Start this fabulous tour with all the fascinating sights of Australia before taking in the breathtaking scenery of New Zealand’s North Island and South Island.
Today you will depart on your scheduled flight to Australia.
You will arrive in the beautiful city of Perth in the early hours of day 3. You will stay here for four nights.
Experience has shown us that our clients appreciate the opportunity to relax and rest after their flight, so we have allowed plenty of time for this.
You will also have the opportunity to explore the delightful surroundings of Perth, the ideal first stop for our Australian extravaganza. This wonderful city, with its neighbouring port of Fremantle, is one of the most envied locations in the world in which to live. The golden beaches, superb restaurants, lush green parks, stunning broad expanses of the Swan River and lovely warm climate give the visitor a fine introduction to the relaxed, contented lifestyle of modern-day Australia.
A half-day sightseeing tour is included during your stay. We also offer plenty of fascinating optional tours for you to join if you wish.
Late this morning you will transfer to the airport for your flight to Alice Springs. You will arrive in Alice Springs early this evening, where two nights’ accommodation has been arranged for you. Alice Springs is situated amid a vast area of natural springs and shimmering red desert.
Today we include a half-day sightseeing tour, showing you the famous flying doctor base, the old telegraph station and the School of the Air (subject to opening times) where children are educated over the wireless. Today you will also have the opportunity to take a dawn balloon flight over the outback (weather permitting).
You will travel through the heart of Australia, stopping en route at a camel farm, where you may take a camel ride if you wish. Ayers Rock, situated in the Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park, is one of the world’s most remarkable sights. This gigantic sandstone monolith remains the property of the Anangu tribe of the Northern Territory. The rock is two miles long, 1,000ft high and measures six miles around the base. It changes colour dramatically with the light and is a wondrous sight at sunrise and sunset. You will be at Ayers Rock for both of these moments, with a sunset visit included today.
You have an early start today for your visit to Ayers Rock for sunrise. As well as this spectacular sight, you will also tour the base to see the caves. An excursion will be made to the mysterious Olgas, a nearby range of 28 spectacular rock domes.
Your journey continues with a flight to Cairns, a lively seaside resort situated on the Great Barrier Reef, where you will stay for four nights.
Join us on today’s included excursion, an exciting trip by catamaran to the outer Great Barrier Reef. Described as the world’s largest living thing, the eighth wonder of the world and the marine equivalent of Ayers Rock, the Great Barrier Reef is a stupendous 1,400-mile wonderland of beautiful coral and colourful marine life, studded with unspoilt tropical islands.
You will journey right to the edge of the Great Barrier Reef, where you can don a snorkel, take to the water and marvel at the amazing world that stretches beneath you. Enjoy lunch on board, then you can visit an underwater observatory, take a cruise in a semi-submersible submarine, or just relax on the sundeck with a drink - the choice is yours.
Now that you are halfway through your tour you’ll probably appreciate some time to relax and soak up the glorious sunshine. Cairns enjoys an idyllic location, sandwiched between the deep blue ocean and lush green tropical forests. If you’re after adventure, there are plenty of optional excursions available here. The most popular is a ride on the Kuranda Railway, which is widely regarded as one of the world’s most spectacular rail journeys. The track burrows through 15 tunnels and traverses 40 bridges as it clings to the rockface along a narrow coastal strip.
You will leave Cairns early this morning and fly to Sydney, where you will stay for four nights. Sydney is Australia’s biggest city, although the centre is surprisingly compact and can be explored easily on foot. The world-famous Harbour Bridge and Opera House dominate the vast and picturesque harbour.
On the morning of day 14 we include a sightseeing tour which will introduce you to such highlights as Bondi Beach, Hyde Park, Darling Harbour and Mrs Macquarie’s Chair – a rock cut into the shape of a bench which offers one of the best vantage points in the city.
Enjoy the rest of your time in Sydney at leisure soaking up the exciting atmosphere and sheer beauty of Australia’s premier city. You’ll find an excellent choice of optional excursions, including a drive to the Blue Mountains and the wildlife park where you will see koalas, possums, wombats and kangaroos. You can also enjoy a harbour cruise and tour Sydney by night.
You will leave Sydney by coach for the drive to the beautifully landscaped capital city, Canberra for an overnight stay. Your included city sightseeing tour features the parliament buildings and the Prime Minister’s lodge. We include a visit to the outstanding Australian War Memorial Museum. It houses a huge collection of relics, models and paintings and is a must for every visitor to Canberra. En route to Canberra you will stop at a sheep station for a sheep shearing demonstration, with lunch included.
This morning we continue to Melbourne for a three-night stay. This afternoon we include a city sightseeing tour with highlights including Captain Cook’s cottage and the old gaol where the notorious outlaw Ned Kelly was executed. Sports fans will know Melbourne as the home of Australian Rules Football, the historic Melbourne Cricket Ground and the Melbourne Cup. It is also home to some of the finest restaurants in Australia.
