Australia: Down Under Delights

March 23-April 1, 2019 • 10 Days • $4475**

**Pricing with New Traveler Discount: $4175

We are excited to present the 2019 edition of the New Zealand & Australia walking adventure! No other program we offer presents such a diversity of experiences over such a wide range of climatic, cultural, and geological extremes. From the mystical red desert in the outback at Ayers Rock to the pristine mountain scenery of New Zealand’s Southern Alps; from Sydney’s cosmopolitan glitz and glamour to the unpretentious home stays in New Zealand’s South Island; from the primordial limestone canyons of the Blue Mountains to the cool fjordland beauty of Doubtful Sound, this corner of the world presents an amazingly rich kaleidoscope of experiences and heritages for us to explore and enjoy.

**Traveler Rewards Program 2019: New Travelers receive a $300 discount on the Australia: Down Under Delights tour! Returning travelers receive our Alumni Traveler Discount of 5-10% off the main tour price. Terms, exclusions and conditions apply. Check out our Traveler Rewards page for more details.

Hidden Tasmania Extension

April 1-5, 2019 • 5 Days • $2750

(15-person minimum)

We are excited to announce a NEW Extension to Tasmania! This value-packed 5-day tour offers an introduction to the weird and wonderful creatures of this island, a look at some of Australia’s layered history as the site of penal colonies, pioneering whalers, and more; and walks amidst Tasmania’s fantastic geological features.

View Daily Itinerary

Combo Package

New Zealand (12 days) and Australia (10 days) are available as two separate Adventures; they can also be combined into one unforgettable 21-day Down Under experience. For those with a yen to explore the rugged wonderland of Tasmania, Australia’s fascinating island state, the Hidden Tasmania Extension can be added to the combined experience or to Australia Only.

LAND PACKAGE PRICING:

  • New Zealand & Australia
    March 12–April 1, 2019 * 21 Days * $9465
  • New Zealand Only
    March 12–March 23, 2019 * 12 Days * $4990
  • Australia Only
    March 23–April 1, 2019 * 10 Days * $4475
  • Hidden Tasmania Extension
    April 1–5, 2019 * 5 Days * $2750
    (15-person minimum)

To help offset half-way-around-the-world jetlag, we encourage travelers to arrive early into either New Zealand or Australia (if starting there). In New Zealand, we offer a 2-day early arrival Auckland package. Travelers opting for this package will arrive into Auckland on March 10, which allows us to share a special full-day experience on Waiheke Island. In Australia, we have booked rooms in our Melbourne hotel for those who wish to arrive a day early (on March 22).

AIR PACKAGE PRICING (Optional): **

Group airfare with Air New Zealand and Virgin Australia Airlines for the full Adventure includes roundtrip flights from Los Angeles, 2 internal flights in New Zealand, 2 internal flights in Australia, the flight between New Zealand and Australia, and the flight to Tasmania. Flights for the full Adventure take us on the equivalent of nearly one circumference of the globe and are a significant element of the trip expense. The optional air package is as follows.

  • New Zealand & Australia: $2399
  • New Zealand Only: $1699
  • Australia Only: $2270
  • New Zealand, Australia & Tasmania Extension: $2620
  • Australia & Tasmania Extension: $2450

**NOTE: These prices are based upon departure from the Los Angeles International Airport on the arrival dates of March 10 (New Zealand) and March 22 (Australia).

It may be more cost-effective for you to fly out of one of our two other available gateway airports – Chicago or Houston. There may be a change in pricing for requesting different departure dates and gateway cities. Connecting flights from your hometown to one of these three departure airports may also be available as an add-on to your group airfare.

Contact our office for more details on group airfare and pricing at 800.779.0353 or [email protected].

Australia

Including:

  • Airport to hotel group transfers on first and last day
  • All land travel as outlined
  • Superior tourist-class or better hotel accommodations (3-4 star)
  • 14 meals: 9 breakfasts and 5 dinners as listed (BD)
  • All listed walks
  • Fees for walking credit (if IVV approved)
  • WAI guide service throughout (2 guides)
  • Local guides in Melbourne, Ayers Rock, Blue Mountains, and Sydney
  • All tipping for local guides and coach drivers
  • Pricing is based on double occupancy; single rooms are available for an additional supplement of $1090.

