Australia & New Zealand: An Adventure Down Under - 2018

Auckland • Queenstown • Sydney • Great Barrier Reef • Cairns
Fly at 2-for-1 air on last departure of 2018, 11/25. A savings of up to $2,100 per couple!
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Make more intimate discoveries in groups of just 26 travelers or less!
Australia and New Zealand offer a dizzying variety of travel experiences: the cosmopolitan and natural wonders of Sydney and Cairns, the snowcapped heights and adventurous spirit of Queenstown, the Edenic beauty of Milford Sound, the captivating cultures of the Aborigine and Maori peoples, and so much more.

In a small group of just 18-26 travelers, you’ll discover what makes Australia and New Zealand so captivating. 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.

Experience two of the world’s most well known UNESCO World Heritage Sites – the Sydney Opera House and the Great Barrier Reef – and embark on 17 fascinating included tours. If you’re traveling solo, you can enjoy free and reduced-price Single Supplements, not to mention Adventure Leaders that makes sure that you feel comfortable every step of the way.

Join this extraordinary adventure and enjoy the best value in deluxe small group travel!

Auckland to Cairns

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DAY 1:

Depart home for Auckland, New Zealand

Board your overnight trans-Pacific flight to New Zealand.

DAY 2:

Cross International Date Line

We’ll cross the International Date Line during our overnight flight, so we lose a day as we travel.

DAY 3:

Arrive in Auckland

We’ll arrive in Auckland on New Zealand's North Island today. 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:


DAY 4:

A panoramic excursion, and a taste of Maori history and custom

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. This 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 of options.

Included Meals:


DAY 5:

Explore Auckland, or visit Waiheke Island’s famed wineries on an optional tour

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:

Optional Tour: Waiheke Island Tour

Waiheke Island Tour

  • Approximate Cost: $175 USD per person
  • Approximate Time:
  • Location: Waiheke, New Zealand
  • When:

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:

Transfer to Queenstown and enjoy the city’s picturesque beauty at your leisure

Following breakfast this morning, we transfer to the airport for our flight to Queenstown. This city, nicknamed the "Adrenaline Capital of the World," is set along picturesque Lake Wakatipu and against the backdrop of the aptly named Remarkables mountain range and is one of the South Island's most impressive cities. Your evening is at leisure, and dinner is included at the hotel this evening.

Included Meals:

Breakfast & Dinner

DAY 7:

Bob’s Peak by gondola, then a visit to the country’s largest wine cave

The South Island is starkly different its northern neighbor, and we’ll experience its unique brand of beauty today. Unforgettable Moment: We’ll set off on a half-day tour that will take us soaring over the city on a gondola to Bob’s Peak, where we’ll be rewarded with remarkable views of the town. The mountain draws adventure lovers to its zip-line, 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. We’ll also former mining hub of Arrowtown, which was at the heart of the 19th-century Otago Gold Rush. 

Cultural Discovery: New Zealand is renowned for its wines, so you’ll also get the chance to visit a local wine producer: the Gibbston Valley Winery, home of New Zealand’s largest wine cave.

Included Meals:

Breakfast  & Lunch

DAY 8:

An exploration of Milford Sound’s bounty

Unforgettable Moment: 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. Afterwards, 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 9:

Queenstown at your leisure, with a home-hosted Kiwi dinner

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 10:

Fly to Sydney for part two of this adventure down under

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:


DAY 11:

Inside Sydney — from the Opera House to Bondi Beach

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:


DAY 12:

Explore Sydney on your own, or join an optional wildlife tour

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:

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 13:

Sailing Sydney Harbor, then embark on a guided tour of The Rocks

Cultural Discovery: This morning we learn about 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 14:

Fly to Cairns and enjoy a day at leisure

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:


DAY 15:

Get lost in Aboriginal legend and lore in a guided dreamtime walk

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 16:

Catamaran ride and snorkel at the Outer Great Barrier Reef

Unforgettable Moment: 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 17:

Your choice of tours: hot air balloon over Cairns or train tour to Kuranda

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: 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 region's oldest and most picturesque railway and the technology of the world’s longest and most beautiful cableway in one day. Your day begins 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 1,500 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 en route 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.

Hot Air Balloon Over Atherton Tablelands

Hot Air Balloon Over Atherton Tablelands

  • Approximate Cost: $XXX USD per person
  • Approximate Time:
  • Location: Waiheke, New Zealand
  • 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.

DAY 18:

Fly home

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

Included Meals:


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. That hotel ratings are based on the Hotel and a leading travel industry authority on hotels throughout the world.

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Australia & New Zealand: An Adventure Down Under - 2018

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