Take an adventure of a lifetime and spend 28 days traveling through Australia and New Zealand. Explore the vast and diverse natural wonders of land and water, from sacred Ayers Rock and the amazing underwater life of the Great Barrier Reef to the geothermal wonders of Rotorua and the magical fjords of Milford Sound. Local specialists enhance your understanding of the cultural history of the unique Aboriginal and Maori cultures as well as the unique natural history throughout your journey. Travel on the historic Ghan train, the Tranz-Alpine Express, and other fascinating rail journeys, and enjoy special wine tastings at well-known vineyards in both Australia and New Zealand.
Day #1 1 and
Day #2 Overnight Flight - Take an adventure of a lifetime and spend 28 days traveling through Australia and New Zealand. Explore the vast and diverse natural wonders of land and water, from sacred Ayers Rock and the amazing underwater life of the Great Barrier Reef to the geothermal wonders of Rotorua and the magical fjords of Milford Sound. Local specialists enhance your understanding of the cultural history of the unique Aboriginal and Maori cultures as well as the unique natural history throughout your journey. Travel on the historic Ghan train, the TranzCoastal train and other fascinating rail journeys, and enjoy special wine tastings at well-known vineyards in both Australia and New Zealand. Skip a day ahead en route as you cross the International Dateline.
Day #3 Arrive Cairns, Australia - Cairns is the gateway to the Great Barrier Reef. Tonight, enjoy a special reception and dinner.
Day #4 Cairns - A ride aboard the historic Kuranda Rail, constructed in 1882, offers a scenic rail journey to view the spectacular Atherton Tablelands. This afternoon take a crocodile cruise on Hartley’s Lagoon in search of saltwater crocs in their natural habitat as well as the exotic birdlife of Queensland. After the cruise, enjoy a delicious Aussie barbecue.
Day #5 Great Barrier Reef - Board a high-speed catamaran for an exciting excursion to the outer Great Barrier Reef, where the magic of this natural wonder will surround you! Snorkel or stay dry while checking out the marine life from the semi-submersible!
Day #6 Cairns - Ayers Rock - Fly to the heart of the Outback, arriving at Ayers Rock. Tour the sandstone domes of the Olgas and the area around the base of “The Rock.” Later, witness a stunning sunset as the colors of the Rock change dramatically.
Day #7 Ayers Rock - Alice Springs - Depart for Alice Springs, the largest community in Central Australia. Take a sightseeing tour of this frontier town, including the Old Telegraph Station and Anzac Hill. Gain insight into the educational system in the Outback with a visit to the School of the Air - you may even see a class in session! Tonight, experience unique dining and entertainment at a traditional dinner in the bush.
Day #8 Alice Springs - The Ghan - Early this morning gain a different perspective of the majestic Australian Outback with an optional hot air balloon ride. Next, explore the Aboriginal culture through site visits and native cooking. Later, board the legendary Ghan for an overnight journey through ancient mountain ranges, over red-baked earth, and across oceans of sand hills.
Day #9 The Ghan - Barossa Valley - Your train journey concludes in the South Australian capital of Adelaide, where you take a morning sightseeing tour. Travel to Barossa Valley and experience the Whispering Wall; listen as voices travel along a quarter-mile path powered by natural amplification. A wine tasting at one of the local wineries introduces the flavors of this region. Dinner at your hotel, in the serene Barossa Valley, overlooks the vineyards of well-known vintners such as Jacobs Creek.
Day #10 Barossa Valley - Barossa Valley is Australia’s richest and best-known wine-making region. The area was first settled by German immigrants more than a century ago and today produces some of the world’s finest wines. Enjoy tours and tastings at two of the area’s wineries. The evening is yours to continue exploring this great region independently.
Day #11 Barossa Valley - Coonawarra - Travel through the southern Australian countryside, stopping at Naracoorte Caves National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage site. Learn about the extensive fossil deposits of southern Australia as you tour the fossil center and view the ‘megafauna’ that once thrived in the area. Continue to Coonawarra, another rich wine-making region.
Day #12 Coonawarra - Melbourne - Journey across the spectacular Great Ocean Road, one of the world's most scenic drives. Pass through Port Campbell and discover the “12 Apostles,” a dramatic row of stone pillars rising from the ocean, and the “London Bridge,” a magnificent stone arch formation. Marvel at Loch Ard Gorge before arriving in Melbourne in the early evening.
Day #13 Melbourne - A tour of Melbourne features the Shrine of Remembrance, Parliament House and a visit to Fitzroy Royal Botanical Gardens. Later, travel to Phillip Island, home of the world’s largest colony of “Little Penguins.” Experience the wonders of the Little Penguin Parade as hundreds of these lovable birds waddle out from the sea and cross the beach to their burrows in the dunes. Learn more about the life cycle of the penguin and their significance to the area at the Interpretation Centre.
