SOUTH PACIFIC HIGHLIGHTS FT AUSTRALIA & NEW ZEALAND

18 DAYS/15 NIGHTS

Description

Explore the land "Down Under" with Central Holidays West on our once-in-a-lifetime South Pacific Highlights 2018 travel program to Australia and New Zealand. Delve into enchanting Australia from the rugged Outback to cosmopolitan Sydney and beyond! Explore the deep blue sea on a cruise adventure to the Great Barrier Reef, enjoy the magnificent beauty of Sydney Harbor on a coffee cruise, and learn about Australia's rich history while exploring aboriginal villages - these are just a few of the highlights on your adventure through Melbourne, Cairns, Sydney, Christchurch, Queenstown, and more. Majestic cities, fascinating cultures, stunning scenery, outdoor adventures into caves and coral atolls will open your eyes to the true beauty of the South Pacific. Join us on this amazing journey!

Itinerary

Days 1 & 2 Depart USA 
Exhilaratingly diverse, intriguing, welcoming, and full of adventure, Australia & New Zealand await with near endless opportunities for discovery and fun! The sixth largest country in the world, this land "Down Under" presents a dazzling range of landscapes and seascapes to enjoy - from renowned beaches and reefs, to rainforests, deserts, and a rugged interior terrain known as the Outback. Your fascinating Aussie experience begins today as you board your flight bound for Australia. As you travel en route from the USA to Australia, you will cross the International Dateline, an imaginary line running from the North Pole to the South Pole that denotes the place where a new day begins. Crossing the line from the east to the west adds a day while crossing it from west to the east subtracts a day. You'll "regain" a day when flying from Australia back to the USA at the conclusion of your Australian escapade! 

Day 3 Arrive Melbourne, Australia 
Upon arrival in Melbourne, you will be greeted at the airport by your Central Holidays tour director and transferred to your hotel. Check into your hotel then say hello to Melbourne, Australia's second largest city and cultural capital, with Victorian-era architecture, extensive shopping, museums, galleries, theatres, and large parks and gardens. The busy Docklands are filled with shops and restaurants to explore or you can visit Eureka Tower, the tallest residential building in the Southern Hemisphere. Melbourne is an exciting city we will showcase for you! This evening enjoy a welcome dinner with your fellow travelers. (D) 

Day 4 Melbourne - City Tour 
Enjoy a delicious breakfast at your hotel this morning and embark on an escorted Melbourne City Tour through the Fitzroy Gardens, the Shrine of Remembrance, the Parliament House, and Victoria Park. In the afternoon you will have an opportunity to explore the city at your leisure or join us for an optional tour to Phillip Island, a beautiful nature reserve and home to the world-famous Little Penguin Parade. At sunset, the world's smallest penguins emerge from the sea and waddle ashore to their sand dune burrows - a wonderful photo opportunity and memorable experience. This optional tour includes dinner on Phillip Island before returning to Melbourne. (B) 

Day 5 Melbourne/Cairns - City Tour 
After breakfast at you hotel you will be transferred to Melbourne Airport for your flight to Cairns. Upon arrival in Cairns you will be met at the airport and embark on a sightseeing tour en-route to your hotel. Cairns is the major center in Tropical North Queensland. This area is a well-known and traveled gateway to the Great Barrier Reef. Along the fringes of this city you will find abundant rainforests, yet to the North and South the vast ocean teeming with marine life and sandy white beaches awaits to be explored. In this mesmerizing area you can delve into aboriginal cultural, cuddle an Australian Koala, or have an underwater adventure in the Great Barrier Reef. (B) 

Day 6 Cairns - Great Barrier Reef Catamaran Cruise 
After breakfast today, the Great Barrier Reef beckons with moments to relish amazing experiences on your full-day cruise experience to breathtaking Michaelmas Cay. The Great Barrier Reef is the world's most impressive coral reef system boasting amazing white sand cays, an expansive array of fish and diverse marine life that can be found within its depths, and hundreds of lush tropical islands. An exclusive beach island welcomes you at Michaelmas Cay. This Cay is a protected seabird sanctuary that hosts more than 20,000 migratory seabirds and is one of the most important nesting sites in the Southern Hemisphere. Your sailing experience on a large Australian catamaran will offer you a variety of ways to explore the Great Barrier Reef. You can snorkel and dive from the beach rather than from a pontoon into deep waters. Featuring a large environmentally friendly sailing catamaran that glides along at low speeds, you are assured maximum comfort at sea. The vessel offers a spacious wide open foredeck perfect for sun bathing as well as comfortable lounge seating. Included in this excursion are morning and afternoon refreshments, as well as a delicious hot and cold buffet freshly prepared onboard including delectable seafood selections. Return to Cairns in the late afternoon. (B,L) 

