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 and dive 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 - 12 Days
Days 1, 2 & 3 — U.S./Cairns, Australia
Depart the U.S. and cross the International date line, arriving in Cairns on Day 3 in time for a welcome dinner. Mercure Cairns Harbourside (D)
Day 4 — Great Barrier Reef
The next day, your family adventure kicks off with a private cruise to the Great Barrier Reef. Experience this extraordinary marine ecosystem from our base at Green Island. Spot parrotfish, starfish and turtles while snorkeling and diving, and explore the island along rain forest boardwalks. (B,L,D)
Day 5 — Kuranda
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. Visit the village of Kuranda and Australia’s largest butterfly sanctuary. Then return to Cairns on the Kuranda Scenic Railway, passing waterfalls and stunning gorges. (B,L,D)
Day 6 — Port Douglas/Cooya Beach
North of Port Douglas, Cooya Beach is an ancestral fishing ground of the Kuku Yalanji people. Here, young explorers will meet their pen pals and other members of the Kuku Yalanji. Set off across mud flats and around mangroves to hunt for crabs, mussels and clams, and try your
hand at traditional spearfishing. Cook up our catch at a local home, and join in a friendly game
of cricket. (B,L,D)
Days 7 & 8 — 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)
Days 9 & 10 — Sydney
Fly to Sydney and tour the city, including the historic Rocks district, Bondi Beach and the Sydney Opera House. Get up close to kangaroos, emus and koalas at a wildlife park. Parkroyal Darling Harbour (B; B)
Days 11 & 12 — Sydney/Blue Mountains/U.S.
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 to the USA, crossing the International Date Line and arriving home the same day. (B, L, D; B)
Pricing starts at $8,000 per person, double occupancy. For a single room, add $1,500. On the December departure, 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 approximately $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. At Cooya Beach near Port Douglas, kids will spend time with their Aboriginal pen pals and their families, all members of the Kuku Yalanji people. They'll follow in the footsteps of their ancestors as they try traditional spearfishing, take part in a spiritual cleansing ceremony, and cook up the day’s catch together.
Accommodations (hotels, tents and cruise cabins) are based on double occupancy. If you prefer single accommodations, and if such are available, you can pay a single supplement fee. If you are traveling alone and wish to share accommodations, we can assign a roommate of the same gender. If there is no one with whom you can share, a single supplement fee will apply.
See special terms and conditions that apply to this adventure.