Activities/Visits to:

  • Colonial Tramcar Restaurant – Melbourne
  • Koala & Kangaroo Expedition – Melbourne
  • Guided 4-Wheel Drive Mt Conner Outback Experience with special starlight dinner – Ayers Rock
  • Sydney Harbour ferry – Sydney
  • … plus more fun stops than we can list!

Optional Excursions:

  • Sydney Opera House Tour (Day 9)
  • Sydney Bridge Climb (Day 9)
  • Sydney Harbour Cruise (Day 9)

Tasmania Extension

(15-person minimum)

Including:

  • Airport to hotel group transfers in Sydney and Hobart
  • All land travel as outlined
  • 4-star hotels in Hobart and Freycinet National Park
  • All breakfasts and 3 lunches as listed (BL)
  • WAI guide service throughout (2 guides)
  • Local guides for all activities
  • All tipping for local guides and coach drivers
  • Pricing is based on double occupancy; single rooms are available for an additional supplement of $575

Activities/Visits to:

  • Port Arthur Historic Site (guided)
  • Port Arthur harbour cruise
  • Day in the Wilderness Tour with flights and boat transport (guided)
  • Maria Island Day Tour with ferry transport (guided)
  • Maria Island National Park Pass
  • Freycinet National Park Pass
  • … plus more fun stops than we can list!

Optional Excursion:

  • Bonorong Wildlife Sanctuary Night Feeding Tour (Day 2)

“Entire trip was another great experience and adventure. I really appreciate all the effort and thought you put into the tours.”

– Margie M; Gaithersburg, MD


“Each day was filled with exciting experiences and handled with excellent planning and great guidance.”

-Marian K; Santa Barbara, CA


“I enjoyed it so much, I wish I could start it all over again tomorrow instead of heading back to the states. Thanks WAI for the great time you showed us all – great memories are now mine!”

-Betty H; San Antonio, TX


“Always have had a great time; fun, good leaders; and like-minded travelers.”

-Jean T; South Jordan, UT


“WAI is synonymous with excellence, service, outstanding planning and preparation.”

-Mike C; Sewell, NJ

Adventure Pace

Tour Pace: 1 2 3 4 5
Walk Challenge: 1 2 3 4 5

Important Info

Group Size

25-30 travelers

Hotels

Strategically located Superior Tourist Class or better (3-4 Stars)

Meals

Breakfasts included with a selection of lunches and dinners. Letters BLD indicate which meals are included.

Airfare

Not Included. The start point is Melbourne and the end point is Sydney. Travelers continuing to Tasmania depart for home from Hobart. Group airfare package is available!

Transportation

Featuring full-size motorcoaches with a seating capacity of 45+ seats.

Traveler Age

Our travelers usually range from 50–75 years of age. All ages welcome!

Your Guides

Walking Adventures Guides Scott Isom & Russ IsomScott Isom & Russ Isom are a father-son team and will be accompanied by national and local guides on the New Zealand & Australia tour. Scott & Russ have a passion for exploring the outdoors and have enjoyed hiking the natural wonders of the Pacific Northwest area for years. Scott has led tours on all 7 continents and is one of WAI’s busiest guides and on-site Adventure planners. Russ will be assisting Scott on this tour, and has been both guiding and assisting on Walking Adventures for over 10 years. They look forward to sharing the sights of New Zealand & Australia with you in 2019!

Itinerary

Click on each day for more details.

Australia

Day 1-Mar 23: Arrive Melbourne, Australia

Australia Only travelers arrive in Melbourne around noon and have the afternoon at leisure to relax and explore the area of Melbourne near our hotel. The group continuing on this Down Under adventure from New Zealand is scheduled for an evening arrival into Melbourne. As a result, our first group activity will be a Welcome Orientation tomorrow morning after breakfast, followed by our first walk in Australia.

Day 2-Mar 24: Activities in Melbourne (BD)

Marvelous Melbourne Walk – 10 km, rated 1A

After everyone becomes acquainted at our Welcome Orientation this morning, we spend the rest of the day exploring a world-class big city with a small-town feel. The Marvelous Melbourne Walk offers a balanced look at this intriguingly diverse capital of the state of Victoria: bustling lanes and maze-like shopping arcades coupled with the serenity of Fitzroy Gardens, Treasury Gardens, Kings Domain (park), and the world-renowned Royal Botanic Gardens. We rendezvous back at our hotel this evening for tonight’s memorable dinner aboard Melbourne’s Colonial Tramcar—an early 20th century sightseeing trolley. This is usually the favorite dinner of the adventure!

