This small group Australia & New Zealand Tour is the ultimate trip with only 30 travelers max! Each ‘Holiday of a Lifetime’ tour has a theme for each departure. Roommate share program available.
* International flights to/from Los Angeles and throughout
* 19-nights First Class hotels
* 39 meals including breakfast daily
* Luxury coach with laid back seats
* Sightseeing tours with guide & driver
* Optional: Ghan Train journey
PRICES: From USD$12950 per person. Based on double occupancy.
DEPARTURE 2017: Nov 01, 15: 2018: Jan 24: Feb 21: Mar 14
HOTELS: Hotels are listed in the above itinerary.
ROOMATE SHARE PROGRAM: Great for solo travelers who don’t want to pay the single supplement fee. With the ‘Roommate share’ program, you will be matched with a same sex roommate and pay no single supplement fee!
DAY TO DAY ITINERARY:
Day 1. Depart your hometown:
Leave via our recommended gateway departure cities of LAX, Vancouver or Toronto.
Day 2. Cross International Dateline.
We lose a day which will be regained on our return trip.
Day 3. Arrive Sydney
Stay at the Radisson Blu Plaza Hotel. Welcome to the island continent of Australia! On arrival in Sydney, Australia’s largest city, you will be met and transferred to your hotel. The remainder of the day is at leisure. Sydney, Australia’s gateway city and the capital of New South Wales, is a vibrant city of unsurpassed style and variety. Established in 1788 as a convict settlement, Sydney has grown from these humble beginnings to become Australia’s biggest, oldest and liveliest city and one of the great international cities of the world. Today, over 5 million people live in Sydney and its suburbs. Sydney is built around one of the largest and most beautiful natural harbours in the world. Miles of surfing beaches stretch north and south of the city on the shores of the Pacific Ocean.
The most famous of Sydney’s landmarks are the Harbour Bridge and the spectacular Opera House with its graceful ‘sails’ – the centre of Sydney’s cultural activities. Combined with a sunny climate and a relaxed outdoor lifestyle, Sydney is a magnet for the best the world has to offer.
We will have a Welcome to Australia dinner at Lady Fairfax Restaurant at the Radisson Blu Plaza Hotel in a special private room. (D)
Day 4. Sydney Sightseeing
After a relaxing breakfast this morning at our hotel, we head out of downtown Sydney via the historic Rocks area and through the suburb of Paddington known for its turn-of-the century terraced houses before arriving at Sydney’s famous surfing mecca, Bondi Beach. Here we will enjoy a lifesaving demonstration followed by morning tea. Later, we return to the city following the scenic route through Watson Bay and Rose Bay before arriving at the Sydney Opera House for a ‘Tasting Plate’ light lunch before a guided walking tour. At completion of the tour, we will return to our hotel and have free time until the late afternoon.
Enjoy some free time and early this evening, we will transfer to the King Street Wharf in Darling Harbour where we will join Captain Cook’s Sunset Dinner Cruise on Sydney Harbour. Relax and enjoy the sights of Sydney’s foreshore suburbs and the upper and lower reaches of Sydney Harbour while enjoying a unique dining experience. At the end of the cruise, transfer back to the Radisson Blu Plaza Hotel for a free evening. (B, L, D)
Day 5. Blue Mountains Tour
A full tour today takes us to the Blue Mountains outside of Sydney. On arrival into the small town of Leura, we will visit the Tea Pot Museum and have morning tea. Afterwards, visit Scenic World and enjoy rides on the Skyway – a glass bottomed aerial cable car, the Scenic Cableway – the steepest aerial cable car in the Southern Hemisphere and the Scenic Railway, the steepest passenger railway in the world followed by a short walk through the Cold Mountain Rainforest. We then stop for a two course lunch after which we head to one of the lookout points to experience the full beauty of the Blue Mountains. The views from the park’s lookouts are magnificent; we will look out over hazy blue forests, waterfalls and interesting rock formations. We return to Sydney in the late afternoon. (B, L)
Day 6. Fly Sydney to Cairns
Stay at the Hilton Cairns Hotel. This morning we transfer to Sydney Airport for the flight to Cairns (airfare not included in tour cost, to be purchased separately). Cairns is a modern, vibrant city and the unofficial capital of tropical North Queensland. Not only is the city the gateway to two amazing natural wonders, the Great Barrier Reef and the Daintree National Park, it is also connected to a strong Aboriginal Culture and historical links to WW II and the battles for the Pacific. On arrival there will free time to explore Cairns until your room is ready for check in. This evening we are transferred to the Tjapukai by Night and you are taken you on a magical adventure in to the legends of Australia’s dreamtime. Enter another world as Australia’s Aboriginal culture is brought to life through a series of award winning performances as you feast on modern cuisine from the Far North. Enjoy a welcome drink on arrival before the performers lead a didgeridoo blessing ceremony followed by a spectacular fire performance and cultural dance celebration. If you are keen, you can even take to the stage to learn a traditional dance yourself! This evening of entertainment is complemented by a delicious dinner, photo opportunity with the Tjapukai warriors & even time to shop in the retail gallery full of authentic souvenirs. (B, D)
Day 7. Kuranda Village & Tjapukai Aboriginal Cultural Parks
After breakfast, we board the Kuranda Scenic Railway for one of the most spectacular journeys in Australia. We will enjoy “Royale Champagne Service” as the train slowly winds its way up the epic pioneer track with every turn revealing a new panorama – sugar plantations, Barron Falls and Stoney Creek Falls. Our Royale service includes champagne and orange juice which we can sip while we listen to the informative commentary as the majesty of this area unfolds.
