(Sydney, Ayers Rock, Cairns, Melbourne)
(Queenstown, Rotorua, Auckland)
Wild penguins jostle and chatter nosily as they blanket the beach on their daily pilgrimage from ocean feeding grounds to the safety of Phillip Island’s expansive sand dunes.
You’ll have a ring-side seat for this wonderful natural spectacle as part of this comprehensive tour of the lands downunder. Begin in Sydney where you’ll be treated to soaring bush land views and wildlife encounters at the World Heritage-listed Blue Mountains, before traveling on to the Australian outback for a world-class outdoor dining experience in the shadows of Uluru. Journey deep into the Daintree Rainforest in Australia’s tropical north and dive the vibrant underwater world of the Great Barrier Reef. Then it’s onto New Zealand’s mountain town of Queenstown – home to the incredible scenery that inspired Peter Jackson’s Lord of the Rings – the ancient thermal lands of Rotorua, and the black volcanic sands of Auckland’s distinctive western beaches.
This is magical tour that will not only fill your camera, but also your heart. Of course, there’s the pristine bush land scenery, the blazing outback sunsets, the soaring New Zealand mountains and the luxury hotels to contend with, but many of your dinner-party stories will center around the profound cultural experiences you’ll enjoy. From private desert tours with expert local guides that offer rare insight into the spirituality of Australia’s Indigenous people, to an authentic ‘hangi’ dinner in New Zealand’s ancient Maori tradition, this is a transformational travel experience.
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A private transfer from the Sydney airport to the city/hotel, or vice versa, is provided.
Admire the city lights at night during this evening’s Captain Cook Cruises’ Starlight Dinner Cruise. Glide across the star reflective waters of Sydney Harbour as the glow of the city creates an atmosphere of sheer calmness. Allow the captain of Sydney’s most prestigious cruise ships, the MV Sydney 2000; carve a gently path past many of Sydney’s illuminated, iconic landmarks and sites including Harbour Bridge and the Opera House. Dine upon a 3-course feast featuring international cuisine such as Pumpkin Gnocchi with Napolitana Salsa and Seared Chicken and Roasted Tomato Couscous amongst some locally recognized Australian delicacies including Baked Barramundi Fillet and Wagyu Bolognaise with Soinach and Ricotta Tondi. Sent your taste buds into sweet-overload as you enjoy dessert featuring Orange & Chocolate Flourless Cake or Slow Baked Raspberry & Apple Crumble to wrap up the evening.
The Grace Hotel (4*) is an elegantly restored heritage listed Neo Gothic hotel built in 1930. The 382 contemporary guest rooms are spacious and comfortable, designed with the frequent traveler in mind. The Grace Cafe serves modern Australian cuisine and the Grace Brasserie offers a sumptuous buffet lunch available on weekdays. Drop in at P.J.O'Brien's Irish Pub and enjoy a pint of Guinness in the heart of Sydney. Take advantage of the Rooftop Health Club offering state-of-the-art Cybex fitness equipment, an indoor lap pool, sauna, steam room and sun terrace. For a rejuvenating experience, the Oriental Spa is also available, with the treatments assured to revitalize and invigorate.
Set out today aboard a luxury 4-wheel drive vehicle to explore some of the many landmarks and sites around Sydney and the Blue Mountain Range. Begin with a visit to the iconic Sydney Harbour Bridge before venturing onto a memorable visit to the Wildlife Park. See the powerful Australian Kangaroo and get up close and personal with some friendly Dingoes – and yes, even pat the cuddly Aussie Koala. Next it’s off to explore the historic Richmond area before travelling off the beaten path deep into the Blue Mountain Range. Enjoy a rejuvenating morning tea amongst the natural creatures that live in this bush. Experience real back country exploration as you view these vistas of magnificent cliffs and canyons of this World Heritage recognized area. Marvel at the sight of the Three Sisters monolith and the Australian Grand Canyon during your explorations. Enjoy trekking through the bush before feasting on a scrumptious country style lunch at a local Australian homestead. Upon completion of your tour a return transfer back to your accommodations is provided.