Day 7 Cairns 
Today after breakfast enjoy a day at leisure and relax at your hotel or take an optional tour - "Village in the Rainforest" - Kuranda . On this tour you will have the opportunity to explore a rainforest environment and learn about Tropical North Queensland's history. During a relaxing journey by train, take-in the breathtaking scenery as you venture through the rainforest. On your way to Kuranda, you will enjoy the rare opportunities to stop in Barron Gorge and along Stoney Creek Bridge to photograph the unique settings. Take some time to delve into Kuranda on your own where you can have lunch at a local restaurant or enjoy some shopping at the area's heritage markets. The Asian Butterfly Sanctuary is your next stop on this exciting day trip where you can partake in a wildlife encounter. Leaving Kuranda, we enjoy a spectacular Skyrail experience. Spanning over 10 miles over pristine rainforest, this cable car journey allows you to explore the wonders of an ancient tropical rainforest and learn about one of the most botanically fascinating and diverse areas on earth. Gliding just meters above the rainforest canopy, the Skyrail journey immerses you in an intimate rainforest experience where you'll see, hear, smell and become part of the tropical rainforest environment. We will also visit the Tjapukai Aboriginal Culture Park to interact with Australia's 40,000 year old aboriginal culture. Tonight enjoy your included dinner at a local restaurant. (B,D) 

Day 8 Cairns/Sydney 
This morning we head to the airport to depart Cairns and head to Sydney. Welcome to spectacular Sydney, Australia's first and most vibrant city. From its relaxed coastal ambiance with vast outdoor lifestyle activities, to its sophisticated arts scene, shopping, and exceptional food & wine, Sydney awaits you with excitement for all. On arrival, transfer by private coach to your hotel. Settle into your hotel, ideally located in the city-center near Sydney's many must see attractions, such as Sydney Harbour, Darling Harbour, Centrepoint Tower, The Rocks, and the renowned Opera House. (B) 

Day 9 Sydney - City Tour - Capt. Cook Coffee Cruise 
Today start your day with a hearty full breakfast at your hotel. Then embark on a rousing half day tour of Sydney with a professional and insightful guide. Visit Sydney's famed Chinatown. Take-in the Royal Botanic Gardens, situated on the edge of Sydney Harbor along Farm Cove, where you can enjoy an outstanding collection of plants from Australia and across the globe. Tour the city's fashionable Eastern Suburbs. Venture along to Sydney Harbour National Park and discover breathtaking views from "the Gap+- ocean cliffs facing the Tasman Sea and Sydney Harbor. Experience the area's iconic Bondi Beach. Then discover one of the world's most captivating architectural sights, the Sydney Opera House, poised grandly on Sydney Harbour. Along the way we will visit an establishment to learn about Australian Opals. After lunch (on your own) you take a Capt. Cook coffee cruise. On this excursion you will sail around the Sydney Harbour, taking-in some of Sydney's most spectacular sights from a different perspective. As you cruise the Main Harbor, you will glide past the Opera House, The Royal Botanic Gardens, exuberant mansions of the exclusive Eastern Suburbs, Garden Island Naval base, and Watsons Bay beach. Sail under Sydney Harbour Bridge then around Goat Island, entering Darling Harbour prior to arriving in Circular Quay. (B) 

Day 10 Sydney 
After enjoying breakfast, outdoor recreation calls with the opportunity to enjoy an optional day trip to the Blue Mountains, a UNESCO World Heritage site. From Echo Point, takein the awe inspiring vistas of the Megalong Valley and view the Three Sisters formations overlooking Jamison Valley that change color as the light shifts throughout the day. This afternoon, Aboriginal culture comes to life at the Waradah Aboriginal Centre. Next it's a visit to Featherdale Wildlife Park where you will have the unique chance to hand-feed kangaroos and wallabies, and have an encounter with koalas. The Australian bush offers superb opportunities for photographing exquisite wildlife. As you return to Sydney, drive along the world-renowned Sydney Harbour Bridge and past the site of the 2000 Olympics. You may also choose to explore Sydney at your leisure today as an alternate option. (B) 

Day 11 Sydney/Auckland, New Zealand - City Tour 
Power up with a full breakfast at your hotel then head to the airport for your flight to Auckland, New Zealand. Upon arrival in Auckland, you will be greeted at the airport by your private driver and coach. Enjoy a panoramic city tour of Auckland on the way to your hotel. See the scenic waterfront area and the Auckland Tower. (B) 

Day 12 Auckland - Waitomo Glow Worm Caves/Rotorua 
Rise and shine with a delicious breakfast at your hotel then we will depart for a visit to the acclaimed Waitomo Glow Worm Caves, one of New Zealand's most famous and beautiful attractions. Be sure to have your cameras ready! After this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to experience the captivating glow worms, we head along to Rotorua, situated on New Zealand's North Island and known as the Thermal Wonderland. Arrive to Rotorua on the shores of Lake Rotorua and check-in to your hotel. (B) 

