- Stay in three spectacular National Geographic Unique Lodges of the World: Lizard Island, Longitude 131°, and Southern Ocean Lodge.
- Wake up to views of the sunrise over Uluru, and examine its ancient rock paintings with a guide.
- Sip sundowners alongside grazing kangaroos and wallabies on Kangaroo Island, known as “Australia’s Galápagos.”
- Discover the Great Barrier Reef’s underwater world of sea turtles and schooling fish while snorkeling, diving, or glass-bottom boating.
From the rock domes of the Red Center to the intricate corals of the Great Barrier Reef, enjoy an intimate perspective on some of Australia’s grandest treasures. Get an insider’s view of Sydney with a private guide; discover remote stretches of the world’s largest barrier reef from secluded Lizard Island; and sleep within sight of sacred Uluru, where you’ll learn about the Aboriginal traditions that infuse the outback. Then fly to Kangaroo Island to experience close encounters with the unique species that inhabit “Australia’s Galápagos."
Land in Sydney and transfer to your hotel in the Rocks district. Now brimming with cozy cafés and galleries, this historic neighborhood marks the spot of the first European settlement in Australia. Set out on a guided walk through this waterfront area, located at the foot of the colossal Harbour Bridge, and enjoy a tour of the famed Sydney Opera House with a private guide.
Take to the water on a charter boat this afternoon for a cruise across Sydney Harbour. Catch spectacular views of the city’s iconic Opera House as you make your way to the sandy beaches of Watson’s Bay. Along the way, uncover hidden coves and refreshing swimming spots, and go fishing if you wish. Sit down to lunch on deck, savoring grilled specialties from the “barbie,” and then return to the city for an evening at leisure.
Fly via Cairns to Lizard Island, a pristine national park of sugar-white beaches and mangrove forests bordered by the Great Barrier Reef, giving visitors unparalleled access to its extraordinary marine ecosystem. Your destination is Lizard Island Resort, a National Geographic Unique Lodge of the World. Settle into your villa with views of the sea, and get familiar with the surrounding beaches and nature trails. Take in stunning seascapes from the restaurant patio tonight.
Delve into an underwater world of brilliant coral formations and neon-colored fish living among the reefs that surround Lizard Island. Discover the wonders of this aquatic world in a variety of ways, snorkeling amid diverse marine life or riding across crystalline waters on a catamaran, motorized dinghy, or a pair of glass-bottom paddle skis. A wide range of optional diving trips and lessons are also available for those who seek to explore the underwater world further. This evening, enjoy local seafood and refreshments on a sunset cruise, and watch for marine life as twilight hues illuminate the barrier reef.
Spend another day on the water, seeking out new coral patches or boating to a secluded bay for swimming and stunning sea views. Or opt for a land-based excursion and explore some of Lizard Island’s many nature trails on foot. You may also wish to take an optional trip to the Lizard Island Research Station—a coral research facility sponsored and operated by the Australian Museum.
Fly to Cairns and spend an evening at leisure, strolling the waterfront boardwalk or relaxing at your hotel, located next to the marina.
This morning, swap the coast for the desert and fly to the heart of the vast Australian outback. Settle into your luxury tented pavilion at Longitude 131°, a member of the National Geographic Unique Lodges of the World collection poised at the gateway to Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage site. From your window-walled bedroom, relish magnificent views of the sacred red monolith of Uluru. Enjoy dinner with panoramic views in the Dune House, or opt for a special meal under the stars at Table 131°.
Choose from an array of guided adventures into Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park, immersing yourself in the mysticism and beauty of the surrounding landscapes. Visit a centuries-old watering hole at the base of Uluru, learn about the spiritual significance of the monolith's ancient cave paintings, and hear the creation stories of the area's traditional custodians. Walk into the Walpa Gorge, which cuts between two of the 36 domed-rock formations of Kata Tjuta, and visit the park’s cultural center. As a National Geographic guest, you’re invited to join the lodge’s chef in the kitchen this afternoon for an exclusive introduction to outback cuisine, known as bush tucker. Later in the day, take an optional excursion to the interior crevices of Uluru and sip champagne in Kantju Gorge as you watch the descending sun set its red rock walls ablaze.
Fly via Adelaide to Kangaroo Island and spend the next three nights at the elegant Southern Ocean Lodge, a National Geographic Unique Lodge perched on a rugged stretch of coastal cliffs, offering sweeping views of the turquoise waters below. Take an afternoon walk along the bluff, keeping an eye out for unusual wildlife, or relax on the lodge’s terrace and soak in the spectacular scenery. As a guest of National Geographic, you’re invited on a private “back-of-the-house” tour of this magnificent property to learn about its innovative design and cutting-edge sustainable technology.
Delve deeper into Kangaroo Island’s pristine landscapes, encountering the rare plant and animal species that inhabit “Australia’s Galápagos.” Choose from a variety of naturalist-guided activities, each designed to immerse you in this unique ecosystem. Explore the island’s coastal landscapes on a tour featuring its maritime history, unique rock formations, and diverse marine life. Or, spend time with the hundreds of sea lions that live along Seal Bay. In the evening, enjoy sundowners and canapés as you watch colonies of kangaroos and wallabies graze in surrounding fields.
Enjoy a final day of excursions on Kangaroo Island. Join a naturalist for a walk along coastal cliffs, or journey into Flinders Chase National Park to see some of the island’s natural icons: the Remarkable Rocks and Admirals Arch, home to a fur seal colony. Or opt to explore these rugged landscapes on your own, setting out on foot or mountain bike across the island nature trails. Your lodge also offers a host of optional excursions, including kayaking, beach fishing, nocturnal tours, and more. Cap off your experience with an incredible locally sourced meal in the elegant dining room or on the terrace, overlooking the waves below.
Return to Sydney for an evening at leisure.
Transfer to the airport and catch your international flight home.