MARVEL at the natural wonders of Australia on an 18-day fall zoological tour encompassing the tropical north, the Outback, south Australia and Kangaroo Island.
"We see the usual places, but we also get into the interior and the great wildlife areas," said tour leader Catherine Evans.
The expedition, which begins Oct. 28, starts in Cairns and travels to the Atherton Tableland in Queensland, with its gorges, rain forests and crater lakes, where visitors can look for green ring-tailed possums and bioluminescent mushrooms.
The tour continues to a butterfly sanctuary in Kuranda and then on to snorkeling or optional scuba diving at the Great Barrier Reef.
The group will fly to Ayers Rock for four nights in the Outback, where members will be led by Aboriginal guides to sites including Kings Canyon and Ormiston before boarding the Ghan train on the way to Adelaide.
After a tour of the city, a ferry will take the group to Kangaroo Island, known for its more than 215 bird species, wild koalas and kangaroos.
Back on the mainland, participants will trek through Deep Creek Conservation Park near Cape Jarvis before heading south along the coast to Grampians National Park in Victoria.
Along the Great Ocean Road, the tour overnights in the tiny fishing village of Port Campbell on the way to Melbourne.
Cost: $4,997 per person, double occupancy ($998 single surcharge), including hotels, some meals, ground transportation, guides and entrance fees. International and internal airfare are not included. Round-trip airfare from Los Angeles and internal flights add $1,400.
Contact: Tours of Exploration, Gibsons, Canada; (800) 690-7887, www.toursexplore.com.
Safari has a horticultural bent
EXAMINE more flora than fauna on a fall horticultural tour of Namibia and the Western Cape of South Africa.
The 17-night trip, which begins Oct. 15, visits Cape Town and Grootbos in South Africa before participants fly to Namibia for a 12-day safari.
In Cape Town, the group tours the city, Cape Peninsula National Park and Kirstenbosch National Botanical Gardens.
Participants travel South Africa's famed Garden Route to Grootbos, a private nature preserve.
On safari in Namibia, participants spend two days viewing wildlife in Etosha National Park, then head to Damaraland to look for giant succulents hidden in unusual rock formations.
The group will venture to Namib-Naukluft National Park to see the animals, the rare 1,500-year-old Welwitschia mirabilis plant and the giant dunes of Sossusvlei.
Cost: $5,175 per person, double occupancy ($325 single surcharge), including accommodations, most meals, ground transportation, guides, entrance fees and transfers. Round-trip airfare from Los Angeles is not included.
Contact: TravelStore Inc., Los Angeles; (800) 343-9779, Ext. 19133.
Re-creating Cabrillo's landing
WALK in the footsteps of Portuguese explorer Juan de Cabrillo on a Sept. 9 cruise to the island of San Miguel in Channel Islands National Park.
Cabrillo Marine Aquarium is hosting a reenactment of the explorer's landing on the island in 1542.
Cruise-goers leave Ventura Harbor at 8 a.m. aboard the Islander, a high-speed catamaran. Ashore, John Olguin, aquarium director emeritus, will direct the reenactment, which will be followed by a hike.
The boat returns about 7 p.m. to Ventura Harbor.
Cost: $100 per person, including transportation and guides. Meals are not included.
Contact: Cabrillo Marine Aquarium, San Pedro; (310) 548-7562, www.cabrilloaq.org.
The Times is not responsible for changes in prices, dates or itineraries. Send information to Tours & Cruises, Los Angeles Times, 202 W. 1st St., Los Angeles, CA 90012, or write via e-mail to email@example.com.