s best-kept secret. They are little towns to the south that have kept their quaint appeal and exuberant locals. Mittagong is the gateway to the Southern Badlands. The most historic town in the area, Mittagong is also home to the gorgeous Waratah flower that blossoms in November. The Waratah is practically a ball of neon pink that looks as though the petals were knitted together while the flower bloomed and filled the air with the scent of jasmine.  

Moss Vale is known for its tree-lined streets and rural cultivation of sheep, goats, cattle, and horses. The antique shops decorate the main street, and the farms surround the town, with access to incredibly delicious fresh meats and cheeses. Bowral is nestled in the shadow of Mount Gibraltar and famous for its Tulip Festival in the spring. With influences ranging from Belgian, French, and New England, the architecture and culture of Bowral is eclectic, the streets filled with antique shops, cafes, and, in season, a kaleidoscopic of tulips. Bowral is a wonderful place to relax among the flowers and watch the locals stroll down the exuberant architecture of Main Street.

What’s Included: Accommodation, Tour

Day 6 – Dive in with Dolphins

Journey to Jervis Bay where the water is three shades of blue until pushing against the darkness of the rocks. Full of little lagoons and a large, active blowhole, the bay is full of breathtaking views, including ancient sea caves and natural seal colonies. Gaze at cliffs that tower over 300 feet vertically out of the bay. Dolphins dive along side the rumble of the boat. Flying fish jump in the distance. Take the plunge into the cool water and snorkel to the white sand beaches that line the bay.

To complete your day, dine at Rockpool Bar and Grill. Housed inside Australia’s finest Art Deco building, the 1936 City Mutual Building, the restaurant is considered vintage with a stunning modern menu. Try the spaghetti with Tassie sweet clams, a dish both tender and briny to end the day’s adventure.

What’s Included: Accommodation, Tour

Day 7 – Australian Vines

Hunter Valley is one of Australia’s best-known wine regions. The large, plush mountains surround the vibrant region with vines stretching across the valley to the foothills of the Brokenback range. One of the first wine regions in Australia, Hunter Valley is known for its Shiraz, Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon and Verdelho. The valley smells of soft earth and drying leaves, with wafts of succulent meats coming from the decadent restaurants in the area.

If white wine is your preference, try the wineries in Upper Hunter, with wines containing more oak and notes of green apple. For fans of red wine, try Broke Fordwich, with wines that tend to have more subtle dark fruits, like plum and cherry. Emma’s of Lovedale flambés Crepe Suzette tableside. Enjoy the tart flavor of tangerine and orange juice, the decadence of butter and caramelized sugar, combined with orange Curacao liqueur.

What’s Included: Accommodation, Transfer

Day 8 – Continue the Journey

Fly from Sydney to Melbourne, the cultural capital of Australia, and ready yourself for more exploration and adventure. Check-in to the Saville on Russell, an incredible hotel with a pristine indoor pool and a beautiful view of downtown Melbourne. Close to the hotel is Federation Square. The square is paved with colorful, unsystematic brick.  Three shards frame the space; the eastern and southern shards are clad in metallic while the western shard is a shattered glass mosaic. The square holds the Zinc event center, the National Gallery of Victoria, and the Australian Center for Moving Image (ACMI). The ACMI contains memorabilia from not only Australian cinema, but contributing Australian actors and actresses as well. Geoffrey Rush contributed a gold chest and sword from his work on Pirates of the Caribbean, and is seen visiting the ACMI often.   

What’s Included: Accommodation, Transfer

Day 9 – A New Exploration

Exploring Melbourne brings to life a collection of museums, cafes, boutique shops, and Australian culture. Melbourne is home to laneways winding unpredictably between the wide streets. It is easy to escape in these charming backstreets. Walking down Hardware Lane brings you face to face with Italian food, the smell of fresh pastries, and exuberant waiters waving you eagerly into their restaurants. For a traditional cultural tour, visit the Como House. A Victorian-era mansion that is now a museum, the Como House offers visitors a taste of Australian’s historical high society, with an opulent coat of white paint, and a large, polished, circular fountain in the center of the manicured garden. The inside is decorated in the traditional furnishings of the 19th century elite, and continues to be in immaculate condition.

End the day at the famous Colonial Tramcar Restaurant, located inside one of Melbourne’s active tramcars. Drift through the city in the excitement of dinner and exploration. The smoked salmon and avocado starter combine the full flavor of Tasmanian salmon with the creaminess of avocado. Eat in comfort and luxury as the car takes you around Melbourne in delicious style.

