Day 1 – Arrive in Auckland, New Zealand. Haere Mai”welcome to New Zealand! Hotel rooms are available for immediate check-in.
Day 2 – Auckland – Waitomo – Matamata – Rotorua. 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 at 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, where you may wish to join a New Zealand family for dinner in their home.
Day 3 – Rotorua. This morning, start with a visit to the AGRODOME to learn more about one of the country’s major industries”sheep! Continue on to RAINBOW SPRINGS to view native bush and wildlife, including a walk through the kiwi bird enclosure. Last stop is TE PUIA, Rotorua’s most prominent thermal area with New Zealand’s largest geyser, boiling mud pools, and silica terraces. The afternoon and evening are at your leisure. You may wish to board a floatplane for flightseeing of this beautiful area, or indulge yourself in the relaxing hot springs, sumptuous spa treatments, and massage therapies at the Polynesian Spa. Tonight, enjoy a traditional HANGI DINNER followed by an authentic MAORI CULTURAL PERFORMANCE.
Day 4 – 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 5 – 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 fjord you will see this pristine natural setting just as early Maori and European explorers did.
Day 6 – Queenstown. A full day at 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 7 – Queenstown – Melbourne, Australia. This morning, board your flight across the Tasman Sea to Melbourne.
Day 8 – 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 influences 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 [LF] COLONIAL TRAMCAR RESTAURANT as it winds its way through the streets of Melbourne. Afterward, take a WALKING TOUR along the Yarra River, where you will see Federation Square and St. Paul’s Cathedral. Along the way, stop at EUREKA SKYDECK 88, where you will ascend to the 88hth floor for spectacular views of the city. Tonight’s optional excursion to see the world-famous Penguin Parade on Phillip Island is highly recommended.
Day 9 – 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 10 – Melbourne – Cairns. Today, fly to Cairns, “Gateway to the Great Barrier Reef,” one of the Seven Natural Wonders of the World. This evening, join a unique dinner event at TJAPUKAI ABORIGINAL CULTURAL PARK for an interactive, entertaining portrayal of the culture, dance, and folklore of this indigenous tribe.
Day 11 – Cairns. Great Barrier Reef Excursion. Board a fast catamaran and CRUISE to Green Island, one of the many tropical islands on Australia’s famous Great Barrier Reef. Here you can choose to SNORKEL, take a GLASS-BOTTOM BOAT TOUR, or walk through the island’s cool rainforest. This afternoon, your Tour Director can assist you with a variety of optional activities.
Day 12 – Cairns – Sydney. This morning, enjoy a special visit to CAIRNS TROPICAL ZOO for your chance to meet Australia’s native animals. You’ll also enjoy breakfast in the park, a talk by a wildlife keeper, and the opportunity to have your picture taken with a koala! Afterward, fly to Sydney, the largest city in Australia.
Day 13 – 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 [LF] BONDI SURF BATHERS’ LIFE SAVING CLUB with one of the lifesavers. Along the way, learn the history of the club and enjoy a lifesaving demonstration! Also, take a WALKING TOUR of THE ROCKS, an historic area with narrow lanes and former merchant houses that was home to Sydney’s original convicts. For a truly memorable experience, enjoy lunch as you CRUISE on Sydney Harbour.
Day 14 – Sydney. Enjoy a full day at leisure. Perhaps join our optional excursions to the Blue Mountains or to 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.