Sydney rises over the edges of the renewed antique harbor as the oldest and most spectacular city in Australia. The skyline in the Central Business District peaks with the fascinating Sydney Tower Eye. The Queen Victoria Building was erected in the late 19th century and reflects the gorgeous design of Victorian architecture accentuated by high-end boutique shops and galleries glowing with natural light. The aroma of fresh macarons emanates from a quiet cafe hidden amid the stained-glass windows and mosaic floors. Your flight lands at Sydney Airport, where your private transfer greets you upon arrival.
The city embodies the beauty of international culture with handsome buildings decorating the grid of streets glinting in the seemingly endless coastal sunlight. Boats glide across the azure waters of the harbor in view of the captivating curves of the Sydney Opera House. You catch the soft aroma of frangipani growing in the Royal Botanic Garden. Shops and restaurants open in the converted 19th-century warehouses and factories along the walkways of the Rocks historic district. The city has a dazzling effect on newcomers by combining the fast-pace of a big city with the relaxed ambiance of a charming beach community, as well as the artistic aesthetic of a hidden Bohemian enclave.
At breakfast, you find an assortment of goodies filling the hotel dining room with the aromas of fresh pastries, sizzling slabs of bacon, and the captivating aroma of freshly brewed coffee. The meal revitalizes your senses before meeting your guide in the lobby. After enjoying the sweeping panorama of the city to find your bearings, you reach The Rocks and immediately see the mixture of preserved cultural heritage blending into the daily life of Sydneysiders.
The strip of land overlooks the harbor where Europeans first settled in Australia in 1788, representing the first establishment of the modern Sydney at the edge of the gorgeous natural harbor. The land originally belonged to the Gadigal Aboriginal nation overlooking the rocky coast of Sydney Cove. Convicts once pitched their tents on the grassy escarpment until the cottages gave the settlement a more permanent atmosphere. Cadman’s Cottage continues to stand after first being erected in 1816.
The winding, narrow cobbled lanes fill with the aromas of fresh bread and rich espresso fading beneath the briny scent of the sea breeze. Art galleries add a burst of color from Aboriginal and Australian artists against the pale sandstone facades. You continue to Bondi, one of Australia’s most famous beaches and the setting of the popular reality television series “Bondi Rescue.” The turquoise water rolls against the gold and white sand tucked into the sheltered cove. Surfers take to the waves breaking near the rocky coastline, and restaurants line the promenade battling the fragrant and refreshing sea breeze with hints of fish and chips.
Joggers, cyclists, and hikers follow the coastal walkway leading nearly four miles from along coastal cliff from Bondi Beach to Coogee. Sunbathers lather their skin with coconut oil and sunscreen as the sunlight highlights the relaxing beachside ambiance. Return to central Sydney and wander through the Garden of Sweeties, a playful light installation glowing with luminescent powder and renewable energy in the form of giant lollipops, striped candy canes, and other delicious sweets acting as a wonderland come to life.
The cafes around the artistic suburb of Newtown attract the local crowds with promises of fresh coffee, steeping tea, and the aromas of fresh pastries spilling onto the streets. Your guide greets you after breakfast ready to escort you to the most recognizable icon of the city, the famous Sydney Opera House. The brick esplanade wraps around the architectural gem first opened in its current form in the 1970s. The architect fashioned the quintessential image of the shelled-roof to resemble the forms movement of clouds and the bending leaves of palm trees, in addition to the sails of the boats constantly gliding through the harbor.
The image changed the course of architectural design in Australia and becoming an Australian cultural institution, as well as an official UNESCO World Heritage site in 2007.The building encompasses nearly four and a half acres of land with a Concert Hall seating nearly 2,700 audience members. The Sydney Opera House Grand Organ consists of more than 10,200 pipes with a neo-baroque style, making it the largest tracker-action pipe organ in the world. The clam-shape of the concert hall provides cradles sound carrying whispers across the gallery.
It’s easy to imagine how the magnificent design hosts 1,500 performances a year, from the orchestra to cabarets, rock bands to circus routines. In the evening, you board a boat for an intimate tour of the harbor. The wind brushes against your cheeks, carrying light layers of salt from the water. You look back at the Sydney Opera House as it glows with fascinating colors swirling, twisting, and merging into geometric shapes. The entire city is radiant while celebrating the world’s largest light festival. The 10th anniversary of the festival brings to the forefront specific artists like Jonathan Zawada who transforms the sails of the opera house into a series of dynamic, moving digital sculptures inspired by the diverse environments of the continent. You have an unencumbered view of the outstanding artwork renewing the Sydney Opera House before your eyes.
The relaxed ambiance of Cronulla, a beachside suburb of Sydney, contrasts the fast-pace of the metropolis. Locals step out of their homes and into the water ready to carve waves or sip their morning coffee on the cool morning sand. The life of Sydney returns in the early hours of the day as galleries and boutique shops open their doors, and cafes welcome businesspeople grabbing flat-whites before work on George Street, Australia’s oldest street. The day is yours to enjoy the pleasures of Sydney at your preferred pace, from wandering through the blossoming flowers and shading fig trees of Hyde Park to strolling along the coastal cliffs connecting Bondi to Bronte.
