12-Day New Zealand & Australia Group Tour
Visit Christchurch, Mt Cook, Queenstown, Cairns & Sydney. Visit New Zealand’s South Islands plus Cairns – gateway to the Great Barrier Reef & Sydney. This tour can be changed to meet your group’s specific travel preferences.
Day 01. Fly USA from Los Angeles to Christchurch, New Zealand’s South Island
Day 03. Arrive into Christchurch. (1-night) Today you’ll be met by your personal driver and taken to your Christchurch accommodations, located in the city center. Christchurch is the largest city on New Zealand’s South Island and its commerce center. It suffered an earthquake in 2011 however it’s been rebuilt with some new buildings and sights to showcase. (B)
Day 04: Christchurch to Queenstown via Mt. Cook. (3-nights) Experience the beauty and grandeur of the Southern Alps on a sightseeing day tour to Queenstown via the Mt. Cook region. Leaving Christchurch in the morning, youtravel through the fertile farmland of the Canterbury Plains to the shores of the stunning, glacier-fed Lake Tekapo, where you can view the solitary Church of the Good Shepherd and take in the sights of the spectacular Southern Alps. You’ll then continue to the location of New Zealand’s tallest mountain, Aoraki / Mount Cook, situated in a national park and UNESCO World Heritage site. Rising to 3,724 metres high, Aoraki certainly lives up to its name, which in Māori can be translated as ‘cloud piercer’. Enjoy an optional lunch (optional extra) at the famous Hermitage Hotel in Mount Cook Village. While here you can choose from a number excursions such as the 4WD Tasman Valley Tour, a scenic flight to the Tasman Glacier or a half day hike. If you choose a flight you’ll see views of mountain peaks and glaciers (additional cost, weather permitting). Your drive continues south, past Lake Pukaki and through the tawny tussock of the Mackenzie Country. En route, enjoy afternoon tea (own expense) in the quaint village of Omarama and if time permits, visit the Jones Family Orchard near Cromwell. Your tour concludes in the evening upon reaching Queenstown, the adventure capital of New Zealand. (B)
Day 05: Queenstown free day: Queenstown is New Zealand’s premier alpine village. With an abundance of recreations and a breathtaking natural beauty that lends each season its own distinct complexion, Queenstown has long been the inspiration for artists and nature-lovers from all over the world. Nestled beside the deep blue waters of Lake Wakatipu, at the foot of the Remarkables Mountain Range, Queenstown is a year round village, where you can be as active as you want, or just leisurely enjoy the magnificent scenery. Optional sightseeing ($) area the Lord of the Rings movie sights, jetboating, bungy jumping, hiking, bicycling and much more. (B)
Overnight in Queenstown: Stay in 3, 4 or 5-star centrally located, well rated hotels. Includes breakfast daily.
Day 06. Milford Sound Fjord Tour with Lake Cruise: Today you’ll have an early morning drive through some of the most beautiful countryside in New Zealand. Milford Sound offers a scenic look at fiords in the south west of New Zealand’s South Island, within the Fiordland National Park. Climbing through the Southern Alps, State Highway 94 is one of the highest and most scenic state highways in New Zealand. The Milford Road, part of SH94, takes you from Te Anau through Fiordland National Park to the major tourist gateway – Milford Sound On arrival at Milford Sound you’ll board a vessel for a leisurely cruise along the sound to the Tasman Sea. You’ll stop at various points and plenty of time is available to view waterfalls, rainforests, mountains and seals. You may even see dolphins frolic alongside the boat. A buffet lunch is included during the cruise.
**You can choose to return to Queenstown by small plane instead of a coach tour back (additional cost. 30min). This scenic flight shows you the fascinating Ariel view of the Fjords and mountain ranges. Fights are subject to weather conditions. (B, L)
Day 07. Queenstown to Cairns, Australia (3-nights). You’ll be transferred to the airport to catch your flight to Cairns, Australia. On arrival to Cairns, you will be transferred to your hotel. Cairns, is the major center in Tropical North Queensland, a popular gateway to the Great Barrier Reef. The city itself is more like a large village, with no skyscrapers. The city offers a lot of activities such as a night market, casinos, Esplanade Boardwalk, shopping, Botanical gardens, Lagoon Pool, (there is no beach here), and more. Alternatively you can choose to stay in a beach village called Palm Cove (quaint, beachside village) or Port Douglas (located in the Rainforest) with transfers available to all activities. (B).
