President’s Picks: Australia Down Under Canvas

“When one thinks of Australia, the first image that comes to mind is usually the iconic opera house or sacred Uluru (Ayers) Rock. But I see so much more. I see undiscovered roads and overlooked sites. For me, this journey is about canvas… luxury canvas to be sure. This tented camp adventure represents the tangible spirit of the Outback. This is the Australia the masses will miss, yet everyone should experience.”

Country Information

Australia

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)

President's Picks: Australia Down Under Canvas President’s Picks

(Countries Visited)

Australia


(Interest Type(s))
(Tour Length)

15 Days


Tour Highlights

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  • Discover Australia’s second oldest city, Brisbane, on private bicycle tour of the city
  • Travel to Bamurru Plains, a safari lodge with exclusive access to floodplains and savanna woodland on the Mary River on the edge of Kakadu National Park
  • Gain in-depth insight into the Margaret River wine region with its world-class wineries, boutique breweries and colorful arts and crafts galleries
  • Take in beautiful Bouddi National Park, and  Pretty Beach House, a luxurious private guest house with only four spacious one-bedroom pavilion
  • Enjoy a behind-the-scenes private tour of the iconic Sydney Opera House and explore its daily operation

Day 1: Brisbane, Queensland, Australia
Upon arrival at Brisbane International Airport, you are met by a representative of Southern Crossings who will hand over your Australian documentation and transfer you by private vehicle to your accommodation. 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, cycleways 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. Your exquisite camp, Sanctuary by Sirromet, feels a million miles away from the distractions of everyday life in your own premium tented pavilion surrounded by tranquil bushland on the grounds of Sirromet Winery. Elegant comfort and style, each tent has a private balcony that appears to float above the landscape, giving you the impression of a tree house as you gaze across the tree canopy over the lake. Sanctuary By Sirromet - A Premium Pavilion (B)

Day 2: Brisbane
Today you make your way independently into Brisbane to meet your private guide for a half-day Brisbane by Bike tour. Experience a scenic and leisurely ride around the Brisbane River, with no hills or cars. Visit all the main inner-city areas of Brisbane, with time for stories and photography stops. Brisbane has more than 27 km/17 mi of bicycle pathways, mostly surrounding the Brisbane River and city center, and extending to the west of the city. Today fishing and boating are common along the river. Enjoy a brief stop in a gallery or museum before savoring an extended morning tea break in one of Brisbane’s most beautiful parks. Once you have completed the bike ride, the remainder of the day is at leisure.

One of the oldest cities in Australia, Brisbane was founded upon the ancient homelands of the indigenous Turrbal and Jagera peoples. Popular tourist and recreation areas in Brisbane include the South Bank Parklands, Roma Street Parkland, the City Botanic Gardens, Brisbane Forest Park and Portside Wharf. The Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary opened in 1927, and was the world's first koala sanctuary. The suburb of Mount Coot-tha is home to a popular state forest, and the Brisbane Botanic Gardens, which houses the Sir Thomas Brisbane Planetarium and the "Tsuki-yama-chisen" Japanese Garden. Sanctuary By Sirromet - A Premium Pavilion (B)

Day 3: Brisbane
Today is at leisure for you to use as you please. Brisbane had a lively menu of optional activities to consider including a full-day city tour that also visits the wonderful Lone Pine Wildlife and Koala Sanctuary, the world's first koala sanctuary. Ride The Wheel of Brisbane; enjoy riverside cycling and walking paths, lush gardens, vibrant cafes, restaurants and shopping; cruise the Brisbane River; or consider a full-day air trip to Lady Elliott Island to snorkel on the Great Barrier Reef. Take a ferry to the nearby Moreton Island and enjoy dolphin feeding, join a 4WD tour of the island, try sand tobogganing or simply relax and enjoy the facilities at Tangalooma Resort. Take in the iconic Australia Zoo on the Sunshine Coast or spend the day in the stunning rainforest of Lamington National Park with a walk through the Tree Top Walkway and a winery visit. Sanctuary By Sirromet - A Premium Pavilion (B)

