American breakfast daily, 3 lunches, 7 dinners including an Outback barbecue in Alice Springs, a traditional Hangi dinner in Rotorua, and a farewell dinner in Queenstown
Inside visits and special features are shown in UPPERCASE in the tour description.
ARRIVE IN SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA. Welcome to Australia! Hotel rooms are available for immediate check-in. Please schedule flights to arrive by 3 pm in order to attend this evening’s welcome briefing and dinner. This is a good time to meet your fellow travelers, get your questions answered, and prepare for your adventure.
DinnerNOTE:Early check-in does not include breakfast. You may purchase breakfast directly from the hotel at an additional cost.
SYDNEY. Start your day with a city sightseeing tour, including such landmarks as the SYDNEY OPERA HOUSE, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, for a guided tour of its interior and theaters. See Mrs. Macquarie’s Chair in the city’s BOTANIC GARDENS and enjoy sweeping views of the harbor, Opera House, and Harbour Bridge. Enjoy a walk around the Rocks, the site of the first European settlement in Australia, now home to shops, restaurants, and art galleries. Later, visit TARONGA ZOO with its 4,000 animals, including Australian native species such as kangaroo, wallaby, little penguin, and the Tasmanian devil. Enjoy a special guided [LF] AUSTRALIAN WALKABOUT TOUR which provides a unique opportunity to learn about some of Taronga Zoo’s most amazing residents.
SYDNEY. Today is at leisure. You may wish to spend some time in Darling Harbour with its many shops and restaurants or shop for a favorite souvenir. This evening, a special New Year’s Eve celebration awaits. First, take to the water on a [LF] HARBOR CRUISE complete with canapés and a 4-course dinner followed by music and dancing. At the stroke of midnight, be treated to a champagne toast and some of the most amazing fireworks you’ll ever see. Here is your chance to ring in the New Year under Sydney’s world-famous fireworks. It will be a night to remember!
SYDNEY. Today, you can relax after your New Year’s Eve celebration. Perhaps venture to the nearby beaches of Manly or Bondi, explore the cobblestone streets of the Rocks, or stroll through one of the city’s many gardens. Your Tour Director will have suggestions for additional activities.
SYDNEY–CAIRNS. Fly to Cairns, “Gateway to the Great Barrier Reef.” Check in to your Cairns hotel for a 3-night stay. Your Tour Director will have suggestions for sightseeing, shopping, and dining.
CAIRNS. EXCURSION TO THE OUTER GREAT BARRIER REEF. 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. During your time here, you may choose to SNORKEL, take a GLASS BOTTOM BOAT TOUR, view the reef from an underwater observatory, watch a fish feeding, and enjoy a marine touch tank. (B,L)
CAIRNS. A full day at leisure in this tropical paradise. You may wish to visit nearby Cape Tribulation or Mossman Gorge, spend some time at the Cairns Lagoon, enjoy a stroll along the Esplanade, or shop for a bargain at the popular Cairns Night Market. Your Tour Director will have suggestions for additional sightseeing, shopping, and dining.
CAIRNS–ULURU (AYERS ROCK). Fly this morning to Australia’s “Red Center.” Enjoy a TOUR around the base of the rock, learning of its significance to the Anangu Aboriginal people. Visit KATA TJUTA (the Olgas), a geological splendor of some 36 brilliant domes. Later, enjoy an amazing sunset and a celebratory DRINK as you watch the colors change on sacred Uluru.
ULURU–ALICE SPRINGS. Today, fly to Alice Springs located in Australia’s Outback. Sightseeing includes a visit to the SCHOOL OF THE AIR to learn how the school was started, how classes are broadcast, and the difference it makes to children in remote regions of Australia. Also, visit the OLD TELEGRAPH STATION, the birthplace of Alice Springs, and discover the importance of this early settlement in connecting Australia to the rest of the world. Tonight, a unique [LF] OUTBACK BARBECUE featuring music, stargazing, a boomerang demonstration, and typical campfire fare. Relax underneath a chandelier of stars and enjoy this awe-inspiring Outback experience.
ALICE SPRINGS–MELBOURNE. Today, fly to Melbourne, Australia’s cultural capital with Victorian-era architecture, extensive restaurants and shopping, arcades and lanes, and beautiful parks and gardens.
