Down Under Discovery- 17 Day Australia & New Zealand Tour
The 17-day Down Under Discovery introduces travellers to the people, cities, remote locations and spectacular beauty of ‘Down Under’. Explore Australia’s top visitor locations of Sydney, Ayers Rock and the Great Barrier Reef before heading to New Zealand to sample the main attractions of both the North and South Islands. Highlights in Australia include the unforgettable experience of a ‘Sounds of Silence’ dinner at Ayers Rock; the Great Barrier Reef; plus a performance by the Pamagirri Aboriginal Dancers. New Zealand features the Glowworm Grotto at Waitomo; geothermal Rotorua and the Tranz Alpine rail journey through the Southern Alps.
17 Day Down Under Discovery Itinerary
Day 1 – Arrive Sydney, Australia Welcome to Australia! Upon arrival at Sydney International Airport, you will be met and transferred to your accommodation. Radiating from the sparkling waters of Sydney Harbour, Australia’s largest city stretches from the shores of the Pacific Ocean to the foot of the Blue Mountains. Sydney boasts stunning beaches, world class shopping and a host of superb restaurants and nightclubs. Enjoy the day exploring Sydney at your leisure.
Day 2 – Sydney City Sights This morning join a city sights tour visiting the historical Rocks area, where the First Fleet landed in 1788 to establish Australia’s first European settlement. Enjoy a guided tour of the Sydney Opera House, then see Darling Harbour, Chinatown, cosmopolitan Kings Cross, and world famous Bondi Beach. This afternoon return to Circular Quay for an afternoon cruise on magnificent Sydney Harbour. See spectacular views of the Sydney Opera House, Sydney Harbour Bridge, Fort Denison and million dollar mansions.
Day 3 – Full Day Blue Mountains Excursion Today discover the beauty of the Blue Mountains – a stark contrast to the hustle and bustle of Sydney. Visit Featherdale Wildlife Park, which houses a great variety of wildlife including kangaroos, koalas, wallabies, Australian reptiles, Tasmanian devils, wombats and various species of Australian birds. Your coach climbs up the Blue Mountains, an awe-inspiring ‘Grand Canyon’ of giant rock formations, deep tree-studded valleys and cascading waterfalls. Experience a thrilling ride on the world’s steepest incline railway that descends some 700 feet into the valley. A 900-foot boardwalk will take you to the base of the ‘Sceniscender’ Cable Car for the trip back to the top. See the famous ‘The Three Sisters’ rock formation and distant vistas including the Jamieson Valley and Mount Solitary, before returning to Sydney.
Day 4 – Sydney / Ayers Rock This morning transfer to Sydney Airport for your flight to Ayers Rock. On arrival at Ayers Rock transfer to your accommodation. This afternoon travel to the mystical 36 domes of Kata Tjuta – The Olgas. Stop at a lookout for panoramic views of the eastern side of Kata Tjuta then spend some time exploring the Walpa Gorge and the unusual conglomerate rock formations. This evening enjoy the ‘Sounds of Silence’ – the quietest restaurant on earth. Sip sparkling wine and listen to the haunting sounds of the didgeridoo while watching a magnificent sunset over Kata Tjuta. After sunset enjoy a delicious Northern Territory gourmet barbecue. Lights go down revealing a star-filled sky with a resident astronomer providing introduction to the magnificent constellations, stars and planets that make up the skies of the Southern Hemisphere.
Day 5 – Ayers Rocks / Cairns Rise early this morning to watch the beautiful desert sunrise over Ayers Rock plus see some of the many Aboriginal sacred caves, which hold a special significance for the local Aboriginal Anangu people. Transfer to the airport for your flight to Cairns. On arrival at Cairns, transfer to your accommodation. Remainder of day at leisure to begin exploring Cairns, the capital of the Tropical North. The cosmopolitan Esplanade traces the bay foreshore and blends the city life of cafes and shopping with the natural attractions of the Coral Sea.
Day 6 – Full Day Michaelmas Cay & Great Barrier Reef Today sail by catamaran to Michaelmas Cay, a unique sand cay. Michaelmas Cay is a picturesque reef sand island surrounded by magical coral gardens teeming with an incredible diversity of marine life. The Cay is a protected seabird sanctuary playing host to over 20,000 migratory seabirds. The surrounding outer reef is a spectacular garden of exotic marine life, magnificent coral and giant clams, boasting more varieties of tropical fish than the entire Atlantic Ocean. Ride a semi-submersible vessel for coral viewing, enjoy guided snorkel tours from the beach accompanied by informative ecological presentations by a marine biologist and a smorgasbord luncheon.
Day 7 – Kuranda Scenic Rail Today board the Kuranda Scenic Rail for a spectacular journey with stunning views. Pass massive Baron Falls, Stoney Creek and cross steep ravines to the unique rainforest village of Kuranda where you will transfer to Rainforestation Nature Park set in a lush tropical environment. Tour the world heritage rainforest in a 6-wheel drive amphibious army duck and learn of rainforest ecology on land and water. Witness the Pamagirri Aboriginal dancers perform in the rainforest amphitheatre. Experience a dreamtime walk and learn of aboriginal culture, spear throwing and try your hand at boomerang throwing. See native animals close up – kangaroos, wombats, koalas and crocodiles. After a tropical BBQ lunch, transfer back to Kuranda village to board the Skyrail Rainforest Cableway which will take you skimming over the pristine rainforest canopy. Return to Cairns in the late afternoon.
