Sydney – The brazen middle sister … she’s got it all … the Bridge, the Opera House, the fine weather, the fabulous beaches … and it’s the first stop on our Australian adventure. Sydney’s an inviting blend of the exhilarating and easy going. Melbourne – The older sister … she’s well educated, well rounded, with many fine accolades, and heaps of culture to her name. Melbourne is a blend of bustling laneways, world-class restaurants and captivating museums. Gold Coast – Queensland – she’s the youngest of the sisters … she’s brash, loud, and free as a bird. The Gold Coast’s star attraction is her beaches, including the world-renowned stretch of sand at Surfers Paradise. And of course the amazing Barrier Reef. They don’t call it the Gold Coast for nothing.
Here's a day-by-day itinerary of the trip
Arrive and get settled into your accommodation in Sydney – The Shangri-La Sydney is located in the historic Rocks area, where Europeans first settled in Australia back in 1788. This enviable location is just a 5-minute walk from both the Sydney Opera House and the MCA. (Museum of Modern Art).
Tonight, we’ll enjoy our welcome drinks at the Blu Bar on the top floor of Shangri La. Your welcome dinner at Café Sydney is included with the first round on Jean, our Aussie guide.
Cafe Sydney captures the essence of Sydney from its amazing location on the rooftop of Customs House with spectacular harbor views, innovative food, and an outdoor terrace, a very memorable spot to start our tour off.
Overnight at the Shangri-La Hotel
Today we’ll visit Art Gallery SNW as well as the Parliament House before being transported to Bondi Beach. Today’s lunch will be at the iconic Icebergs Bistro. If there were an award for Sydney’s sexiest dining room, Icebergs would win hands down. Settle in at your table and let yourself be mesmerized by the endless rows of waves rolling into the beach and the seafront pool.
After a scrumptious seafood platter luncheon, we’ll do the Bondi Beach to Tamarama and Clovelly walk. This is perhaps the most famous coastal walk in the country complete with rest stops and superb views along the coast. We’ll likely meet many Sydneysiders out with their dogs, or mums with babies in prams. Along the way, you’ll follow a series of coastal paths which pass dramatic cliffs, scenic parks, swimming baths, and epic viewpoints.
Our next stop is Queens Street – Woollahra – the best boutique shopping in Sydney! Dinner is not included tonight, but there’s plenty of splendid options around our hotel (or at our hotel). A complete list will be provided.
This morning we’ll tour Sydney’s famous Opera House: The building fuses ancient and modernist influences and was built on a site sacred to the local Gadigal people for thousands of years. The sculptural elegance of the Sydney Opera House has made it one of the most recognizable buildings of the twentieth century, synonymous with inspiration and imagination.
Lunch today is at Buckley’s for Fish & Chips and includes a yummy dessert.
This afternoon from 3-7pm we’ll board a floating lounge, a luxurious and comfortable way to cruise Sydney harbor and disembark on beautiful beaches. View waterfront mansions from the boat of Sydney’s most affluent suburbs. Drinks on board are included. Sydney Harbor is one of the most idyllic harbors in the world.
Dinner tonight is at a well-regarded chef-driven restaurant Luke Nguyen’s Red Lantern. Chef Nguyen is the author of four bestselling cookbooks and countless TV shows about his native Vietnamese cuisine. Luke was recently inducted into the Sydney Morning Herald’s Food Hall of Fame for his cooking and travel programs. The first round of drinks is on Jean.
Today we’ll fly from Sydney (Shangri La) to Coolangatta (Gold coat airport)
From here we’ll drive to Byron Bay (about 1 hour) and on arrival lunch at the infamous Pass Café (included) which is directly above the beach. Pack your swimsuits because a swim at Byron is not to be missed.
There will be time for shopping and a stroll through town – Byron is a coastal town known for its spectacular beaches, unique shopping and dining experiences, world-class festivals, and vibrant community spirit.
After our exploration we’ll check into the Versace Hotel. Dinner tonight is included, at the Vanitas, Palazzo Versace. We’ll relish our 6-course degustation dinner. Put your glad rags on tonight girls, this promises to be a very memorable evening. First round is on Doni.
