Australia & New Zealand

Rocks, Reefs, & a Fjord Cruise

  • Date

    January 22-February 9, 2023 | Sun / Thu – 19 Days 

  • Location

    Sydney | Cairns | Great Barrier Reef | Kuranda | Ayers Rock | Melbourne | Queenstown | Milford Sound | Rotorua | Auckland

Overview

Set your sights on an incredible journey to Australia and New Zealand! Dive or snorkel in the Great Barrier Reef. Immerse yourself at Uluru (Ayers Rock) in the Australian Outback as you experience the stillness and beauty of the desert lands. Tour the cities of Sydney, Melbourne, Queenstown, and Auckland. Discover Aboriginal Australia and Maori New Zealand with visits to cultural parks, and cruise Milford Sound, Lake Wakatipu and Auckland Harbor.

HIGHLIGHTS INCLUDE

  • Tours of Sydney, Melbourne, Queenstown, and Auckland
  • Great Barrier Reef cruise with opportunity to snorkel or scuba dive
  • Ride the historic Kuranda Scenic Railway and Skyrail
  • Three nights at Ayers Rock with sunset and sunrise viewings
  • Stargazing at the Field of Light Dinner
  • Anangu Dot Painting experience
  • Sydney Harbour cruise
  • Three-course dinner at a riverside restaurant in Melbourne
  • Milford Sound cruise
  • Auckland Harbour cruise
  • Tour and dinner on a sheep farm
  • Rotorua Maori performance
  • Waitomo Caves and Glowworm Grotto

PACKAGE INCLUDES

  • Roundtrip commercial air from Indianapolis to Sydney, Australia and from Auckland, New Zealand
  • Internal flights per itinerary
  • Escorted
  • 16 nights accommodations
  • Breakfast daily
  • 5 lunches, 7 dinners
  • Sightseeing and admissions per itinerary
  • Ground transportation
  • Hotel baggage handling

NOTE:

A passport is required to travel to this destination and must be valid for at least six months after your return.

This itinerary includes activities where moderate walking, possibly on uneven terrain, is required. Some of the most unique sightseeing can be restrictive to motorcoaches, especially in historic areas.

This itinerary includes activities that currently require proof of COVID-19 vaccination.

Sun, Jan 22: Board overnight flight to Sydney, Australia.

Mon, Jan 23: Cross the International Date Line.

Tue, Jan 24: Arrive in Sydney, New South Wales, Australia. This morning, a sightseeing tour of Sydney includes stopping for panoramic views of the city and of the Pacific Ocean at Watson’s Bay. Arrive at famous Bondi Beach for a brief stop before visiting Paddington to view its restored 19th-century Colonial Terraces. Check in to the Radisson Blu Hotel Sydney for a two-night stay.

Wed, Jan 25: This morning, see the Sydney Opera House on a private guided tour. Afterward, proceed to Circular Quay for a lunch cruise through the Sydney Harbor. Enjoy stunning harbor views with comprehensive commentary and a delicious buffet lunch. Enjoy dinner at a local seafood restaurant. (Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)

Thu, Jan 26: Fly to Cairns, gateway to the Great Barrier Reef, and enjoy a lunch upon arrival. Check in to the Novotel Cairns Oasis Resort for a three-night stay, located close to shops, dining, and a wharf overlooking the Coral Sea. (B,L)

Fri, Jan 27: Travel in comfort on the historic Kuranda Scenic Railway as it meanders through the ancient rainforest and on to Kuranda, the famous “Village in the Rainforest.” Learn about the history of this engineering triumph while taking in the breathtaking scenery. In Kuranda you’ll have time to explore the village and browse through the markets. Board the Skyrail for a 90-minute ride as it spans an ancient tropical rainforest. At the Pamagirri Aboriginal Experience, immerse yourself in the Aboriginal culture performances with authentic music, dance, storytelling, and interactive activities such as boomerang demonstrations. (B)

Sat, Jan 28: Spend a full day on the Great Barrier Reef. Take a fast, stable catamaran to a stunning coral reef location. Access the reef from an all-weather activity platform. Lunch is served, and changing rooms and showers are available. Snorkel in the sheltered coral lagoon, scuba dive, or see the reef from a semi-submersible or glass-bottom boat. (B,L)

