Arrive in Sydney at any time. There are no planned activities during the day, so check into the hotel and explore the city. Please try to arrive before 6pm for an important group welcome meeting where you can meet the Chief Experience Officer (CEO) and the other group members. If you arrive early enough, you'll have time to head down to the harbour's edge to 'The Rocks' historic area, the Opera House and visit the Botanical Gardens.
Depart in the morning, drive to the famous wine region of the Hunter Valley for an included wine tasting and talk on the history of wine-making in the area. Afterwards, head to a small country town for lunch before continuing to Nundle Sheep Station for the night. At the sheep station you'll have a unique opportunity to meet old sheep shearer and experience a shearing demonstration and talk on sheep farming in the area. At the end of the day enjoy a lamb stew with the locals before sleeping in the historic shearer's quarters. Estimated travel time: 6 hours Travel distance: 380 km
After breakfast, drive to the Country and Western music capital of Australia, Tamworth. Take a look around, maybe even grab a CD or two before heading to another small country town for lunch. Arrive in Bingara in the early afternoon for an included visit to a historic gold mine where you can try gold panning and gem grabbing. Then receive an interpretive talk from a local Jackaroo, a man who works on a cattle or sheep ranch. Horseback riding is a great optional activity which is available. At the end of the day enjoy a relaxing night in a traditional historic miner's hotel built in 1875. Estimated travel time: 3 hours Travel distance: 210 km
Travel through the rainforest to the coastal town of Yamba. Opt to play lawn bowls with the locals or fish off the huge sea wall. Enjoy a swim in one of the great holes left by an old quarry. End an active day by savouring the local delicacy of fish and chips on the beach with fellow group members. Note: We originally included a hike to Bald Rock on this day but have removed this in favour of a shorter travel day with more time to explore and relax in Yamba. The itinerary is relatively fast-paced, and this small change allows for a more balanced tour. Estimated travel time: 5 hours Travel distances: 380 km
After breakfast, travel the coastal road to the stunning surf and arts town of Byron Bay. Walk out to the lighthouse on the most easterly point of Australia where there is a chance to see whales swimming off the shore. Hang ten with the locals in an included surf lesson from a local surfer. We use soft big boards that provide more surface area and stability so everyone has a chance to ride a wave. Enjoy a dinner at a local vegetarian restaurant. Accommodation in Byron Bay is in a unique teepee camp in an exclusive section of an old hippy commune, embracing nature and a peaceful way of life. Find your inner zen during during an included morning yoga class on Day 6. The rest of the day is yours to explore—you may wish to walk along the long stunning beach, play in the surf, or simply hang out in the Buddha Bar and people watch. *April 5, 2013: Due to operational reasons, we will be staying in a local hostel instead of teepees for the coming months. Estimated travel time: 2 hours Travel distance: 128 km
This morning head out of the relatively undeveloped area of Byron to Australia's most developed surf beach area 'The Gold Coast'. Famous for its stunning beaches, bronzed locals and meter maids who wear bikinis. We stay for a few hours to let you take it all in before heading an hour further up the road to Brisbane, Queensland's capital city. Tour ends upon arrival in Brisbane. Estimated travel time: 4 hours Travel distance: 288 km