Day 4: Brisbane / Darwin / Bamurru Plains
Today you are met at your accommodation by your private driver and vehicle, and transferred to Brisbane Airport for your onward flight to Darwin. Upon arrival at Darwin, you are welcomed by your private driver and vehicle, and taken to Darwin General Aviation Terminal to board your private chartered aircraft for a short, 30-minute scenic flight to Bamurru Plains. At the Bamurru Plains airstrip, you are met by a representative of the lodge for your last transfer of the day your accommodation in an extraordinary bush experience on the coastal floodplains of Australia’s Top End. Bamurru Plains is a safari lodge with exclusive access to floodplains and savanna woodland on the Mary River, on the edge of Kakadu National Park. A profusion of bird and wildlife are waiting at your doorstep in this unique bush experience. Savor a touch of style as well as discovery in a remote and beautiful wilderness. Bamurru Plains Swim Creek Station - Safari Bungalow (B,L,D)

Days 5 & 6: Bamurru Plains
Discover Bamurru Plains over the next two days. This extraordinary wilderness nestles on the coastal floodplains of the Mary River Delta just west of Kakadu National Park in Australia’s Northern Territory. The lodge has nine Safari Bungalow that blend seamlessly with the surrounding bush. The focus is on the key luxury comforts, a supremely comfortable bed, innovative Australian cuisine with hints of bush food and native produce, and premium wines. A self-service bar with a selection of beverages is available throughout the day. This luxury camp insures that you experience the sights and sounds of this spectacular environment in style and exclusivity. It is the soft touches that surprise in this remote bush location and the understated luxury is very much in tune with the environment.

Bamurru’s team of passionate field guides offer a variety of activities. Airboat trips are the best way to access the floodplains and see the extraordinary birdlife up close. Crocodile rivers cruises in late afternoon offer the best chance of sighting these elusive creatures. Wildlife watching in the wetlands, which is a meeting ground for thousands of birds and animals.

Four-wheel drive safaris are in an open-top camp “bull catcher,” an ideal vehicle for exploring savannah bush and plains. Optional activities include Kakadu National Park day trips begin with a short flight to the escarpment country and opens up a range of Aboriginal cultural sites; and fishing for the property’s well-known barramundi. Specialist guides can be arranged. Bamurru Plains Swim Creek Station - Safari Bungalow (B,L,D)

Day 7: Bamurru Plains / Darwin / Perth
Today you are transferred to the airstrip for your onward private flight to Darwin General Aviation Terminal. Upon arrival at Darwin General Aviation Terminal, you are welcomed by your private driver and vehicle and transferred to Darwin Airport for your onward flight to Perth. Upon arrival at Perth Airport, you are met by your private driver and vehicle and transferred to your accommodation. The hotel occupies the “State Buildings”, a group of late Victorian stone and brick buildings that played an important role in the city’s history. A restoration project has returned 95 percent of the buildings to their 19th-century origins. The hotel’s 48 modern rooms are spread over four floors. The architecture includes columns and bold, cantilevered balconies designed in flamboyant neo-Renaissance style. The Wildflower restaurant showcases the best of West Australian ingredients. Menus are produce-driven, with chefs relying on local sources. The rooftop space encompasses a long, thin, steel-framed glass box on the 4th floor, overlooks the city and the Swan River.

The sun-kissed modern city of Perth basks in its glorious isolation from the rest of the country. Here the city’s glittering skyline is reflected in the Swan River. Perth’s pleasures extend beyond its city limits to dozens of golden beaches along its coast. To the south is the vibrant port city of Fremantle that seamlessly combines its maritime and convict heritage with bustling street markets, trendy restaurants and microbreweries. Como The Treasury - Treasury Balcony Room (B)

Day 8: Perth / Margaret River
Today you will be met by your private driver and vehicle, and transferred to your Margaret River on an about three-hour drive. With a commitment to sustainability, simplicity and style, Olio Bello presents six luxury safari-style bungalows nestled around the lake on an award-winning, organic olive farm. Featuring open-planned rooms and adjoining private en suites, with spacious front and rear decks, the bungalow has been carefully designed to showcase the dramatic exterior landscape and natural beauty of the property, while providing a tranquil retreat. A sunset viewing deck and entrance veranda add to the ambiance of the bungalow’s canvas ceilings and walls. The large fly windows and sliding doors allows sweeping views across the lake to the Italian stone pines and distant olive groves and orchard. Olio Bello Margaret River ‑ Bungalow (B)

