Jordan and Israel are at one of the great crossroads of civilisation and are bursting
with archaeological and historical gems: the world’s first villages, mighty Bronze Age cities, sites reaching back to the origins of Judaism and Christianity, Crusader castles and splendid Islamic monuments. Discover the awe-inspiring history of this region on this new 20-day tour, combining celebrated sites such as Jerusalem and Petra and lesser-known locations that bring out the historical and cultural diversity of these countries. This tour is a must for anyone interested in the history and archaeology of the Near East.
Walk in the footsteps of Jesus, encounter Saladin and the Crusaders’ medieval struggle, discover the Australian Light Horse in Jerusalem’s Old City
Roman, Byzantine and Medieval remains in Jerusalem
The unique rose-red city of Petra
A full day on site at the University of Sydney’s excavations at Pella, Jordan
Jericho and Megiddo: the intriguing histories of some of the world’s
The Martian-like landscape of Wadi Rum, where T. E. Lawrence became a legend
The celebrated food and hospitality of the Middle East
Days 1–2: Visit Amman’s historical sites.
Days 3–6: Walk through Jerusalem’s Old City. Visit Masada, Jericho and Qumran.
Days 7–8: Visit Bethlehem, Roman Caesarea and Megiddo; the battle site of Armageddon.
Days 9–10: Discover Acco’s pivotal place in history, Hellenistic Hippos overlooking Lake Tiberius, Nazareth and Capernaum.
Days 11–13: In Amman, visit Gadara, the Australian dig site at Pella and Roman Jerash.
Days 14–16: Spend two days exploring Petra.
Days 17–20: Stay in Wadi Rum and travel to the Crusader castles along the King’s Highway to the Dead Sea and Amman.
Start & Finish
The tour begins and ends at our hotel in Amman. Emirates and Qatar
Airways offer direct daily flights into and out of Amman from most Australian cities. Contact us for quotes and bookings.
A detailed itinerary for this tour will be available in the coming weeks. To receive a copy of the published itinerary once available, please register your interest below and we will be sure to email you a copy. If you have any questions in the meantime, please don’t hesitate to contact us on 02 9235 0023.
An educator and practicing archaeologist, who works both in Jordan and with Aboriginal sites in Australia.
Ben Churcher is an archaeologist who works both in the Near East, as well as with Aboriginal archaeology in Australia. He has a strong personal interest in history and archaeology, primarily of the Muslim world, but not exclusively. Ben holds the position of Field Director at the University of Sydney’s archaeological excavations at Pella in Jordan.
Ben holds a BA (Hons) from the University of Queensland and a Dip. Ed from the University of Sydney. In 1983, Ben received a travelling grant from the Alumni Association at the University of Queensland to participate at the excavations at Pella in Jordan and he has been involved in archaeology ever since.
In between digs, Ben worked as a secondary teacher for five years at both public and private high schools and in 1993 he brought together his love of teaching and archaeology by founding Astarte Resources, a company producing and distributing educational resources specialising in history. While running Astarte Resources, Ben has been involved with adult education lecturing on a range of historical subjects and graduate teaching duties at the University of Canberra in their cultural heritage degree.
Since 2002 Ben has worked extensively in Aboriginal archaeology in Australia, working with a small firm undertaking heritage assessments and management. This work has taken him from western NSW, into the Snowy Mountains and onto the coalfields of the Hunter Valley.
Ben has continued his association with the excavations at Pella in Jordan throughout this time and he has participated in most seasons of excavation at the site. This work has involved excavating most major Near Eastern periods from the prehistoric Natufian period, through to the Islamic period.
Ben is a life member of the Near Eastern Archaeology Foundation at the University of Sydney and he currently sits on the board of the Foundation.
Ben has also travelled widely beyond the destinations to which he takes tours, has taught English in Japan for six months and has sailed on a dhow to Zanzibar. The consequence of this experience is that Ben is an adept traveller, unfazed by what the world may throw at him, and someone who has managed to amass a lot of information from various places and time periods that he is only too happy to impart.
Ben led his first tour to Jordan and Syria in 1993 and has gone on to take travellers to an eclectic range of countries including Mali, Morocco, Egypt, Turkey, Greece, Iran, Central Asia, China and Mexico. The common thread has been Ben’s interest in global history and the interconnections between both historical periods and cultures. How these interconnections are expressed in architecture, religion and governance is an abiding interest of Ben’s.
We asked Ben, what do you think clients get from travelling with you?
“I feel the people I travel with enjoy the way I can place great sweeps of history into context for them. On tour people often want to know what was happening elsewhere while such and such a building was being constructed. Fortunately I can use the experience I’ve built up over the years to answer such questions and then tie the particular culture we are looking at into the broader picture so that it links with things already known by the people in the group.”
In order to avoid unnecessary transfers and allow for individual exploration, we select comfortable, centrally-located hotels wherever possible. Where possible, most of the hotels we use are 4-star. We prefer smaller hotels if available, and we are constantly researching and reviewing our choices.
What is included in the tour price?
Unless otherwise stated in the itinerary, our tours include the following:
Any flights mentioned in the itinerary that take place during a tour
Land travel by private air-conditioned coach. Where appropriate, taxis or public transport are also used for short distance travel on some tours
All accommodation in hotels or apartments as stated in the itinerary
Breakfasts, lunches and dinners specifically stated as included in the itinerary
Drinks at welcome and farewell meals. Other meals may not have drinks included
Background talks on tour, site notes and online resources
Services of tour leader throughout tour
All entrance fees to sites mentioned in the itinerary
Local guides at some sites
Tips for drivers, local guides and restaurants for included meals
Costs involved in obtaining visas for countries visited, where required and when stated as included
Tours begin either at the arrival airport or the first hotel, depending on the itinerary. If you have booked your international flights with Academy Travel and arrive before the tour commences, we will provide airport to hotel transfers to the closest main city on your arrival, and to the closest airport at the end of the tour. These may be either individual or group transfers.
What is not included in the tour price?
Our tours do not include the following:
Return international/domestic air travel unless those flights take place during the tour
Special taxes and airport levies that can only be paid in cash at the destination. We will advise you of these charges (if any) before you depart
Travel insurance. We require all participants to have comprehensive travel insurance. A typical policy for one of our tours will cost from $160 upwards, depending on your age, pre-existing medical conditions, the countries you are visiting and the overall length of your trip
Lunches and dinners not specifically mentioned as included in the itinerary
Personal expenses such as laundry and phone calls
Costs associated with any activity mentioned as “optional” in the itinerary, or any suggested free time activity