Day 8 – Cairns / Auckland, New Zealand Transfer to Cairns Airport for your flight to Auckland, New Zealand. Upon arrival in Auckland, transfer to your central city accommodation. Evening at leisure in New Zealand’s largest and most cosmopolitan city.
Day 9 – Auckland This morning enjoy a city sightseeing tour of Auckland City. Highlights include the panoramic views from Mt Eden, the Domain Gardens, Parnell Village and a visit to Auckland Museum where galleries showcase New Zealand’s unique natural, cultural and social history in an interesting and informative manner. Afternoon free to explore the downtown area. Suggest take the ferry to Devonport on the North Shore where 19th-century architecture blends with restaurants, cafés, bars, art galleries, interesting shops and pretty beaches.
Day 10 – Auckland/Waitomo/Rotorua This morning travel south across the Bombay Hills through the Waikato Valley, a major dairying and horse breeding region to Waitomo for a guided tour of the famous Waitomo Glowworm Cave. See fascinating limestone formations of stalagmites, stalactites and columns that have formed over thousands of years then enjoy a silent boat ride on an underground river into the starry wonderland of the magnificent Glowworm Grotto. In the afternoon travel on through picturesque farmlands and over the Mamaku Ranges to the thermal wonderland of Rotorua.
Day 11 – Rotorua Today enjoy a sightseeing tour of Rotorua including a guided tour of Te Puia featuring the Whakarewarewa Thermal Reserve to see the geysers and boiling mud pools plus the New Zealand Maori Arts and Crafts Institute, where young Maori are learning the traditional carving and weaving skills of their ancestors. Visit Rainbow Springs where New Zealand’s natural flora and fauna is showcased – see the iconic Kiwi bird and New Zealand’s only reptile, the Tuatara. The Agrodome Sheep Show gives a light-heartened and informative insight into how sheep and wool are amongst New Zealand’s premier exports. This evening travel to a local Marae (Maori Village) set amid the forest to experience an energetic concert of Maori song and dance including the famous Haka. Following the concert, enjoy a buffet dinner including food from the hangi (traditional Maori method of underground cooking).
Day 12 – Rotorua / Queenstown Transfer to Rotorua Airport for your flight to Queenstown. Transfer to your accommodation. Queenstown, nestled among glacier-rounded hills and dramatic rugged mountain peaks, is New Zealand’s premier year-round alpine resort. This evening ride the aerial gondola to the Skyline Restaurant at Bob’s Peak and enjoy a delicious buffet dinner while admiring the panoramic views of Queenstown, Lake Wakatipu and the surrounding mountain ranges including The Remarkables.
Day 13 – Milford Sound Day Excursion Travel around Lake Wakatipu and through Te Anau and the Fiordland National Park to Milford Sound. Fiordland National Park, part of the UNESCO Southwest New Zealand World Heritage Area is one of the great wilderness areas of the Southern Hemisphere. The scenery is spectacular with lofty mountains and deep valleys carved out by Ice Age glaciers. There are clear rushing streams and cascading waterfalls set in magnificent native rainforest. Cruise down Milford Sound past impressive Mitre Peak to the Tasman Sea. The grandeur of Mitre Peak, Lady Bowen Falls and the steep sided rock faces that line the fiord is breathtaking. Afterwards retrace your journey back to Te Anau and Queenstown travelling via the Cleddau Gorge, Homer Tunnel and lovely Eglinton Valley.
Day 14 – Queenstown Day at leisure for your own choice of optional activities. Suggest the thrill of a Shotover Jet boat ride, a visit to the historic gold town of Arrowtown Or Join A 4WD Excursion To Explore Lord Of The Rings Filming Locations
Day 15 – Queenstown / Franz Josef The changing landscapes and scenic beauty of today’s journey will keep you mesmerised. Leave Queenstown via the rugged Kawarau Gorge then cross the distinctive Central Otago country with its vineyards and sheep farms. Ascend past glacial Lakes Wanaka and Hawea then travelling through Mount Aspiring National Park cross the Southern Alps to the West Coast via Haast Pass. The West Coast is memorable for its massive glaciers, towering mountain peaks, raging rivers, pretty lakes, lush rainforest and its wild coastline. Continue through Fox Village to Franz Josef, a small isolated village nestled amidst rainforest on the edge of Westland National Park, part of the UNESCO South West New Zealand World Heritage Area. The huge rivers of snow and ice of the Franz Josef and Fox Glaciers flow from vast snowfields high in the Southern Alps almost to sea level. Suggest a helicopter flight high onto the ice of Franz Josef Glacier.
Day 16 – Franz Josef / Tranz Alpine / Christchurch Drive north along the West Coast with the Tasman Sea to the west and the Southern Alps rising steeply to the east to the town of Greymouth, the largest settlement on the West Coast. Here board the Tranz Alpine train for a scenic journey through the heart of the Southern Alps. Travel across towering viaducts, through spectacular gorges and river valleys then the landscape opens up as you journey across the fertile Canterbury Plains and into Christchurch City.
Day 17 – Depart Christchurch Transfer to Christchurch International Airport for your flight home.
*Itinerary subject to change.