This Australia & New Zealand Tour offers the best value for your vacation dollar. Visit the most popular sights for first time visitors such as Queenstown & Cairns. This trip departs from LAX and can’t be modified. Sells out quickly
* Flights to Australia & New Zealand from Los Angeles
* Meals:15 -Breakfasts daily
* Sightseeing as indicated in the itinerary
* Inter-Australia/New Zealand flights
* 15-nights accommodations in 3 to 4 star hotels
* A 2-night Ayers Rock/Uluru stay can be added (extra cost)
PRICES: From USD$5880 per person. Based on double occupancy.
DEPARTURE 2018: Aug 29: Sep 07, 12, 14, 21, 26: Oct 03, 05, 17, 19: Nov 02, 07, 09, 14, 28, 30: Dec 12, 19, 21. Sells out Quickly
HOTELS: Hotels are listed in the above itinerary.
DAY TO DAY ITINERARY:
DAY 1, Wednesday – Depart the USA
Depart the USA for New Zealand. Your flight includes meals, drinks, and in-flight entertainment for your journey
DAY 2, Thursday – En Route
En route to New Zealand, lose a day traveling over the international dateline
DAY 3, Friday – Arrive in Auckland
Arrive in Auckland, New Zealand’s largest city, known as the “City of Sails”. You’ll be welcomed by our representative and transferred to the hotel. This evening, enjoy a Welcome Drink and briefing by your Tour Manager on the exciting tour that lies ahead Stay at the Heritage Auckland Hotel & Towers.
Optional Tours ($): Half Day Wine Tasting on Waiheke Island (PM)
DAY 4, Saturday – Auckland City Tour
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 Tours ($): Half Day West Coast Wilderness Experience (PM)
DAY 5, Sunday – Flight to Queenstown
Depart Auckland on a flight to Queenstown, named for Queen Victoria. The town, nestled on the shores of crystal-clear Lake Wakatipu, is considered New Zealand’s scenic adventure capital. Its fabulous outdoor attractions and resort-like atmosphere are enjoyed by international travelers as well as by the local “kiwis”. En route to the hotel, make a stop at the historic Kawarau bridge followed by a visit to the charming gold-rush village of Arrowtown, nestled among the peaks that surround the sparkling Arrow River. Time to walk along the tree-lined avenues of this colorful town filled with 19th century miner’s cottages, or enjoy the delightful shops filled with New Zealand crafts, art galleries and lovely cafes before continuing to Queenstown via Arthurs Point, a small township beside the famous Shotover River (B)
DAY 6, Monday – Full Day in Queenstown
Spend time on your own discovering always-bustling Queenstown. Walk along the streets of the sophisticated downtown area, with its trendy shops and restaurants, or, be adventurous and ascend on the Skyline Gondola high above the city for magnificent views of Queenstown, The Remarkables, Coronet Park, and Lake Wakatipu. Alternatively, participate in the optional Skippers Canyon adventure that follows this rugged road into the sheer cliff sides of the Shotover River Valley. During the tour, visit many historic sites and stop at Deep Creek to try your hand at gold panning at one of the richest gold bearing rivers in the world. Return to Queenstown along Skippers Road, with views of some of the “Lord of the Rings” film locations (B)
Optional Tours ($): Safari of the Scenes – Enjoy areas of outstanding natural beauty from the Lord of the Rings movies on this 4WD tour visiting some of the locations visited include Lothlorien, Isengard Ithilien Camp and Amon Hen.
DAY 7, Tuesday – Full Day in 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 Tours ($): Full Day Milford Sound Drive & Cruise – A scenic drive to the Fjords with towering peaks, cascading waterfalls and spectacular sound
DAY 8, Wednesday – Queenstown to Dunedin
Travel today through the award-winning Gibbston Valley, known as the ‘Valley of the Vines’, one of the most scenic wine growing areas in the world. Vineyards are sandwiched, sometimes precariously, between rugged mountains and the rocky Kawarau River gorge. This area is known for its consistently superb wines, with worldwide recognition and an avalanche of international awards for the Pinot Noir. Continue past the picturesque and historic townships of Cromwell, Clyde and the huge Clyde Dam to Alexandra. Then, we journey along the Clutha River and past the multiple orchards that define this area as New Zealand’s fruit bowl before arriving in Dunedin, New Zealand’s oldest city, well-known for its Victorian and Edwardian architecture and its close proximity to amazing wildlife (B)
DAY 9, Thursday – Tour of Dunedin
A day to enjoy Dunedin, arguably New Zealand’s most spectacular city in terms of contrasting landscapes, nestled in tree-clad hills at the head of a beautiful harbor. The city flourished during the great 19th century gold rush and is now the major gateway to the Otago region. Discover the city with a morning tour highlighted by a visit to the Dunedin Railway Station, a jewel in the country’s architectural crown; Baldwin Street, the steepest residential street in the world; and the prestigious Otago University. Also, visit the Olveston historic homestead, built in the early 1900s, a superb turn-of-the-century house with lavish furnishings and a stunning art collection. The afternoon is at leisure (B)
Optional Tours ($): Otago Peninsula Tour with Cruise – experience an encounter with penguins, fur seals and sea lions
DAY 10, Friday – Dunedin to Christchurch, Flight to Melbourne
Depart Dunedin, following the east coast of the South Island north through Oamaru, renowned for its stunning limestone architecture. Travel through the small rural communities of Timaru and Ashburton before traversing the Canterbury Plains to Christchurch for a brief introductory tour before continuing to the airport. Bid farewell to your New Zealand Tour Manager and board the flight to Melbourne, Australia. Get ready for the next adventure as you’re welcomed by your Australian Tour Manager in the beautiful Victorian city of Melbourne on the shores of Port Phillip Bay. Arrive late tonight at the hotel (B)
DAY 11, Saturday – Melbourne City Tour
The tour of Melbourne this morning highlights the mingling of the city’s cultures, monuments and scenic delights, from the magnificent gardens to the riverside complexes and bayside suburbs with elegant 19th century architecture. In the afternoon, time to stroll on your own, or join the not-to-be-missed optional tour to Phillip Island. Depart the busy city and suburbs, traveling out into the rural countryside to visit Australia’s most popular wildlife attraction and home to the one of the largest Little Penguin colonies in the world (B)
Optional Tours ($): Little Penguin Parade – watch the worlds smallest penguins come ashore at dusk and walk to their burrows.