On arrival into Kuranda Station – a cool, tropical environment of native shrubs, ferns and flowers – we meet up with our coach driver for the short transfer to Kuranda Village, where we will have some free time to browse around the quaint township before enjoying lunch at Frog’s Restaurant. After lunch, we head to our next adventure at Rainforestation.
Our visit includes the Pamagirri Aboriginal Dancers who perform in the Rainforest Amphitheatre, a guided Dreamtime Walk, a boomerang throwing demonstration and an exciting ride on an amphibious army duck for an informative tour through the rainforest. Later we will also have the opportunity to visit the native animal enclosure to meet “Matilda”, “Walter” and “Kiah” – three koalas who are proudly sponsored by Goway Travel. From Rainforestation, we take our coach back down to Cairns arriving at approximately 5.00pm.
Tonight enjoy a sumptuous seafood buffet dinner poolside at the hotel or if the weather is not co-operating a delicious 3 course dinner indoors. (B, L, D)
Day 8. Great Barrier Reef snorkel cruise
Another great day today as we board our Great Adventures catamaran for our Great Barrier Reef experience. Details of your chosen option – Green Island or Outer Reef Excursion — are outlined below.
Green Island/Outer Reef Option:
Depart Cairns at 8:30am on Great Adventures fast catamaran for the short trip to Green Island, a true coral cay. On arrival, you have 2 hours free time to explore the island. The island is perfect for strolling through cool rainforest, lazing on white coral sands, swimming or snorkeling on the surrounding coral reef or relaxing around the resort’s pool. From Green Island, you re-board the catamaran and head to Great Adventure’s 3-level pontoon on the outer edge of the Great Barrier Reef. The pontoon features undercover seating and tables where you will enjoy a sumptuous buffet lunch. The pontoon also has a large sundeck, full bar facilities, an underwater observatory, and a semi-submersible coral viewing tour. You will be able to snorkel or dive (surcharge applies for diving) among the reef’s spectacular coral gardens and beautiful marine life. Return to Cairns at approximately 5:30 pm.
Green Island Only Option:
Depart Cairns at 8:30am on Great Adventures fast catamaran for the short trip to Green Island, a true coral cay. On arrival, you have the rest of the day to explore the island. The island is perfect for strolling through cool rainforest, lazing on white coral sands, swimming or snorkeling on the surrounding coral reef or relaxing around the resort’s pool. While on the island, your snorkeling equipment and an excursion on a glass-bottom boat are included. A delicious buffet lunch is also included in the island’s resort restaurant. Return to Cairns at 2:30pm or you can choose to stay until 4.30pm.
For both options we strongly recommend you take a hat, swimsuit and plenty of sunscreen lotion. This evening is at leisure. ( B, L)
Day 9. Cairns to Ayers Rock + Sounds of Silence Dinner
Stay at the Desert Gardens Hotel. A box breakfast is arranged by the hotel due to an early flight this morning. This morning we transfer to the airport for our flight (airfare not included in tour cost, to be purchased separately) to the “Red Centre” of Australia and Ayers Rock. Upon arrival into Ayers Rock Airport, our coach will be waiting to transfer us to the hotel and then out to the Olgas also known in the Aboriginal language as “Kata Tjuta” translated as “many heads.” The Olgas are a collection of smaller, more rounded rocks, located 32km to the west of Ayers Rock. Each of the 36 domes has a story in mythology and is of significance to the Aboriginal Dreamtime (legends). There is a stop at the Cultural Centre for lunch (at own expense).
