Contrasts of Australia and New Zealand
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A grand-scale 17-night independent tour to explore two fascinating nations, with unique landscapes and experiences. Discover the Great Barrier Reef and stunning Milford Sound, stroll through Melbourne’s hidden laneways and take in the many sights and experiences to be enjoyed in Sydney, Cairns, Auckland and Queenstown. Each city offering diverse experiences along the way.
Please note: This itinerary is valid for 1 April 2018 - 31 March 2019.
- Enjoy a Be My Guest experience at the Tjapukai Aboriginal Cultural Park
- Learn some Aussie surf culture at Bondi Beach
- Tour the Sydney Opera House
- Sail on a sunset dinner cruise on Sydney Harbour
- Discover native Australian animals at Hartley’s Crocodile Adventures
- Snorkel and cruise on the Great Barrier Reef
- Explore Melbourne’s hidden laneways
- Have lunch with the O’Sullivans on their Waikato farm
- Experience Kiwi hospitality at Morelea Farm
- See Milford Sound on a lunch cruise
- Witness Franz Josef Glacier
- Journey over the Southern Alps on the TranzAlpine Train
- Immerse yourself in Maori arts and culture at dinner with the Tamaki family
On arrival you will be transferred to your hotel in Melbourne where you’ll meet your Travel Director and fellow travellers at a welcome reception and dinner, in a unique setting on board the famous Colonial Tramcar Restaurant. On your second day you’ll head out on a city tour which includes a private walk through Melbourne’s famous hidden laneways and to explore the city’s little lanes, arcades, vibrant café society and exciting street art. The rest of the day is free for you to explore more of the city at leisure.
Overnight: Crowne Plaza Hotel Melbourne, 2 nights.
Included Meals: Day 1: Dinner with wine. Day 2: Breakfast
Days 3 - 5
Melbourne – Cairns & Great Barrier Reef
On the morning of day three, you’ll fly from Melbourne Airport to Cairns, Queensland. Join a local expert on a private wildlife journey at Hartley's Crocodile Adventures and enjoy a boat cruise for the opportunity to spot koalas, wallabies and crocodiles. Dine out in style at your own leisure, with a wide choice of Cairns finest restaurants to tempt you.
Day four is a fun filled experience of a lifetime on the Great Barrier Reef. Board a high-speed catamaran and cruise out to the Reef where you can snorkel and explore this natural living wonder up close (equipment provided). You can also view the spectacular coral and fish from the comfort of a semi-submersible craft, just one metre underwater. A delicious tropical buffet lunch will be provided before heading back to Cairns.
On day five, you can kick back in Cairns with free time to do as you choose. Why not ride the Skyrail Rainforest Cableway to Kuranda, to glide over World Heritage rainforest and explore quaint Kuranda village? Or, board the Kuranda Scenic Rail for an historic rail journey?
This evening there will be Be my guest dining experience, a very special experience that is held at Tjapukai Cultural Park. Listen to Dreamtime stories, watch a high impact dance performance and enjoy a marvellous dinner listening to the sounds of the didgeridoo.
Overnight: Hilton Hotel Cairns, 3 nights
Included Meals: Day 3: Breakfast. Day 4: Breakfast and lunch. Day 5: Breakfast and Be My Guest dinner.
Days 6 - 8
Cairns – Sydney
Depart Cairns in the morning for your flight to Sydney with time on arrival to relax before boarding a Captain Cook boat for a sunset dinner cruise. Tuck into a two course à la carte dinner as you drink in the captivating views of Sydney at night. You’ll pass magnificent waterfront homes as well as the Harbour Bridge and Sydney Opera House.
On day seven, you’ll kick off this highlight day with a guided sightseeing tour of Sydney Opera House with a local expert. Later board your coach for iconic Bondi Beach for a true Aussie experience. You’ll be greeted by a local surf lifesaver before lunch at an Australian institution, the Returned Servicemen’s Club. Enjoy an exclusive tour of Australia’s oldest surf lifesaving club. In the afternoon, you’re free to explore, shop or stroll on the harbour front.
Day 8 in Sydney is all yours for some free time exploration of this wonderful city. Why not take an optional excursion to the Blue Mountains to breathe in the fresh mountain air and witness stunning scenery? You’ll visit charming Leura Village, see the Three Sisters rock formation and visit a Wildlife Park. Or why not see Sydney from above, on a ‘BridgeClimb’ of Sydney Harbour Bridge (own expense)? Dinner this evening is served on the harbourfront, where you can join your fellow travellers to swap stories of your day.
Overnight: Hyatt Regency Darling Harbour, 3 nights
Included Meals: Day 6: Breakfast and highlight dinner. Day 7: Breakfast and lunch. Day 8: Breakfast and dinner with wine.
Days 9 - 10
Sydney – Auckland
Say a fond farewell to Australia and continue your adventure by air to Auckland, New Zealand. Join your Travel Director for dinner at your hotel. On day ten you’ll be given a morning sightseeing tour and cruise on Waitemata Harbour, followed by free time in the city to do as you choose.
Overnight: Stamford Plaza Auckland, 2 nights. Two breakfasts and one dinner with wine included.
