B = Breakfast, L = Lunch, D = Dinner
Thursday, 28 Sep 2017: Arrive Los Angeles; Group Flight
Schedule your arrival into Los Angeles Airport (LAX) no later than 3:00pm. Upon arrival use the hotel courtesy shuttle and make your way to the airport hotel. Relax or go exploring depending on how early in the day you arrive. We will gather in the lobby at 5:00pm for our Welcome Meeting. After making introductions, we take the hotel shuttle back to LAX for our international flight to Auckland, NZ.
Friday, 29 Sep 2017: Enroute
We cross the International Date Line and temporarily lose a day.
Saturday, 30 Sep 2017: Arrive Auckland; City Tour and Lunch; Hotel Check-in (B,L)
Welcome to Auckland, the "City of Sails." Upon arrival at approximately 7:00am we clear customs, collect our bags and enjoy a city tour. Take in the local sights including Mount Eden and the Harbour Bridge, Auckland's most striking man-made landmark. Its 3,500-foot span links the city with the North Shore suburbs. Enjoy a bird's-eye-view down the length of the Hauraki Gulf—location of the America's Cup race—and across to Rangitoto, a volcano that erupted 750 years ago. View Skytower, one of the tallest towers in the world. At the conclusion of the tour we stop for a relaxing lunch before continuing on to our hotel for check-in. The remainder of the day is yours to explore or to just relax and settle in. Overnight Auckland - 2 nights
Sunday, 1 Oct 2017: Free Day to Explore Auckland; Group Dinner (B,D)
Today is yours to discover Auckland. Your Tour Leader will have plenty of suggestions for the day. In addition to sights in the city, there are easy day trips. Since New Zealand is the capital of extreme sports, you may want to consider options such as bungee jumping or a sky walk. We'll have dinner together this evening.
Monday, 2 Oct 2017: Waitomo Caves; Boat Trip; Lake Karapiro; Rotorua (B,L)
We travel to the fascinating Waitomo Caves where we enjoy a 45-minute guided tour by boat of the limestone caverns and glow-worm grotto. Afterward, we dig into a BBQ lunch at Roseland Farm before continuing on to Rotorua, the thermal and volcanic resort capital of New Zealand. On arrival, we check-in to the hotel and enjoy the rest of the day at leisure. Overnight Rotorua - 2 nights
Tuesday, 3 Oct 2017: Full-Day Tour of Rotorua (B,L)
Our tour of Rotorua begins at the Agrodome Sheep Show where we are introduced to 19 breeds of sheep. Afterward, we travel to Rainbow Springs Nature Park to experience a Kiwi Encounter and marvel at the silent grace of rainbow, brown and tiger trout cruising the fern-fringed pools. It’s then on to Te Puia for a cultural performance and Ingo lunch, followed by a guided tour of Te Puia, the geothermal valley known for its Pohutu Geyser. After returning to our hotel, we enjoy the rest of the evening at leisure.
Wednesday, 4 Oct 2017: Fly to Queenstown; Free Time (B,D)
This morning we transfer to the airport for our morning flight to Queenstown. After transfering to our hotel, the rest of the day will be at leisure until we gather for dinner together. Queenstown lies beside Lake Wakatipu at the foot of The Remarkables mountain range. It is South Island's most popular resort and the base for excursions into the surrounding mountains and nearby fiords. Overnight Queenstown - 3 nights
Thursday, 5 Oct 2017: Skyline Gondola; Winery Visit; Kawarau Bridge; Free Time (B,L)
Enjoy a ride up to Bob’s Peak on a scenic gondola cableway. The distinctive outline of Skyline Gondola against the backdrop of Queenstown captivates visitors to this city. From here we proceed to Gibbston Valley Winery for lunch and wine tasting. Afterward, we make a quick stop at Kawarau Bridge to watch the bungee jumping, then continue on to Arrowtown for a two-hour stop to enjoy various activities at your leisure.
