This escorted, group Australia & New Zealand Tour is a terrific value. Visits Auckland, Queenstown, Dunedin, Melbourne & Sydney. For a tour which visits Cairns/Great Barrier Reef, click here: 18-Day tour with Cairns.
* Round trip Flights LAX-Auckland & Sydney-LAX
* 12 nights First Class accommodations
* All airport transfers
* Breakfast daily and 1 Dinner
* Sightseeing per itinerary in modern coach
* Services of English-speaking tour guide/driver
* Entrance fees included
PRICES: From USD$4865 per person. Based on double occupancy.
DEPARTURE 2017: 27: 2018: Jan 10: Mar 14, 28: Apr 18: May 02
OPTIONAL EXTENSIONS: Add Cairns and Ayers Rock. Extra cost
DAY TO DAY ITINERARY:
DAY 1, Wednesday – Depart the USA
Depart the USA for New Zealand. Your flight includes meals, drinks, and in-flight entertainment for your journey
DAY 2, Thursday – En Route
En route to New Zealand, lose a day traveling over the international dateline
DAY 3, Friday – Arrive in Auckland, New Zealand
Arrive in Auckland, New Zealand’s largest city, known as the “City of Sails”. You’ll be welcomed by our representative and transferred to the hotel. This evening, enjoy a welcome drink and briefing by your tour manager on the exciting tour that lies ahead. (D). Stay at the Auckland Heritage Auckland Hotel & Towers
DAY 4, Saturday – Tour Auckland’s Museum and Sky Tower
This morning’s tour of this multi-cultural city begins at the Sky Tower; standing at almost 1100 feet tall, it is the highest free-standing structure in the Southern Hemisphere and has become an iconic part of Auckland’s skyline. From the top, see breathtaking views of the sparkling harbor and the city and beyond. Then, on to the renowned Auckland Museum, housed in one of New Zealand’s outstanding historical buildings. Here, you’ll see the monumental carvings, canoes and taonga (treasures) of the Maori people along with an impressive collection of artifacts and exhibits depicting the growth of the country. Afternoon at leisure to enjoy the many diverse delights of this fascinating city. (B)
Optional: Half Day West Coast Wilderness Experience (PM)
DAY 5, Sunday – Travel to Queenstown
Depart Auckland on a flight to Queenstown, named for Queen Victoria. The town, nestled on the shores of crystal-clear Lake Wakatipu, is considered New Zealand’s scenic adventure capital. Its fabulous outdoor attractions and resort-like atmosphere are enjoyed by international travelers as well as by the local “kiwis”. En route to the hotel, make a stop at the historic Kawarau bridge followed by a visit to the charming gold-rush village of Arrowtown, nestled among the peaks that surround the sparkling Arrow River. Time to walk along the tree-lined avenues of this colorful town filled with 19th century miner’s cottages, or enjoy the delightful shops filled with New Zealand crafts, art galleries and lovely cafes before continuing to Queenstown via Arthurs Point, a small township beside the famous Shotover River. (B). Stay at the Millennium Queenstown Hotel
DAY 6, Monday – Queenstown
Spend time on your own discovering always-bustling Queenstown. Walk along the streets of the sophisticated downtown area, with its trendy shops and restaurants, or, be adventurous and ascend on the Skyline Gondola high above the city for magnificent views of Queenstown, The Remarkables, Coronet Park, and Lake Wakatipu. Alternatively, participate in the optional Skippers Canyon adventure that follows this rugged road into the sheer cliff sides of the Shotover River Valley. During the tour, visit many historic sites and stop at Deep Creek to try your hand at gold panning at one of the richest gold bearing rivers in the world. Return to Queenstown along Skippers Road, with views of some of the “Lord of the Rings” film locations. (B)
Optional: Safari of the Scenes – Skippers Canyon 4WD Adventure (AM)
DAY 7, Tuesday – Queenstown
Enjoy a full day at leisure, or join the optional full day tour to the Milford Sound. Travel to World Heritage Fiordland National Park, rich with dense rainforest, lakes and waterfalls cascading from rugged mountain peaks. En route to Milford Sound stop at Te Anau and the glacier-hewn Eglinton Valley before embarking on the cruise out into the fjord with scenic views of temperate rainforest, stunning Mitre Peak and Bowen Falls. Possible wildlife viewings include seals, birds and occasionally even dolphins or penguins. Late afternoon, return to Queenstown. (B)
Optional: Full Day Milford Sound Cruise with Lunch.
