An Adventure in Australia and the Mysteries of New Zealand

 

 

A 25 day 22 Night Australian adventure

DEPART FROM HOME

Head from your home city to LAX  or SFO as you begin discovering the new, adventurous you. The group will gather here and all leave Los Angeles Airport on a flight bound for Melbourne. As you cross the international date line, you will skip ahead one day and arrive in Melbourne.

If you are an adventurer at heart, here is the perfect opportunity to reinvent your life. Fly to Australia and get a chance to see the full spectrum of its grandeur. Start with the cultural and natural wealth of its wild outback regions and the Great Barrier Reef. Enjoy iconic sights like the Australian Rainforest, colorful birds and Australian wildlife like nothing you’ve ever imagined. Enjoy the indigenous cultures who live in these regions, and celebrate their native traditions, music, and stories. From there, head to the spectacular Great Barrier Reef, and learn why it was famed diver Jacques Cousteau’s favorite place in the world. Just as you get your fill of the beauty of Australia’s wild lands, you will return to the city of Sydney. Spend a few more days soaking in the metropolitan culture that Sydney has to offer, before either heading home or departing on our guided tour of New Zealand. Don’t let another year go by wishing you could see the world. Instead, plan on it.

DAY 1 – 2

Flight to Melbourne Australia

Day 3: Melbourne

Arrive to Australia/Melbourne

After clearing customs and immigration proceed to the arrivals hall where you will be met by your local tour Driver/Guide who will accompany you throughout your visit in Melbourne.  It’s summer here, so enjoy being away from the chilly winter winds, and bask once again in the warm, summer climate. Enjoy getting to know your new travel companions as you acclimate to the time and the climate. Join us for a group dinner while you chat about yourselves, and ask questions about the upcoming trip. After dinner, take some time to look upward. The skies are lovely and dark here, so stargazers will enjoy learning the southern constellations

Overnight: Melbourne, Crowne Plaza Hotel 
Meals: B,D

DAY 4: Melbourne Free Day

Today you have a free day to explore Melbourne. Hotel: Crowne Plaza Hotel Melbourne. B

DAY 5: Melbourne City tour and Puffing Billy

Experience the sights of cosmopolitan Melbourne. See Parliament House, Queen Victoria Market and visit the Royal Botanic Gardens. Travel to the Maru Koala & Animal Park to get up close to koalas, kangaroos, Tasmanian Devils and other native animals. View the Nobbies rock formations overlooking one of the most treacherous oceans in the world, Bass Strait.

Tonight, you’ll board the Puffing Billy Steam train. Sit back and take in the magnificent landscape of lush forests and fern gullies before the train travels across the most iconic Puffing Billy landmark – the historic Trestle Bridge. In the rustic informality of the ‘Nobelious Packing Shed’, you’ll enjoy a three course meal, good company and live music with your fellow travellers.

Overnight: Melbourne, Crowne Plaza Hotel 
Meals: B, D

DAY 6: Great Ocean Road stretches 550 km along the southern coast of Victoria.

Admire panoramic views of the Melbourne city skyline before travelling along Victoria’s famous Great Ocean Road. Drive through the beautiful coastal towns of Lorne and Wye River and see spectacular Cape Patton. Arrive at the beautiful white sandy beaches of Apollo Bay at lunchtime, then drive through lush tree-fern gullies and towering mountain-ash rainforests of the Otway National Park. Admire the stone monoliths of the Twelve Apostles and enjoy the amazing shipwreck story of survival of the Loch Ard and visit its famous Gorge and Razorback Lookout. Visit the rock known as London Bridge, parts of which have collapsed in recent years, before your journey back to Melbourne.

Overnight: Melbourne, Crowne Plaza Hotel 
Meals: B,L

DAY 7: Melbourne Phillip Island and the Penguin Parade

Morning at leisure.

We will gather at the hotel around 3:00 to head to the Phillip Island area. This afternoon, we will depart the busy city and suburbs, traveling out into the rural countryside to visit Australia’s most popular wildlife attraction and home to the one of the largest Little Penguin colonies in the world. The Little Penguin is the world’s smallest penguin and the Penguin Parade is the best place to experience this natural phenomenon. Every sunset, wild Little Penguins emerge from the sea and waddle across the beach to their sand dune burrows.

