16-Day New Zealand and Australia Experience
Upon arrival at Auckland International Airport, we are greeted by our local guide and driver who directs us to our motorcoach for a drive to Waitomo Caves. Our tour takes us through a low narrow passage to the Tomo, a deep limestone shaft. Then we begin the highlight of our tour: an unrivalled boat trip through the spectacular Glowworm Grotto. Lunch (included) is at the Roselands Restaurant, New Zealand’s leading BBQ restaurant, and then we have time to wander through the award winning gardens. The journey continues on to Rotorua, an exciting city with an immense portrayal of history, tradition and culture and a hydrothermal experience of a lifetime. After a full buffet breakfast at the hotel, we continue touring Rotorua, including the lakefront and Government Gardens. Then we have the opportunity to see a 60-hectare working sheep and cattle farm at the New Zealand Agrodome. Our next stop is Rainbow Springs Nature Park where we walk through native and introduced species of wildlife set amongst beautiful native trees, plants and ferns. At Te Puia we enjoy a one-hour guided tour of the Thermal Reserve. This evening, we enjoy the traditional style Hangi and be entertained by Maori dances. We check out of our hotel after breakfast, and transfer to the Rotorua airport for our flight to Queenstown. Having checked out from hotel please be waiting in hotel foyer with luggage for coach pick up and transfer to Rotorua airport. The remainder of the day is at leisure. For dinner, we travel by gondola up to Bob’s Peak for a panoramic view of the lake and surrounding mountains from the Stratosphere Restaurant.
A Spectacular Jet Boat Ride
Upon arrival at Milford Sound to check in and board your vessel to enjoy a 2 hour Nature Cruise the length of Milford Sound including a delicious buffet lunch. We begin our day with an exciting Dart River Wilderness Safari which takes you on a spectacular 1.5 hour Jet Boat journey through the Dart’s ever-changing braided river system, where you’ll be thrilled by our Jet Boat’s capabilities. Also included is an easy guided 30-40 minute walk through the ‘Heritage Trail’ at Paradise. You’ll then journey by 4WD coach via a scenic back-road route and stopping to view scenery that has formed the epic backdrop for many international films, including The Lord of the Rings. Upon arrival back into Glenorchy, enjoy lunch at a local café before returning to Queenstown. The remainder of the day and evening is at leisure. This morning we enjoy a half-day Nomad Safari 4WD tour that offers gold panning, river crossings in the Arrow Gorge and a great overview of the diverse scenery of the Queenstown/Arrowtown area – from towns, to rolling farmland, rugged Skippers Canyon, and mountains, to the famous Kawarau Gorge bungy bridge. The tour offers a view of the film locations from The Lord of the Rings of Minas Tirith, Misty Mountains, the Pillars of the Kings, the site of Isildur’s fall, and the Ford of Bruinen. We’ll also overlook Deer Park Heights, where the Rohan refugees and the battle with the Wargs were filmed. At the end of the safari, we will return to our hotel and transfer to the Queenstown Airport for our flight to Melbourne, Australia. After customs formalities in Australia, we will transfer to our hotel in Melbourne and enjoy the rest of the evening at leisure.
