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Australia & New Zealand Highlights

Departs: 10/23/2017 Returns: 11/11/2017

20 Days | All Airfare Included

Enjoy the New Zealand Alps, Queenstown, the Great Barrier Reef and magnificent wildlife.

Daily Itinerary Items

Day 1-2 : New Zealand Bound
Following our included flight to Los Angeles International Airport, we meet our Tour Director and board an Air New Zealand flight bound for New Zealand. Enjoy tasty meals and attentive service. When we cross the International Date Line, we lose a calendar day.


Day 3 : Auckland
This morning we arrive in Auckland, the largest Polynesian city in the Southern Hemisphere. After clearing customs we enjoy a sightseeing tour of the city including America's Cup Village, lively Queen Street and the Harbor Bridge. We visit Kelly Tarlton's Sea Life Aquarium, one of Auckland's top visitor's attractions. We see the world's largest sub-Antarctic penguin colony display, the magical Seahorse Kingdom and take an underwater journey to discover a diverse collection of aquatic life up close. We take a pleasant countryside drive to the riverside city of Hamilton and our lodging at the Novotel Hamilton Tainui Hotel. One of the country's fastest growing cities, Hamilton is the perfect place to experience friendly Kiwi hospitality.


Day 4 : Alexander Farm & Hobbiton
Today we visit the internationally award-winning Hamilton Gardens. The Gardens explore different civilizations and recreate historically important garden styles from the farthest reaches of the world. Later we travel to Alexander Sheep & Cattle Farm in Matamata, a combination working sheep farm and Hobbiton, The Shire from Middle-Earth. Our visit includes a drive through the 1,250 acre sheep farm with spectacular views across to the Kaimai Ranges and a guided tour of the Hobbiton Movie Set from The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit film trilogies. The set has been completely rebuilt for The Hobbit and remains as it was seen in these films and The Lord of the Rings film trilogy. During our tour we see Hobbit Holes, The Green Dragon Inn, The Mill, double arched bridge and other structures and gardens built for the films. Later this afternoon we arrive in Rotorua. Seated on the southern shore of a lake of the same name, Rotorua is North Island’s most popular destination and a major center of Maori culture and architecture. Our comfortable lodging for two nights is at the Holiday Inn Rotorua. B,L


Day 5 : Maori Concert & Volcanic Wonderland
This morning we visit Wai-O-Tapu (Sacred Waters), New Zealand's most colorful and diverse volcanic area. We enjoy a guided walk through stunning geothermal activity and vistas. This unique volcanic wonder displays innumerable colors of every hint and hue in pools, lakes, steam vents and mineral terraces. Later we have the opportunity to watch the Lady Knox Geyser's daily eruption to heights of 30 to 60 feet and view the unique character and sounds of erupting mud pools - the remnants of a large mud volcano. The remainder of the afternoon is at your leisure. Later, we enjoy a special cultural evening featuring a Maori concert and Hangi feast. Experience a traditional Maori welcome and witness powerful displays of traditional songs and dance. B,D


Day 6 : Gateway to Fjordland
This morning we fly to South Island and cross sheep-filled farming land to Te Anau, the "Gateway to Fiordland" and the closest town to Milford Sound. This town is nestled on the shores of beautiful Lake Te Anau, with a spectacular backdrop of Mt. Luxmore and the Murchison mountains. The serene deep water of the largest lake on the island is bordered on its western shore by virgin forest. We dine at the MacKinnon Restaurant and overnight at the Distinction Te Anau Hotel. D


Day 7 : Milford Sound Cruise
Today we travel deep into Fjordland National Park where the beech forests reach the roads edge and snowcapped peaks tower above. We journey through the beautiful Eglinton Valley climbing to Homer Tunnel before descending through the spectacular Cleddau Canyon to reach Milford Sound. Our cruise takes us past Mitre Peak, which rises 5,560 feet, striking Stirling Falls and Bowen Falls, cascading more than 500 feet. The falls flow from valleys formed by receding glaciers. Watch for sea lions and a variety of birds. We return to Te Anau and continue our journey crossing pasturelands to The Heritage Hotel Queenstown for a relaxing two-night stay. The vistas from the Heritage Hotel provide a panoramic view of the towering 7,000-foot Remarkables mountain range, rising from the rippling waters of Lake Wakatipu. B


