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Dive Winnipesaukee - Australia - Option 1


SUMMARY
11 Days / 9 Nights – Nov. 8 – 19, 2019
Cairns, Spirit of Freedom Live-Aboard
This itinerary departs from Los Angeles on Friday evening, Nov. 8th, with arrival in Melbourne Australia on Sunday, Nov. 10th.  Take a domestic Australian flight from Melbourne to Cairns Australia.

Stay in Cairns for one night before boarding the Spirit of Freedom the next morning (Monday).  You’ll have the opportunity to perform 24 – 26 dives while on the live-aboard.  After disembarking from the Spirit of Freedom, stay in Cairns for one more night.  The following day, depart Cairns with arrival back in Los Angeles on Tuesday morning, Nov. 19th.

Australia's north eastern town of tropical Cairns is the gateway for two of the world's greatest diving icons, the Great Barrier Reef and the Coral Sea.  It is also the base for the awesome Spirit of Freedom 120 ft liveaboard dive boat.

The Spirit of Freedom departs Cairns 12:00 noon Monday, Nov. 11th and returns 07:00 am the following Monday.  You will be transferred to and from your accommodation.

Cairns, the colourful, sophisticated capital of the tropical north, is alive with life and charm.  Experience the majesty of this underwater playground which is one of the Seven Natural Wonders of the World and is known as the Gateway to the Great Barrier Reef.  Here, warm northern hospitality and enthusiasm are the order of the day.  There are many unique attractions here.  Enjoy activities such as a cruise to the reef or islands, a 4WD safari to the outback, a trek into the rainforest.  Or see it from the rainforest cableway above its green canopy on your way to or from Kuranda.  These year round natural attractions are truly memorable and inspiring.

FEATURES

  • International Flights - Los Angeles to Melbourne, Melbourne to Los Angeles.

  • Australian Domestic Flights – Melbourne to Cairns, Cairns to Melbourne.

  • US Domestic Flights are not included.

  • Accommodation - Cairns (1 Night), Spirit of Freedom (7 Nights), Cairns (1 Night).

  • Shuttle Transfers - Cairns: Airport to Accommodation (Return).

  • Live-Aboard Dive Expedition includes: Transfers to/from Cairns city.

  • Live-Aboard Dive Expedition includes: Opportunity for 24 to 26 dives on the Great Barrier Reef, En-suite cabin with daily service, Chef prepared meals, Australian wines & soft drinks with evening meal.

  • Visa Issuance - Provides entry into Australia.

  • All Day Tours are Optional and Not Included (They are at additional cost)

  • F.I.T. (Free & Independent Travel) - i.e. This is not an Organized Group Tour.

  • All Taxes and Fuel Levies (Except where noted)


DETAILED ITINERARY
8th Nov 2019 (Day 1 to 2) - International Flight, Los Angeles to Melbourne
Shortly after departing Los Angeles, you will be served dinner and you will be given breakfast before landing in Melbourne. Relax, watch some movies, and try to get some sleep! Please confirm with the airlines at check-in that they have all your frequent flyer information on record.

10th Nov (Day 2) - Australian Domestic Flight, Melbourne to Cairns
Travel within Australia by domestic air from Melbourne to Cairns.

10th Nov (Day 2) - Shuttle Transfer, Cairns Airport to Accommodation
Travel by shuttle from the Cairns Airport to your vacation accommodation in Cairns.  Luggage restrictions apply as per standard economy Australian domestic flights of 2 standard bags under 30kg (66 lbs) per passenger.  If traveling with excess baggage, please advise the shuttle company upon reservation confirmation so appropriate trailer size is available.  Departures occur approximately 30 minutes after aircraft arrival-time for domestic flights.  For international flights, this will be considerably longer because of customs and other formalities.

10th - 11th Nov (Days 2 to 3) - 1 Night Accommodation in Cairns
Travel to your accommodation in Cairns where you will be staying while on vacation for 1 night.  Your 4.5 star accommodation combines contemporary decor with a tropical ambience.  The magnificent location of this 176 room hotel is perfect for exploring the Great Barrier Reef, the Daintree Rainforest or Kuranda and the Atherton Tablelands. Other nearby highlights include:  Cairns Casino, Marlin Jetty, the Esplanade and the Night Markets.  Unwind with a cocktail by the pool or bar followed by a sumptuous meal at the award winning Bushfire Flame Grill.

All rooms and suites have individual balconies, individually controlled air conditioning, refrigerator, television, broadband internet access, hair dryer, iron and ironing board, along with tea and coffee making facilities.  Facilities include: 24 hr reception, tour desk, wireless internet, Bushfire Flame Grill, bar, pool, business services on request, coin operated laundry on four floors, room service, laundry & dry cleaning.