Day 3-Mar 25: Activities from Melbourne (B)

We leave the city this morning and head out into the “bush” in search of koalas and kangaroos, just two of the fascinatingly odd marsupials of Australia. We walk through Serendip Sanctuary in the company of a wildlife guide and koala researcher, filling our pouches with knowledge as we go. This is not a controlled environment or a zoo, but it is likely we’ll get close enough to take photos and possibly observe the complex social behavior of the unique wildlife of Australia. Back in Melbourne, the afternoon and evening are free to enjoy the city on your own.

Day 4-Mar 26: Melbourne - Ayers Rock, AUS (BD)

Our journey into the Outback begins with a flight from Melbourne to Ayers Rock. After flying over a tawny-colored moonscape, we land in a very different place indeed. Local guides meet our plane and take us in 4WD vehicles to the Mt Conner wilderness, part of a privately-owned cattle station called Curtain Springs. Dams on the property constructed for watering cattle also contribute to a welcoming habitat for red kangaroos and the surprising array of birds and reptiles of the Red Centre. After discovering an ancient inland salt lake and learning about the scattered European history of the region, we imbibe more hues of red and orange—sunset over Mt Conner – before a magical outdoor barbeque dinner under the stars in the shadow of Mt Conner.

Day 5-Mar 27: Ayers Rock – Blue Mountains, AUS (BD)

Uluru Aborigine Walk – 8 km, rated 1A

We rise early this morning for a sunrise walk around Uluru (Ayers Rock). On a trail that dates back multiple millennia, our guide explains Aboriginal “songs” (legends, cultural lessons, and law) based upon geological features of Uluru. This is a rare opportunity to encounter one of the most unusual, non-Western belief systems on the planet, and a chance to experience the mystical landscape that has shaped Aboriginal culture and mores. We take an early afternoon flight back to Sydney, where we are met by a guide, motorcoach, and driver. The Great Western Highway takes us west across a plateau of sandstone bedrock, winding along a ridgeline that separates a series of deep and dramatic gorges. We find ourselves in a UNESCO Site—the Greater Blue Mountains Area World Heritage Site, comprised of seven national parks and a conservation reserve. Anticipating tomorrow’s exploratory hikes, we arrive at our hotel on the outskirts of the charming small town of Leura in time for a late dinner.

Day 6-Mar 28: Activities in the Blue Mountains (B)

Blue Mountains Walks – 4 routes totaling 8 km, rated between 1A and 2C

Rather than mountains in the traditional geological sense, the Blue Mountains are really a series of deep canyons lined with verdant eucalyptus forests and dense subtropical vegetation, punctuated at intervals with silver threads of water falling in cataracts down craggy sandstone cliffs. A series of four trails at widely divergent spots along the rim of two different canyons offers a delightful connection with this fascinating ecosystem. The last hike of the day also offers a “challenge” alternative route for those yearning for a bit more exercise.

Day 7-Mar 29: Blue Mountains – Sydney, AUS (BD)

Spit to Manly Sydney Harbour Walk – 10 km, rated 3C

We say farewell to the Blue Mountains this morning, returning to Sydney for a three-night stay. Our hotel is strategically located in “The Rocks”, the oldest section of Sydney, overlooking the waterfront with access to a host of activities and dining options. After dropping our luggage at the hotel, we continue by bus to the trailhead of today’s classic walk along the north side of Sydney Harbour. A local guide leads us on a route that weaves through a wonderful variety of lush bush land and scenic harbour side trails, passing several of North Sydney’s picturesque beaches. The trail finishes in the town of Manly from where we return to Sydney by ferry, crossing the legendary Sydney Harbour with stellar views of the famous opera house and Sydney Harbour Bridge. After checking into our hotel, we share dinner together at a fun local restaurant nearby.

