Australia & New Zealand: An Adventure Down Under - 2017

Auckland • Mount Cook • Queenstown • Sydney • Great Barrier Reef • Cairns

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Experience the real Australia and New Zealand in a small group of just 18-24 travelers! You'll find incredible diversity on this magnificent journey that spans the seaside capital of Auckland, snowcapped heights and adventurous spirit of Queenstown and the Souther Alps of the South Pacific, and the cosmopolitan and natural wonders of Sydney and Cairns. In New Zealand, visit one of the country's famed wineries and attend a spirited Maori concert at the Auckland Museum. Take in the breathtaking scenery of Milford Sound. Then hop over to Oz and marvel at the world-famous Sydney Opera House and discover Aboriginal legends on a guided rainforest walk. And no trip here is complete without immersing yourself in the underwater wonders of the Great Barrier Reef, where you’ll spend a full day. Deluxe accommodations in centrally located hotels enhance your adventure and make exploring easy, and our small group lectures, demonstrations, and cultural highlights bring these inviting countries to life.

This is your opportunity to fully experience the lands Down Under, with Vantage’s comprehensive sightseeing, rich cultural exploration, and ample opportunity for outdoor activities. What’s more, our expert Adventure Leaders ensure you the most rewarding trip, whether you’re tasting wine in Gibbston Valley, taking a “Dreamtime” walk with an Aborigine, or meeting an Auckland family in their home for dinner. Join this extraordinary adventure and learn why we call it Australia & New Zealand: An Adventure Down Under, while enjoying the best value in deluxe small group travel!

Itinerary at a Glance

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DAYS 1-3:

Depart home / Cross International Dateline on overnight flight / Auckland, New Zealand

We’ll cross the International Dateline during our overnight Trans-Pacific flight, so we lose a day as we travel, arriving in Auckland on the North Island on Day 3. Check into your hotel upon arrival and gather later for a Welcome Briefing and Dinner with your Adventure Leader and fellow travelers this evening

Included Meals:

Dinner

DAY 4:

Auckland, New Zealand

We begin our Auckland explorations with a panoramic excursion that takes in the best of the city. At Bastion Point, overlooking the blue waters of Waitemata Harbor, we pay a visit to the site of the Maori protests of the 1970s. We continue to the Auckland Museum, a beautiful neoclassical building and one of the nation’s most important historical and natural history repositories. Cultural Discovery: During our visit, we glimpse a bit of Maori tradition and costume as we attend a lively Maori concert. The afternoon and evening, we have the opportunity to see Auckland’s landmarks at your own pace and seek out a spot for dinner. Your Adventure Leader will have plenty for options.

Included Meals:

Breakfast

DAY 5:

Auckland, New Zealand

Explore Auckland at leisure today or join the optional Waiheke Island Tour. Flanked by two magnificent harbors, it’s easy to see how the cultural capital earned the nickname “City of Sails.” About 135,000 yachts and launches are registered here. Perhaps you’ll check out the America’s Cup yachts, formal gardens, and statues in Albert Park. Or browse the shops along Queen Street, the city’s trendy commercial district.

Included Meals:

Breakfast
Optional Tour: Waiheke Island Tour

Waiheke Island Tour

  • Approximate Cost: $170 USD per person
  • Approximate Time: 4.5 hours
  • Location: Waiheke, New Zealand
  • When: Half-day tour

Get into the spirit of New Zealand travel with a 40-minute ferry ride from Auckland to picturesque Waiheke Island, which is fast becoming the wine center of the region. Upon arrival at the island in the Hauraki Gulf you’ll board a motorcoach and tour some of the wine areas in the region. Enjoy a wine tasting and a country lunch at a boutique winery and take in the views of the vineyards and the surrounding sea. Afterwards, enjoy another ferry transit as you return to the city and your hotel.


DAY 6:

Auckland / Mount Cook, New Zealand

Following breakfast this morning, we transfer to the airport for our flight to Christchurch on South Island. Upon arrival, enjoy a scenic drive to our lovely resort hotel, nestled at the base of Aoraki, or Mount Cook, New Zealand’s highest peak. We always hope for clear skies here so we can glimpse its magnificent summit draped with snow. Dinner is included at the hotel this evening.