Insider's Tip: The Esplanade in Cairns
Experience the leisure atmosphere at the playground for locals and tourists alike at The Esplanade in Cairns!  With so many activities available, The Esplanade has always been a focal point for this city.  This is a place that literally has everything!  Take a stroll and do some bird watching on the boardwalk but, as you enjoy the views, don't forget to stop off at Foreshore Promenade for a bite to eat at the many available restaurants.  Access to The Lagoon is easy here which is set overlooking the Barrier Reef and Trinity inlet and features all year free swimming where you can take a dip in this filtered saltwater lagoon.  Lounge on the semi-shaded timber decks.  Whether you decide to take a morning jog, fly a kite or just relax in the large grassy areas for some lunch, you will surely enjoy the tropical lifestyle!

If you happen to be in Cairns on a Saturday, be sure to check out the Weekend Markets which feature only locally made arts and crafts, clothing and much more.  While you're there, listen out for the live music and fun street characters.  The market gets into full swing on the promenade (just by the lagoon) every Saturday between 8am - 4pm.

Lagoon Hours:
All Year, 6am-9pm, Closed Wednesdays until midday for maintenance

11th - 18th Nov (Days 3 to 10) - 7 Nights on a Live-Aboard Diving Expedition
For Live-Aboard diving enthusiasts, this live-aboard dive trip represents the ultimate dive vacation.  Dives include Osprey Reef on the Coral Sea with other sites such as Cod Hole, Dynamite Pass, North Horn, Bougainville Reef, Steve's Bommie, Temple of Doom and Flare Point.  With Gourmet Meals and the Outstanding Level of Service, you will feel like you are aboard your own private yacht.

Departing: Cairns 12:00 noon Monday
Returning: Cairns 07:00 am Monday

Trip Includes:
Transfers to/from Cairns city accommodation
Opportunity for up to 26 dives
Cabin with private bathroom and daily service
Chef prepared meals
Australian wines & soft drinks with evening meals
Time ashore at Lizard Island

Not-included (payable on board): Fuel & Marine Park Levies, Nitrox Costs

Sample Itinerary

Day 3: Board Spirit of Freedom at 11:15am at Trinity Wharf (complimentary transfers from Cairns city hotels are available) for a 12 noon departure.  Lunch will be served on board while you cruise to the Great Barrier Reef for an afternoon orientation dive and a twilight or night dive.

Days 4 & 5: These two days are spent diving at the most northern of the Ribbon Reefs, Number 9 & 10 Ribbon Reefs, 120 miles to the north of Cairns.  You will dive at the Cod Hole where you encounter a family of massive and very friendly Potato Cod.  Other sites may include Wonder-wall, Pixie Pinnacle, Challenger Bay, Two Towers, Lighthouse Bommie, and the Snake Pit, just to name a few.  4 to 5 dives will be available each day, including a night dive on Day 4. On Day 5, you will overnight at beautiful Watson's Bay, Lizard Island, and enjoy a sunset BBQ dinner on the top deck.

Day 6: This morning some of our guests may depart at Lizard Island and some new guests may join us.  There will be time for a morning walk on the island.  This afternoon you will have the opportunity for two dives at a choice of sites such as the Cod Hole, Pixie Pinnacle and Challenger Bay before departing in the evening for the Coral Sea.

Days 7 & 8: Osprey Reef.  Australia's Coral Sea reefs are renowned for crystal clear water with average visibility in excess of 100 feet.  Two days can be spent diving at Osprey Reef, including North Horn, well known for its shark action.  You can expect to see grey whalers, silvertips, reef sharks, occasional hammerheads, schooling barracuda, trevally, and other pelagics.  The landscape is amazing with sheer walls laced with gorgonians, sea whips, and bright yellow soft corals, rising from thousands of feet below.

Day 9: After overnight travel back to the Great Barrier Reef, you will arrive at Ribbon Reefs Number 3 where you will dive such sites as the sensational Steve's Bommie, Temple of Doom, and Flare Point.  A second option for this day, in special weather conditions, is to head south from Opsrey to Bougainville Reef, known for its unusual underwater landscape or caverns, and its partially submerged wreck.  On Sunday evening you will cruise overnight back to Cairns.

Day 10: Arrive Cairns approximately 06:30am.  Breakfast will be served on board and hotel transfer will be arranged for approx 07:30am.

