Australia and New Zealand are revealed on this trip, which joins the Great Barrier Reef, Melbourne's local secrets and Sydney's Opera House with geysers, adventure playgrounds and Maori traditions.
You'll enjoy Insider moments like... getting up close and personal with some of Australia's most legendary native animals - including crocodiles, koalas and wallabies - on an in-depth wildlife adventure with an expert naturalist.
Board your international flight to Australia.
Cross the International Date Line.
Welcome to Melbourne! On arrival you will be transferred to your hotel (flights to arrive prior to 12pm). Early evening join your Travel Director for a Welcome Reception and dinner on board the famous Colonial Tramcar Restaurant, for what is not only a culinary delight, but a trip into a little piece of Victoria's history. As you cruise the city streets of Melbourne, you'll enjoy a seasonal menu and quality Australian wines. It's a great opportunity to get to know everyone in a unique setting.
Join your Travel Director for a Cultural Insight. Your city sights tour includes a private walk through Melbourne's famous hidden laneways. You'll discover the city's eclectic little lanes, arcades, café society and fascinating street art. Spend the rest of the day as you choose.
This morning you will fly to Cairns. On arrival join your Local Specialist for a private wildlife journey at Hartley's Crocodile Adventures. On a boat cruise you'll encounter koalas, wallabies, birds and of course, crocodiles! This evening dine at Salt House, overlooking the Cairns waterfront.
Today is free for you to discover Cairns. Perhaps take one of our Optional Experiences. You could journey on the Scenic Railway to Kuranda, where there's time to explore the 'village in the rainforest' including the Heritage Village Markets. Then return to the lowlands high above the breathtaking canopy of the Barron Gorge National Park through some of the oldest rainforest in the world, on the Skyrail Rainforest Cableway.
Get ready for an experience of a lifetime when you board a high-speed catamaran and cruise to the outer edge of the Great Barrier Reef. Covering approximately 35 million hectares, it is the largest reef structure and marine park in the world and offers an experience like no other. View the spectacular coral and tropical fish from the underwater observatory and semi-submersible craft. You'll have the opportunity to go snorkeling and experience this natural wonder up-close (equipment provided). Enjoy a tropical buffet lunch before returning to Cairns.
This morning you'll fly to Sydney. On arrival there's time to relax or explore before boarding a Captain Cook Sunset Dinner Cruise. Enjoy a two course à la carte Regional Meal and the mesmerising views of Sydney at night. You'll pass magnificent waterfront homes, beaches and parklands and all the main harbor attractions including the Harbor Bridge and Opera House.
Kick off this highlight day on a guided tour of Sydney Opera House with a Local Specialist. Later, your destination is famous Bondi Beach, for an iconic Australian experience. You'll be greeted by a local surf lifesaver before a Regional Meal at an Aussie institution, the Returned Servicemen's Club, with its views over the Pacific Ocean. Your host, a Local Specialist, will take you on an exclusive tour through Australia's oldest surf lifesaving club for an insight into the history of Bondi and surf lifesaving. Later spend free time exploring or shopping, enjoy an Optional Experience or maybe just take a stroll along the harbor front.
The day is yours to explore this wonderful city. Why not take an Optional Experience to the spectacular Blue Mountains to see the Three Sisters. This evening, join your Travel Director and fellow travelers for a unique Be My Guest experience at Gardener's Lodge Café. Meet Aboriginal Elder, Aunty Beryl, for an intimate dining experience featuring fresh local produce with traditional bush flavours. Experience a traditional Aboriginal Welcome to Country ceremony, native bush foods and insight into traditional culture including storytelling, music and dance. It will be an evening to remember.
This morning say farewell to Sydney and fly to Queenstown, New Zealand. On arrival explore the historic gold mining village of Arrowtown, before an orientation tour of Queenstown and surrounds. This evening join your Travel Director for dinner at The Boatshed, set in the historic New Zealand Railways Shipping Office built in 1936. Restored and relocated to its lakefront setting, The Boatshed, with its spectacular views of Lake Wakatipu and the Remarkables mountain range, is the perfect venue for your exclusive Regional Meal with wine.
You have a free day to do as you choose in New Zealand's adventure capital. Why not take an Optional Experience to breathtaking Milford Sound for a cruise on the majestic fiord.
Today you may like to consider taking another of our Optional Experiences. You could ride the Shotover Jet boat, join a wine tour, play a round of golf, take a 4WD minibus excursion through Skippers Canyon, relax with a spa treatment at Millbrook Resort or just explore Queenstown on your own. This evening perhaps ride a gondola to the Skyline Restaurant for dinner.
Fly from Queenstown to Rotorua, the cultural center of New Zealand. This evening join your traveling companions for a memorable Be My Guest dinner. Experience the heart-pounding wero (challenge) from a Maori warrior during a Powhiri, a ceremonial welcome, at the Tamaki Family Marae. Journey into the village and gain insight into life in New Zealand before European settlement. Feast on succulent meats and vegetables cooked in a hangi, the traditional Maori method of cooking in the earth.