DAY 12, Sunday – Flight to Sydney
Morning flight to vibrant Sydney, one of the world’s most beautiful cities. Upon arrival, the panoramic tour starts at world famous Bondi Beach and historic and fashionable Paddington with its unique terrace houses, continuing to Mrs. Macquarie’s Chair and the Royal Botanic Gardens which offer extraordinary views of celebrated Sydney Harbor, the Harbor Bridge and the striking Sydney Opera House poised majestically on the water’s edge, named a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Pass historic buildings including the Parliament House, St. Mary’s Cathedral and the Queen Victoria Building. Then, to The Rocks, a historic area where the city was founded by Captain Arthur Phillip and his working parties of convicts. Shop for Opals at a local shop, the best in the world – Australia provides approximately 97% of the world’s supply. Spend the balance of the day at leisure (B). Stay at the Sydney at the Menzies Sydney Hotel.
DAY 13, Monday – Full Day in 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. 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. This morning, a professional team of experienced climbers will escort you to the very top and will provide you with a lasting memento. The rest of the day is yours! Or 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 (B)
Optional Tours: Lunch Cruise on Sydney Harbour, Sydney Harbour Bridge Climb – one of Sydney’s most popular tours
DAY 14, Tuesday – Full Day in 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. Tonight, the night life of Sydney with its great restaurants and pubs awaits you. (B)
Optional Tours ($): Full Day Blue Mountains Tour with a visit to the Featherdale Wildlife Park, where you’ll interact with Kangaroos and Koalas.
DAY 15, Tuesday – Flight to Cianr
Adventure is waiting for you in Cairns, the tourist capital of tropical North Queensland and gateway to the Great Barrier Reef. From the blue waters of the Coral Sea and the diverse marine life of the Great Barrier Reef, to the flora of the tropical rainforests and the cool inland tablelands, Cairns has a wealth of natural beauty to behold. Later this afternoon put on your walking shoes and join your Tour Manager for a walk on the waterfront boardwalk. One of the focal points of this city is the vast saltwater swimming lagoon shaped to the State of Queensland with its whimsical steel fish sculptures and sandy beach. Wander along the Esplanade or walkways adjacent to the boardwalk and park areas for a variety of restaurants and shopping (B)
DAY 16, Thursday – Green Island, Great Barrier Reef Marine Park
Today, travel to the beautiful 6000-year-old coral cay of Green Island in a high-speed catamaran, just a 45-minute journey across the Coral Sea, located in the inner Great Barrier Reef Marine Park. This beautiful island is a one-stop tropical experience with its unique reef and rainforest, home to 126 native plant species, colorful birds and magnificent coral gardens. Stroll through the magical rainforest, snorkel at the inner reef, or laze on the white coral sands – there are many activities to choose from. You may also choose to upgrade your day’s sightseeing with the optional Outer Great Barrier Reef Extension that takes you beyond Green Island to a multi-level reef activity platform. You’ll be able to snorkel amongst some of the most spectacular coral gardens and marine life on the larger outer reef where they are more abundant, or stay dry and embrace the natural wonderland below via an underwater observatory and spacious, air-conditioned semi-submersible vessel. This is truly a once-in-a-lifetime experience (B)
DAY 17, Friday – Full Day in Cairns
Enjoy all of the delights of this resort city on your free day. Or, join the optional tour on the Kuranda Scenic Railway that takes you to the lush Kuranda Rainforest. Upon arrival, explore the quaint village before venturing into the rainforest aboard an amphibious Army Duck vehicle, followed by an enlightening Dreamtime Walk that will introduce you to the ancient Aboriginal and Islander history of this region. Afterward, enjoy a native dance performance and then sit down to a delicious barbecue lunch. End the tour with a visit to the Koala and Wildlife Park and a ride on the Kuranda Skyrail for views of the rainforest canopy before your return to Cairns. 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 Tours ($): Full Day Kuranda Village experience with a Scenic Train and Skyrail Gondola ride over the Rainforest
DAY 18, Saturday – Depart for the USA
Transfer to the airport for your flight home. (B)