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Australia & New Zealand Highlights
Milford Sound, Fiordland
Courtesy of Kuranda Scenic Railway
Courtesy of Hobbiton Movie Set
Brown Kiwi Bird
Great Barrier Reef
Kawarau River Suspension Bridge
Lake Taupo and Mount Cook
Church of the Good Shepherd
Tour Dates & Pricing
Enjoy the New Zealand Alps, Queenstown, the Great Barrier Reef, and magnificent wildlife on this 20-day tour. In the Land Down Under, look forward to three nights in beautiful Sydney, three nights in Melbourne, and three nights in Australia’s tropical north. In New Zealand, spend three nights on the North Island and four nights on the South Island exploring a variety of natural wonders including a Milford Sound cruise and spectacular Huka Falls. We even tour the Hobbiton™ Movie Set and attend a Maori Cultural performance!
Choose Your Departure Year:
Day 1 : Depart the USA
Following our included flight to Los Angeles International Airport, we meet our Tour Director and board an Air New Zealand flight bound for New Zealand. Enjoy tasty meals and attentive service.
Day 2 : New Zealand Bound
When we cross the International Date Line, we lose a calendar day.
Day 3 : Auckland
This morning we arrive in Auckland, the largest Polynesian city in the Southern Hemisphere. After clearing customs we enjoy a sightseeing tour of the city including America’s Cup Village, lively Queen Street and the Harbor Bridge. We visit SEA LIFE Kelly Tarlton’s Aquarium, a top attraction. We see the world’s largest sub-Antarctic penguin colony display, the magical Seahorse Kingdom, and take an underwater journey to discover a diverse collection of aquatic life up close. We take a pleasant countryside drive to the riverside city of Hamilton and our lodging at the Novotel Hamilton Tainui Hotel. One of the country’s fastest growing cities, Hamilton is the perfect place to experience friendly Kiwi hospitality.
Day 4 : Hobbiton & Lake Taupo
We travel to Alexander Sheep & Cattle Farm in Matamata, a combination working sheep farm and Hobbiton™, The Shire™ from Middle-earth™. Our visit includes a drive through the picturesque 1,250-acre farm with spectacular views across to the Kaimai Ranges and a guided tour of the Hobbiton™ Movie Set from The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit films. The set has been completely rebuilt and remains as it was seen in these films. During our tour we see Hobbit Holes™, The Green Dragon Inn™, the mill, the double-arched bridge, and other structures and gardens built for this beloved imaginary world. For lunch, we enjoy a traditional pasture-to-plate meal at The Red Barn, a 500-acre working dairy farm. Originally built at the turn of the previous century as a livery stable for horses journeying across the greater Waikato, The Red Barn showcases the very best of New Zealand cuisine and country hospitality. Later this afternoon we arrive in the town of Taupo that sits at the edge of New Zealand’s largest lake. Taupo is the home to award-winning attractions, activities and breathtaking lake and mountain views. Our lodging for two nights at the Hilton Lake Taupo features spacious rooms overlooking the thermally heated pool. Dinner is at the hotel’s elegant Bistro Lago.
Day 5 : Orakei Korako & Maori Concert
Our day begins with a visit to Orakei Korako, one of the finest thermal areas in the world. On our walk through the Hidden Valley we’ll see silica terraces, boiling pools, geysers and an incredibly rare geothermal cave. After lunch at leisure in Taupo’s town center we cruise the Waikato River and see impressive Huka Falls, New Zealand’s most visited natural attraction. Tonight we enjoy a traditional and authentic Maori hangi feast, a customary cooking method that involves preparing food in an underground pit oven, followed by a powerful cultural performance of song and dance.
Day 6 : Gateway to Fiordland
This morning we fly to South Island and cross sheep-filled farming land to Te Anau, the “Gateway to Fiordland” and the closest town to Milford Sound. This town is nestled on the shores of beautiful Lake Te Anau, with a spectacular backdrop of Mt. Luxmore and the Murchison Mountains. The serene deep water of the largest lake on the island is bordered on its western shore by virgin forest. We dine at the MacKinnon Restaurant and overnight at the Distinction Te Anau Hotel.
