Australia & New Zealand

Australia_Sydney_Harbor-Bridge-Opera-House

We’ll take you halfway around the world to witness the beauty, culture & wonder of Australia & New Zealand!

New Zealand reveals itself as one of the most diverse & lush landscapes on earth. Australia is action-packed with big city splendor and utterly unique natural wonders.

It’s time to get Down Under!

Once-In-A-Lifetime!

Kia Ora, New Zealand: Hearts & imaginations overflow as you witness the beauty of New Zealand. World-class vineyards, ancient forests, sweeping mountains, gigantic glaciers, vast underground caves, spectacular waterfalls & golden beaches.

G’Day Australia: The “island continent” of Australia dizzys, dazzles & thrills with adventure, culture, cuisine and endless natural wonders. From koalas & kangaroos to didgeridoos, we’ll be immersed in a world wholly unlike our own.

Culture & Wonder: from Maori & Aboriginal beginnings to modern city splendor – paired with incomparable natural beauty – you’ll experience South Pacific life & culture to the fullest.

Bucketlist Adventure: of course we’ll dive into the Great Barrier Reef – teeming with life, color & thrilling discovery – before this delicate ecosystem is gone forever.

Program Snap Shot

Smaller group. Bigger impact.

Program length:  14 days
All Inclusive Price:  from $6,495
Departure Dates:  Week of June 16th, 2021

Minimum Group: 25 Paying Travelers

Program priced from Leader’s departure airport: MSP

Cost includes: Airfare, accommodations (twin-share), daily cooked breakfast, 1 lunch, 2 dinners, local travel manager/guide, transfers & sightseeing in private coach, entry fees as specified.

Cost excludes: Personal expenses, tips for Travel Manager, tips for guides & driver, tips for servers, tips for bellhops & housekeeping, drinks during meals (except water/tea/coffee), any items of personal nature, any optional activities.


Program Highlights:
  • Discover the lush life of “New Zealand Pure”
  • Encounter indigenous traditions, history & culture: Maori & Aboriginal Peoples
  • Rotorua & Wai-o-tapu Geothermal Wonders: Geysers, Colorful Paint Pots & Boiling Lakes
  • Waitomo Glowworm Caves: a “Living Masterpiece”
  • The Original Hobbiton Movie Set!
  • Christchurch: European Charm Wrapped in Nature’s Spectacle
  • Go behind the Scenes at Sydney Opera House
  • Bucketlist Adventure: The Great Barrier Reef, the world’s largest living organism
  • Sunset Dinner Cruise on Sydney Harbor
  • Bondi Beach, “The Rocks,” & Sydney’s Botanical Gardens
  • Vibrant Cairns & Tropical North Queensland: Daintree Rainforest, the Outback & City Night Markets
  • Riverboat Wildlife Cruise

 

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Full Program Itinerary

Day One – Heading to the Land Down Under!
Today we board our overnight international flight to New Zealand.
Day Two – What happened?!

I went to sleep and lost a day?

During our flight we cross the international dateline and lose a day. Don’t worry, we’ll get it back at the end of our trip when our long flight arrives back in the USA.

Day Three – Kia Ora! Welcome to New Zealand!
Like a modern Eden rising from the sea, Auckland sprawls beautifully across a narrow isthmus between two harbors, punctuated with dramatic volcanic cones and lush islands.

The city’s many beaches, marinas and parks make it ideal for outdoor adventure, and this country’s wines and cuisine are among the best in the world.

Auckland is New Zealand’s biggest city, and the largest Polynesian city in the World.

Our first day is designed with heaps of free time, for you to settle-in, adjust and explore the city at your leisure.

Overnight at Stamford Plaza or similar.

Day Four – Auckland!
Discover the beauty, vibrance & culture of bustling downtown Auckland on a guided walking tour, where the very best of Kiwi life is on full display.

Then we’ll take a ferry to the charming neighborhood of Devonport – discover why people around the world are lining up to make New Zealand their forever home.

After we orient to the city this morning, your afternoon is at leisure. Auckland lends itself to easy exploration – feel free to explore as you like!

* Optional tours available to spectacular Waiheke Island and Auckland’s West Coast Beaches.

Overnight at Stamford Plaza or similar.

Day Five – Rotorua!
We’ll travel through the rolling, pastoral countryside of the Waikato to explore the dramatic Waitomo Glow Worm Caves, a magnificent “living masterpiece,” on foot and by boat.

Then we’ll make our way onto the volcanic plateau that’s home to geothermal Rotorua. This famous spa-town is also the epicenter of Maori traditions in NZ.

From ornate & distinctive wood & jade carvings & sacred meeting houses, to a traditional Hangi Dinner & meaningful Maori dances, we’ll be immersed in Maori culture.

This evening we’ll explore the beautifully illuminated Whakarewarewa Geothermal Valley, including Pohutu geyser.

Overnight at Ibis Rotorua or similar

Day Six – Hobbits & Waimangu!
Today we’ll experience the real Middle-Earth at Hobbiton’s famous movie set.

Explore with a guide who’s bursting with fascinating details. Visit real “Hobbit Holes” and enjoy an ale, cider or ginger beer in the Green Dragon Inn!

