“AFS Rock & Reef Discovery" - Australia

April 16-26, 2017

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G’Day Mates and Sheilas. Join us to the land of Oz as we explore 3 thrilling regions. This vacay has it all with aquatic adventures, natural wonders, unique wildlife and meeting some of the friendliest people on earth. “No Worries” here as Aussies speak our language, (well, sort of). It’s laid back. It’s wild fun. It’s our 10th trip to Australia and all our past groups loved it. Each time we mix it up with new sites. Been there? Maybe not where we’re going. This country’s as big as America. With seasons reversed, April is the perfect time to visit with tropical sunshine in the north to temperate weather in the south.

Overview

We begin in Cairns, gateway to adventure! Snorkel or dive the Great Barrier Reef, the world’s largest aquarium visible from space. (Now is the time to witness this living wonder. Scientists state its disappearing fast with the warmer ocean evaporating and coral dying from bleaching caused by overfishing, pollution and sedimentation. It is dire today). Explore the lush rainforests and discover the Aboriginal culture here.


Fly to the World Heritage Site of Frasier Island called ‘nature’s art gallery’. It’s the World’s Largest Sand Island stretching with 100 miles of beaches and abundant wildlife. Enjoy jeep safaris from our fabulous resort to golden colored sand dunes, amazing marine life and wildlife from kangaroos to crocs. It’s a refreshing change from Aussie’s main land with untamed wilderness, ancient rain forests, mirrored lakes and stunning beaches.


We end in sparkling Sydney with its endless enticements. Cruise the magnificent harbor, walk the historic Rocks area filled with cool venues, take an exclusive tour behind the scenes of the iconic Opera House. Climb the Harbor Bridge, swim Bondi beach, shop for opals, find anything your heart desires in this world-class city.

Come waltzing Matilda with AFS to meet a dingo, cuddle a koala, throw a boomerang and taste world-class wines. Just click your heels three times to Oz. Nowhere can you have more fun Down Under!

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Our Glorious Itinerary

Apr 16 - Depart USA

Fly USA via Sydney to Cairns (Cross International Dateline Apr 17 to lose a day but we gain back at end) Later we’ll present Group Air option schedule on excellent Virgin Australia.


Apr 18 – Arrive to Cairns

Land in Sydney, layover, fly to Cairns or fly to Sydney on own arriving a day or two early to enjoy Syndney and meet group at SYD airport on this day.  

Cairns is a thrilling city in northern Queensland and Gateway to the Barrier Reef! You’ll instantly feel the energy of the vibrant tropical culture that’s laid back yet packed with fun. Everyone loves the outdoor lifestyle that is adventurous by nature in Cairns.

We check into our home for 3 nights at Pacific Hotel perfectly positioned in the heart of everything like the famous Esplanade filled with cafes, pubs, shops and the Night Market. The hotel overlooks Trinity Harbor with swimming pool, Bushfire Grill and large rooms.

We arrive in the afternoon with time to relax. Get a massage or stroll the exciting Esplanade and its huge lagoon pool.

Overnight: Pacific Hotel Cairns


Apr 19 – Ahoy! Great Barrier Reef Cruise with Lunch

This is the day dreams are made of. Climb aboard our catamaran for a day cruise to the Outer Barrier Reef, the “8th Wonder of the World”. It’s teeming with marine life where visibility can reach 175 feet.

We’ll dock at the floating Marine World activity platform to spend the day submerged in all things aquatic. Snorkel in the beauty of the underworld with deep sunlight valleys and multi colored cliffs of coral with giant clams and even some resident pet fish to feed here like Wally the giant maori wrasse. Like to get deeper? Diving can be arranged with your own photographer (all gear and equipment is provided).

If you want to stay dry, ride the glass bottom boats or semi-sub with underwater observatory to the fish feeding area is wonderful. There’s fresh water showers, changing rooms and a delicious buffet lunch included to make it a day you’ll never forget.

Overnight: Pacific Hotel Cairns         B, L


Apr 20 – Free Day, Oh boy!

We purposefully leave this day for leisure as there’s so much to do in Cairns. Visitors enjoy the scenic helicopter tours, Tully River White Water Rafting, sea kayaks, hot air balloons and new Cairns Wildlife Dome where you can cuddle a koala or zip line on the Hi Zoom. Anything can be booked in town! Our past groups loved 3 tours we highly recommend and may arrange later as options for our group.

