E. AUSTRALIA • NOVEMBER 6TH – NOVEMBER 15TH, 2012
|TUESDAY, NOV. 6||LEAVE FROM A MAJOR U.S. GATEWAY||—||10pm||Roundtrip air from all major gateways is included|
|THURSDAY, NOV. 8||DAY 1: ARRIVE SYDNEY||8am||—||8:30am – NOON: Bus tour of Sydney|
|FRIDAY, NOV. 9||DAY 2: FREE DAY IN SYDNEY||—||—||—|
|SATURDAY, NOV. 10||DAY 3: BLUE MOUNTAINS||9am||4pm||Drive through the Blue Mountains, en route to Parkes|
|SUNDAY, NOV. 11||DAY 4: PARKES OBSERVATORY||9am||1pm||Afternoon drive to Coonabarabran|
|MONDAY, NOV. 12||DAY 5: SIDING SPRING OBSERVATORY||9am||Noon||Fly to Cairns this evening|
|TUESDAY, NOV. 13||DAY 6: GREAT BARRIER REEF||9am||4pm||Snorkeling, Diving, and exploring The Reef|
|WEDNESDAY, NOV. 14||DAY 7: ECLIPSE DAY||5am||9am||Watch from the beach, balloon, or outback|
|THURSDAY, NOV. 15||DAY 8: FLY HOME||8am||5pm||Arrive the same day due to crossing the International Date Line|
|Pre- and/or post-tour travel is easily added to your itinerary.|
Upon your arrival at Sydney Airport, you’ll be met by your guide and proceed for a City Tour of Sydney including a visit to and tour of the Sydney Opera House, a refreshing stop at Bondi Beach, and a view of the historic Rocks area. In early afternoon, we’ll relax on a luncheon cruise of Sydney Harbor.
Immediately after lunch we’ll check in to our hotel, The Four Seasons Hotel Sydney (see image, bottom right; harbor views available for an additional fee).
Enjoy a day at leisure on your own. We highly recommend the Royal Botanic Garden (with its famous flying foxes), The Art Gallery of New South Wales, and the Taronga Zoo are excellent options all within easy walking distance from your hotel.
Today we head out to Australia’s astronomy corridor. We’ll traverse the UNESCO World Heritage Site Blue Mountains, preserved because of their unique mix of rainforest, blue mists, golden red sandstone escarpments, eucalypt forest and canyons. We’ll pause in Katoomba to take in the view of The Three Sisters, and head on into Central New South Wales for lunch in a country town. Our journey continues through picturesque farmland, arriving at Parkes in late afternoon. We’ll have a relaxing dinner and take an informal first look at Southern Hemisphere skies.
Breakfast, lunch, and dinner provided.
This morning we head up the Newell Highway to Australia Telescope National Facility, Parkes Observatory: The Dish. While we can't enter the observatory building itself, we’ll receive exclusive briefings on the radio astronomy work executed with the 64 meter parabolic dish, and learn about Parkes’ role in the Apollo 11 moonlanding, and other Apollo missions. Punctuated by the rumbling and whine that signals the movement of the dish, we’ll wrap up our visit with lunch at The Dish Cafe (Elvis recommends the scones) and memorable photo ops.
After lunch it’s onward to Coonabarabran, Astronomy Capital of Australia. With luck, we’ll see emus, and with a lot of luck, we may spy kangaroos and koalas in the landscape. 5pm-ish we’ll check in to our classic country motel, and unwind over a poolside barbeque. After dinner, we’ll go to a local commercial observatory, and beneath a canopy of stars, tour the southern sky with a Siding Spring pro-am astronomer.
Breakfast, lunch, and dinner provided.
Wake up in Coonabarabran to the sound of parrots and kookaburras. We’ll have a simple country breakfast, and head into Warrumbungle National Park. We head through eucalypt forests, past the world’s largest Solar System Drive to Siding Spring Observatory, Australia’s premier optical astronomy center atop Mt. Woorut. Get the scoop on cutting edge tools and exploration at the AAO with an exclusive briefing, and visit some of the dozen other observatories on site.
We’re off, then, through New South Wales’ “New England” region, headed to Tamworth and our transfer to Cairns, Queensland, and our base at the five-star Shangri-La Hotel on the marina. (Hotel photo gallery).
Breakfast, lunch, and dinner provided.
All aboard at 8:30am for a Big Cat Green Island Reef Cruise. On a smooth-sailing catamaran, we head for the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area, one of the Seven Natural Wonders of the World. On a 6,000 year-old coral cay, Green Island National Park’s tropical vine forest is home to 60 species of birds. Offshore in the surrounding reef, Green and hawksbill turtles, clams, fish, stingrays and a diversity of creatures live.