DAY 8, Wednesday – Queenstown to Dunedin
Travel today through the award-winning Gibbston Valley, known as the ‘Valley of the Vines’, one of the most scenic wine growing areas in the world. Vineyards are sandwiched, sometimes precariously, between rugged mountains and the rocky Kawarau River gorge. This area is known for its consistently superb wines, with worldwide recognition and an avalanche of international awards for the Pinot Noir. Continue past the picturesque and historic townships of Cromwell, Clyde and the huge Clyde Dam to Alexandra. Then, we journey along the Clutha River and past the multiple orchards that define this area as New Zealand’s fruit bowl before arriving in Dunedin, New Zealand’s oldest city, well-known for its Victorian and Edwardian architecture and its close proximity to amazing wildlife. (B) Stay at the Scenic Circle Dunedin City Hotel
DAY 9, Thursday – Dunedin City Tour
A day to enjoy Dunedin, arguably New Zealand’s most spectacular city in terms of contrasting landscapes, nestled in tree-clad hills at the head of a beautiful harbor. The city flourished during the great 19th century gold rush and is now the major gateway to the Otago region. Discover the city with a morning tour highlighted by a visit to the Dunedin Railway Station, a jewel in the country’s architectural crown; Baldwin Street, the steepest residential street in the world; and the prestigious Otago University. Also, visit the Olveston historic homestead, built in the early 1900s, a superb turn-of-the-century house with lavish furnishings and a stunning art collection. The afternoon is at leisure. (B)
Optional: Otago Peninsula Tour with Wellers Rock Cruise (PM).
DAY 10, Friday – Travel to Melbourne
This morning, depart Dunedin and follow the east coast of the South Island north through Oamaru, renowned for its limestone architecture, and the small rural communities of Timaru and Ashburton, before travelling over the Canterbury Plains to Christchurch airport for your flight to Melbourne. Upon arrival in Melbourne, meet your tour manager at the airport and transfer to your hotel. Enjoy the remainder of the evening at leisure. Melbourne is the heart of Australia’s classic south. The city has compelling appeal in its gardens, history, character and charm. Trams criss-crossing the city offer a leisurely way to appreciate the splendid streetscape. (B). Stay at the Hotel Mercure Melbourne Treasury Gardens.
DAY 11, Saturday – Melbourne City Tour
This morning meet your Tour Manager in the hotel lobby to commence a half day sightseeing tour of Melbourne. An insight into Australia’s second largest city with a mix of cultures and history from the magnificent gardens, riverside Southbank and Docklands complexes, bayside suburbs with elegant nineteenth-century streetscapes to the designer fashion stores and cafes. Return to your hotel to enjoy the remainder of the day at leisure (B)
Optional: Afternoon/Evening Little Penguin Parade.
DAY 12, Sunday – Travel to Sydney and Sydney city tour
This morning transfer to the airport for your flight to Sydney. Upon arrival, board your private coach and commence a panoramic sightseeing tour. Travel east to world famous Bondi Beach and then through historic Paddington with its unique terrace houses to Mrs. Macquarie’s Chair and the Royal Botanic Gardens for spectacular views of the harbour and the Sydney Opera House and Harbour bridge. See the historic buildings of Governor Macquarie’s time in Macquarie St, Parliament House, St. Mary’s Cathedral and the Queen Victoria Building. Enjoy the balance of the day at leisure. (B). Stay at the Menzies Hotel Sydney
DAY 13, Monday – Sydney
There is much to see, and much to do in Sydney! Enjoy your leisure time traveling around the city independently. Be sure to linger in The Rocks area with its charming pubs, bistros, and galleries along the main streets and squares. Or, travel out to one of Sydney’s famous beaches for some fun in the sun with the locals. An optional alternative is a lovely Lunch Cruise by catamaran on Sydney Harbour where you’ll feast on a seafood buffet while enjoying the sights of Sydney from the catamaran’s extensive decks. The rest of the day is yours! If you’re feeling adventurous have the experience a lifetime on an optional invigorating climb to the top of the world-famous Sydney Harbor Bridge. A professional team of experienced climbers will escort you to the very top and will provide you with a lasting memento. (B)
Optional:Lunch Cruise on Sydney Harbour.
