Day 1 – Welcome to Queenstown, New Zealand
Upon arrival into Queenstown you will be met and transferred to your accommodation.Starting Accommodation:
Day 2 – Milford Sound Nature Cruise
On board a 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. There is time for photo stops and short walks along the way, and the coach driver provides an informative commentary during the 3.5-4 hour ride.
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 3 – Queenstown at Leisure
Enjoy time at leisure to explore the adventure capital of New Zealand. Set between the towering Remarkable Ranges and the bottomless Lake Wakatipu, Queenstown has it all. Originally settled by the gold miners and station owners, it is now home to adrenaline-filled adventures such as bungee jumping, the Canyon Swing, jetboating, rafting and amazing scenic helicopter flights. Take a more sedate gondola ride to Bob's Peak for great views or the 110-year-old steamer, The Earnslaw, as she cruises around Lake Wakitpu. You may wish to visit Milford or Doubtful Sound or the old gold mining town of Arrowtown. There are some interesting wineries, including Amisfield (great for lunch or early dinners), which is just outside the town. You will find all the souvenirs you need here for your New Zealand visit, including a 'Lord of the Rings' gift store. Queenstown is home to some superb restaurants that cater to all the desires of your appetite.Starting Accommodation:
Day 4 – Queenstown to Mt Cook and Christchurch
Depart Queenstown and travel by Great Sights tour 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 feet in Mount Cook National Park including Mount Cook itself at 12,349 feet. To 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 (weather permitting and additional cost) which may be booked in advance or on the day. Lunch is included today. 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 - a 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:
Rendezvous Hotel Christchurch (L)
Day 5 – Akaroa Day Tour
On this amazing tour, visit the extinct volcanoes of Banks Peninsula and view the beautiful harbors and green farmland. Stops are made at scenic places and include morning and afternoon teas and a cheese tasting at the Barry's Bay Cheese Factory. Once at Akaroa, enjoy a shared nature and harbor cruise on the Canterbury Cat. This cruise explores the volcanic harbor and sightings may be made of the world's smallest dolphin - the Hectors Dolphin, NZ Fur Seals and numerous seabirds. If time allows, stroll through the village and along the waterfront, taking in the quaint French charm that is unique to Akaroa.Starting Accommodation:
Rendezvous Hotel Christchurch (L)
Day 6 – Travel to Cairns
Takeoff to Cairns and continue on the next stage of your adventure.Starting Accommodation:
Day 7 – Michaelmas Cay Reef Excursion
Depart Cairns wharf on board the 'Ocean Spirit,' a luxury 105-foot sailing vessel - the largest of her kind in the world. Sail to Michaelmas Cay, known as the Isle of the Birds, a year-round home to thousands of sea birds of some 14 different species. Its spectacular coral reef, which thrives in the ideal conditions of clear, shallow, sunlit water, is home to a variety of marine life, including giant clams and brilliant fish. Because Michaelmas Cay is a National Park, the fish are so tame you can feed them from the beach and birds know they are safe to wander among you with their chicks. Lunch is a tropical smorgasbord, and morning and afternoon teas are also available on board.
Spend four hours at the reef with time for a variety of activities. You may wish to do an introductory scuba dive with a qualified instructor, or just laze on the beach. Enjoy a leisurely sail back to Cairns and afternoon tea; you'll arrive back at the wharf late afternoon.Starting Accommodation:
Day 8 – Cairns At Leisure
Built on Trinity Inlet, the Coral Sea calls from the east while the rain-forest-clad Atherton Tablelands serenade from the west, making Cairns a nature lover's nirvana. The warmth of the tropical climate has fostered a vigorous outdoor lifestyle that's reflected in the architectural styles of open verandas and balconies, and extending to the most traditional of Australian cuisine - the barbecue. Dining is a high point of any vacation, and the cosmopolitan local restaurants, cafes and eateries offer an eclectic fare of Australian and international cuisine, the highlight of most menus being the region's mouth-watering fresh seafood and unusual tropical fruits. Head to the heart of the city, the Esplanade, and enjoy a cafe latte before contemplating an abundance of tour options.Starting Accommodation:
Day 9 – Travel to Sydney
Takeoff to Sydney and continue on the next stage of your adventure.Starting Accommodation:
PARKROYAL Darling Harbour
Day 10 – Story of Sydney Tour & Cruise Like a Local Luncheon Cruise
Ultimately Sydney invites you to experience the 'Story of Sydney.' You will take away lasting memories of stunning beauty, fascinating culture and a variety of wonderful attractions. Traveling in a small group, 'The Story' promises to acquaint you with Australia's most vibrant city beginning with her birth place, The Rocks. Discover how culturally intact the region remains today.
The Story of Sydney is the ultimate way to orient yourself in Sydney. The itinerary includes 'must-see' attractions, from the Opera House to Bondi Beach; but there are also many of the local's favorite hidden gems. 'The Story' really brings the city to life as your guide introduces you to Sydney's unique culture, contemporary lifestyle and fascinating history while you tour the city's diverse villages, fashionable shopping strips, beautiful beaches and buzzing dining precincts. All this is seen through the eyes of a Sydney-sider. The tour also includes (optional) short walks along spectacular coastal paths and golden beaches.
Treat yourself to Sydney Harbour's most sensational Cruise Like a Local Luncheon Cruise. This is a unique, four-hour cruise experience. Enjoy the company of a small group aboard a 52-foot motor yacht. Your personal captain and host will share the rich history of Sydney Harbour and its foreshore as you take in the sites of the Sydney Harbour Bridge, the Sydney Opera House and the bays and coves of Sydney Harbour. Enjoy a three-course BBQ lunch with regional wines, local beers and five-star service. Immerse yourself in all the activities that a smaller vessel offers, including swimming and fishing - or sit back and relax on the expansive sunbed and do nothing at all.Starting Accommodation:
PARKROYAL Darling Harbour (L)
Day 11 – Sydney At Leisure
It is no surprise that when the British first arrived in Sydney they named the area Botany Bay. Even today, with a population of over 4 million people and a reputation for fun rather than flora, one is still surrounded by bush land in this bustling city. Native Waratah wind their way through the historic Rocks area, palm trees frame long stretches of pristine beach, and Eucalyptus embrace the endless and beckoning bays of Sydney Harbour.
It is Sydney's man-made wonders, however, that draw most visitors. The Sydney Opera House and the Sydney Harbour Bridge are the most photographed icons on the continent. Choose a Seaplane Safari experience and enjoy a bird's eye view of the Opera House's signature sails. See the Harbour Bridge up close and personal by climbing the metal monolith to enjoy stunning 360-degree views of the glittering vista below with BridgeClimb as you climb to the top. Whether it is an early morning visit to the largest fish market in the southern hemisphere, or your very first surfing lesson on Bondi Beach, in this vibrant metropolis you will find no lack of energetic escapes and dynamic distractions.
There are many ways to enjoy the harbor: on a small luxury motor cruiser or sailing yacht, or ferries that take you to Taronga Park Zoo or Manly and the harbor suburbs. Take the Darling Harbour Rocket that connects Circular Quay to Darling Harbour where there are many restaurants and attractions such as The Sydney Aquarium, Wildlife World, The IMAX Theater and the Naval Museum. For a more leisurely afternoon, take a walk through the Royal Botanical Gardens and Hyde Park, or learn about Australia's National Gemstone, the Opal, at Altmann; Cherny or The National Opal Collection, right in the heart of the city on Pitt Street.Starting Accommodation:
PARKROYAL Darling Harbour
Day 12 – Depart Sydney
Ahead of your flight, you will be transferred from your accommodation to Sydney International Airport.