Day 8-Mar 30: Activities in Sydney (B)

Sydney Harbour & Gardens Walk – 10 km, rated 1A

All day is devoted to exploring fascinating Sydney on a sightseeing walk that starts from our hotel. A few of the many Sydney highlights connected by this route include: The Rocks, Australia’s first British settlement; Sydney Opera House; the Botanic Gardens; Hyde Park; The Domain; and Darling Harbour. Those eager for a bonus walk are invited to join us for a train ride across the harbor and a walk back to our hotel across the Sydney Harbour Bridge offering classic views down into the harbour and over the Sydney Opera House.

Day 9-Mar 31: Activities in Sydney (BD)

Today is free to explore Sydney on your own. A wide array of Sydney attractions awaits your consideration. Simply strolling the waterfront is a worthwhile and entertaining way to enjoy Sydney, but we have a number of ideas for you to consider, including those listed below that you can pre-book through WAI. Later this evening, we rendezvous to reminisce about our Australian Adventures at a Farewell Dinner in a popular local restaurant.

Optional Sydney Opera House Tour: Using state-of-the-art audio-visual technology, this 60-minute tour puts architect Jorn Utzon on center stage and is a tribute to his creative genius. You’ll experience the magic behind one of the world’s most extraordinary opera, ballet, and symphony venues as you explore the interior of the youngest building ever designated as a UNESCO World Heritage site. Estimated price: $35.

Optional Sydney Bridge Climb: This unique adventure on the bridge takes climbers to the top of the bridge’s structure for a 3½ hour overview (quite literally) of Sydney and its magnificent harbor. Standing on top of the Bridge in the center of Sydney Harbour offers breathtaking panoramas of the Sydney foreshore, the World Heritage listed Sydney Opera House, the skyline of the modern city of Sydney and beyond depending upon weather clarity at the time of the climb. Climb Leaders will point out key landmarks that can be seen from the top of this great icon. Estimated price: $260.

Optional Sydney Harbour Cruise: Discover the stories of Sydney Harbour under the spell of the Harbour Bridge and Opera House. This sightseeing cruise features a fun and personalized commentary of the sights, people, land, history, and development of one of the world’s most beautiful harbour cities, along with refreshments that include unlimited self-serve coffee and tea, as well as a glass of sparkling wine. Estimated price: $45

Day 10-Apr 1: Depart Sydney for Home –OR– Tasmania (B)

Departing Sydney, we gain a day as we fly east, courtesy of the magic of the International Date Line. We arrive home several hours earlier than our Sydney departure, returning to the other side of the globe overflowing with indelible memories of our walking adventure Down Under! Those participating in the Hidden Tasmania Extension have four more days of the mystical aura of Australia to anticipate, starting with a morning flight to Hobart.

Hidden Tasmania Extension

Day 1-Apr 1: Sydney – Hobart, Tasmania, Australia (B)

Port Arthur Walk – 5 km, rating unknown

We fly from Sydney early this morning en route to Australia’s only island state – Tasmania! Upon arrival, the day is still young and we’ll spend the majority of it in the Port Arthur area. This UNESCO World Heritage Site was one of Britain’s penal colonies in the 19th century, reserved for the hardest of the criminals and repeat offenders. A walk here introduces us to more than 30 historic buildings, prison ruins, restored houses, heritage gardens, and the Port Arthur Gallery visitor center. A short harbor cruise gives the sense of isolation given by this Alcatraz of Australia. Late afternoon, we return to Hobart and our hotel for the next two evenings.

Day 2-Apr 2: Activities from Hobart, Tasmania (BL)

We leave civilization, this morning, on a 1-hour flightseeing journey toward Australia’s southernmost corner. Our flight path takes us down D’Entrecasteaux Channel past Recherche Bay to Tasmanian’s most southern point, South East Cape; the next landfall south is Antarctica! Upon landing, a combination of short walks and boat rides introduce us to the flora and fauna of the area, and takes us into remote Bathurst Harbour and Port Davey, an untouched waterway twice the size of Sydney Harbour. A picnic lunch is included, featuring Tasmanian produce and wine, before we return this afternoon flying via spectacular Federation Peak, and Mt Picton, over Huonville and into Hobart city.

