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Expedition Details


With its whimsical wildlife, unusual geology, and one of the oldest cultures on the planet, there is much that is extraordinary about Australia. Venture to this diverse continent to explore great cities like Sydney and Melbourne, as well as wild places from Tasmania to the Daintree Rainforest. Encounter Tasmanian devils, fairy penguins, kangaroos, and more; and experience the breathtaking underwater world of the Great Barrier Reef.

Trip Highlights

    • Explore some of Australia’s most spectacular wildernesses: Tasman Island, Cradle Mountain, and the Daintree Rainforest.
    • Get acquainted with Tasmania’s rare creatures on a private visit to the Bonorong Wildlife Sanctuary.
    • Go snorkeling or float in a glass-bottom boat on the Great Barrier Reef.
    • Get a new perspective on the natural world while exploring the Daintree Rainforest with the Kuku Yalanji people.

Itinerary - 12 Days

Days 1 & 2 — Sydney, Australia

Arrive in Sydney this morning and take a private cruise through its stunning harbor. Visit the Royal Botanic Gardens, and take a behind-the-scenes tour of the Sydney Opera House. Set out on an optional excursion to climb Sydney’s iconic Harbour Bridge.
Intercontinental Sydney (D; B,L)

Days 3 & 4 — Hobart, Tasmania/Tasmin Island/Port Arthur

Fly to Tasmania to tour the capital of Hobart. Enjoy a private visit to the Bonorong Wildlife Sanctuary with National Geographic grantee Dr. Stewart Nicol. The next day, see Tasman Island’s geological formations on a coastal wilderness cruise run by ecotourism pioneer Robert Pennicott, named a National Geographic Traveler of the Year in 2012. Wander the ruins of Port Arthur, a historic prison colony.
Henry Jones Art Hotel(B, L,D; B, L)

Days 5 & 6 — Cradle Mountain-Lake Saint Clair National Park

Travel north to Mount Field National Park, pausing for a walk to Russell Falls. Glimpse the island's agricultural tradition at Curringa Farm, an operating sheep farm, and enjoy lunch and a sheep-shearing demonstration. Settle into our award-winning lodge at the edge of Cradle Mountain-Lake Saint Clair National Park, and spend a full day exploring the park's rugged, glacially sculpted landscapes on guided walks. Discover ancient rain forests and alpine heathlands, jagged mountains and glacial lakes. Go for a night drive in search of wombats, wallabies, and possums.
Cradle Mountain Lodge(B,L,D DAILY)

Days 7 & 8 — Melbourne/Phillip Island

Transfer to Launceston for your flight to Melbourne, known as the cultural capital of Australia. Visit famous landmarks such as the Queen Victoria Market, Melbourne Arts Centre, the Melbourne Cricket Ground, and the lively beach town of St. Kilda. The next day, journey to Phillip Island, just off the southern coast. Venture down treetop boardwalks with a park ranger to view koalas up close at the Koala Conservation Centre. Witness the famous fairy penguin parade from a viewing platform at dusk. Alternatively, take an optional excursion along the Great Ocean Road to see the towering rock formations known as the Twelve Apostles.
Sofitel Melbourne on Collins (B,L; B,D)

Days 9 & 10 — Cairns/Port Douglas/Great Barrier Reef

Fly to Cairns. En route to our beach lodge in Port Douglas, stop at James Cook University to meet with National Geographic grantee Dr. Adam Barnett, a renowned shark researcher. Hear about his studies on deep-sea sharks such as the sevengill, and take a tour of his research aquarium. Enjoy an evening at leisure before our full-day adventure on the world's largest reef system. Embark on a cruise by motorized catamaran to the outer reef and spend the day discovering some of the 2,000 species that inhabit the Great Barrier Reef. Observe the reef from a viewing platform, take a ride in a glass-bottom boat, or go on a private snorkeling tour in this incredible marine ecosystem. Scuba diving is also available for certified divers, at an additional cost.
Thala Lodge (B; B,L)

Day 11 — Daintree Rainforest

Begin the day with a cruise on the Daintree River, in search of crocodiles at the convergence of salt and fresh water. Then set off with an indigenous guide on a Ngadiku Dreamtime Walk at Mossman Gorge for an intimate look at the connection of culture and spirituality with the land. Celebrate our journey down under at a farewell dinner tonight.
Thala Lodge (B,L,D)

Day 12 — Port Douglas/Cairns

Transfer to Cairns for your return flight.

Optional Extensions

Related Trips

National Geographic Expert

Roff Smith

Roff SmithAward-winning author and photographer Roff Smith has written more than 20 feature stories for National Geographic magazine, plus numerous features on National Geographic’s daily news website. A contracted photographer for National Geographic Creative, he has published two travel books—Cold Beer and Crocodiles and Life on the Ice (about his extensive travels around Antarctica)—with National Geographic Adventure Press, contributed to large-format titles for the National Geographic book division, and written the National Geographic Traveler: Australia guidebook. Roff is also a highly experienced touring cyclist and adventurer. He has completed a 10,000-mile solo odyssey around Australia, along with solo treks in Africa, Europe, North America and Britain. He has cycled on all seven continents, including Antarctica, where he says he “once rode 'round the world in under ten seconds while on assignment at The South Pole.” Roff has written extensively on bicycle touring, edited two books on bicycle frame building and is a London City & Guilds certified bicycle mechanic and wheel builder.

Roff will join the following departures:

Dec 30, 2017 - Jan 11, 2018
Jan 21 - Feb 01, 2018


  • Oct 22 - Nov 02, 2017
  • Dec 30, 2017 - Jan 11, 2018
  • Jan 21 - Feb 01, 2018
  • Feb 18 - Mar 01, 2018

*The December departures are one day longer and include New Year's Eve in Sydney, as well as an extra day in Hobart, coinciding with the Taste of Tasmania festival.

Expedition Cost

January - October, 2017


December 30, 2017 (13 days)*


January - February, 2018


Price is per person, double occupancy. For a single room, add $3,700 in October, January, and February, and $4,700 in December.

International airfare to Sydney and return from Cairns and internal airfare are not included in the expedition cost. Group flights within Australia are $800-$825 (subject to change).

Extend Your Stay

Extend your trip to Uluru with a stay at Longitude 131° or to Kangaroo Island with a stay at Southern Ocean Lodge, both members of the National Geographic Unique Lodges of the World collection. Please call for details.