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A comprehensive and fascinating tour featuring 13 days in Australia and 10 days in New Zealand. In the Land Down Under, look forward to three nights in beautiful Sydney, three nights in Melbourne, three nights in Tasmania, and three nights in Queensland’s tropical north. Explore the Great Barrier Reef on a tropical cruise and helicopter flight. Cruise Sydney’s Captain Cook Harbor, tour the Sydney Opera House, and witness a variety of native wildlife at the Healesville Wildlife Sanctuary & Koala Gardens. In New Zealand, spend three nights on the North Island and six nights on the South Island exploring a variety of natural wonders including a Milford Sound cruise and the Orakei Korako Thermal Park. We will even tour the famous Hobbiton Middle-Earth movie set!
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 Australia. Enjoy tasty meals and attentive service.
Day 2 : Australia Bound
When we cross the International Date Line we lose a calendar day.
Day 3 : Melbourne
Early this morning we arrive in Auckland and transfer to our flight bound for Australia. We clear customs in the charming Victorian capital of Melbourne renowned for its lovely parks and gardens. The remainder of the day is free to wander along Southbank’s Waterfront precinct, visit the Victorian Art Center, Crown Casino, or Chinatown. Our comfortable three-night home is at the Oaks on Market.
Day 4 : Melbourne Star & Mitre Tavern
Today our guided city tour of Melbourne includes Fitzroy Gardens, Flinders Street Station, St. Patricks Cathedral, Queen Victoria Market, the Shrine of Remembrance, and Parliament House. 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 5 : 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 set in a natural environment. 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 6 : Tasmania
We fly to Hobart to begin our exploration of wild and untamed Tasmania. Nearly one third of the Island State is protected within its 14 national parks. We visit Richmond, one of Australia’s most historic villages. The nostalgic charm of colonial days is present in the Georgian mansions, cottages, convict jail, bridge, and Catholic Church. Later we tour Hobart and enjoy breathtaking views of the town from Mt. Wellington. Our accommodations for three nights are at the Old Woolstore Hotel.
Day 7 : Eco-Cruise & Port Arthur
Enjoy a three-hour guided eco-cruise along the spectacular coastline of Tasman National Park. Experience the highest sea cliffs in the Southern Hemisphere. Enter deep-sea caves, see playful dolphins, hundreds of seals, and abundant bird species including albatross and sea eagles. After lunch we visit the Port Arthur Historic Site. This settlement was a bold experiment and ground-breaking attempt to reform and rehabilitate the colony’s convicts. Port Arthur was a key part of the colonial system of convict discipline, but Port Arthur was much more than a prison. As we walk within the site, the powerful, personal stories of convicts, soldiers, free settlers and their families will reveal themselves to us.
Day 8 : Russell Falls & Hawthorn Lodge
This morning head north from Hobart and follow the beautiful Derwent Valley past quaint villages and hop and cherry fields on the way to Mt. Field National Park. Enjoy a delightful stroll on the boardwalk through a canopy of pristine rain forest and fern glades to view crystal clear waters and stunning Russell Falls. We enjoy high tea at Hawthorn Lodge, a heritage listed farmhouse built in 1869 where the focus is on traditional country hospitality. Lunch consists of finger sandwiches, sausage rolls, cakes and Marie’s straight-from-the-oven, prize-winning scones all home made from local produce. Later we visit the Salmon Ponds, the oldest trout hatchery in the Southern Hemisphere, set amidst the original and stunning English parklands.
Day 9 : 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 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 10 : Kurandra Scenic Train & Skyrail
Enjoy one of the most spectacular rail excursions in the world - the Kuranda Scenic Train. As we ascend, our journey provides views of World Heritage rain forest, steep ravines and picturesque waterfalls within Barron Gorge National Park. Later we visit the Kuranda Koala Gardens. Experience the 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 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 highlands, Cairns, and the Coral Sea as we glide over dense forest canopy.
Day 11 : Great Barrier Reef & Scenic Helicopter Ride
Today 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 fish and marine life in this underwater wonderland. Enjoy breathtaking sights of the Great Barrier Reef on an included scenic helicopter flight.
Day 12 : Sydney
We fly to Sydney, Australia’s most vibrant city. On arrival we transfer to the Rydges World Square Hotel and settle in for a three-night stay. The remainder of the day is free.
Day 13 : Opera House & City Sights
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. We enjoy lunch in the historic Rocks, one of the most prestigious areas in Sydney, with its beautifully restored buildings and spectacular views across the harbor. The Rocks’ quaint cobblestone pathways are home to colorful markets filled with more than 200 eclectic stalls where you can find locally-produced home wares, beauty products, and original photography, art, crafts, and jewelry.
Day 14 : Harbor Cruise
Today we enjoy Sydney’s sparkling waterfront playground during a delightful harbor cruise sailing past pristine parks, golden beaches and charming harborside neighborhoods. During our luncheon in the Sydney Tower Revolving Restaurant, we see panoramic views of the harbor and city. Later there’s time to visit Darling Harbor, Sydney’s favorite destination for leisure and entertainment, with more than 40 restaurants, cafes, museums, parks, theaters, and specialty shops.
