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Authentic Australia & New Zealand Experience

20 Days (19 Nights) | $5,353
Itinerary Maps

Experience some of the highlights of Australia and New Zealand on this custom group itinerary. Discover the -must see' Great Barrier Reef and the vibrant city of Sydney before embarking on a journey to New Zealand where you will travel north up the country experiencing the beauty of the South Island to the culture of the North Island.

Day 1: Arrive Cairns (D)

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Arrive in Cairns - the northern gateway to the Great Barrier Reef where the weather is always warm, the water clear and the locals friendly. On arrival, we’ll meet our local Driver/Guide who’ll have a bright “g’day” and a warm-hearted welcome before we transfer to our downtown hotel. The afternoon is free to take a stroll along the Esplanade Boardwalk overlooking the Coral Sea before this evening’s welcome dinner. 

Day 2: Cairns (Tjapukai & Kuranda) (BL)

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Today we travel north of Cairns to visit the Tjapukai Aboriginal Cultural Park where we'll experience a stunning theatrical interpretation of Aboriginal culture. Seven separate arenas allow visitors to experience every facet of the rainforest people's culture from the provocative History Theatre to the inspiring Creation Theatre, as well as the original Dance Theatre and the interactive Camp Village, where you can learn didgeridoo playing and boomerang throwing. Afterward, we'll travel by Skyrail cable car, a unique rainforest experience taking us on an unforgettable journey through Australia's World Heritage listed Tropical Rainforests to the picturesque mountain retreat of Kuranda, also known as the "Village in the Rain Forest". Our day's sightseeing will come to an end following a breathtaking rail journey aboard the original Kuranda Scenic Railway, a spectacular journey comprising unsurpassed views of dense rainforest, steep ravines and picturesque waterfalls.

Day 3: Great Barrier Reef (BL)

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Guaranteed to be one of the many highlights of our vacation, today we travel to Port Douglas to board the MV Quicksilver that will take us to the very edge of Australia's Continental Shelf to an underwater world that is a dazzling kaleidoscope of color and life. You can choose to stay dry and watch the fish feeding from the Quicksilver's unique viewing platform and underwater observatory, ride the semi-submersible submarine, or jump right in and explore the excellent swimming and snorkeling areas. At 2,000 kilometers long, the Great Barrier Reef is the most extensive coral system in the world. It is home to 400 types of coral and thousands of species of fish, mollusks, and plants. There's little doubt you'll be absolutely enchanted by the vibrant colors and endless variety of marine life that surrounds us.

Day 4: Cairns - Sydney (airfare not included) / Sydney to Katoomba (BD)

This morning we depart Cairns and take to the skies for Sydney, the capital city of New South Wales. On arrival, we'll meet our local Driver/Guide and travel into the Blue Mountains, over 250 million years in the making; the mountains get their name from the release of oil from eucalyptus trees that cause a blue haze. Breathtaking scenery will unfold before us as we journey through Blue Mountains National Park where we'll stop to view the three-tiered Wentworth Waterfalls, visit the quaint mountain township of Leura, and take in a spectacular view of the famous Three Sisters rock formation from Echo Point. Tonight's overnight destination is scenic and secluded Katoomba, located in the heart of the Blue Mountains National Park.

Day 5: Katoomba - Bathurst (BD)

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Today we'll savor the good life with a visit to the Bathurst area and discover the true character of Australia with an overnight Aussie Farm Stay. We'll join working farm families to witness pastoral life first hand as they go about their daily chores and share their farm homesteads - feel free to pitch in and get your hands dirty.

Day 6: Bathurst - Sydney (B)

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This morning we say “cheerio” to our farm families and travel to the Featherdale Wildlife Park. Here we’ll enjoy a close encounter with Australian native animals; feed the kangaroos and wallabies; cuddle up close to a koala and have your picture taken; and see wombats, Tasmanian Devils, crocodiles and a vast collection of Australian native birds. Then we’re headed to Sydney. It was here in 1788 that Captain Arthur Phillip established Sydney Town, the first permanent European settlement in Australia. With 240 days of warm sunshine and blue sky each year, Sydney is Australia’s favorite city with the world’s most beautiful harbor and Opera House.