Waimangu Thermal Valley is home to the newest geothermal system in the world. We’ll hike to explore all the boiling lakes, geysers and a “regenerating rainforest.”

The healing waters of the Waikite Valley Thermal Pools come from the nearby Te Manaroa natural boiling spring. The famed “Living Waters” of Waikite Valley are the only pools of their size using pure natural geothermal water. Enjoy!

The morning is full and structured, but the afternoon is at your leisure to explore.

Overnight at Ibis Rotorua or similar.

Day Seven – Christchurch & Hanmer Springs!
We start with a flight to Christchurch, the largest city on the South Island.

Visit beautiful Hagley Park & Mona Vale Gardens. Admire the clustered medieval stone buildings so distinctive to this region’s English settler heritage.

We’ll discover the pastoral, willow- and oak-lined Avon River and enter the fascinating Canterbury Museum.

This afternoon, Hanmer Springs is known for hot springs, stunning alpine views, and adventure activities like bungy jumps, mountain biking & breathtaking hikes. You’ll be filled with awe & inspiration.

Overnight at Heritage Hanmer Springs or similar.

Day Eight – Kiakoura & Christchurch!
This morning, we’ll drive to phenomenal Kaikoura on the coast, home to a stunning abundance of marine life, such as the massive fur seal colony that adds so much character to local life. Astounding natural wonders!

* Optional: If you’re up for it, you’ll might not want to miss the renowned Kaikoura Whale Watching Tour!

We’ll drive to Christchurch in the afternoon and enjoy the remainder of day at leisure.

Overnight at Ibis Christchurch.

Day Nine – G’Day Australia!

This morning, we fly to Sydney!

You have free time until 5pm, and you’ll quickly see how the harbors provide a stunning backdrop for this beloved cosmopolitain city.

Enjoy the wide-ranging cultural life, dynamic food scene and outstanding cityscape of contemporary and colonial architecture.

Don’t forget about the iconic beaches!

This evening, we’ll celebrate the Australian leg of our adventure with a Sunset Dinner Cruise in Sydney Harbor.

Later, dawdle along the Darling Harbor boardwalk… maybe enjoy a nightcap among the glittering lights under the stunning southern stars.

Overnight: The Sydney Boulevard or similar.

Day Ten – Sydney!
Today is packed with extraordinary sights!

All of Sydney’s icons are at our disposal: “The Rocks,” Mrs. Macquarie’s Chair, the Botanical Gardens, and Darling Harbor.

At famous Bondi Beach we’ll see the white sands and surf typical of all Sydney’s beaches.

You’ll have time to enjoy lunch on your own, then we’ll meet at the Sydney Opera House to explore the hallowed theaters and foyers with a guide. It’s hands-on, visiting areas off limits to the general public. Awesome access to an unforgettable icon!

Overnight: The Sydney Boulevard or similar.

Day Eleven – Cairns (“Cans”)!

This morning we fly to gorgeous Cainrs.

As the heart of Tropical North Queensland, locals take pride in their cultural heritage and world-class attractions: the Great Barrier Reef, the Wet Tropics Rainforest, the outback, and a distinctly tropical lifestyle.

Prior to the arrival of settlers seeking gold, Aboriginal people thrived on this land – a beautiful part of the Australian story. We’ll treasure our encounters with Australia’s “First People.”

You’ll have time today for your own tropical paradise excursions. But first, we’ll enjoy a private guided walk through “Our Town.”

Tonight, we’ll visit Cairns’ beautiful & bustling Night Markets at our own pace.

Overnight: The Pacific Hotel Cairns or similar.

Day Twelve – The Aboriginal World!
We begin the day in Aboriginal territory, where we’ll encounter a Dreamtime Walk.

Our indigenous guide through the rainforest will explain the Aboriginal connection with the natural world. See traditional bark shelters & cave paintings, understand traditional plant uses, and learn to identify sources for “bush tucker.” Best of all, we’ll learn about Aboriginal “Dreamtime.”

This afternoon we’ll board a riverboat wildlife cruise along the Daintree River.

En route back to Cairns, we’ll explore historic Port Douglas on the edge of the Coral Sea. You’ll love every minute in this quaint & charming small port city.

Overnight: The Pacific Hotel Cairns or similar

Day Thirteen – The Great Barrier Reef!
In some ways, it feels like our entire South Pacific adventure has been building up to today!

This day is all about experiencing the Great Barrier Reef – before it’s gone forever!

We’ll set sail with our knowledgeable marine biologists who make this experience come alive.

We’re including a wide range of activities so you can fully experience this unique reef environment today.

* Option: You can add an unforgettable scuba adventure that caters to all experience levels.

You’re likely to be among the last humans to experience the Great Barrier Reef before it’s forever lost to climate change, so this is truly a bucketlist day packed with phenomenal beauty, fun and adventure!

Overnight: The Pacific Hotel Cairns or similar.

Day Fourteen – Homeward Bound!
We’ll awaken this morning to the uniquely captivating beauty of Cairns, and feel some remorse as we pack our bags.

We hate to say goodbye, but we must begin our journey home.

It’s an early flight, so we’re off to the airport to board the plane and take flight. Bon voyage!