Down Under Discovery

23-Day all-inclusive tour exploring Australia & New Zealand

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NATURAL WONDERS, MAORI & ABORIGINAL CULTURE

From coral reefs and thermal pools, penguins and koalas, to Aboriginal and Maori cultures, snorkeling and boat safari’s, your days are filled with wonders on this exciting, all-inclusive, extended small group 23-day tour. Deluxe hotel stays, local guides, and top-quality service.

  • Visit UNESCO World Heritage Sites – Great Barrier Reef, Blue Mountains, Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park
  • Dine under the stars, in an aquarium, and be hosted by locals
  • Tour the Sydney Opera House, Hobbiton Movie Set, and Cairns Aquarium
  • Enjoy gondola and rainforest canopy tours and ride the “Puffing Billy” steam train
  • Pavlova, Maori, and Uluru cultural experiences
  • Embark on a nature cruise, jet boat safari, snorkeling adventure, and forest walk
  • Explore springs and thermal areas, historic homesteads, and wildlife parks
  • City Tours in Sydney, Melbourne, and Christchurch

Included land highlights:

Australia Highlights:
Sydney Harbour Dinner Cruise
Sydney Opera House Tour
Sydney City Sights Tour
Scenic World – Rail, Cable, Skyway Tours
Featherdale Wildlife Park
Blue Mountains National Park
Melbourne City Tour & Eureka Skydeck 88
Great Ocean Road & Otway National Park
Port Campbell National Park
The Dandenongs & “Puffing Billy” Steam Train
Queen Victoria Market
Phillip Island Penguins
‘Night at the Field of Light’ Dinner
Uluru Caves & Kata Tjuta Domes
Great Barrier Reef Snorkeling
Kuranda Scenic Rail & Rainforest Canopy Tour
Cairns Aquarium Tour & Oceanarium Dinner
New Zealand Highlights:
Auckland Pick Your Adventure Day
Waikato Valley & Hobbiton Movie Set Tour
Rainbow Springs & Waiotapu Thermal Areas
Maori Cultural Experience & Feast
Lakes Wakatipu & Te Anau
The Remarkables & Mackenzie Basin
Fiordland National Park
Milford Sound – Guided Nature Cruise
Mount Aspiring National Park Forest Walk
Lake Wakatipu & Jet Boat Safari
Gondola Ride Over Queenstown
Pavlova Experience with Hosted Dinner
Historic Akaunui Homestead Visit
Christchurch City Tour
Maps Ausnz Down Under Discovery Web

Accommodations:

AUSTRALIA
3 Nights – PARKROYAL Darling Harbour, Sydney
4 Nights – Sofitel Melbourne on Collins
2 Nights – Sails in the Desert, Ayers Rock
3 Nights – Shangri-La The Marina, Cairns

NEW ZEALAND
2 Nights – Sofitel Auckland Viaduct Harbour
2 Nights – Novotel Rotorua Lakeside
1 Night – Distinction Te Anau Hotel & Villas
3 Nights – The Rees Hotel, Queenstown
1 Night – Peppers Bluewater Resort, Lake Tepako
1 Night – Distinction Christchurch Hotel

Active Rating:

EASY TO MODERATE

Must be able to walk a mile & board small boats

Included Meals:

65
Breakfast, lunch, and dinner on full tour days + arrival day dinner, departure day breakfast

Max Group Size: 32

Itinerary

Day 1SYDNEY

Welcome to Australia! Upon arrival at Sydney International Airport, you will be met by a John Hall’s Alaska representative and transferred to the PARKROYAL Darling Harbour for early check-in. As the name suggests, the hotel is situated right on the water, and well-located for wandering around the Darling Harbour precinct or just relaxing after your flight. Radiating from the harbor, Australia’s largest city stretches from the shores of the Pacific Ocean to the foot of the Blue Mountains. Many great days lay ahead and this evening is just the start. Enjoy a welcome reception, followed by a Sydney Harbour dinner cruise – taking in views of the Rocks area, Sydney Opera House, and Sydney Bridge over sunset. What a wonderful way to begin an adventure!