Your cruise includes five (5) hours on Green Island, a semi-sub coral-viewing tour, the choice of a glass-bottom boat tour or snorkelling equipment for the day, a fish feeding display, lunch, and self-guided island walks. The Big Cat cruise ends at 5pm with a transfer back to our hotel in Cairns.
You’re on your own for dinner, but our hotel is right on the water, downtown Cairns. Every imaginable food option, and price range, from dozens upon dozens of restaurants, is within a 10-minute walk. For those tuckered out by snorkeling all day at The Reef, either the fancy Aisan Fusion restaurant, or the water-front full-service cafe, both on the property of the Shangri-La, are fine choices!
Breakfast and lunch provided.
Early this morning we leave the Shangri-La Hotel for our pre-selected eclipse viewing site options.
Option One: the Beach
You can settle in at our gorgeous beach selected for weather and viewing prospects, positioned above high tide line for the entire eclipse experience, with exclusive use of an ocean-front cafe. We’ll have a breakfast buffet going before, during, and after the eclipse ... just a 30 second walk down from the water’s edge and equally “distant” to your camera equipment. We have rooms booked right next door in a charming, tropical motel ... a place to store your equipment or recharge your batteries.
Options Two and Three: In The Outback
You can choose to head to the statistically sunniest spot in the Outback, on the dry side of the Great Dividing Range. Once there, you have two options:
Tonight, join us for an eclipse celebration reception, by the sea, followed by a sit-down dinner of regional foods.
Data for your three viewing choices:
|1st contact||5:44:40.8 AM||1 degree|
|2nd contact||6:38:26.6 AM||14 degrees|
|Mid eclipse||6:39:26.7 AM||14 degrees|
|3rd contact||6:40:26.8 AM||14 degrees|
|4th contact||7:40:13.5 AM||28 degrees|
|Total duration is 2 minutes and 0.1 seconds|
The Outback — Balloon launch site
|1st contact||5:44:54.8 AM||1 degree|
|2nd contact||6:38:44.0 AM||14 degrees|
|Mid eclipse||6:39:34.1 AM||14 degrees|
|3rd contact||6:40:24.2 AM||14 degrees|
|4th contact||7:40:13.1 AM||28 degrees|
|Total duration is 1 minutes and 40.2 seconds|
For those not ballooning, we’ll head north a few clicks
|1st contact||5:44:38.6 AM||1 degree|
|2nd contact||6:38:15.3 AM||13 degrees|
|Mid eclipse||6:39:14.7 AM||14 degrees|
|3rd contact||6:40:14.1 AM||14 degrees|
|4th contact||7:39:48.1 AM||28 degrees|
|Total duration is 1 minutes and 58.8 seconds|
Because our Outback location is inland (at an altitude of 400-plus meters above sea level), and separated from the coast by a mountain range, first contact will not be possible in the third choice—the ground-based option. However, the eclipse will clear the terrain about half an hour before the start of totality. For those wishing to view the eclipse in its entirety, we recommend either going up in the balloon or staying on the beach in Cairns. If the weather on eclipse day looks "iffy", you may elect to board our buses in Cairns (at around 3am) and head to The Outback where it is noticeably drier and sunnier than Cairns.
TABLE OF CONTENTS:
$8,999 per person (pp) based on double occupancy.
A $1,000 per person advance payment (payable by MasterCard, Visa, Discover Diners Club, or American Express, or by check drawn on a US bank) along with a completed reservation form confirms your space. A second advance payment of $1,500 is due November 1, 2011. Combined, these $2,500 payments represent your “Deposit”. The balance is due May 1, 2012. Pricing is based on the November 2010 exchange rate of $1 AUD (Australian Dollar) to $1 USD. At the time of final payment (May 1, 2012) if the exchange rate goes up by more than 12.0% from the current rate, pricing will be adjusted accordingly.
Roundtrip air to/from all major U.S. gateways is included. Please see the section What’s included in the costs for the complete list.
Payments may be made by check, wire transfer, money order, or major credit card (Visa, Master Card, Discover, Diners Club, or American Express). Checks are to be made payable to InSight Cruises, in U.S. dollars only, and drawn on a U.S. bank.
$949. Single rates are capacity controlled and subject to change or withdrawal (prior to a confirmed booking) at any time.
Air and/or hotel upgrades are available for Sydney and Cairns. Pricing for these change based on availability at time of request. Call or email for an estimate.
Any cancellation or change of status (or request for a change in status) which relates to your booking must be transmitted as soon as possible to InSight Cruises in writing or via email. If you have travel insurance, and there is an unnecessary delay in notifying us of your change in status, your “cancellation date” will be affected and will adversely affect your insurance reimbursement.