Day 7: Sydney (B)

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Our day will begin with a walking tour of the historic “Rocks” where we’ll hear the details of the country’s fascinating history and colorful character that existed in 1788 when the first fleet arrived from England. Afterward, we’ll enjoy a guided tour of Sydney’s most famous landmark, the incomparable Opera House. Believe it or not, the Opera House was a controversial project between its planning in the 1950s and its completion in 1973. Today, while the Opera House is one of the world’s busiest performing arts centers, it is in fact an intricate complex of theaters and halls linked beneath the famous white sails. Our day’s sightseeing comes to an end following an invigorating coffee cruise around Sydney Harbor. This beautiful city takes on even greater allure when viewed from the harbor. Departing from Circular Quay, we’ll be surrounded by views of the city skyline, ornate bridges and teeming harbor traffic.

Day 8: Fly Sydney - Queenstown (airfare not included) (B)

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Today we depart Sydney and fly to Queenstown, New Zealand. 

Upon arrival at Queenstown International Airport and having completed customs formalities guests will make their way to the International Arrivals Hall where they will be greeted by local ground staff who will direct guests to their coach for transfer to accommodation with brief orientation tour en route. 

Queenstown has captured hearts since the first Maori came in search of pounamu (greenstone or jade) and to hunt the giant Moa bird, and that same magic remains today. 

Now an established international four-season resort, it is unsurpassed for the diverse number of experiences on offer, its exceptional quality, and its friendly, accommodating people. 

Queenstown is pure escapism, where the limits stop and people take over. Adventurers, golfers, walkers, film-makers, leisure lovers, fishing anglers, artists, wine enthusiasts, even Hollywood stars and US Presidents - they are all drawn to, and fall in love with, the resort and the intense alpine energy. Some free time at leisure this afternoon in this beautiful lakeside resort. Your hotel is very close to the shops, restaurants and Lake Front.

Day 9: Queenstown (BD)

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This morning transfers are provided to SKYLINE on Bob's Peak. Take a gondola ride up to the top for a panoramic view of Queenstown, Lake Wakatipu and the Remarkables Ranges. 

The rest of the day is at leisure to enjoy some of the many OPTIONAL activities (to be quoted separately) available in this stunning lake and mountainside resort. 

This evening join the historic TSS Earnslaw steamship on a leisurely cruise to Walter Peak High Country Station for a brief and entertaining farming demonstration and a Gourmet BBQ dinner. 

On arrival, you will be escorted through the beautiful lakeside gardens to the charming Colonel's Homestead where your dinner awaits you. Feast on New Zealand specialties - succulent roast meats, fresh seafood, salads and vegetables not to mention the traditional desserts that are just divine. Such elegant surrounds makes for an entertaining and most enjoyable evening. 

After dinner, an entertaining farm demonstration provides a glimpse into high country farming life. 

On your return TSS Earnslaw cruise, enjoy a drink in the saloon, join a sing-along with the ship's pianist, or take a stroll on the moonlit decks. The views on the return cruise as the lights of Queenstown draw nearer are simply magical.

Day 10: Queenstown - Milford Sound Overnight Cruise (BD)

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Mid-morning depart by private coach for Milford Sound travelling along the Southern Arm of Lake Wakatipu to Mossburn and Te Anau where there will be a brief refreshment stop at own expense. Continue on through Fiordland National Park with sightseeing of The Mirror Lakes, The Chasm, Hollyford Valley and the Homer Tunnel before reaching Milford Sound. 