Optional Wildlife Sanctuary Night Feeding Tour: Our schedule is full today, but this is our best opportunity to connect with a few different down under species, including the fabled Tasmanian Devil. We spend over two hours with a guide, hand-feeding weird and wonderful creatures like Eastern quolls, tawny frogmouths and sugar gliders. We may even engage in a ‘tug of war’ with the Tassie devils for their dinner. First, it’s dinner time for daylight dwellers and then nocturnal animals get their breakfast. A special highlight is meeting our mob of friendly Forester kangaroos. Working with injured and orphaned critters is also part of the sanctuary mission. Estimated price: $175 including roundtrip bus transfer and a 2 ½ hour tour.

Day 3-Apr 3: Hobart – Freycinet National Park, Tasmania (BL)

Fossil Cliffs Walk – 4 km, rating unknown
Painted Cliffs Walk – 4 km, rating unknown

A coach ride takes us the opposite direction today, north towards Maria Island, which we access by ferry. Maria Island boasts a diverse human history – inhabited by the Aborigines, named by the Dutch, explored by the French, transformed by the English, styled by an Italian, and farmed by a South African. Upon arrival, the easy, undulating Fossil Cliffs Walk explores the northern extremity of Maria Island. Millions of fossils line the cliff as we explore an old quarry and enjoy wonderful views from Skipping Ridge. Layers of European history are also exposed as we hear about pioneering whalers, convict life, and an Italian silk merchant who found fame and fortune at the end of the World. Following lunch in the convict-built mess hall, the Painted Cliffs Walk offers stained red, orange, and yellow rock faces, a marine reserve, and the likelihood of encountering wombats who call this area home. Both of today’s walks are on the list of Tasmania’s 60 great short walks. Returning by ferry, our coach continues north for our evening in picturesque Freycinet National Park.

Day 4-Apr 4: Freycinet National Park – Hobart, Tasmania (BL)

Freycinet National Park Walk – 5 km, rating unknown

After breakfast this morning, we sample panoramas of Freycinet National Park with walks to Wineglass Bay and Cape Tourville Lighthouse. A gourmet picnic lunch is followed by a return drive to our Hobart area hotel this afternoon where a relaxing evening allows the memories to soak in, and gives us a chance to prepare for tomorrow’s early flight to Melbourne and home.

Day 5-Apr 5: Depart Hobart for Home (B)

Departing Hobart, we gain a day as we fly east courtesy of the magic of the International Date Line. We arrive home several hours earlier than our Hobart departure, returning to the other side of the globe overflowing with magical memories of our walking adventure Down Under!

More Details

Click on each heading for more details.

How do I lock in my place on this Adventure?

Call or mail in your registration ($500 for either New Zealand or Australia or $1000 for the combined New Zealand & Australia tour) to save your spot! A maximum of 30 travelers will be accepted on each tour.

Traveler Rewards Program 2019 - NEW!

New Travelers receive a $300 discount on the Australia: Down Under Delights tour! Returning travelers receive our Alumni Traveler Discount of 5-10% off the main tour price. Terms, exclusions and conditions apply. See the Traveler Rewards 2019 page for more details or contact us with any questions at 800.779.0353 or [email protected].

Note: The New Traveler and Alumni Traveler Discounts apply only to the main tour price. The Tasmania Extension is not eligible for these discounts.

Updates to Australia 2019

Our Down Under Adventure has been offered many times, dating back to the late ‘90s. The 2019 edition, however, includes a number of revisions and improvements.

  • Ayers Rock is now included in the main program. It has been an optional extension in the past.
  • Walk additions in the Blue Mountains and Sydney area in 2016 were delightfully successful and are now a standard part of the program.
  • The Queensland part of the trip has been removed. We’ve struggled to find viable walks in the area and have been disappointed in our Great Barrier Reef experiences. Instead, Ayers Rock is now included in the main tour and Tasmania is the new optional extension.
  • Hidden Tasmania is a 4-day optional extension that is packed full of high value walks and activities. Featured activities include: a half-day to explore Port Arthur, inscribed in the UNESCO World Heritage List as an example of the forced migration of convicts by the British Empire; a 6-hour flight-seeing, cruising, and walking experience into some of the most remote wilderness in Australia; an all-day visit to Maria Island that starts with a ferry cruise and includes two walks on the list of Tasmania’s 60 Great Short Walks; and lovely Freycinet National Park.

