Australia embodies luxury from the emerald-like rainforest draping northeast Queensland to the crowning jewel of New South Wales at the Sydney Opera House. Your custom-tailored luxury tour will immerse you in the charm and wonderment in highlighting the undeniable pleasures found in the confluence of cultures. Dive deep into the shallow waters of the Coral Sea to discover the iridescence of the Great Barrier Reef and then wander the walkways of Phillip Island to find waddling Little Penguins returning...
Melbourne – Land in Australia’s Cultural Capital
Melbourne is often referred to as Australia’s “Cultural Capital,” located on the banks of the Yarra River edging the entrance to Port Phillip Bay. The dynamic and cosmopolitan streets showcase the evolution of the city from its booming population in the 1850s Gold Rush to the multicultural street art that now drapes the walls of celebrated alleyways. Visitors and locals tour alike tour the city with just as much interest as visitors, always stopping to appreciate the central neighborhoods set between Fitzroy and St. Kilda. Your flight will land at Melbourne Airport where your private transfer will meet you upon your arrival.
Your hotel is situated in a spacious structure that brings a grand elegance to the atmosphere. You can see the House of Parliament from your window, a lavish 19th-century edifice decorated with graceful gold leaf, remarkable chandeliers, and a stunning mosaic floor. Your guide will meet you in your lobby ready to take you on an introductory tour of the expansive city. Locals refer to the end of Collins Street as the “Paris End,” due to tree-lined streets and marvelous buildings full of lavish displays in the boutique windows.
The Block Arcade connects Collins and Elizabeth Streets and was erected in the late 19th century. Glass ceilings allow light to pour over the mosaic floors as the aroma of rich melting chocolate emanates from the nearby chocolate cafe. Restaurants set out small tables to allow patrons to watch passersby as they sip their cappuccinos or afternoon teas. You will quickly find the luxury in Melbourne’s café scene, and the joy in watching the city move around you.
Melbourne – Enjoy a Wine and Wildlife Excursion to Phillip Island
In the morning, the sunlight will shine over the stained glass ceiling of the Great Hall inside the National Gallery of Victoria. When the museum opens for the day, it is common to see visitors lying on the floor to bask in the gorgeous light as it spreads across the gallery. The neighborhood of East Brunswick fills with the aroma of freshly brewed coffee drifting from the warehouse style cafes located inside the facades of the original historical structures. After breakfast, your private driver will whisk you across Port Phillip Bay to the Phillip Island.
Your scenic drive will highlight the skyline of Melbourne, including the soaring figure of the Eureka Tower, a 91-story high-rise crowned with gold-plated windows. The water splashes against the bordering rocks of Phillip Island and fills the air with the scent of fresh, briny sea. Sheep and cattle graze on the grassland with a large portion of the island protected as a conservation area to conserve the birdlife, including short-tailed shearwaters, Pacific gulls, and little penguins. Fur seals lounge in the sun on the smooth boulders of the coast.
Killer and humpback whales often pass the island during migration season. You will make your way to the Nobbies, a series of boardwalks that traverse the headland and stretch for nearly a mile. The southern coast has a rugged topography with waves crashing against the rocks as the indigo water fills a blowhole on the rocky promontory and erupts like lava from a volcano. You will soon find little penguins, known for the small stature and blue plumage, resting on the grassy shoreline before returning to the water to hunt.
Uluru – Australia’s Famous Red Center
In the morning, the more than 600 shops of Victoria Market will open their doors to the city. The shopping center remains the largest open-air market in the southern hemisphere, offering locals fresh produce, a deli hall with art deco character, the aroma of frying Polish sausages amidst fragrant truffle oil, and freshly caught fish sold by the very people who spent their morning at sea in search of the perfect catch. After breakfast, your private transfer will meet you at your hotel and escort you to Melbourne Airport for your flight to Ayers Rock.
