From: $8,310 USD
Duration: 12 days/11 nights
Type: Groups, Private Charter, Shared.
We have developed this exclusive itinerary with our US travel specialist Swain Destinations. Their team will help you to create your most memorable vacation according to your travel preferences. Please fill out the inquiry form and it will be forwarded to one of their expert consultants who will contact you as soon as possible.
Day 1: Arrive Melbourne, transfer to your accommodation for the next two nights.
Day 2: Explore the history and attractions of the city, with a half day Boroughs of Melbourne tour, with time at leisure to explore on your own afterwards. The many attractions of the city vary from the spectacular parklands and gardens that surround the city, to the museums and festivals that are a continuing part of the city life. Excellent restaurants are on every corner and cater to every taste.
Day 3: Upon arrival into Mildura from Melbourne Airport (MEL), meet your Echidna Walkabout wildlife guide to commence an epic private adventure across the Australian outback at Lake Mungo in the Willandra Lakes World Heritage Area.
The day commences at one of Australia' most significant places, at the junction of the Murray and Darling Rivers. Of special significance to both indigenous and non-indigenous Australians, you will be captivated by stark contrasts of this beautiful watercourse flowing through semi-arid landscapes. The afternoon offers guided walks across the region in search of birds, marsupials and reptiles taking refuge along the rivers and billabongs of the arid country.
Day 4: The day starts at Hattah-Kulkyne National Park; a 50,000 hectare reserve famed for its incredible mix of dryland and wetland bird life and rich landscapes including red and yellow sand dunes, riverine forests, natural lakes and wetlands. Hattah Kulkyne is home to a wide range of birds and reptiles, including two species of large monitors. This lake system provides the perfect backdrop for lunch, before the groups's next stop at Lake Mungo in the Willandra Lakes World Heritage Area along straight dirt roads deep into the desert.
Later in the afternoon, you will check into Mungo Lodge, where two days of safari walks and drives will commence. To begin this journey we walk to a lookout over the dry lakebed of Lake Mungo near sunset, where the guide will share how the Willandra Lakes System dried out over thousands of years as the climate warmed.
The remarkable landscapes provide abundant opportunities to see Major Mitchell Cockatoos and Cockatiels, Emus along with chats and arid land fairy wrens. The Crested Bellbird is often heard and sometimes seen. Raptors including the Spotted Harrier, Black Falcon, Grey Falcon and Wedge-tailed Eagle are known to nest in the area, with two species of kangaroo also residing in the area.
Day 5: You will catch the sunrise with your guide whilst exploring the ancient shoreline of dry Lake Mungo. This is the ideal time to spot cockatoos, parrots, kangaroos and emus, often seen in large numbers. Additional photo opportunities await across the dry bed to reach the spectacular lunettes (wind-curved sand dunes). You will be fascinated with the "story line" through 50,000 years of Aboriginal History beginning at the lake bed and rising high into the eroded dunes. Insights will be shared about how the Aboriginal people lived within the region, with evidence of their camp sites, remains of their cooking fires and, depending on the movement of the sand and soil, it may even be possible to discover new sites!
Your guide will also point out evidence of extinct fauna and share this once thriving wetland, where large numbers of waterbirds and animals co-existed beside a vibrant population of Aboriginal People for tens of thousands of years. Burial sites continue to be exposed throughout the Willandra Lakes World Heritage Area and are monitored carefully by Traditional Owners to minimise disturbance and engender respect for their ancestors. Due to the sacred nature of these burial sites they are not accessible to the general public.
Traversing by vehicle and on foot, you will encounter four different ecosystems during a circumnavigation of Lake Mungo, ranging from dry lakebeds to rich sandy bush country. This will provide the perfect opportunity to search for birds and other animals and learn about the vegetation in this constantly changing landscape.
Day 6: After an optional early morning bird walk, enjoy a final breakfast at Mungo Lodge before driving out of the desert to fly to Melbourne or Sydney airport, for your flight to Cairns, where you will stay for the next three nights.
Day 7: Today enjoy a full day excursion to the Great Barrier Reef with Frankland Islands Reef Cruises, visiting Normanby Island in the beautiful Frankland Islands National Park Island group. Here you will see vibrant fringing reefs and a vast array of marine species, including beautiful hard and soft corals, turtles and a huge variety of fish, including the ever-popular Ocellaris Clownfish (Nemo) found in two rare jewel-blue anemones.
Normanby Island provides some of the best snorkelling of all the islands near Cairns, with exceptional water quality and visibility aided by the island's unique geographic location and cool water channels surrounding the area. Commencing with a scenic 30-minute cruise down the Mulgrave River lined by verdant rainforest and mangroves supporting abundant bird species and Saltwater Crocodiles, the Turtle Islander vessel ventures out to the traditional sea country of the Mandingalby Yidinji and Gungandji peoples. This archipelago is located only 10 kilometres offshore, being the shortest sea crossing of any Great Barrier Reef day trip.
Choose from a range of optional activities with marine biologists, including a snorkel safari, island guided walk and semi-submarine experience.
Day 8: This afternoon, head out on a Daintree Twilight tour. Experience the magical views of the Great Barrier Reef Drive and observe the changes in habitat diversity as the tour ventures into the Daintree Tropical Rainforest. Cruise the Daintree River spotting wildlife on a quiet, clean solar electric boat with zero environmental impact. Dining in the evening Rainforest is an experience not to miss! Then enjoy a nocturnal wildlife tour - much of the local wildlife has adopted a nocturnal lifestyle to avoid the heat of the day in the tropical climate. Perhaps the most unique part of this experience is to observe nocturnal wildlife in the Wet Tropics. Return to Cairns later evening
Day 9: Transfer to the airport for you flight to Sydney, your base for the next three nights.
Day 10: You don't have to go far from Sydney to experience Australia's fabulous wildlife - you just have to know where to look. This is the ideal afternoon/evening tour in which to encounter iconic Australian wildlife. Travel in a luxury 4WD vehicle to the South Coast and Southern Highland areas in search of kangaroos, wallabies, platypuses, possums, wombats and koalas in their natural settings. Great bird-life viewing is possible, including parrots, lyrebirds, bowerbirds and kookaburras. There is stunning scenery and short bush walks.
Day 11: At your leisure to explore the city of Sydney. It’s been said that Sydney never sleeps. In daylight hours the city buzzes with life and remains active long after workers have left their offices. All-night pubs, cutting-edge dance clubs, and gay reviews could keep you out until dawn. Fancy a late-night meal or a final coffee - that’s not a problem. Be seen on trendy Oxford Street from Darlinghurst to Paddington or try the Woolloomooloo Finger Wharf, Surry Hills, the quay or the Rocks.
Day 12: Today you will transfer to Sydney airport for your departing flight.
Terms & Conditions
*Prices are quoted in USD and are ‘from’, per person, based on double occupancy. Price excludes all airfares. Add domestic flights MEL-MQL-CNS-SYD from US$695pp.Travel may be limited to certain days of the week. Hotels and tours remain subject to availability and only available on certain days of the week. Please note blackout dates may apply to Christmas, New Year and local special event periods. CST #2012413-20 See our full Terms and Conditions.
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