Day 1: Los Angeles. Board your evening flight to Auckland, New Zealand. Includes: (D).
Day 2: In Flight. Cross the international dateline and ‘lose’ a day.
Day 3: Auckland. Your Tour Director will meet you on arrival, of our selected flights, in Auckland. An early morning check in at your hotel has been arranged. Join an afternoon sightseeing tour of Auckland, the 'City of Sails'. This evening, enjoy a special Welcome Dinner hosted by your Tour Director. Stay: Auckland, Crowne Plaza. Includes: (B), (D).
Day 4: Rotorua. This morning we travel south to Waitomo Caves for a guided tour of the glow worm grotto. Glide silently by boat through these world renowned limestone caves which were carved by an underground river over the millennia and are lit by thousands of tiny glow worms. Then continue to the Rotorua thermal region, an area rich in Maori heritage. The area was settled by Maori of the Te Arawa iwi. The lake shore was a prominent site of skirmishes during the New Zealand Wars of the 1860s. A 'special town district' was created in the 1880s, to promote Rotorua's potential as a spa center. Tonight immerse yourself in Maori hospitality as special guests at a traditional Hangi (feast) and cultural performance. Two Night Stay: Rotorua, Royal Lakeside Novotel. Includes: (B), (D).
Day 5: Country Homestay. Today we tour Te Puia Thermal Reserve, viewing its geothermal heated boiling mud pools, hot springs and steaming geysers. See an agricultural show and sheep shearing display before viewing the flightless Kiwi bird, the national animal of New Zealand. Later, you can choose to experience the charms of rural living with a friendly New Zealand country family. After sharing stories over a hearty home cooked dinner, you can enjoy their hospitality for the night. Alternatively you may choose to dine and stay at the hotel. Includes: (B), (D).
Day 6: Rotorua, Christchurch. This morning there’s time to relax and explore Rotorua before flying to the charming city of Christchurch on New Zealand’s scenic South Island. Founded in 1850 as a model Church of England settlement, Christchurch is renowned for its elegant gardens, grand architecture and charming English heritage.
Stay: Christchurch, Crowne Plaza. Includes: (B), (D).
Day 7: TranzAlpine Train, Franz Josef. Step aboard the TranzAlpine Train for a journey renowned as New Zealand’s ‘Great Rail Adventure’ through stunning scenery as we journey through the spectacular gorges, river valleys and across the magnificent Southern Alps. We continue down the rugged West Coast to the remarkable sight of the Franz Josef Glacier. Approximately 7000 years old and measuring over seven miles, Franz Josef Glacier cuts through dramatic glacial valleys to flow into temperate rain forest. Stay: Franz Josef, Franz Josef Glacier Hotel. Includes: (B), (D).
Day 8: Queenstown, Walter Peak Station. Enjoy magical scenery as we drive over spectacular Haast Pass which was the traditional pathway for Maori en route to the West Coast in search of pounamu (greenstone or jade). We journey along the shores of lakes Wanaka and Hawea. Lake Wanaka lies in a glacial valley formed during the last ice age and is fed by the Matukituki and Makarora Rivers. This evening cruise aboard the vintage steamer, the TSS Earnslaw to historic Walter Peak Station for our special feature dinner.
Two Night Stay: Queenstown, Crowne Plaza. Includes: (B), (D).
Day 9: Milford Sound Cruise. Enjoy the beauty of Fiordland National Park today as we cruise Milford Sound, named by a whaler in the 1820s for its resemblance to Milford Haven in Wales. Cruise beneath waterfalls, mountains and Mitre Peak, one of the most photographed peaks in the country. The optional return flight to Queenstown provides a memorable aerial perspective of this region (own expense). Includes: (B), (L).
Day 10: Queenstown, Mt Cook. The morning is free before traveling to New Zealand’s highest peak, Mt Cook, or Aoraki, meaning 'Cloud Piercer' in the Maori language. Here the huge Tasman Glacier, 17 miles long and two miles wide, flows down its eastern slopes towards the Mackenzie Basin. Weather permitting, take a ski plane flight over this spectacular region, including landing on the glacier to get a view from the roof of New Zealand (own expense). Stay: Mt Cook National Park, The Hermitage. Includes: (B), (D).
Day 11: Fly to Sydney, Australia. This morning travel via Lake Pukaki en route to Christchurch. At Lake Tekapo view the tiny Church of the Good Shepherd. Continue on to Burkes Pass, through the plains of Canterbury to Christchurch, where we board our flight to Sydney, Australia. 3 Night Stay: Sydney, Shangri La Hotel. Includes: (B), (L).
Day 12: Sydney Sights, Harbor Cruise, Sydney Opera House Tour. Welcome to Australia! Today see Sydney’s famous sights as we tour the city. Discover Hyde Park, Kings Cross and Bondi Beach as we tour the city and its southern beaches. Experience a luncheon cruise on Sydney’s harbor, viewing the famous Harbour Bridge and Opera House. Enjoy a guided tour of the Sydney Opera House and discover the history of Australia's world renowned architectural icon. The rest of the day is free for you to explore or simply relax and enjoy Australia's most beautiful city. Includes: (B), (L).
Day 13: At Leisure in Sydney. Relax and enjoy Sydney at your own pace today. Perhaps join an optional sightseeing tour to the Hunter Valley, known for its wines. Maybe visit the Blue Mountains to see the Three Sisters rock formation, (own expense). You might like to stroll the famous Rocks area, which features a variety of souvenir and craft shops and Opal stores. Head to Oxford Street, Pitt Street Mall or Queen Victoria Building and discover the city’s fabulous shopping precincts. Includes: (B).