MELBOURNE. This morning’s sightseeing includes landmarks such as Federation Square, the Melbourne Museum, and beautiful FITZROY GARDENS. See Parliament House and the Shrine of Remembrance, a tribute to Australia’s war heroes. Discover Victorian terraced homes in East Melbourne, and see the bustling streets of Chinatown and the Queen Victoria Market. Next, enjoy a unique lunch experience aboard the historic COLONIAL TRAMCAR RESTAURANT as it winds its way through the streets of Melbourne. With the remainder of the day at leisure, why not venture to Phillip Island to witness the world-famous Penguin Parade? (B,L)
MELBOURNE. Enjoy a full day at leisure to explore more of this vibrant city on your own. Spend time at the Old Melbourne Gaol, once home to legendary outlaw, Ned Kelly; sit at a café and enjoy a coffee; wander along the scenic Yarra River; or take an optional excursion to see the incredible Great Ocean Road. Your Tour Director will have suggestions for additional sightseeing, shopping, and dining.
MELBOURNE – QUEENSTOWN, NEW ZEALAND. This morning, bid farewell to Australia as you board your flight to Queenstown, the “Adventure Capital of the World.” The remainder of the day is at leisure.
QUEENSTOWN. EXCURSION TO MILFORD SOUND. Today, travel to FIORDLAND NATIONAL PARK, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Board your ship and CRUISE on the fiord to witness some of the world’s most breathtaking scenery. See sheer cliffs, massive waterfalls cascading into the sea, glaciers, and rainforest. Keep a lookout for fur seals, dolphins, and other wildlife. It will be a day you won’t soon forget! (B,L)
QUEENSTOWN. A full day at leisure for your own Queenstown discoveries. Consider a visit to a local vineyard to sample some of the prize vintages or a thrilling jet boat ride on the Dart River. Other options include a scenic ride across Lake Wakatipu on the historic TSS Earnslaw Steamship, shopping for souvenirs, or enjoying some fresh seafood at a local restaurant. This evening, take a scenic GONDOLA RIDE to the top of Bob’s Peak where you’ll enjoy a delicious dinner and breathtaking views of Coronet Peak, The Remarkable Mountains, Lake Wakatipu, and Queenstown. Make sure to have your camera ready for fantastic photo opportunities.
QUEENSTOWN–MOUNT COOK. Today’s journey brings us to magnificent MOUNT COOK NATIONAL PARK. Weather permitting, you may wish to join a stargazing program this evening. The Mount Cook region offers some of the darkest skies in the world—perfect for viewing the southern night sky.
Breakfast DinnerSPECIAL FEATURE: Spend the evening at the historic Hermitage Hotel, located at the base of Mount Cook. Enjoy splendid views, fresh mountain air, and all the modern amenities of this first-class property.
MOUNT COOK–CHRISTCHURCH–ROTORUA. Travel to Christchurch, the largest city on New Zealand’s South Island, and then fly to Rotorua, the center of the Maori culture. This evening, you may wish to join a New Zealand family for dinner in their home, or indulge yourself in the relaxing hot springs or massage therapies at the Polynesian Spa.
ROTORUA. This morning, visit RAINBOW SPRINGS to view native bush and wildlife. Then, visit the AGRODOME to learn more about one of the country’s major industries—sheep! Continue to TE PUIA, Rotorua’s most prominent thermal area with New Zealand’s largest geyser and boiling mud pools. Enjoy a traditional HANGI DINNER, cooked beneath the ground with hot stones. Dinner is followed by an authentic MAORI CULTURAL PERFORMANCE of singing, dancing, and storytelling.
ROTORUA–WAITOMO–AUCKLAND. Depart Rotorua and cross over the Mamaku ranges to the famous WAITOMO GLOWWORM CAVES. Experience a guided tour through the limestone chambers and take a silent boat trip through Glowworm Grotto as you glide quietly beneath the lights of thousands of glowworms. In the afternoon, travel through the green pastoral region of Waikato to Auckland. This evening, why not enjoy a glass of New Zealand’s famous wine while dining at one of Auckland’s world-class restaurants.
AUCKLAND. Start your day with a sightseeing tour of Auckland, the “City of Sails.” See bustling Queen Street, the city’s oldest park, Auckland Domain, and the historic Parnell Village. The remainder of the day is at your leisure. You can explore on you own or participate in a selection of optional activities. In the evening, your Tour Director hosts a festive farewell dinner atop Auckland’s [LF] SKY TOWER, where the dining room rotates once every hour providing a unique experience with amazing 360-degree panoramas of the city and harbor below. The perfect ending to your vacation!
AUCKLAND. Your tour ends with breakfast this morning.