Please note that the above itinerary is a sample only and sites may vary or the sequence may change.  Access to the Cod Hole and the Coral Sea is weather conditional and, while every attempt will be made to keep to the advertised itinerary, the Coral Sea and specific sites on the Great Barrier Reef are not guaranteed.

Cabin types available:  Quad, Double/Twin, Ocean View Standard, Ocean View Deluxe & Stateroom.

18th - 19th Nov (Days 10 to 11) - 1 Night Accommodation in Cairns
Travel to your accommodation in Cairns where you will be staying while on vacation for 1 night.

Your 4.5 star accommodation combines contemporary decor with a tropical ambience.  The magnificent location of this 176 room hotel is perfect for exploring the Great Barrier Reef, the Daintree Rainforest or Kuranda and the Atherton Tablelands.  Other nearby highlights include:  Cairns Casino, Marlin Jetty, the Esplanade and the Night Markets. Unwind with a cocktail by the pool or bar followed by a sumptuous meal at the award winning Bushfire Flame Grill.

All rooms and suites have individual balconies, individually controlled air conditioning, refrigerator, television, broadband internet access, hair dryer, iron and ironing board, along with tea and coffee making facilities.  Facilities include:  24 hr reception, tour desk, wireless internet, Bushfire Flame Grill, bar, pool, business services on request, coin operated laundry on four floors, room service, laundry & dry cleaning.

Optional Evening Event (Not Included): Tjapukai Night Fire Dinner
More than just a dinner and show; Tjapukai Night Fire takes you on a magical adventure into the legends of Australia's dreamtime.

Here you will enter another world as Australia's Aboriginal culture is brought to life through a series of award winning performances as you feast on modern cuisine from the Far North.  Settle in for a magical night of entertainment as you journey into a Dreamtime legend to discover the magic of Australia's ancient Aboriginal culture.  Enjoy a welcome drink on arrival before the performers lead a didgeridoo blessing ceremony followed by a spectacular fire performance and cultural dance celebration.  If you're keen, you can even take to the stage to learn a traditional dance yourself!  This evening of entertainment is complemented by a delicious dinner, photo opportunity with the Tjapukai warriors & even time to shop in the retail gallery full of authentic souvenirs.

Insider's Tip: Ochre Restaurant
Enjoy a gourmet meal at Cairn's most rewarded restaurant and mingle with the locals.

Perhaps the best known of all Cairns restaurants and catering companies is the multi award-winning Ochre Restaurant and Catering, serving modern Australian cuisine with flair and creativity.  Owner, Craig Squire is the talented chef who has worked tirelessly to make Ochre the success it is today.  Often found in the kitchen where he prepares and perfects Ochre's menu of dishes, Mr Squire is a wanted man (in the guise of guest chef) in many of the world's classiest establishments, be they the five-star kitchens of restaurants and hotels from Dubai to Shanghai.  Ochre Restaurant specialises in local and native produce with a daily catch of seafood and premium Australian beef tenderloin most recently recognized as "Best Beef" at Royal Brisbane Show.

Some of their most famous dishes include Salt and Pepper Prawn and Crocodile, Grilled Kangaroo with Quandong Chilli Glaze, Wattleseed Pavlova and their Australian Antipasto Plate - the latter of which is a great meal to start giving diners a delicious insight into the country's cuisine.

The menu is an excellent read for any visitor and delivers on taste and value-for-money.  Be sure to leave room for dessert which the Lonely Planet Guide urges its readers to try with the quote “desserts worth moving to Cairns for”.

Ochre Restaurant is Cairns most awarded restaurant.  Late in 2006 it increased its cache winning both Best Modern Australian and Tourism Restaurant categories at North Queensland's Annual Restaurant and Caterer's Awards and has continued to win many local awards since.

This restaurant is a short walking distance from most accommodations in central Cairns.

19th Nov (Day 11) - Shuttle Transfer, Cairns Accommodation to Airport
Travel by shuttle from your Cairns vacation accommodation to the Cairns airport.  Luggage restrictions apply as per standard economy Australian domestic flights of 2 standard bags under 30kg (66 lbs) per passenger.  Excess baggage is AUD$5.00 per bag payable on board.  If traveling with excess baggage please advise the shuttle company upon reservation confirmation so appropriate trailer size is available.

19th Nov (Day 11) - Australian Domestic Flight, Cairns to Melbourne to Los Angeles.

Mid-day departure from Melbourne. In-flight Dinner and Movie with arrival in Los Angeles.

Note: You will be traveling back across the International Date Line so you will gain a day.  You actually arrive in Los Angeles on the same day you leave Australia.