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Captain Cook’s Rediscovered Australia: From Sydney to Rain Forest to Reef.

"Our private sail on Sydney Harbor was a highlight. Captain Colin was delightful and full of gossip about the owners of the homes along the harbor. Huka Lodge was outstanding in every way."

—Julie K., a family journey to Australia


Australia has a big personality, and she likes to flaunt it. Begin with a look at vibrant Sydney. Next, the Blue Mountains, Uluru once, Ayers Rock), and the Kata Tjuta (the Olgas). Relax in Palm Cove, explore Cooya Beach and Daintree National Park. Your grand finale? The Great Barrier Reef.


Type:Custom Journeys


Sample Journey

R. Crusoe & Son creates an Australia journey specifically for you and yours.

     How long should you set aside for your visit? That depends on who’s in your group and what exactly you would like to see and do. Generally speaking, you should plan for a journey of at least 13 days.

     Your R. Crusoe travel specialist will create a route for you and yours that maximizes your exposure to the  highlights of Australia. Destinations to consider include Sydney, the Blue Mountains, the Great Barrier Reef, Uluru & Kata Tjuta, the Australian Interion aboard The Ghan, Adelaide & the Barossa Valley, Kangaroo Island, Tasmania, and Melbourne. Of course, there are many other destinations to consider as well. Speak to an R. Crusoe travel specialist for details.  

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Sample Pricing

Estimated price per person per night, sharing room, from $1,200, plus internal airfare. Pricing depends on the properties chosen, the number of people traveling, the season in which you travel, and the number of days you want to spend in Australia. Please speak to an R. Crusoe & Son travel specialist for details.

For more information, to book, or to speak to an R. Crusoe & Son tour specialist, please call us at 800-585-8555.

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Pre-Tour & Post-Tour Option

The second-largest of Australia's cities, lovely Melbourne is a center of commerce and cultural activity. Often referred to as Australia's sporting and cultural capital, it is home to many of the nation's most significant events and institutions. Its streets are charming, a mix of Victorian and contemporary architecture dotted with Victorian parks and gardens. Its population is markedly diverse, a happily multicultural society. Don't miss it.

Melbourne Extension. 4 Days.

Fly from Cairns to Melbourne, where you choose your preferred private, customized touring during the next two days:

     Travel the Great Ocean Road through tiny, atmospheric coastal towns. Another option? Head for Phillips Island. In the company of a park ranger, explore the midden of indigenous people, learn about shipwrecks. Explore Churchill’s homestead, and meet the world’s most diminutive and unusual penguin species. Finally, opt for an adventure on the rugged coastline and white sand beaches of Mornington Peninsula. Historic, authentic homesteads await. Seaside towns complete the picture.

     Then back home, or on to New Zealand, where R. Crusoe can show you the sites on a custom tour created exactly to your specifications.

Sample Pricing: Per person sharing room from $2,980 for this four-day sample extension
Internal air per person (estimate) $520

Remember that R. Crusoe & Son can create Australia pre-tour and post-tour itineraries of any length to meet your exact specifications.

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Park Hyatt. The Park Hyatt stands on one of the world’s most beautiful harbors between two city icons: the Sydney Opera House and Harbor Bridge. The views from guestrooms are exceptional. This contemporary hotel’s architecture, art, and design reflect modern Australian sensibilities. 155 rooms and suites. Amenities include a spa, fitness center, heated rooftop pool, private wharf accessible to water taxis, two restaurants, and one bar.

InterContinental. Built around the restored Treasury Building (1851), the hotel is just a short walk from the Opera House and Harbor Bridge. Views from the property are stunning. 481 rooms and 28 suites. Amenities include an indoor heated pool, fitness center, three restaurants, and two bars.

Four Seasons. A contemporary luxury hotel in the historic Rocks district overlooks Sydney Harbor. 531 rooms and suites. Amenities include a spa, fitness center, outdoor heated pool, two restaurants, and one bar.

Blue Mountains.