Friday, 6 Oct 2017: Day Trip to Milford Sound Cruise (B,L)
Today we travel on an unforgettable journey from Queenstown into Milford Sound. Located within the World Heritage Fiordland National Park, Milford Sound is the most accessible and best known of the glacier-cut fiords and is rimmed with mountain peaks that ascend sharply to heights of 7,000 feet. Our tour includes a cruise on a Real Journeys Boat where we'll see the wonders of Mitre Peak, glacier-scarred rock walls that rise dramatically from the sea, and waterfalls that tumble from hanging valleys and crash into the sound far below. We enjoy a buffet lunch onboard. We return to Queenstown by coach. An optional flight-seeing trip back to Queenstown is available. (Not included in tour cost. Optional flight cost is approximately USD$310.)
Saturday, 7 Oct 2017: Morning Free; Fly to Sydney; Group Dinner (B,D)
The morning is yours to either explore or relax. Consider a thrilling ride on the Shotover River by jetboat (cost not included in tour). The scenery is incredible, the water color a blue you've never seen. Your Tour Leader will have more activity suggestions. After checking in to our hotel, relax a bit before we go out to dinner together. Overnight Sydney - 1 night
Sunday, 8 Oct 2017: Fly to Cairns; Half-Day Kuranda Tour (B,L)
After breakfast we transfer to the airport for our morning flight to Cairns, situated on Australia’s northeast coast along the Coral Sea. Cairns is the gateway to two of the world's greatest natural wonders: tropical rainforests and the Great Barrier Reef. Upon arrival, we embark on a half-day Kuranda tour. We begin our visit at Rainforestation with a "fair dinkum" (an Aussie BBQ lunch) and enjoy cultural entertainment and activities including the Pamagirri Aboriginal Dancers, a guided Dreamtime Walk, a boomerang-throwing demonstration and an exciting ride on an amphibious army duck for an informative tour through the rain forest. Later we have the opportunity to visit the Koala & Wildlife Park. Overnight Cairns - 2 nights
Monday, 9 Oct 2017: Great Barrier Reef; Group Dinner (B,D)
Today, we cruise aboard the Ocean Spirit to Michaelmas Cay, a sandy reef island surrounded by coral gardens teeming with an incredible diversity of marine life. The cay is a protected seabird sanctuary hosting over 20,000 migratory seabirds and is one of the most important nesting sites in the Southern Hemisphere. A hot & cold buffet lunch is included. Later this evening we get together for dinner.
Tuesday, 10 Oct 2017: Fly to Sydney; Free Time (B)
This morning we transfer to the airport for our return flight to Sydney. Established in 1788 as a convict settlement, Sydney has grown from these humble beginnings to become Australia's largest, oldest and liveliest city, and is considered one of the great international cities of the world. Upon arrival, we transfer to our hotel and enjoy the rest of the day at leisure. Overnight Sydney - 3 nights
Wednesday, 11 Oct 2017: City Tour; Luncheon Cruise; Opera House Tour (B,L)
Today’s informative city tour takes us to sights such as the historic Rocks area, the Botanical Gardens, Hyde Park, the Domain and Bondi Beach. We enjoy a buffet luncheon cruise of picturesque Sydney Harbour, and take in vistas of Sydney Harbour Bridge, the Opera House and Fort Denison. We then tour Sydney Opera House. At the conclusion of the tour the remainder of the day is yours to explore Sydney further.
Thursday, 12 Oct 2017: Free Day in Sydney; Farewell Dinner (B,D)
Today is your opportunity to explore on your own or with your fellow travelers. Your Tour Leader will have plenty of suggestions. On previous trips, women interested in climbing the bridge over Sydney Harbour started the day with this optional activity. A day trip to the Blue Mountains is also a possibility. Later this evening we gather one final time for dinner to celebrate our trip down under.
Friday, 13 Oct 2017: Return Home from Sydney (B)
This morning we transfer to the Sydney airport for our flight back to Los Angeles. We cross the International Date Line again, arriving on the same day we departed Sydney. Once in Los Angeles it can take up to two hours to clear customs and retrieve your bags. Schedule your flight from LAX to home for no earlier than 2:00pm.