Day 7 : Milford Sound Cruise
Today we travel deep into Fiordland National Park where the beech forests reach the road’s edge and snowcapped peaks tower above. We journey through the beautiful Eglinton Valley to the Homer Tunnel before descending through the spectacular Cleddau Canyon to reach Milford Sound. Our cruise takes us past Mitre Peak, which rises 5,560 feet, and striking Stirling Falls and Bowen Falls, cascading more than 500 feet. The falls flow from valleys formed by receding glaciers. Watch for sea lions and a variety of birds. We return to Te Anau and continue our journey crossing pasturelands to the Millennium Hotel Queenstown for a relaxing two-night stay. Queenstown sits on the rippling shores of the South Island’s Lake Wakatipu, set against the dramatic 7,000-foot Remarkables mountain range.
Day 8 : Queenstown
Enjoy a private homemade breakfast at the Kiwi & Birdlife Park. After breakfast we have the rare opportunity to meet New Zealand’s most iconic bird. Specially designed nocturnal houses allow us to view the kiwi during the day. Later we visit the historic and picturesque “gold rush” settlement of Arrowtown, then view the Kawarau River suspension bridge where bungee jumpers come for thrills from all over the world. The remainder of the day is free to enjoy New Zealand’s adventure capital with jet boating, golf, picturesque walks, and abundant restaurants and shops in one of the most scenic settings in the world.
Day 9 : Southern Alps
This morning we travel across the fruitlands of Central Otago, famous for the production of summer fruit - apricots, peaches, nectarines and plums. We travel over Lindis Pass and through the tussock-covered plains of Mackenzie Country towards Mount Cook National Park. The park has some of the most spectacular peaks in the Southern Alps. We drive along Lake Pukaki to Lake Tekapo, nestled among snowy peaks. The glacial blue waters of this lake are one of the most photographed sights in New Zealand. We stop to view the Church of the Good Shepherd and the bronze statue of a sheep dog, erected as a tribute to the important role played by these animals in the development of high country farming. We cross the picturesque farmland of the Canterbury Plains en route to our overnight accommodations at the Distinction Christchurch Hotel.
Day 10 : Australia
Today we bid farewell to New Zealand and fly to Sydney, Australia’s most vibrant city. On arrival we transfer to our comfortable three-night home at the central Rydges World Square Hotel.
Day 11 : Sydney Sights & Opera House
This morning we discover Sydney’s many interesting landmarks including the famous Harbor Bridge, the longest single span bridge in the world, the Royal Botanic Gardens, Hyde Park, bustling Kings Cross, and popular Bondi Beach. We tour the famous Sydney Opera House, considered by many to be one of the wonders of the modern world. During our luncheon in the Sydney Tower Revolving Restaurant we see panoramic views of the harbor and city. Later there’s time to visit the attractions of Darling Harbor, Sydney’s favorite destination for leisure and entertainment, with more than 40 restaurants, cafes, museums, parks, theaters, and specialty shops.
Day 12 : Harbor Cruise & The Rocks
We enjoy Sydney’s sparkling waterfront playground during a delightful Captain Cook harbor cruise. Gain a glimpse of the Sydney Opera House and Harbor Bridge, sail past pristine parks, golden beaches, and charming harborside neighborhoods. Later we visit the historic Rocks, one of the most prestigious areas in Sydney with its beautifully restored buildings, spectacular views across the harbor, and cobbled streets and pathways.
Day 13 : Tropical Cairns
Today we fly to tropical Cairns in Far North Queensland. This is the gateway city to many of Australia’s natural wonders including the Great Barrier Reef. Enjoy three pleasant nights at the Flynn hotel in Cairns, adjacent to the waterfront and esplanade. This stunning five-star hotel features three restaurants and bars, glass swimming pools, and the Eléme Day Spa and Wellness Center.
Day 14 : Kuranda Scenic Train & Skyrail
Enjoy one of the most spectacular rail excursions in the world, the Kuranda Scenic Train. As we ascend, our journey provides unsurpassed views of World Heritage-recognized rain forest, steep ravines, and picturesque waterfalls within Barron Gorge National Park. Later we visit the fascinating Kuranda Koala Gardens. This award-winning native Australian wildlife attraction features some of Australia’s most popular wildlife. A highlight is the unique opportunity to actually hold a koala as well as hand-feeding tame kangaroos and wallabies. After lunch at Frogs Restaurant we have the choice of visiting Birdworld Kuranda or the unique Australian Butterfly Sanctuary. There’s time to visit the Kuranda Heritage Markets before we descend the MacAlister Range on Skyrail, a 4.7 mile gondola cableway. Enjoy spectacular views of the rain forest, the Coral Sea, and the lush Cairns Highlands as we glide over the dense rain forest canopy.