Emirates One&Only Wolgan Valley. A luxurious resort between Wollemi National Park and Gardens of Stone National Park, the One&Only stands on 7,000 acres within the Greater Blue Mountains, a UNESCO World Heritage site. 36 one-bedroom villas, three two-bedroom villas, one three-bedroom villa. Amenities include a spa, outdoor pool, tennis courts, a range of optional on-site activities (horseback riding, mountain biking, hiking, etc), two restaurants, and one bar.

Uluru (Ayer's Rock).

Longitude 131°. A cluster of luxury tents set on an isolated red-sand dune between Uluru (once known as Ayers Rock) and Kata Tjuta (formerly the Olgas). Dune House, at the heart of the camp, is a stunning place for lounging and relaxing with other guests. 15 one-bedroom permanent tents. Amenities include a nearby spa, pool, library, a range of optional activities, and one restaurant-bar.

Great Barrier Reef.

Lizard Island. One of Australia’s premier luxury resorts offering both the inner and outer reef experience. Twenty-four white-sand beaches are at your disposal on this private island resort. 40 rooms and suites. Amenities include a spa, fitness center, pool, boutique, library, water sports equipment, one restaurant, and one bar.

Qualia Resort. Hamilton Island. A luxury boutique resort on an island in the Whitsunday archipelago. Tranquility and relaxation are the watchwords here. 60 suites. Amenities include a spa, fitness center, two pools, tennis and squash courts, water sports, golf, a range of optional activities, two restaurants, and two bars.

One&Only. Hayman Island. This private island resort stands at the northernmost point of the Whitsunday archipelago. Stylishly elegant accommodations are set against the backdrop of the Coral Sea. 160 rooms and suites. Amenities include a spa, fitness center, two pools, tennis, squash, and basketball courts, access to a nearby golf course, water sports, a range of optional activities, and eight restaurant-bars.

Adelaide & the Barossa Valley.

The Kingsford Homestead. Barossa Valley. A luxurious 19th-century country manor on a 225-acre working sheep farm in Australia’s wine country. Seven suites. Amenities include an outdoor pool, spa services, wine-tasting, one restaurant-bar, and a wine cellar.

The Louise. Barossa Valley. Standing atop a hill with sweeping vistas across verdant vineyards, the deluxe Louise shares a location with an internationally acclaimed restaurant, Appellation. All rooms have individual terraces overlooking an adjacent wine estate. 15 suites. Amenities include a fitness center, outdoor pool, sauna, croquet, boules, DVD library, boutique, a range of optional activities, and one restaurant-bar.

Kangaroo Island.

Southern Ocean Lodge. On a secluded cliff along a rugged stretch of Southern Ocean coast. This airy, contemporary property adjoins both Flinders Chase and Cape Bouguer/Kelly Hill national parks. 21 suites. Amenities include a spa, steam room, plunge pool, beach access, a range of optional activities, one restaurant, one bar, and one wine cellar. 



Henry Jones Art Hotel. Hobart.Located on the town’s historic waterfront, this is Australia’s first dedicated art hotel. The building, a former jam factory, dates back to 1804, and the hotel mixes contemporary and antique furnishings. Frequently changing contemporary art exhibits allow this property to successfully combine art, heritage, tradition, and nature. 56 rooms and suites. Amenities include a fitness center, two restaurants, and one bar.

Islington Hotel. Hobart.Overlooking Hobart with views of Mount Wellington, this elegant boutique hotel occupies a grand Regency manor built in 1847. You’ll find yourself surrounded by gorgeous gardens and plenty of art and antiques. 11 rooms. Amenities include gardens, library, and one restaurant-bar.

Saffire Freycinet. Freycinet Peninsula. Tasmania. Saffire Freycinet is located along Tasmania’s east coast, about a two-hour scenic drive from Hobart. The property overlooks Great Oyster Bay, where migrating whales and dolphins come to play and fishing boats bring their daily catch straight from the ocean. 20 suites. Amenities include a spa, fitness center, private plunge pools in four premium suites, gardens, beach, range of optional activities, one restaurant, and one bar.


