Planned morning walks to different Melbourne parks, gardens, shrines, or museums. At 11 a.m. tour members will want to move on to the National Tennis Center, our tickets are for the first five days of the Australian Open. This is the best time to see all of the top tennis players in the world. Our stadium seats are near the front, lower level and have at times been next to the reserved seats for the players.
The hotel is near Melbourne’s business district and the Melbourne Convention Centre. The Yarra River, with a beautiful promenade and footbridges, stretches for two miles from our hotel to the National Tennis Center. Our walks will include visits to the Victorian Arts Centre, the National Gallery, the Shrine of Remembrance, the Kings Domain, the Royal Botanic Gardens, the State Parliament House, Fitzroy Gardens, Captain Cook’s cottage, St. Patrick’s Cathedral, the Melbourne Cricket Ground, the Australian Gallery of Sport, and Queen Victoria Market. It is a short trip on the trolley to St. Kilda Beach. Optional day tours: The Great Ocean Road, Yarra Valley Wineries, The famous Fairy Penguins at Phillip Island.
January 13 - Join a planned morning walk to the Shrine of Remembrance. We observe its beauty, learn about Australia’s involvement in war and their appreciation of veterans, see the city of Melbourne from a special vantage point. At 11 a.m. we walk to the National Tennis Center and watch the first day of matches at the Australian Open. [Breakfast]
January 14 - This morning we walk to the Queen Victoria’s Market, with a long historical tradition that is famous to all Australians. It has a wide variety of foods, clothing, and merchandise at bargain prices. The rich and poor from a surprising number of ethnic backgrounds shop and sell here. We then catch the free City Circle trolley that takes us to the National Tennis Center. [Breakfast]
January 15 - This morning we walk to the Victorian Parliament House on the opposite side of the city center. We pass through the busy financial district and observe the morning rush hour with well dressed business people hustling to work. Perhaps take an hour tour of Parliament House and a fascinating introduction to Australian politics. We walked through China Town and past historical sites to St. Patrick’s Cathedral, a beautiful Gothic structure that rivals the great cathedrals of Europe. Started in 1850, it is the largest in Australia. Afterwards we stop in the Fitzroy and Treasury Gardens, admire the beautiful flowers in the conservatory. Afterwards it is a short walk to the National Tennis Center. [Breakfast]
January 16 - We walk this morning past the Victorian Arts Centre and through the Kings Domain to the Royal Botanic Gardens, rated as one of the finest in the world. Within its 100 acres are 12,000 species of native and imported plants and trees. Sweeping lawns, ornamental lakes, ducks and swans, and fruit bats hanging from the trees add beauty and excitement. It’s a perfect spot to observe and reflect. When we walk out the far exit we are next to the Yarra River. We cross the bridge and find ourselves at the entrance to the National Tennis Center. [Breakfast]
January 17 – Morning at leisure and the Australian Open starting at 11 A.M. or enjoy an optional day tour. [Breakfast]
January 18 [optional leisure day] – A day at leisure to enjoy Melbourne which creates the opportunity for a number of interesting alternatives. Consider the Royal Melbourne Zoo, one of the finest in the world. Or go to the National Gallery of Victoria. The Melbourne Cricket Ground, which seats 120,000 spectators for important test matches, are located next to the National Tennis Center. A short train ride takes us to Kooyong Stadium, the site of the Australian Open before 1988, when it was played on grass.
Another short ride on a tram goes to St. Kilda Beach. Or we can choose trips to the Great Ocean Road or Phillip Island with its famous Fairy Penguins. [Breakfast]
Melbourne to Cairns, Sunday, Jan. 19
We fly to Cairns (pronounced Cans), the gateway to the Great Barrier Reef and the Daintree Rainforest. We arrive in the tropics, where the days are shorter [about 12 hours] and the heat and humidity can be oppressive. The “birds” that you hear and see at night are not birds. They are giant fruit bats with wingspans up to four feet, feeding on fruits in the treetops.