The Great Barrier Reef stretches as far as South Queensland and Lady Elliot is one of the very few inhabited Coral Islands. It actually host more turtles than human beings and offers absolute pristine waters, home to 1200 species of marine life.
You will fly (early) along the Gold Coast Skyscrapers, the beaches, Fraser Island before heading straight for the southern end of the Great Barrier Reef. The destination is a family run business dedicated to sustainable initiatives.
Your day includes scenic flights to/from the Island, orientation tour, a glass bottom boat/guided snorkelling tour, snorkel equipment (mask, snorkel & fins), full use of day guest facilities, a hot and cold buffet lunch and an afternoon of snorkelling, leisure or joining our experienced guides for a guided activity.
For those remaining on the mainland, there’s an optional wine tasting tour of the Gold Coast Hinterland (extra Au$150.00, $110 USD) or you can join Jean’s shopping tour at no charge.
Today we are headed to Melbourne via a short 1.20 min flight. Upon arrival we’ll check into The Langham (well located on Southbank near the Yarra River).
If you’re feeling peckish, lunch can be purchased (not included).
PM: Today we’ll appreciate a private tour exploring Melbourne’s arcades and laneways which are creative, quirky and super-Instagrammable. It has been said that it can take a lifetime to explore all 200+ lanes each holding a piece of Melbourne’s valuable heritage. Here’s just a few that we will explore.
The Block Arcade
A showcase of Victorian-era architecture, The Block Arcade houses stylish, eclectic shops.
One of Melbourne’s smallest laneways, Scott Alley is dotted with intriguing little shops.
Waltz down Cathedral Arcade’s narrow, L-shaped structure of graceful arches and stained glass. There’s a range of boutique shops here worth a second look.
Here a range of independent designers are tucked into shoebox-sized stores.
The historic Royal Arcade’s grand design includes signature black-and-white tiled floors.
A walking tour is the ideal way to discover and learn about the enchantment of the city. We will unveil local designers and specialty retailers often only found in this part of the city. We will be regaled with historical tales of Melbourne along the way.
After a rest back at our hotel, dinner tonight will be at the Teppanyaki Inn, Melbourne’s oldest and most successful continuously running restaurant. Chef Arakane arrived in Melbourne in 1987 from Japan’s fish markets eventually opening his own Teppanyaki restaurant. First round of drinks is on Doni.
Our superb accommodation for the next two nights is the gorgeous Langham Melbourne. With its sweeping vistas of the Yarra River and the Melbourne skyline it boasts an outstanding location amidst the city’s captivating Arts and Leisure district. A sanctuary nestled on the famous Southbank Promenade. The Chuan Spa is a holistic wellness sanctuary that offers body treatments, massages, and facials that are inspired by the principles of Traditional Chinese Medicine. An inviting 15-metre indoor pool is awash with natural light to restore and rejuvenate
AM: Today we’ll head out on a history and architecture tour along Collins Street stopping for a sneak peek inside the elegant Gothic interiors of the ANZ bank, the plush European-style hotels and into the austere but commanding inner recesses of Melbourne Town Hall and the Athenaeum.
Lunch today is on your own or with your new friends, suggestions given.
After a visually stimulating day, dinner tonight (not included) can be quiet and restful room service back at our hotel.
Optional: Glam it up and head over to The Conservatory – Crown Casino. (not included). At the Conservatory you’ll find Melbourne's finest and most indulgent buffet complete with stunning Yarra River views and lavish décor. Then there’s the temptation of trying your hand at Craps at the Casino after dinner!
We’ll depart Melbourne today, for some country exploring. We head off to Daylesford (1.5 hour drive) known as the land of the Dja Dja Wurrung people who first inhabited this region thousands of years ago. Later the Swiss Italian migrants from the gold rush took hold and more recently for the last hundred years it’s been popular with Melbourne holidaymakers. Daylesford has long been considered a special place of healing.
We’ll visit a family-owned business, Alpaca Passion started in Daylesford over 10 years ago. With a vast range of stylish alpaca garments and cozy homewares selected from the best alpaca fashion suppliers in the world, Alpaca Passion is a shopping destination.
After, we’ll check into our superb country accommodation to simply unwind and relax.
Perhaps it’s time for a massage today or a lovely wander around magnificent grounds of our hotel.