Included Meals:

Breakfast & Dinner

DAY 7:

Mount Cook / Queenstown, New Zealand

Cultural Discovery: This morning, we head out for a hike in the pristine wilderness of Mount Cook National Park. We’ll walk to Kea Point for uninterrupted views of the spectacular slopes of the distinctive peak and the neighboring Mount Sefton. Back at the resort, we enjoy a savory lunch before setting off for Queenstown, following the lush Kawarau River Gorge, traversing the heights of Lindis Pass and skirting the shores of Lake Pukai along the way. Upon arrival, we transfer to our deluxe hotel in this lively resort town, located amidst the aptly named Remarkables Mountains on stunning Lake Wakatipu. We have the evening at leisure with dinner on your own.

Included Meals:

Breakfast  & Lunch

DAY 8:

Queenstown, New Zealand

We begin today with magnificent panoramas of Queenstown and its gorgeous natural surroundings. Embark a gondola to an exciting ascent to Bob’s Peak, floating over Douglas fir forests. The mountain draws adventure lovers to its zipline, bungee jumping, and hiking and biking trails, so – along with breathtaking vistas – we get a true sense of the Kiwi love of the outdoors here. Later, we visit historic Arrowtown, a 19th-century town faithfully restored to the days when gold fever gripped the region.

Cultural Discovery: We arrive at the Gibbston Valley Winery in time for lunch, passing vast fields of vineyards in the Central Otago wine region amidst dramatic slopes. Before a splendid meal, we enjoy a tour and tasting.

Included Meals:

Breakfast  & Lunch

DAY 9:

Queenstown / Milford Sound

Today we visit one of the world’s great natural wonders, so magnificent that it single-handedly attracts many visitors to New Zealand. We set out on a full-day excursion to spectacular Milford Sound, the Southern Hemisphere’s longest fjord. Our long transfer to the far reaches of Fiordland National Park is rewarded with a luncheon cruise through astonishing vistas of rocky peaks, glassy waters and silvery waterfalls cascading from great heights into the sound. After, you may choose to take an optional flight back to Queenstown on a spectacular aerial tour. Dinner back in Queenstown is on your own.

Included Meals:

Breakfast  & Lunch

DAY 10:

Queenstown, New Zealand

Today is free for you explore more of Queenstown at your leisure. Perhaps you’ll join in the adventurous spirit of the locals and arrange a mountain biking or bungee jumping expedition. If a walk in the woods is more your speed, then you might hit some nearby trails to go tramping, the local term for hiking. Cultural Discovery: This evening, we’re welcomed by some warm locals as we visit their family for a home-cooked meal.

Included Meals:

Breakfast & Dinner

DAY 11:

Queenstown, New Zealand / Sydney, Australia

After breakfast, we have a final morning at leisure. After lunch on your own, we fly to Sydney, Australia’s free-wheeling and cosmopolitan capital of New South Wales. Upon arrival, we transfer to our deluxe hotel near the harbor and the soaring "sails" of the Sydney Opera House.

Included Meals:

Breakfast

DAY 12:

Sydney, Australia

Get acquainted with beautiful Sydney on our morning excursion. We begin at the peninsula of Mrs. Macquarie’s Point, where a chair carved for the first governor’s wife overlooks the harbor. Continue to the mid-19th-century Garrison Church, Dawes Point and The Rocks district, Market City and Chinatown. Along Darling Harbor, we visit the Maritime Museum and suburban Pyrmont. We later stop at the world-famous Sydney Opera House, where we have a guided tour of the breathtaking UNESCO World Heritage Site. After, we trace the southern shores of Sydney Harbor and head out to Bondi Beach. The rest of the afternoon is free, with lunch and dinner on your own.