Commence a leisurely cruise of Milford Sound on board the Milford Mariner. These relaxing cruises have special appeal for the independent traveller. An on board nature guide provides detailed interpretation in English only. There is plenty of time available to explore points of interest and to view the stunning scenery, including waterfalls, rainforest and the towering peaks. Keep a lookout for wildlife. 

MILFORD SOUND: Stunning surroundings at the heart of Te Wahi pounamu World Heritage Area. In Maori legend, the fiords were created not by rivers of ice, but by Tu Te Raki Whanoa, a godly figure who came wielding a magical adze uttering incantations. Milford Sound (Piopiotahi) is without doubt his finest sculpture. Luxuriant rainforest clings to sheer rock walls washed with waterfalls. In the foreground stands Mitre Peak, dominating the skyline. Whatever the fiord's mood, teeming with rain or with sun glistening on deep water, it will inspire you. 

The Milford Mariner offers a very special dinner, bed and breakfast experience. Enjoy a full length cruise of this spectacular fiord to the Tasman Sea before anchoring for the night in sheltered Harrison Cove.

Day 11: Milford Sound - Dunedin (BD)

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Depart for Dunedin - often referred to as the -Edinburgh of the South. Scottish traditions and townsfolk are alive and well in Dunedin (pronounced Dunn-ede-in), the Edinburgh of the south, where they still roll their rrrr's in true Scottish style. 

Upon arrival commence a central city tour which will take in the sightseeing of Otago University, The Octagon and Dunedin Railway Station. 

This evening enjoy a guided tour of Speights Brewery and dinner. Still on the site that it has occupied since 1876, Speight's Brewery has become one of Dunedin and Otago's biggest icons. The Speight's brand is not only the 'Pride of the South' but now one of New Zealand's most loved beers. Following your tour, you will head to The Speights Ale House (located next door) for your 2 course dinner. They have an extensive range of Southern fare all offering value for money and generous portions.

Day 12: Dunedin Sightseeing (B)

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Today's tour will take guests along the Otago Peninsula to 19th century Larnach Castle and Gardens for a guided tour. Larnach Castle was built in 1871 and is world- renowned for its magnificent carved ceilings, New Zealand antiques and breathtaking views from the tower 300 metres above the harbour and Pacific Ocean. 

Royal Albatross Colony The Classic Albatross Tour is a one hour tour that includes a talk, plus a short movie on the albatross lifecycle, followed by a visit to the Albatross Observatory. 

Penguin Place is a private conservation effort aimed at saving one of the rarest penguins from extinction. Via a unique system of hides, track and tunnels you can gain firsthand information plus enjoy fantastic photographic opportunities of these wonderful birds from distances down to less than a meter. Penguin Place is located at the end of the Otago Peninsula, 40 minutes' drive from Dunedin and 5 minutes' drive from the Albatross colony.

Day 13: Dunedin - Moeraki - Oamaru - Christchurch (BD)

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This morning journey to Christchurch today along the east coast viewing the spherical boulders of Moeraki and the heritage precinct at Oamaru en route. 

Upon arrival at the Christchurch you will visit the International Antarctic Centre where the XPRESS Pass is included (Entry and Blue Penguin Colony).The Antarctic Attraction at the International Antarctic Centre is Christchurch's leading visitor attraction and has been a multiple winner and finalist in the New Zealand Tourism Awards. Established in 1992, the Antarctic Attraction is located in the heart of a working Antarctic campus here at Christchurch International Airport. It is from here that many Antarctic missions are organised. With this in mind the Antarctic Attraction is designed to bring a powerful and memorable experience of Antarctica to visitors in a fun, exciting, informative and commercially successful way. 

Although badly damaged by the February 2011 earthquake the city is regenerating and will become a showcase for earthquake proof, eco-friendly and sustainable architecture. Sights included will be the beautiful Botanic Gardens and the Canterbury Museum. This is still New Zealand's -Garden City'€. One hectare in every three is devoted to public parks and reserves, which grace the city. Among the most elegant flora are those in the 180 hectare Hagley Park, pride of the local Cantabrians.

