OFFER ID 1495143
Grand Australia & New Zealand
Explore desert Outback, tropical rainforests, coral reefs, glacier-capped mountains, dramatic fjords, and some of the worlds most popular cosmopolitan cities on our in-depth exploration of Australia and New Zealand... Keep your camera at the ready to capture the amazing sights of the Great Barrier Reef, the dramatic waters of Milford Sound, and the setting sun on Uluru (Ayers Rock). From a "Foodie Tour" of Sydney to a green-lipped mussel cruise, jet boat, sky tram and helicopter rides, a day in the Outback and a special Maori cultural experience, this comprehensive trip "down under" – enhanced by exclusive charter flights in Australia and New Zealand – creates memories of a lifetime.
19 nights from $14,990 per person
Tauck World Discovery: Grand Australia & New Zealand
Day 1 Melbourne, Australia
Tour begins: 6:00 PM, The Langham Melbourne or Park Hyatt Melbourne.A transfer is included from Melbourne Airport to The Langham Melbourne or Park Hyatt Melbourne. Your journey begins with a welcome cocktail reception followed by dinner at the hotel.
You'll see a lot of Melbourne on a sightseeing tour of the city, including a guided walking tour to discover the real city (and its amazing coffee) along its distinctive laneways. The rest of the day and evening are yours to spend as you please in Melbourne; enjoy lunch and dinner as you please.
Take a morning private charter flight to the heart of Australia's desert Outback, arriving at Ayers Rock (Uluru) for lunch and an overnight stay at Sails in the Desert in the country's "Red Centre." In the evening, the light of the setting sun bathes the mystical rock with a palette of ever-changing color... and you'll enjoy the natural "show" with canapés and champagne overlooking the monolith.
Aboriginal traditions define life in the Outback, especially at Uluru (Ayers Rock); learn about the "dreamtime" legends associated with this massive monolith on a guided tour this morning. Fly via private charter to Cairns in Queensland, gateway to the amazing Great Barrier Reef. Board the Skyrail Rainforest Cableway, taking you over and through the rainforest canopy; disembark in the mountain village of Kuranda. Continue on to Silky Oaks Lodge, your luxury eco lodge on the Mossman River adjacent to Daintree National Park, to begin a three-night rainforest resort stay.
Spend a full day exploring one of Earth's most incredible "living" sites, the Great Barrier Reef – a UNESCO World Heritage Site and the only living structure on Earth visible from the moon. Activity choices include a catamaran cruise to the Agincourt Reef; an adventure boat trip for scuba divers and snorkelers; or a relaxing spa day at the lodge. Enjoy a leisurely dinner and evening at your resort.
Early risers may choose to soar over the Atherton Tablelands on an optional hot air balloon ride* at dawn (an additional charge per person; see pricing details). The rest of the day is free to spend as you wish at your rainforest resort and spa, or explore the area as you please. Enjoy dinner tonight at the lodge.
It's all about crocodiles at Hartley's Crocodile Adventures; have a meet and greet with a crocodile and blue tongue lizard and snake... plus visit a private enclosure where you might come across Eastern Grey Kangaroos, Agile Wallabies, Pademelons, Koalas, Wombats and more. You'll also have an opportunity to hold a koala and have your photo taken... attend a tour and feeding presentation... and take an exclusive boat cruise on the lagoon. After lunch, fly to Sydney via private charter for a three-night stay in the city's heart at InterContinental Sydney, in guest rooms overlooking Sydney Harbour.
Discover Wellington on a tour that begins city center with a cable car ride up to the city's Botanic Garden to see the award-winning rose garden and great views of the city, harbour, and Parliament Buildings. Next up is Te Papa Tongarewa, New Zealand's national museum, where you'll have a guided orientation to its five floors focusing on the country's exceptional nature, art, history, the Pacific and Maori culture. Touring its exhibits is like actually experiencing thousands of years of New Zealand's history in person, as motion simulators and interactive exhibits include you in the journey. The remainder of the day is free to explore Wellington as you please.
This morning, travel to the beautiful town of Queenstown, situated on the shores of Lake Wakatipu with the Southern Alps as a backdrop. Have lunch at the Kinross Winery, located in Gibbston Valley at the old Kinross Stateion. You'll hear the stories of the people behind the wines, learn about terroir and winemaker expression of the different Central Otago subregions, as well as being introduced to some outstanding wine. Your accommodations at the Sofitel Queenstown exude French-inspired sophistication in the heart of the city.