Overnight: Melbourne, Crowne Plaza Hotel 
Meals: BL

DAY 8: Flight to Cairns

Transfer to the airport for your flight. Adventure is waiting for you in Cairns, the tourist capital of tropical North Queensland and gateway to the Great Barrier Reef. From the blue waters of the Coral Sea and the diverse marine life of the Great Barrier Reef, to the flora of the tropical rain forests and the cool inland tablelands, Cairns has a wealth of natural beauty to behold. Later this afternoon put on your walking shoes and join your Tour Manager for a walk on the waterfront boardwalk. One of the focal points of this city is the vast saltwater swimming lagoon shaped to the State of Queensland with its whimsical steel fish sculptures and sandy beach. Wander along the Esplanade or walkways adjacent to the boardwalk and park areas for a variety of restaurants and shopping. This evening we will gather for dinner at a local restaurant.
Overnight: Cairns, Rydges Esplanade
Meals: B,

DAY 9:  Green Island, Great Barrier Reef Marine Park

Start the day with  breakfast as you prepare for an excursion to the most famous coral reef in the world. We will board a high speed catamaran for an exciting excursion to the Great Barrier Reef. This immense series of 2,800 coral reefs are home to amazingly diverse marine life, ranging from the clownfish and blue tangs of Finding Nemo’s fame, to sea turtles, to the world’s most famous sharks, the Great Whites. When we arrive at Green Island, the choice is up to you. You will be able to explore the reef in many ways. You can watch for fish and wildlife, and learn about the different species below you on a glass bottom boat ride. There is a lovely stroll you can enjoy on the walking trail to take in the rainforest. For those who want to relax and bask in the sunshine, there are beaches to lay out and read, and some amazing spots to snorkel. You can even just watch the fish and sea turtles swim past from the pier. If you’re looking for something more adventurous, there are optional scuba tours, or an outer reef boating tour. Whether your tastes are calm or wild, the reef has something for everyone, and will certainly be one of the highlights of your trip. Remember to bring a swim suit and towel, sunscreen, hat and comfortable walking shoes and your camera. After returning to our hotel you will have the remainder of the day on your own.
Overnight: Cairns, Rydges Esplanade
Meals: B

DAY 10:  Tjapukai – Skyrail – Kuranda

Visit the fascinating Tjapukai Aboriginal Cultural Park, Australia’s largest indigenous cultural park which has been built in a spectacular rainforest setting. Discover this ancient culture through bush food lessons, didgeridoo demonstrations, movie theatres, fire making demonstrations and the famous Tjapukai Dance. A short distance from Tjapukai is the Skyrail Rainforest Cableway. This will take you directly above the breathtaking canopy of the Barron Gorge National Park. En route to Kuranda, there are 2 stations where you can enjoy a walk through the rainforest and observe its beauty from spectacular lookouts. On arrival there is free time to explore the ‘village in the rainforest’ and its many attractions, including the Heritage Markets. After exploring, board the Kuranda train for a historic journey travelling through some of the oldest rainforest in the world. Passing the spectacular Stoney Creek Falls your journey winds through man-made tunnels, across bridges and around curves to arrive at its final destination, Freshwater Station.
Overnight: Cairns, Rydges Esplanade
Meals: B,

DAY 11: Cairns Hot Air Ballooning

We will rise early this morning for a Sun Rise hot air balloon ride. It is not often that 3rd Rock Adventures will ask you to rise this early…..but this is well worth the early hour. Experience the fun & unique sensation of being in a Hot Air Balloon, flying gently high above the Atherton Tablelands, Australia. The balloon takes off from Mareeba on the Atherton Tablelands.  Enjoy the picturesque landscape at dawn, spend 30 minutes floating in your Hot Air Balloon, time to really breathe in the wide-open spaces!  After this breath taking Morning the rest of the day is yours at leisure.

Overnight: Cairns, Rydges Esplanade
Meals: B

DAY 12: Flight to Sydney

This morning you will be transferred to the airport for your flight to Sydney. On arrival at Sydney Airport you’ll be transferred to your hotel. The afternoon is at leisure to explore the fascinating harbour city. Maybe take a ferry ride on the harbour or explore the colourful Darling Harbour precinct.

Overnight: Sydney , Vibe Hotel
Meals: B,L

DAY 13: Full Day Sightseeing

There’s plenty to see on this tour through world -class Sydney. Enjoy stunning views from Milsons Point, Seaforth Lookout and Mrs. Macquarie’s chair. Relax at Manly and Bondi Beach before setting out on a lunch cruise on the glorious Sydney Harbour. Take in stunning harbour views on board the prestigious Captain Cook cruise ship MV Sydney 2000. The team on board will provide expert commentary on all the important sites and their history, while you enjoy a buffet lunch of fresh Australian seafood, tender prime meats and seasonal fruit and vegetables.

