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15 Day Downunder Highlights

Tour of Distinction - 15 Days (14 Nights) | $9,230
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A two-week introduction to the highlights of Australia and New Zealand. From sophisticated Melbourne, tropical Cairns with the nearby Great Barrier Reef, multicultural Sydney and Auckland to the silence of Milford Sound and a hundred waterfalls, this tour packs a lot within an eventful fortnight. Colonial grandeur, an indigenous cultural performance, penguin watching tours and rainforest explorations – there will be new and varied experiences daily. You will visit Rotorua with its active geysers, Queenstown in the midst of New Zealand’s Fiordland National Park, and spend time in Christchurch, now reshaping itself after two years into a renewed city.

Day 1: Arrival in Melbourne, Australia

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Melbourne is generally considered to have some of the best dining in Australia, especially aboard the converted 1927 tram that has become the Colonial Tramcar Restaurant. This glossy, burgundy restaurant on wheels is the only travelling tramcar restaurant in the world, and a delightfully innovative approach to dining. Sipping sparkling wine or a beverage of your choice, you will travel along Toorak Road, renowned for its stylish and beautiful shops. See the famous "Paris end of Collins Street", tree-lined and stately St Kilda Road, the city's imposing Arts Centre and the gaping jaws of Luna Park. They're all just part of the passing parade that is Melbourne. Enjoy the fine cuisine and drink the very best of Australian wines – the atmosphere is cozy, the service friendly, and the décor as inviting as the colonial period it reflects. The food is prepared on the tram and a maître d' oversees the traditional silver and white linen service. Dining is not only a culinary delight, but a trip into a little piece of Victoria's history. The tour includes a short walk to the Colonial Tramcar Restaurant terminal and a late dinner at the restaurant.


Day 2: Melbourne, Australia

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Melbourne is listed as one of the most livable cities in the world, with a multi-cultural population of over three million people. The city boasts magnificent architecture, fine restaurants and bars, beautiful gardens, a fascinating history, a great diversity of arts and culture and some lovely beaches. During the tour you will see the highlights of this wonderful city, incorporating modern Melbourne, its history and cultural diversity. See the beautiful architecture of some famous landmarks including the Melbourne Town Hall, St Paul’s Cathedral, Victorian Parliament, Flinders Street Station and Federation Square and visit the beach and café cultures of St Kilda. See the beautiful Shrine of Remembrance located on Melbourne’s most recognized boulevard, St Kilda Road, just south of the Melbourne central business district. A permanent and lasting memorial to the ANZAC spirit, it is Victoria’s largest and most visited war memorial and probably Melbourne’s most recognized landmark. Travel past other Melbourne icons including the Melbourne Cricket Ground, Queen Victoria Market, Melbourne Tennis Centre and Melbourne University. See the beautiful Fitzroy Gardens and visit Cook’s Cottage. In the afternoon, enjoy the Phillip Island tour. This amazing tour includes private charter motorcoach for eight hours of touring, a local guide for sightseeing assistance and admission to Phillip Island Reserve – Penguins Plus viewing platform.


Day 3: Melbourne – Cairns, Australia

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This day tour includes a meet and greet and sightseeing assistance by a local guide with hotel check-in assistance, private charter motorcoach for airport transfer, transfer to Hartley’s Creek Crocodile Adventure Park and hotel drop-off and general admission to Hartley’s Creek. Just 40 minutes north of Cairns and 25 minutes south of Port Douglas, Hartley’s Crocodile Adventures is simply the best place to see crocodiles and local wildlife in Tropical North Queensland. There is over 2,100 metres of timber boardwalks and pathways leading you on a journey of discovery through woodlands and rainforest, where you can see an array of wildlife including beautiful tropical birds, reptiles, insects and other native fauna. Enjoy the entertaining and educational wildlife presentations including snakes, cassowaries, koalas, crocodiles, quolls and much more. Take a boat cruise on Hartley’s Lagoon to see crocodiles and other wildlife on the melaleuca wetland and learn about sustainable use and conservation on the Crocodile Farm tour. The remainder of day is at your leisure.


Day 4: Cairns, Australia

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After breakfast, continue your Australian adventure with the Kuranda tour. The tour includes a private transfer from your hotel to Freshwater Station, a local guide for sightseeing assistance, one-way train ride on Kuranda Scenic Train (Heritage class), free time in Kuranda to visit the markets and perhaps purchase some lunch (own expense), one-way ride on Skyrail – Kuranda to Caravonica Station, a short walk to Tjapukai, general admission to Tjapukai Aboriginal Cultural Park and private transfer back to the hotel.