More Notes on Airfare

Additional details about flight arrangements and travel agent contact information will be provided in the Adventure Advice flyer, which will be mailed to you after you register for the Adventure. Please review the Adventure Advice flyer carefully prior to purchasing your airfare!

  • Due to the crossing of the International Date Line, flights depart the USA 2 days previous to the tour’s start date in New Zealand or Australia.
  • Departure airports available include Los Angeles, Chicago and Houston. Pricing listed above is based on departure from the Los Angeles International Airport.
  • In order to ensure an uninterrupted continuation of the itinerary, travelers who opt to book their own airfare need to book the same flights as the group.

Contact our office for more details on group airfare and pricing at 800.779.0353 or [email protected].

General Tour Conditions & Registration Forms

To finalize your official registration, a completed and signed copy of the Registration Form is necessary. Please be sure to read all the fun stuff (the fine print) in the General Tour Conditions

What about the walks?

We generally walk at a pace of 2 to 3 miles per hour. In most cases, we are not “strolling.” We are walking at a relaxed but steady pace. Your experience will be significantly affected by your level of physical fitness. If not walking regularly at home, we strongly recommend that you make a priority of “training” beforehand in order to both enjoy the trip and avoid medical issues due to overexertion. If you have questions about your ability to participate, please talk with our office at 1.800.779.0353.

We have adopted a walk difficulty rating system which contains a numeric indicator for trail incline and an alpha indicator for trail terrain. The explanation for this system is presented below:

INCLINE

1. Very small hills or very little stair climbing. Cumulative elevation gain from Starting Point: up to 200 feet.
2. Some moderate hills and stair climbing. Cumulative elevation gain from Starting Point: 200-1000 feet.
3. Some significant hill or stair climbing. Cumulative elevation gain from Starting Point: 1000-2000 feet.
4. Lots of significant hills or stair climbing. Cumulative elevation gain from Starting Point: 2000-3500 feet.
5. Many steep hills. Cumulative elevation gain from Starting Point: more than 3500 feet.

TERRAIN

A. Almost entirely on pavement.
B. A significant part of the route is on well-groomed trails with very few obstacles.
C. A significant part of the route is on somewhat difficult terrain (rocky / rooted paths or soft sand).
D. A significant part of the route is on very difficult terrain.
E. The majority of the route is on very difficult terrain.

Travel Insurance

WAI believes strongly in the importance of travel insurance for financial and medical protection from any number of unforeseen circumstances that can arise before departure or during your Adventure. Many travel insurance providers are available for you to consider. Debbi Custer of World Travel Inc., a travel agent who provides air travel services to many WAI travelers, can provide travel insurance options for your WAI tour as well as your airfare (email [email protected] -OR- call 888-276-0925 / 503-231-9507). For those of you who purchase airfare through Debbi, purchasing your travel insurance from her as well may be the simplest option. As always, do some shopping to ensure you are getting the best value. Using the squaremouth.com website can be a good way to compare pricing.

Other options include:

  • Allianz – (866) 884-3556
  • Betins – (866) 552-8834
  • Travel Guard – (800) 826-4919
  • Travel Insured International – (800) 243-3174

NOTE: We suggest purchasing from a reputable, well-established insurance company (avoid buying insurance from an unknown company found only online). In addition, be aware that some travel insurance policies contain time-sensitive provisions—i.e. some benefits are available only if the policy is purchased within a certain number of days of the purchase of the travel package.

What happens next?

Upon registering for this Adventure, you will receive a welcome letter and initial invoice. The Adventure Advice flyer will be sent soon after, with important information about steps to take in the months before your trip. Please do not buy your airline tickets until you receive the Adventure Advice flyer. Final payment for the program is due 90 days before departure, and you will receive a final billing about 3 weeks prior to that point, along with a factsheet of additional information about the Adventure to help you get prepared! Then, about 3 weeks before departure, you will receive a final packet with all the details of the program, including hotel names and contact information, a list of fellow travelers, and a more detailed daily schedule.

These two Down Under countries offer a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to explore some of the most exotic regions on our amazing planet. WAI offers a unique, one-of-a-kind approach to exploring our world – the powerful blend of comfortable motorcoach sightseeing with get-off-the-bus walking activities that connect you with the destination! Join us for a journey of discovery—a walking adventure that explores the history, culture, and scenery of New Zealand & Australia!