The Australian Grand Tour – September 7th – October 4th (This tour is no longer available)
2010 was one of the coldest and wettest years in recent Australian history, and we arrived in Melbourne smack in the middle of it! But this did allow us to see the Red Centre of Australia in all its finery, as plants and trees thrived and blossomed in the unaccustomed rainfall.
We experienced the sunset at Uluru (Ayres Rock), the sunrise at Kata Tjuta (The Olgas); the heat and humidity, as well as the crocodiles and the spectacular birdlife in Kakadu; the thrill of a lifetime snorkelling on the Great Barrier Reef, some of us scaled the Sydney Harbour Bridge, or were transported around the spectacular harbour. We also enjoyed travelling along the Great Ocean Road, walking the coastal footpaths and seeing the 12 Apostles in the Apollo Bay area. The heat and humidity of the Cape Tribulation rainforest was exchanged for the relative coolness of the Atherton Highlands. And the Blue Mountains near Sydney really were blue thanks to the eucalyptus trees, but I’m not clear why.
Our experienced guides regaled us with stories of Aboriginal Dreamtime and we were shown rare and ancient examples of their rock art, including their first encounters with Europeans.
We saw kangaroos, wallabies, koalas and seals on Kangaroo Island, crocodiles and a list of birds far too long to list in Kakadu particularly, but made memorable by their colour and variety.
Sydney Opera House and the Bridge glowing in the early morning sun and the skyline along the harbour at Circular Key lit up in the evening as I approached on the ever-popular Manly ferry – memories that will remain with me forever.
28 days barely allowed us to experienced Australia, but it’s certain that all of us who made this trip will have a lifetime of unforgettable and pleasurable memories, stories to tell our families and friends, a love for the country and a desire to return for more.