Day 14: Christchurch - Kaikoura - Blenheim (BD)

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Depart this morning to Kaikoura a journey of around 2.5 to 3 hours through the vineyards of the Waipara region, vast farmlands and spectacular coastal scenery. 

Kaikoura is home to the great Sperm whales, Dolphins, Sharks Fur Seals and a myriad of ocean going birds including the great Albatross. The unique eco-system that is Kaikoura exists because there is a huge undersea chasm or trough which comes to within half a mile of the shoreline. The resulting currents and up-welling provide the rich nutrients for the variety of sea mammals to be found there. Seals dolphins and the great Sperm Whales reside in the deep waters close to shore. There will be some free time for lunch at own expense and a visit to the Seal Colony. 

It is a comfortable 2.5 - 3 hour drive along this spectacular section of SH1 which has rugged coastline on one side and the often snowcapped majestic Seaward Kaikoura mountains on the other. Upon arrival check in for the Whale Watch cruise. 

This afternoon travel on to the small provincial town of Blenheim and centre of one of the world's best wine growing regions. Marlborough is particularly well known for its award-winning Sauvignon Blanc wines. This evening enjoy wine tastings followed by dinner.

Day 15: Blenheim - Picton - Wellington (BD)

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Transfer by coach the short distance to the quaint seaside town of Picton and the Inter-Islander ferry terminal. Ferry departs for Wellington. The Premium Lounge is reserved for the crossing. 

Arrive in Wellington where you will be met on arrival by your North Island tour driver. 

Wellington is the world's most southern capital and the only capital in the "Roaring Forties" latitudes. The City Centre is only 2 kilometres in diameter; you can walk from one side to the other in 20 minutes. 

Perched on the edge of a spectacular harbour, encircled by green, towering hills, Wellington is a stunning and compact city. Vibrant, exciting and cultured, the nation's capital combines the stimulation and sophistication of a big city with the quirkiness of a charming village. Here you'll find a unique blend of national treasures, Arts and Culture, Gastronomic Delights, Shopping sensations and scenic beauty, making Wellington the ultimate urban destination in New Zealand. Upon arrival in Wellington you will be transferred to your accommodation. 

3 Course dinner included at hotel this evening.

Day 16: Wellington - Lake Taupo - Rotorua (B)

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Transfer by private coach to Wellington Railway Station to join the -Northern Explorer' train travelling to Hamilton. On arrival into Hamilton late this afternoon, you will be met by private coach and driver. 

The Northern Explorer is a journey through the heart of the North Island, travelling between Wellington - New Zealand's arts and culture capital, to Auckland - New Zealand's largest city and home of the Sky Tower. You will take the journey north from Wellington to Hamilton. All carriages feature large panoramic windows giving sweeping views of the magnificent North Island. 

Continue on to Rotorua which is an exciting city with an immense portrayal of history, tradition and culture. Its popular tourist attractions and daring activities provide an endless amount of satisfaction for the tourist visiting the heart of our country. Surrounded by the unmistakable smell of bubbling sulphuric geysers, Rotorua is a hydrothermal experience of a lifetime.

Day 17: Rotorua Sightseeing (BD)

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Join the “Lakeland Queen” for a leisurely breakfast cruise on Lake Rotorua.

Sightseeing will be included of the lakefront and the Government Gardens. Enjoy a visit to the highly entertaining Agrodome Farm Show, featuring 19 different breeds of sheep and the antics of working sheep dogs, followed by a tour of the working organic farm. 

Visit Te Puia Thermal Reserve for a 60 minute guided tour of the reserve featuring boiling mud pools and geysers as well as the NZ Maori Arts and Crafts Institute. 