Day 8 : Queenstown
Enjoy a delicious breakfast at the Kiwi & Birdlife Park. After breakfast we have the rare opportunity to meet New Zealand's most iconic bird. Specially designed nocturnal houses allow us to view the kiwi during the day. Later we visit the historic and picturesque"gold rush" settlement of Arrowtown and view the Kawarau River suspension bridge, the "World Home of Bungy Jumping." The remainder of the day is at your leisure to enjoy New Zealand's adventure capital, offering jetboating, golfing, picturesque walks, and abundant restaurants and shops in one of the most scenic settings in the world. B


Day 9 : Southern Alps
This morning we travel across the fruitlands of Central Otago, famous for the production of summer fruit - apricots, peaches, nectarines and plums. We cross the Lindis Pass and tussock-covered plains of Mackenzie Country towards Mount Cook National Park. The park has some of the most spectacular peaks in the Southern Alps. We drive along Lake Pukaki to Lake Tekapo, nestled among snowy peaks. The glacial blue waters of this lake are one of the most photographed sights in New Zealand. We stop to view the Church of the Good Shepherd and the bronze statue of a sheep dog, erected as a tribute to the important role played by these animals in the development of high country farming. We cross the picturesque farmland of the Canterbury Plains en route to our overnight accommodations in Christchurch. B,D


Day 10 : Australia
This morning we bid farewell to New Zealand and fly to Sydney, Australia's most vibrant city. On arrival we transfer to our comfortable three-night home at the centrally located Rydges World Square Hotel. The remainder of the day is free. B


Day 11 : Sydney Opera House
This morning we discover Sydney's many interesting landmarks, including the famous Harbor Bridge, the longest single span bridge in the world, the Royal Botanic Gardens, Hyde Park, bustling Kings Cross and popular Bondi Beach. We tour the famous Sydney Opera House, considered by many to be one of the wonders of the modern world. During our luncheon in the Sydney Tower Revolving Restaurant, we see panoramic views of the harbor and city. Later there's time to visit the attractions of Darling Harbor, Sydney's favorite destination for leisure and entertainment, with more than 40 restaurants, cafes, museums, parks, theaters and specialty shops. B,L


Day 12 : Harbor Cruise & the Rocks
We enjoy Sydney's sparkling waterfront playground during a delightful Captain Cook harbor cruise. Gain a glimpse of the Sydney Opera House and Harbor Bridge, sail past pristine parks, golden beaches and charming harborside neighborhoods. Later we visit the historic Rocks, one of the most prestigious areas in Sydney with its beautifully restored buildings, spectacular views across the harbor and cobbled streets and pathways. B


Day 13 : Tropical Cairns
Today we fly to tropical Cairns in Far North Queensland. This is the gateway city to many of Australia's natural wonders, including the Great Barrier Reef. Enjoy three pleasant nights at the Pacific Hotel Cairns adjacent to the waterfront and casino. All rooms feature balconies with superb views of the harbor and parklands.


Day 14 : Kuranda Scenic Train & Skyrail
Enjoy one of the most spectacular rail excursions in the world - the Kuranda Scenic Train. As we ascend, our journey provides unsurpassed views of World Heritage recognized rain forest, steep ravines and picturesque waterfalls within the Barron Gorge National Park. Later we visit the fascinating Kuranda Koala Gardens. This award-winning native Australian wildlife attraction features some of Australia's most popular wildlife. A highlight is the unique opportunity to actually hold a koala as well as hand-feeding tame kangaroos and wallabies. After lunch at Frogs Restaurant, we have the choice of visiting Birdworld Kuranda or the unique Australian Butterfly Sanctuary. There's time to visit the Kuranda Heritage Markets before we descend the magnificent MacAlister Range on Skyrail, a 4.7 mile gondola cableway. Enjoy spectacular views of the rain forest, tropical Cairns, the Coral Sea and the lush Cairns Highlands as we glide over the rain forest canopy. B,L


Day 15 : Great Barrier Reef & Scenic Helicopter Ride
We experience one of the highlights of our tour, a visit to the Great Barrier Reef. We cruise to Moore Reef located on the outer edge of the reef, the world's largest living organism. The reef is one of Australia's greatest national treasures and stretches more than 1,200 miles along the coast. We view vividly colored tropical fish and coral from the reef viewer, underwater observatory and glass bottom boat. Learn about the interesting fish and marine life that inhabit this underwater wonderland. Enjoy breathtaking sights of the Great Barrier Reef on a scenic helicopter flight. Swim, snorkel or relax in this beautiful marine setting. B,L