This morning a Maori Local Specialist will accompany you around the Whakarewarewa Living Thermal Village, where you'll gain an appreciation of Maori culture. See New Zealand's biggest geyser, bubbling mud pools and thermal springs. Your next stop is Rainbow Springs Nature Park for a tour with a Local Specialist. You may even spot a kiwi! Then visit the Agrodome Farm Show, the multi-award-winning stage show, for a Cultural Insight and taste of farm life.
Travel to the Waitomo Caves to see the incredible Glow Worm Grotto and Limestone Caves with a Local Specialist. You'll take a silent boat ride through the subterranean cavern lit by thousands of tiny glow worms. Later, on arrival in Auckland you'll see the sights on a city tour. This evening join your Travel Director and new-found friends for a Farewell Dinner at 'Eight' at The Langham. Your personal degustation is prepared for you from the freshest, quality ingredients, including mouth-watering seafood and delicious desserts.
Time to bid you farewell as we transfer you to Auckland Airport for your onward flight (flights anytime).
14 hot buffet breakfasts, 2 lunches, 7 dinners (including 2 Be My Guests').
|Depart Date||Return Date||Price||Discount||Availability||Price|
|5 Sep 17||21 Sep 17||$4,750pp||Request Quote|
|17 Oct 17||2 Nov 17||$5,050pp||Request Quote|
Departures between November 1, 2016 - March 31, 2017 operate as per the 2016 itinerary. Departures between October 1, 2017 - March 31, 2018 are subject to price, itinerary and hotel modification.
Price is per person and is based on two people sharing a twin bedded room. Single rooms are available at a supplement.
Single Room Supplement: from $1,470.
* Air: Please note that airfares are not included in the prices above. Land Only price requires the following intra-trip flights to be purchased separately in order to fulfill the trip itinerary: Day 3 from Melbourne to Cairns: QF702; Day 6 from Cairns to Sydney: JQ957; Day 9 from Sydney to Queenstown: QF121; Day 12 from Queenstown to Rotorua: NZ636/5378; Grand European Tours guarantees to quote you the lowest possible airfare available to us on the day that you book.
Early Payment Discount: Pay in full to save the amount listed above. For details, click here.
AARP Members are entitled to an exclusive Member Benefit Discount on all Grand European Travel vacations. Plus receive a free travel gift! Call Toll Free: 1-866-847-3858 for details.
Frequent Travelers: Save an additional 5% off the price of the vacation.
U.S. citizens traveling to Australia and New Zealand must have a current passport that is valid for six months beyond the conclusion of their trip. You can find information on how to apply for a passport here, and how to renew a passport here. Australia also requires an electronic visa which is obtained at the time of your airline ticket purchase.
You will be using the Australian dollar and New Zealand dollar on your trip. You can use your debit or credit card for purchases. The most convenient way to obtain cash is to use your ATM card at local banks in Australia and New Zealand. We recommend you also bring a valid credit card for purchases while you are traveling. It is important that you inform your financial institutions of your travel plans before you leave home so they don’t flag your purchases as potentially fraudulent charges.
Food in Australia and New Zealand is innovative and diverse. As island nations with strong agricultural traditions, culinary traditions here are guided by local ingredients and seasonal variations, as well as international influences. You’ll find a variety of seafood including fresh oysters and crab, grilled steaks and lamb chops, meat pies, and fish and chips.
We suggest bringing a variety of comfortable, lightweight clothing that can be layered to save space in your suitcase and give you more options for how to dress. Sturdy walking shoes are important. Insect repellant and sunscreen may come in handy, as well as a light jacket and reusable water bottle. For more helpful information please refer to our Packing Tips & Packing List.
It is not customary to tip at restaurants in Australia and New Zealand. If you would like to reward good service when dining out it’s appropriate to leave 10 percent gratuity for your waiter.
At the end of your guided vacation, it’s customary to offer your motor coach driver and Travel Director a gratuity. We recommend the equivalent of $4 per person/per day for your driver and $6 per person/per day for your Travel Director. Recommended gratuity for a Local Host and Local Specialist is the equivalent of 1-2 dollars per person, paid at the conclusion of each guided visit. A convenient option is to prepay your tips before your departure.
Baggage on our trips is restricted to one large suitcase per person with dimensions not exceeding 30x19x10 inches and a maximum weight of 50 pounds. You are also permitted one piece of hand luggage, which should be small enough to fit under your coach seat or on the small overhead shelf compartment. Please note that luggage with an adjustable handle and wheels will not fit in the overhead compartment of the coach. Hotel porterage is included in your vacation.
You will need to be comfortable on your feet, walking and standing for up to three hours in various weather conditions. All of our vacations involve walking, often on cobblestone and uneven surfaces in historic city centers. In order to get the most out of your vacation you need to be able to comfortably walk 1-3 miles unassisted in one day, be in good condition and be able to keep pace with the group.
If you need any medications, it is important that you bring enough to last you the whole trip and keep them in your carry-on bag while you travel.
We highly recommend our optional Travel Protection Plan, which allows you to cancel for any reason up to 48 hours before departure. The plan also includes trip interruption, baggage loss or delay, and medical and emergency assistance. Click here for a summary of coverage details, terms and conditions.
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