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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 night stays in beautiful Sydney, Victorian Melbourne, rugged Tasmania and 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 even tour the famous Hobbiton™ Movie Set from The Lord of the Rings.
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. Patrick’s 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 Mount Wellington. Our accommodations for three nights 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 it was much more than just a prison. As we walk within the site, the powerful, personal stories of convicts, soldiers, and free settlers and their families reveal themselves to us.
Day 8 : Tahune AirWalk
This morning we tour the picturesque Huon River Valley and visit the Wooden Boat Center which has been producing beautiful timber boats crafted by hand for nearly 25 years. Later we float through the tree tops of pristine forest at the Tahune Forest AirWalk. The steel walkway footbridge averages up to 90 feet above the forest floor with the last section, the cantilever, sitting 150 feet above the Huon River.
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 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 10 : Kuranda Scenic Railway & Skyrail
Enjoy one of the most spectacular rail excursions in the world on the Kuranda Scenic Railway. Our journey reveals lush, wondrous World Heritage rainforest, steep ravines, and picturesque waterfalls within Barron Gorge National Park. Later we visit the Kuranda Koala Gardens. Get the opportunity to hold a koala and hand-feed tamed kangaroos and wallabies. After lunch at Frogs Restaurant we have the choice of visiting Birdworld Kuranda or the Australian Butterfly Sanctuary. There’s also time to visit the Kuranda Heritage Markets before we descend the MacAlister Range on the 4.7-mile gondola cableway Skyrail. Enjoy spectacular views of rainforest 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 : City Sights & Opera House
This morning we discover Sydney’s many interesting landmarks. View the famous Harbor Bridge, the longest single span bridge in the world. Enjoy the Royal Botanic Gardens, Hyde Park, bustling Kings Cross, and popular Bondi Beach. We’ll tour the Sydney Opera House, one of the great man-made wonders of the modern world. Enjoy lunch today in The Rocks, Sydney’s original city center and now one of its most affluent districts. Marvel at beautifully restored buildings and spectacular views across the harbor. This neighborhood’s quaint cobblestone pathways are home to colorful markets filled with more than 200 eclectic shops selling 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 most popular destination for leisure and entertainment, with more than 40 restaurants, cafes, museums, parks, theaters, and specialty shops.
Day 15 : Christchurch, New Zealand
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
This morning we travel through picturesque patchwork farmlands of the Canterbury Plains and enter the Geraldine foothills and expansive Mackenzie Country. We’ll stop to visit the Church of the Good Shepherd overlooking Lake Tekapo’s pristine waters where we view the bronze statue of a sheep dog, symbolizing the important role these animals have played in the development of high country farming. We then drive along Lake Pukaki’s shimmering, turquoise glacial waters while enjoying the spectacular backdrop of Mount Cook and the Southern Alps. We’ll journey over Lindis Pass and through the tussock-covered plains of Mackenzie Country to the Fruitlands of Central Otago, famous for its summer fruit production including apricots, peaches, nectarines, and plums. Our memorable day ends at the Millennium Hotel Queenstown for a two-night stay in the city situated on the rippling shores of Lake Wakatipu and set against the dramatic 7,000-foot Remarkables mountains.
Day 17 : Kiwi Birdlife Park
Enjoy a private homemade breakfast featuring local produce at 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 18 : Milford Sound Cruise
Today we travel through an ancient ice age region by first crossing pasturelands on our way to Fiordland National Park. We journey through beech forests and the beautiful Eglinton Valley to the Homer Tunnel before descending through the spectacular Cleddau Canyon, reaching Milford Sound. Our cruise takes us past Mitre Peak, rising over 5,500 feet. We’ll pass by the phenomenal Stirling Falls and Bowen Falls. Cascading at more than 500 feet, these falls flow from valleys formed by receding glaciers. Watch for sea lions and a variety of birds. Our accommodations tonight are in Te Anau at the Distinction Te Anau Hotel, the town nestled on the shores of Lake Te Anau with a spectacular backdrop of Mount 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, taking us through Lumsden and Gore to the historic Larnach Castle & Gardens nestled on picturesque Otago Peninsula. With its exciting and at times scandalous and tragic history, our guided tour of the castle and gardens offers a vision of the past and present. Marvel at magnificent carved ceilings, antiques, and breathtaking views. We arrive in Dunedin, known for its Scottish heritage and Victorian and Edwardian architecture. We’ll witness some of the city’s iconic attractions such as Speights Brewery, the University of Otago, the world’s steepest street, and First Church of Otago. Our comfortable accommodations for two nights are at the Distinction Dunedin Hotel.
Day 20 : Taieri Gorge Railway
Today we travel on the historic Dunedin Railway, experiencing one of the world’s great train excursions through the spectacular Taieri River Gorge. Riding in restored carriages, we view stunning scenery while crossing over graceful wrought-iron viaducts spanning deep ravines. Our pleasant ride is accompanied by onboard commentary about early pioneers and rail history. Later we visit the Toitū Otago Settlers Museum dedicated to telling the story of the Dunedin people whose character, culture, technology, art, fashion, and transportation shaped the surrounding area and New Zealand’s first great city.
Day 21 : Lake Taupo
This morning we fly to the North Island and transfer to the quaint town of Taupo located on 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 are at the Hilton Lake Taupo featuring spacious rooms overlooking the thermally heated pool. Enjoy dinner tonight at the hotel’s elegant Bistro Lago.
Day 22 : Orakei Korako & Maori Concert
We begin 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 geothermal cave. After lunch in Taupo’s town center, we cruise the Waikato River and witness impressive Huka Falls, New Zealand’s most visited natural wonder. Tonight we enjoy an authentic Maori hangi feast including a customary cooking method that prepares food in an underground pit oven followed by powerful song and dance from the traditional culture.
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 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 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 SEA LIFE Kelly Tarlton’s Aquarium, one of Auckland’s top 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 ascending Auckland’s iconic Sky Tower, the tallest man-made structure in New Zealand, offering 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. We 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
Our adventure comes to an end, but the friendships and memories will last forever.
March 1, 2022 - March 25, 2022
Price Per Person
Final Payment Date: 12/16/2021
March 8, 2022 - April 1, 2022
Final Payment Date: 12/23/2021
October 11, 2022 - November 4, 2022
Final Payment Date: 07/28/2022
October 18, 2022 - November 11, 2022
Final Payment Date: 08/04/2022
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 International Airport
Atlanta - Hartsfield International Airport
Cedar Rapids - Eastern Iowa Airport
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Evansville - Evansville Regional Airport
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Lexington - Blue Grass Field Airport
Louisville - Louisville International Airport
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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
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Missoula - Missoula County Airport
Charlotte - Charlotte Douglas International Airport
Greensboro - Piedmont Triad International Airport
Raleigh - Raleigh-Durham International Airport
Bismarck - Bismarck Airport
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Omaha - Eppley Airfield
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New York - La Guardia Airport
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Columbus - John Glenn Columbus International Airport
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Harrisburg - Harrisburg International Airport
Philadelphia - Philadelphia International Airport
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Memphis - Memphis International Airport
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Salt Lake City - Salt Lake City International Airport
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Richmond - Richmond International Airport
Seattle - Seattle-Tacoma International Airport
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Appleton - Appleton International Airport
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La Crosse - Groome Transportation
Madison - Dane County Regional Airport
Menomonie - Groome Transportation
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.