Our accommodation tonight... deep breathe out…is the
Lake House which lies on the shores of beautiful Lake Daylesford. Walking lanes lead from the property, around the lake and into the Wombat State Forest, complete with local fauna and abundant mineral springs which the area is known for. The nearest one bubbles right on the Lake House's doorstep.
Given the opportunity to explore the gardens you will come upon significant trees, a myriad of sculptures and artwork from many of the region’s top artists, extensive outdoor terraces overlooking the lake shore and established country gardens with everything from koala-loved stringy barks to lilac, Daphne, quince, plum and apple trees. The property attracts a large number of native birds including rosella, squawking parrots, kingfisher & loud, laughing kookaburra.
Find balance and invigorate your body and mind in Daylesford's famous mineral waters. Enjoy the region's natural mineral springs with a rejuvenating spa experience at Daylesford Day Spa or The Spa at Lake House or book in for relaxing massages and silky, skin-renewing rituals at Daylesford Healing Massage. (not included)
Pre booking is essential.
The dining room holds 2 chefs hats from the national Good Food Guide and multiple awards for its cellar and service.
It’s a splendid four-course true farm to table dinner tonight with the first round of drinks on Doni.
Transfer from Melbourne airport for your flight back to Sydney
Meet & Greet in Sydney for International departure assistance
Tour concludes in Sydney at the airport. Please do not book your flight home until after 5 pm. We do suggest staying overnight at a hotel near the airport and flying out the next day.
Wake up to breathtaking views of the iconic Sydney Opera House, the Harbour Bridge or Darling Harbour each morning from your luxurios private room.
This hotel is situated on the banks of the Yarra River with spectacular views.
Lake House lies on the shores of beautiful Lake Daylesford. Enjoy the beauty of nature all around you. Walking lanes lead from the property, around the lake and into the Wombat State Forest, complete with local fauna and abundant mineral springs which the area is known for. The nearest one bubbles right on the Lake House’s doorstep.
Palazzo Versace is the world's first fashion hotel to redefine five-star accommodation on the Gold Coast, featuring an exclusive waterfront setting & Versace bespoke furnishings.
Jean is a world traveler, with a song in her heart, and a giggle in her step.She has a passion for travel and culture,but most of all she connects well with others. She is a social animal, who finds great joy in showing others what her heart has seen and her eyes have heard. Helping others fill their travel joys, is at her basic core.
Enjoy an all inclusive day trip to see the Great Barrier Reef of Australia
Includes airport transfer, and one night at the Shangri-La Sydney
"Come Live Australia's PhilAUSophy"
Australia is all about natural wonders, stunning beaches, amazing adventure opportunities, lovely cities, and fascinating Aussie lifestyle.
Everything stated in itinerary above including all meals (except where otherwise noted) plus beer or wine with dinner
All entry fees for visits and attractions listed in the program
Luxurious Five Star Accomodations
Full breakfast each morning
All guides, museums, tastings, classes & market visits
All in-country transport including airport transfers
Domestic Economy flightsSydney/Melbourne, Melbourne/Gold Coast Coolangatta Airport, Gold Coast Coolangatta Airport/Sydney).
Roundtrip international airfare to Sydney
Additional wine, beer, or spirits beyond what is offered at meals.
All personal souvenir purchases
Travel and Medical Insurance (required)
The trip will begin in Sydney so you should fly into Kingsford Smith International Airport.
The temperatures in Australia in February are comfortable with a low of 66F and a high of up to 82F
You can expect about 3 to 8 days of rain in Australia during the month of February. It’s a good idea to bring along your umbrella so that you don’t get caught in poor weather.
We will have a zoom call about 6 weeks before the trip starts to discuss all that information and give you a packing list Here is a great website that we love that will help you with packing and travel trips.
The trip officially starts on the afternoon of February 5th, but if you are traveling across an ocean to get to Australia, you may want to consider arriving a day early so you have time to relax and get acclimated to the local time zone. If you do decide to arrive early, please let us know and we will take care of booking your room for you.
Jean Wethmar will be the trip leader. Jean is a world traveler, with a song in her heart, and a giggle in her step.She has a passion for travel and culture,but most of all she connects well with others. She is a social animal, who finds great joy in showing others what her heart has seen and her eyes have heard. Helping others fill their travel joys, is at her basic core.