Day 15 : Christchurch, NZ
This morning we bid farewell to Australia and fly to Christchurch, located on the east coast of New Zealand’s South Island. On arrival we transfer to our comfortable accommodations at the Distinction Christchurch Hotel.
Day 16 : Glacial Lakes & Southern Alps
We travel across the picturesque patchwork farmland of the Canterbury Plains and enter the foothills of Geraldine and expansive Mackenzie Country. We stop to visit the Church of the Good Shepherd overlooking the pristine waters of Lake Tekapo and view the bronze statue of a sheep dog, erected as a tribute to the important role these animals played in the development of high country farming. We drive along the shimmering turquoise glacial waters of Lake Pukaki set against the spectacular backdrop of Mt. Cook and the Southern Alps. We cross the Lindis Pass and tussock-covered plains of Mackenzie Country to the fruitlands of Central Otago, famous for the production of summer fruit - apricots, peaches, nectarines, and plums. Our memorable day ends at the Millennium Hotel Queenstown for a 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 17 : Kiwi & Birdlife Park
Enjoy a breakfast featuring local produce 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 and view the Kawarau River suspension bridge, the “World Home of Bungy Jumping.” The remainder of the day is at leisure to enjoy New Zealand’s adventure capital, offering jetboating, golfing, picturesque walks, and abundant restaurants and shops in one of the most scenic settings in the world.
Day 18 : Milford Sound Cruise
Today we travel through an ancient ice age region, crossing pasturelands on our way to Fiordland National Park. We journey through beech forests and the beautiful Eglinton Valley climbing to 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, 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. Our accommodations in Te Anau are at the Distinction Te Anau Hotel. The town is nestled on the shores of Lake Te Anau, with a spectacular backdrop of Mt. Luxmore and the Murchison Mountains.
Day 19 : Larnach Castle & Dunedin
Departing Te Anau, we travel through some of New Zealand’s most populated sheep country through Lumsden and Gore to historic Larnach Castle & Gardens nestled on the picturesque Otago Peninsula. With its exciting, sometimes scandalous, sometimes tragic history, our guided tour of the castle and gardens offers a vision of the past and present. We arrive in Dunedin known for its Scottish heritage and Victorian and Edwardian architecture. We see some of the iconic city attractions such as Speights Brewery, the University of Otago, the world’s steepest street, and First Church of Otago. We stay for two nights at the Distinction Dunedin Hotel.
Day 20 : Taieri Gorge Railway
Today we depart the historic Dunedin Railway Station on one of the world’s great train excursions through the spectacular Taieri River Gorge. We travel aboard restored carriages through stunning scenery, crossing graceful wrought-iron viaducts spanning deep ravines while listening to the onboard commentary about the early pioneers and the building of the line. Later we visit the Toitū Otago Settlers Museum dedicated to telling the story of the people of Dunedin and the surrounding area, whose character, culture, technology, art, fashion and transport shaped New Zealand’s first great city.
Day 21 : Lake Taupo & Maori Concert
We fly to North Island. Our destination is the quaint town of Taupo at the edge of New Zealand’s largest lake. Taupo is home to award-winning attractions, activities, and breathtaking lake and mountain vistas. Our lodging for two nights at the Hilton Lake Taupo features spacious rooms overlooking the thermally heated pool. Tonight 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 22 : Orakei Korako & Huka Falls Cruise
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 a rare geothermal cave. Later we visit Lava Glass, a glass blowing studio and unique sculpture garden featuring over 500 glass sculptures. After lunch we cruise the Waikato River and see impressive Huka Falls, New Zealand’s most visited natural attraction.
Day 23 : Hobbiton & The Red Barn
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 sheep 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 film trilogies. The set has been completely rebuilt for The Hobbit and remains as it was seen in these films. During our tour we see Hobbit Holes, The Green Dragon Inn, The Mill, double arched bridge and other structures and gardens built for the films. We enjoy a traditional pasture to plate lunch at The Red Barn, a 500-acre working dairy farm. Originally built at the turn of the century as a livery stable for horses for their journeys across the greater Waikato, The Red Barn showcases the best of New Zealand cuisine and country hospitality. Later we take a pleasant drive to Cambridge in the heart of rural Waikato, a picture-perfect country town characterized by quaint charm and tree-lined streets. Our lodging is at the Hidden Lake Hotel.
Day 24 : Auckland
This morning we arrive in Auckland, the largest Polynesian city in the Southern Hemisphere. We visit Kelly Tarlton’s SEA LIFE Aquarium, one of Auckland’s top visitor’s attractions. We’ll 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 enjoy lunch at Skycity’s Fortuna Restaurant before we ascend Auckland’s iconic Sky Tower. The tallest man-made structure in New Zealand offers breathtaking views in every direction. We enjoy a brief sightseeing tour of the city including American’s Cup Village, lively Queen Street, and the Harbor Bridge before heading to the airport for our evening flight to Los Angeles. Cross the International Date Line and regain a day arriving early in the afternoon. Overnight accommodations are included near the Los Angeles International Airport.
