15-Day Christmas Australia New Zealand Tour . Visit Queenstown, Christchurch, Cairns and Sydney. Note: Demand is very high for this time of year and prices will only increase as you get closer to Christmas.
* International airfare from Lax
* 3 nights Queenstown
* Milford Sound full day tour
* Queenstown to Christchurch tour
* 2 nights Christchurch
* Akaroa Tour with cruise
* 4 nights Cairns
* Great Barrier Reef snorkel cruise
* Kuranda Rainforest Tour
* 3 nights Sydney
* Sydney Harbor cruise
* Sydney city & Opera House Tour
* Breakfast daily & 2 lunches
15-DAY CHRISTMAS AUSTRALIA NEW ZEALAND TOUR:
Day 1: Depart USA – LAX
Depart from LAX or your specific US departure city.
Day 2 Cross the International Dateline
Day 3: Queenstown (3-nights)
You’ll arrive in New Zealand on Day 03, as you’ve crossed the international dateline. Queenstown, located in New Zealand’s more dramatic South Island is nestled beside the deep blue waters of Lake Wakatipu and at the foot of the Remarkables Mountain Range. It looks like an Alpine village and is the most scenic city in NZ (B). Stay at the Heartland Hotel Queenstown or similar.
Day 4: Milford Sound Tour with Fjord cruise
Travel in comfort along the shores of Lake Wakatipu and into southern farmland to Lake Te Anau – travel along the lake and into Fiordland National Park. Enter the picturesque Eglinton Valley, a place of ancient alpine forest and gushing waterfalls and one of only a few road-accessible glacier valleys in New Zealand, and take advantage of the photo opportunities on offer along the Milford Road, like the stunning Mirror Lakes, where on a calm day the surrounding mountain ranges are perfectly reflected in the still waters, and Knobs Flat, where glaciers have carved their mark on the terrain.
Your glass-roof coach will provide amazing views of the dramatic skyline as you cross the Main Divide of the Southern Alps, with stunning mountain peaks all around. Travel under the mountains through the Homer Tunnel, a 1.2km passageway drilled into solid rock, then experience The Chasm, a short but impressive walk over footbridges spanning a series of powerful, swirling waterfalls and rapids.
At Milford Sound, set off to explore the region that Rudyard Kipling called the ‘eighth wonder of the world. Travel the length of the fiord and out to the Tasman Sea, gliding past glacier-scarred rock walls and waterfalls that tumble into the sea. Lush native forest clings to steep cliffs, while wildlife including seals, penguins and dolphins are regular visitors to the icy waters. Mountain ranges surround the fiord, including Mitre Peak which rises dramatically from the depths to a height of 1,692 metres above sea level. A buffet lunch featuring fresh local ingredients will be served on board (included in your tour). Japanese Obento and Indian lunch options are also available. Alternatively, you can return back to Queenstown by small, scenic flight option (extra) which takes you over the Fjords. (B, L)
Day 5: Queenstown free day:
Enjoy your time at leisure, perhaps by exploring the this lovely village set along Lake Wakatipu or add an optional sightseeing excursion. The city center is chock full of restaurants and shops. Optional sightseeing includes Bungy Jumping, Jetboating, Skydiving, Queenstown Skyline Gondola which affords beautiful views and dinning, and much more. (B)
Day 6: Queenstown –Mt. Cook – Christchurch: (2-nights)
Travel by coach through ruggedly beautiful landscape and over the Lindis Pass into the Mackenzie Country. Enter the amazing Aoraki / Mt Cook National Park, home to New Zealand’s highest mountain, where there is time to stop for lunch and a chance to enjoy the amazing alpine scenery. According to Māori legend, the boy Aoraki and his brothers once hit a reef in their canoe. When they climbed to the higher side of the tilting vessel, the cold south wind froze them, turning them into stone. Aoraki and family now form the Southern Alps, which you will see in all their glory on this tour. During your stop at Mount Cook Village, choose to enjoy a delicious lunch (optional extra) at the famous Hermitage Hotel. Also on offer is the chance to take a scenic flight over this spectacular region (Extra cost). In the afternoon, travel past Lake Pukaki to Lake Tekapo, where you can view the solitary Church of the Good Shepherd against the backdrop of this vivid blue glacier-fed lake. We then continue through the diverse farmland of the Canterbury Plains to Christchurch, the Garden City, where your tour concludes. (B). Stay at the Argyle on the Park Hotel or similar.
Optional evening experience ($): Enjoy a 4-course dinner aboard the Christchurch Tramway Restaurant and travel in heritage style through the city center, round-trip from Cathedral Junction. Relax and enjoy views of the Christchurch Botanic Gardens and Avon River from your window-side table. The 2.5-hour journey in this elegant restaurant on wheels.
Day 7: Akaroa Tour with Dolphin cruise:
Enjoy a Sightseeing tour to Akaroa through the spectacular scenery surrounding Banks Peninsula, formed following violent eruptions of two ancient volcanoes. The Akaroa crater nurses the picturesque harbor and Akaroa village. Experience a Nature Cruise with highlights including the rare, NZ native dolphin – the Hector’s Dolphin, as well as penguins and other sea birds. And you’ll see giant volcanic sea cliffs and hear about Akaroa’s fascinating past.
