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 distinct natural history throughout your journey. Travel on the historic Ghan train, the Tranz-Alpine Express, and other fascinating rail journeys. Enjoy special wine tastings at well-known vineyards.
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- Cairns, Great Barrier Reef, Ayers Rock, Alice Springs, The Ghan, Barossa Wine Valley, Great Ocean Road, Melbourne, Sydney Opera House, Queenstown, Milford Sound, Mt. Cook, Christchurch, Tranz-Alpine Express, Tranz Coastal Train, Wellington, Rotorua
- Australia and New Zealand offer an incredible breadth of adventure and new experiences. Enjoy talks by local specialists who offer a wide range of expertise.
- Examine the role that marine life plays in the reef ecosystems with marine biologist Robin Aiello.
- Listen to a discussion about well-known vintners of the Barossa Valley from a wine expert at Jacob’s Creek Winery.
- Examine the archaeological research at Naracoorte Caves in southeastern Australia, which is helping local scientists reconstruct the region’s past, with Dr. Liz Reed.
- Focus on Australia’s cultural history and preservation efforts in Sydney and Melbourne with Elizabeth Berry of Australia’s National Trust.
- Gain an appreciation of the Maori culture during an exclusive talk by a staff member at the national museum in Te Papa.
- 41 Meals
- Novotel Palm Cove, Palm Cove
- Sails in the Desert, Ayers Rock
- Crowne Plaza, Alice Springs
- The Ghan Train, The Ghan Train
- Novotel, Barossa Valley
- Chardonnay Lodge, Coonawarra
- Grand Mercure Swanston, Melbourne
- The Menzies, Sydney
- Grand Mercure St Moritz, Queenstown
- Hermitage Lodge, Mt. Cook Region
- Chateau on the Park, Christchurch
- Duxton Hotel, Wellington
- Rydges Hotel, Rotorua
Air 1/2 - Overnight Flight to Australia
Day 3 - Arrive Cairns, Australia
Cairns is the gateway to the Great Barrier Reef. Tonight, enjoy a special reception and dinner.
Day 4 - 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, scuba dive* or stay dry while checking out the marine life from the semi-submersible!
Day 5 - 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 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
Tour the sandstone domes of the Olgas before departing for Alice Springs, located in the heart of the Australian Outback. A sightseeing tour of the area includes the Old Telegraph Station and Anzac Hill. Tonight, enjoy dining and entertainment with a traditional dinner in the bush. Dine under the stars, tasting the local fare of the Outback while enjoying entertainment and spectacular surroundings.
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.
Days 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.
Days 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.
Days 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.
Days 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 an afternoon at leisure.
Day 15 - Sydney
This morning you will visit one of Australia's best wildlife parks where you can feed the kangaroos, pet a wombat and have a photo taken with one of the local koalas! Tonight, an evening dinner cruise of Sydney Harbour gives you the opportunity to see the city from a different perspective. Afterward, enjoy a performance at the Sydney Opera House.
Day 16 - Sydney
The day is yours for personal exploration of one of the world's most magnificent cities.
Day 17 - Sydney - Queenstown, New Zealand
Today you fly to New Zealand, arriving in 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 18 - 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 19 - 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 20 - 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 21 - Mt Cook - Christchurch
Travel to 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 22 - Christchurch - Tranz-Alpine Express
Journey through the Southern Alps aboard the Tranz-Alpine Express. 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 an optional afternoon excursion to the International Antarctica Centre, the base for all U.S. expeditions to Antarctica. 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. Next, travel through the heart of the North Island today arriving in 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 - Tour Concludes
Experience the North Island's Waitomo Caves, which are lit by thousands of glow worms clinging to the cave walls. Drive to Auckland where your tour ends.
NOTE: Specials are marked with a *