Even if you're not all that adventurous, today's thrilling high-speed jet boat ride* through the rapids and narrow gorges of Skippers Canyon on the Shotover River – followed by a helicopter ride* – will be memorable highlights. Head back down the mountain via Skyline gondola to spend the rest of the day and evening as you wish in Queenstown.
Travel via Tauck's private charter flight from Queenstown to Auckland today for a two-night stay, arriving in time for lunch at a local restaurant. This afternoon, enjoy a visit to the Auckland Museum featuring a Maori cultural presentation. Following dinner at your hotel, your evening is free.
Depart from Auckland's Ferry Terminal and head to nearby Waiheke Island, a mecca of farmland, forest and beaches – and vineyards; enjoy some sightseeing and a unique whisky tasting at The Heke. Ferry back to Auckland where you'll spend the afternoon as you please exploring what interests you most in Auckland, then join us this evening for a farewell cocktail reception and dinner at your hotel in the heart of the city.
Tour ends: Auckland. Fly home anytime. A transfer is included from The Sofitel Auckland at Viaduct Harbour to Auckland Airport. You should allow three hours for check-in at the airport.
Queensland is characterized by a wonderful myriad of places to visit and sites to see, for all interests and all ages. Visit one of the world's seven natural wonders at the Great Barrier Reef and surrounding islands, where the underwater worlds of coral marine life stretch for 86 million acres. Cairns is a stone's throw away. Kayak along starkly serene coral or sand cays, relax on isolated beaches, swim, snorkel or dive the crystalline waters, catching sight of brightly colored fish weaving amongst the coral along the way.
Brisbane and the Great Sunshine Way encompass the Fraser Coast, Sunshine Coast, Gold Coast and the city of Brisbane itself. Experience city nightlife, trek the rainforests, go island hopping or wine tasting, drive scenic roads winding through rolling hills, or indulge in health retreats and shopping.
Venture to Bundaberg and the Coral Coast for endless tranquil beaches, turtle sanctuaries, hiking wild forests, or simply enjoying a sip of Bundaberg Rum. From sailing the Whitsundays to exploring the Great Tropical Drive from Cairns to Townsville, to off-roading in the Queensland Outback or taking it easy on the Gold Coast – you’ll never run out of possibilities in Queensland.
The world's largest monolith, located 280 mi/450 km southwest of Alice Springs, is a truly stunning sight, especially at sunset when its burnt-orange glow seems to set the desert on fire. Called Uluru by the Aborigines, the sandstone rock is huge (1,140 ft/350 m high, 9 mi/13 km around) and reddish brown most of the time, taking its color from iron oxide, or rust. Its presence is made more powerful by the mostly barren plain that surrounds it and disappears into the horizon. In 1985, ownership of the rock was returned to its traditional owners. It is rarely referred to as Ayers Rock anymore.
Considered sacred by the Aborigines for thousands of years, the rock is now part of the expansive Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park, one of the country's biggest tourist attractions. The park includes the Olgas/Kata Tjuta, a cluster of 36 giant domelike rock formations about 20 mi/35 km west. If you want to visit both, plan to spend at least one night. You'll want to see Uluru at both sunset and sunrise. The Olgas are equally magnificent at both times of day. (But be prepared to jockey for position at either place; tour buses disgorge hundreds of visitors laden with binoculars, cameras and video equipment.)
Start your visit to the park with a stop at the cultural center. Run by the Anangu (a local Aboriginal clan), the center is a wonderful introduction to the unusual rock formations and to the people who lived in their harsh shadows for centuries. Aboriginal artwork and artifacts are on display. You can also see re-enactments of life in the bush and watch informative videos. Most visitors explore the rock as part of a tour led by park rangers, Anangu guides or private tour companies. But you can also pick up a printed walking guide at the cultural center and set off on your own.
Only one trail leads to the top of the rock, and it's fairly steep—those with heart conditions, high blood pressure, asthma, fear of heights or the like should remain earthbound. The Anangu prefer you walk around—not on—the rock because of its spiritual importance. If you do decide to climb it, allow two to three hours and take along a snack and plenty of water. The view from the top is spectacular, but hiking around the base is more educational and less strenuous. We suggest taking one or more of the shorter walks that pass water holes and rock paintings, allowing you to observe the rock's many faces at a leisurely pace. (Walking around the entire base of the rock takes about three hours.)