Sun, Jan 29: Depart by air for Uluru (Ayers Rock). Transfer to the Sails in the Desert Hotel, Ayers Rock Resort’s premium hotel and check in for three nights. Later, travel through the desert enjoy the award winning, A Night at Field of Light experience. With Uluru as your backdrop enjoy canapes while viewing an unforgettable sunset. As darkness falls, the colored lights of 50,000 glass spheres gently sparkle to life. Feast on authentic Australian delicacies complimented by Australian wines. A stargazer guide takes you on a tour of the spectacular nighttime sky. (B,D)

Mon, Jan 30: Meet a local Anangu artist and an interpreter to learn how their ancient symbols, stories, and culture are shared through artwork.  Practice some introductory Pitjantjatjara words (language spoken by Anangu). Then put your knowledge to work at a fun introduction to the unique desert art form of dot painting. Tell your own story on canvas; a creation you get to take with you! Late this afternoon, travel through the desert to The Olgas (Kata Tjuta) — 36 massive red rock domes. Enjoy a glass of wine while viewing the Uluru sunset. (B)

Tue, Jan 31: Rise early to watch as the gradual rising sun changes the colors of Uluru. Return to the resort for breakfast then travel back to Uluru to tour the rock’s base. The 2,800-foot rock seems to change continually as the light moves across it. Take an informative guided walk into Mutitjulu waterhole and view Aboriginal rock paintings, and learn about flora, fauna, and Aboriginal history. Stop at the Cultural Centre before returning to the resort. Spend the rest of your day at leisure enjoying the amenities at the resort. (B)

Wed, Feb 1: Fly to Melbourne, known as Australia’s cultural capital. It has been recognized as a UNESCO City of Literature. Upon arrival, transfer to the The Savoy Hotel Melbourne for two nights. The rest of the day is yours to explore the city. (B)

Thu, Feb 2: Enjoy a city sightseeing tour, discovering Melbourne’s past and present. Stop at Cooks’ Cottage, the North Yorkshire home of the world famous British explorer, Captain James Cook’s, parents. It was built in 1755, and was moved, brick by brick, from England to Melbourne in 1934. The afternoon is at your leisure. This evening, enjoy a three-course meal at a local modern restaurant with iconic views down the river with a stunning city backdrop. (B,D)

Fri, Feb 3: This morning, fly to Queenstown, South Island, New Zealand. Check in to the Novotel Queenstown Lakeside on the shores of Lake Wakatipu for the next three nights. The rest of the day is at leisure. (B)

Sat, Feb 4: In the morning, enjoy a highlights tour of Queenstown. Start with a ride on the Skyline Gondola and travel to the top to Bob’s Peak for breathtaking views. Then drive through the wine-growing region around the Kawarau River and watch the Bungy Jump at the Kawarau Bridge. Visit historic Arrowtown, once a spot for gold-mining. In the afternoon, choose an included excursion. Travel by 4WD vehicles to visit the historic Chinese Settlers Village and the film location for the Ford of Bruinen in the Lord of the Rings movies, or take an exhilarating whitewater jet boat ride on the Shotover River! This evening, gather back as a group for an included cruise across Lake Wakatipu on the steamer TSS Earnslaw to Walter Peak Station. The captain will provide commentary as you sail. Upon arrival at Walter Peak High Country Farm, walk through the beautiful gardens and enjoy a buffet dinner with wine at the Colonel’s Homestead Restaurant. Watch a sheepdog demonstration or just relax in the bar before returning to Queenstown for the night. (B,D)

Sun, Feb 5: Transfer to Milford Sound via the Fiordland National Park, with stops en route. The scenic cruise on Milford Sound journeys the full length of the sound out to the Tasman Sea, with stops at various points and offering excellent viewing of dramatic waterfalls, rainforest, mountains, and wildlife. Lunch is included on board. Take the scenic drive back to Queenstown after a mesmerizing day! (B,L,D)

Mon, Feb 6: Fly to New Zealand’s North Island and arrive in Rotorua, the center of an extensive thermal region, with geysers, bubbling mud pools, and steaming, sulphurous lakes. Take a brief highlights tour on the way to your hotel. Drive along the Rotorua lakefront, through the city center and the beautiful Government Gardens. Check in to the Millennium Rotorua Hotel for one night. Later in the afternoon transfer to Te Puia and the Whakarewarewa Thermal Reserve, and the Maori Arts & Crafts Institute. Your Maori guide will escort you to the Maori Pa village site and the institute, where young Maoris are taught the intricacies of traditional carving. Visit the geothermal reserve and view the boiling mud pools and geysers. The evening is filled with a traditional Powhir (welcome) and Wero (challenge). Enjoy a performance of Maori songs and dances followed by an authentic Maori hangi (buffet dinner) with food prepared in a stone-lined fire pit. (B,D)