From modern monuments to historic districts, the Australian capital Sydney boasts a variety of activities and attractions for visitors to enjoy including trips to the Sydney Aquarium, Sydney Tower, and the Art Gallery of New South Wales. Try spending some time exploring the Harbour area with its many cafes and gift shops. Head out on a half day tour or picturesque harbour cruise. The SmartVisit allows visitors to visit the sight they want to see, on their own schedule. Ask your Travel Consultant for purchase details.
Flight is required, currently not included in the quote.
A shared transfer from the Ayers Rock airport to your hotel and vice versa is provided. Wait times at both the airport and hotels may vary, but are usually on average 20 minutes.
Head out into the Outback with an expert Australia Guide to explore the most profound and culturally significant monolithic structure in Australia. Departing the resort the tour will travel through the outback landscapes to the entrance of the Uluru Kata Tjuta National Park. From this point it is only a matter of minutes before the spectra of Uluru rises from the sand dunes to demonstrate its enormity and presence. Within your first step you are presented with a photographic opportunity of this amazing Australian icon. With Uluru looming in front of you, your guide will take you closer towards the base. The closer you wander the more you surrender to the realisation of the sheer size and magnitude of this monolith. As you drive around the base, your guide will take you to the entrance of Mutitjulu Waterhole, a semi-permanent watercourse nestled in the contours of Uluru. Here you will learn the Creation stories of Liru (poisonous snake) and Kuniya (python) as well as a number of other stories associated with other prominent Tjukurpa (Dreaming) stories. You will see the rock art of the ancients and learn how Uluru was, and still is, a significant location for teaching young Aboriginal people about their culture. You'll then adjourn to the new Talinguru Nyakunytjaku viewing area where you can marvel at an uninterrupted view of Uluru with Kata Tjuta in the background. A return transfer to your accommodation is provided upon completion of the tour.
The Desert Gardens (4.5*) Hotel is set amongst the magnificent ghost gums and flowering native shrubs of the Ayers Rock outback landscape. Each of the rooms feature the unique flora designs and patterns found within the Central Australian Desert. Guest will journey along shaded walkways which lead to spacious poolside rooms, some even offering spectacular views of the monolithic Uluru. Relax under the private veranda or courtyard of your room to experience what is arguably Australia’s best sunset. When the sun has gone down, dine at White Gums Restaurant and savour Australian native delicacies or feast on the flavours of the a la carte Arnguli Grill.
Set out this morning bright and early to experience the essence of the word serenity during a visit to one of Australia’s most spiritual landmarks, as you enjoy the sunrise over the monolithic Kata Tjuta. Upon departing your accommodation notice the mighty rock formation in the distance, as you travel some 40 kilometer across desert landscapes to the foot of this iconic rock structure. Travel on foot to the best vantage point to marvel at all 36 domed monolithic rocks illuminate as the sun’s powerful morning glow creates rosy coloured patterns across the structures surface. You’ll then make way to the western side of Kata Tjuta for an opportunity to relax and enjoy an outback picnic breakfast. Explore the Kata further as you travel to the Walpa Gorge (Walpa meaning Wind) to experience the whistling of the wind through the gorge walls. This is also an important cultural location where aboriginal men frequent for ceremonial purposes. You’re experienced and knowledgeable guide will explain the geology of this dynamic area and how it has evolved over millions of years. Upon completion of the tour you will be returned to your accommodation.
Delicious delicacies and silent serenity best describes this evening Sound of Silence Outback Dinner experience. Be whisked away to a secluded and specially chosen location shortly before sundown to the solitary sounds of didgeridoo’s echoing across the outback desert as you enjoy champagne and canapés. Marvel at all the different hues of red and orange as the sun sets below the horizon and the stars begin there dance across the ever-increasingly darkened dance-floor sky, as you feast upon an array of Northern Territorial culinary delights including barramundi, kangaroo, emu, crocodile, bush salads and Aussie deserts. Allow your guide and resident astronomer to provide color commentary on what is considered by many as one of the world’s best stargazing experiences. Wind down the evening with a coffee, tea or hot mulled wine before heading back to your accommodation.
