Australia is roughly equivalent to the U.S. in size, with many variations in climate. Summer, the rainy season in the tropical north, lasts December to February. November to March is hottest. Spring and autumn are mild and the best time for bush walks. Winter, June to August, is mild with snow in southern mountains and balmy temperatures in the north. In general, April to September temperatures are between 18°C/66 °F and 31°C/88°F. September and October are warm but not extremely hot.
Eastern Standard Time GMT +10 NSW, ACT, Victoria, Queensland and Tasmania
Central Time GMT +9.5 Northern Territory and South Australia
Western Time GMT +8 Western Australia
Australian Dollar (AUD)
Day 1: Adelaide, Australia
Upon arrival at Adelaide International Airport, you will be met by a representative, who will hand over your Australian documentation and transfer you by private vehicle to your accommodation. The remainder of the day is at leisure to explore your own interests. A leisurely stroll down Adelaide’s elegant tree-lined streets, through pretty parks and past stone churches, will unveil a different side to the quiet achiever of Australian cities. You only need to scratch the surface to find a celebration of the cultural, artistic, gastronomic and the sporting. Tantalize your taste buds with a visit to stalls at the Adelaide Central Market and sample wines from more than 60 wine regions across Australia at the National Wine Centre. Enjoy a tram ride from the city to the seaside town of Glenelg or stroll along North Terrace and the Botanic Gardens. Tour North Adelaide’s fine colonial architecture. Delve into the Museum of South Australia and the Art Gallery or take in the cafes of Rundle Street Mall and the fish and Asian cafes of Gouger Street. Mayfair Hotel Adelaide
Day 2: Adelaide / Flinders Ranges
This morning you will be met at your accommodation by a representative of Arkaba and transferred by private vehicle to your accommodation in the Flinders Ranges via the charmingly secluded Clare Valley, one of Australia's oldest wine regions (approximately six hours including scenic stops). Arkaba Station (B,D)
Day 3: Flinders Ranges
The Flinders Ranges – approximately 450 km/280 mi north of Adelaide, are emblematic of the great Australian Outback. Towering granite outcrops provide adventurous four-wheel drives with spectacular look outs. Saw-toothed peaks encircle the majestic natural amphitheater of Wilpena Pound’s giant stone crater. Among these most ancient landscapes, the timeless terrain showcases a kaleidoscope of outback experiences. Meet your guide at Arkaba homestead for an informative briefing of what to expect during your trek. Depart by road for the 35-minute drive to your starting point and set off on foot on the first leg of the trail. Cross the interior of Wilpena Pound before a brief ascent to the rim. From here, enter the Arkaba Wilderness and descend off the lip of the Pound to Black’s Gap Camp. Reach the camp in time to settle in; take a hot bush shower and enjoy a cup of coffee or something a little stronger, while enjoying the evening light on the Pound behind camp. Your guides and camp assistants prepare a three-course camp dinner, taken al fresco under the evening sky and accompanied by fine wine and some interesting tales about Arkaba and the Flinders area. Turn in to our deluxe swags and enjoy a night under a canopy of stars. (Walking Distance: 12 km/7.5 mi). Black’s Gap Camp (B,L,D)
Day 4: Flinders Ranges
Move out from Black’s Gap into the rolling hills more suited to the sheep farming activities previously carried out across the property. The first 2 km/1.2 mi of the hike follow the famous Heysen Trail through Black’s Gap itself. Today’s section of the walk provides fascinating insight into the pastoral history of the region, passing through areas that once were cultivated for wheat. Pause at old shepherds’ camps and mustering yards, with Red and Grey Kangaroos and emus all regular sightings. The last leg of the day will take you slightly west into the hills and up to the very base of the Elder Range among beautiful stands of native Cypress trees. Your luggage and swags will have been transported by vehicle to Elder Camp, where you arrive in late afternoon in time for a hot shower, a three-course dinner and another beautiful night under the stars. (Walking Distance: appx. 10 – 14 km/6.2 mi – 9.7 mi). Elder Camp Flinders Ranges (B,L,D)
Day 5: Flinders Ranges
Wake to the glorious morning light on the Elder Range directly ahead and above you. This morning’s pace is unhurried, with plenty of time to stop for photographs, bird watching, botanizing and discussion. You will traverse multiple habitats today, moving south east – first among the hill country at the foot of the Elder Range, traversing mature Mallee and native pine forests as you cross Slaty Creek . This creek holds water well into the dry season and sometimes offers the opportunity to drink from crystal clear, ice cold springs. Progress up to the ridge top of the beautiful Red Range before beginning your descent to Arkaba Creek. The riverbank is home to hundreds of magnificent River Red gum trees, and is quite spectacular. With strategic stops along the way for rests and relaxing lunch in a shady spot, you will arrive at your final destination – Arkaba homestead, in early mid-afternoon. Savor a beautifully prepared meal and some excellent South Australian wines in a quintessentially Australian Outback setting before retiring for your final night. (Walking Distance: appx. 10 – 14 km/6.2 mi – 9.7 mi). Arkaba Station (B,L,D)
Day 6: Flinders Ranges / Adelaide / Melbourne
