Day 1 – USA to Auckland
Today you will begin your Swain Destinations customized itinerary. Please note, international air has not been included in this package price.
Day 2 – Cross the International Date Line
Cross the International Date Line, an imaginary line on the surface of the Earth that runs from the North to the South Pole - and defines one calendar day from the next. Crossing the International Date Line adds one day (24-hours) traveling west, and subtracts one day (24-hours) traveling east.
Day 3 – Welcome to Auckland, New Zealand
On arrival into Auckland, you will be met and transferred to your accommodation.
Auckland, ‘City of Sails’, located between two stunning harbors, enjoys a mild year-round climate. Auckland is the country's most visited region and largest urban area, offering exciting activities and great shopping.
The city lies across a 7-mile wide volcanic isthmus separating two harbors. The Waitemata to the east opens into the Hauraki Gulf, and to the Pacific Ocean. The Manukau Harbour to the west offers many estuaries and surf beaches and opens to the Tasman Sea.Starting Accommodation:
Day 4 – Auckland to Rotorua via Waitomo Caves
Depart Auckland on board the Great Sights motor coach for your ride south to Hamilton.
Travel through the rich Waikato area, famous for its dairy farms, kiwi fruit orchards, thoroughbred horses.....and the Waitomo Caves! You will enter subterranean limestone caverns to view the Glow Worm Grotto; surely one of the wonders of the world. Continue over the bush clad Mamaku Ranges to Rotorua.Starting Accommodation:
Ibis Rotorua (L)
Day 5 – Rotorua TouringCultural Eco Thermal Tour
See the highlights of Rotorua - this tour shows you the best of Rotorua’s natural and man-made attractions. Your half day tour includes a visit to Rainbow Springs and Rainbow Farm for a sheep show and working sheep dog demonstrations. Continue to Whakarewarewa Thermal Reserve to see bubbling mud pools, steaming geysers and intricate Maori wood carvings.Hangi Dinner and Concert
This Twilight Cultural Tour offers transport to and from a Marae by coach. Tonight is a spiritual experience you will never forget with Marae protocol, entertainment, Maori culture and feasting.
En route to the Marae, the guide explains the protocol to take place. The group on board is prepared for the wero (challenge) and welcome to the Marae. Upon entering the exquisitely carved meeting house, you will hongi (greet - pressing of noses) with your host. The tradition means you are a friend and may consider yourself one of the family. Now sit back and enjoy the culture of the Maori people. See the fierce Haka (war dance), twirling of poi balls, stick games and other entertainment.
From here we move to the Hangi pit to see the traditional Maori method of food preparation before heading into the dining room for a Hangi (feast). After the feast, you are transferred back to your Rotorua accommodation by coach.Starting Accommodation:
Ibis Rotorua (D)
Day 6 – Rotorua to Queenstown (Via Christchurch)
You will be transferred to the airport for your flight to Queenstown. On arrival, you will be met and transferred to your hotel.
Nestled beside the deep blue waters of Lake Wakatipu, at the foot of the Remarkables Mountain Range, Queenstown is a year round resort, where you can be as active as you want, or just leisurely enjoy the magnificent scenery.Starting Accommodation:
Day 7 – Milford Sound Nature Cruise
On board the luxury glass roofed coach in Queenstown, you are treated to a relaxing trip along the shores of Lake Wakatipu and through the rolling countryside to Te Anau. After a morning tea break in Te Anau, where you have the option to purchase refreshments, the coach continues along the spectacular Milford Road.
On reaching Milford Sound, board the vessel to cruise the full length of Milford Sound to the Tasman Sea with a nature guide. The vessel provides excellent viewing opportunities and plenty of time is available to enjoy waterfalls, rainforest, mountains and wildlife. Complimentary tea and coffee are available during the cruise.
Return to Queenstown is again by luxury coach, providing passengers with time to reflect on the beauty of the afternoon scenery. Starting Accommodation:
Day 8 – Dart River Jet Boating
Transfer from Queenstown by coach to Glenorchy and the mouth of the Dart River. Here we board the 18 foot specially prepared jet boat and thread our way through a maze of channels between river flats in only inches of water. Snowcapped mountains surround you as you view the World Heritage Grandeur, and waterfalls cascade into the lush bush clad valleys – a magical, untouched place.
