This escorted 15-Day Wonders of Australia New Zealand Tour includes everything required for a fully inclusive trip. Spend 7-days in Australia and 9-days in New Zealand. Optional 3-night Fiji stopover available ($)
* Flights to Australia & New Zealand, from LAX/SFO
* Breakfasts daily, 2 Lunches & 6 Dinnerrs
* Sightseeing as indicated in the itinerary
* Inter-Australia & New Zealand flights
* 13-nights hotel in Christchurch, Cairns, Sydney, Christchurch & Queenstown
PRICES: From USD$5450 per person. Based on double occupancy.
DEPARTURES 2018: Jan 16, 20: Feb 19: Apr 03, 09, 17: May 01: Jun 05: Jul 10, 17, 31: Aug 21: Oct 02, 09, 16, 30
HOTELS: Hotels are listed in the above itinerary.
FIJI EXTENSION: Add a 3-nights in Fiji extension. From $650 per person.
Day 1 and Day 2: Depart for your Australia New Zealand Tour
Today you board your flight and begin the adventure of a lifetime. Crossing the International Dateline, you skip a day ahead.
Day 3: Arrive Cairns, Australia (3-Nights)
Your tour opens in Cairns, the tropical gateway to one of the world’s most spectacular natural attractions and a World Heritage site – the Great Barrier Reef. Established as a marine park in 1975, the reef is a haven for thousands of species of sea life, as well as turtles and birds. (D) Stay at the Pacific International Cairns Hotel.
Day 4: Great Barrier Reef Snorkel cruise
Board a high speed catamaran for an exciting excursion to the Great Barrier Reef. This is an immense series of 2,800 coral reefs which are home to amazingly diverse marine life. Explore the reef from your base on Green Island. Enjoy a glass bottom boat ride, stroll the island walking trails, relax on the beaches, snorkel or just watch the fish and sea turtles swim past from the pier. For a more adventurous encounter with the reef, an outer reef tour is also available. Whichever way you choose, you’ll see some of the world’s most fascinating marine and plant life. (B, L)
Day 5: Cairns – Free day
Come to know the history of Australia’s original inhabitants at the Tjapukai Aboriginal Cultural Center. Here you’ll see traditional dances, learn how to play a didgeridoo or even throw a boomerang. Browse the renowned art gallery and interpretation center’s artifact collection. At Hartley’s Croc Farm, get up-close with crocodiles in their natural habitat! Boardwalks take you on a path of adventure through rainforests and woodlands, home to birds, reptiles and wallabies. You may meet some of the local koalas and chat with a wildlife naturalist to learn more about these cuddly creatures. Take an exciting cruise on the lagoon and watch for crocodiles before enjoying a delicious Aussie barbecue. (B, D) Choose an optional afternoon sightseeing tour (see below)
Day 6: Cairns – Sydney (3-Nights)
This morning, create your own adventure or simply relax and take in the tropical atmosphere. Later today, fly to the bustling city of Sydney. (B) Stay at the Novotel Rockford Darling Harbour Hotel.
Day 7: Sydney city tour with Sydney Opera House
Tour Sydney and discover where the original English colonists first settled in 1788. Other highlights include Kings Cross, the Harbour Bridge, Chinatown, the Rocks, Circular Quay, the Botanic Gardens and the fashionable suburb of Paddington. Discover one of the world’s most fascinating architectural sights on a guided tour of the Sydney Opera House, poised majestically on Sydney Harbour. Next, learn how raw opals are transformed into beautiful works of art at the National Opal Centre. This afternoon the choice is yours! Experience the area at your own pace with a 24 hour hop on hop off Sydney Harbour cruise pass. Hop off to explore places of interest or stay on and relax during a narrated cruise. Or choose to ascend the Sydney Tower Eye for incredible views and explore the renowned Sea Life Sydney Aquarium. (B)
Day 8: Sydney – Free day
Embrace the exciting city of Sydney during a day of independent exploration. Your Tour Manager will be on hand to offer suggestions. Tonight, say farewell to Australia by chatting with new friends and taking in the sights during a delightful dinner cruise of Sydney Harbour. Marvel at the scenic vistas of the harbour showcasing Sydney’s magnificent skyline, the iconic Sydney Opera House and the Harbour Bridge. (B, D) Choose an optional sightseeing tour (see below).