Virgin Australia Airlines 1293 Melbourne 9:20 AM to Cairns 11:45 AM
Cairns (January 19 - January 25) Stay 6 nights at the Cairns Colonial Club Resort, 18-26 Cannon Street, Cairns, Australia. Phone is 011-61-7053-5111
January 20 - After breakfast buffet we are picked up by coach. We go up the coast and past the northern beaches to Port Douglas. Our destination is the Rainforest Habitat Wildlife Sanctuary, where we see many unique Australian animals up close. After our guided walk within the Habitat Center and free time to explore Port Douglas we travel back to Cairns arriving early afternoon. This afternoon offers some free time to explore Cairns, optional activities, tennis or just relax at the many pools and amenities our Resort has to offer. [Breakfast]
January 21 - After breakfast buffet our coach picks us up at the resort. We go by bus to the Cairns Marina where we board one of MS Quicksilver’s private dive vessels the “SilverSwift”, which takes us out to the Great Barrier Reef. Morning and afternoon teas and a full buffet lunch are served on board. Snorkeling is included to view one of nature's natural wonders. Join a Marine Naturalist on a guided snorkel, learning many wonders of the Great Barrier Reef as we split the group into small groups for those that are interested. We have three inclusive areas out on the reef our dive vessel visits. Scuba diving is optional and costs extra. The boat returns to Cairns arriving at the hotel about 4:30 p.m. [Breakfast and lunch]
January 22 - After breakfast buffet we are picked up by coach. We are taken to the Tjapukai Aboriginal Dreamtime for a private lecture and film. The private lecture has an in depth look at the indigenous culture of Australia and begins our day’s journey. We take a trip on a 7-mile gondola ride (longest in the world), over the canopy of the rainforest, and up the side of a mountain to Kuranda, an Aboriginal town. The day includes the Tjapukai Aboriginal Dreamtime experience, spear and boomerang throwing, Skyrail and time at a flea market that sells local clothing and crafts. We return to the hotel by bus at 3:30 p.m. [Breakfast]
January 23 - This day is free to enjoy on your own. Perhaps a hike to the Foster Botanical Gardens. A choice of optional activities includes tennis, golf, museums, and Aboriginal culture. You can take part in a pre planned hike along the northern beaches. A free shuttle bus leaves the resort for downtown Cairns hourly or just relax at the resort and work on your tan. [Breakfast]
January 24 – Another day at leisure to visit the area or relax and work on your tan poolside! [Breakfast]
January 25 – Morning at leisure and transfer to airport by coach for our flight to Sydney. [Breakfast]
Cairns to Sydney, - Saturday, Jan. 25
Virgin Australia Airlines Cairns 11:40 AM to Sydney 3:45 PM
We transfer by coach from the hotel to the airport for our flight to Sydney. The largest Australian city on the tour is Sydney, its beautiful harbor, attractive surfing beaches, and famous Sydney Opera House. Sydney is Australia’s largest and most beautiful city. January 26th is Australia Independence Day, and the city comes alive with fireworks displays, tall ships in the harbor, Opera in the park, parades, concerts, choirs, and performing groups from all over the world. So get ready to participate in Australia's most impressive cultural celebration.
Sydney (January 25- February 1st ) Stay seven nights at the Novotel Darling Harbour, 100 Murray St., Sydney, Aust. Phone # is 011-61-2-9288-7116. [Breakfast buffet is included daily]. The hotel is located next to Darling Harbour within easy walking distance of downtown Sydney. Each morning join planned walks to various locations, including the Royal Botanic Gardens, the Art Gallery of New South Wales, the Chinese Garden, St. Mary’s Cathedral, the Sydney Opera House, and Manly Beach. Other interesting destinations include the Rocks historical area, the Sydney Harbor Bridge, Bondi Beach, and the 2000 Olympic Stadium. We walk to these places or take inexpensive ferries, buses and trains.
January 25 - At 2 p.m. after checking into the hotel and having lunch at one of the many restaurants that surround Darling Harbour we walk across the Darling Harbour footbridge and head up Market Street past the historical Queen Victoria Building, now a shopping mall, and the impressive Sydney Tower, which dominates the skyline and offers an impressive observation deck with views of the entire city. We pass through Hyde Park, near St. Mary’s Cathedral, and into the Domain, a large grassy area where more than 100,000 people gather for picnics, concerts, and free opera in the park during the Sydney festival. Next we enter the Royal Botanical Gardens, noted for its beautiful plants, ponds, trees, and of course, fruit bats. As we get close to the Sydney Harbour, the world famous Sydney Opera House comes into view. At the Opera House we are right next to Circular Quay [pronounced “key”] where boats, subways, buses, taxis, and an elevated rail all converge. We will learn about daily and weekly passes that permits us to use most of Sydney’s transportation options. It is fun to explore Sydney with a travel guide and an excellent public transportation system. Returning to Darling Harbour on your own. Going back by boat is a neat way to go. [Breakfast]
January 26 – “Australia Day” This day is at leisure to take full advantage of all the Independence Day activities. See the tall ships in the Harbour near the Sydney Opera House. Listen to the free music on the streets and in the parks. Enjoy the parades and special displays on the streets. Eat the wide variety of foods that are being sold at numerous street stands. Interact with Australian families who are enjoying a special day with each other and friends. Go to the special services where new immigrants become citizens. And do not miss the huge fireworks display in the middle of Darling Harbor, right in front of our hotel. Some 200,000 people crowd into the plaza areas around the harbor, making it nearly impossible to walk. [Breakfast]