Allow at least an afternoon to visit the Olgas/Kata Tjuta. A frequent debate among visitors is whether the Olgas outshine the rock. It's a close call—the Olgas are taller, reaching 1,790 ft/545 m at the highest point. Made of conglomerate (pebbles and boulders cemented together by mud and sand), they are off-limits to climbers, but you can explore some of the valleys and chasms between the rocks.
Most visitors fly to Uluru or drive from Alice Springs. About the only place to stay in the area is the Ayers Rock Resort, or Yulara, whose five hotels and a campground can accommodate visitors in all price ranges. Longitude 131 is a magnificent safari camp with 15 luxury tents. Dozens of tours leave from Ayers Rock Resort, including sunrise camel rides around the rock, sunset champagne dinners in the desert, Aboriginal culture tours and stargazing. You can also rent a car there and explore on your own.
Because of the excessive heat in summer, the best time to visit is April-November (winter in Australia). Always take along plenty of drinking water. If you are flying to the Outback, we suggest going overland one way from Alice Springs (four to five hours) but flying the other way—the desert drive is scenic, but it can be tedious the second time around. http://www.environment.gov.au/parks/uluru.
Soak up Sydney’s gorgeous harbour, seductive outdoor lifestyle and great natural beauty. Kayak under the Sydney Harbour Bridge or wave at the Opera House as you ride a ferry across the harbour to Manly. Learn to surf at Bondi Beach or swim in the calm waters of Coogee. Lose yourself in the cobblestone cul-de-sacs of The Rocks or in the markets, boutiques, cafes and pubs of Paddington. As well as a world-famous harbour and more than 70 sparkling beaches, Sydney offers fabulous food, festivals and 24-7 fun.
Five Sydney Experiences Not to Miss:
1. Explore the historic Rocks
Discover Sydney’s colorful convict history in the harbourside quarter where it all began. Just five minutes from Circular Quay, you can hear stories of hangings and hauntings on a ghost tour, wander the weekend markets or climb the span of the Harbour Bridge. In amongst the maze of sandstone lanes and courtyards, you’ll find historic workman’s cottages and elegant terraces, art galleries, hotels with harbour views and Sydney’s oldest pubs. See people spill out of them onto a party on the cobblestone streets when The Rocks celebrates Australia Day on January 26th, Anzac Day on April 25th and New Years Eve.
2. Hit the world-famous harbour
Sail past the Opera House on a chartered yacht or paddle from Rose Bay in a kayak. Take a scenic cruise from Circular Quay or Darling Harbour, past waterfront mansions, national parks and Shark, Clark, Rodd and Goat islands. Tour historic Fort Denison or learn about the life of Sydney’s first inhabitants, the Gadigal people, on an Aboriginal cultural cruise. Watch the harbour glitter from the green parklands of the Royal Botanic Gardens, which curves around its edge. Or take in the view from a waterfront restaurant in Mosman, on the northern side of the bridge, or Watsons Bay at South Head. Walk from Rose Bay to Vaucluse or Cremorne Point to Mosman Bay, on just some of the 16 spectacular routes hugging the harbour foreshore.
3. Visit Manly on the ferry
Travel across Sydney Harbour on a ferry to Manly, which sits between beaches of ocean surf and tranquil inner harbour. Wander through native bushland on the scenic Manly to Spit Bridge walk, learn to scuba-dive at Cabbage Tree Bay or ride a bike to Fairy Bower. Picnic at Shelly Beach on the ocean and sail or kayak from Manly Wharf round the harbour. Hire a scooter and do a round trip of northern beaches such as Narrabeen and Palm Beach. Explore the shops, bars and cafes along the bustling pine tree-lined Corso and dine at world-class restaurants with water views.
4. Enjoy café culture and top shopping in Paddington
Meander through the Saturday markets, browse fashion boutiques on bustling Oxford Street or discover the antique shops and art galleries in upmarket Woollahra. Visit the 1840s Victoria Barracks Army base, open to the public once a week, and see restored Victorian terraces on wide, leafy streets. Ride or roller-blade in huge Centennial Park, then stop for coffee and lunch on Oxford St or in the mini-village of Five Ways. Catch a movie at an art-house cinema or leaf through a novel at midnight in one of the huge bookstores. Crawl between the lively, historic pubs. They hum even more after a game at the nearby stadium or a race day, when girls and guys arrive in their crumpled trackside finery.