The distinctive characteristics of Australia’s Red Center will be visible from your plane with the rusty-red sand caused from oxidization glowing against the powder blue sky. Dry desert brush decorates the red hues with occasional boulders that rise out of the otherwise empty landscape. Your flight will land at Ayers Rock Airport where your private transfer will escort you to a luxurious resort in view of the unique monolith of Uluru. As the sun sets over the desert, the light hits the rock to change the colors of the monolith from bright red to glowing orange.
Uluru – Find Culture and Grandeur at Uluru Kata-Tjuta National Park
In the morning, the sunlight will spread back over the monolith, streaking a flamboyant orange over the rocks and sand before the landscape turns red. At breakfast, the aroma of sweet jams will accompany the scent of your rich coffee. You will meet your guide in your hotel lobby and set out on a journey through the culture of Uluru Kata-Tjuta National Park, home to the Anangu Aboriginal tribe, one of the oldest living cultures on earth. Your guide will lead you around the base of Uluru and one up close, you can see the true magnitude of the nearly 1,000-foot high monolith. Crevices and hidden caves continue to preserve the Anangu culture, housing ceremonies, and rituals off limits to those outside of the tribe.
Your guide will point out the rock art that adorns a small indentation of the monolith and share the importance of the symbols. The concentric circles mean a waterhole or camping place with the horseshoe shape beside the outer circle representing a person. The formation of the monolith began more than 550 million years ago, and the great sea once filling the region receded around 400 million years ago. Throughout the region, onions and raisins grow wild, along with honey ants and native fig. You will make your way to the still reflective waters of the Mutitjulu Waterhole to hear the story of the ancestral watersnake that called the perpetual wetland his home.
Daintree – Fly to Cairns and Transfer to a Resort in Daintree Rainforest
In the morning, the sunlight will shine across the Anangu land. The elevated space offers a perfect viewpoint to see the shifting colors of the domes of Kata Tjuta and the monolith of Uluru before the aroma of the sunbaked earth fills the air. After breakfast, your private transfer will escort you to the airport where you will board your flight to the tropical northeast. The rusty hues of the Red Center shift to the emerald greenery of the trees that drape over the Great Dividing Range, one of the largest continuous land-dwelling mountain ranges in the world.
Your flight will arrive in Cairns Airport where your private transfer will greet you. Make your way north into the dense tropical landscape of Daintree Rainforest to find your luxurious eco-friendly resort on the banks of the Mossman Gorge River. From your private terrace, you can hear the water rushing along the reeds and dangling vines as double-eyed fig parrots perch on the tree branches over the river and twitter against the background noise of the trickling water. You will easily settle into the luxuries of your resort located in the oldest continuous living rainforest in the world.
Daintree – Relish a Half-Day Guided Tour with Remaining Day at Leisure
The tales of the Kuku Yalanji people explain the creation of the world, from the desert plains to the glistening treetops. The forest banks near the edge of the resort beneath the cacophonous call of the Southern Cassowary. The bird can grow to more than six feet tall with an iridescent blue neck and powder blue face-framing the black bill, resembling a dinosaur more than a tropical, flightless bird. After breakfast, you will meet your guide and set out into the wilds of the jungle terrain under the direction of a local naturalist to explore it all. Walk along the Marrdja Botanical Boardwalk to find the native plants used in the Kuku Yalanji medicines, a practice continued in contemporary times.
The scents of fern and eucalyptus blend with the aroma of Idiot Fruit, a plant that contains a primitive flower that dates back 110 million years as the large trees produce the brown, poisonous fruit. King Ferns grow upwards of 16 feet tall and these stinging trees have heart-shaped leaves that can cause a long lasting tingle. Your guide will explain which plants to stay away from and which plants the Kuku Yalanji gravitate towards, each rich with meaning and tradition. As you journey through, an Australian brush turkey will linger in the underbrush grazing on the seedlings as a small silvereye, known for the unique plumage around their black eye, chomps on the nuts in the canopy. Your guide will explain how the rainforest gradually reveals itself in the tranquility of the cool mornings and afternoon.