Overnight in Cairns or Palm Cove: Stay in 3, 4 or 5-star centrally located, well rated hotels. Includes breakfast daily.
Day 08. Great Barrier Reef snorkel cruise: Today you’ll experience one of Australia’s most famous activities – snorkeling the Great Barrier Reef. Set sail aboard the beautiful 32 metre sailing catamaran, to experience Michaelmas Cay’s unique reef environment – a pristine sand cay surrounded by fringing reef and a protected sanctuary for migratory seabirds. Be active and enjoy all the included activities – snorkel in the cay’s protected shallow waters, cruise in the semi-sub for a unique view of the reef and watch the fish feeding presentation. To protect this renowned bird sanctuary, access on the cay is limited to the roped beach area. If you prefer a more leisurely day on the Great Barrier Reef, relax on the beach or onboard Ocean Spirit’s spacious decks. The choice is yours! Optional: You can choose to experience even more of the Great Barrier Reef with an exciting introductory scuba dive or dive as a certified diver. ($) (B, L)
Day 09. At leisure, Cairns: Spend the day at leisure or you can choose to add an optional sightseeing tour such as the Kuranda Skyrail and Train Adventure, Cape Tribulation Rainforest, white water rafting and more. Each member in your group can choose to do something different today or just relax and shop. (B)
Day 10. Cairns to Sydney: (2-nights). You’ll be transferred to the airport for your flight to Sydney. Upon arrival you will be met and taken to your hotel. Sydney – Australia’s premier city is the oldest settlement in Australia, the economic powerhouse of the nation set on one of the most identified harbors in the world. Built on the shores of the stunning Port Jackson, you would have to die and go to heaven before you see a more spectacular setting for a city. The city of Sydney began life as a penal colony in 1788 and for the next 60 years received the unwanted, persecuted and criminal elements of British society. Despite its brutal beginnings, the city has been transformed it into a thriving multicultural society with a very modern city center. (B). This afternoon you’ll see Sydney’s icons offering magnificent views Opera House (Tour of inside is additional $20) and the Conservatory of Music, View Hyde Park and Notre Dame inspired St Mary’s Cathedral, See Parliament House, the Art Gallery and the parklands of the Domain, See Sydney Town Hall, Sydney Tower and the exciting Darling Harbour along with views from Mrs Macquarie’s Chair. This evening will be yours free to do as you please.
Overnight in Sydney: Stay in 3, 4 or 5-star centrally located, well rated hotels. Includes breakfast daily.
Day 11. Sydney at Leisure with Dinner cruise: Today is at your leisure to explore Sydney on your own. Optional tours can be added such as a day trip to the Blue Mountains with a Wildlife park visit, Hunter Winery Tour, Sydney Harbour Bridge Climb, Sydney Taronga Zoo and/or Opera House Tour. Most of the major attractions of the city are within easy walking distance of your accommodation. (B)
This evening, enjoy a wonderful dinner out on Sydney’s magnificent and world known renawed harbour. Cruise through Sydney Harbour in style on board a spacious flagship vessel that departs from Circular Quay and King Street Wharf. Glide by landmarks, including the floodlit Sydney Harbour Bridge and Sydney Opera House, and watch the city change colors with the sunset. Then sit down for a 3-course dinner with an array of international dishes including fresh seafood. Enjoy the views from your table or the viewing deck, and live entertainment on this 2.5-hour dinner cruise.
Day 12: Sydney – Home: Today your trip ends and your group will be transferred to the airport for their onward flight back home. People can choose to stay to extend their trip and travel perhaps to Melbourne or Fiji, if they choose.