Optional: Sydney Harbour Bridge Climb (PM) From
DAY 14, Tuesday – Sydney
A last day in Sydney to pursue your personal pleasures. Perhaps, participate in the optional full day excursion to Featherdale Wildlife Park and the Blue Mountains. Featherdale is home to over 300 species of Australia’s diverse wildlife. Here, you may cuddle a Koala (a must-do for everyone visiting Australia!), feed the kangaroos, view the Fairy Penguins, and see the colorful Parrots, Cockatoos and Lorikeets. For wilderness and wildlife, the magnificent Blue Mountains region is a must see for any visitor to Sydney. Travel through quaint mountain villages, past spectacular lookouts, and through the rugged Australian Bush to Scenic World. Returning to the city in the late afternoon. Spend the evening at leisure. It’s your last night in Australia, so bid a fond farewell to your new-found travel mates, your tour manager, and a wonderful journey in New Zealand and Australia. (B)
Optional: Full Day Blue Mountains with Featherdale Wildlife Park.
DAY 15, Wednesday – Return to the USA
This morning, transfer to the airport by private vehicle for your flight home (B)
OPTIONAL SIGHTSEEING EXCURSIONS:
Half Day West Coast Wilderness Experience.
In just 30 minutes you leave behind the bustle of the city and step into the tranquility of the rainforest of the Waitakere Ranges. Travel to the Arataki Centre perched high on the ridge of the Waitakere Ranges and enjoy breathtaking panoramic views from the Tasman Sea to the Pacific Ocean. Learn about and admire the magnificent traditional Maori carvings. Continue on to the lush rainforest where you can walk the easy bush tracks amongst New Zealand’s famous kauri trees and giant tree ferns. Experience the power of the wild and rugged West Coast. Feel the black sand beneath your feet as you stroll along some of the most awe-inspiring beaches the world has to offer. Hotel pick up and drop off provided. Comfortable Walking Shoes & suitable outdoor clothing are suggested.
Safari of the Scenes – Skippers Canyon 4WD Adventure.
This scenic Skippers Canyon tour is an adventure that follows the rugged and once treacherous Skippers Road. You will travel the road that was hacked by hand into the sheer cliff sides of the Shotover River Valley making this an exciting opportunity. During the tour, you will visit many historic sites such as the Skippers Suspension Bridge and historical township of Skippers. The tour will also visit the restored school house where you will gain a real insight into the local heritage through photos and the histories of life from the early days of this settlement. On the return journey, you will stop at Deep Creek where you can immerse yourself in the customs of the local area by trying your hand at gold panning at one of the richest gold bearing rivers in the world. The tour also offers you a view of some of the Lord of the Rings film locations along Skippers Road which was voted as one of the 25 most scenic roads in the world.
Full Day Milford Sound Cruise with lunch.
Travel by coach on an unforgettable journey from Queenstown to Milford Sound. Located within the World Heritage Fiordland National Park, this region is rich with dense rainforest, lakes and waterfalls cascading from rugged mountain peaks. En route to the Milford Sound stop for a morning tea break at Te Anau, the largest lake in the South Island, then pass through the glacier-hewn Eglinton Valley and stop for a photo op at Mirror Lakes. Upon arrival, enjoy a cruise on the fjord, with scenic views of the temperate rainforest, the stunningly renowned Mitre Peak, and Bowen Falls, as well as an array of wildlife such as seals, birds, and occasionally dolphins and penguins. Later this afternoon, travel back to Queenstown and view waterfalls Christie Falls and The Chasm (subject to road and weather conditions) on the way.
Pick up and drop off details to be advised locally. Tour begins at 7:20 am. Tour Duration is approximately 12 hours.