Lizard Island – Savor the Scenic Kuranda Skyrail and Fly to Lizard Island
The famous and infamous crocodiles of the Queensland tropical rainforest bask in the morning light around Cape Tribulation. Their gray and brown scales blend into the soil beneath the tall grasses and trees as a kingfisher stands on the muddy banks of the wetlands eyeing a resting crocodile. The rare blue-winged kookaburra calls into the morning light with twittering laughter. Your private transfer will meet you in your hotel lobby after breakfast and escort you to Cairns, where you will board the scenic Kuranda Skyrail for an unparalleled view of the rainforest canopy, floodplains, and indigo colored shoreline. Enjoy a visit to the jungle town of Kuranda before heading to the airport for your scenic flight to Lizard Island.
The conservation area contains an eco-friendly resort that works to sustain the stunning island landscape, the endangered wildlife, and the surrounding reef system. During your flight, your pilot will point out the dark patches of water that are actually coral reefs connected to the Great Barrier Reef. The entire reef system encompasses 133,000 square miles off the Australian coastline, and you will begin your descent onto Lizard Island to find powdery white beaches encircling the nearly 2,500 acres of landscape. The reef fringing the beaches reach a depth of 328 feet at the Blue Lagoon and your resort provides a breathtaking view of the indigo water lapping at the shore. For dinner, your private chef will emphasize the succulence of the local seafood and the lushness of the tropical fruit.
Lizard Island – Explore the Stunning Coral Reef Systems at your Leisure
In the morning, the sunlight washes over the indigo colors of the water and heats the white sand of the shoreline. You can dig your toes into the beach, with the powdery consistency of the sand clinging to your ankles. The water splashes around your feet with refreshing coolness in contrast to the sand’s warmth. At breakfast, the aroma of mangoes and pineapple overtake the scent of blossoming wildflowers, and as you finish your meal, you will meet your skipper to board your catamaran to visit the coral gardens of the celebrated Outer Reef, one of the many systems connected to the Great Barrier Reef.
Your boat will take you to the ribbon reefs that form a broken barrier along the continental shelf for a view of the breakwater. Beyond the barrier, the ocean shines deep cobalt while closer to Lizard Island, the water begins to glow translucent indigo. The catamaran weighs anchor, and you can jump into the water and let the warmth wrap around your skin. In an Australian winter, the water cools to 70 degrees Fahrenheit so year-round, you can put on your mask, position your snorkel, and glide over the surface water in view of the vibrant colors that ascend out of the seafloor.
Hard coral resembling popcorn, known as porites, forms puffs beside brain coral, known for the outlying ridges that resemble the human brain. Favia coral glows green and purple with rounded pores as colorful pavona twists like a cactus. Sinularia soft coral resembles a multi-layered tree rustling in the breeze beside the waving, dusk-colored, latticework of a gorgonia ventalina sea fan. In the distance, you may spot a green sea turtle gliding through the water.
Lizard Island – Delight in Activities and Relaxation at your Preferred Pace
In the morning, the enticing sweet aroma of lychee blends with the fragrant sea. Sailboats weigh anchor from the dock and set out onto the sea, catching the breeze and cruising around the reefs. At breakfast, you will savor your rich cappuccino and enjoy the lingering aromas of the mangrove trees and grasslands that decorate the island landscape. After breakfast, the day is yours to indulge in the splendor in and around Lizard Island. Return to the Great Barrier Reef for a continued look at the wondrous subaquatic ecosystem or indulge in the pleasures of a private spa treatment at your resort. You could also step out onto the trails of the island to wander along the manicured grass and sandy soils.