A private transfer between Cairns airport and your hotel accommodation, or vice versa, is provided for today.
The Hotel Cairns (4*) with its impeccably private and tropical ambiance is superbly situated in the heart of Cairns, one block from the famous Esplanade. Architecturally designed, the facade is one of the most beautiful examples of Queenslander heritage, and is a popular talking point among many of the hotel’s visitors and guests. Set back from the street and well shaded by tropical trees and plants the hotel boasts a tourist information service, an outdoor pool and spa, function rooms, on site car park and restaurant. The Hotel Cairns is also very reasonably priced and as such is always buzzing with activity.
Escape on a journey under the sea during this breathtaking aquatic experience exploring the Outer Great Barrier Reef. This natural haven is home to various sea-life species which you have the pleasure of viewing and interacting with today. From the safe and comfortable stable reef platform, swimmers and non-swimmers are provided the perfect home base to start there exploration. Equip yourself with the provided snorkelling gear and dive right into this underwater adventure. For land-lovers whom prefer to stay somewhat dryer, take a ride on the semi-submersible sub or marvel at the sea-life from the underwater observatory. Your meals are taken care of as well including morning tea with some delicious cake selections, afternoon tea, a hot & cold lunch buffet, and some cheese and biscuit during the return journey.
Departing your accommodation you will travel by mini-coach along with other travellers to visit the rich farming areas toward the World Heritage Listed forest region of the Daintree National Park. Cruise on the mirrored smooth waters of the Daintree River, seeking out the vivid Ulysses Butterfly, Kingfishers and various other wildlife species. The cruise takes you through silent backwaters where crocodiles can normally be seen basking on the muddy banks. Arriving on the northern side of the river, you will now enter the Daintree section of the Wet Tropics World Heritage protected rainforest. Travel up the beautiful Alexandra Range passing through rainforest to wrap up this adventurous day of touring. Upon completion of the tour a return transfer to your accommodation is provided.
A privately driven vehicle will provide you with a transfer between the Domestic Airport and various city based hotels, or vice versa.
Positioned in an unrivalled location in the very heart of Melbourne's CBD and city, The Swanston Hotel, Grand Mercure is a 4.5 star hotel on Swanston Street surrounded by the city's most popular business and shopping precincts, theatres, galleries, bars and restaurants. The Swanston Hotel, Grand Mercure invites guests to discover its spacious and stylish rooms, allowing for maximum relaxation in modern comfort. Put your feet up and enjoy supremely comfortable beds, individually controlled air-conditioning and heating, large flat-screen TVs and DVD players, and opening windows for fresh air. You'll find it’s easy to relax in the comfort of our hospitality in the vibrant city of Melbourne. The Swanston Hotel, Grand Mercure offers guests a range of eateries and a cosy bar for casual culinary comfort and pleasurable evening drinks. With vibrant Bourke St Mall right on your doorstep, other attractions like Federation Square, Southbank, Her Majesty’s and Regent Theatres, Queen Victoria Markets and Melbourne Central Shopping Complex are just a short stroll away. In addition, a quick tram ride will take you to all major sporting venues including the MCG and Etihad Stadium plus the city’s cosmopolitan shopping and entertainment hotspots such as St Kilda, Chapel St, Bridge Rd and Brunswick St.
Set out on a shared tour of the surrounding Melbourne area beginning with a visit to a boutique winery which overlooks the Westernport Bay area. Listen to the colourful tales and stories from your guide regarding the explorers, sealers and whalers who inhabited this fertile land. Travel to Phillip Island, known as the “wildlife island” for an opportunity to walk amongst the treetops of the Koala Conservation Centre to observe a protected Koala company. Continue trekking through the nature reserve, exploring the bush and wetlands for habitual wildlife, flora and fauna. Wildlife sightings include a wide range of birds and one of Australia’s famed marsupials, the Wallaby. This dynamic location is also renowned for its Penguins which come ashore each evening at dusk from their ocean feedings. These Penguins walk and talk there way loudly as they make their way through the sand dunes to their burrow nests. Make use of the boardwalk to snap some up close photos of the Penguins as they march. Enjoy a delicious fish and chip lunch at the Jetty Restaurant in the township of Cowes on Phillip Island.