Overnight: Sydney Vibe Hotel
Meals: B,L

DAY 14: Full Day Blue Mountains and Wildlife Park

After breakfast participate in a full day excursion to Featherdale Wildlife Park and the Blue Mountains. Featherdale is home to over 300 species of Australia’s diverse wildlife. Here, you may cuddle a Koala (a must-do for everyone visiting Australia!), feed the kangaroos, view the Fairy Penguins, and see the colorful Parrots, Cockatoos and Lorikeets. For wilderness and wildlife, the magnificent Blue Mountains region is a must see for any visitor to Sydney.Will take time for Lunch and then travel through quaint mountain villages, past spectacular lookouts, and through the rugged Australian Bush to Scenic World. Returning to the city in the late afternoon. This evening is for you to enjoy with Friends.
Overnight: Sydney Vibe Hotel
Meals: B,L

DAY 15: Full Day in Sydney

Today you’re going to taste some of the finest wines this country has to offer, amid the stunning landscape of the Hunter Valley. Visit Hope Estate for a tour and tastings of their Semillon, Chardonnay and Shiraz wines. At the Hunter Resort enjoy a tasting platter lunch of seasonal local produce, and a range of wine tastings to complement the food. This afternoon, you will return to your hotel

Tonight you will dine at the Sydney Tower Restaurant with spectacular views of Sydney.

Overnight: Sydney Vibe Hotel
Meals: B,L,D

DAY 16: En Route

 Leisure

There is much to see, and much to do in Sydney! Enjoy your leisure time traveling around the city independently. Be sure to linger in The Rocks area with its charming pubs, bistros, and galleries along the main streets and squares. Or, travel out to one of Sydney’s famous beaches for some fun in the sun with the locals. If you’re feeling adventurous, you may  choose the experience a lifetime on an optional invigorating climb to the top of the world-famous Sydney Harbor Bridge. We will gather back at the hotel this afternoon for our transfer to  the Airport for your 07:15 pm flight to Christchurch.

Overnight: Christchurch, Novotel Christchurch.
Meals: B

Day 17: Christchurch city tour

Board a classic 1960s London double decker bus for a fun and informative tour of Christchurch. Learn about Christchurch’s fascinating history and how it’s recovering from the 2011 devastating earthquake. See some of the areas affected by the earthquake, hear how Christchurch is preserving some of its iconic heritage buildings and learn about the vision to rebuild the inner city. Later, why not visit the Canterbury Museum or go punting on the Avon River. Tonight you will dine at the Christchurch Tramway Restaurant. Incorporate fabulous dining with a sightseeing tour showcasing Christchurch’s inner city vibrancy and heritage.

Overnight: Christchurch, Novotel Christchurch.
Meals: B,D

Day 18: Christchurch to Nelson

After breakfast we will depart your hotel at 8:00 am for a scenic coastal drive between Christchurch and Blenheim. The road skirts along rugged coastal ranges and the stunning Pacific Ocean. Arrive to Blenheim and spend the afternoon wine touring in the Marlborough Region. We will have a lovely lunch at one of the Vineyards.  Upon arriving in Nelson in the late afternoon you will have the remainder of the day on your own.
Overnight: Nelson, Grand Mercure Nelson Monaco Hotel, 
Meals: B,L,D

Day 19: Abel Tasman National Park

Depart Nelson at 8:30 am and drive to the Abel Tasman National Park.  At Kaiteriteri Beach you will board your launch for a 3.5 hour scenic cruise of the marine reserve reaching all the way to Totaranui. You will have the opportunity to see famous landmarks and New Zealand fur seals along with a comprehensive commentary from the park guides.  You can remain on-board for the duration of the cruise or choose to disembark and walk part of the Abel Tasman track.  Packed lunches included on this day.  Return to Nelson in the late afternoon. You have the rest of the day and evening on your own with friends.
Overnight: Nelson, Grand Mercure Nelson Monaco Hotel,
Meals: B,

Day 20: Nelson to Franz Josef Glacier

Travel from Nelson the Glacier Region today stopping at Punakaiki Pancake Rocks, and the historic gold-mining towns of Greymouth and Hokitika. The West Coast of the South Island is rich with minerals, one of the most-prized being pounamu, which is also known as greenstone or New Zealand jade. In Hokitika you will see master carvers at work in their studios.Arrive to Franz Josef Glacier in the late afternoon.
Own arrangement for lunch. Three course dinner included at your hotel this evening.
Overnight: Franz Josef Glacier, at the Scenic Hotel Franz Josef Glacier,
Meals:B