Day 15 : Great Barrier Reef & Scenic Helicopter Ride
We experience one of the highlights of our tour, a visit to the Great Barrier Reef. We cruise to Moore Reef located on the outer edge of the reef, the world’s largest living organism. The reef is one of Australia’s greatest national treasures and stretches more than 1,200 miles along the coast. We view vividly colored tropical fish and coral from the reef viewer, underwater observatory and glass bottom boat. Learn about the interesting fish and marine life that inhabit this underwater wonderland. Enjoy breathtaking sights of the Great Barrier Reef on a scenic helicopter flight. Swim, snorkel, or relax in this beautiful marine setting.
Day 16 : Melbourne
We fly to the charming Victorian capital of Melbourne, renowned for its lovely parks and gardens. Our three-night home is at the Oaks on Market. The remainder of the day is free to wander along Southbank’s waterfront and Crowne Casino precinct or Melbourne’s famous hidden laneways and pedestrian arcades.
Day 17 : Penguin Parade & Wildlife Park
This morning we travel through the picturesque Yarra Valley to sample chocolates at Yarra Valley Chocolaterie & Ice Creamery. The chocolatiers at work create over 150 different types of chocolate. Later we visit Healesville Wildlife Sanctuary, home to over 200 species of Australian birds, mammals, and reptiles in a natural setting. Next we go to Phillip Island, a sanctuary for seals and birds. Our day concludes with perhaps our most unique wildlife encounter as we witness the world-famous penguin parade. As the sun sets over this beautiful landscape we’ll get an up-close and personal view of the world’s smallest penguins as they return home to one of the largest penguin colonies in Australia.
Day 18 : Melbourne Star & Mitre Tavern
Today our guided city tour of Melbourne includes Fitzroy Gardens, St. Patrick's Cathedral, Queen Victoria Market, and a view of the impressive Parliament House and the Shrine of Remembrance. Later we soar above the city on the giant Melbourne Star Observation Wheel and dine at the historic Mitre Tavern Steakhouse located in the city’s oldest building.
Day 19 : Los Angeles
We bid farewell to Australia. Cross the International Date Line and regain a day arriving early in the afternoon. Accommodations are near the Los Angeles International Airport.
Day 20 : Homeward
This morning our adventure comes to an end, but the friendships and memories will last forever.
February 28, 2022 - March 19, 2022
Price Per Person
Final Payment Date: 12/15/2021
March 7, 2022 - March 26, 2022
Final Payment Date: 12/22/2021
October 17, 2022 - November 5, 2022
Final Payment Date: 08/03/2022
October 24, 2022 - November 12, 2022
Final Payment Date: 08/10/2022
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Milwaukee - Milwaukee Mitchell International Airport
Mosinee - Central Wisconsin Airport
Charleston - Yeager Airport
Tour days tend to be shorter in length, at a relaxed pace, and include lots of unscheduled time for leisure. Expect standing and walking for extended periods of time on flat surfaces, mostly low altitudes, and consistent temperatures.
Tour days usually move at a leisurely pace. Some days’ scheduled activities last longer than others. Expect standing and walking for long periods of time on occasionally uneven terrain. You may experience changes in altitude or temperature.
Tour days tend to be long, move at a consistent pace, and may include long travel days. Expect standing and walking for long periods of time on uneven surfaces. Some destinations may have changes in altitude and/or temperature.
Tour days tend to be long, move at a brisk pace, and may include lengthy travel days. Expect long periods of walking and standing on uneven surfaces. Scheduled activities may require physical effort or have distinct changes in altitude or temperature.
Tour days tend to be long, move at a vigorous pace, and may include lengthy travel days. Expect long periods of walking and standing on rough surfaces. Scheduled activities may require physical effort or have distinct changes in altitude or temperature.