Day 14: Melbourne, Tramcar Dinner. A short flight this morning takes us to the ‘Garden City’ of Melbourne. On arrival, we take an in depth tour of one of the world's most livable cities. Discover Melbourne's history, multicultural heritage and historic buildings. Explore the stalls of Victoria Market and be tempted by the local produce on offer. See Parliament House and stroll through the beautiful Fitzroy Gardens, one of the major 19th century landscaped city gardens in Australia. Early this evening, step aboard the Colonial Tramcar for a three course gourmet dinner while taking in the sights of Melbourne from a unique perspective. 2 Night Stay: Melbourne, Hotel Sofitel, luxury in the heart of the city. Includes: (B), (D).
Day 15: At Leisure in Melbourne. Today is a free day to enjoy the delights of Melbourne. Perhaps enjoy a leisurely breakfast before stepping out to discover its art galleries and museums. Explore by foot, strolling down to Southbank on the Yarra River to enjoy the cafés, shops and Crown Casino complex; visit the city’s elegant shopping arcades and discover new fashions; catch a tram to the seaside suburb of St Kilda for ice cream and enjoy a walk along the beach; or choose an optional tour to see the renowned Penguin Parade on Phillip Island. Maybe tour the famous Great Ocean Road to see the magnificent Twelve Apostles (own expense). Includes: (B).
Day 16: Alice Springs, Royal Flying Doctor Service, Outback Camp Dinner. Join your morning flight to Alice Springs. On arrival, tour this famous Outback town, located close to the very center of the vast Australian continent. Visit the base of the Royal Flying Doctor Service. Founded by Rev. John Flynn, the Flying Doctors provide a vital and unique service for the communities of the Outback. See the Old Telegraph Station, which marks the original site of the first European settlement in Alice Springs and enjoy views of the town from Anzac Hill. Tonight enjoy our special Camp Oven Outback Dinner.
Stay: Alice Springs, Alice Springs Resort. Includes: (B), (D).
Day 17: Camel Farm, Olgas. Today, try riding a camel in the morning when we make a stop at a camel farm (own expense). Continue to Uluru Kata Tjuta National Park. Visit Kata Tjuta, a cluster of 36 rocky domes that dominate the western skyline of the park. Learn of the ancient Aboriginal legends surrounding this sacred place. Dinner tonight is not included. You may wish to dine at the resorts restaurants, or for a truly unforgettable experience, dine under the stars of the desert at the 'Sounds of Silence' dinner (additional $105 per person). Stay: Ayers Rock Resort in the premier hotel, Sails in the Desert, which offers absolute luxury in the arid heart of Australia. Includes: (B).
Day 18: Ayers Rock, Cairns. Tour the base of Uluru this morning, viewing rock art, caves and sacred sites. Learn the history of this ancient land formation and take a guided walk to Mutitjulu waterhole and hear of the ancient Aboriginal legends of the region. Visit Maruku Arts and Crafts Gallery, where there is the opportunity to purchase original artifacts from local Aboriginal artists. Later in the day, we board a flight bound for the tropical city of Cairns, the gateway to Far North Queensland and the start of the Great Barrier Reef, one of the natural wonders of the world. On arrival, we take in the local sights. Stay: Cairns, Shangri La, The Marina, the most distinguished hotel in Cairns overlooking Marlin Marina. Includes: (B).
Day 19: Dunk Island. We take a short drive south passing lush rain forest and pristine sandy beaches to Mission Beach where we join a cruise to stunning Dunk Island. Known to its first inhabitants as 'Coonanglebah', the 'Island of Peace and Plenty', Dunk Island is located in the crystal clear waters of the Coral Sea and regarded as Australia’s most beautiful rain forest island. Tropical Dunk Island will be our home for the next two nights and the afternoon is free for you to relax. Explore the walking trails, enjoy the palm fringed beaches, warm tropical sun and lush rain forests, filled with exotic flowers like wild orchids and colorful bird life. 2 Night Stay: Dunk Island, Garden Rooms, your luxury island home. Includes: (B), (D).
Day 20: Great Barrier Reef Cruise. Discover the beauty of the world famous Great Barrier Reef. Stretching for over 1250 miles, the Great Barrier Reef is visible from outer space and is composed of more than 2800 individual reefs. Spend an unforgettable day at magnificent Beaver Cay, the closest and longest established Green Zone (Marine Sanctuary) on the Great Barrier Reef. Cruise the warm, turquoise waters before mooring at Beaver Cay. Swim, snorkel and join the glass bottom boat to view the brilliantly colored coral, giant clams, tropical fish and other marine life. Or you can choose to just relax on the white sandy beach and soak up the tropical atmosphere. Includes: (B), (L).
Day 21: Kuranda Train, Cairns. We depart Dunk Island and follow the coastline north to Cairns. We climb to Kuranda, a picturesque mountain retreat in the rain forest. En route visit Rainforestation Nature Park, a 98 acre tourist park set amid of World Heritage Rain forest, where the Pamagirri Aboriginal Dancers perform a traditional Aboriginal corroboree. Wander through the local markets. Take a journey aboard the Kuranda Scenic Railway, gliding over the lush World Heritage listed rain forest, back down the stunning mountain range to Cairns. Stay: Cairns, Shangri La Hotel, The Marina. Includes: (B), (D).
Day 22: Return to the USA. Board your flight to Los Angeles. Includes: (B), (L).
Also see tour packages in:
Australia and Oceania Australia Nature & Wildlife Ecotourism Cultural Journey