Day 16 : Fly to Melbourne
We fly to the charming Victorian capital of Melbourne renowned for its lovely parks and gardens. Our comfortable three-night home is at the Oaks-on-William. B


Day 17 : Mornington Peninsula & Penguin Parade
This morning we tour the picturesque Mornington Peninsula. This region is well known for its farm-fresh produce, vineyards and breathtaking views of Port Phillip Bay. Next we go to Phillip Island, a sanctuary for seals and birds. Our day concludes with perhaps our most unique wildlife encounter as we witness the world-famous penguin parade. As the sun sets over this beautiful landscape we'll get an up-close and personal view of the world's smallest penguin making its way back to land. Take a waddle on the wild side as we experience the magic of the little penguins returning home to one of the largest penguin colonies in Australia. L


Day 18 : Tramcar Restaurant
Today our guided city tour of Melbourne includes Fitzroy Gardens and a view of the impressive Parliament House and the Shrine of Remembrance. Our four-course lunch is a memorable feast served aboard the only operating electric tramcar restaurant in the world! Enjoy this delicious meal as we travel around beautiful Melbourne. The remainder of the day is free to wander along Southbank's waterfront precinct, visit the Victorian Arts Center, Crown Casino or Chinatown, all in walking distance of our hotel. L


Day 19 : Los Angeles Bound
We bid farewell to Australia. Cross the International Date Line and regain a day arriving early in the afternoon. Accommodations are near the Los Angeles International Airport.


Day 20 : Homeward
This morning our adventure comes to an end, but the friendships and memories will last forever.


B - Breakfast; CB - Continental Breakfast; L - Lunch; D - Dinner; T - Tea

Additional Tour Information

Holiday Experience Includes 
ALL AIRFARE
International flights on Air New Zealand
• Holiday Vacations Tour Director specializing in the South Pacific
• Experienced Driver/Guides
• Baggage handling at hotels
All fuel surcharges, government, airport & departure taxes included (Minimum value of $895)
$100 travel voucher for a future Holiday Vacations tour


20 Excellent Meals Featuring
• Bilbo’s Party Marquee in Hobbiton
• Maori Concert & Feast in Rotorua
• MacKinnon Restaurant Te Anau
• Sydney Tower Revolving Restaurant
• Tropical breakfasts in Cairns
• Frogs Restaurant in Kuranda
• Tramcar Restaurant in Melbourne


Featured Accommodations
• Novotel Tainui Hotel in Hamilton
• Holiday Inn Rotorua
• Distinction Te Anau Hotel
• The Heritage Hotel Queenstown
• Rydges World Square Hotel in Sydney
• Pacific Hotel Cairns
• Oaks-on-William in Melbourne


Attractions & Highlights
• Auckland city tour
• Kelly Tarlton's Sea Life Aquarium
• Hamilton Gardens
• Alexander Sheep & Cattle Farm
Hobbiton Middle-Earth Movie Set
• Wai-O-Tapu Thermal Wonderland
• Maori cultural performance
• Fjordland National Park
• Milford Sound cruise
• Kiwi & Birdlife Park
• Historic Arrowtown
• New Zealand's Southern Alps
• Mount Cook Alpine Country
• Lake Tekapo
• Sydney City Sights tour
• Guided Sydney Opera House tour
• Captain Cook Harbor Cruise
• Tropical Cairns
• Kuranda Scenic Train
• Kuranda Koala Gardens
• Choice of Kuranda Birdworld or Australian Butterfly Sanctuary
• Skyrail Rain Forest Cableway
• Cruise to the Great Barrier Reef
• Great Barrier Reef Scenic Helicopter Flight
• Melbourne sights
• Scenic Mornington Peninsula
• Mornington Winery
• Penguins at Phillip Island

Tour Pricing

Category - Occupancy Price (Per Person)
Airport October 2017 - Double $8199
Airport October 2017 - Single $9599

Final Payment Date: 8/10/2017

Itinerary ID:25592890 | Tour Code: AUAH1023171
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