Swimmers dive into the pool at the Bondi Icebergs, doing laps alongside the crashing waves of the Pacific and art lovers enter the 19th-century architecture housing the Art Gallery of New South Wales. For an unforgettable experience in the captivating city, you can participate in a Sydney BridgeClimb. The Sydney Harbour Bridge was completed in the 1930s connecting the Central Business District with the North Shore. Locals refer to the structure as the “Coathanger.” The bridge reaches 160 feet wide and 440 feet tall spanning the water level to the top of the arch. After a safety briefing and equipment check, you follow your professional guide onto the platforms crisscrossing the steel bridge.
Your guide points to the iconic views of the city, spreading from the reflective waters of the harbor to the towering cluster of the skyline. The breeze rustles your protective suit as you reach the summit nearly 450 feet above the sea. The city glows with light during the Vivid festival, including on the bridge which houses a multi-colored flashing dance floor reminiscent of a nightclub during the 1970s. The cityscape becomes a vibrant collage of lights during your semi-private panorama.
The animals at the Taronga Zoo are most active in the cool hours of the morning nestled into the northern edge of the harbor. Concerts fill the zoo with laughter and music during the warm summer nights, and people of all ages love waking up to the animated sounds of wildlife when sleeping at the zoo during a “Roar and Snore” overnight. After breakfast, the day is once again yours to indulge in the pleasures of the city by exploring the stunning scenery and welcoming culture at your preferred pace.
Walk around a section of remarkable sea cliffs known as The Gap in Watsons Bay or dip your toes into hot, white sand at Manly Beach. Relish the chance to travel into the wilderness of New South Wales at the Blue Mountains with a private luxury tour. The park contains more than 85 miles of hiking and heritage trails meandering through the pristine collection of rugged rock formations and eucalyptus forests. In the morning, a blue haze settles over the trees giving the region its name. Witness the marvel of the naturally shifting color nearly reflecting the movement of lights across Sydney during the nightly Vivid Festival celebrations.
The Three Sisters tower over the Jamison Valley at nearly 3,000 feet above sea level. The elements carved the striking sandstone pillars against the backdrop of dramatic the gorge walls. For a more active discovery of the region, you can follow the Katoomba Cascade Walk for an easy ascent trip into the forest and back with views to the sensational cascade of Katoomba Falls. The water trundles over the cliffs at 800 feet above sea level spanning three drops. The water drapes over the landscape dividing the lush trees of the surrounding forest. Instead of returning by car, you board the Parramatta River ferry for a different view of the scenery before arriving back at Circular Quay.
At breakfast, you reflect on your time wandering through the Hyperweb in the Royal Botanic Gardens. The large illuminated web symbolizes how the world is indelibly interconnected, as well as highlighting how sound vibrates in a visual representation. The web hovered nearly 20 feet above the ground and laminated the surrounding flowerbeds and sweeping grassland below. The Vivid Festival enhanced the already magnificent beauty of Sydney, shining a light on the marvels of architectural beauty and splendor inherent in light or shadow. Your private transfer greets you at the hotel after breakfast and escorts you to Sydney Airport for your flight home.
Your exclusive 6-day Australia tour highlights Sydney in all its beauty by showcasing the brilliance of the Vivid Sydney festival. Your luxury tour combines the majesty of contemporary artists, from musicians to sculptors, filmmakers to mathematicians eager to transform the city into a luminescent wonderland by night. The 2019 festival charms and delights locals and visitors with laser light shows and projections of 3D maps. The collected works create large- and small-scale illuminations casting iconic buildings in a new light. The Sydney Opera House transforms into a moving sculpture, and bright lights project onto the Central Business District creating a Candyland amid the towering skyscrapers.
Each night brings a new series of interactive wonders and immersive experiences along with a trail of waterside neighborhoods. The thrills are not limited to the Sydney nights, as each day engrosses you in fabulous possibility leading you through the fascinating design of the Sydney Opera House and on a captivating cruise of gorgeous Sydney Harbour. Tour the welcomes neighborhoods of the city known for history, fabulous architecture, and relaxing beachside ambiance from The Rocks to Bondi Beach.
Indulge in a day at your leisure by strolling through the artistic and bohemian suburbs of Sydney. Partake in unforgettable excursions carrying you to the top of the Sydney Harbour Bridge where a colorful dancefloor awaits your arrival or venture deep into the wondrous eucalyptus forest of the Blue Mountains looking for splashing waterfalls. Whether visiting Sydney for the first time or returning after years away, your custom-tailored Australia tour offers a unique and radiant look at the enchanting Harbour City.
$4,795 per person (excluding international flights)