Day #14 Melbourne - Sydney - This morning, it’s off to Sydney, Australia’s cultural capital. Enjoy a panoramic tour of the city followed by a tour of one of the world’s most famous landmarks, the Sydney Opera House!
Day #15 Sydney - This morning you will visit Sydney Wildlife World which showcases Australia's fascinating flora and fauna with three floors of exhibits. Within its walls, over 6,000 native animals are protected. Walk amongst the wallabies and birds as you experience Sydney Wildlife World's new interactive walk-through. Visit the koala sanctuary where you can see Australia's most famous animal species in its natural habitat. If you want to, you can even pet one! An amazing evening begins with a sail on Sydney Harbour's glistening waters during a dinner cruise offering spectacular views of Sydney’s greatest icons - the Harbour Bridge and world-famous Opera House.
Day #16 Sydney - The day is yours for personal exploration of one of the world's most magnificent cities.
Day #17 Sydney - Christchurch, New Zealand - Today you fly to New Zealand, arriving in the city of Christchurch, where a short sightseeing tour highlights magnificent gardens, the cathedral, and the downtown park district. During dinner on the Christchurch Tramway, New Zealand's only tramcar restaurant, enjoy some of New Zealand's best fare while taking in the city sights.
Day #18 Christchurch – Queenstown - This morning depart for the beautiful resort town of Queenstown. Experience New Zealand wine with a visit to one of Otago’s best known wineries. Enjoy a tour and tasting, followed by a spectacular dinner paired with the local favorites!
Day #19 Queenstown - Milford Sound - Travel through beech forest into the rugged grandeur of the Hollyford Valley to world-famous Milford Sound. Enjoy a relaxing cruise in this dramatic fjord. Choose to return to Queenstown via a short optional flight (weather permitting) for spectacular views of the Southern Alps or return by coach.
Day #20 Queenstown - Your day is at leisure to explore Queenstown on your own, take an optional jet boat ride on the Shotover River, or choose from a variety of other activities.
Day #21 Queenstown - Mt. Cook - Traveling through the picturesque countryside, stop in the old gold boomtown of Arrowtown. In Mt. Cook National Park take a nature walk or enjoy an optional flightseeing tour (weather permitting). This evening’s dinner includes a sampling of local wines from some of the finest wineries in New Zealand.
Day #22 Mt. Cook – Christchurch - Today travel back to the English city of Christchurch. This afternoon you may choose an optional afternoon excursion to the International Antarctic Centre, the base for all U.S. expeditions to Antarctica. This evening, enjoy a special dinner at a restored mansion that was once the homestead of Christchurch’s first settlers.
Day #23 Christchurch - Today is free to relax and unwind. You may choose to take an optional journey through the Southern Alps aboard the Tranz-Alpine Express. This evening you will be invited to dine with a New Zealand family. Enjoy this unforgettable experience as you learn about the customs of the “Kiwis” and enjoy a home cooked meal.
Day #24 Christchurch - Picton - Wellington - Board the Tranz Coastal train for a scenic journey up the eastern coast of New Zealand's South Island. Relax in comfort as you are surrounded by the Kaikoura Mountain Range to the west and the rugged Pacific Coast to the east. Arrive in Picton and ferry through Marlborough Sound and across Cook Strait to the North Island. Arrive in Wellington, the harbour capital of New Zealand.
Day #25 Wellington - Enjoy sightseeing in Wellington, including the Beehive, New Zealand’s Parliament, historic St. Paul’s Church, and the Government Building.
Day #26 Wellington - Rotorua - This morning, tour the Te Papa Tongarewa Museum, the national museum of New Zealand, where you will enjoy a discussion on the Maori culture. Next, travel through the heart of the North Island to Rotorua, the center of Maori heritage. Tonight, become immersed in the indigenous culture of New Zealand as you take part in an authentic Hangi and concert.
Day #27 Rotorua - This morning visit Te Puia, New Zealand's premier Maori cultural and geothermal experience. You'll be truly amazed by the landscape of erupting geysers, bubbling mud pools and other geothermal wonders! Here, the Maori keep their customs alive by teaching the tribal youth the skills of traditional carving, weaving and dancing. Take part in an interactive demonstration on the art of weaving and the importance of the Maori dress. You will also view the Kiwi bird and learn what New Zealanders are doing to try to remove the Kiwi from the endangered species list. Next, a visit to the Agrodome will give you insight into how wool, one of New Zealand’s premier products, is produced. You will see a sheep shearing demonstration here. This afternoon, visit a jade factory to see how the raw product is transformed into a fabulous gemstone. Gather this evening for a delightful farewell dinner.
Day #28 Rotorua - Auckland - Experience the North Island's Waitomo Caves, which are lit by thousands of glow worms clinging to the cave walls. Drive to Auckland arriving in New Zealand’s largest city, “The City of Sails.” Enjoy the remainder of your day on your own in Auckland.
Day #29 Auckland - Tour Ends - Say goodbye to this wonderful land and depart for home.