Day 5: Cairns, Australia

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After breakfast, there is a short walk to Reef Fleet Terminal. Start the Great Barrier Reef Cruise with Sunlover Cruises including tea and coffee upon boarding the vessel, an informative presentation hosted by the marine naturalist, four hours at the outer reef, a tropical buffet lunch including seafood, hot dishes, salads and tropical fruit; guided coral viewing from the semi-submersible vessel and glass bottom boat. There is also an onboard touch tank to experience unique marine life up close, snorkelling equipment and expert instruction, snorkelling enclosure with rest and view stations, underwater observatory and a fish feeding presentation.


Day 6: Cairns – Sydney, Australia

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After breakfast, check out at 10am and private transfer hotel to airport. Arrive at Sydney, private transfer airport to hotel, meet and greet by a local guide with hotel check-in assistance. After check-in at 2pm, there is a short walk to King St Wharf, Darling Harbour for the dinner cruise. Enjoy Captain Cook Cruises Sunset Dinner cruise including a limited choice menu of three courses, Tyrell’s sparking and still wines and beer, and tea and coffee. Departs 5pm and returns 6:30pm from King St Wharf only. Then, take a short walk back to the hotel.


Day 7: Sydney, Australia

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After breakfast, commence a sightseeing tour of Sydney including famous Bondi Beach. Pass by important historic buildings including Conservatorium of Music, State Library, State Parliament House, Hyde Park Barracks, St Mary’s Cathedral and visit Mrs. Macquarie’s Chair. Here a stop will be made for a photo opportunity before continuing on via Australian naval base Woolloomooloo, Kings Cross and then along New South Head Road through the elite eastern suburbs of Rushcutters Bay, Rose Bay, and Double Bay to The Gap. Here a short walk is included to view the entrance to Sydney Harbour before continuing on to Bondi Beach. Enjoy a stroll along the promenade before reboarding your motorcoach and travelling to Watsons Bay. Enjoy a delicious fish and chips luncheon with a view of the harbour and city from famous Doyles on the Beach. After lunch reboard your motorcoach and continue on to Sydney Opera House. Enjoy a private guided tour of Sydney’s famous icon and world-famous performing arts centre before arriving back at the hotel. The rest of the evening is at leisure.


Day 8: Sydney, Australia

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After breakfast, explore another gem of Sydney through the Blue Mountains Excursion. This magnificent tour includes a private charter motorcoach for ten hours, Blue Mountains excursion, local guide for sightseeing assistance, admission to Featherdale Wildlife Park, and a Scenic World ‘Ultimate Pass’ including three rides. Also included is the Scenic Railway, Scenic Cableway, Scenic Skyway and two-course Heritage Feast at The Lookout Restaurant, with one glass of wine per person or a soft drink and tea and coffee. Transfer back to the hotel and take a short walk to the Waterfront Restaurant for a farewell dinner overlooking Sydney Harbour and the Opera House. Three-course choice menu and tea and coffee are included; other drinks are at your own expense. After dinner, there is a short walk back to the hotel.


Day 9: Sydney – Auckland, New Zealand

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Today we fly to Auckland, located in the northern part of New Zealand; the cosmopolitan city of Auckland is the largest metropolitan area in the country. The geographical location of Auckland is such that it lies between the Hauraki Gulf of the Pacific Ocean to the east, the low Hunua Ranges to the southeast, the Manukau Harbour to the southwest, and the Waitakere Ranges and smaller ranges to the west and northwest. The region is also the site of Auckland Volcanic Field, comprising of around 50 volcanoes. This is perhaps the most vibrant and bustling city in New Zealand. Auckland is also the biggest Polynesian city in the world, a cultural influence reflected in many different aspects of city life.


Day 10: Auckland, New Zealand

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This morning we begin our tour of Auckland. Travelling via Auckland's 'Golden Mile', our tour takes us through the university grounds past many of Auckland's historical buildings. We will make a stop at the Parnell Rose Garden before continuing to Parnell Village, the Central Business District, the Mission Bay area, Tamaki Drive, and the Harbour Bridge before our visit to the Auckland Museum. Three expansive levels tell the story of New Zealand's history, from emergence as a nation through the loss and suffering of war, to their uniquely ancient natural history and priceless Maori and Pacific treasures.


