Australia Adventure to the Great Barrier Reef, Ayers Rock National Park, and Sydney
On the plains of central Australia, Ayers Rock—one of the largest monoliths in the world—stands at the approximate geographical center of the continent. To circle the base of this sandstone behemoth requires a more than 5-mile trek. The site is sacred to aborigines, whose ancestors carved petroglyphs into the rock, which they called Uluru. On this 14-day, 11-night Australia tour from Down Under Answers, you'll get to see Ayers Rock along with several other landmarks, from Sydney's iconic opera house to the breathtaking Great Barrier Reef near Cairns.
Days 1–3: After departing from LAX, you'll cross the Pacific Ocean (and lose a day flying over the International Date Line) en route to Sydney, where you'll drop anchor at the Pullman Sydney Hyde Park.
Days 4–6: The tour stops for a full three days in Sydney. To kick things off, a half-day Essential Sydney Tour spotlights some of the city's most distinctive landmarks. The Rocks precinct supplies a taste of Sydney's rich history. Cobblestone streets lead past quaint cottages, many of which were built nearly two centuries ago, when Australia was still a penal colony. After a visit to downtown Sydney's botanical gardens, you'll voyage past a number of bays before arriving at Bondi Beach. Here you can enjoy the breaking surf and stroll past pubs and boutiques along the nearby boardwalk. Spend the next two days taking in Sydney's sights and sounds at your leisure.
Days 7–9: A brief flight brings you to Ayers Rock, where you'll spend three nights at Voyages Sails in the Desert. A trek into Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park ends at Ayers Rock, whose red sandstone glows a brilliant orange at sunrise and sunset.
Bright and early the next day, you'll tour the mountain's base before continuing to the Mutitjulu Waterhole. Here you'll see rock paintings from ancient aboriginal cultures. You can delve deeper into aboriginal customs at Uluru-Kata Tjuta Cultural Center or roll up your sleeves to climb Ayers Rock, weather permitting. The next day is another free day to spend however you'd like.
Days 10–11: After arrival at Cairns, you'll check into the Pullman Reef Hotel Casino Cairns. Private garden balconies and a communal rooftop pool make the hotel a relaxing base camp for exploring nearby attractions. In the morning, you'll hop on a luxury cruiser to the Great Barrier Reef. The largest such ecosystem in the world, the Great Barrier Reef comprises more than 2,900 smaller reefs where more than 1,500 resident species of fish live year-round and six well-to-do kraken families keep summer homes. Over five hours, a professional crew will watch over passengers as they go snorkeling or join an introductory diving session (fee not included with this Groupon). The boat also has glass paneling you can peer through to get an up-close view of the reef.
Days 12–14: After two more free days, head to Cairns Airport and board a flight that stops briefly in Brisbane or Sydney before flying back to the U.S. for same-day arrival at LAX.
Read the Fine Print for important info on travel dates and other restrictions.