1.    Kuranda Scenic Rail Sky Gondolas. Rail through lush rainforests and waterfalls up to Kuranda to visit Koala Park, Bird World and a dozen other venues for the day. Then glide down on the breathtaking Sky Rail back to Cairns. (Around $140 seems pricey, but worth every cent)
2.    Hartley’s Crocodile Adventures. There’s more than crocs here on this thrilling tour in the wetlands. Enjoy interpretive talks, walks and river boating through rivers filled with hundreds of giant wild crocs.
3.    Tjapukai Aboriginal Park – Another must do for an extra ordinary experience. Learn the history of these native people on 3 different theatre sets with brilliant live performances. By day, they teach you skills like boomerang throwing and other arts. By night you can enjoy a dinner with an illuminated show that is spectacular.
Raewyn’s reworded description:

OPTIONAL HARTLEYS CROCODILE FARM
0800. Travel north from Cairns along sugar farmlands along a scenic coastal road to Hartley’s Crocodile adventures. Enjoy a hot Aussie breakfast and personally meet a Koala and its keeper. Spread out over 25 acres (10 ha), Hartley’s is filled with interpretive walks, wildlife sanctuaries, education centres and – of course – lots of crocodiles. Take a boat tour of the lagoon, snapping pictures of the crocs' toothy smiles before heading to the feeding pit. Here, these massive reptiles become airborne, jumping out of the water to grab some meaty treats.
Spend the remainder of your day exploring the rest of Hartley’s, strolling over a mile-long (1.6 km) boardwalk or touring the crocodile farm before calling an end to your eco-adventure. Arrive back to the hotel around 1pm.

Hartleys Crocodile Farm – Breakfast with the Koalas.
Pick up time is 0800. Koala Breakfast is at 0900. They have 2 hours in the park and would be back in Cairns by 1PM.

Overnight: Pacific Hotel Cairns    B


Apr 21 – Fly Cairns to Brisbane

After breakfast we transfer to the Cairns airport for a 1.5-hour flight to Brisbane. Here we are met and transferred to Hervey Bay Pier for our ferry to fabulous Frasier Island!

Welcome to “The World’s Largest Sand Island”. This World Heritage site ranks up there with the best of Australia’s top ‘must sees’ for its 100 miles of white sandy beaches flanked by striking colored sand cliffs. There are 100 blue freshwater lakes and ancient rainforests along crystal rivers that grow in sand (the only rainforests on earth that grow on sand dunes). It’s also the longest coastal dune system in the world. Wetlands include dingoes, monitor lizards, turtles, manatees, kangaroos, wild horses and 40,000 migratory birds. Sea residents include dolphins, rays, humpback whales and more.

Captain Cook first sighted the Frasier Island Aboriginals in 1760. Their name for Frasier was K’gari, “Paradise”. The island is strictly 4WD territory. Seventy-Five Mile Beach is actually a road running surf side. Some of the best fishing and diving in the world here with 23 shipwrecks.

Check into Kingfisher Bay Eco-Resort for the ‘best in the bush’ on Frasier. It holds 9 Ecotourism Awards for minimal impact on environment, 4 swimming pools, Spa, 4 restaurants, tennis, nightclub. Resident Rangers offer an extensive program of guided walks.

Overnight: Kingfisher Bay Resort         B


Apr 22 - Full Day AFS Jeep Safari

We head out in 4WD Jeeps across sand tracks to explore the islands flora, fauna and iconic sites. Our expert guides have an unmatched passion for their home and teach you about its history and nature.

Swim the crystal blue waters of Lake McKenzie. Do a bush walk on a boardwalk through the rainforest to Warggoolba Creek. Marvel at the rare majestic Satinay trees in Pine Valley. Drive the spectacular Seventy-Five Mile Beach and stop for a dip in cool fresh water at Elli Creek. Visit the Maheno shipwreck from 1895. Photograph ribbons of colored sand cliffs at the Pinnacles and more.

Overnight: Kingfisher Bay Resort        B, L


Apr 23 – Frasier, Brisbane, Sydney

Check out and transfer to ferry, Brisbane airport, fly to Sydney.

Check into the 4 Star Novatel Rockford Darling Harbor for 3 nights – heated indoor swimming pool, WIFI, great restaurant. Easy walk to fun venues around Darling Harbor. At night explore world class food and local wines. There’s too many good things to include about sparkling Sydney that lies on a magnificent harbor. Just Google Sydney.com!

Overnight: Novatel Rockford Darling Harbor     B


Apr 24 - Harbor Cruise Luncheon with Private Opera House Tour

We board our cruise at bustling Circular Quay. This harbor cruise is one of the most scenic in the world for total Kodak moments. View Harbor Bridge, The Rocks, Fort Denison, Point Piper, Watsons Bay, Parklands with mansions and more. Enjoy live commentary on the sites while you feast on a smorgasbord of Australian cuisine with prime meats and seafood.