Set out today on an exploratory journey of the Melbourne surrounding area. Begin by departing the suburbs en-route to the Westgate Bridge for some spectacular viewing of the Port Phillip Bay area. From here, you’ll enter the volcanic western plains of Victoria, an area where the first European settlers forged their way as far as the Otway ranges, establishing large agricultural based properties and homesteads to harvest the land and develop the sheep trade industry. Next, you will head into the Geelong area to marvel at the picturesque waterfront of Corio Bay. This was an important port area during the famous “gold-rush” era of the 19th century. Travel across the fertile sheep and dairy farmlands en-route to the cooler temperate rainforests of the Otway Ranges National Park. Enjoy a delicious, café-style lunch at Port Campbell as the fresh crisp air rises from the southern oceans and fills your lungs with relaxation and rejuvenation. Travel only a short drive away to the “Shipwreck Coast” where you’ll hear the tales of heroes and follies, outlining the attempt made by captains whom tried navigating this wild coastline, some ending in triumph whilst others…well the proof remains rusting is the ocean sea-bed. Visit the famed shipwreck site at “Loch Ard” and hear the story of how two survivors struggled ashore amidst the wreckage. Marvel at the monolithic site of the 12 Apostle Rock formations which occupy this dramatic coastal boardwalk.
Transfer between City/Hotel to Airport with private vehicle and driver.
A private vehicle will provide a transfer between the airport and your hotel.
Centrally located in Queenstown, this property is near Queenstown Harbour and TSS Earnslaw Steamship. Another nearby point of interest is Steamer Wharf. Guestrooms open to balconies with city, lake or mountain views and feature patios. Other amenities include coffee/tea makers and shower/tub combinations. In addition to a restaurant and a concierge desk, Novotel Queenstown Lakeside features a bar/lounge, complimentary high-speed (wired) Internet access, and 24-hour room service.
Travel by luxury coach on an unforgettable journey from Queenstown into Milford Sound. Travel from Queenstown along the shores of Lake Wakatipu, and through rolling countryside to Te Anau. After a short break at Te Anau, continue via the spectacular Milford Road, to Milford Sound. Board the Milford Mariner for a relaxing cruise of Milford Sound. The cruise provides excellent viewing opportunities and plenty of time is available to enjoy waterfalls, rainforest, mountains and wildlife. An on board nature guide provides interpretation in English only. Experience stunning surroundings at the heart of Te Wahipounamu World Heritage Area. In Maori legend, the fiords were created not by rivers of ice, but by Tu Te Raki Whanoa, a godly figure who came wielding a magical adze uttering incantations. Milford Sound (Piopiotahi) is without doubt his finest sculpture. Luxuriant rainforest clings to sheer rock walls washed with waterfalls. In the foreground stands Mitre Peak, dominating the skyline. Whatever the fiord’s mood, teeming with rain or with sun glistening on deep water, it will inspire you. Return transport by luxury coach to Queenstown.
This Funyak Safari is truly unique; begin by boarding the Dart River Jet boat for an exciting 75 minute ride along this beautiful braided shallow river. Disembark the Jet Boat and continue this aquatic adventure rafting in and inflatable canoe. After an instructional session, head out and be free to canoe and drift (under the watchful eye of the professional guide) for a spectacular 2 hours downstream, taking in all the awe-inspiring sights found amidst the Dart River’s shimmering channels. Stop amongst the ancient beech forest to enjoy a wilderness buffet lunch before exploring hidden side streams, rock pools and dramatic chasms including the beautiful Rockburn. Continue onward, canoeing downstream to what can only called, Paradise, where a 4WD coach will provide a transfer to Glenorchy, stopping to view the stunning scenery that has many inspired films worldwide. Upon completion of the tour, a return transfer to Queenstown is provided.