Acacia trees grow in the rich silica landscape as flying foxes rest in the trees, looking for shelter against the sun’s heat. Monitor lizards absorb the heat, enjoying the sunlight by basking on a hot rock as their gray and yellow scales stand out from the smoothed boulder. You will follow the trail upwards to Cooks Look, a lookout point following in the steps of Sir Captain Cook who charted the island in the 18th century. The sea breeze will sweep across the promontory so can see the maze of the reef surrounding the island and extending into the horizon.
Sydney – Fly to the Bustling Cosmopolitan Districts of Sydney
The sunlight will spread across the eastern waters of the Coral Sea, a branch of the Pacific Ocean as the indigo sheen of the waters reach the horizon. The aroma of eucalyptus blossoms emanates from the forest around the island as the iridescent plumage of yellow-bellied sunbirds stands out against the lush grasses. The beauty of the Great Barrier Reef and the white sands of Lizard Island have enchanted you, blending perfectly with the eco-friendly luxury of your resort.
After breakfast, you will take your private transfer to the airstrip for a scenic flight to Cairns to board your connecting flight at Cairns Airport to reach the jewel of New South Wales, the city of Sydney. Your flight will arrive, and your private transfer will collect you at baggage claim. Sandstone cliffs, rugged boulders, popular cafes, and turquoise water decorate the edges of the Bondi to Coogee Coastal Walk, and you will take time to enjoy it all. Eager swimmers venture to the pools at the Bondi Baths, located at the Icebergs where the more than 160-foot long Olympic pool overlooks the crashing waves of the Pacific at Bondi Beach. Your luxurious hotel puts you at the heart of the bustling cityscape and in view of the graceful sails that rise along the rooftop of the Sydney Opera House.
Sydney – Enjoy a Half-Day City Exploration and Private Opera House Tour
Wake in the morning as sailboats weigh anchor in the marina and set out along Sydney Harbour as their sails catch the breeze, imitating the grace and grandeur of the iconic opera house. Tranquil waterfalls cascade like beaded veils into glittering pools inside the serene Chinese Garden of Friendship. The 19th-century architecture of Queen Victoria Building features lavish boutique shops that overlook the sweeping mosaic floors set beneath the natural light of the adorning glass domes. After breakfast, you will meet your guide in your hotel lobby to begin your tour of Sydney’s captivating cityscape, from the Royal Botanic Gardens to George Street, the oldest avenue in the city.
The day will continue along the brick esplanade that frames the celebrated Sydney Opera House. Turquoise water surrounds the structure on three sides with the green trees and colorful blossoming flowers of the Royal Botanic Garden touching the fourth edge of the Opera House’s borders. Large windows and glass doors open to the foyers, allowing visitors to relish the view of the water and passing boats. Your guide will take you into the Concert Hall as organ pipes adorn the far wall beneath the decorative recesses in the ceiling. The arching design accounts for the stunning acoustic, allowing a whisper from the stage to carry through the gallery. You cannot help but think of a decorative clamshell while exploring the embellishments of the interior, which keeps with the nautical theme of the overall design.
Sydney – Depart for Home
As the morning rises, you will drift to breakfast to find tropical fruit adorning the tables with the aroma of mango, pineapple, and rambutan blending deliciously together. The scent of macaroons emanates from a patisserie on the cobblestone walkway of the Rocks, the oldest district in Australia as cafes in the neighborhood of Glebe open their doors and set out small tables and chairs along the sidewalk for patrons to enjoy the view of passersby. After one last leisurely morning, your private transfer will meet you at your hotel and escort you to Sydney Airport for your flight home. As your plane ascends, you enjoy the view of the shimmering metal arch of Sydney Harbour Bridge, a majestic gateway to and from the city, fading beneath the clouds as your begin your journey home.
