DAY 1 ARRIVE AUCKLAND, NEW ZEALAND
Kia Ora-welcome to New Zealand! Hotel rooms are available for immediate check- in. Please schedule flights to arrive by 4:30 pm in order to attend this evening’s welcome briefing.
DAY 2 AUCKLAND. EXCURSION TO WAIHEKE ISLAND
This morning, enjoy an orientation tour of Auckland, the “City of Sails.” See bustling Queen Street, the city’s oldest park, Auckland Domain, and the historic Parnell Village. Then, take a ferry to beautiful Waiheke Island, where we’ll visit a winery for a tour, tasting, and lunch. The remainder of the day is yours to explore more of Auckland.
This morning, depart Auckland and travel through the green pastoral region of Waikato to the famous WAITOMO GLOWWORM CAVES. Experience a guided tour through the limestone chambers and passages of the cavern. Take a silent boat trip through Glowworm Grotto as you glide quietly beneath the lights of thousands of glowworms suspended from the cave ceiling. Next, stop a picturesque farm near Matamata that was transformed into the HOBBITON MOVIE SET from The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit films. During your visit, see the hobbit holes, the Green Dragon Inn, and other structures built for the movies. Continue on to Rotorua for a 2-night stay.
DAY 4 ROTORUA. EXCURSION TO WAIMUNGU VOLCANIC VALLEY
This morning, travel to the nearby WAIMANGU VOLCANIC VALLEY. Waimangu in the Maori language means “black water,” and the area was once the location of the most powerful geyser in the world. The valley is now home to wonderful plant and bird life, thermal hot springs, steaming cliffs, and volcanic craters. This evening, enjoy a traditional HANGI DINNER, followed by an authentic MAORI CULTURAL PERFORMANCE.
DAY 5 ROTORUA-QUEENSTOWN
Fly to Queenstown, the “Adventure Capital of the World.” Tonight, take a scenic GONDOLA RIDE to the top of Bob’s Peak. Take in the spectacular mountain views and the lights of Queenstown below as you dine in the Skyline Restaurant.
DAY 6 QUEENSTOWN CRUISE ON DOUBTFUL SOUND
Today, travel into FIORDLAND NATIONAL PARK, a UNESCO World Heritage Site that boasts some of the most breathtaking scenery in the world. Doubtful Sound is 10 times larger and three times longer than Milford Sound, its more well- known cousin to the north. It is also far less visited due to its remote location, so during your CRUISE on the fiord you will see this pristine natural setting just as early Maori and European explorers did.
DAY 7 QUEENSTOWN
A full day of leisure for your own discoveries. Consider an optional visit to a local vineyard and sample some of the prize vintages-or maybe take a thrilling jetboat ride on the Dart River. Your Tour Director will have suggestions to help you plan your day to explore, shop, and enjoy optional activities.
DAY 8 QUEENSTOWN-MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA
This morning, board your flight across the Tasman Sea to Melbourne.
DAY 9 MELBOURNE
Today’s sightseeing tour includes landmarks such as parliament House and the Shrine of Remembrance, a tribute to Australia`s war heroes visit beautiful FITZROY GARDENS, then drive past the lush Royal Botanic Gardens. You`ll soon discover the different architectural influence of this city as you see the Victorian Arts centre and other buildings of significance. Next, enjoy a unique lunch experience on board the historic COLONICAL TRAMCAR RESTAURANT as it winds its way through the streets of Melbourne. Tonight`s optional excursion to see the world- famous penguin parade on Phillip Island is highly recommended.
DAY 10 MELBOURNE
Enjoy a full day at leisure to explore this multicultural and cosmopolitan city. Dine at a local restaurant and immerse yourself in Melbourne’s passionate food and wine scene or walk along Chapel and Brunswick Streets, famous for great shopping. Take a trip out of town to sample award- winning wines in the Yarra Valley or drive along the spectacular Great Ocean Road to see the “Twelve Apostles.”
DAY 11 MELBOURNE-CAIRNS-MOSSMAN GORGE-PORT DOUGLAS
Today, fly to Cairns, the “Gateway to the Great Barrier Reef.” At MOSSMAN GORGE, home to lush tropical rainforest, cascading waterfalls, towering mountains, and colorful flora and fauna experience a DREAMTIME WALK with a member of the local indigenous community. Hear stories and legends from a long time ago while your guide demonstrates traditional plant uses. At the end of the tour, enjoy traditional bush tea and damper. We continue to Port Douglas, a beachside town surrounded by rainforest and the Coral Sea. Enjoy a 3-night stay in this tropical paradise.
DAY 12 PORT DOUGLAS. OUTER GREAT BARRIER REEF EXCURSION
Today, prepare for the experience of a lifetime when you board a catamaran and CRUISE to the Outer Great Barrier Reef, one of the Seven Natural Wonders of the World. Explore this underwater world that is a dazzling kaleidoscope of color and brilliance. Choose to SNORKEL, take a semi-submersible WATERCRAFT TOUR, or attend a presentation by a marine biologist.
DAY 13 PORT DOUGLAS
A full day for leisure. You may wish to take a trip into the Daintree Forest, the world’s oldest living rainforest and to beautiful Cape Tribulation. Other activities include hiking, relaxing by your resort’s pool, or window shopping at the unique boutiques and art galleries in downtown Port Douglas, where you are sure to find a favorite souvenir.
DAY 14 PORT DOUGLAS-CAIRNS-SYDNEY
This morning, enjoy a special visit to the CAIRNS TROPICAL ZOO for your chance to meet Australia’s native animals. Afterward, fly to Sydney, the largest city in Australia.
DAY 15 SYDNEY
Enjoy a full day at leisure. Perhaps join our optional excursions to the Blue Mountains or to the Hunter Valley, one of Australia’s leading wine-growing regions. You can even climb to the top of Sydney’s Harbour Bridge! Your Tour Director will help you make the most of this exciting city. Tonight, enjoy a special dinner at WATERFRONT RESTAURANT with fantastic views of the highlights of Sydney.
DAY 16 SYDNEY
Explore one of the world’s most beautiful cities. Visit the SYDNEY OPERA HOUSE, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, for a guided tour of its interior and theaters. Travel to Mrs. Macquarie’s Chair in the city’s BOTANIC GARDENS for a great photo opportunity and sweeping views of the harbor, Opera House, and Harbour Bridge. Visit world-famous Bondi Beach for an insider’s tour of BONDI SURF BATHERS’ LIFE SAVING CLUB with one of the lifesavers. Lunch today is at the North Bondi Returned Servicemen’s Leagues Club, located on Bondi Beach. Learn about the history of this special place and the courageous “Rats of Tobruk” while enjoying sweeping waterfront views and delicious food. Afterward, a CRUISE on Sydney Harbour highlights some of the city’s best views.
DAY 17 SYDNEY
Your tour ends with breakfast this morning.