Included Meals:

Breakfast

DAY 13:

Sydney, Australia

Explore Sydney on your own today, perhaps returning to some of the sights we saw yesterday, visiting the Royal Botanic Gardens, or having a picnic on the green parklands of The Domain. You might instead join an optional tour to the legendary Blue Mountains and Featherdale Park to view local animals and see the preserved land from a scenic railway and skyway.

Included Meals:

Breakfast
Optional Tour: Featherdale Wildlife Tour

Featherdale Wildlife Tour

  • Approximate Cost: $199 USD per person
  • Approximate Time: 9 hours
  • Location: Sydney, Australia
  • When: Full-day tour, including lunch

Experience some of the very best of Sydney and Australia! This exclusive, full-day tour showcases some of Australia’s highlights such as the country’s unique and beautiful wildlife, and the scenic Blue Mountains. Your day begins with a drive to Featherdale Wildlife Park, where you’ll meet cuddly koalas, spry kangaroos, and other Australian wildlife. Then, en route to Katoomba in the Blue Mountains, you’ll enjoy an included lunch before winding your way through the countryside to the Blue Mountains, where you can take in the magnificent valley views aboard a scenic railway and skyway (cable car). This tour is sure to leave you with many fond memories of Australia.


DAY 14:

Sydney, Australia

Cultural Discovery: This morning we learn about the opal, Australia’s national gemstone, at the Altmann & Cherny Opal House. Next, we enjoy a coffee cruise on Sydney Harbor, giving you the opportunity to view the gorgeous homes and, of course, the Opera House along the harbor inlets. Cultural Discovery: Following the cruise, our Adventure Leader guides a walk of The Rocks and Sydney Harbor area, pointing out some little-known sites and sharing local stories and lore. This evening, we enjoy dinner at a local restaurant with magnificent harbor views.

Included Meals:

Breakfast & Dinner

DAY 15:

Sydney / Cairns, Australia

We fly from Sydney to Cairns today, where we are met at the airport and transferred to our deluxe hotel. We have the rest of the day at leisure. This cosmopolitan coastal city lures travelers with its tropical climate and proximity to endless natural beauty by land and by sea, including the Great Barrier Reef.

Included Meals:

Breakfast

DAY 16:

Cairns, Australia

After breakfast, we head to Daintree National Park, home to the Kuku Yalanji Aboriginal people. This lush rainforest supports mind-boggling biodiversity, with an extraordinary array of bird species. Cultural Discovery: We explore its incredible beauty by foot during a guided “Dreamtime” walk with a local Aborigine, visiting important cultural sites and learning about the special relationship between the Kuku Yalanji people and this unique tropical environment. Then, savor an included lunch — and take in the stunning scenery — at the Silky Oaks eco-lodge in the heart of the rainforest. Cultural Discovery: This afternoon, an American expatriate tells us why he chooses to live in Australia. We return to our hotel and have the remainder of the day on our own.

Included Meals:

Breakfast  & Lunch

DAY 17:

Cairns / Great Barrier Reef

Today we embark a wave-piercing catamaran for a 90-minute cruise to the Outer Great Barrier Reef, a less frequently visited stretch of this 1,500-mile-long living organism. Upon arrival at our observatory, we have the chance to swim, snorkel or watch the colorful fish and coral from the underwater viewing platform. Lunch is included during your cruise. Cultural Discovery: During our visit, we meet a marine biologist who will share his expertise about the fragile state of the Great Barrier Reef during a fascinating onboard lecture. After a full and rewarding day, we return to the mainland.

Included Meals:

Breakfast  & Lunch

DAY 18:

Cairns, Australia

Early risers may join an optional balloon ride for splendid views of the sunrise. After breakfast at our hotel, the day is yours at leisure to enjoy the seaside setting of Cairns. Alternately, you may join an optional full-day tour to Kuranda. We journey there by train, then visit a Butterfly Sanctuary and board a skyrail gondola for fantastic views of tropical surroundings and fertile valleys. We gather for a Farewell Dinner at our hotel this evening.