Day 9: Sydney – Christchurch (2-Nights)
Fly to the historic city of Christchurch, New Zealand. Devastated by an earthquake in early 2011, see firsthand how the city known as “the Garden City” is recreating itself. Make yourself right at home this evening when a New Zealand family welcomes you into their home for dinner. This is sure to be an unforgettable experience. Make new friends, learn about the customs of the “Kiwis,” and enjoy a home-cooked meal. (B) Stay at the Pavilions Hotel.
Day 10: Christchurch
Delight in some leisure time to explore Christchurch on your own. Although this city suffered an earthquake in 2011 it is on the mend back to being the major commercial center of New Zealand’s South Island. (B) Choose an optional sightseeing tour (see below).
Day 11: Christchurch – Mt. Cook region – Queenstown (4-nights)
Traverse the spectacular countryside. Stop at a Canterbury farmyard for the rare opportunity to learn how a New Zealand family farm operates – you may even catch a sheep shearing demonstration. Continuing to Queenstown, savor the chance to spot the highest peak in the Southern Alps, Mt. Cook, before stopping at a local fruit stand for an inside look at the produce of New Zealand. Arrive in Queenstown and have time to explore before dinner this evening. (B, D) Stay at the Millennium Hotel Queenstown Hotel.
Day 12: Queenstown & Arrowtown
Set off for the beautiful turn-of-the-century Gold Rush settlement of Arrowtown. Take time to explore independently and stroll its quaint, historic streets. Next, explore the Central Otago region where many of New Zealand’s best wines are grown and produced. During a stop at a local winery, visit their storage cave for a tasting of some of their famous wines. (B)
Day 13: Milford Sound Tour & Cruise
En route to Milford Sound, enjoy the rugged grandeur of the Hollyford Valley. You’ll travel through ancient beech forest via the Homer Tunnel. During a cruise of the breathtakingly beautiful Milford Sound you will see why this fjord is one of the most visited sights on the South Island. With rock faces that rise nearly 4,000 feet on either side, the scenery will take your breath away. Following your cruise, you return to Queenstown. You may choose to return via a short optional flight (weather permitting) for spectacular views of New Zealand’s Southern Alps. (B, L)
Day 14: Queenstown Free Day
A free day offers a variety of optional activities to enhance your tour. Shop or people-watch in the village; partake in an optional, exhilarating jet boat ride on the Shotover River; or join the optional “Journey through Middle Earth” tour which takes you through the majestic Remarkable Mountains and the breathtaking Queenstown countryside showcasing many of the spots where The Lord of the Rings movies were filmed. This evening, take in the city of Queenstown from above. A breathtaking gondola ride takes you to dinner at the Skyline Restaurant overlooking Queenstown, Lake Wakatipu and the Remarkable Mountains. (B, D). Choose an optional sightseeing tour (see below).
Day 15: Queenstown – Home
Your tour comes to a close today, leaving you with many pleasant memories of a wonderful adventure. (B)
OPTIONAL SIGHTSEEING EXCURSIONS:
Cairns – Over and Through the Rainforest Canopy
Glide over and through the lush rainforests of Cairns on the Skyrail Rainforest Cableway, the world’s longest gondola cableway. The comfortable gondola carries you 4½ miles through the rugged beauty of Barron Gorge National Park, part of the Wet Tropics, a UNESCO World Heritage area. The gondola dips through the layers of the canopy to bring you deep into the rainforest, stopping at two viewing platforms along the way. Experience the sights, sounds and scents of this vibrant ecosystem up close and see the dramatic Barron gorge and waterfalls.
Sydney – Foodie Safari
Join your expedition leader for a tasty experience and come to know the culinary culture of one of the world’s great food cities. Explore some of the iconic restaurant venues that have made Sydney a foodie favorite and learn how international influences continue to transform local cuisine. Meet the families behind local businesses and see first-hand how they are a part of the fabric of life here. When you return from your ‘safari,’ your thirst for a truly unique foodie experience will be satisfied (both literally and figuratively).