Relax during this transfer travelling between the airport and hotel.
A private vehicle with driver will provide a transfer between the airport and hotel.
Enjoy this tour of the valley with one of the Te Puia’s world renowned guides. The tour begins with a visit to the New Zealand’s National Carving and Weaving schools, to witness this ancient discipline in practice, by a full-time master carver and weaver. Next, visit the award winning interactive galleries, to see a kiwi bird up close, and most importantly, hear the myths and stories as told by the descendants of the valley. Shortly after, visit the geyser and mud pools to enjoy a short rest prior to the evening festivities. Traditionally, Te Po is an intimate time for sharing knowledge and also the time for enjoying feasts of food, culture and friendship. This experience begins every night at Te-Heketanga-a-Rangi (The Heavenly Origins), which is an area comprising of twelve monumental carvings reaching skywards, each one representing a Maori deity. Hear the stories of the past and see how these traditions live on today. Feeding guests is regarded by Maori as an honour and a sign of a tribe’s Mana (standing), so a sumptuous banquet is provided during the evening. This banquet combines contemporary cooking techniques with traditional Hangi (earth-cooked oven meal), where Kai (food) is steam-cooked by hot rocks in the earth, giving it a delicious smoky flavour. Following dessert, a transfer is provided to enjoy the spectacular natural lighting show of the Whakarewarewa Geothermal Valley. Guests can wander around the illuminated natural attractions, including Pohutu geyser.
Escape to The Regent of Rotorua, Rotorua’s newest designer 5 star Boutique Hotel & Spa offering stylish luxury accommodation, restaurant, wine & cocktail bar, all with a touch of glamour. An oasis of understated hip contemporary elegance and comfort amidst the exciting attractions and experiences Rotorua has to offer. Step out of the calm of your gorgeous room or suite and stroll to the vibrant restaurant zone or lakefront area….or simply stay in, relax and savour the hotel's luxury facilities.
Experience the spectacular geothermal activity and stunning volcanic landscapes of Waiotapu Thermal Wonderland and Waimangu Thermal Valley, during this geothermal exploration tour. Admire the craftsmanship during a visit to the Government Gardens, before a visit to a unique Sulphur Bay. Enjoy the natural beauty of the Blue and Green Lakes, providing stunning panoramic views of Lake Tarawera and the Mount Tarawera volcano. Witness the volcanic devastation created by the Mount Tarawera eruption of 1886, which is very evident at the Rotorua’s Buried Village. Journey through time and watch the captivating tale of Te Wairoa unfold at the Buried Village Museum and on a guided walk through the excavated sites. Take a walk to a picturesque waterfall set amidst beautiful New Zealand rainforest. Finish the day with a relaxing walk through the magnificent Redwood Forest. Lunch and refreshments are included.
Enjoy a day trip from Rotorua to Auckland through lush rolling farm landscape to the mystical Waitomo Glowworm Caves. After lunch (own expense) enjoy a guided tour through the galleries and lofty chambers of the Caves. Your tour culminates with a boat ride through the Glowworm Grotto - lit up by thousands of tiny living lights. View the unique Waitomo glowworms, as expert guides provide informative commentary on the Caves historical and geological significance. Enjoy the limestone shafts, stunning Cathedral cavern and then take a unique boat ride through the glowworm grotto.
Centrally located in Auckland, this property is near Queen Street Shopping District, Sky Tower, and Auckland City Hall. Additional nearby points of interest include Auckland War Memorial Museum. Guestrooms have premium bedding, air conditioning, and slippers; rooms also include refrigerators, separate bathtubs and showers, and bathrobes. At Stamford Plaza Auckland recreational amenities include an indoor pool, a spa tub, and a sauna. The property also provides a business center, a concierge desk, and a porter/bellhop.
A private vehicle with driver will provide a transfer between the Auckland Airport and Hotel.
Depart from Auckland international airport.