Visiting the Twelve Apostles
After breakfast, we take a Melbourne City Highlights tour. We begin driving through the city by coach and see landmarks such as Flinders Street railway station, Federation Square, Saint Paul’s Cathedral, Town Hall, and Parliament House. Then we experience St. Kilda’s popular beach and Williamstown before stopping at Melbourne Observation Deck. We see iconic attractions including the Melbourne Cricket Ground and Queen Victoria Market. We return to our hotel for lunch on our own. This afternoon we transfer to Phillip Island where we come ‘face-to-face’ with koalas in their natural habitat at the Koala Sanctuary. From here we depart for the Penguin Reserve. On our arrival, we enjoy a buffet dinner. Then we are taken to the more intimate area of Penguins Plus for a more personalized wildlife viewing experience. We return to our hotel in Melbourne for overnight. After our full buffet breakfast, we head southwest from Melbourne towards the Great Ocean Road. We can stop to marvel at the surfers at world famous Bells Beach, and spend some time exploring Lorne. Apollo Bay is a great stop where we enjoy lunch and limited free time before we continue on towards the Twelve Apostles up through the Cape Otway rainforest. We arrive at the Twelve Apostles, a natural wonder of the World that never fails to impress. We return to our hotel late afternoon/early evening. After breakfast, we transfer from our hotel to Melbourne Domestic airport for our flight to Cairns. Upon arrival we transfer to the hotel, and this afternoon we walk across to the Cairns Domes. Then we head to Tjapukai Aboriginal Park for the Night Fire, Tjapukai’s signature evening activity where we meet the Indigenous rainforest people, who paint your face to link you to their traditional land and more. We follow the Tjapukai warriors to a corroboree celebrating Aboriginal Dreamtime stories and join the Rainbow Serpent circle to learn traditional language songs before the giant ceremonial fire is lit. After dinner of Australian meats seafoods and salads, we transfer back to our hotel. After breakfast, we drive north along the scenic Cook’s Highway, passing some of the most beautiful beaches in the world, on our way to Port Douglas to board the Quicksilver Wavepiercer catamaran on our journey to the outer edge of the Great Barrier Reef. We can view the reef from a semi-submarine, an underwater viewing platform, an optional helicopter ride or the option of trying a scuba dive. Even those who don’t swim will be fitted with flotation devices and given lessons so everyone can get as close as possible to the beautiful fish and coral. We have a limited amount of time at the Marina before traveling back down the coast line on the Quicksilver Coaches, to arrive at our hotel.
A Unique Koala Encounter
This morning we arrive at Freshwater Rail Station and then it is “All Aboard” for the historic rail journey. The original Kuranda Scenic Railway is a spectacular journey comprising unsurpassed views of World Heritage Listed rainforest, steep ravines and picturesque waterfalls within the Barron Gorge National Park. The journey ends in Kuranda, principal town of the Atherton Tablelands. We enjoy the beauty of the village, the train station & discover the market independently with lunch included at one of the local Kuranda restaurants. From Kuranda, we depart by Skyrail Cableway for Caravonica Station, a world first in environmental tourism is taking you on an amazing experience over Australia’s World Heritage listed Tropical Rainforest canopy and deep into the forest. On arrival at Carvonica Station we transfer to Cairns Domestic Airport for our flight to Sydney. We begin our day with a driving tour of Sydney, experiencing all of the contrasts that make up this beautiful city – from the traditional Victorian architecture of the Town Hall and the Queen Victoria Building to the modern skyscrapers of the business district; from the sweeping design of the Opera House to the modern developments of Darling Harbor. Then we travel to Sydney’s northern beaches areas to see magnificent views from Seaforth lookout over Middle Head and Pearl Bay marinas, visit Arabanoo lookout for a superb panorama of the rugged Headlands and Manly. We have some time to explore Manly before we go to the Sydney Opera House. We transfer to our hotel to enjoy the rest of the day at leisure. We depart this morning for our Blue Mountains Excursions. The Blue Mountains Canyons and Wildlife Discovery is a real journey into the heart of a unique World Heritage Region. We can actually get up close and personal, stroke a koala and hand feed kangaroos, wallabies & emus…a great experience. We travel through the picturesque village of Wentworth Falls, home to a good collection of Victorian and other historic buildings and onto the Wentworth Falls Lookout. Continuing on, we arrive at Eaglehawk Lookout, a remote lookout point away from the crowds for views of the famous Three Sisters, and hear some of the legends behind this famous rock formation. We enjoy views from Govetts Leap into the Grose Wilderness valley, with magnificent waterfall that drops a whopping 180m to the base of the cliff. The last stop is the delightful Mt. Tomah Botanic Gardens where we stop to enjoy the sweeping views across to Sydney and enjoy a glass of sparkling wine or orange juice before travelling down the Bells Line of Road to arrive back at our hotel.