Day 21: Greymouth – Franz Josef – Fox Glacier

At 10:00am join your guide for a Glacier Valley Walk, (private for the group). Walk through rain forest alongside the Waiho River bed following the path of the glacier retreat. Near the terminal face, after a brief climb, you will be rewarded with spectacular views of the rapidly changing terminal face of the glacier.
Spend the afternoon at leisure. You may want to take a short walk in the Westland Tai Poutini National Park. There are many easy local walks that offer a mix of rainforest tracks, goldmining history, narrow gorges and reflective pools. Suggested walks include: Callery Gorge Walk, Douglas Walk, Tatare Tunnels Walk and the Terrace Walk.
A suggested activity for the afternoon or evening is a visit to the Glacier Hot Pools, enjoy a soothing dip nestled in the beautiful rain forest.
Own arrangement for lunch. Three course dinner included at your hotel this evening.
Overnight: Franz Josef Glacier, at the Scenic Hotel Franz Josef Glacier,
Meals:B,D

Day 22: Franz Joseg Glacier – Queenstown

Travel through the Haast Pass. See Thunder Creek Falls, take a rainforest walk and then it’s a trio of lakes – Wanaka, Hawea, Dunstan. Next up try sumptuous stone fruit at a Cromwell orchard. Later, you’ll visit historic gold mining Arrowtown on the Arrow River, previously one of the world’s richest rivers. On arrival in Queenstown, New Zealand’s adventure-capital, you’ll enjoy a sightseeing tour. This evening we will join for a wonderful BBQ dinner.
Overnight: at the Millennium Hotel Queenstown,
Meals: B,D

Day 23: Free Day in Queenstown with Shotover boats

Today is a free day in Queenstown.  This afternoon, enjoy an exhilarating jet boat ride down the mighty Shotover River!  

Overnight: Millennium Hotel Queenstown,
Meals: B

 Day 24: Queens to to the Doubtful Sound Overnight Cruise

Today we will head out  from your hotel to the Queenstown to the Doubtful sound for an overnight cruise.
Immerse yourself in the vast and untouched wilderness of Doubtful Sound, the second largest fiord in Fiordland National Park.
With its rugged peaks, verdant rainforest and twisting, hidden inlets, Doubtful Sound will take your breath away. Home to abundant wildlife you may see bottlenose dolphins and fur seals at play, or catch a glimpse of a rare Fiordland Crested Penguin. Getting to Doubtful Sound is an adventure in itself. With no direct road access, the only way you can to get to Doubtful Sound is by a cruise across Lake Manapouri and a coach trip over Wilmot Pass. This isolation makes the fiord a very special place, a place only those in the know get to see.
Designed along the lines of a traditional scow, the Fiordland Navigator blends old world charm with modern comforts that include spacious viewing decks, a dining saloon/fully licensed bar and an observation lounge. As you cruise through some of the fiord’s most stunning scenery, our knowledgeable nature guides will provide commentary ensuring you miss nothing, be it the pod of resident dolphins, fur seals or rare penguins you might encounter. After dropping anchor in a sheltered cove, you can choose to explore the shoreline by kayak or tender boat or to simply relax onboard. For the more adventurous (or very brave), there’s even a chance to go swimming!
In the evening, enjoy a delicious three course buffet dinner prepared by our onboard chef and served in the dining saloon. Mingle with fellow travellers, savour some of the fine wines at our licensed bar and if the skies are clear in the evening, spend some time on the upper deck gazing at the stars.
Overnight: Fijordland Navigator, B,D

Day 25:Doubtful Sound to Auckland

Will start with a relaxing morning aboard ship but do not be fooled there is alot of traveling to be done today.Kick off the next day with a hearty cooked breakfast and spend the rest of the morning exploring other parts of the fiord. You then return to Deep Cove for the trip back to Manapouri, and on  to Queenstown, we will then fly from Queenstown to Auckland where we will spend our final evening. Upon arrival in Christchurch transfer to your hotel.

Dinner is on your own this evening

Accommodation at Mercure Hotel Auckland
Meals: B,L

Day 26:Depart for Home

After Breakfast at the hotel you have a full day on your own in Auckland.  There are so many things to choose from.  Have a wonderful day.  Return to your hotel in the late afternoon for your Transfer to the Auckland  Airport for your departing flight.

 

Starting as Low as $5,977.80 Land only

    • Limited to 20 People
    • Per person based on double occupancy
    • Single supplement $2,000. USD

 

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