VISA/PASSPORTAmerican and Canadian citizens are required to have a valid passport to enter Australia. Americans and Canadians must enter with an Australian visa or, if eligible, through Electronic Travel Authority (ETA). The ETA replaces a visa and allows a stay of up to three months. It may be obtained for a small service fee. Airlines and many travel agents in the United States are also able to apply for ETAs on behalf of travelers. Please note that American citizens who overstay their ETA or visa, even for short periods, may be subject to exclusion, detention, and removal.
Please note obtaining a visa is your responsibility. These requirements change often and therefore it is best that you check information about the ETA, other visas, and entry requirements with the Embassy of Australia HEALTHHealth insurance is recommended. Medical facilities are good quality. We recommend that you see a health-care provider who specializes in Travel Medicine. The doctor or health-care provider will determine what vaccinations and medication you will need, depending on factors such as your health and immunization history, areas of the country you will be visiting, and planned activities. For more information on travel requirements, visit the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) website: http://wwwn.cdc.gov/travel/destinations/australia.aspx COUNTRY INFOCapital: Canberra. Government: Constitutional Monarchy. Gained independence from the UK in 1901. Language: The official language is English. Many other languages are retained by minorities, including Italian, German, Greek, Vietnamese, Chinese dialects and Aboriginal languages. Religion: 27% Roman Catholic, 21% Protestant and smaller minorities of all other major religions. Time: Australia spans three time zones: GMT + 10 (GMT + 11 from October to March, except Queensland; starts a month earlier in Tasmania). GMT + 9.5 (GMT + 10.5 from October to March, except Northern Territory). GMT + 8 (GMT + 9 from October to March, three-year trial in Western Australia until 2009 followed by referendum). Some states operate daylight saving time during the Australian summer. Electricity: 220/240 volts AC, 50Hz. Three-pin plugs are in use, however sockets are different from those found in most countries and an adaptor socket may be needed. Outlets for 110 volts for small appliances are found in most hotels. Telephone: Country code: 61. Mobile Telephone: Roaming agreements exist with most international mobile phone companies. Coverage is good in and around populated areas; access in some of the more isolated, outback and rural areas is limited. US handsets are not compatible. Internet: Available throughout Australia. Internet cafes are prevalent in all capital cities and tourist towns, and individual hotels may also provide facilities. Wi-Fi access is increasing in cities and is mainly found in hotels, bars and cafes.
VISA/PASSPORTU.S. and Canadian citizens eligible for a visa waiver do not need a visa for tourist stays of three months or less.
Please note obtaining a visa is your responsibility. These requirements change often and therefore it is best that you check with the Embassy of New Zealand for the most up to date visa information.
HEALTHHealth insurance is recommended. Medical facilities are good quality. We recommend that you see a health-care provider who specializes in Travel Medicine. The doctor or health-care provider will determine what vaccinations and medication you will need, depending on factors such as your health and immunization history, areas of the country you will be visiting, and planned activities. For more information on travel requirements, visit the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) website: http://wwwn.cdc.gov/travel/destinations/new-zealand.aspx COUNTRY INFOCapital: Wellington. Government: Constitutional monarchy since 1907. Language: English is the common and everyday language, but other languages are also spoken, including Maori, which is New Zealand’s second official language (spoken by the indigenous Maori people who constitute approximately 15% of the population). Religion: 55% Christian: Anglican, Presbyterian, Roman Catholic and Methodist are all represented. Time: New Zealand: GMT + 12 (GMT + 13 from the last Sunday in September to the first Sunday in April). Chatham Island: GMT + 12.75 (GMT + 13.75 from the last Sunday in September to the first Sunday in April). Electricity: 230 volts AC, 50Hz. Most hotels provide 110-volt AC sockets (rated at 20 watts) for electric razors only. Telephone: Country code: 64. Most public phones take cards purchased from bookstalls; some also accept credit cards, but very few still accept coins. Mobile Telephone: Roaming agreements exist with most international mobile phone companies. Coverage is good. Internet: There are Internet cafes in cities and smaller town central business districts. Travelers may access the Internet at many hotels and youth hostels.
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