Enjoy a leisurely breakfast at the Arkaba homestead. You can relax in the comfortable library with deep leather armchairs and a large stone fireplace; or opt for a self-guided walk along Arkaba Creek to the historic Arkaba Woolshed. Later in the morning, you are met at your accommodation and transferred by private vehicle to Adelaide Airport (approximately a 5-hour journey) for your onward flight. In Adelaide, you connect with your onward flight to Melbourne (cost not included). Upon arrival at Melbourne Airport you will be met by your private driver and vehicle and transferred to your accommodation. Equally passionate about football and ballet, food and fashion, a new face of Melbourne – cosmopolitan, avant garde, conservative – is revealed at every bend of the Yarra, in every tiny city arcade and in each of the colorful suburbs of the city fringe. Take a tram to the Greek eateries and bargain factory outlet shopping in Richmond or the designer boutiques in style conscious South Yarra. See world class performing arts and groovy galleries at Southbank and trendy cafes at the beachside suburb of St Kilda. Crown Towers (B)
Day 7: Melbourne / Cape Otway
This morning, after picking up your rental car, you set out on a scenic drive to your accommodation on the Great Ocean Road (approximately a 3.5-hour drive). This evening, enjoy a guided dusk walk. Your ecolodge lies within the grounds of the Conservation Ecology Centre, a dedicated wildlife rehabilitation and ecological research center. Observe the wild kangaroos, koalas and other wildlife and learn about the conservation projects. Great Ocean Ecolodge (B,D)
Day 8: Cape Otway
Today you will join in one of two vital conservation activities, depending on the season you are here. In March/April and in Sep/Oct, join passionate and dedicated conservationists to help conserve one of the world’s most enchanting animals - the koala. Venture into the Australian bush with the conservation team to participate in inspiring fieldwork, learn about koala and woodland ecology, gain skills in survey techniques and assist with the rehabilitation of injured and orphaned koalas. Play a part in ensuring koalas will always be here through a Conservation Insights Program, where you will become a member of the conservation team and contribute to the future of this most cherished of species. Conservation work may include population surveys: deploying, retrieving and reviewing camera traps; habitat assessment surveys; habitat restoration; and development of innovative habitat management techniques such as fire simulation.
In May, June, July and August, you join in similar conservation work, playing a vital role in an urgent wildlife rescue mission for the Tiger Quoll, the largest remaining marsupial carnivore on the Australian mainland. It is fast heading towards the same fate as its cousin, the Thylacine or Tasmanian Tiger. The forests, woodlands and coastline of the Otway ranges are one of the last strongholds of the beautiful Tiger Quoll but even here this special species is in decline – action must be taken quickly to ensure the Tiger Quoll’s future. Similar tot he koala program, you become a member of the conservation team and contribute to the future of this critically endangered species and the ecosystems on which it depends. Conservation work may include population surveys: deploying, retrieving and reviewing camera traps; biodiversity surveys; vegetation surveys; habitat restoration; and caring for the resident Tiger Quolls – very beautiful animals who are teaching us so much about their species. Regardless of the project you work on, the experience of being part of this important conservation work is immensely rewarding. Great Ocean Ecolodge (B,D)
Day 9: Cape Otway / Melbourne / Sydney
Today depart your accommodation, and drive to Melbourne Airport to return your rental vehicle prior to boarding your onward flight to Sydney (cost not included). Upon arrival at Sydney Airport, you will be met by your private driver and vehicle and transferred to your accommodation. Four Seasons Hotel (B)
Day 10: Sydney
This morning you will be met at your accommodation by your private guide and vehicle for an exclusive tour of Sydney. Sunny and stylish, energetic and inviting, Sydney shines all year round. Ferries, yachts, jet-boats and harbor cruises share the sparkling waters framed by the world famous white sails of the Opera House and coat-hanger-like Harbour Bridge. The colonial sandstone warehouses of the lively Rocks District nestle at the foot of tall glass towers and contrast with the modernity of the neighboring Darling Harbour. See the highlights of the city, then go off the beaten track with a local expert to discover a side of the city you would never have known existed, full of trendy cafes and breathtaking lookouts.
Take a 1.5 hour guided tour of the Powerhouse Museum with an enthusiastic story teller and share an insight into Australia's largest museum. Learn about the industrial revolution and its impact on Australia’s development. Immerse yourself in cultural and historical Sydney, from a world where horses took you near and far to a modern world where your mobile phones assist you everywhere; you learn a fun story behind the fascinating machines that now resides here. Through the eyes of an Australian, you will experience the power of objects combined with the power of the people who helped to create today’s world. Among an epic collection of treasures, you will see the Boulton & Watt engine, the first New South Wales locomotive and the innovative Hargrave boxkite - the first object to ever fly in Australia!