We have time to freshen up at our hotel before being transferred to the site of the amazing Sounds of Silence Dinner Experience. This evening we will absorb the haunting sounds of the didgeridoo and dine, al fresco, on true outback cuisine whilst witnessing the sunset. After a feast of Northern Territory delights including barramundi, kangaroo, emu, crocodile, bush salads, and classic Australian desserts, we will then be treated to some of the world’s best stargazing before returning to our hotel. (B, D)
Day 10. Uluru Sunrise Tour, then coach to Alice Spring
Stay at the DoubleTree by Hilton Alice Springs. Start the day with a hearty breakfast at the hotel. After breakfast we check out of the hotel and embark on our Base Tour of Ayers Rock. The Rock has become one of the symbols of Australia that is recognized everywhere in the world. Nothing can give a sense of its size except standing beneath the towering 348 meters wall of rock.
As we tour the Rock’s base with our knowledgeable driver/guide, we will fully appreciate not only its size but also the way it appears to continually change. From one angle it looks almost like a huge box; from another, it sprawls elegantly across the plain. We then journey to Alice Springs via the Lasseter and Stuart Highways. Places of interest along the way include Curtin Springs Station and Roadhouse, one of the largest in the district, and Mt. Connor, a large rock formation which is often mistaken for Ayers Rock and is visible from the roadside. A lunch-stop will be made enroute (own expense).
This evening, we enjoy an exciting Outback experience at the Mbantua Sunset and Starlight Dinner under the Milky Way! Here we have a chance to take in some spectacular scenery while getting some insights into bush foods and Aboriginal culture while enjoying a delicious meal prepared by an Aboriginal Master Bush Chef. (B, D)
Day 11. Alice Springs to Adelaide. Ghan Train option
Stay at the Hilton Adelaide Hotel. Our morning begins after breakfast with a tour of Alice Springs, the main service centre for the vast Outback region. Alice Springs is set against the rugged mountain backdrop of the magnificent MacDonnell Ranges 1500kms from the nearest capital city. ‘Alice’ was originally known as Stuart Town after the first European who, on his fifth attempt to cross Australia from Adelaide to Darwin surveying the route for the Overland Telegraph Line, discovered the spectacular mountain range now known as the MacDonnell Ranges. The largest of the many repeater Telegraph Stations completed in 1872, it was situated at Stuart Town, later renamed Alice Springs after the Postmaster’s wife.
Our tour includes visits to the Royal Flying Doctor Service to see how this marvelous facility operates to provide a “Mantle of Safety” to the people of the Outback as well as a visit to the School of the Air. After our tour, we transfer to the airport for our flight to Adelaide (airfare not included in tour cost, to be purchased separately) in the state of South Australia. On arrival, we are met and transferred to our hotel. Dinner is included at our hotel this evening. (B. D)
Ghan Train option (must be pre-booked): Instead of flying to Adelaide you may want to consider the option of taking the famous Ghan train there. The legendary Ghan train travels overnight from Alice Springs to Adelaide. Travel in style in Gold Service aboard The Ghan. Enjoy fine dining in the Stylish Restaurant and relax over a drink in the Lounge before retiring to your private sleeper cabin. The Ghan travels once a week between Alice Springs and Adelaide. For supplementary prices, request prices.