Name changes are permitted (for a $150 fee) up until the time air tickets have been issued to InSight Cruises by Qantus. This is not a fixed date and varies by gateway — please contact us before requesting a name change.
Per person cancellation fees are based on date of notice to InSight Cruises (in writing or email):
Air and/or pre- and/or post-tour bookings, including but not limited to hotel packages are subject to the same cancellation fees cited above.
If the tour is canceled by InSight Cruises for any reason, InSight Cruises shall incur no liability beyond the refund of all tour participants’ payments received. However, if InSight Cruises must cancel for reasons beyond its control, including but not limited to weather, disease, strikes, acts of God, acts of terrorism or war, InSight Cruises’s liability shall be limited to a refund of only those portions of the tour cost InSight Cruises is able to recover from suppliers.
All prices are subject to change until your booking is confirmed. We will notify you of any price changes, and await your acceptance, before your reservation is considered “booked” and confirmed. Before April 15, 2012, either party may cancel the booking within 14 days of initial Deposit, with no penalty, for any reason. We’ll send you an email confirmation (if you provide us with your email address) and an itemized invoice (“DEPOSIT AND FINAL PAYMENT CONFIRMATION”) via mail/post within three (3) business days of your Deposit. You must return a signed copy of your DEPOSIT AND FINAL PAYMENT CONFIRMATION form within 30 days of booking or your reservation is subject to cancellation. If you do not return this form by the FINAL PAYMENT date, your reservation will automatically be cancelled and cancellation penalties will be assessed. You will be sent reminders via email and by phone before your reservation is cancelled.
Any/all lost deposits (i.e., not returned due to a cancellation) for this program can be applied to any future InSight Cruise conference fee or tour package.
Everything listed on the two-page flyer is included except as stated below. Also included are the following coach air flights: roundtrip all to/from all major U.S. gateways; Tamworth to Cairns; Cairns to Sydney.
Passports and visa fees; airport luggage handling; meals and activities not specifically included in the tour; Trip Cancellation and Interruption Insurance (in addtion to what is below, details for obtaining this optional coverage will be provided with confirmation material); and items of a person nature, including Internet access, spa, and laundry services, etc.
A Passport (valid through May 16, 2013) is required. A visitor’s visa, or a similar e-document called an Electronic Travel Authority (ETA) is also required. Non-U.S. citizens residing in the United States will need valid Alien Registration (green) cards as well. All travel documents such as passports, visas, ETAs, proof of citizenship, etc., that are required for entering Australia, and re-entry into the country of final destination are the responsibility of the passenger. Everyone is asked to check with their government’s agencies, embassies or consulates to determine documentary requirements and/or needs for visas. You must have any required visas when boarding the airplane. You will be denied boarding without proper proof of citizenship and necessary visas. In all likelihood you can obtain the necessary visa online here: http://www.eta.immi.gov.au/
InSight Cruises provides access to this insurance; Trip Insurance brochures (from NH Ross.com and Travel Guard) are included with your initial invoice. We prefer Travel Guard for American citizens over 65 as Travel Guard is “first payer”; M.H. is, by and large, less expensive for those younger than 65.
A few words about trip insurance — buy it.
When you book an InSight Cruise Tour, we include trip insurance brochures* in with your invoice. Please carefully consider buying this or other travel insurance.
We’ve never had a guest cancel because they won the lottery or had a brilliant stroke of fortune. More often than you would expect, we have had guests cancel because of pre-tour illnesses, sports injuries, broken bones, death in the family, unexpected surgery, emergency surgery, stolen passports, and general family uproar.
Life does throw curves. Spare yourself financial disappointment if your trip must be cancelled or is interrupted.
Look at all your options for trip insurance, and make certain your travel investment is protected.
*We offer two options:
1) Travel Guard Platinum is best for those with limited health insurance as it’s “First Payer” insurance. This product is ideal for those who rely on Medicare, for instance, or others who do not have healthcare coverage outside the United States. In addition, for those looking for “cancel anytime” coverage, for virtually any reason, Travel Guard’s Platinum insurance offers it. For a 50% premium surcharge, they’ll provide cancel-anytime for-any-reason insurance. However, they do not reimburse 100%. Please study the details on the enclosed brochure before you’re certain you need this additional coverage. Travel Guard’s Platinum product, M.H. Ross’ Advantage Bridge plan (see just below) will reimburse you 100% — assuming you have insured the full cost of your trip. Cancel Anytime must be purchased within 10 days of your initial Deposit. Please read about it here: http://InSightCruises.com/TravelGuard
2) Another company we have very high regard for is M.H. Ross. Read about their Bridge product here:
http://InSightCruises.com/pdf/AdvantageBridge.pdf. While they do not offer the advantage of “First Payer” (i.e., you will need to submit any during-the-trip medical expenses to them after you have submitted these expenses to your primary medical insurance carrier), they will reimburse you for your out-of-pocket health expenses plus about two dozen other potential loss items. In our opinion, if you’re under the age of 55, M. H. Ross’s Bridge product is the most cost-effective “trip cancellation and
interruption” coverage available and we heartily recommend it.