See the sights of Melbourne at your own pace today. This afternoon you may choose to join our optional excursion to Phillip Island, where you can witness the remarkable penguin parade – a charming sight of hundreds of these creatures emerging from the sea and waddling across the beach to their sand dune burrows.
Transfer to the airport for you flight to Auckland. Spend the rest of the day at leisure. You will stay here for two nights. The North Island was shaped originally by the fire of volcanoes. Today you’ll find a subtropical climate, thermal springs and geysers, rich farmland, glorious national parks, luxuriant forests and stunning lakes.
The hundreds of sailing boats in the harbour give Auckland the nickname ‘City of Sails’, and truly are a sight to behold. Join your Tour Manager after breakfast for a sightseeing tour of the city that will introduce you to all its most compelling sights, before spending the rest of the day exploring at your leisure, perhaps heading to Ponsonby Road to do a little shopping.
After breakfast this morning, you will journey southwards through Ngaruawahia, home of the Tuheitia Paki Maori King, to Rotorua, the heart of New Zealand’s thermal springs region. It’s easy to see why the Maori revere this area, with its bubbling mud pools, spurting geysers and hot springs. There will be ample time to explore, as you spend the next two nights here.
Following a leisurely breakfast in your hotel, we include a morning visit to Te Puia in the Whakarewarewa Thermal Reserve to view the extraordinary boiling mud pools and spouting geysers that have made this region so famous. This afternoon, there’s the option to join your Tour Manager on an excursion to the Agrodome to see a display of working sheep dogs and a visit to Rainbow Springs to view the rare Kiwi bird – New Zealand’s quirky-looking national symbol.
During the evening there will be an opportunity to visit a Maori Hangi and concert, offering an insight into the traditional way of life for the indigenous population of the islands.
A spectacular journey awaits today as you travel southwards through the Wairakei Valley and past the breathtaking Huka Falls to Lake Taupo, New Zealand’s largest freshwater lake. It’s then on to Wellington, the capital city of New Zealand, located in the south of North Island. Discover the highlights of the city on our included tour, before heading to your hotel for a two-night stay.
Today you can discover the city of Wellington at your own pace, with high points including Te Papa Museum, the waterfront, the beautiful botanical gardens and even a trip in the famous Wellington Cable Car. Opened in the early 20th century to link Wellington and the suburb of Kelburn, this funicular railway isn’t just a tourist destination, it is used by the locals every day to get to and from work and the university, located in Kelburn.
Leave the North Island behind today as you sail through the Cook Strait to Picton on the South Island. Taking just three hours, this journey gives you plenty of photo opportunities as you cruise away from one land mass towards another. When you arrive in Picton, you’ll step aboard a coach for the southerly drive along the Kaikoura coast to the famous city of Christchurch, where you’ll stay overnight.
The beguiling South Island is a complete contrast to the North. It’s a land of mountains, glaciers and spectacular fjords. Its sparse population of just one million people shares the island with 40 million sheep. Here amongst the grandeur of the snow-capped peaks, still fjords and rugged coastline, you’ll find a warm welcome.
Leaving Christchurch behind this morning, you will continue to the heart of the South Island, seeing beautiful Lake Tekapo, traveling across Burkes Pass and past Lake Pukaki before arriving at the Mount Cook region. At 12,000ft it is the highest mountain in New Zealand and truly a sight to behold. The best way to experience Mount Cook has to be from the air, so why not take the opportunity to join an optional scenic flight before continuing to Omarama for an overnight stop?
Depart Omarama and travel to the historic township of Arrowtown. Wandering around the streets of this gold mining town is like stepping back in time, why not immerse yourself fully in the gold rush era by trying a little gold panning, or perhaps you’d prefer to keep things modern as you explore the charming boutiques of the centre. Leaving Arrowtown behind, it’s on to Queenstown, where you’ll stay for the next two nights.
There are simply no words that can do justice to Milford Sound, which is quite simply one of the most beautiful landscapes in New Zealand, if not the world. Today you will have the option to venture into the picturesque Fiordland National Park, through the lush beech forests of the Eglinton Valley and the eroded glacial canyons of the Hollyford Valley, before arriving at Milford Sound itself. There’s no better way to explore Milford Sound than by water, and (weather permitting), that’s exactly what you’ll do, as you board a boat for a trip around the glacial waters.
The drive along South Island’s west coast is both exciting and scenic – very little can compare to crossing the Haast River Bridge and Clark Bluff as you journey to Fox Glacier.
Whilst you could return to Christchurch by coach, travelling through Arthur’s Pass National Park, you could also take the TranzAlpine train for a breathtaking journey through the magnificent, unspoilt landscape. Once back in Christchurch, a tour of the city will introduce you to not only its historic sites, but also show you how the city is being rebuilt following the devastating earthquakes. Transfer to your hotel for an overnight stay.
Sadly, it’s time to say goodbye to New Zealand and fly back to the UK via Sydney and Singapore.
Arrival in the UK.
This holiday includes walking in areas of rough ground, gradients and steps.
Breakfasts are only included in New Zealand from January 2013