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Ultimate Australia 2014

From Only:
Itinerary : Melbourne Sydney

Trip Extensions

Pre-trip: Tasmania: Australia's Natural Heritage

One hundred and fifty miles off the southeastern coast of mainland Australia sits Tasmania—a land of pristine natural beauty with a history that is equally well-preserved. Begin your travel in Australia with an exploration of the continent's only island state.

It's Included:
Airfare from Melbourne to Hobart and from Launceston to Melbourne
Accommodations for 2 nights in Hobart, 1 night in Cradle Mountain, and 2 nights in Launceston
8 meals—5 breakfasts, 1 lunch, and 2 dinners
5 small group activities
Services of an expert OAT Trip Leader
All transfers

    Relax on your overnight flight from as you begin your journey to Tasmania.

    Continue your journey to Tasmania. By crossing the International Date Line you lose a day, but you will make it up on the return end of your adventure.

  • Upon arrival on the Australian mainland—either Sydney or Melbourne, depending on your departure date—an OAT Trip Leader will meet our group and accompany us on our connecting flight to Hobart. In the evening, we'll enjoy a Welcome Dinner.

  • We rise early for breakfast this morning and then enjoy an early morning guided walking tour of historic Hobart. Here we get a glimpse of Hobart’s rich history as we tour the city center, Salamanca Place, and its surrounding areas.

    This rather small city is the capital of the Australian State of Tasmania, the largest offshore island in the country. It is a seaport where you are never far from the water, while on its landward side Mount Wellington rises more than 4,100 feet above the ocean’s edge. Hobart has a fascinating blend of Aboriginal, colonial, and maritime history that includes a wealth of Georgian architecture dating from its colonial period in the 1830s.

    After the walking tour, perhaps you'll join us for an optional tour to historic Port Arthur, which explores one of Australia’s most important historic sites. Port Arthur served as a prison colony for Australia between 1830 and 1877 when some 12,000 convicts were confined here. A whole network of prisons once dominated the island. On arrival we start at the Visitor Center, where an interactive interpretive gallery explains much of the history of the penal colony. We then take a guided walking tour that brings us to some of the restored buildings and ruins that were part of the prison system, followed by one-hour harbor cruise. We have some free time to stroll around the charming and well-maintained grounds before we return to our hotel.

    The evening is at leisure with dinner on your own.

    • Meals included:
    • Accommodations:

    Today we enjoy breakfast and then check out of our hotel and begin a full day of touring as we travel to Cradle Mountain.

    Along the way, we visit Bonorong Wildlife Sanctuary, Tasmania's most popular wildlife park and a sanctuary for injured and orphaned wildlife. Here we may see  species that are extinct everywhere but Tasmania, such as the Tasmanian Devil, the Eastern Quoll, the Tasmanian Pademelon, and the shy Tasmanian Bettong. Then, we'll stop at Ross and enjoy an included lunch. We arrive in Cradle Mountain, where dinner will be at our lodge, which has beautiful open log fires and reading rooms for relaxation.

  • Today we spend the morning in Cradle Mountain National Park, part of Tasmania's World Heritage area. Cradle Mountain is Tasmania's best-known national park, and you will quickly see why. This is an area of spectacular natural vistas—high mountains towering over gorges and lakes, and with unusual wild moorlands that stretch for miles beyond the park. There are several excellent walking trails that bring you close to the sights and sounds of the park.

    We leave the park and travel to Launceston, via Sheffield. Located near Mount Roland, Sheffield is known as the "Town of Murals" for the spectacular paintings that the town's history and landscape inspire.

  • After breakfast this morning, we depart for a half-day tour of Launceston.

    We visit Cataract Gorge, a wild, magnificent spot where high vertical cliffs stretch along the banks of the South Esk River. We cross the Gorge over the Alexandra Suspension Bridge and enjoy some stunning views.

    We then head back to town and meander through the city itself, where 19th-century houses and Victorian-era warehouses still stand. We pass by Princes Square and City Park, where an excellent collection of exotic trees, gardens, and fountains enliven the landscape.

    We return to the hotel by noon. Lunch is on your own. After lunch, you have the afternoon at leisure.

    Tonight, dinner is on your own.

    • Meals included:

    This morning, we have breakfast before transferring to the airport for our flight to Melbourne to join the main trip. We arrive in Melbourne to begin a new series of explorations and discoveries, arriving on Day 3 of Ultimate Australia.