What’s Included: Accommodation

Day 10 – Journey to the Dandenong

Take a ride on the Puffing Billy, the world’s oldest surviving steam locomotive, to the Dadenong Ranges. Sit in a luxurious first-class carriage including lunch. The train winds through the beautiful, dense forest, over antiquated looking tracks that have been completely refurbished. The Dandenong is full of ash trees with a canopy allowing slivers of light to shine on the forest floor. The fern gullies are aromatic. The George Tindale Memorial Garden offers new wonders with each season, countless flowers in spring; the vibrant, collective ball of hydrangeas in summer; a canopy of gold, red, and orange in fall. Even winter offers the blossomed cups of Lenten Rose. The William Ricketts Sanctuary has a natural beauty along with mystical sculptures half hidden among the ferns. Throughout the forest clay sculptures merge with the surrounding nature that form the features of Aboriginal men merging with nature.

 On return to Melbourne, end the day at Cutler and Co., an incredible restaurant using local Australian ingredients like mussels, and crayfish. The spiced crusted bass grouper has a delicate zest and comes with the nicely briny local mussels.    

What’s Included: Accommodation, Tour, Lunch

Day 11– Join the Penguin Parade

Australia is flush with wildlife roaming through the uninhabited desert, or just outside of the bustling cities, relaxing on the shore.  Phillip Island is known for its eco-tourism and accessibility to nature viewing. A quick ride from Melbourne will have you with-in arm’s reach of penguins waddling around the island’s shore. The boardwalk winds through the penguin colony to the beach with spectacular views of the penguins in their natural habitat, including burrows, filled with resting penguins throughout the day. From the cliff-top boardwalk you can see seals laying in a pile, sunbathing on the rocks as whales breach the water and splash down during migration.

With the largest Greek community outside of Greece, don’t miss the chance to delight in the cuisine at Jim’s Greek Tavern. A truly Melbourne experience, a restaurant that lacks a menu but contains a knowledgeable staff and whatever dish you desire. If you aren’t sure what to order just ask your waiter.  

What’s Included: Accommodation, Tour

Day 12 – Journey to the (Red) Centre

Fly from Melbourne to Alice Springs located in the famous Red Centre of Australia. Transfer to the Crowne Plaza, an incredibly comfortable hotel with unobstructed views of the desert valley that surrounds “The Alice.” Wander around the Museum of Central Australia containing Australia’s unique natural and geological history. Don’t miss the Strehlow Research Centre, with its collection of film, records and museum objects that give some clue into secrets of Indigenous ceremonial life, including the legend of the Rainbow Serpent that created the Earth. At sunset, climb Anzac Hill, giving you a view of all of Alice Springs with MacDonnell Range in the distance and the colors of the sun melting from orange, to a deep red, and finally to dark blue.

What’s Included: Accommodation, Transfer

Day 13 – Wander Around “The Alice”

A morning tour of Alice Springs will have you learning about the incredible work of the School of the Air. Based near the Telegraph Station Historical Reserve, where the original telegraph system connected Australia to England in the late 19th century, you can now witness a virtual lesson. Originally created to teach children in remote areas, the school started with a focus on telecommunication and has been able to introduce technology, like wifi and video-chat, to its tools of connecting rural children to education.

It is a uniquely quiet drive to Standley Chasm as you make your way through a beautiful void of uninhabited desert that stretches far into the distance. Olive cycads surround the large red rocks that spire into the clear sky. A creek bubbles around the base of the chasm. Keep a watchful eye for dingoes and wallabies that live in the area. The cavern grows larger the closer you get, until you are engulfed by the shadow of its walls. The rock face is cool to the touch and echoes footsteps and conversations. The deeper you walk into the cavern, the larger the probability of seeing lizards resting on the red walls avoiding the hot sun.    

What’s Included: Accommodation, Tour

Day 14 – Deeper into the (Red) Centre

The early morning journey to Uluru is stunning with the desert red shining in the yellow glow of sunrise. The desert horizon seems to run endlessly. Camels, wild and domestic, can be seen wandering the sands of the vast area. Uluru creeps into the distance growing larger with every mile. The night brings you to The Lost Camel Hotel, funky and luxurious with desert colors brightening the halls. Uluru is proud and mysterious through the hotel windows. With the stars twinkling above the tables and your head, and Uluru ever-present in the distance, bask in the tales of your personal storyteller as you dine beneath the myths of the stars.

