From the Outback to the Glaciers
From $8,804* pp | 19 Days • 30 Meals *Rate is per person, land only, double occupancy.
Experience the natural splendour of New Zealand’s Southern Alps as well as the Aboriginal culture in Australia’s outback on a journey that showcases the diversity of lands “down under”.
- The origins of the Aboriginal people are conveyed through enchanting stories as you walk through the bush on a “Dreamtime Tour”.
- Discover the underwater rainbow of coral and fish when you explore the Great Barrier Reef from aboard a glass bottom boat.
- Enjoy a three-night stay in the energetic and cosmopolitan city of Sydney.
Make Your Way from Australia to New Zealand
Explore the diverse wonders of the lands “down under.” A 3-day adventure in the rugged Outback introduces you to the Aboriginal life and culture of Alice Springs and Ayers Rock. Delve into the colourful world of the Great Barrier Reef. Enjoy a guided tour of the Sydney Opera House. Meet Australia’s famous wildlife up-close. Explore the snow-capped peaks, vistas, gorges and waterfalls of New Zealand’s Southern Alps. Cruise Milford Sound. Experience the Franz Josef Glacier and the majestic Mt. Cook region.
Day 1. Cairns, Australia – Tour Begins
Your tour opens in Cairns, the tropical gateway to one of the world’s most spectacular natural attractions and a World Heritage site – the Great Barrier Reef. Established as a marine park in 1975, the reef is a haven for thousands of species of sea life, as well as turtles and birds.
Dinner High 28 Low 18 Pullman International Cairns
Board a sailing catamaran for an exciting excursion to the Great Barrier Reef. This is an immense series of 2,800 coral reefs which are home to amazingly diverse marine life. Explore the spectacular reef along Michaelmas Cay. The choice is yours: during the excursion you can choose to explore the shores of this small sand island on the outer reef; or, perhaps you would prefer snorkelling to see the vibrant sea life up close. Back on board, a marine biologist will have an informative presentation and you will even enjoy a fish feeding presentation.
Day 3. Cairns – Mossman Gorge – Cairns
Today you journey north to the ancient Daintree Rainforest. At beautiful Mossman Gorge, members of the Yalanji tribe, the original Aboriginal people of the area, will introduce you to their traditional lifestyle. Walk with them through their ancestral lands, learn their ancient ways…perhaps you would even enjoy a swim in the fresh, clear water!
Day 4. Cairns – Melbourne
Today’s tour of Melbourne features Fitzroy Gardens, valued for their historic and horticultural significance, and the bustling Victoria Market. Next, learn how raw opals mined from the depths of the Earth are transformed into beautiful works of art at the National Opal Centre. Later, you may participate in an optional tour that travels to Phillip Island, a renowned nature reserve and home of the world’s largest colony of Little Penguins. Protected and studied by rangers, hundreds of them waddle out of the sea and cross the beach to their burrows in the dunes. At the interpretation centre you have a chance to learn about the lives of the Little Penguins and their significance to the area.
Day 6. Melbourne – Alice Springs
Leave the bustling city of Melbourne behind for the vast landscapes and tranquillity of the Outback. Your flight today takes you to Alice Springs, the hub of the region and the perfect place to begin exploring this unique land.
Day 7. Alice Springs
Access the history and culture of the Walpiri Aboriginal people during a “Dreamtime Tour” where your specialist guide shares stories of creation and everyday Aboriginal life. Discover a more modern side to Outback life when you visit the Royal Flying Doctor Service, a lifeline to thousands across the vast terrain of Central Australia. A special experience is in store this morning as you have the opportunity to meet the young Aboriginal group, Drum Atweme. Supported by the Collette Foundation,** Drum Atweme is a musical group comprised of at-risk youth from the local community. Tonight, continue your cultural immersion with a memorable bush dinner set against the backdrop of this unique desert environment.
Day 8. Alice Springs – Uluru
Today, tour the Old Telegraph Station and Anzac Hill with its excellent views of Alice Springs and the surrounding area before traversing the “Red Centre” as you drive to Uluru (the Aboriginal name for Ayers Rock) in the heart of the Australian Outback. This huge monolith and the sandstone domes known as Kata Tjuta were created through the process of upheaval and erosion. Tour Kata Tjuta and the base of “the Rock,” learning about their geology and significance to Aboriginal culture. Prepare for a truly majestic sunset as you witness the changing colours of Uluru accompanied by a champagne toast.
Day 9. Uluru – Sydney
See where the original English colonists first settled in 1788 during a city tour of Sydney. Highlights of your tour include Kings Cross, the Harbour Bridge, Chinatown, the Rocks, Circular Quay, the Botanic Gardens and the fashionable suburb of Paddington. Discover one of the world’s most fascinating architectural sights as you take a guided tour of the Sydney Opera House, poised majestically on Sydney Harbour. Then, discover the wonders of Sydney by using your free time to pursue your own interests: stroll through the city streets, visit the historic Rocks area or simply relax. Your Tour Manager will be on hand to offer suggestions.
Day 11. Sydney
This morning, visit Koala Park for an up close and personal opportunity to learn about the different types of wildlife native to the land down under. You’ll walk amongst wallabies, indigenous birds, kangaroos, dingoes and other creatures. Experience the koala habitat where you can even take your picture with a koala! Return to the city for an afternoon at leisure. Deepen your exploration of Sydney’s many wonders or catch up on your shopping. Tonight, experience the best of Sydney. As you say your farewell to Australia, chat with new friends and take in the sights during a delightful dinner cruise of Sydney Harbour. Marvel at the scenic vistas the harbour has to offer including Sydney’s magnificent skyline and iconic attractions: the Sydney Opera House and the Harbour Bridge.