Your guide shares his knowledge and explains all about the area, then pulls into a bank so that you may explore the area by foot. This guided walk takes you into the native forests at an area called Paradise in the spectacular Rees Valley. You will then be collected by the 4x4 coach to take you back to Glenorchy, before transferring back to Queenstown. Starting Accommodation:
Day 9 – Queenstown to Christchurch
Depart Queenstown and travel by coach through the rugged and beautiful landscape of Otago. Cross the Lindis Pass into Mackenzie Country to visit Mount Cook Village at the base of New Zealand's highest mountain - Aoraki (Mount Cook). There are 17 peaks over 10,000 in Mount Cook National Park including Mount Cook itself at 12,349 feet. Nudging one side of Mt Cook is the mighty Tamsan Glacier, a 30 kilometer (18 mile) giant, and one of the longest outside the Himalayas.
At Mount Cook Village, there is time to experience an optional scenic helicopter or ski plane flight. From Mount Cook, head back to the highway to continue north along the Tasman River, to Lake Tekapo, where you may view the solitary Church of the Good Shepherd - an historic church dedicated to the early pioneers of this area, and the sheepdog - a statue that is a tribute to high country farmers' best friend. The tour continues through diverse farmland before arriving in Christchurch.Starting Accommodation:
Ibis Christchurch (L)
Day 10 – Christchurch City Tour
The tour commences by covering the central city highlights including the botanical gardens, Museum and Art Centre, the Avon River, Bridge of Remembrance, the cities new pop up container mall and many other CBD highlights.
On leaving the inner city, the tour travels to Mona Vale, an historic homestead and gardens. Up to the Sign of the Takahe, an historic building providing spectacular views over the city, Canterbury Plains and the Southern Alps, then over the Port Hills to the Port of Lyttleton, through the harbor tunnel to the seaside suburb of Sumner and cave rock before returning to the central city.
The afternoon is at your leisure to explore more of Christchurch on your own. Starting Accommodation:
Day 11 – Christchurch to Melbourne
You will be transferred to the airport for your flight to Melbourne, Australia. On arrival into Melbourne you will need to clear customs and make your way through the main arrivals hall from where you will be transferred to your accommodation.
At first glance, Melbourne may resemble any other modern city with its skyline full of concrete and glass. However, if you look a little closer, you'll find the real Melbourne, a city of unique charm.
There are the clanging trams (street cars), swanky boutiques, friendly taxi drivers, Australian Rules Football, fickle weather and ‘BYO’s’, by the hundred (restaurants to which you bring your own liquor or wine). Add to this, Melbourne’s traditional virtues of tree lined boulevards, glorious parks, elegant buildings and imposing victorian Banks and Churches, and of course the giant Melbourne Cricket Ground and you'll have some idea of the city.
Melbourne has become a polyglot society with a huge diversity of cultures, Italian, Greek, East European, Middle Eastern and Asian. This diversity is reflected in the food styles, the lifestyle, and even the language spoken in the street.Starting Accommodation:
Day 12 – Phillip Island Little Penguin tour
This afternoon travel east through Melbourne's outer suburbs, around Westernport Bay to the South Eastern suburbs. A stop is made at Maru Koala and Animal Park. Meet three different species of kangaroos, two species of wallaby, dingoes, Tasmanian devils, emus, parrots, native Australian birds, alpaca, sheep and more. From here, continue the drive, crossing the bridge to Phillip Island. See the Nobbies rock formations overlooking one of the most treacherous oceans in the world, Bass Strait.
Arrive at the famous Penguin Parade and watch the nightly ritual at Summerland Beach, as the little penguins march up the sand to their nesting places. A stop is made in the town of Cowes where you can purchase dinner (at own expense).Starting Accommodation:
Day 13 – Melbourne to Uluru
You will be transferred to the airport for your flight to the heart of Australia’s outback – Uluru.Uluru Sunset tour
Departing your accommodation at Yulara resort, today's excursion will travel through the landscape to the entrance of Uluru Kata Tjuta National Park. From this point, it is only a matter of minutes before the spectre of Uluru rises from the sand dunes to demonstrate its enormity and presence - our first stop allows you a photographic opportunity of this amazing icon. With Uluru looming in front, walk with your guide to a place of tranquillity at the base. The closer you wander, the more you surrender to the realization of the sheer size of this monolith.
As you drive around the base, your guide takes you to the entrance of Mutitjulu Waterhole, a semi-permanent watercourse nestled in the contours of Uluru. Here, learn the Creation stories of Liru (poisonous snake) and Kuniya (python) and their battle for control of Uluru as well as a number of other stories associated with other prominent Tjukurpa (Dreaming) stories. See the rock art of the ancients and learn how Uluru was, and still is, a significant location for teaching young Aboriginal people. We then adjourn to the Talinguru Nyakunytjaku viewing area where you will observe an uninterrupted view of Uluru with Kata Tjuta in the background.Starting Accommodation:
Outback Pioneer Hotel (B)
Day 14 – Uluru TouringKata Tjuta Sunrise Tour
Today's excursion will travel through the landscape to the entrance of Uluru Kata Tjuta National Park. On arrival at the viewing area, you walk to the best vantage point to see the 36 domes that comprise this spiritual place while watching the sun's morning glow as the desert comes alive. Your guide will lead you to the western side of Kata Tjuta where you will have the opportunity to relax and enjoy a picnic breakfast.