Otago Peninsula with Wellers Rock Cruise.
his afternoon enjoy a stunning tour to the Otago Peninsula, home to many species of wildlife including seabirds, sea lions, fur seals and penguins. You will travel to New Zealand’s only castle, Larnach Castle, which was built in 1871 by William Larnach, a merchant baron and politician. Featuring magnificent architecture and superb craftsmanship and still privately owned, the castle is even more famous for its tragic and scandalous history. You will also have an opportunity to take photos in the Castle grounds before continuing to the Headland and Wellers Rock. Lastly, enjoy a one hour wildlife cruise with an opportunity to view the exciting diversity of wildlife which abounds on spectacular Taiaroa Head, the only mainland nesting place for Northern Royal Albatross in the world and home to New Zealand fur seals. You may also see dolphins, sea lions and a fascinating array of rarely seen ocean birds including other species of albatross, penguins and marine mammals in their natural environment. Return to Dunedin on completion. Hotel pick up and drop off is provided. Please be in the hotel lobby at 1:15 pm. Tour duration is approximately 4 hours.
Afternoon/Evening Little Penguin Parade.
This afternoon travel to Phillip Island and visit Australia’s most popular wildlife attraction and home to the one of the largest Little Penguin colonies in the world. The Little Penguin is the world’s smallest penguin and the Penguin Parade is the best place to experience this natural phenomenon. Every sunset, wild Little Penguins emerge from the sea and waddle across the beach to their sand dune burrows. Experience the parade from the viewing area at the beach and then wander the boardwalks and watch the penguins return to their burrows.
Tour departs 3:00 PM from April to October and 5:00 PM November – May from the Grayline terminal. This is a quick 5 minute walk from the hotel. For those traveling in groups of 15 or more, direct pick-up and drop-off services at the hotel are provided. Tour duration is approximately 8 hours
Lunch Cruise on Sydney Harbour.
Take a two-hour luncheon cruise by catamaran on Sydney Harbour. You’ll feast on a seafood buffet while cruising Sydney Harbour in a luxury air-conditioned catamaran – an unforgettable dining experience! You’ll see all the sights of Sydney Harbour from the catamaran’s extensive decks, including the Sydney Harbour Bridge, Sydney Opera House and Fort Denison. The buffet lunch, freshly prepared onboard features hot & cold dishes, a selection of salads, fresh fruit and tea or coffee.
Pick up and drop off at hotel is not included. Cruise departs from Jetty No 6 at Circular Quay at 12:45 pm, boarding commences at 12:30 pm. Disembark at Circular Quay at 2:30 pm. This is appoximately a 10 minute walk from your hotel.
Sydney Harbour Bridge Climb.
Experience the climb of your life! Enjoy an invigorating climb to the top of the world-famous Sydney Harbor Bridge and admire panoramic views of the city and harbor below. A professional team of experienced climbers will escort you to the very top. A complimentary photo of your climb is included.
Please be advised that there are no hotel pick-up or drop-off services included with this tour. Passengers must provide their own transfer to the Bridgeclimb Office at 3 Cumberland Street, just a short 10 minute walk from your hotel. Prior to the climb, passengers must pass an alcohol breath test. Any persons over the limit will not be allowed to climb and their ticket becomes invalid. Rubber soled shoes are recommended. Please arrive 15 minutes prior to climbing time. Details to be advised locally.
Full Day Blue Mountains with Featherdale Wildlife Park.
For wilderness and wildlife, the magnificent Blue Mountains is a must see for any visitor to Sydney. Today’s full day tour to the region will give you a chance to see it for yourself. Passing through quaint mountain villages, we access spectacular lookouts and the rugged Australian Bush. View the unique Three Sisters rock formation, and visit Scenicworld where there is the opportunity to ride the vertical railway (the steepest in the world according to Guinness Book of Records) or cableway into the deep canyon. Drive through picturesque Katoomba and the quaint village of Leura before descending the mountains. We visit Featherdale Wildlife Park where you may Cuddle a Koala (Note: Koalas cling to an object which you hold. At no stage are you permitted to hold Koalas directly), feed the kangaroos, view the Fairy Penguins, see the colorful Parrots, Cockatoos and Lorikeets. Walk through the reptile area, the native bird aviaries and see other unique Australian wildlife. Returning to the City in the late afternoon. Departs at 8:00 AM from your hotel. Please arrive 15 minutes prior to departure time. Drop-off at your hotel at approximately 5:00 PM.