Day 12. Sydney – Christchurch, New Zealand
Today you leave Australia behind and fly to the historic city of Christchurch. Devastated by an earthquake in early 2011, see firsthand how the “Garden City” is recreating itself during a sightseeing tour that highlights the city’s magnificent gardens and elegant park district.
Day 13. Christchurch – Franz Josef Glacier
Take in the marvellous snowcapped peaks and beautiful river gorges during your travels across the Southern Alps, winding your way past waterfalls and rugged mountains. You may choose to take the TranzAlpine train (optional) for a truly inspiring train ride through this glorious scenery. You will end your day in the Franz Josef Glacier Region which offers travellers a rare opportunity to experience a living glacial landscape in a temperate environment.
Day 14. Franz Josef – Queenstown
Before departing Franz Josef, if the dynamic New Zealand weather cooperates, you may opt to see this beautiful glacier region from a bird’s-eye view during a flight seeing tour. En route to Queenstown, watch as the amazing landscape unfolds before your eyes as you pass through the rainforest, bordered by the Southern Alps and the twisting coastline. Cross jade green glacial rivers, view thundering waterfalls and enjoy dramatic changes in scenery. After crossing the Haast Pass, arrive in Queenstown, one of New Zealand’s prettiest towns.
Day 15. Queenstown – Milford Sound – Queenstown
En route to Milford Sound, enjoy the rugged grandeur of the Hollyford Valley. You’ll travel through ancient beech forest via the Homer Tunnel. During a cruise of the breathtakingly beautiful Milford Sound you will see why this fjord is one of the most visited sights on the South Island. With rock faces that rise nearly 4,000 feet on either side, the scenery will take your breath away. Following the cruise, you return to Queenstown. You may choose to return via a short optional flight (weather permitting) for spectacular views of New Zealand’s Southern Alps.
Day 16. Queenstown
Queenstown offers limitless diversions set amidst breathtaking Alpine scenery. Shop in the charming village centre or enjoy an optional and exhilarating jet boat ride on the Shotover River. Perhaps you will join the optional “Journey through Middle Earth” tour which takes you through the majestic Remarkable Mountains and the breathtaking Queenstown countryside showcasing many of the spots where the Lord of the Rings movies were filmed. Or…just relax!
Day 17. Queenstown – Mt. Cook Region
Begin your day with a visit to the beautiful 19th-century gold rush settlement of Arrowtown, a boomtown during the 1860s gold fever. Next, enjoy a tasting and tour at one of New Zealand’s famous wineries. Then, sample the freshness of the Central Otago region with a stop at a local fruit stand. Follow the Kawarau River and cross Lindis Pass before arriving in New Zealand’s most famous national park, Mt. Cook. There will be time to enjoy the Alpine paradise of the Mt. Cook region. You may choose to take a nature walk, enjoy an optional glacier flightseeing tour (weather permitting) or simply meditate on the beauty of the Southern Alps.
Day 18. Mt. Cook – Christchurch
As you return to Christchurch this morning, pay a visit to a working farm. Watch a skilled New Zealand “strong eye” sheep herding dog at work, followed by a sheep shearing demonstration. Get to know these New Zealand farmers over a home-cooked morning tea. Later, learn more of Christchurch’s more recent history at the Quake City exhibition at the Re:Start Mall. A special treat is in store for you tonight as you dine with a New Zealand family in their home. Meet and talk firsthand with a friendly Kiwi family who is delighted to share their culture, traditions and home with you.
Day 19. Christchurch – Tour Ends
Meals as per itinerary
Activities as stated
Please note: Accommodation is subject to change.
Meals not indicated on the itinerary
Comprehensive travel insurance
Items of a personal nature – laundry, telephone, room service
Tips and gratuities
- New Zealand is 16 hours ahead; Cairns is 14 hours ahead; Melbourne and Sydney are 15 hours ahead; Alice Springs/Ayers Rock are 14.5 hours ahead of EST.
- The highest point on this tour is 2,500 feet above sea level.
- The currency in Australia is the Australian Dollar, and in New Zealand, it is the New Zealand Dollar.
- Australia and New Zealand use 230 Volts. Both are Type I plugs.
- Why not consider a pre and post tour extension. Start and end your holiday rested.
This tour includes moderate physical activity. The itinerary blends some longer days with shorter days and more leisure time. Walking tours, as well as walking slightly longer distances, upstairs or on uneven walking surfaces should be expected.
Mar 3 – Mar 13. $3,079
Mar 10 – Mar 20. $2,829
Mar 17 – Mar 27. $2,829
Apr 7 – Apr 17. $2,949
Apr 14 – Apr 24. $2,949
Apr 21 – May 1. $2,949
Jun 6 – Jun 26. $3,979
Jun 20 – Jul 1. $3,979
Jul 18 – Jul 29. $3,979
Aug 8 – Aug 19. $4,299
Aug 15 – Aug 26. $4,299
Sep 5 – Sep 16. $3,979
Sep 12 – Sep 23. $3,979
Sep 26 – Oct 7. $3,979
Oct 10 – Oct 21. $3,979
Nov 7 – Nov 18. $3,469
Mar 13 – Mar 24. $3,469
Mar 27 – Apr 7. $3,599
Apr 3 – Apr 14. $3,729
Apr 24 – May 5. $3,729