Tue, Feb 7: Visit Rainbow Springs with a guided tour. Many of New Zealand’s unique flora and fauna are featured here. Visit the Kiwi Encounter to view the country’s national icon, the flightless kiwi bird. Visit Waitomo Caves, an impressive underground series of caves that includes the Cathedral and the Tomo, a deep limestone shaft. Then take a boat trip through the spectacular Glowworm Grotto. The roof sparkles with the lights of glowworm larvae that reflect off the water. Lunch is a country style buffet at Crosshills Farm. Drive to Auckland, the world’s biggest Polynesian city, with 190 different ethnicities. The city has a lively arts and culture scene, a wide range of food and craft markets, vineyards, and outstanding restaurants. Spend two nights at the centrally located Cordis Auckland. (B,L)

Wed, Feb 8: Discover Auckland on a sightseeing tour. Visit the Sky Tower for extensive views of the city and surroundings. The tower is the tallest manmade structure in New Zealand and offers incredible views in every direction. Drive along the waterfront of Tamaki Drive to Orakei and Mission Bay, and the inner city suburb of Parnell and the gardens of the Auckland Domain. Explore the Auckland Museum on a guided tour. Transfer to the Viaduct Harbor for a harbor cruise on the Pride of Auckland sailing yacht. The coffee cruise sails under the Auckland Harbour Bridge and around the beautiful harbor. You’ll have an opportunity to try your hand at steering and trimming the sails, or just sit back, relax, and enjoy the views of the harbor and city. Return to the hotel with the balance of the afternoon on your own. Get together this evening for a Farewell Dinner at the Harbourside Restaurant on the Auckland Waterfront. Return to the hotel for your final night in New Zealand. (B,D)

Thu, Feb 9: In the morning, transfer to the airport in Auckland for your flight home. Return the same day. (B)

Radisson Blu Hotel, Sydney. An intimate boutique style hotel within a beautifully restored heritage listed building located in the heart of the city. The spectacular sights of the Sydney Opera House, Harbour Bridge, the tranquil Royal Botanical Gardens and some of the best shopping spots are only a short stroll away. Highlights: in-room coffee and tea maker • complimentary in-room Internet access • restaurant • bar • spa • pool • fitness center.

Novotel Cairns Oasis Resort, Cairns. An Oasis within the city, this property is set on 2.5 hectares of tropical gardens surrounding a freeform pool with swim up bar. Highlights: in-room coffee/tea maker • in-room Internet access • restaurant • bar • spa • fitness center.

Sails in the Desert Hotel, Ayers Rock. Ayers Rock Resort’s premium hotel. Named after the soaring white sails that crown its roof, and features decor focused on Aboriginal heritage and culture. The property also features an expansive gumtree lined swimming pool and a range of dining options. Highlights: in-room coffee and tea maker • complimentary in-room Internet access • restaurant • bar • pool • fitness center • free guided walks.


The Savoy Hotel Melbourne, Melbourne. 
Located in the heart of Melbourne’s central business district and recognised as one of Melbourne’s finest 4 star boutique-style hotels.  Built in 1928 and lovingly restored in every detail, the property offers modern facilities housed in a beautiful art deco style.  Highlights: in-room coffee and tea maker • complimentary in-room Internet access • restaurant • bar • spa • fitness center.


Novotel Queenstown Lakeside, Queenstown. This hotel provides one of the most sought after locations for Queenstown hotels. The hotel’s elevated position gives fantastic views of the Southern Alps and over Lake Wakatipu. Highlights: in-room coffee and tea maker, microwave and refrigerator • complimentary in-room Internet access • restaurant • bar • spa.

Millennium Rotorua Hotel, Rotorua. Centrally located in the city beside mystical Lake Rotorua, this property is one of the most conveniently located and best appointed. Highlights: in-room coffee and tea maker • complimentary in-room Internet access • restaurant • bar • spa • fitness center.

The Cordis, Auckland. Distinguished among Auckland hotels, this five-star property is a haven of tranquillity in the heart of the vibrant city. Highlights: in-room coffee/tea maker • complimentary in-room Internet access • restaurant • bar • spa • fitness center.

Pricing

  • Package with Air
  • Double P/P – $11,799
  • Single – $13,999

*Subject to change due to increase in exchange rate or fuel.

Documents Required: Valid Passport & Visas; visit travel.state.gov for specific requirements.

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