Highlights of Australia & New Zealand

21 nights escorted tour

Price from: £6899pp

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

Day 1: Fly to Melbourne.

Day 2 Melbourne: On arrival you will be transferred to your hotel. Later, meet your fellow travellers at dinner.

Day 3 Melbourne: Explore Melbourne on a city sights tour this morning, then discover its gracious arcades, eclectic laneways and vibrant street art on a private walking tour.

Day 4 Melbourne: At leisure to continue taking in the city sights, enjoying some time to shop or sit back and people watch from an inviting eatery. Alternatively, 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).

Day 5 Melbourne/Alice Springs: Fly to Alice Springs and visit the School of the Air to hear how children living in remote areas are educated, then continue to the Royal Flying Doctor Service. This evening, join the Falzon family at Earth Sanctuary for a home-cooked gourmet barbecue dinner and captivating stories of local ecology, culture and astronomy.

Day 6 Alice Springs/Uluru: Travel through the West MacDonnell Ranges to Uluru. Enjoy the resort’s facilities, before travelling to the Uluru sunset viewing area to witness the striking colour changes of Uluru as the sun disappears for the day.

Day 7 Uluru: This morning, you’ll view Uluru as the sun reappears, then tour the caves at the base of Uluru. Later, travel over red desert plains to Kata Tjuta (the Olgas) and take a walk through the towering domes of this majestic rock formation. This evening, share a drink with your travelling companions over another glorious sunset.

Day 8 Uluru/Cairns: Depart the resort in total darkness for the short drive to Bruce Munro’s renowned Field of Light, a unique artwork comprising 50,000 spheres of light. You will then join an indiginous artist for a fun introduction to Western Desert Art before an afternoon flight to Cairns.

Day 9 Cairns: Today is free to do as you choose. Optional tours include the Tjapukai Aboriginal Cultural Park; 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 iconic Great Barrier Reef. Snorkel and explore this natural living wonder up close (equipment provided) or stay dry and view the coral and marine life from the comfort of a semi-submersible craft. Dine tonight at a restaurant on the waterfront.

Day 11 Cairns/Sydney: This afternoon fly to Sydney and an evening to do as you choose.

Day 12 Sydney: Join a local guide for a tour of the Opera House before visiting legendary Bondi Beach, where you can watch surfers and glimpse the famous lifeguards. Prime your sea legs next for a Captain Cook lunch cruise and then the rest of the day is free.

Day 13 Sydney: At leisure. Maybe take an optional tour to the Blue Mountains embark on a ‘BridgeClimb’ (both additional expense). Dine with your travel director and fellow travellers at a waterfront restaurant.

Day 14 Sydney/Auckland: Fly across the Tasman Sea to New Zealand and this evening, join your fellow travellers for dinner at the hotel.

Day 15 Auckland: A morning city sightseeing tour is followed by free time. If you have a head for heights take in the panoramic vistas from atop the Sky Tower, browse the exhibits of the Auckland Art Gallery, take a breather in Albert Park or, stroll around Viaduct Harbour.

Day 16 Auckland/Rotorua: Travel south to Rotorua where you visit Rainbow Springs Nature Park to observe many species of native fauna and learn all about New Zealand’s wonderful wildlife, including the shy kiwi. This evening, journey back in time and experience a traditional Hangi Feast and concert at the Tamaki Maori Village, which is set in a 200 year old forest.

Day 17 Rotorua/Queenstown: This morning is at leisure to further explore this geothermal wonderland of natural hot springs, shooting geysers and bubbling mud pools. Later, transfer to the airport for the onward flight to Queenstown, New Zealand’s adventure capital.

Day 18 Milford Sound cruise: Drive through Fiordland National Park to Milford Sound. Here, you’ll cruise on the Sound getting close to fur seals basking on the rocks, massive rocks rising hundreds of feet out of the sea and see waterfalls cascade from ancient rainforest high in the mountains. Return to Queenstown for an evening at leisure.

Day 19 Queenstown: Optional tours and experiences include a thrilling Shotover Jet boat ride; a boutique wine tour; a TSS Earnslaw cruise; or a 4WD minibus excursion through Skippers Canyon (all additional expense). This evening, dine at the Boatshed with its views of Lake Wakatipu and the Remarkables.

Day 20 Queenstown/Franz Josef: Visit the historic gold mining village of Arrowtown before indulging in delicious stone fruit at Cromwell. Journey over the Haast Pass and along the coastal road to Franz Josef Glacier, a spectacular World Heritage area.

Day 21 Franz Josef/Christchurch: Stop at Hokitika for a jade carving demonstration, then take an unforgettable journey through the spectacular Southern Alps to Christchurch on the legendary TranzAlpine train.

Day 22 Christchurch: Meet Isabelle and Tim Weston for a Be My Guest morning tea at their home, Britten Stables. Formerly horse stables, the couple restored the property and transformed it into the exquisite home it is today. Spend the last evening with your new-found friends at a farewell dinner.

Day 23 Christchurch: Your tour concludes this morning with a transfer to the airport for your onward journey.

What you need to know

Departures: On specific dates. Please ask for details

Accommodation: 4* Crowne Plaza, Melbourne; 4* Mercure Alice Springs; 4* Voyages Desert Gardens, Uluru; 5* Shangri-La Hotel, The Marina, Cairns; 5* InterContinental, Sydney; 5* Stamford Plaza, Auckland; 4* Millennium, Rotorua; 4* Millennium, Queenstown; 5* Te Waonui Forest Retreat, Franz Josef; 4* Distinction, Christchurch.

Meals: Breakfast. Lunch is also included on days 10, 12 and 18. Dinner is also included on days 2, 5, 10, 13, 14, 16, 19, 20 and 22.

Tour price: The price shown for this AAT Kings First Choice tour 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.

The itinerary is based on departures between Apr 20-Mar 21 and may vary for other dates.

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Highlights of Australia & New Zealand

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Superb tours, a choice of hotels, pre-bookable excursions and unforgettable rail journeys across Australia and New Zealand. Also includes cruises, Fiji and the Cook Islands.