Continue onto our Exclusive Opera House Tour – Get an inside look at this remarkable World Heritage Site as we are guided into several theatres, given fascinating lectures on the history, architecture and the magic of performance. (Some areas are restricted due to rehearsals). The Opera House masterpiece designed by Danish architect Utzon was inspired by sails of yachts on the harbor. Many AFSers book evening performances here.

We walk back to our hotel at leisure passing many great stores selling pearl and opal jewelry, art galleries, outdoor bistros and wine bars, outdoor cafes and classic pubs along Darling Harbor. Later you may head to The Rocks for a historic Pub Crawl or the 360 Bar on top of Sydney Tower or see nearby IMAX show.

Overnight: Novatel Rockford Darling Harbor      B, L


Apr 25 – Day at Leisure to Play!

We left it open for the endless choices to suit your taste. Our groups loved Bridge Climb Sydney with the best selfies of a lifetime. Other favorites include: fabulous Taranga Zoo or new Wildlife Sydney Zoo for animal encounters, Bondi Beach, Manly Beach with Sea Life Aquarium, Sydney Living Museum, shopping Queen Victoria Building, Paddington and more.

Full Day trips to Blue Mountains or Hunter Valley Wineries can be arranged as well.

Overnight: Novatel Rockford Darling Harbor      B, L


April 26 - Fly Sydney to Los Angeles

Transfer to the airport for your flight home. Most depart around noon. Gain time back to arrive same day April 26.

Kingfisher Bay Resort 

kingfisher hotel fraser

 

Pacific Hotel Cairns

pacific hotel cairns

 

Novotel Rockford Darling Harbour

novotel-rockford-darling-harbour_18


To add on Western Australlia click here https://www.adventuresforsingles.com/trips/45

• APR 26  QF#577 SYD-PER  1250pm - 350pm

• MAY 01 VA#1485  PER-BME  1105am-135pm

• MAY 03  VA#1484  BME-PER  210pm-450pm

• MAY 03 QF         PER-SYD   1150pm-6am +1 next day (MAY 4)

Below is an example of which air options to pick if you want group air.  This can vary if doing own air into Sydney call us at 877-813-9421 for details.

both


Activity Level:

2. I have no trouble walking and if necessary, can walk for 3+ miles. Uneven surfaces are not a problem. I do not need a cane or walking device.

Pricing

A $400 deposit will secure your reservation.  Limited to 38 MAX participants. Detailed Trip Tips later. 

Land Cost:  $1895 + $469 internal domestic flights Cairns – Brisbane – Sydney 

Group Air -  We secured the best air for price and schedule on American Airlines.  International roundtrip LAX-SYD  $1584 with tax (tax subject to chnage until group ticketed)

  • APR 16   LAX-SYD  on AA
  • APR 26   SYD-LAX  (same day APR 26)  Details is Trip Tips viewed

Some of you may want to arrange your own air and extend your trip.

Includes: 8 nights first class accommodation, daily guided tours with entrance fees, licensed English speaking guides, private coach, AFS GTL.

Not included:  $30 Visa, Gratuities,

Contact us and we will get you set up with air to connect to our Western Australia trip.

Options

Name
Description
Price
Gratuities

This 'option' is a required additional charge for this trip.

It is protocol to tip your drivers, porters and local guides - we have the absolute best. $13 pp per day should suffice as minimum and will be added to your final bill. We will give this to your GTL to disperse accordingly throughout. It’s easier this way. Tips are for local guides, drivers, group meals (except breakfast) and hotel porters that bring bags from bus to lobby.
$80.00
Internal Air
Internal domestic flights Cairns – Brisbane – Sydney includes tax
$469.00
Group Air
International roundtrip LAX-SYD Not enough wanted int'l air, so this has been dropped.
$0.01
Group Air Extended
Group air for those adding Western Australia APR 16 LAX-SYD on AA 1050P - 710A May 4 SYD-LAX 1055A - 745A (same day May 5) Price varies due to fees.
$1595.00
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Please review AFS Terms and Conditions as well as Heading Abroad with AFS. Group air - Airlines may add surcharges to offset fuel inflation or taxes. The total ticket cost is not final until we receive your final payment and are ticketed. If doing own air, airport transfer may or may not be included depending on your air schedule. Do not buy air until we either group air is set or we advise - dates can change! Itineraries are prepared often a year in advance. Though not likely, AFS and our suppliers reserve the right to change or modify such to meet local conditions. Although rare, hotels can change – all hotel rooms are run of the house. Our prices are based on current taxation structures. In case any revision in taxes, sudden fluctuation in currency levels, change in Visa fees or increase in fuel charges, we will amend our prices and inform you accordingly. Land price is based on minimum number of trip participants.