- Dive into the luxuries of a secluded island resort in proximity to the Great Barrier Reef, allowing you to explore the waters and coral as you desire
- Traverse the flora of Daintree Rainforest with a guide for a cultural and naturalistic tour that expounds on the region’s ecological and spiritual importance
- Witness the stunning changing colors of Uluru at sunrise and sunset in the heart of Australia’s Red Center
- Search for vibrant avifauna during your exploration of Daintree and Cape Tribulation, coming in contact with the elusive Cassowary
- Relish northeast Queensland during a scenic gondola ride into the jungle with a 360-degree view of the undulating landscape spreading to the sea
- Traverse the coastline, woodlands, and grasslands of Phillip Island in search of captivating wildlife, from fur seals to Little Penguins
- Learn the tales of Dreamtime during a trek through Uluru Kata-Tjuta National Park after discovering an ancient waterhole hidden by boulders
- Delight in the golden sand of Bondi Beach and the opulent décor of the Sydney Opera House during your private tour of Sydney’s iconic sites
Luxurious discovery defines Australia, making each minute of your 12-day tour an unforgettable experience shaped by architectural marvels, inspiring landscapes, welcoming locals, and vibrant aquatic worlds. Your tour begins with your arrival in Melbourne, the Cultural Capital of Australia. Your private transfer will meet you at the airport and escort you to the comforts of your centrally located hotel. Meet your guide in the lobby for a private introductory tour of the city, bringing you to the banks of the Yarra River and the trendy neighborhoods of Fitzroy and St. Kilda. Wake the next morning and cross the bridge that connects mainland Australia to Phillip Island for a full day of exploration. Visit the small towns and farms at the heart of the island before taking in the rugged coastline in search of fur seals, little penguins, and naturally shaped artistic boulders.
The next day you will take a private transfer to Melbourne Airport to board your flight to Ayers Rock, located in the Red Center. The open sky and red soil overtake the desert landscape as you make your way to a secluded resort that offers a pristine view of the famous, spiritual monolith of Uluru from which you can watch the sunset change the colors of the rocky surface. Continue the next morning for a full day excursion to Uluru Kata-Tjuta National Park, taking a base walk around the monolith before visiting the colorful domes of the Olgas. Find cave art and waterholes before visiting the nearby sand dunes, and then enjoy an elegant dinner under the stars while listening to the hypnotic sounds of the didgeridoo.
The next day, you will fly to Cairns, located in northeast Queensland. Your private transfer will lead you north to a stunning eco-friendly property located in the Daintree Rainforest. Trails around the property take you to the riverbanks and offer insight into the local birdlife. Discover the treasures Daintree Rainforest and Cape Tribulation the following day with a half-day tour guided by a naturalist. In the afternoon, you can relax on the resort property or take a canoeing excursion down the river. Venture next to the Kuranda Skyrail for a magnificent ride above the trees and into the mountains. Stroll around the laidback town of Kuranda and visit Australia Butterfly Sanctuary before reaching the Cairns airport for your scenic flight to Lizard Island. A private transfer will collect you at the airstrip and lead you to the wonders of the secluded island resort.
The next two days are yours to enjoy island life as you prefer. Walk along the trails to reach the highest peak on the island or kayak along the pristine waters that surround the shoreline. Take a full day cruise to various dive and snorkeling sites around the Great Barrier Reef, or learn to sail on a half-day sailboat excursion. The next day, your scenic flight will bring you back to Cairns with plenty of time to board your connecting flight to Sydney. After an easy ride to your centrally located hotel in view of the Sydney Opera House, you will have the remainder of the day to enjoy the vibrant neighborhoods of the city.
Meet your guide the next morning in the lobby to begin your immersive half-day tour of Sydney, bringing you to the Royal Botanical Gardens and the Rocks, along with Bondi Beach. Your exploration of the city continues with a private tour of the opulence in and around the Sydney Opera House. The remainder of the day is at your leisure to visit the enticing city. Partake in a surf lesson or stroll along the beautiful Bondi to Coogee Coastal Walk. Conclude as your private transfer will meet you in the lobby of your hotel and escort you to Sydney Airport for your flight home.
$9,595 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
- Some or all activities and tours
- Expert trip planning
- 24x7 support during your trip
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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