American breakfast (B) daily; Local Host service in Melbourne and Auckland; driving directions; map; sightseeing as outlined in the day-by-day itinerary (inside visits and special features are shown in UPPERCASE).
Day #1 Arrive in Melbourne, Australia. Welcome to Melbourne, the cosmopolitan heart of Australia. The remainder of the day is at your leisure.
Day #2 Melbourne. Your morning guided sightseeing tour includes Queen Victoria Market (when open), the Italian Quarter, the Shrine of Remembrance, the BOTANIC GARDENS, Fitzroy Gardens, and spectacular city views from Bolte Bridge. The remainder of the day is at your leisure. (B)
Day #3 Melbourne. Enjoy a full day at leisure for independent activities. (B)
Day #4 Melbourne–Cairns. Fly to Cairns, “Gateway to the Great Barrier Reef,” one of the Seven Natural Wonders of the World. The balance of the day is at your leisure.
Day #5 Cairns. Today, board a fast catamaran for a CRUISE to Green Island, one of the many tropical islands on Australia’s famous Great Barrier Reef. Here you can choose to SNORKEL, take a GLASS-BOTTOM BOAT TOUR, or walk through the island’s cool rainforest. Return to Cairns and enjoy the afternoon at your leisure. (B)
Day #6 Cairns. A full day at leisure to explore tropical Cairns. (B)
Day #7 Cairns–Sydney. Today, fly to beautiful Sydney. The remainder of the day is at your leisure. (B)
Day #8 Sydney. Enjoy a morning guided sightseeing tour that includes a Sydney Opera House and Harbour Bridge photo stop, the historic “Rocks” area, and a visit to world-famous BONDI BEACH. The afternoon is at your leisure. (B)
Day #9 Sydney. Enjoy a full day at leisure in this beautiful city. (B)
Day #10 Sydney–Auckland, New Zealand. Today, fly to Auckland. Meet your Local Host this afternoon and pick up your rental car. (B)
Day #11 Auckland–Waitomo–Rotorua. Travel south through the rich pastoral province of Waikato to Waitomo. Here, enjoy a guided tour of the famous GLOWWORM GROTTO, featuring a fascinating underground boat ride. Continue on to Rotorua via Lake Karapiro. (B)
Day #12 Rotorua. Today, visit the AGRODOME for a hands-on experience focusing on New Zealand’s farming history. Next, visit RAINBOW SPRINGS, a unique showcase of New Zealand’s flora and fauna. Finally, on to TE PUIA to view Maori carvings and weaving demonstrations, and to walk through the thermal reserve to see boiling mud pools and shooting geysers. The afternoon is at leisure. (B)
Day #13 Rotorua–Lake Taupo–Napier. Depart Rotorua and head to Napier via Lake Taupo. (B)
Day #14 Napier–Wellington. Drive south today to Wellington, capital of New Zealand. (B)
Day #15 Wellington–Nelson. Today, board your FERRY and cruise through the Marlborough Sounds to Picton. Continue on to Nelson. (B) NOTE: You will drop off your rental car at the ferry terminal in Wellington and pick up a new car at the ferry terminal in Picton.
Day #16 Nelson–Greymouth. Travel to the West Coast of the South Island. The drive between Westport and Greymouth is stunning. (B)
Day #17 Greymouth–Franz Josef. Today, travel to Franz Josef and explore the glacier. (B)
Day #18 Franz Josef–Queenstown. Today, travel south along the rugged west coast and via Haast Pass to Queenstown. (B)
Day #19 Queenstown. Milford Sound Excursion. Travel by motorcoach along the shores of Lake Wakatipu to Te Anau, gateway to FIORDLAND NATIONAL PARK. View the Mirror Lakes as you pass through Eglinton Valley. From the Homer Tunnel, emerge into Cleddau Valley. Join your Milford Sound CRUISE for an unforgettable experience. (B)
Day #20 Queenstown. Enjoy a full day at leisure in the “Adventure Capital of the World.” (B)
Day #21 Queenstown–Mount Cook Region. Today, head north to stunning Mount Cook. (B)
Day #22 Mount Cook Region–Christchurch Area. Depart this alpine wonderland and drive north across the Canterbury plains to Ashburton. The stunning, turquoise-blue water of Lake Tekapo surrounded by the Southern Alps makes a great photo stop. (B)
Day #23 Christchurch Area. Your vacation ends with breakfast this morning. Return your rental car at the Christchurch airport prior to departure. (B)