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Water Views from Sydney to the Reef
The eastern coast of Australia is home to one of the country’s most famous destinations: the Great Barrier Reef. You will have time to snorkel the famous reef but Betty Jo Currie of Currie & Co. has created an itinerary that includes that and much more. You’ll start in vibrant Sydney where you’ll experience iconic sites and exciting culinary and nightlife scenes. Then you’ll head north to Byron Bay, Hamilton Island in the Whitsundays, and finally a nature reserve back on mainland Queensland. Along the way, you’ll soak up Australia’s coastlines and unforgettable cuisine, with walks ranging from rainforests to shopping districts. Book a trip and then dive in.
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    Photo By Tourism and Events Queensland
    Day 1
    Arrive in Sydney
    Upon arrival in Sydney, you’ll be met by a representative from Currie & Co. who will transfer you to the Intercontinental Sydney, a property in the historic heart of Sydney with some of the best views of the Sydney Opera House and Sydney Harbour Bridge. You’ll then have the day free to explore the neighborhood. The Botanic Gardens are at your doorstep, while The Rocks, a historic neighborhood and also home to the city’s Museum of Contemporary Art, is a ten-minute walk. In the evening, you’ll dine at one of Sydney’s top restaurants—which one depends on your preferences with different leading chefs known for their mastery of Asian, Australian, and European cuisine.
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    Photo By Tourism Australia
    Day 2
    Sydney by the Seashore
    You’ll start your day with a helicopter tour of stunning Sydney Harbour, taking in the Sydney Opera House and Sydney Harbour Bridge, as well as getting a bird’s-eye view of the city’s enviable setting. In the afternoon you’ll visit some of the city’s famous beaches—including Manly to the north and Bondi to the south. Included on your tour will be a visit to one of Sydney’s most photographed spots, the Bondi Icebergs, a dramatic oceanfront pool. In the evening, you’ll head for cocktails and dinner in Darlinghurst, one of Sydney’s most vibrant and always surprising neighborhoods.
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    Day 3
    Arrive in Byron Bay
    In the morning, a transfer will take you to the airport for a short flight to Ballina, on the Gold Coast just south of Brisbane. You’ll be met at the airport and taken south to the Byron at Byron Resort and Spa located in northern New South Wales. Your home for the next two nights is a lush subtropical paradise, with rooms situated underneath the rainforest canopy. The 45 acres of grounds are a bird-watcher’s haven, with the species in resident changing with each season. After an early dinner at the resort, you’ll experience an unexpected side of Australia’s nightlife on a Night Vision Walk. Your guide will introduce you to the nocturnal animals of the region on a unique eco-tour.
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    Days 4 and 5
    Byron Bay
    Soar to new heights! Some of the most unforgettable ways of experiencing scenic Byron Bay are by soaring far above it. Hot air balloon rides start early in the morning, and you’ll see the Green Cauldron come to life at sunrise. Helicopter tours can also be arranged or, if you are feeling very daring, we’ll arrange a skydiving expedition. You’ll see the easternmost point of Australia from some 14,000 feet before you a free fall, reaching speeds of more than 130 miles per hour. If all this sounds too adrenaline inducing, you can opt for mellower nature walks, surfing classes, or other activities such as yoga classes on the beach—free for guests staying at The Byron at Byron Resort and Spa.
  • Day 6
    Fly to Hamilton Island
    You’ll depart from the Byron and transfer for another short flight, to Hamilton Island, the largest of the Whitsunday Islands in Queensland. Upon arrival, you’ll be met by a representative from qualia who will take you to one of Australia’s most famous luxury lodges. You’ll have time today to get settled in your pavilion, many with private plunge pools and all with stunning views of the ocean and the Great Barrier Reef. As the end of the day approaches, you’ll join a sunset cruise on the resort’s private yacht.
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    Photo By Tourism Australia
    Days 7 and 8
    Hamilton Island
    The Whitsundays are some of the more than 100 islands that sit on the Great Barrier Reef, and you should spend one of your days here snorkeling this natural wonder. The world’s largest coral reef is longer than the Great Wall of China. Snorkeling trips start with a helicopter or seaplane flight that will take in some stunning sights en route: Heart Reef, Whitehaven Beach, and the Whitsunday Passage. You’ll then be dropped off at one of the reef’s remote islands, and come face-to-face with the many tropical fish whose vibrant hues compliment the blues seas and white sands of the reef. Other activities that can be arranged at qualia including sailing trips, sea kayaking, and nature walks.
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    Photo By Thala Beach Lodge
    Day 9
    Fly to Cairns
    You’ll continue your exploration of Australia’s east coast as you fly farther north this morning, to tropical Cairns. You’ll then transfer to the Thala Beach Nature Reserve, on a headland between Cairns and Port Douglas. The rooms of this award-winning eco-retreat are located on a 145-acre former coconut plantation. You can choose between oceanfront bungalows where you can watch the whales from your own private patio, or a jungle bungalow, where you’ll be surrounded by birdsong and green foliage.
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    Photo By Thala Beach Lodge
    Days 10 and 11
    Thala Beach Nature Reserve
    You’ll have two days to enjoy all the amenities of the Thala Beach Nature Reserve. The reefs along the reserve have been described as a “turtle highway,” and you can come face-to-face with some of them as well as dolphins, sea birds, and dugongs on a guided sea kayak tour. Farther afield, you have a choice of exploring the wonders of the Great Barrier Reef on charter boat tours, either snorkeling or fishing. Or you can head inland, on a tour of the world’s oldest living rainforest, the Daintree Rainforest. Much of Australia’s largest rain forest is a listed UNESCO World Heritage site, and a trip there offers opportunities to learn both about its remarkable wildlife and aboriginal residents.
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    Photo By Tourism Australia
    Day 12
    Return to Sydney
    You’ll depart the Thala Beach Nature Reserve for your return flight to Sydney where you’ll have a final day and evening at the InterContinental Sydney. We will arrange a day in the city around your interests, from culture and art to some more time on the beach and in the water.