Self-Guided Australian Adventure to Sydney and Melbourne
Australia has roughly 22 million inhabitants, and more than 8 million of them live in either Sydney or Melbourne. But these two thriving urban centers in the southeastern quadrant of the continent—which are separated by about 900 kilometers (550 miles)—are not only Australia's biggest cities. Together, they constitute the cultural nerve center of the nation as well. This Getaway from Down Under Answers, which includes roundtrip airfare on Virgin Australia, lets you explore both cities while enjoying luxury hotel accommodations and airport transfers within Australia.
You'll land in Sydney after crossing the Pacific Ocean on a Virgin Australia aircraft. From the airport, you’ll be transported to Vibe Hotel Rushcutters for a four-night stay. The hotel is located among the high-end fashion boutiques of Sydney’s Double Bay and the famous Paddington markets. Its stylish full-service bar features views of Rushcutters Bay Park, and the heated rooftop swimming pool has a large sundeck overlooking the bay.
Make the most of your time in Sydney by visiting its iconic attractions, starting with the Sydney Opera House and working your way to world-famous Bondi Beach and Taronga Zoo. The Royal Botanic Gardens is full of ponds and plant life as well as a towering glass pyramid. Located directly east of the Opera House, the gardens offer a great view of the downtown skyline. On day 7, you’ll be transferred to the Sydney Airport for the flight to Melbourne.
Days 7–11: Melbourne
Australia’s second-largest city sits along Port Phillip Bay on the southern tip of the continent. For four nights, you’ll camp out at Vibe Savoy Hotel Melbourne in the city center. After the Victorian gold rush of the 1850s, there was an influx of money in the area; this led to the construction of some lavish 19th-century architecture, including the heritage building housing the hotel.
With apologies to Sydney, many regard Melbourne as Australia’s most stylish city. Collins Street, laden with high-end boutiques and stunning Victorian-era buildings, is located just a couple blocks from the hotel. Even closer is the Southern Cross Railway Station, which makes getting around the city easy. The green and yellow tram system travels all over the city. On day 11, you’ll be transferred to Melbourne Airport for a return flight to the United States.
11-day, 8-night self-guided tour of Sydney and Melbourne with airfare, accommodations, and airport transfers. Flights depart daily but a $199 surcharge applies for departures Friday through Sunday. Valid for Travel with a Friend packages (two Groupons required), or pay an additional fee to travel solo. Read about package structures here.
Depart from LAX:
Option 1: $1,999 to depart 5/1/13–6/8/13 (up to a $4,285 value)
Option 2: $2,199 to depart 10/21–11/6 (up to a $4,485 value)
Option 3: $2,199 to depart 2/1/13–3/31/13 (up to a $4,485 value)
Depart from SFO, SAN, PHX, or LAS:
Option 4: $2,124 to depart 5/1/13¬–6/8/13 (up to a $4,410 value)
Option 5: $2,324 to depart 10/21/12–11/6/12 (up to a $4,610 value)
Option 6: $2,324 to depart 2/1/13–3/31/13 (up to a $4,610 value)
Depart from JFK, AUS, DFW, IAH, SEA, PDX, ORD, STL, MKE, IND, DEN, or SLC:
Option 7: $2,199 to depart 5/1/13–6/8/13 (up to a $4,484 value)
Option 8: $2,399 to depart 10/21–11/6 (up to a $4,684 value)
Option 9: $2,399 to depart 2/1/13–3/31/13 (up to a $4,684 value)
Depart from MIA, MCO, BOS, BUF, IAD, RDU, PIT, PHL, BNA, MEM, DET, MSP:
Option 10: $2,299 to depart 5/1/13–6/8/13 (up to a $4,584 value)
Option 11: $2,499 to depart 10/21–11/6 (up to a $4,784 value)
Option 12: $2,499 to depart 2/1/13–3/31/13 (up to a $4,784 value)