We urge you to check airline cancellation penalties before purchasing airline tickets since international departure times and flights can change. Neither InSight Cruises or InSight Cruises’ partners, co-producers, sponsors, or agents accept liability for cancellation penalties related to domestic or international airline tickets purchased independently in conjunction with InSight Cruises’ events.
Additional pre- and/or post-tour hotel stays are available through InSight Cruises. Please call or email us for an exact quote. In most cases, however, you will find better rates on your own.
Airfare from most major North American cities is available through us. InSight Cruises passes on the additional costs plus adds a $50 per person service fee. Please call or email us for an exact quote. All non-package air prices are subject to change and not guaranteed until full payment is received for the entire booking. Baggage fees and other charges may be directly assessed by airlines or airports. Once you are notified of your flight details please contact your airline directly for seat assignments. Be certain to confirm all air flights 48 hours prior to departure.
InSight Cruises accept no liability for the purchase of non-refundable airline tickets to the tour departure city (Los Angeles) and return. Baggage and personal effects are at all times the sole responsibility of the participant (Trip Cancellation and Interruption Insurance typically provides you with an allowance to buy replacements for your trip.) Most homeowners policies, and most airlines, cover your lost luggage.
InSight Cruises reserves the right to substitute hotels, if necessary. InSight Cruises reserve the right, without penalty, to make changes in the published itinerary whenever, in InSight Cruises’ judgement, conditions warrant, or if InSight Cruises deems it necessary for the comfort, convenience, or safety of our participants.
Participants on InSight Cruises tours may be photographed for educational and promotional purposes.
Smoking is not allowed aboard buses or during any indoor group activity.
InSight Cruises acts only as an agent for the respective suppliers by making arrangements for transportation, accommodations, and other services. Neither InSight Cruises or InSight Cruises’ partners, co-producers, sponsors, or agents shall be held liable for personal injury, death, property damage or accident, delay, or irregularity arising out of any act or omission of InSight Cruises’ suppliers.
InSight Cruises may increase the tour cost if there are cost increases. If any tour member chooses not to participate in any included activity or meal, there will be no refund for that unused portion of the tour. If any tour member leaves or is removed from the tour, a refund only for refundable unused services shall be made. This tour may be sold in conjunction with the services of any airline. The passenger tickets in use by the carriers, when issued, shall constitute the sole contract between the carriers and the passenger. Carriers are not responsible for any act or omission or events during the time tour participants are not aboard their conveyances.
InSight Cruises reserves the right, without penalty, to decline to accept any person as a participant, or to require any participant to withdraw from the event at any time, when such action is determined by InSight Cruises’ staff to be in the best interests of the health, safety, or general welfare of the group or the individual participant, subject only to the requirement that the recoverable portion of the total amount paid that corresponds to the cost of unused services and/or accommodations be refunded, if applicable.
AS A CONDITION OF ACCEPTANCE OF ANY APPLICATION, EACH APPLICANT MUST AGREE TO THE STATEMENT SET FORTH BELOW: The undersigned has read carefully the RESPONSIBILITY STATEMENT AND LIABILITY DISCLAIMER set forth above, the schedule of activities for this event, as well as the TERMS, CONDITIONS, and OTHER DETAILS of application and participation as set forth in the event brochure and/or the InSight Cruises webpages, and recognizes and accepts any risk associated with the event and the conditions, including the refund policy, set forth above. The undersigned further acknowledges that there are many risks and uncertainties inherent in any travel, including but not limited to the hazards of various modes of transportation, forces of nature, acts or omissions of foreign governments, terrorism, war or insurrection, theft, illness, and damage to person or property due to the negligent acts or omissions of event staff or others. In consideration of, and as part payment for, the right to participate in the event, the undersigned, on behalf of him or herself, his or her dependents, heirs, executors, administrators and assigns, agrees to release Insight Cruises and its officers, employees and agents, from liability for personal injury, death, property damage or loss suffered by any person in connection with this event, even if caused by the negligence (but not the reckless, willful, or fraudulent conduct) of event staff or other related persons or entities. In addition, by registering for this event, the applicant certifies that he or she is mentally and physically capable of full participation in this tour.