For over 45 years, we have welcomed visitors to our place, to hear our stories, to enjoy our unique culture and to experience first-hand the wonders of Maori arts and crafts. Te Puia is home to the internationally renowned Pohutu geyser, the National carving and weaving schools and the world famous Whakarewarewa guide. 

This evening guest's experience the traditional song and dance of The Maori people along with a traditional Hangi (feast) at your hotel. Be captivated by the displays of weaponry and combat, coupled with the grace and beauty of the poi dance. You'll be amazed by the spine tingling haka finale.

Day 18: Rotorua - Waitomo - Auckland (BD)

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Following breakfast depart for Waitomo, a journey of approximately 2 hour's duration. 

Upon arrival your guided tour will take you through over 250 metres of stunning underground scenery commencing with the impressive Cathedral. The acoustics in this particular cavern are world-renowned. Acclaimed New Zealand Diva, Dame Kiri Te Kanawa, has sung here and was delighted with the purity of the sound. Your tour begins at the upper entrance of the cave and proceeds along a low narrow passage to the Tomo, a deep limestone shaft. Your experienced tour guide will deliver a highly informative commentary about the formations and the history of the area. The highlight of your tour is an unrivalled boat trip through the spectacular Glowworm Grotto. Marvel at Mother Nature's light display as you glide silently through the starry wonderland of the Glowworm Grotto. Meander underground along the Waitomo River and gaze in silence at the myriad of glowworm lights that make up the Glowworm Grotto. As you enter this galaxy of tiny living lights, you'll immediately experience a serene ambience and be fascinated and intrigued by tiny glowworms that light your way. 

Continue on to Auckland and check into your accommodation and dinner is included at the hotel this evening.

Day 19: Auckland Sightseeing (BL)

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Auckland - Home to a population of more than one million people Auckland represents the largest urban city in New Zealand and is recognised as having the largest concentration of Polynesian people in the world. As an evolving modern city, Auckland has undergone a renaissance - with an ever-changing skyline, a pulsating waterfront and a new infusion of restaurants and bars, it has become a Mecca for nightlife, buzzing with an atmosphere of fun and excitement. 

With a quality of life ranked amongst the highest in the world, Auckland's blend of the Hauraki Gulf, rain forest and modern city environment creates an incomparable lifestyle which visitors are invited to enjoy. Auckland's temperate climate bodes well for outdoor dining and myriad of water-based activities. 

Following check out guests will board a coach and commence a half day city sightseeing tour of Auckland including Queen Street, America's Cup Viaduct, view of the Harbour Bridge, Parnell village and Rose Gardens and Auckland Domain. 

This morning proceed to the Viaduct and join Explore NZ for a 1.5 hour yacht cruise on sparkling Waitemata Harbour. Admission is included to Sky Tower for a panoramic view of the city from the main observation deck and Sky Deck (highest viewing point) and a set menu lunch at -Orbit'€ Restaurant in Sky Tower. 

Transfer back to the hotel for the remainder of the day at leisure on the North Shore, to finish shopping and enjoy the best that Takapuna has to offer.

Day 20: Depart Auckland

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You will be transferred by private coach and driver to Auckland International airport to check in for your departure flight.

Package Includes:

  • 19 nights of accommodation as specified
  • 32 meals: 18 breakfasts, 3 lunches, 11 dinners
  • Deluxe Coach Transportation
  • Professional Commentary Driver
  • Hotel porterage where available
  • English speaking meet & greet assistance in Sydney on arrival
  • All sightseeing and transportation as specified

Travel dates: February - March 

From Pricing (USD) Double Single
Min 15 Paying Passengers $5,894 $7,704
Min 20 Paying Passengers $5,610 $7,420
Min 25 Paying Passengers $5,467 $7,277
Min 30 Paying Passengers $5,353 $7,163

Pricing is per person in United States Dollars plus GST

Note: The above pricing and itinerary is subject to seasonal surcharges and operational dates for the suppliers. Please contact our office for an updated pricing and itinerary for your specific travel date.

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