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Australia & New Zealand: The Lands Down Under (2016)

Luxury Small Group Journeys: The finest small-group travel experience

Limited to 18 guests
Days: 18  |  From: $13,595


Australia & New Zealand: The Lands Down Under

Day 1: Arrive Auckland, New Zealand

On arriving in Auckland, New Zealand, you are met and transferred to your hotel. This evening, enjoy a welcome dinner of local New Zealand cuisine.

Sofitel Auckland Viaduct Harbour   |   Meals: D

Day 2: Queenstown | Majestic Mountains and Crystal Waters

This morning, take a scenic drive along Auckland’s sparkling Waitemata Harbour waterfront and visit the Auckland Museum for a privately guided tour. Later, fly to Queenstown, a city founded by Maori jade hunters and treasured today for its magnificent scenery. Settle into your luxurious hotel.

Sofitel Queenstown Hotel & Spa   |   Meals: B L D

Day 3: Queenstown | Gold Panning & Wine Tasting

Rise early for a unique sightseeing tour of Queenstown aboard a custom-built, four-wheel-drive vehicle. View scenic Skippers Road, Coronet Lookout and Lighthouse Rock. Traverse rivers as you continue to the site of a Lord of the Rings movie location. Stop for refreshments and a gold panning demonstration. Transfer to a motor coach and proceed to a local winery for lunch and a wine tasting. Return to Queenstown, stopping en route at a bridge made famous by bungy jumpers, and then enjoy views of the surrounding area from a skyline gondola.

Sofitel Queenstown Hotel & Spa   |   Meals: B L

Day 4: Queenstown | Private Cocktail Reception

Enjoy a day at leisure in this activity center of New Zealand. Later this afternoon, travel to historic Arrowtown. Enjoy a private cocktail reception at the local museum as you learn about early Maori life and the harsh pioneering days of European settlers. Then, dine at renowned Gantleys Restaurant, housed in a pioneering landmark.

Sofitel Queenstown Hotel & Spa   |   Meals: B D

Day 5: Mount Cook | Rugged Glacial Splendor

Journey to the amazing Aoraki/Mount Cook National Park, home to New Zealand’s highest mountain. En route, savor a lunch that includes traditional New Zealand pie. On arrival, enjoy time to walk in this pristine mountain park. Tonight, tour the Milky Way with a stargazing experience that highlights features of the southern sky.

The Hermitage Hotel   |   Meals: B L D

Day 6: Christchurch | Alpine Splendors

Today, make your way to Christchurch, past Lake Pukaki to Lake Tekapo. View the solitary Church of the Good Shepherd and take in the sights of the spectacular Southern Alps mountain range along the way. Continue through the diverse farmland of the Canterbury Plains to Christchurch. Check in to your hotel in the center of this vibrant, ever-changing city. Enjoy this evening at your leisure.

The George   |   Meals: B L

Day 7: Christchurch | Beautiful Vistas and Gardens

Explore the city with a local guide who gives a firsthand account on how the earthquake affected the city. Enjoy a leisurely punt on the Avon River. Tonight, gather for a New Zealander farewell dinner at the Curator’s House, in the beautiful Christchurch Botanic Gardens.

The George   |   Meals: B D

Day 8: Melbourne, Australia | Welcome to Australia

This morning, visit the International Antarctic Center for a breathtaking audiovisual presentation and guided tour. Afterward, fly to Melbourne, Australia, where you are met and transferred to your hotel, located at the prestigious “Paris End” of Collins Street, with sweeping views of Melbourne’s skyline. Gather for your Australian welcome dinner.

Sofitel Melbourne on Collins   |   Meals: B L D

Day 9: Melbourne | Melbourne Highlights & Aussie Living

Tour Melbourne’s landmarks, seeing the Shrine of Remembrance and Melbourne’s thriving Arts Precinct. Continue onto Keeyuga Farm on an A&K exclusive experience — where you are welcomed into the home of the Thomson family, to learn a little of what it is like to be an Aussie family “living off the land.” After morning tea, head out to the stock yards to watch the working dogs bring in a herd of sheep, followed by a demonstration of shearing skills. Prepare to be amazed at the speed at which they work. Next, travel to a charming, secret location to enjoy a lunch featuring local organic farm produce and local wines. Afterward, you may choose to further explore the property, taking in the native flora and fauna and perhaps catching sight of a mob of kangaroos. It’s a splendid opportunity to be at one with nature, enjoying the peace and tranquility of life in this beautiful part of Victoria.