Any litigation concerning this tour shall be brought in Los Angeles County, in the State of California, pursuant to the laws of California. Changes in this Responsibility Clause can be made only in writing and signed by an officer of InSight Cruises. Deposits paid by tour participant indicate acceptance of the above terms and conditions.
BY REGISTERING FOR THIS SOLAR ECLIPSE TOUR, THE PARTICIPANT AGREES TO THE RESPONSIBILITY STATEMENT AND LIABILITY DISCLAIMER AND THE TERMS AND CONDITIONS HEREIN.
GENERAL INFORMATION AND DOCUMENT REQUIREMENTS
A Passport (valid through May 16, 2013) is required. Non-U.S. citizens residing in the United States will need valid Alien Registration (green) cards as well. All others must have valid passports and any required visas when boarding the vessel. All travel documents such as passports, visas, proof of citizenship, etc., that are required for landing in Australia, and re-entry into the United States are the responsibility of the tourist. American citizens should visit the U.S. Department of State for information on entry requirements for a specific country. Please go to the Entry/Exit Requirements section in the Country Specific Information for the country you are interested in. You may also contact the U.S. embassy or consulate of that country for further information.
Non-U.S. citizens are asked to check with their government agencies, embassies or consulates to determine documentary requirements. You may be denied boarding without proper proof of citizenship. All travel documents such as passports, visas, proof of citizenship, etc., that are required for embarkation, disembarkation at the ports of call, and re-entry into one’s country of residence are the responsibility of the passenger.
You will need to apply for either a visa or an ETA (Electronic Travel Authority). An ETA will let you spend up to three months in Australia. You can apply here: http://www.eta.immi.gov.au/
The National Passport Information Center (NPIC) is the U.S. Department of State’s single, centralized public contact center for U.S. passport information. Telephone: 1-877-4-USA-PPT (1-877-487-2778); TDD/TTY: 1-888-874-7793. Passport information is available 24 hours, 7 days a week. You may speak with a representative Monday–Friday, 8am–10pm, Eastern Time, excluding federal holidays.
Electricity in Australia is 240 Volts, alternating at 50 cycles per second. If you travel to Australia with a device that does not accept 240 Volts at 50 Hertz, you will need a voltage converter.
CDC TRAVELERS’ HEALTH WEBSITE
Travelers can check the latest health information with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta, Georgia. A hotline at 800-CDC-INFO (800-232-4636) and a website give the most recent health advisories, immunization recommendations or requirements, and advice on food and drinking water safety for regions and countries. The CDC publication Health Information for International Travel is worth looking over.
U.S. CENTERS FOR DISEASE CONTROL AND PREVENTION (CDC)
Health information, with Recommendations or Requirements for Vaccine-Preventable Diseases for travelers to Australia.
THE EMBASSY OF AUSTRALIA
For further information concerning visas and entry requirements for Australia, travelers may contact the Embassy of Australia at 1601 Massachusetts Ave NW, Washington, DC 20036, via telephone at 1-202-797-3000 or online, or Australian Consulates General in San Francisco, Chicago, Honolulu, Houston, Los Angeles, Denver, and Atlanta accessible through the Australian Embassy website.
U.S. STATE DEPARTMENT’S INFORMATION FOR U.S. CITIZENS
Important details on entry and exit requirements for U.S. citizens, information on safety and security, crime, MEDICAL FACILITIES AND HEALTH INFORMATION, and more are located here. ENTRY/EXIT Document REQUIREMENTS for Australia for U.S. Citizens. For further information concerning visas and entry requirements for Australia, travelers may contact the Embassy of Australia (see above paragraph).
To call Australia from the United States, dial the international prefix, 011; then Australia’s country code, 61; and then the city code (for example, 07 for Cairns), which is now built into every number. Then dial the actual phone number. To make an international call from Australia, you must dial 00, followed by the country code, the area code, and the telephone number. For example, to call InSight Cruises from Australia, you would dial 011-650-787-5665.
U.S. CUSTOMS AND BORDER PROTECTION
For information on airport and port-related declaration of goods, immigration issues, and more.
U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE EMERGENCY ASSISTANCE TO AMERICAN CITIZENS ABROAD
U.S. Department of State Emergency Assistance to American Citizens Abroad: American Citizens Services and Crisis Management (ACS)
U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE BACKGROUNDER ON AUSTRALIA
264 S. Meridith Ave., Pasadena, CA 91106 • 650-787-5665 • Copyright 2010 © InSight Cruises