Included Meals:

Breakfast & Dinner
Optional Tour: Hot Air Balloon Over Atherton Tablelands,

Hot Air Balloon Over Atherton Tablelands

  • Approximate Cost: Available On-Site
  • Approximate Time: 4 hours
  • Location: Queensland, Australia
  • When: Pre-Dawn Early Morning
Rise before the sun so you can see one of the world’s most magnificent coasts from the air. You will be picked up at your hotel and accompany your guide to the launch sight. Then you’ll gently ascend into the pre-dawn sky, drifting above the Atherton Tablelands, fringed with rainforest and tranquil country landscapes. As the sun illuminates the spectacular landscape below, and sets the sky all around you aglow, you’ll wonder at the sensation of floating in utter silence and witnessing the world as it awakens. Your flight time is approximately 30 minutes. Once you’ve landed, you will be transferred back to the hotel in time for breakfast.

Kuranda Tour

Kuranda Tour

  • Approximate Cost: $275 USD per person
  • Approximate Time: 8 hours
  • Location: Cairns, Australia
  • When: Full-day tour, including lunch

Experience the contrast of the regions oldest and most picturesque railway and the technology of the world’s longest and most beautiful Cableway in one day. Your day as it begins when you arrive at the Freshwater Railway Station. Once aboard the train, sit back and enjoy the spectacular views as you journey to top of the mountain range through 15 hand-cut tunnels and past spectacular waterfalls. Once you arrive in Kuranda, you will be transferred to the Australian Butterfly Sanctuary which is the largest butterfly flight aviary and exhibit in Australia - a quality wildlife park in the heart of Kuranda Village. This is home to over 1500 magnificent tropical butterflies that are hand reared on the premises. From here you will enjoy an included lunch before having some free time to do your own exploring. At the scheduled time, board Skyrail for the world's most beautiful rainforest experience. Glide across the Rainforest canopy and take advantage of the two stops enroute to enjoy a walk through the rainforest or visit the CSIRO Interpretive Centre. Your journey ends at Caravonica Lakes where your coach is waiting to take you back to the hotel.


DAY 19:

Cairns

After breakfast at our hotel, enjoy a day at leisure in Cairns and explore this tropical Queensland city on your own.

Included Meals:

Breakfast

DAY 20:

Cairns / Sydney, Australia / Return home

Following breakfast this morning, we transfer to the airport and fly home via Sydney. Or, transfer to Ayers Rock to begin your Melbourne & Ayers Rock post-trip extension.

Included Meals:

Breakfast

Important Notice: The above day-by-day itineraries are preliminary and therefore subject to change. If changes occur while on tour, you will be notified by your Vantage Adventure Leader or regional expert.

Please Note: The hotels listed are preliminary and subject to change. Although we contract our hotels a year in advance, unforeseen situations do occasionally occur. Should it be necessary to change a hotel, one of equal quality and value will be substituted. You will receive verified hotel information with your final itinerary. Hotel ratings are based on the Hotel and a leading travel industry authority on hotels throughout the world.

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Vantage Tauck Tours Vantage Advantage
Journey Australia & New Zealand: An Adventure Down Under Grand Australia & New Zealand
Price without Air* $5,599 $8,390 + internal air starting at $3,300 Save $6,782 per couple!
Trip Length 18 days 20 days Better pacing — enjoy more time in each destination!
Per Diem $311 per day $585 Save $546 per couple per day!
Small Group travel Yes!  No more than 24 travelers per departure! Select dates start at $12,290 per person for doubles Smaller group size, lower price!
Extend Your Value Explore the Australian Outback with visits to Melbourne & Ayers Rock No extensions Since you've come this far we offer you the choice to make the most of your international airfare and extend your discoveries at an unbeatable value!
Sightseeing 17 Sightseeing Tours & Cultural Connections - a $3,680 value per couple! 15 Sightseeing Tours 2 MORE tours & Cultural Connections! Highlights include a Milford Sound cruise, Maori concert, and full day excursion to the outer Great Barrier Reef!
FREE Single Supplement Yes! Available on every departure date — a value of $1,499! Single Supplement $2,385 Best Savings for Single Traveler with Free Single Supplement available on every departure date!
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