As you approach the entrance to Walpa Gorge which was named for the wind (Walpa) that whistles between the massive domes that shape Kata Tjuta, your guide will share the significance of this men's sacred ceremonial site. We take a stroll between these mighty conglomerate rock walls as your guide explains how the environment and the geology has evolved over millions of years and how the domes resulted from eons of weathering and continual upheaval.Sounds of Silence
Tonight is an outback dining experience to remember, with Desert Oaks framing the view, the sounds of the didgeridoo, the taste of outback cuisine, the ‘sounds of silence’ and the Milky Way.
Journey into the desert and see the brilliant outback sunset over Kata Tjuta. Enjoy a three course meal prepared before we dim the lanterns and listen to the sounds of the great outback. Look up to see the brilliant southern skies, the Milky Way gleaming amongst stars and constellations.Starting Accommodation:
Outback Pioneer Hotel (B, D)
Day 15 – Uluru to Cairns
Make your way to the airport for your flight north to Cairns. Upon arrival you will be transferred to your hotel. Cairns is the gateway to Tropical Far North Queensland, a region of contrasts and surprises.
It is home to the Great Barrier Reef, palm-fringed isolated beaches, Kuranda and the Atherton Tablelands, World Heritage listed rainforests and the sun burnt outback. This dynamic area serves as a diverse hub for many attractions and activities of the Tropical North. Apart from the major tourism attractions of the reef and rainforest, there are many adventure sports such as white water rafting and bungee jumping, as well as other activities such as golf and trail riding.Starting Accommodation:
Cairns Colonial Club
Day 16 – Great Barrier Reef Tour
This morning, transfer to the wharf for your full day excursion to the Great Barrier Reef. You will have four hours at the reef site, to explore what makes the Great Barrier Reef one of the wonders of the world.
The day trip has been designed with the water enthusiast or novice alike - snorkel gear and instruction is provided for all guests, or stay dry and explore the stunning reef from the comfort of a semi-submersible vessel, just one meter underwater.
Introductory and certified dives are run in conjunction with snorkeling day trips at an additional cost, and guided snorkel trips with a marine biologist are also available for a nominal fee. A tempting hot and cold buffet lunch is included, as well as morning and afternoon tea on board.Starting Accommodation:
Cairns Colonial Club (L)
Day 17 – At leisure, Cairns
The major center in Tropical North Queensland is Cairns, a popular gateway to the Great Barrier Reef. The city is fringed by lush rainforests and, to the north and south, are miles of white sandy beaches and turquoise oceans teeming with marine life. Explore the surrounding area on your own or on one of our additional day excursions
Cairns Colonial Club
Day 18 – Cairns to Sydney
Transfer to Cairns airport for your flight to Sydney. Upon arrival you will be transferred to your hotel.
Sydney – Australia’s premier city is the oldest settlement in Australia, the economic powerhouse of the nation and the country’s capital in everything but name. Built on the shores of the stunning Port Jackson, you would have to die and go to heaven before you see a more spectacular setting for a city. It’s a vital, self-regarding metropolis, exuding both a devil-may-care urbanity and a slavish obsession with global fads. The Sydney area was the ancestral home of the Daruk tribe, whose territory extended from Botany Bay to Pittwater.Starting Accommodation:
Day 19 – Blue Mountains Tour
On today’s Blue Mountains excursion, we stop at a Wildlife Park, where you have the opportunity to have your photo taken with a koala, and to see Australian animals and reptiles, such as crocodiles, kangaroos, goannas and possums. At the Blue Mountains National Park, enjoy a stroll through the bush, a visit to historic Katoomba, and time an optional ride on the world’s steepest railway, the Skyway Cable Car or the Sceniscender Cable Car (rides at own expense).
See scenic echo point, and learn about the ‘blue haze’ effect, giving the region its name. There are excellent photo opportunities of the Three Sisters rock formation, and spectacular views of Jamison and Megalong valleys, with a return to the city via Sydney’s Olympic Site. Lunch is included today.Starting Accommodation:
Day 20 – At leisure, Sydney
At your leisure to explore Sydney. Most of the major attractions of the city are within easy walking distance of your accommodation - Sydney Opera House, Darling Harbour, Centrepoint Tower, Circular Quay, The Rocks etc. Explore the surrounding area on your own or on one of our additional day excursions
Day 21 – Sydney to USA
You will be transferred to the airport for your departure flights.