What’s Included: Accommodation, Transfer, Dinner

Day 15 – Waking Up to Uluru

An early rise will have you at the base of Uluru soaking in the monolith as it changes colors in the light. A guided walk will take you around the base of Uluru pointing out the holy (and very off-limits) crevices where local Aboriginals still hold rituals never seen by outsiders. Ancient drawings decorate caves. The air smells of soil. Dingoes creep through the brush. The air is still and silent with the legend of Dreamtime, creating the majesty of Uluru towering in front of you.

Opt for the tour of Kata Tjuta in the afternoon. Known as “The Olgas,” Kata Tjuta is known for its rounded, auburn colored domes formed through millions of years of erosion. Walk through the crevices of the domes and find trails and caverns that carve through the rocks. The Olgas are another area rich in Aboriginal importance, with art and oratory commemorating the land.

What’s Included: Accommodation, Tour

Day 16 – Desert to Sea

Traverse the desert once again as you make your way back to Alice Springs to transfer to Cairns, the best place to explore the Great Barrier Reef. Once in Cairns you can relax in your fantastic accommodation that overlooks the esplanade and the blue of the Coral Sea.

What’s Included: Accommodation, Transfers

Day 17 – Exploring the Reef

Climb on board a 93-foot catamaran to explore the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park. The locations to explore change often to keep the reef safe and the experience incredibly fresh. Whether viewing the bright orange and purple of the reef through  a glass bottom boat, or having a school of fish surround you as you dive deep down into the water, the vibrant life of the reef is unparalleled. The air smells fresh and salty. The lunch aboard the ship will have you full and ready to dive back into the water. Coral covers what feels like the entire ocean floor where fish live, feed, and gather. The water is warm and clear blue. The colorful anemones drift in the soft current. Turtles pump their fins like wings until they disappear among the coral islands. The journey back to shore is both a welcome rest and a sad return when the Coral Sea is so inviting.  

What’s Included: Accommodation, Tour, Lunch

Day 18 – Into the Jungle

A scenic train ride takes you across the mountains, through tropical rainforest and waterfalls, to the village of Kuranda.  Vibrant and exuberant birds fly past. Butterflies flutter through the trees. Koalas graze lazily in the canopy. The town is known for its crafts and lively markets, a great place to taste sweet local honey, and crunchy macadamias, or browse for lurid opals. The Aboriginal culture is alive and lively in Kuranda. Galleries showcase the heavy symbolized Aboriginal art known for majestic swirls of color that traditionally always had a meaning. Learn to play the deep humming tunes of the didgeridoo. The wooden instrument is heavy even resting partially on the ground. Its pulsing hum reverberates through your body and shakes your bone, often accompanied by the powerful beat of drums.

What’s Included: Accommodation

Day 19 – Let the Sun Shine

Enjoy a day of leisure and relaxation in the Cairns sun. Paradise Palms is an exquisite golf course winding through the lush jungle atmosphere. Whether it is lounging by the crisp water of the pool or playing a round of eighteen, Paradise Palms gives you the lap of luxury to relax in. Spend the remainder of the day exploring Cairns. Whether taking a leisurely stroll or sitting along the esplanade enjoying an afternoon drink, the saltwater lagoon is a joyous place to visit along the esplanade. The water laps along the shore. Birds chirp low in the sky. Flying fox rustle in the trees, the smell of the ocean in the breeze. For your last night in Australia try a local favorite, Dundee’s.  The restaurant sits on the waterfront and offers great local ingredients like Wild Baramundi with mango salsa. With a great selection of seafood and meats alike, Dundee’s gives you all the flavors of Australia that you’d want to remember, and that you wouldn’t want to say good-bye to.

What’s Included: Accommodation

Day 20 – A Different Adventure

After a brief transfer to the airport you will be board your flight and be on your way back home. The adventure of Australia may have ended, but it doesn’t mean that a different adventure isn’t waiting around the corner, especially if you have extended your trip around Oceana.

What’s Included:  Transfer

Price

Price 

Your custom trip package will include accommodations, transportation within the country, guided tours and activities, unique experiences, trip planning, and 24X7 support during your trip.

Please inquire for a custom trip quote based on your travel preferences and travel dates!