Professor of Physics Greg Lyzenga '75 leads this ten-day adventure, which includes stays in Sydney and Cairns, and excursions to experience snorkeling in the Great Barrier Reef, aboriginal culture in a tribal rainforest, crocodiles in the wild at Daintree National Park and (weather permitting) a total solar eclipse viewed from the Australian outback.
Day 1: Arrive in Sydney
Day 2: City Tour & Opera House
Day 3: Wine Tasting & Observatory
Day 4: Tropical Cairns
Day 5: Aboriginal Culture & Aussie Animals
Day 6: Daintree & Crocodiles
Day 7-8: The Great Barrier Reef
Day 9: Eclipse Day, Outback Cattle Station and The Waterfalls Circuit
Day 10: Bon Voyage
Welcome to Australia! Freshly prepared rooms at our historic hotel let us adjust to the time change when we arrive early morning in Sydney.
In the company of our guide, we take a harbour cruise that shows us the highlights of Sydney. An informative commentary of Sydney Harbour's historical and cultural city sites is provided on board, and we also discuss the significance of the upcoming eclipse. (D)
Today we walk the cobblestone laneways of The Rocks and explore the most significant historical sites of Sydney. We also visit the highly-regarded Royal Botanic Gardens and tour the icon of Australia, The Sydney Opera House.
As a special treat tonight, we can opt to see a live performance - opera to rock to theatre – in the Opera House. (extra cost, ticket prices vary). (B, D)
Travelling the scenic route through The Hunter Valley — The Napa Valley of Australia — we meet winemakers at small boutique wineries. We learn about Australian history, wildlife & aboriginal culture along the way and sample up to 30 premium Hunter wines, some of which are not available anywhere else in the world.
This evening we join in an astronomy lesson and star gazing at the celebrated Sydney Observatory, and get an introduction to the myriad stars of southern hemisphere. (B, L, D)
Today we fly from Sydney to tropical Cairns.
Our accommodation is a breezy hotel in Cairns' restaurant and shopping district, only a couple of blocks from the waterfront.
In the early evening we attend a fun and dynamic presentation by a marine biologist to help us understand coral biology and ecology, the major invertebrate groups and the different types of fish that live at the Great Barrier Reef.
This is a great way to enhance our reef experience by understanding what we'll see during the next two days. (B, D)
Today we visit a refuge for Australian animals and interact with the animals up close: hold a koala, feed a rainbow lorikeet or meet a mother kangaroo and her joey.
The Kuku Yalanji are the only tribal rainforest people in Australia who still have their own culture and language, and later this afternoon we are welcomed by an aboriginal guide for a walk to see the rainforest. We discover how they found their way through dense rainforest and learn what native plants were used for food and medicine. Our guide also explains the tribe's rites of passage, the meaning of rock art, and the significance of the boomerang.
Our accommodations tonight are stylish bungalows connected by a raised walkway in the heart of the rainforest. (B, L, D)
This morning we check out Cape Tribulation beach and explore the Kulki boardwalk that runs through rare tropical lowland forest. If we're lucky, we'll spot the Peppermint Stick insect on the pandanus palms, or the Daintree's endangered and giant flightless bird, the cassowary.
In Daintree National Park on a mangrove discovery tour we search for estuarine crocodiles in the wild. Unspoiled by development, Cooper Creek is home to one of the most biodiverse mangrove systems in Australia. We return to Cairns late this afternoon and are treated to a pre-eclipse orientation with our leader.
For two days we experience the outer Great Barrier Reef, a UNESCO World Heritage Site and one of the world's top natural wonders. The biodiversity of the reef is renown: 1,800 species of fish and 450 species of coral, along with turtles, giant clams, rays and more. Snorkelers can try a 5-dive Intro Package and certified divers can log up to 7 dives (extra cost).
Our 35-metre, live-aboard boat has double cabins, air conditioning and large lounge area. (B, L, D)
We have a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity: witnessing a total solar eclipse as the shadow of the moon passes over us. Cairns will be one of the best places in the world to witness this exciting event, and our leader Greg talks us through this phenomenal event.
Afterward we get a taste of real outback Australia and an classic BBQ at a traditional working cattle station and pioneer homestead. Then we return to Cairns via the magnificent Millaa Millaa Falls, the icon of tropical north Queensland. We have a final dinner together in Cairns tonight to celebrate our adventures. (B, L, D)
Eventually all good things must come to an end. After breakfast, we say our goodbyes to the Land Down Under and transfer to the Cairns International Airport for our flight home. (B)
Greg Lyzenga '75 is professor of physics at Harvey Mudd College. He obtained his undergraduate degree in physics (humanities concentration in Russian) from HMC and his Ph.D. in applied physics (geophysics) from California Institute of Technology.
He has studied the temperatures of materials shocked to extreme pressures, with applications to the interiors of the Earth and planets, and, while at Jet Propulsion Laboratory, worked on problems of deformation of the Earth's crust. He also worked on applications of parallel computing to physical modeling, co-authoring a book on the subject in 1987. In 1990, he joined the physics faculty at Harvey Mudd College, and carries out research in the measurement and simulation of plate tectonics. He has received such awards as the NASA New Technology Award (1990) and the NASA Space Act Award (2003) for his work in geophysics.
With his interest in physics extending to celestial bodies as well, Greg is a keen astronomer. He looks forward to sharing his knowledge on this trip in a casual and dynamic way.
Included: all activities as described in the itinerary; all local transportation; local guide/tour leader; 3 nights + day room in twin-share room with ensuite, Sydney historic 4-star hotel; 4 nights in twin-share rooms with ensuite, 3.5-star central Cairns hotel; 1 night Daintree Rainforest 4-star eco-lodge, double share bungalows with ensuite; 1 night live aboard boat, double-share cabins with ensuite
All breakfasts, 6 lunches and 8 dinners; all airport transfers; Mask, fins and snorkel on reef trip; marine park and national park fees; ClimateCare ™ carbon offsetting for a carbon-neutral trip.
Not included: Airfare, travel insurance, 3 lunches and 1 dinner, optional Sydney Opera House performance, koala photo, introductory or certified SCUBA dives, and personal expenses (phone, internet, laundry, etc.).
Cancellations: Cancellations must be received in writing. Participants who cancel will be refunded the cost of the trip less the following: $500 deposit if 61 days or more prior to departure; 50% of total trip cost is 60-31 days prior to departure; no refund if 30 days or less prior to departure. Refunds will be calculated on the day written cancellation is received.
Please note that ideal weather and cloud conditions for viewing the eclipse can change and are not guaranteed.
Land cost: $3080AUD per person
Single supplement: $850AUD
U.S. dollar amounts will depend upon the rate of conversion at the time payments are made.
A deposit of $500AUD per person is required at the time of booking. Balance is due for all participants on September 6, 2012.
If clients book within 60 days of trip departure, full payment is due at the time of booking. If payment is not received when due, Small World Journeys reserves the right to consider the reservation canceled.