Dinner | Overnight: PARKROYAL Darling Harbour, Sydney

Day 2SYDNEY OPERA HOUSE & CITY SIGHTS

This morning, embark on a city sights tour taking in the historical Rocks area, where the First Fleet landed in 1788 to establish Australia’s first European settlement. Other highlights include Chinatown, cosmopolitan Kings Cross, and world-famous Bondi Beach. Returning to town, head to the Sydney Opera House for a fascinating guided tour. Sixty years ago, Jorn Utzon designed what is now considered one of the greatest buildings of all time. Following lunch, the final stop on the day’s tour is Mrs. Macquarie’s Chair on the harbor foreshore. The sandstone chair was carved by convicts for Governor Lachlan Macquarie’s wife in order for her to watch the activity on the harbor and await the arrival of ships from England. The point provides wonderful views of the Sydney Opera House, the Harbour Bridge, and Fort Denison. This evening, enjoy a special group dinner outing. Afterward, you can “kick on” in the comfort of your resort, or perhaps venture out for a taste of Sydney’s nightlife.

Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner | Overnight: PARKROYAL Darling Harbour, Sydney

Day 3AUSSIE WILDLIFE & BLUE MOUNTAINS NATIONAL PARK

Today discover the beauty of the Blue Mountains! Featherdale Wildlife Park houses a great variety of wildlife including kangaroos, koalas, wallabies, Australian reptiles, Tasmanian devils, wombats, and various species of Australian birds. By motorcoach, climb into Blue Mountains National Park where today’s lunch stop is in the village of Leura – which is aboriginal for “lava.” The name was given to the village because of the area’s wealth of volcanic stones. This afternoon, take the scenic Cliff Drive to Echo Point and the Three Sisters at Katoomba. Near here is Scenic World, and an afternoon of highlights. Take a ride on the Scenic Railway, the world’s steepest incline railway, and travel through ancient rainforest. Disembark and walk the 300-meter rainforest boardwalk to connect with the Flyway platform. The Scenic Cableway is the steepest aerial cable car in Australia that travels 545 meters up through the UNESCO World Heritage rainforest of the Jamison Valley. The final adventure of your visit is the Scenic Skyway journey 270 meters above ancient ravines and dazzling waterfalls. This ride boasts a world-first, state-of-the-art Electro-Scenic Glass Floor. The 360-degree bird’s-eye view takes in the Three Sisters, Katoomba Falls, Mount Solitary, and the never-ending expanse of the Jamison Valley. Time to return to Sydney for dinner.

Lunch, Dinner | Overnight: PARKROYAL Darling Harbour, Sydney

Day 4MELBOURNE TOURING

Say farewell to Sydney this morning and fly to another cosmopolitan city – Melbourne. Take in lunch and a city tour before getting a good overview of Melbourne at the Eureka Skydeck 88, the highest viewing platform in the Southern Hemisphere and currently the world’s tallest residential building. Afterward, arrive at the Sofitel Melbourne on Collins with time to settle in and freshen up. Dinner this evening takes you to the Docklands area’s Berth Restaurant to enjoy a relaxed atmosphere and a three-course meal.

Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner | Overnight: Sofitel Melbourne on Collins, Melbourne

Day 5GREAT OCEAN ROAD

Today is a full day exploring one of Australia’s most spectacular coastal drives. Following an early breakfast, travel the Great Ocean Road, built to honor the servicemen and women of World War I. The road extends more than 300 kilometers along some of the best coastal scenery this country has to offer. Follow along the coast to Lorne, a popular Victorian seaside village, then continue on stopping for lunch in Apollo Bay. Next, wind your way inland through the slopes of the Otway Ranges and Great Otway National Park. This afternoon, travel the full length of Port Campbell National Park. Stop to see the famous Twelve Apostles, towering limestone stacks with wild waves crashing at their bases, as they dominate the coastline near Port Campbell.

Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner | Overnight: Sofitel Melbourne on Collins, Melbourne

Day 6QUEEN VICTORIA MARKET, THE DANDENONGS & PENGUINS

Time to “shop ‘til you drop” at the famous Queen Victoria Market – a celebrated market for buskers, souvenirs, and fresh produce. Later this morning, drive into the Dandenong Ranges for a ride aboard the historic “Puffing Billy” steam train through lush mountainsides from Belgrave to Emerald. Disembark the train and journey by motorcoach to the southwestern end of Phillip Island for an early dinner and the famous Phillip Island penguin parade. Every day at dusk the little penguins come ashore after fishing for whitebait for their young. To see them come out of the surf in small groups and waddle up the beach is a unique spectacle. Enjoy an upgraded viewing experience from the Penguins Plus platform – close to the penguins’ favorite spot to exit the water. Return to the hotel late this evening.

Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner | Overnight: Sofitel Melbourne on Collins, Melbourne

Day 7RELAX IN MELBOURNE

The last few days have been busy, so today is yours to relax or add an additional activity. Shop, unwind at the hotel, or do some personal sightseeing – options will be provided in your final documents. The choice is yours!

Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner | Overnight: Sofitel Melbourne on Collins, Melbourne

Day 8AYERS ROCK

Transfer to the Melbourne airport for a morning flight to Ayers Rock. Enjoy a tasty lunch, settle in at the resort, and spend the afternoon soaking up the Red Centre. This evening, a ‘Night at the Field of Light’ dinner experience delivers majestic views of Uluru. Sip sparkling wine and listen to the haunting sounds of the didgeridoo while watching the sunset. As darkness falls and the colored lights of 50,000 glass spheres come to life, enjoy a delicious Northern Territory gourmet barbecue. When the lights go down, they reveal a star filled sky, complete with a resident astronomer and an introduction to the magnificent constellations, stars, and planets that make up the skies of the Southern Hemisphere.

Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner | Overnight: Sails in the Desert, Ayers Rock Resort

Day 9ABORIGINAL SACRED CAVES & KATA TJUTU

Rise early this morning to watch the beautiful desert sunrise over Ayers Rock. See some of the many Aboriginal sacred caves which hold a special significance for the local Aboriginal Anangu people. Midafternoon, head out to the harsh Outback on a visit to the massive series of domes known as Kata Tjuta (Olgas). The walking trail through Walpa Gorge follows the natural creek between two of the domes of Kata Tjuta. Spend time exploring the gorge and unusual rock formations. In late afternoon, arrive at the sunset viewing area for drinks and canapes as you witness the striking color changes that can take place on the world’s largest monolith – Uluru.

Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner | Overnight: Sails in the Desert, Ayers Rock Resort

Day 10AYERS ROCK & CAIRNS

Breakfast will be served in the hotel restaurant with your morning free for relaxing. Transfer by private motorcoach to the airport for your flight to Cairns this afternoon. On arrival in Cairns, head to Shangri-La The Marina, your home for the next three nights.

Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner | Overnight: Shangri-La The Marina, Cairns

Day 11GREAT BARRIER REEF WORLD HERITAGE AREA

Enjoy one of Australia’s most unique treasures – the Great Barrier Reef – on a private day excursion. The area’s spectacular outer reef sites present an opportunity to explore the underwater world with a snorkeling and glass bottom boat experience, or choose to splash out with extra activities like a Scenic Helicopter Flight (additional cost applies). A buffet lunch will be served on board. Return to Cairns for dinner.

Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner | Overnight: Shangri-La Hotel, Cairns

Day 12KURANDA RAINFOREST

Board the Kuranda Scenic Rail in a refurbished Heritage Carriage for a journey past massive Baron Falls, Stoney Creek, and across steep ravines to the rainforest village of Kuranda. There is time to explore Kuranda before boarding the Skyrail Rainforest Cableway and skimming over the canopy. At the Cairns Aquarium, enjoy an exclusive guided tour through ten amazing North Queensland ecosystems with over 71 different habitats. A special farewell Australia dinner will be served in the Oceanarium – surrounded by sharks, stingrays and the tropical beauty of the fish of the Coral Sea.

Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner | Overnight: Shangri-La Hotel, Cairns

Day 13AUCKLAND

Fly to New Zealand! On arrival into Auckland – one of the best life-style cities in the world – transfer directly to the centrally situated Sofitel Auckland Viaduct Harbour, your home for the next two evenings. Auckland has a plethora of great museums and galleries, and is a melting pot of cultures with a large Polynesian and Asian influence. Today is a full day of travel.

Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner | Overnight: Sofitel Auckland Viaduct Harbour, Auckland

Day 14AUCKLAND PICK YOUR ADVENTURE DAY

Today, choose one activity from a selection of options designed to introduce you to Auckland’s largest and most cosmopolitan city (options are sent with your final documents). Reunite for dinner at Harbourside Bar & Grill, located in the historic Ferry Building on Quay Street. There is something for everyone!

Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner | Overnight: Sofitel Auckland Viaduct Harbour, Auckland

Day 15WAIKATO VALLEY & ROTORUA

Travel south into the fertile Waikato Valley. Here visit The Red Barn – a picturesque 500-acre park-like dairy farm nestled on a hill with 360-degree views of the Kaimai Ranges, Mount Maungatautari, and the greater Waikato dairy country. Take a rural tour on the fully functioning dairy farm with an interactive butter making experience before enjoying a country-style luncheon. Next up, the Hobbiton Movie Set, featured in the Peter Jackson directed movie trilogy The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey. On a guided tour, drive through a picturesque 1,250-acre sheep farm to see the Hobbit holes, Green Dragon Inn, Mill, and other structures created for the films. Late afternoon, journey to the unique geothermal area of Rotorua, part of the geologically active ‘Pacific Rim of Fire.’ Situated on the shores of Lake Rotorua, your hotel for the next two nights is the Novotel Rotorua Lakeside.

Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner | Overnight: Novotel Lakeside, Rotorua

Day 16RAINBOW SPRINGS, WAIOTAPU THERMAL POOLS & MAORI VILLAGE

A visit to Rainbow Springs showcases New Zealand’s natural flora and fauna. See the endangered Kiwi bird, the national icon, and New Zealand’s only reptile, the Tuatara. Visit Waiotapu, one of the world’s most colorful thermal areas. This evening, feel the warmth of the Maori people during an evening of ceremonial rituals including karanga (welcome call), powhiri (welcome), wero (challenge), storytelling, and hangi feasting. Witness warriors training for war with traditional weapons, women weaving and making Maori crafts, and hear villagers tell stories of their ancestors and history. Dine on the traditional hangi buffet dinner (Maori feast). The evening ends with the Poroporoaki (official closing ceremony).

Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner | Overnight: Novotel Lakeside, Rotorua

Day 17QUEENSTOWN & TE ANAU

Fly to Queenstown this morning. Then by motorcoach, follow the eastern shores of Lake Wakatipu around the Devil’s Staircase to Kingston with The Remarkables Range to your left. Continue through the lovely Southland countryside where sheep, cattle, and deer farming predominate before reaching Te Anau. Renowned as the gateway to Fiordland National Park, the township of Te Anau is set on the shores of Lake Te Anau, the largest of New Zealand’s southern glacial lakes. Overnight at Distinction Te Anau Hotel & Villas.

Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner | Overnight: Distinction Te Anau Hotel & Villas, Te Anau

Day 18MILFORD SOUND CRUISE

From Te Anau, travel along Milford Road into Fiordland National Park. Part of the UNESCO Southwest New Zealand World Heritage Area, Fiordland National Park is one of the great wilderness areas of the Southern Hemisphere. Situated on the west coast of the South Island, Milford Sound is a fusion of spectacular natural features with amazing vistas around every corner. At Milford Sound, embark on a nature cruise of this spectacular fiord. Take in the cascading waterfalls, dense rainforests, steep cliff faces, and marine life that inhabits these waters. An onboard nature guide with specialist knowledge of the region’s history, flora, and fauna provides a detailed commentary. Lunch is served on board. Afterward, reboard the coach and head to Queenstown. Nestled among glacier-rounded hills and dramatic rugged mountain peaks, Queenstown is New Zealand’s premier four-season lake and alpine resort area.

Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner | Overnight: The Rees Hotel, Queenstown

Day 19RELAX IN QUEENSTOWN

Today is a free day for relaxing at the hotel or getting out and exploring Queenstown on your own. There are more than enough shops, cafes, and colorful landmarks to hold your interest. A plethora of optional sightseeing activities are available and will be provided with your final documents.

Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner | Hotel Overnight: The Rees Hotel, Queenstown

Day 20MT. ASPIRING NATIONAL PARK JET BOAT SAFARI & FOREST WALK

Journey by motorcoach to the small settlement of Glenorchy at the head of Lake Wakatipu. Here, join Dart River Adventures for a 1½-hour jet boat safari into Mount Aspiring National Park. The crystal-clear water in a wild and picturesque landscape, amidst the towering peaks, glaciers, and ancient forests of Mount Aspiring National Park captivates. Also, enjoy a 20-30-minute guided walk through ancient native beech forest and learn about the flora and fauna, history, and geology of this World Heritage Area from knowledgeable guides. Return to Queenstown mid-afternoon and this evening, ride an aerial gondola high above Queenstown to Bob’s Peak, where the Stratosphere Restaurant serves up a mouthwatering Taste of New Zealand buffet.

Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner | Hotel Overnight: The Rees Hotel, Queenstown

Day 21LAKE TEKAPO

Travel north through the rugged Kawarau Gorge, past pretty Lake Dunstan, and across the distinctive Central Otago countryside to the Lindis Pass. Pass the small town of Omarama and after lunching in Twizel, drive along the shores of Lake Pukaki. On a clear day, Mount Cook, New Zealand’s tallest mountain can be seen from the head of the lake. Continue across the Mackenzie Basin to the small town of Tekapo for a visit to The Church of the Good Shepherd, set on the shores of striking Lake Tekapo. See the memorial to working sheepdogs and the indispensable role they have had in the Mackenzie Basin. This evening, you are invited to the private home of Tekapo locals Angie and Stan Taylor for a Pavlova Experience and dinner. Their home is set on the shores of Lake Tekapo and Angie will share her secrets of this truly Kiwi dessert. Enjoy dinner – and a taste of pavlova. Drink in the views of this beautiful lake.

Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner | Hotel Overnight: Peppers Bluewater Resort, Lake Tekapo

Day 22AKAUNUI HOMESTEAD & CHRISTCHURCH

A morning crossing of the Southern Alps over Burkes Pass takes you to the rural settlement of Longbeach to visit Akaunui Historic House and Gardens. The garden includes magnificent old trees (both native and exotic) and complements the imposing century-old double-story brick homestead. Enjoy a lovely country lunch at the Akaunui Homestead. Travel across the fertile Canterbury Plains to the city of Christchurch. Your evening will be at leisure with a private farewell dinner for the group at the Distinction Christchurch Hotel.

Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner | Hotel Overnight: Distinction Hotel, Christchurch

Day 23CHRISTCHURCH – FLY HOME

Take in breakfast at the hotel this morning before joining a local walking guide for a relaxed 1-hour walking tour around the central city. Learn about the effects of the 2011 Christchurch earthquakes and how the city is rebuilding. See the city’s rebuilding program and depending upon the route your guide takes, you might see the temporary cardboard cathedral, the ‘container’ retail mall, and the reconstruction of the main arts buildings. Afterward, transfer to Christchurch airport to catch your flight bound for home. Flights should depart after 2pm; guests willing to forego the city tour may depart after 10am.

Breakfast

Departures and Pricing

Per Person Pricing Includes

Australia travel visa; flights within and between Australia/New Zealand; accommodations; fully-guided service; listed activities, tours, and entrance fees; airport meet and greet; transfers; meals, one adult beverage with dinner, baggage handling, and corresponding gratuities; taxes; fees; and special alumni World Adventure memento.

February 19, 2023
DOWN UNDER DISCOVERY
23-Day Land Tour

February 19 – March 13, 2023

Double Occupancy: $18,509
Single Occupancy: $23,699
Tour Savings

Check Discount – SAVE $200 per person when you pay your tour balance by check or cash versus credit card! $500 per person deposits may still be made by credit card.

How To Reserve This Tour

A deposit of $1,500.00 USD per person is required within ten days of booking your reservation. Deposits are refundable up until 90 days prior to departure. If canceled, deposits paid by credit card forfeit 4%.

Mastercard, Visa, Discover, American Express, and personal checks are acceptable forms of deposit payment. To confirm your space by credit card, please contact our office: 800.325.2270. Specialists are available for tour bookings 7:30am-5:30pm M-F and 8am-4pm on Saturday.

FULL TERMS & CONDITIONS

Arranging Your Flights

Included flights will be non-stop when possible, but this is not guaranteed. Home city arrival and departure airfare is not included. On the last day, flights should depart after 2pm if you wish to join an included city tour; those willing to forego the tour may depart any time after 10am.

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