The Langham. Ideally located on the famous Southbank Promenade, the hotel overlooks the Yarra River and is nestled among charming cafés, restaurants, and boutiques. The National Gallery of Victoria, Federation Square, and other sites are close by. 375 rooms, 12 suites, and one two-bedroom apartment. Amenities include a spa, fitness center, indoor pool, two restaurants, and one bar.

Park Hyatt. In a great location in the heart of the historic city center beside lovely Fitzroy Gardens and magnificent St. Patrick’s Cathedral. 240 rooms and suites. Amenities includes a spa, fitness center, indoor pool, steam room, sauna, tennis courts, and two restaurant-bars.

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James Cook, Explorer.

Captain James Cook (1728-1779) was born in Yorkshire, England. As a teenager, he joined the merchant navy and worked on trade ships along the English coast and in the Baltic Sea. In his late 20s, Cook entered the Royal Navy, where he excelled at surveying, mapping, and navigation. The Royal Society, looking to send British ships to the Pacific for research and exploration, took note of his talents. This would be a life-changer for Cook.   

     Captain James Cook’s three epic voyages to the South Seas, between 1768-1779, transformed the way Europeans viewed the “Great South Land” and the Pacific Ocean. Australia would never be the same…

The First Voyage

In August 1768, James Cook set sail from England to the Pacific as captain of the Endeavour. This was Britain’s first great voyage of ocean exploration, and it was underwritten by the English Navy and the Royal Society.

     Cook was sent to accomplish three goals. First, he was to chart and explore the Pacific Ocean and to establish an observatory at Tahiti to record the transit of Venus as the planet passed between Earth and the sun in June 1769. His second goal was to chart the islands of the South Pacific and record data about the flora, fauna, and indigenous peoples. Cook’s final—and secret—goal: locate and then lay claim to the Great South Land (Australia) in the name of the British crown.

     After tracing the west coast of New Zealand and determining that it was not part of a great southern continent, Cook sailed west and reached the southern coast of New South Wales (Australia) in April 1770.  From there he continued north, charting the eastern coast of Australia, finally claiming the whole of the continent for Great Britain on 22 August 1770.

The Second Voyage

In 1772, Captain Cook took command of two ships, the Resolution and the Adventure. His mission? To establish whether there existed an inhabited southern continent—what we now call Antarctica. He was also ordered to make a series of astronomical observations.

     Cook’s crews consisted of naturalists, astronomers (who took navigational measurements using a new calculation for longitude), and an official expedition artist, William Hodges, who sketched coastal views both for navigational purposes and as material for later paintings.

     In January 1773, Cook and his fleet made their first crossing of the Antarctic Circle. The ships returned to England in July 1775.

The Third Voyage

For Cook's third and final voyage, the captain took command of the Resolution, and Charles Clerke, a naval officer, captained the Discovery. The ships departed England in 1776. Cook first sailed to Tahiti to return a Tahitian man, Omai, to his home. Cook had taken Omai on his second voyage and showed him off in London, where the Tahitian was an object of curiosity.

     This journey was as important for exploration of the North Pacific as the earlier two had been for the South Pacific. Cook’s mission? Find the Northwest Passage, a route believed to be ice-free and to link the Atlantic to the Pacific.

     In January 1778, Cook discovered the Hawaiian Islands. He was the first European to land on these shores, and he received a warm welcome from the Hawaiians.

     Continuing north, he undertook a tour along the Alaska coast as he tried unsuccessfully to reach the Arctic Circle.

     Cook decided to return to Hawaii in 1779 to spend the winter. His second visit to the islands proved more complicated—and ultimately less welcoming—when the Discovery’s cutter boat was stolen. Cook and 10 crewmembers went ashore at Kealakekua Bay to confront King Terreeoboo. A fracas ensued, and several Englishmen and Hawaiians died, including Captain Cook.

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