Day 12. Adelaide sightseeing tour
Breakfast is at your leisure this morning. Enjoy some free time before heading out for a private tour of the Adelaide Hills including a visit to the National Wine Centre, the historic village of Hahndorf, wine tasting and an early dinner at Maximilian’s, a superb restaurant where you will delight in the sweeping views over the lake and vineyard. At the National Wine enjoy a tour of the wine discovery museum and a single wine tasting station – receive an insight into five wines from South Australia’s premium winemaking regions by tasting their most renowned wine variety. The remainder of the evening is at leisure. (B, L)
Day 13. Adelaide to Melbourne
Stay at the Crown Promenade Hotel. This morning, we transfer to Adelaide airport for our flight to Melbourne (airfare not included in tour cost, to be purchased separately). On arrival in Melbourne, enjoy a brief city orientation tour before transferring to our hotel for check-in. Melbourne is a magnet for people because its distinctive characteristics create memorable experiences and a vibrant lifestyle. Encircled by parkland, Melbourne is the cultural capital of Australia with everything from grand opera to sidewalk art. The city is rich in its multi-cultural identity, classic buildings, beautiful parks and gardens, sophisticated dining and enviable shopping. Later, we travel to Phillip Island to enjoy watching the little penguins return from their day at sea as dusk falls over Summerland Beach during what is known as the Penguin Parade. The sight of the little penguins waddling along the beach to their burrows is utterly priceless. We then enjoy a 3 course dinner at Harry’s on the Esplanade before returning to Melbourne late this evening. (B, D)
Day 14. Melbourne sightseeing tour
After breakfast this morning we discover the secrets and hidden treasures of Melbourne’s lanes and arcades on a walking tour. We will immerse ourselves in the heritage and culture of this cosmopolitan city, visit local artisans and up and coming fashion designers. Join the café society and soak up the atmosphere of old world charm as well as discover a little history, architecture, street art and more! There will be a tea/coffee stop in the middle in addition to bottled water and chocolate tasting. After the tour the afternoon is free to explore Melbourne.
Early evening, enjoy a special farewell to Australia dinner on board a converted 1927 tram that has become The Colonial Tramcar Restaurant. The atmosphere is cozy, the service friendly and the food a culinary delight. As you cruise the scenic streets of Melbourne, enjoy a 3 course dinner with wine and a trip into a little piece of history. (B, D)
Day 15. Melbourne to Christchurch
Stay at Rendezvous Hotel Christchurch. This morning enjoy breakfast and a transfer to Melbourne Airport. Fly to Christchurch (airfare not included in tour cost, to be purchased separately).
Kia Ora and Welcome to New Zealand! After clearing Customs, transfer to your Christchurch hotel enjoying a brief orientation city tour along the way. The remainder of the day is free to explore the city before a Welcome to New Zealand dinner this evening at our hotel. (B, D)
Day 16. Christchurch to Queenstown coach tour via Mt. Cook
Stay at the Rydges Lakeland Resort Queenstown. This morning, we depart for Queenstown driving through some of the most scenic landscapes in New Zealand. Our first stop is at the quaint Church of the Good Shepherd, one of the most photographed places in New Zealand, and features an altar window that frames stunning views of Lake Tekapo and the Southern Alps. After this visit, we will continue on past Twizel and then travel alongside man-made Lake Dunstan before continuing on through the picturesque wine area of the Gibbston Valley and into the Kawarau Gorge. As we emerge from the gorge, we arrive in the fruit growing region of Cromwell and then continue on to the mountain resort town of Queenstown and our hotel.
This region is home to the rugged, snow-capped Remarkable Mountains towering over the deep blue waters of Lake Wakatipu, fringed by poplars and weeping willows that form the backdrop to Queenstown – probably New Zealand’s most spectacular and popular resort town. Magnificent scenery, lovely promenades, lake cruises and great shopping – there is something for everyone.