Travel past Bronte and Tamarama, two iconic local beaches, before heading over to Bondi Beach. Enjoy a delicious lunch as you soak in the atmosphere at a beachside suburb. Then uncover a secluded harbourside bay. Take the opportunity to sink your toes into the sand of one of the city’s most exclusive beaches while gazing at a dazzling city skyline. Then discover residential architecture of Sydney’s most exclusive suburbs before returning to your accommodation. Four Seasons Hotel (B)
Day 11: Sydney / Brisbane
This morning, you are in for a thrilling experience as you make your way independently to Sydney Bridge to climb one of the country’s most famous icons! Check-in for your Bridge Climb experience. During this 3.5-hour, small group adventure, you climb stairs and catwalks never previously opened to the public. You wind your way through a tangle of hatchways and steel girders suspended above the traffic. You'll see the place where the arch was joined for the first time making Sydney Harbour Bridge history, and access walkways only recently used exclusively by maintenance teams. At the top, you will climb between the arches to the summit, 134 meters/440 feet above the water, and see all of Sydney laid out before you - a 360-degree panorama of Sydney. Along the way, a climb leader will share the bridge's rich history and engineering. This afternoon, you will be met at your accommodation by your private driver and vehicle and transferred to Sydney Airport for your onward flight to Brisbane (cost not included).
Upon arrival at Brisbane Airport, you are welcomed by your private driver and vehicle and transferred to your accommodation. The remainder of the day is free. Brisbane, Queensland's capital, offers a warm welcome all year round. Glass skyscrapers shoulder sandstone heritage landmarks, with the Brisbane River snaking its way under the picturesque Story Bridge, past subtropical parklands, walkways, cycle ways and riverside eateries. The colorful urban villages of New Farm, Fortitude Valley, Milton and Paddington showcase some of Brisbane's coolest cafes and hottest designer boutiques. Sofitel Brisbane Central (B)
Day 12: Brisbane / Scenic Rim
This morning you will be met at your accommodation by your private driver and vehicle and transferred to Spicers Balfour Hotel Brisbane. From here, you depart on a small group minibus to the Scenic Rim region (approximately a 2 hour journey), where you will begin your four-day trek with a gently winding ascent that brings you to the twin peaks of Mt Mitchell, an extinct volcano named in 1828 in honor of the Surveyor-General Thomas Mitchell. The guided walking trail takes in sheer cliff faces and breathtaking views over the Scenic Rim and Fassifern Valley, and offers the opportunity to discover local wildlife and plant species along the way. The day concludes with an easy descent into Spicers Peak Station, following the ridgeline back to Spicers Canopy in time for a rustic dinner. (Walking Distance: 1 13 km/8 mi). Spicers Canopy Eco Tent (B,L,D)
Day 13: Scenic Rim
Today is a relaxing day spent exploring the landscapes of Millar Vale Creek. Setting off after a hearty breakfast, your guide will introduce you to the rich local history of the area, which is believed to have been the original route for indigenous traders passing across the Great Dividing Range from inland Australia to the coast. Throughout the day you’ll have the chance to learn more about the local flora and fauna, including koalas, kangaroos, wallabies and a wide range of colorful and occasionally noisy birdlife. And on your return to Spicers Canopy, you can enjoy a host of on-site activities, or simply wind down by the fire side. (Walking Distance: 6.5 km/4 mi). Spicers Canopy Eco Tent (B,L,D)
Day 14: Scenic Rim
Follow in the footsteps of the early settlers and see a part of Queensland that even today only a handful of people have been lucky enough to experience. The trail leads through the dense rainforests of Spicers Peak, complete with giant ferns and awe-inspiring 1,000-year-old Hoop Pines, before opening out to panoramic views of Spicers Gap and the Great Dividing Range. The day draws to a close at Spicers Peak Lodge, with an evening of well-deserved pampering and gourmet dining – the perfect end to a truly unforgettable adventure. (Walking Distance: 13 km/8 mi). Spicers Peak Lodge (B,L,D)
Day 15: Scenic Rim
Today is at leisure to experience the facilities and complimentary activities offered by the resort, including guided daily nature walks, 4-WD excursions, nocturnal walks, and guided mountain bike adventures a well as morning yoga, tennis and swimming. You can also select an optional day at the spa. You enjoy stunning views towards Mount Mitchell, Spicers Peak and Mount Cordeaux. Located next to Australia’s largest and most exclusive private nature reserve, Spicers has unique plant and animal life. Spicers Peak Lodge (B,L,D)
Day 16: Scenic Rim / Brisbane / Depart
This morning, you will be met at your accommodation by your private driver and vehicle and transferred to Brisbane International Airport for your onward flight. (B)
Land price, per person, double occupancy: Price starts from US$650 per person per day, based on a minimum two adults and two teenagers.