Last month, 100 members and guests of Exclusive Resorts returned home from Australia. This was the seventh and final continent visited through the clubs popular Once in a Lifetime program.
During their time "down under," they enjoyed much of what this faraway land has to offer, as well as the distinctive member camaraderie that makes these Once in a Lifetime journeys uniquely memorable.
The experience began in Sydney with biking and walking tours of the city, followed by a private visit and dinner at the Taronga Zoo. Day 2 brought a jolt of excitement — the inaugural Exclusive Resorts Once in a Lifetime Regatta! Guided by professional skippers, members crewed 10 sailboats in Sydney Harbor. And afterwards everyone sat down to a seafood feast with fresh lobster, oysters, calamari and fish, then met with the trip's dedicated professional photo coaches for a "7 Steps to Better Photos" photography class to prep for the next phase of the trip.
After a final day exploring Sydney, the group flew to Cairns, where they boarded the luxury yacht Orion for a members-only journey along the Great Barrier Reef, one of the Seven Natural Wonders of the World. An onboard naturalist was on hand to help reveal the region's amazing beauty and biodiversity, and members took advantage of a wide range of activities — including snorkeling and Zodiac boat tours — to do their own exploring. By all accounts the reef was amazing, and there were reports of giant clams five feet wide! Orion also took members to Stanley Island for a private tour of a renowned Aboriginal rock art gallery not open to the public, for their very own guided visit.
For a glimpse of some of the week's best moments, view the video above. As member David McKinnon noted, "We are in complete awe of having taken the greatest trip of our lives."
Destination club Exclusive Resorts introduced its "Once in a Lifetime" program several years ago. Members can choose from a range of trips each year including special adventures, trips for couple and trips for families. Several of the trips are arranged with partners such as the Smithsonian, National Geographic and Yachts of Seabourn. The 2011 program was announced earlier this year and includes travels to Patagonia, the Galapagos, Fiji, Tanzania and the Mediterranean.