Day 9: Margaret River
This morning, you are met by your private guide and vehicle for a day tour of the Margaret River. Gain an in-depth and unique insight into the Margaret River wine region. The Margaret River region presents an impressive smorgasbord of great foods, world-class wineries, boutique breweries and colorful arts and crafts galleries. The region features labyrinths of fascinating lime stone caves, white sandy beaches and spectacular coastal scenery. Allow your guide to act as your personal wine consultant for the day. Walk through a vineyard and learn the importance of creating quality fruit. ‘Meet the Maker’ and/or owner from both internationally renowned estates and boutique wineries with a personal introduction to their wines. You are invited to experience a private barrel tasting and tour ‘behind the scenes’ of the winery. To highlight your wine experience, lunch is at an award-winning winery restaurant where you can enjoy Margaret River’s fine wine and food together. After lunch, complete your day with scenic touring or an olive oil tasting and a private tour of the production facility. Or, alternatively, sample some of the fortified wines unique to the Margaret River region. Special arrangements can be made if you have a particular wine from Margaret River that you collect and would like to discuss in detail with the winemaker, if available. Upon conclusion of the tour in late afternoon, you will be transferred to your accommodation. Olio Bello Margaret River ‑ Bungalow (B)

Day 10: Margaret River
This morning you will be met at your accommodation by your private guide and vehicle for a day tour of the Margaret River. Start the day with a canoe trip down a stunning section of the tranquil Margaret River. You will then head to the beach to see how the winemakers relax. Experience a unique wine and nature lovers’ experience and discover the French wine concept of terroir and why the Margaret River produces some of the world’s best wines. Connect with nature then match your favorite wine with fresh local produce while you lunch in the barrel room at one of the region’s emerging superstar wineries.

Start the day with a canoe trip down a stunning section of the tranquil Margaret River. You will then head to the beach to see how the winemakers relax. The next stop is an ancient waterhole to spot freshwater Marron and wildlife and to taste local honey and reflect on Aboriginal history dating back more than 30,000 years.

Savor lunch at one the region’s most celebrated emerging superstar wineries, Fraser Gallop Estate. Enjoy exclusive access to the working winery and vineyard and enjoy some of the best wines in the region matched with local produce amid barrels of wine. End the day with a 4WD adventure and walk on a spectacular section of the Cape to Cape Track ‑ the Wilyabrup Cliffs. Travel along a restricted access 4WD track that offers stunning cliff top views. High above the Indian Ocean the epic scenery, fresh sea breezes and surrounding ancient soils provide a deeper understanding of the unique terroir of the Margaret River region. Depending on season, you may glimpse dolphins, sharks, whales, kangaroos and eagles. Upon conclusion of the tour you will be transferred to your accommodation. Olio Bello Margaret River ‑ Bungalow (B)

Day 11: Margaret River / Perth / Sydney
Today you will be met at your accommodation by your private driver and vehicle and transferred about three hours to Perth Airport for your onward flight to Sydney. Upon arrival at Sydney Airport, you are met by your private driver and vehicle and transferred to your accommodation. Situated high on a ridge, adjacent to traditional Aboriginal rock carvings in the beautiful Bouddi National Park, just 90 minutes north of Sydney, Pretty Beach House is a luxurious private guest house with only four spacious one-bedroom pavilions. You are welcomed as if in a private home, where all meals and drinks are included as part of the hospitality. The heart of the property is the Main House, which offers atrium-style dining, a lounge and cocktail bar, open fireplace plus infinity pool and deck. The pavilions offer king bedrooms with separate dressing rooms, open-plan sitting areas, fully stocked bars, private decks with day beds and some with log fireplaces and heated plunge pools. Pretty Beach House presents a complete gastronomic experience. The food of celebrated chef Stefano Manfredi is available all day, guests may dine in the atrium dining room, privately within their own pavilion, in the wine cellar, or al fresco among the ancient angophoras and native eucalypts that surround the property. An extensive range of premium wines and spirits compliment the gastronomic experience. The serene bushland setting offers rest and relaxation, while secluded beaches are within easy walking distance.