Sofitel Melbourne on Collins   |   Meals: B L

Day 10: Uluru | An Undeniable Presence

Fly to Uluru (Ayers Rock), and settle into your luxurious hotel. This afternoon, view Uluru on a sunset tour. Stopping at its base, walk with your guide to a tranquil place. Enjoy canapés and sparkling wine, watching the sunset over the monolith.

Sails in the Desert   |   Meals: B D

Day 11: Uluru/Port Douglas | A Spiritual Sojourn

Rise early to visit Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park as the sun’s morning glow brings the desert to life. Your guide shares the significance of this sacred ceremonial site and explains the evolutionary and geologic forces that have shaped the region. Later, fly to Cairns and continue to Port Douglas.

Pullman Port Douglas Sea Temple Resort and Spa   |   Meals: B

Day 12: Daintree Rainforest | Botanical Ark Visit

Today, travel through rich farmlands to tour Daintree National Park. Then, travel south and enjoy a delightful visit at the Botanical Ark, a private ethnobotanical garden. This A&K exclusive includes lunch, during which the head chef shares cooking techniques at a Chef’s Table culinary experience.

Pullman Port Douglas Sea Temple Resort and Spa   |   Meals: B L

Day 13: Great Barrier Reef | Exploring Underwater Gems

Transfer to the Marina for a full-day exploration of the Great Barrier Reef aboard a beautiful sailing vessel. Sail to the Low Isles, with their white sandy beaches and coconut palms, surrounded by magnificent coral gardens. Enjoy a gourmet buffet lunch while moored in the sheltered blue lagoon. Relax on the island, join a guided snorkel tour, take a trip on the glass bottom boat or laze on deck before an exhilarating sail back to port. Return to your hotel before dinner.

Pullman Port Douglas Sea Temple Resort and Spa   |   Meals: B L D

Days 14-15: Sydney | The Opera House and the Dreamtime

Fly to Sydney, where you are met and transferred to your hotel, superbly situated near Sydney Harbour and the city’s historic Rocks area. Tonight, dine at a local restaurant, taking in unrivaled views of Sydney. In the morning, transfer to Rushcutters Bay for your chartered sailing on stunning Sydney Harbour. Sit back, relax and sail up close to many of the harbor’s best attractions. Back onshore, stop for lunch at a local restaurant, and then go walkabout with an Aboriginal guide in The Rocks. Journey into Dreamtime, the culture of Aboriginal people, on a tour designed by an Aboriginal elder.

Four Seasons Hotel Sydney   |   Meals: B D (Day 14); B L D (Day 15)

Day 16: Sydney | City Highlights and Bondi Beach

Visit Sydney’s bustling Fish Markets in Pyrmont, and then continue to tour the town, before getting your toes in the sand at iconic Bondi Beach. Stroll the boutique shops of Paddington. The afternoon is at your leisure.

Four Seasons Hotel Sydney   |   Meals: B

Days 17-18: Sydney | A Fond Farewell

Board a ferry to Taronga Zoo for a guided tour, visiting kangaroos, koalas, wombats, dingoes, echidnas and Australian birds. Next, embark on a behind-the-scenes tour of the iconic Sydney Opera House, enjoying lunch on the lower concourse afterward. Spend the afternoon at leisure. Tonight, gather for a farewell dinner at Altitude including wine or Champagne upon arrival. Depart the next day.

Four Seasons Hotel Sydney   |   Meals: B L D (Day 17); B (Day 18)

Extend Your Journey | Enhance your journey with a post-tour extension to Tasmania (4 days, priced from $2,995)

Take This Journey Private | This itinerary is also available as an independent journey, Signature Australia & New Zealand, with A&K local guides.

Customize This Journey | If you would like to customize this itinerary and create a Tailor Made Journey just for you and your companions, click here to inquire, or speak to your travel professional.

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Luxury Small Group Journeys 2016 Brochure

Luxury Small Group Journeys 2016

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