5. Walk from Bondi to Coogee
Take in breathtaking views of the Pacific Ocean as you walk the winding, sea-sculpted sandstone cliffs between Bondi and Coogee. Swim in the famous Bondi Icebergs rock pool or just watch the swimmers with a sunset cocktail from the restaurant above. See wild waves in Tamarama, nicknamed Glamarama for the beautiful people who lie on its golden sand. From mid-October to November, the stretch from here to Bondi is transformed into an outdoor gallery for the Sculptures by the Sea exhibition. You can surf, picnic on the grass or stop for a coffee at family-friendly Bronte. Or swim, snorkel or scuba dive in Clovelly and tranquil Gordon’s Bay. See the graves of poets Henry Lawson, Dorothea Mackellar and aviator Lawrence Hargrave in Waverley Cemetery, on the edge of the cliffs. Finish your tour in the scenic, backpacker haven of Coogee.
Melbourne is a maze of hidden laneways, opulent bars, exclusive restaurants and off-the-beaten-track boutiques. Here you can soak up culture, hit the sporting grounds, taste the dynamic food and wine scene, dance til dawn or wander the parks and leafy boulevards. Visit Federation Square, the city's landmark cultural space, and enjoy a sunset beer on the St Kilda promenade. Shop till you drop on funky Brunswick Street or upmarket Chapel Street. Wander Southbank's cafes, bistros and bars and get a world tour of cuisines in Carlton, Richmond and Fitzroy. Take an Aboriginal Heritage Walk through the Royal Botanic Gardens and cheer with a capacity crowd at the Melbourne Cricket Ground.
Five Must-Have Melbourne Experiences:
1. Shop till you drop
Bag a bargain at the Rose Street Artist's Market and browse the funky boutiques on Brunswick Street. Buy designer labels such as Akira Isogawa and Zimmerman on Chapel Street in Prahran or in the historic Melbourne General Post Office, which covers an entire city block. For everything from fashion to furnishings at fantastic value, visit Bridge Road in Richmond. Melbourne is a shopper's haven, offering eclectic boutiques, high-end fashion, funky homeware stores and European style piazzas in the city's arcades and hidden laneways.
2. Bar hop and dance till dawn
Sip a cocktail in a converted sea container in Chinatown, enjoy a sunset beer in a St Kilda pub or listen to cabaret in lush retro surroundings in jazz bars in the city. Linger over exquisite tapas and exotic wine in a Little Collins Street bar and mingle in a pink parlour with fake grass in Bourke Street. You can party from dusk in the bars of Brunswick Street. Or dance till dawn in bars in the city's lantern-lit laneways, secret apart from the spill of coloured light under heavy brass doors.
3. Get into the gourmet goodness
Let the aroma of good coffee waft over you in Melbourne's gothic European laneways. The city is famous for its coffee and old-world café culture but there's so much more to explore. Once you've downed a 'short black' or taken an afternoon aperitif, try tea in a nineteenth-century hotel or salivate over your silver spoon in acclaimed restaurants like Nobu, Botanical and Becco. Pick up fresh fruits, vegetables and seafood at the Queen Victoria Market on a Saturday, known for its bustling crowds and buskers. Try out the restaurants, cafes, bistros and bars in Southbank or Federation Square. Make your way around Melbourne's multicultural cosmos of cuisines: Carlton for Italian classics, Richmond for budget-friendly Vietnamese and Fitzroy for Spanish tapas.
4. Fill up on culture
See a performance by the Australian Ballet, which is based here in Australia's cultural capital. Or enjoy a dazzling musical at the Princess Theatre. Browse the Southern Hemisphere's best collection of international art at the National Gallery of Victoria. Or visit the Australian Centre for the Moving Image in Federation Square, a landmark cultural 'space' for Melbournians. Challenge yourself with the creative collections in the Australian Centre for Contemporary Art in Southbank. To learn more about Melbourne's Aboriginal cultural heritage, see contemporary and dreamtime art or take an Aboriginal Heritage Walk through the Royal Botanic Gardens.
5. Go sports mad
Cheer for an Australian Rules Football game with a capacity crowd at the Melbourne Cricket Ground over winter. Go cricket mad in summer, when the city hosts the Ashes and one day internationals. Or join the huge crowds watching the Australian Tennis Open at Melbourne Park. Rev heads head to Melbourne in March for the Australian Formula 1 Grand Prix in Albert Park. And whether you are a racing fan or just a casual punter, you won't want to miss the Melbourne Cup - the world's richest horse race on the first Tuesday in November.
All fares are quoted in US Dollars.