Bouddi National Park is located on the Central Coast near Gosford. The beautiful park has spectacular diverse landscapes - from beaches and steep cliffs to rainforest and heathland. Bouddi National Park is home to stunning attractions, including one of Australia's first marine protected areas, unique animals and significant Aboriginal sites. Pretty Beach House ‑ The Retreat (B,L,D)

Day 12: Bouddi National Park
Today is yours to use as you wish. The following activities are included in your Pretty Beach House experience. Indigenous Didgeridoo Smoking Ceremony, including canapés and cocktails; mountain bike riding; bush walks; lunch or dinner at the sister property of Bells at Killcare, with private transfers and a tour of kitchen gardens. You can also opt for activities offered for an additional cost, and include a luxury “picnic” cruise to secret coves and bays; fishing charters; a guided Indigenous Cultural Tour hosted by traditional Aboriginal Elder; guided bush walks; private cooking classes; private wine tasting in the Wine Cellar with local wine expert; a gourmet wine tour of the Hunter Valley Region; kayaking and paddle boarding; horse riding; quad biking; and golf. You can also select the optional Australian Walkabout Park and Australian Reptile Park tour; personal training session at Killcare Surf Club; or treatments at the Bouddi Spa. Pretty Beach House ‑ The Retreat (B,L,D)

Day 13: Bouddi National Park / Sydney
Today you will be met at your accommodation by your private driver and vehicle and transferred to your Sydney accommodation. Sunny and stylish, energetic and inviting, Sydney shines all year round. Ferries, yachts, jetboats and harbor cruises share the sparkling waters framed by the world famous white sails of the Opera House and Harbour Bridge, said to look like the shape of a coat hanger. 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.

Later, you are met at your accommodation by your private guide for an hour-and-a-half walking tour of famous The Rocks district. Let your experienced guide entertain you with lively tales from Sydney’s colorful past while enjoying the ambience of the vibrant present. Learn how The Rocks was inhabited by that First Fleet of convicts arriving into Sydney Cove in 1788. Up onto the rocky land a human cargo landed, beginning the British Australian story. Your guide will share with you this story of triumph over tragedy and introduce the characters from this early convict settlement era.

Still to be seen today are the storehouses, pubs and working-class cottages from the time when this place took on all of the characteristics of a dockside area and a disease-ridden slum. Today, The Rocks is renowned for having the oldest streets in Sydney dotted with beautifully restored nineteenth century buildings. You weave your way through hidden narrow alleyways, along charming cobbled lanes and into shady courtyards, linger by quaint terrace cottages and visit a gothic church. At the conclusion of your tour make your way independently to your accommodation. The Langham Sydney - Deluxe City Terrace Room (B)

Day 14: Sydney
This morning you will be met at your accommodation by your private guide and vehicle for your half day exclusive Aboriginal experience. Your guide for today is one of Sydney’s most respected Aboriginal Elders of the Dunghutti people. You will be immersed in a living Aboriginal cultural journey throughout Sydney. There will be plenty of time to get to know your host, ask questions and develop an understanding Australia’s Aboriginal people, their history and spirituality.

The day begins with a traditional spiritual ‘Welcome to Country’ ceremony on a sacred piece of land overlooking Sydney Harbour. You will experience the Aboriginal custom of gratitude for the land and the sun rising. It’s spiritual, grounding and very moving. The Aboriginal history of the land will be brought to life as your host takes you to sacred Dreamtime sites and ancient rock engravings hidden around Sydney. Journey north across the Sydney Harbour Bridge to learn how Aboriginal people lived in ancient times and how they maintain their cultural connection today. You will see sandstone rock engravings and learn about the significance to the culture.

Stop for lunch before traveling on to the Sydney Opera House for a private guided tour of this Australian icon. A cultural and architectural masterpiece, our foremost tourist attraction is home to some of the world's most celebrated performing arts companies. This hour tour explores the Sydney Opera House in its daily operation. You will be guided into theatres and given a fascinating account of the history and architecture of the house and be introduced to the world of performing arts in Australia today. Mid-afternoon, you will be transferred to your accommodation, and the remainder of the day is at leisure. The Langham Sydney - Deluxe City Terrace Room (B)

Day 15: Sydney / Depart
Today you will be met at your accommodation by your private driver and vehicle and transferred to Sydney Airport for your onward flight. (B)

Land price, per person, double occupancy: Price starts from US$900 per person per day.

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