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Introduce your family to the breathtaking landscapes, fascinating wildlife, and unique culture of Australia. Explore the magnificent Great Barrier Reef, a UNESCO World Heritage Area and one of the Seven Natural Wonders of the World. Plant a native tree in the Skyrail’s “rain forest regeneration corridor,” and learn about the preservation of Australia’s tropical forests. Encounter the giant red domes of Kata Tjuta (formerly called the
Olgas) during a fun hike, and dine in the bush with an astronomer, who will help you spot the constellations of the Southern Hemisphere. Spend time with the Kuku Yalanji people, following in the footsteps of their ancestors, and take part in a spiritual cleansing ceremony.
Snorkel in a magical world of rainbow-colored fish, turtles, starfish, and sponges at the Great Barrier Reef.
Go spearfishing with members of the Kuku Yalanji people, and learn about their ancient heritage while cooking up the day’s catch.
Get up close to kangaroos, emus, and wallabies at a wildlife park, and even have a chance to feed them.
In the heart of the outback, venture into sandstone canyons beneath towering red rocks, and enjoy dinner under the desert stars with an astronomer.
Itinerary - 10 Days
Day 1 — Cairns, Australia/Port Douglas
Arrive in Cairns and transfer to Port Douglas in time for a welcome dinner. QT Resort Port Douglas (D)
Day 2 — Great Barrier Reef
Your family adventure kicks off with a private cruise to the Great Barrier Reef. Spot parrotfish, starfish, and turtles while snorkeling, and explore the island along rain forest boardwalks. (B,L,D)
Day 3 — Cooya Beach
North of Port Douglas, Cooya Beach is an ancestral fishing ground of the Kuku Yalanji people. Meet members of the Kuku Yalanji and set off across mud flats and around mangroves to hunt for crabs, mussels, and clams, and try your hand at traditional spearfishing. (B,L,D)
Day 4 — Kuranda/Cairns
This morning, visit the village of Kuranda and Australia’s largest butterfly sanctuary. After lunch, soar above Queensland’s tropical tree canopy on the scenic Skyrail Rainforest Cableway, with stops to explore the rain forest at ground level. Plant a native tree in the Skyrail’s “rain forest regeneration corridor,” and learn about the preservation of Australia’s tropical forests. Then travel to Cairns on the Kuranda Scenic Railway, passing waterfalls and stunning gorges. Take a walking tour of Cairns and then enjoy an evening to explore on your own. Doubletree by Hilton (B,L,D)
Days 5 & 6 — Uluru and the Outback
Fly to the heart of the Australian outback and settle into our hotel in Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park, home to colossal sandstone formations dating back millions of years. Encounter the giant red domes of Kata Tjuta (formerly called the Olgas) during a fun hike, and dine in the bush with an astronomer, who will help us spot the constellations of the Southern Hemisphere. Then visit Uluru (formerly Ayers Rock), the largest monolith on Earth. Learn about its spiritual significance to the Aboriginal people while exploring canyons and caves adorned with ancient rock paintings. Desert Gardens Hotel (B,L,D)
Days 7 & 8 — Sydney
Fly to Sydney and tour the city, including the historic Rocks district, Bondi Beach, and the Sydney Opera House. Kids meet their pen pals for a beach picnic, learn to throw boomerangs, and enjoy a fun game of cricket. Parkroyal Darling Harbour (B); (B,L)
Days 9 & 10 — Sydney/Blue Mountains
Get up close to kangaroos, emus, and koalas at a wildlife park. Venture into the Blue Mountains to discover geologic wonders such as the iconic Three Sisters. Our adventure concludes with a farewell dinner cruise in beautiful Sydney Harbour. After breakfast at your hotel, transfer to the Sydney Airport for your flight home. (B,L,D); (B)
Prices are per person, double occupancy. For a single room, add $1,500. On the December departures, there is an additional holiday surcharge of $300 per person.
International airfare to Cairns and return from Sydney and airfare within Australia are not included in the expedition cost. The group flights within Australia are $800 (subject to change).
About this Expedition
We tap into National Geographic’s vast network to design unique travel experiences for the whole family, filled with hands-on activities and memorable moments. A special aspect of this expedition is the Kid-to-Kid Connection. On 2017 departures, kids will meet their pen pals for a beach picnic, learn to throw boomerangs, and enjoy a fun game of cricket.
Our dynamic Expedition Leaders enrich each experience with their insights, knowledge, and energy, and a Young Explorer Leader joins every group to facilitate fun activities that help kids get the most out of the places we go. As we travel, we’ll also meet up with fascinating people doing meaningful work in the field.