Day 25 : Homeward
This morning our adventure comes to an end, but the friendships and memories will last forever.
March 2, 2021 - March 26, 2021
Price Per Person
Final Payment Date: 12/17/2020
March 9, 2021 - April 2, 2021
Final Payment Date: 12/24/2020
Choose a State:
Birmingham - Birmingham Municipal Airport
Fayetteville/Bentonville - Northwest Arkansas Regional Airport
Little Rock - Little Rock National Airport
Phoenix - Sky Harbor International Airport
Los Angeles - Los Angeles International Airport
Orange County - John Wayne Airport
San Diego - San Diego International Airport
San Francisco - San Francisco International Airport
Denver - Denver International Airport
Hartford - Bradley International Airport
Washington - Ronald Reagan National Airport
Washington - Washington Dulles International
Fort Lauderdale - Fort Lauderdale International Airport
Fort Myers - Southwest Florida International Airport
Jacksonville - Jacksonville International Airport
Miami - Miami International Airport
Orlando - Orlando International Airport
Tallahassee - Tallahassee Regional Airport
Tampa - Tampa International Airport
West Palm Beach - Palm Beach Gardens
Atlanta - Hartsfield International Airport
Cedar Rapids - Eastern Iowa Airport
Des Moines - Des Moines International Airport
Boise - Boise Airport
Chicago - O'Hare International Airport
Moline - Quad City Airport
Evansville - Evansville Regional Airport
Fort Wayne - Fort Wayne International Airport
Indianapolis - Indianapolis International Airport
South Bend - South Bend International Airport
Wichita - Mid-Continent Airport
Lexington - Blue Grass Field Airport
Louisville - Louisville International Airport
Baton Rouge - Baton Rouge Metropolitan Airport
Lafayette - Lafayette Regional Airport
New Orleans - New Orleans International Airport
Shreveport - Shreveport Regional Airport
Boston - Logan International Airport
Baltimore - Baltimore Washington International
Detroit - Wayne County Airport
Grand Rapids - Gerald R. Ford International Airport
Kalamazoo - Kalamazoo-Battle Creek Airport
Lansing - Capital Region International Airport
Saginaw - MBS International Airport
Duluth - Duluth International Airport
Minneapolis - Minneapolis-St Paul International Airport
Rochester - Rochester International Airport
Kansas City - Kansas City International Airport
Springfield - Springfield-Branson National Airport
St Louis - Lambert St. Louis International Airport
Gulfport - Gulfport-Biloxi International Airport
Jackson - Jackson International Airport
Billings - Billings Logan International Airport
Bozeman - Bozeman-Yellowstone International Airport
Missoula - Missoula County Airport
Charlotte - Charlotte Douglas International Airport
Greensboro - Piedmont Triad International Airport
Raleigh - Raleigh-Durham International Airport
Bismarck - Bismarck Airport
Fargo - Hector International Airport
Grand Forks - Grand Forks International Airport
Lincoln - Lincoln Airport
Omaha - Eppley Airfield
Newark - Newark International Airport
Albuquerque - Albuquerque International Airport
Las Vegas - McCarran International Airport
Albany - Albany International Airport
Buffalo - Buffalo-Niagara International Airport
New York - Kennedy International Airport
New York - La Guardia Airport
Rochester - Greater Rochester International Airport
Syracuse - Hancock International Airport
Cincinnati - Cincinnati-NKY International Airport
Cleveland - Hopkins International Airport
Columbus - Port Columbus International
Dayton - Dayton International Airport
Oklahoma City - Will Rogers World Airport
Tulsa - Tulsa International Airport
Portland - Portland International Airport
Allentown - Lehigh Valley International Airport
Harrisburg - Harrisburg International Airport
Philadelphia - Philadelphia International Airport
Pittsburgh - Pittsburgh International Airport
Charleston - Charleston International Airport
Greer - Greenville-Spartanburg International Airport
Rapid City - Rapid City Regional Airport
Sioux Falls - Sioux Falls Regional Airport
Knoxville - McGhee-Tyson Airport
Memphis - Memphis International Airport
Nashville - Nashville International Airport
Austin - Austin-Bergstrom International Airport
Dallas - Dallas/Ft Worth International
Houston - George Bush Intercontinental
San Antonio - San Antonio International Airport
Salt Lake City - Salt Lake City International Airport
Norfolk - Norfolk International Airport
Richmond - Richmond International Airport
Seattle - Seattle-Tacoma International Airport
Spokane - Spokane International Airport
Appleton - Appleton International Airport
Eau Claire - Groome Transportation
Green Bay - Austin Straubel International Airport
Madison - Dane County Regional Airport
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.