Auckland – Rotorua
A fabulous lunch time treat is in store for you today, with an invitation to a Be My Guest lunch with famous hosts from the New Zealand horse racing world. Lance and Bridgette O’Sullivan invite you to their home for sumptuous cuisine – country style will be served at the Red Barn on their Waikato Farm. In the evening you’ll enjoy a Maori Hangi dinner and a concert at the Tamaki Family Marae.
Overnight: Millennium Hotel, Rotorua. Breakfast, Be My Guest lunch and highlight dinner included.
Rotorua – Christchurch
Explore the native flora and fauna at Rainbow Springs Nature Park. With a knowledgeable local guide to lead the way, keep a look out for the endangered kiwi. Before boarding your flight to Christchurch later in the day, you’ll make an afternoon visit to Te Puia in Rotorua, where a Maori guide share their taonga (treasures) in a geothermal wonderland. You’ll encounter bubbling mud pools, New Zealand’s nation icon, the flightless kiwi, Maori people, culture, architecture, crafts and much more.
Overnight: Distinction Christchurch Hotel. Breakfast included.
Christchurch – Franz Josef
Board the TranzAlpine train for a spectacular trip over the Southern Alps. At Hokitika visit a New Zealand jade factory and continue on along the coastal road to Franz Josef Glacier for a short walk to view the magnificent glacier. Optional scenic flights are available (weather permitting).
Overnight: Te Waonui Forest Retreat. Breakfast and dinner with wine included.
Day 14 - 16
Franz Josef – Queenstown & Milford Sound Cruise
On your coastal drive today, you’ll have views of the Tasman Sea as you climb over the Haast Pass winding through Mount Aspiring National Park and past dramatic waterfalls, gorges and ice-blue lakes. Finally, you’ll visit the historic gold-mining village of Arrowtown, before arriving in Queenstown. A highlight dinner is provided at The Boatshed, set in the restored historic New Zealand Railways Shipping Office. A fantastic venue to enjoy your exclusive meal with wine, with extraordinary views of Lake Wakatipu and the Remarkables mountain range.
Milford Sound Cruise
The pristine shores of Lake Wakatipu, across to Te Anau is your direction this morning, then through Fiordland National Park’s lush rainforest and the hand-hewn Homer Tunnel. Enjoy views of the Mirror Lakes, the Cleddau Valley and The Chasm, and continue to wonderful Milford Sound. Cruise among sheer cliffs, impressive waterfalls and glaciers and verdant rainforest, before returning to Queenstown.
As today is a free day, why not consider an optional tour experience? Choose to ride the Shotover Jet boat, join a wine tour, take a 4WD excursion through Skippers Canyon, have a relaxing spa treatment at Millbrook Resort or simply explore Queenstown at your own pace? In the evening, why not ride a gondola for dinner at the Skyline Restaurant?
Overnight: Millennium Hotel, Queenstown, 3 nights.
Included Meals: Day 14: Breakfast and Highlight dinner. Day 15: Breakfast and lunch. Day 16: Breakfast
Queenstown – Christchurch
Stop to visit Lake Tekapo and watch the light glisten on the waters, visit the Church of the Good Shepherd and later, enjoy a welcoming Be my guest lunch experience at Morelea Farm. Your hosts Angie and Stan Taylor will welcome you to their home for a barbecue lunch in their garden, offering insight into day-to-day farm life. There will be a farewell dinner this evening in Christchurch.
Overnight: Distinction Christchurch Hotel. Breakfast, Be My Guest lunch and farewell dinner included.
Farewell from Christchurch
Say your farewells to fellow travellers and your Travel Director before you transfer to Christchurch Airport for your flight home, or to continue your adventures in New Zealand.
Included Meals: Breakfast
- Travel by luxury coach
- All accommodation as listed or similar (17 nights)
- 17 breakfasts, 4 lunches, 9 dinners
- Experienced Driver Guides and informative commentary throughout
- Return airport transfers (flight details to be provided 14 days prior to travel)
- Australia: Welcome dinner on board Melbourne’s famous Colonial Tramcar Restaurant. Melbourne city sightseeing and private walking tour. Wildlife tour and cruise at Hartley’s Crocodile Adventures with local expert. Cruise and snorkel at the Great Barrier Reef with lunch on board. Be My Guest dinner at Tjapukai Aboriginal Cultural Park with welcome ceremony, Dreamtime stories and a dance group. Sunset Dinner Cruise on Captain Cook vessel passing Harbour Bridge and Sydney Opera House. Sydney Opera House tour. Lunch at Bondi Beach in the Returned Serviceman’s Club, hosted by a local surf lifesaver. New Zealand: Auckland sightseeing tour and cruise on Waitemata Harbour. Be My Guest lunch at Waikato Farm. Maori Hangi Dinner and concert. Rainbow Springs Nature Park and Te Puia with a Maori Guide. TranzAlpine train through Southern Alps and Franz Josef Glacier. Gold mining village of Arrowtown. Queenstown tour and dinner at the Boatshed. Lake Wakatipu and Fiordland National Park. Milford Sound and cruise. Lake Tekapo. Lunch at Morelea Farm and Farewell Dinner.
What’s Not Included
- Optional excursions
What to bring
- Comfortable walking shoes
- Sunglasses, sunscreen and hat
- Water bottle
- Jacket in cooler months
- Swimwear and beach towel