January 27– At 8:30 a.m. after our buffet breakfast we head down to Darling Harbour pier in front of the Maritime Museum. Bring your swimming suits, because we are headed by boat to Circular Quay and then across the Sydney Harbour to Manly, one of Sydney’s two most famous beaches. When we get to the shore we head right, along the shoreline, until cliffs block our way. We climb up the cliffs revealing exciting views of the South Pacific Ocean and a chance to spot giant lizards as we walk through the brush. Next we have the option of returning to Manly beach for swimming and playing in the sand, or continuing to explore Sydney's Harbour area with boat rides to many interesting destinations. Sydney's Harbour is one of the largest and most beautiful in the world. [Breakfast]
January 28 - At 8:30 a.m. we walk to beautiful St. Mary's Cathedral, the largest and one of the oldest churches in Sydney. Spend some time there for observation, and reflection. The afternoon offers opportunities for sports, travel to Bondi beach by train, or exploration of other points of interest. Perhaps take part in a planned visit including refreshments at “Costellos of Australia”. Here you will learn about Opals and their colorful history. This is a Gem store where you can learn about and purchase the precious Opal gemstone Australia has to offer. You of course will receive a very attractive discount, free Opal gift, and learning experience along with the best Gems that this family owned Opal Mine has to offer. [Breakfast]
January 29 – This morning we walk to the nearby Art Gallery of New South Wales. We will concentrate on its fine collections of Australian and Aboriginal Art, noting particularly the religious and ethical values that we see expressed. In the afternoon you can travel by boat, bus, and train to the Olympic Park, the site of the 2000 Summer Olympics. Look at some of the venues where tennis, swimming, and basketball were held, and perhaps take a tour of the impressive Stadium Australia, where soccer, rugby, and Aussie Rules football continue to play on a regular basis. Those wishing to play tennis or swim should bring appropriate equipment and plan to stay for a while. Also you can visit the famous Bondi Beach to watch the surfers, shop, have lunch or just play in the waves. Visit the Rocks historical area, where the city of Sydney began, or climb up in the towers of the Sydney Harbor Bridge, where the history of Sydney is presented interestingly. The views are breathtaking. Some may even want to spend a lot of money to be part of groups that put on climbing equipment so they can get an even higher view from the top of the bridge. [Breakfast]
***A night at the Sydney Opera is planned this evening – The Opera has not been decided due to the Opera’s repertoire advance schedules are not set.***
January 30 – Day at leisure. Perhaps a visit to the Chinese Garden, located near Darling Harbor. The beauty and tranquility that has been created here in the midst of a busy city is amazing. Continue the rest of the day is at leisure for more exploration (the Taronga Zoo or many nearby museums), shopping, opera, concerts, sporting events, time at the beach, tennis playing, or a variety of other options. [Breakfast]
January 31 – Another leisure day to explore Sydney. Perhaps take a tour to the Blue Mountains or up to the Hunter Valley Wine region. [Breakfast]
February 1 - This morning is free to enjoy on your own. Perhaps some last minute shopping or just relax by the hotel’s pool and reflect on the many sights of New Zealand and Australia you have just visited. Some of our group will travel home from here and the rest of us travel to Fiji or other South Pacific destinations. Enjoy summer down under for a few more hours! [Breakfast]
Sydney, Australia to USA and connection to your home city, Sat. Feb. 1 to Sat. Feb. 1, gaining this day again as you travel back over the International Dateline.
Air New Zealand 704 Sydney 11:30 AM to Auckland 4:35 PM
Welcome home! Aerotravel International hopes you enjoyed your vacation and hope you will cherish these memories forever!
ITINERARY OPTIONS, TOUR DATES AND COSTS PER PERSON:
The below prices are based on Airfares from the Mid-West on Delta
Airlines or United Airlines to Los Angeles and Air New Zealand Internationally.
Other departure cities and Airlines are available at usually no additional cost.
Departure from Los Angeles is at a lesser cost of $360.00
January 3 to February 1: = $8,295.00
**Any 2nd week Australian Open Air, Hotel and Tennis tickets including Quarters, Semis and Final Weekend sessions are available. Please call for information and cost.
*Choice of optional day tour in Melbourne for additional $110.00 to $135.00: Phillip island/penguins/farm/koala/lunch, Great Ocean Road/Twelve Apostles Road Adventure or Puffing Billy, Yarra Valley Winneries & Healesville Wildlife Sanctuary
** This Tour has lots of independent time to enjoy your own vacation
pleasures but also has the structure included, seeing the highlights of each
Batman’s Hill on Collins, 623 Collins St., Melbourne, Aust - 7 nights
Cairns Colonial Club Resort, 18-26 Cannon Street, Cairns, Aust - 6 nights
Novotel Sydney Darling Harbour, 50-100 Murray St., Sydney, Aust-7 nights
* Other meals per itinerary
* Cairns 6 nights
* Sydney 7 nights
* A night at the Opera at the famous Sydney Opera House
*Not included in tour costs
*Recommended clothing: Comfortable causal combining summer outfits [Pack light with causal nice for dinner or Opera etc.], shade hat, swim suit, light raincoat/jacket, daypack, comfortable walking/hiking boots or tennis shoes.
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