Day 13 Rotorua - Rainbow Springs Nature Park - Maori Hangi 
Feast on breakfast at your Rotorua hotel before our day's adventures begin. First we depart for Rainbow Springs Nature Park to see live kiwi foraging, feed large rainbow trout. Enjoy a walking journey through the native New Zealand bush where we'll see the local flora and fauna. Today we will also explore the Whakarewarewa Thermal Reserve and Maori Village set amidst a landscape of erupting geothermal activity, hot thermal springs & bubbling mud pools. Enjoy the natural wonders here and touch the warming waters to feel their healing energy. This evening, at your hotel experience true New Zealand culture during a special Maori Hangi Feast Dinner featuring a traditional meal & entertainment. (B,D) 

Day 14 Rotoura - Christchurch 
This morning we transfer to Rotoura's airport for your departure flight to charming Christchurch. Often referred to as the world's most English city outside of England, Christchurch has fine older buildings and neogothic architecture. Nicknamed the "Garden City" there are numerous trees that grow throughout the city, giving it a forest feel. The rest of the day is yours to explore many of city's highlights including the Canterbury Museum, Christchurch Cathedral, Arts Centre and much more. (B) 

Day 15 Christchurch - City Tour/Queenstown 
After enjoying breakfast you will have a panoramic Christchurch city tour highlighting the beautiful gardens and unique architecture. We'll enjoy lunch at the foot of Mount Cook and then travel to Queenstown for the next two nights. Queenstown's stunning scenery, huge range of activities and renowned warm welcome cement its reputation as New Zealand's favorite visitor destination. Surrounded by majestic mountains and set on the shores of crystal clear Lake Wakatipu, the natural beauty and the unique energy of the region create the perfect backdrop for your extension of adventure, exploration or relaxation. Rest well this evening for upcoming adventures! (B,L) 

Day 16 Queenstown 
Enjoy a delicious breakfast at your hotel and then join us for an optional full day tour of Milford Sound or stay and explore Queenstown further at your leisure. If you join us for the optional tour we will travel through lush and beautiful countryside, through the famous Fiordland National Park to Milford Sound. Admire the awe inspiring sights of Milford Sound on a scenic cruise! As you marvel at one of the world's most incredible natural miracles, see dolphins and seals against a backdrop of gushing waterfalls and a lush green rainforest. A fun picnic lunch is included on this day tour. (B) 

Day 17 Queenstown - City Tour 
After breakfast you will have a half day tour of this magnificent town in the South Island of New Zealand set along the edge of Lake Wakatipu and surrounded by the Southern Alps. Check out Bungy Bridge for death-defying jumps, Arrowtown and the Shotover Jet, a high speed jet boat tour that performs stunts like 360 degree pirouettes in the water. You will also have time to explore the city at your leisure - Queenstown is best known for its spectacular mountain-view scenery. Maybe enjoy a gondola ride to the top of Bob's Peak for awe-inspiring vistas over the country or just take a ride through the curving roads and become one with this beautiful country. Tonight enjoy a final dinner with your travel companions on this South Pacific travel adventure. (B,D) 

Day 18 Queenstown/Auckland to USA 
This morning enjoy breakfast before heading to Queenstown airport for flight to Auckland and onwards to the USA. On your homeward flight you cross the international dateline heading east to west, giving you back a day and a lifetime of cherished memories from your amazing vacation Down Under. (B)

Breakfast, (L) - Lunch, (D) - Dinner

Includes

  • ROUND TRIP INTERNATIONAL AIR TRANSPORTATION Air transportation from Los Angeles and inner Australia and New Zealand flights
  • FIRST-CLASS ACCOMMODATIONS - Hotel accommodations for 15 nights
  • SUPERB CUISINE - 21 included meals consisting of 15 buffet breakfasts, 2 lunches and 4 dinners including welcome dinner, Maori Hangi dinner and show and farewell dinner
  • COMPREHENSIVE ROUTE - Visiting Melbourne, Cairns, Sydney, Auckland, Rotorua, Christchurch, and Queenstown
  • SIGHTSEEING TOUR PROGRAM - Sightseeing, including local guide and all entrance fees as per the day to day
  • PROFESSIONAL TOUR DIRECTOR - Assistance of a professional Tour Director upon arrival in Melbourne
  • DELUXE MOTORCOACHES - Touring by private deluxe air-conditioned motorcoach
  • BAGGAGE HANDLING AND TRANSFERS - Baggage handling for one piece of checked luggage outside of the airport ece of checked luggage outside of the airport 

Notes

DESTINATION HIGHLIGHTS
Visit the Southern Hemisphere, cross the Equator and International Date Line, experience the culture and traditions of Australia and New Zealand. 

Melbourne  Welcome Dinner and City Tour
Cairns - Catamaran Cruise to Great Barrier Reef
Sydney - City Tour including Bondi Beach, Opal Presentation,Sydney Harbor Coffee Cruise
Auckland - Waitomo Glow Worm Caves, Auckland Panoramic CityTour including the Auckland Tower
Rotorua- Thermal Reserve and Maori Village, Rainbow SpringsNature Park, Maori Hangi Feast Farewell Dinner
Christchurch - Christchurch Panoramic City Tour and Lunch atthe foot of Mt. Cook
Queenstown - City Tour including Bungy Bridge and Arrowtown andFarewell Dinner