This evening we transfer to the Skyline Gondola Restaurant where we will enjoy a relaxing dinner while the sun sets over the Remarkable Mountains. After dinner, we will be transferred back to our hotel. (B, D)
Day 17. Milford Sound Tour and Cruise
After a hearty breakfast, we depart on our full day tour to spectacular Fiordland National Park and world famous Milford Sound. Our route takes us along the shores of Lake Wakatipu, one of New Zealand’s prettiest lakes, and through some of the world’s finest vertical landscapes, hanging valleys, precipices and raging torrents surround us on our way to this beautiful Sound. The road follows through the Homer Tunnel and the Eglinton Valley to Milford and famous mile-high Mitre Peak. Rudyard Kipling once described this Sound as the “eighth wonder of the world.” Our cruise includes a picnic style lunch and will cover the length of the fiord right up to the 1200-foot cliffs and thundering waterfalls. As our vessel turns at the point where the fiord meets the Tasman Sea, we will see how this majestic fiord, hidden at first, unfolds before us. The captain is an expert at seeking out playful schools of dolphins and fur seals basking on the sunny rocks. We return to our hotel in the early evening. (B, L)
Day 18. Queenstown at leisure
We have a full day at leisure to relax or to join one of the many optional tours and activities that are available (additional cost) or you can choose to enjoy this lovely pedestrian friendly city. Some suggestions are: get a thrill on the famous Shotover Jetboats; take a guided walking tour of the Queenstown Wine Trail including an underground wine cave tour; cruise Lake Wakatipu on the historic Earnslaw Steamer; shop in all the stores and boutiques in the town centre or just relax in the sheer beauty of it all! A list of optional tours will be emailed to you. (B)
Day 19. Queenstown to Rotorua. Maori Village and Hangi Feast with concert
Stay at the Novotel Rotorua Lakeside. A box breakfast is arranged by the hotel due to your onward flight. This morning we transfer to the airport for our flight to the North Island (airfare not included in tour cost, to be purchased separately) and check into our hotel in Rotorua. On the way from the airport to our hotel, we visit one of the most amazing attractions, the Rotorua Museum. On your self guided visit, discover the great stories of the region through innovative exhibitions and cinema experiences. Learn about the rich culture, volatile landscape and legendary figures that have shaped this fascinating region. The stunning Bath House building can be explored from the mud bath basement to the viewing platform on the rooftop. The Rotorua Bath House was once known as the Great South Seas Spa. People came from all over the world to indulge in the curative and sometimes bizarre treatments that were administered here. Enjoy panoramic views of the Government Gardens, Lake Rotorua and Sulphur Bay from the viewing platform. After visiting the museum, all passengers are transferred to Novotel Rotorua Hotel. This evening visit an authentic Maori village in the midst of Rotorua’s ancient Tawa Forest and immerse yourself in the colourful culture on the Tamaki Maori Cultural Experience. It is an evening of ritual, ceremony, amazing Maori cultural performance, cultural storytelling, interaction and traditional feasting as you relive significant portions of New Zealand’s pre-European history and real events! (B, D)
Day 20. Rotorua sightseeing tour
Your day will start enjoying a delicious breakfast at your hotel. After breakfast, we meet our coach and guide for our in-depth sightseeing tour of Rotorua. Our first stop this morning is the Te Puia Arts and Culture Centre, where you will see the renowned geothermal activity including boiling mud pools, gentle hot springs and violent geysers; this includes the world famous Pohutu Geyser.
From Te Puia, we are off to the Agrodome where we will learn more about the thriving sheep industry in New Zealand and be entertained with sheep shearing and dog herding demonstrations. We will also watch a parade of sheep from different breeds, strutting their stuff! Our day concludes at our hotel, where we will have dinner and relax for the remainder of the evening. (B, D)
For those passengers who have chosen to be guests of a “Kiwi” family tonight, your hosts will pick you up at the hotel at approximately 3:00pm and take you to their homes for dinner and overnight. After a hearty country breakfast the next morning, you will be taken back to the hotel to rejoin the group. NOTE: We suggest you only take a small overnight bag and store your large suitcase at the hotel.
Day 21. Rotorua to Auckland. Visit Hobbiton Movie set & Waitomo Glowworm Cave
Stay at the Stamford Plaza Auckland. Today we will be meet the guests who were staying at the Novotel Rotorua. Our journey north to Auckland takes us first to the amazing Hobbiton Movie Set where many of The Lord of the Rings and Hobbit film trilogies were filmed. The set has been completely rebuilt for these films and are the authentic sets as seen in the movies. During our tour we will see Hobbit Holes, The Green Dragon Inn and The Mill. Also to be viewed is the double arched bridge and other structures and gardens built for the movies.
After our Hobbit experience, we continue our journey to Waitomo, where we enjoy a guided excursion underground through the Waitomo Cave Complex with its fascinating natural landforms including tiny glow-worms that shine in the dark like stars. Next, we relax over a delicious lunch at the Roselands Restaurant, serving traditional New Zealand dishes made fresh every day including home baking and local free range meets, all on a farmland setting. The day ends on arrival in Auckland, where we check into our hotel for overnight stay. Tonight is our Farewell to New Zealand dinner at the Orbit Restaurant, just a 5 minute walk from the hotel. (B, L, D)
Day 22. Auckland to home
After breakfast and checking out of our hotel, we join our coach for a morning city orientation tour including views of historic Parnell and One Tree Hill. We have two hospitality rooms available until 4pm at the hotel to freshen up to prepare for your next journey. Today is end of your Holiday of a Lifetime. (B)