Sydney – Blue Mountains Tour with Wildlife Park Visit
Enjoy a visit to the Blue Mountains while in Sydney. Your full-day tour of the World Heritage-listed park visits highlights including the Three Sisters, Wentworth Falls and Jamison Valley. En route, stop at Featherdale Wildlife Park, where you can let the kangaroos eat from your hands and have your photo taken with cuddly koalas. Cruise back to Sydney on the Parramatta River and see the Sydney Olympic Park, before gliding through Sydney Harbour to wrap up your Blue Mountains tour. You’ll travel with a small group, providing a more intimate experience.
Christchurch – Antarctica
Did you know that New Zealand is one of the primary departure points for Antarctica? Well, this makes it the perfect place to learn about the 7th continent! Step inside and be transported to the “white continent!” The awesome and magical beauty of Antarctica is recreated with an interactive, fun and exciting experience of the “Great White South.” See the seasons change before your eyes. Feel the chill of winter and watch daylight return as the Antarctic summer approaches. They’ll outfit you to experience the Polar Room, where you’ll find real snow and ice. Explore the snow cave or brave the wind chill machine. Every half hour an Antarctic storm blows through the Polar Room, with lightning, authentic Antarctic storm audio and 25 mile per hour winds. The Aquarium features amazing creatures found in McMurdo Sound. Experience the internationally acclaimed 4-D experience that takes you on a simulated journey through the notoriously rough Drake Passage to the shores of Antarctica. Get up close and personal with the amazing little blue penguin. This is as close to the seventh continent as you can get without going!
Christchurch – Arthur’s Pass Day Tour including 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!
Queenstown – Take a Steamship to Dinner
Step back in time when you board the TSS Earnslaw, the beloved steamship that has been transporting goods and people on Lake Wakatipu since 1912. Nicknamed “The Lady of the Lake,” she is the only coal-fired steamship still in operation in the southern hemisphere. Embark on a leisurely cruise across the pristine waters to Walter Peak High Country Farm. Enjoy the hospitality of the Colonel’s Homestead at an impressive buffet where you can indulge in the best of New Zealand meats and seafood, fresh vegetables and garden salads. You are sure to find the house dessert specialties hard to resist! An after-dinner visit to the farm provides an entertaining glimpse into farming life in the high country. Cruise back to Queenstown, relaxing or joining in the revelry of the lively sing-along.
This option is only available from July through April as it is drydocked during the other months of the year. When the TSS Earnslaw is undergoing maintenance, the Cruise Lake Wakatipu to Dinner option will be made available to purchase.
Queenstown – Journey Through Middle Earth
Embark on a 4WD adventure into the primeval, mystical landscapes where the powerful “Lord of the Rings” trilogy inspired by J.R.R. Tolkien was filmed. The vast panoramas of unspoiled wilderness and awesome grandeur of New Zealand’s South Island provided the ideal setting to bring these beloved adventures to life. Trek into the Remarkable Mountains and travel to the entrance of Skipper Canyon. As well as locations where scenes from the movies were filmed, this safari will introduce you to the gold mining heritage of the area – you can even try your hand at gold panning as you enjoy morning refreshments by the Arrow River.
Option to cancel is available up until 24 hours before start date of tour. If you choose to cancel within 24 hours of the tour, you will still be liable for payment.
Queenstown – A Blaze of Glory on the Shotover River!
Zoom through the sheer canyons of the Shotover River on this thrilling ride. Shotover Jet boats race along in mere centimeters of the glacial water which flows down from the Southern Alps, providing an exhilarating, but safe and enjoyable ride for all ages. You may get a little wet, but it is a unique and fun way to enjoy the spectacular scenery of the South Island of New Zealand and absorb a little of the spirit that has made Queenstown a world center for adventure tourism. Many people think adventure is only for the young. Guests on these jet boats consistently illustrate otherwise – this adventure is perfect for the young at heart! Weather may be cold (boat has heated handlebars) and you may get wet during this option. Actual high speed boating time is 25 minutes.