Highlights of Australia & New Zealand

Duration: 20 nights escorted tour

Price from: £7699pp

Melbourne 3 nights
Alice Springs 1 night
Uluru 2 nights
Cairns 3 nights
Sydney 3 nights
Auckland 2 nights
Rotorua 1 night
Christchurch 1 night
Franz Josef 1 night
Queenstown 3 nights

Day 1: Fly to Melbourne.

Day 2 Melbourne: On arrival you will be transferred to your hotel. This evening meet your fellow travellers at dinner aboard Melbourne's famous Colonial Tramcar Restaurant.

Day 3 Melbourne: Enjoy a Melbourne city sights tour then discover its eclectic little laneways, arcades, cafe society and street art on a private walking tour. The rest of the day is free to relax or perhaps take an optional tour to Phillip Island to see the famous penguin parade (additional expense).

Day 4 Melbourne: At leisure. You may like to take a full day optional experience to the Great Ocean Road to discover the stunning coastline and the Twelve Apostles (additional expense), or maybe explore the shops or indulge in some world class cuisine at one of the city's famous eateries.

Day 5 Melbourne/Alice Springs: Fly from Melbourne to Alice Springs and visit the School of the Air to hear how children living in remote areas are educated. Next stop is the Royal Flying Doctor Service and this evening, enjoy a gourmet barbecue at Earth Sanctuary World Nature Centre.

Day 6 Alice Springs/Uluru: Travel through the West MacDonnell and James Ranges and pause to view majestic Atila (Mt Conner), often mistaken for Uluru, before arriving at Ayers Rock Resort. This afternoon is free for you to enjoy the resort's facilities, before travelling to the Uluru sunset viewing area to witness the striking colour changes of Uluru at sunset.

Day 7 Uluru: View the magical Uluru sunrise. Afterwards, gain insight into the traditional owners of the land, the Anangu, as you tour the caves at the base of Uluru discovering ancient rock art and hearing Aboriginal Dreamtime stories. Travel through the desert plains to Kata Tjuta and take a walk at Walpa Gorge. Later, experience a Kata Tjuta sunset with sparkling wine and nibbles.

Day 8 Uluru/Cairns: Join an Aboriginal artist for a fun introduction to Western Desert Art. In the afternoon fly from Ayers Rock to Cairns.

Day 9 Cairns: Today is free for you to do as you choose. Perhaps take an optional tour to the Tjapukai Aboriginal Cultural Park; journey to Hartley's Crocodile Adventures; or travel to the 'village in the rainforest' on the Kuranda Scenic Railway and return to the lowlands on the Skyrail Rainforest Cableway (all additional expense).

Day 10 Great Barrier Reef: Board a high speed catamaran and cruise out to the Great Barrier Reef. Snorkel and view this natural living wonder up close (equipment provided) or stay dry and explore the stunning reef from the comfort of a semi-submersible craft. Return to Cairns.

Day 11 Cairns/Sydney: This afternoon fly to Sydney where you will have a free evening to do as you please.

Day 12 Sydney: Begin with a guided tour of the Opera House before discovering Sydney's Eastern Suburbs and famous Bondi Beach. Take to the water on a Captain Cook highlight lunch cruise then the remainder of the day is free.

Day 13 Sydney: At leisure. Maybe take an optional tour to the Blue Mountains or climb the Sydney Harbour Bridge on a 'BridgeClimb' (both additional expense). Spend your last evening in Sydney with your travel director and fellow travellers in a local restaurant by the water.

Day 14 Sydney/Auckland: Fly to New Zealand and this evening dine at 'Eight' at The Langham.

Day 15 Auckland: A morning cruise on Waitemata Harbour is followed by a city sightseeing tour and free time to relax.

Day 16 Auckland/Rotorua: Join a guide for a boat tour through the Waitomo Glowworm Grotto. Continue to Rotorua where a Maori guide will accompany you at Te Puia Thermal Reserve. This evening experience a ceremonial welcome, at the Tamaki Family Mara, then journey into the village for a cultural view into life in New Zealand prior to European settlement, before a hangi feast.

Day 17 Rotorua/Christchurch: Explore Rainbow Springs Nature Park before a taste of farm life at the Agrodome Sheep Show. Later, you'll fly to Christchurch.

Day 18 Christchurch/Franz Josef: Journey through the Southern Alps on the TranzAlpine train. Depart for Hokitika and then continue to Franz Josef Glacier.

Day 19 Franz Josef/Queenstown: Drive over the Haast Pass, past Thunder Creek Falls and a trio of lakes. Visit the historic gold mining village of Arrowtown before arriving in Queenstown for a tour. This evening enjoy dinner at The Boatshed, where you'll discover spectacular views of Lake Wakatipu and the Remarkables mountain range.

Day 20 Milford Sound cruise: Drive along the shores of Lake Wakatipu to Te Anau then through the rainforest of Fiordland National Park. Travel through the hand-hewn Homer Tunnel towards Milford Sound for a cruise of this staggeringly beautiful body of water.

Day 21 Queenstown: Today's optional tours and experiences include a thrilling boat ride on the Shotover Jet; a wine tour at Gibbston Valley Winery; a round of golf at a spectacular course; a 4WD minibus excursion through Skippers Canyon; or visit a spa (all additional expense).

Day 22 Queenstown: Say farewell to your fellow travellers when your tour concludes this morning after breakfast and you are transferred to Queenstown airport for your onward journey.

Departures: On specific dates. Please ask for details

Accommodation:  Crowne Plaza, Melbourne; Mercure Alice Springs; Desert Gardens, Ayers Rock Resort; Hilton Hotel, Cairns; Sofitel Wentworth, Sydney; Stamford Plaza, Auckland; Millennium, Rotorua; Distinction, Christchurch; Te Waonui Forest Retreat, Franz Josef; Millennium, Queenstown.

Meals: Breakfast. Lunch is also included on days 10, 12, 16 and 20. Dinner is also included on days 2, 5, 10, 13, 14, 16, 18 and 21.

Tour price:  The price shown for this AAT Kings First Choice tour is based on the best value travel dates in low season and includes international flights, domestic flights where indicated, accommodation as outlined, travel by luxury coach, sightseeing as outlined and services of a tour guide.

AAT Kings First Choice tours include premium accommodation in central locations, a variety of meals plus unique dining experiences and sightseeing

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