Day 11: Auckland – Rotorua, New Zealand

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This morning as we depart from Auckland we will travel to the crest of Mt Eden and enjoy a spectacular panoramic view of the city. This dormant volcano, complete with crater, allows us to clearly view Auckland's setting between two harbours. We leave the 'City of Sails' and travel south through the rich farmland of the Waikato region before arriving at the world-famous Waitomo Caves. Here we will experience a guided tour of the underground limestone caverns and glowworm caves. After this unique experience we continue on to Rotorua, an area of abundant geothermal activity. Rotorua is in the middle of what is called the Taupo Volcanic Zone, which runs from northeast to southwest across the North Island. The area has long been a popular spa area and the locals make use of the hot steam that rises to the surface for heating their homes, cooking, and building their own private hot pools. This afternoon we will visit the Te Puia Thermal Reserve and Maori Arts and Crafts Centre. Here we will discover boiling pools of mud and geysers that spout up to 30m. Tonight we will enjoy a Maori Hangi and cultural performance of song and dance.


Day 12: Rotorua – Christchurch, New Zealand

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Today we fly to Christchurch, the ‘Garden City’ located on New Zealand's scenic South Island. Following the 2010-2011 earthquakes, Christchurch has re-emerged as a vibrant, ever-changing city. Re:START is an outdoor retail and café precinct built in fashionably presented shipping containers. Opened in October 2011, the Re:START container mall offers a unique shopping experience, a number of food caravans and a market. We will explore the city by foot, partly on an open top bus, and possibly have time for you to relax in a punt on the Avon River.


Day 13: Christchurch – Queenstown, New Zealand

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A short flight takes us to the jewel of the South island, Queenstown. Queenstown is situated on Lake Wakatipu and location is stunning; the lake is beautiful and the surrounding mountain scenery adds to the overall splendour. At some point in our time in Queenstown we will take a gondola ride to the top of a mountain for a panoramic view of the town. Depending on the timing of todays flight, you may have some free time for an orientation walk upon arrival in Queenstown. Queenstown has a compact and sophisticated downtown area tucked into a picturesque bay on the shores of Lake Wakatipu. Dwarfed by the surrounding mountains, there are amazing views from everywhere. You may choose just to relax, wander the streets, and soak up the atmosphere of the region. Or, you may wish to join one of the optional excursions available, such as a lake cruise, wine tour, jet boating, or a local garden tour.


Day 14: Milford Sound Day Trip

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Today, we join a guided tour into Fiordland National Park and Milford Sound. Many stunning photo stops and nature walks are made along the Milford Highway to make sure you get your special photographs of one of the most spectacular places in the world. We will cruise the length of the Milford Sound fiord beneath sheer cliff heading to the Tasman Sea and stop by amazing natural features, towering waterfalls and seal colonies. On occasion dolphins, whales and the rare Fiordland Crested Penguin may be present.


Day 15: Depart Queenstown, New Zealand

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After breakfast, transfer to airport. BON VOYAGE!

Tour Includes:

  • 14 Nights Accommodation (3 - 4 star)
  • Professional Tour Leader
  • Deluxe Motorcoach Transportation
  • Domestic Airfare
  • 30 Meals: 14 Breakfasts, 2 Lunches, 14 Dinners
  • Melbourne City Tour
  • Melbourne Colonial Tramcar Dinner
  • Penguins of Phillip Island
  • Tropical North Queensland
  • Hartley’s Crocodile Adventure
  • Kuranda Rainforest Tour
  • Kuranda Scenic Train
  • Tjapukai Cultural Centre
  • Great Barrier Reef Cruise
  • Captain Cook Sunset Dinner Cruise
  • Bondi Beach
  • Sydney City Tour
  • Blue Mountain Excursion
  • Katoomba Scenic Railway
  • Auckland City Tour
  • Mount Eden
  • Waitomo Caves
  • Te Puia Thermal Reserve
  • Maori Arts and Crafts Centre
  • Maori Hangi
  • Cultural Performance
  • Christchurch City Tour
  • Lake Wakatipu
  • Fiordland National Park
  • Milford Sound Cruise
  • Te Anau
Departure Dates:   Tour Code   Double   Single

March 5 - 19, 2018

DUHL 1-18

$9330

$11235

Pricing is per person in Canadian Dollars


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