Alternative Tour with TranzAlpine Train ($$): Explore the Canterbury Plains and Southern Alps on this Arthur’s Pass day tour from Christchurch. Travel through the pastureland of the Canterbury Plains to Springfield with your guide. Hop aboard your TranzAlpine train and journey through the Waimakariri Gorge. Explore the alpine village of Arthur’s Pass in the Otira Gorge and enjoy lunch in a local restaurant. Visit a sheep farm, and admire native birdlife in the foothills of the Southern Alps. Upgrade to include a hair-raising jet-boat ride on the mighty Waimakariri River!
Day 8: Christchurch – Cairns, Australia: (4-nights)
Transfer to the airport for your flight to Cairns.Cairns is the gateway to the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park, Daintree Rainforest and Cape Tribulation in Tropical North Queensland, Australia. It’s a very laid back city that sits on a Lagoon. It doesn’t have a beach however you can stay either in Palm Cove or Port Douglas if you’d like beach access. (B) Stay at the Cairns Plaza Hotel or similar.
Day 9: Great Barrier Reef snorkel cruise:
Cruise on a high-speed catamaran to the Great Barrier Reef. Enjoy a reef presentation by a marine naturalist to learn more about the wonders of the reef and view the spectacular coral and tropical fish from a semi-submersible craft and glass bottom boat. Option to go snorkeling to view this natural living wonder up-close. Snorkeling equipment provided. A lunch buffet will be served aboard the ship (B, L)
Day 10: Free day, Cairns:
Enjoy this day at leisure. Cairns is in the sunny, tropical region of Australia. (It’s similar to our Florida, in terms of weather but more tropical and with Rainforests). You can choose to shop, dine or gamble in Cairns or an optional sightseeing tour such as a visit to the Daintree Rainforest region.
Day 11: Kuranda, Scenic Rail, Skyrail & Hartley’s Crocodile
Travel on the very scenic Kuranda Scenic Rail for the journey to Kuranda, enjoying limited free time in Kuranda. Avoid the ticketing lines and board the Skyrail Rainforest Cableway, providing you with spectacular views of the World Heritage rainforest. Our coach will then transfer you to Hartley’s Crocodile Adventures – the best place to see crocodiles. Time is allowed to explore this wonderful park (B)
Day 12: Cairns – Sydney: (3-nights)
Transfer to the Cairns airport for your flight to Sydney. On arrival, you’ll be taken to your city center accommodations. Spend the rest of the day exploring this famous and scenic harbour city. (B) Stay at the Rendezvous Hotel Sydney The Rocks or similar.
Day 13: Sydney sightseeing tour & Sydney Harbor cruise:
You will see Darling Harbor and Cockle Bay before crossing the Sydney Harbor Bridge. Stop at Milsons Point for spectacular views of the Opera House, Harbour Bridge and famous City Skyline. Enjoy views from Seaforth Lookout over Middle Head and Pearl Bay Marinas. Stop for morning tea (at your own expense) at the seaside township of Manly and take a walk along the Corso and see the beach that has made Manly famous. Have lunch whilst cruising on the harbor as the afternoon you get to know the bustling city of Sydney. Walk along the beautiful sands of the world-renowned Bondi Beach; see cosmopolitan Kings Cross, exclusive Double Bay and Vaucluse as well as trendy Paddington with its beautiful lace fronted Victorian Terraces. The tour will also take in Mrs. Macquarie’s Chair – one of Sydney’s most visited and photographed views, The Rocks, Sydney Opera House, St. Mary’s Cathedral, AMP Sydney Tower, Darling Harbor and much more. Return to Circular Quay or request a hotel drop off. (B, L)
Sydney Opera House Tour: Go behind the scenes at the Sydney Opera House for a fascinating look at this Sydney icon. Your knowledgeable guide leads you through the World Heritage–listed building on a 1-hour walking tour, sharing entertaining stories about the revered performance center’s history and providing access to off-limits parts of the house.
Day 14: Free Day Sydney:
Today enjoy full day exploring this famous city and waterfront. This is a wonderful city for shopping and exceptional dining. You can choose an optional tour such as Blue Mountains with Wildlife Park visit, Sydney Harbour Bridge Climb, ferry to Manly beach, see a Sydney Opera House performance among others (B)
Day 15: End of your 15-Day Christmas Australia New Zealand Tour:
Transfer to the airport for your flight to Los Angeles. (B) You can choose to add 1-night in Ayers Rock or extend your trip elsewhere, if you choose.
PRICES: From USD$5250 per person with Standard hotels. Based on double occupancy.
IMPORTANT: Xmas/New Years is an extremely popular time to visit. Hotels and some flights will sell out for this time period – I’ve been selling this region for over 20 yrs and find that vacations are selling out earlier and earlier in the year – rates increase as availability decreases. Whoever you book with don’t wait, book soon or you’ll be priced out sooner then you think. Prices are subject to change.
DEPARTURE 2018: Departs daily
HOTELS: Upgrade to First Class & Deluxe hotels with upgraded rooms
CHANGES: Everything on this itinerary can be changed