On arrival, you’ll be warmly greeted and escorted to the Hotel Grand Windsor, set in a 1920’s heritage landmark. With a privileged Queen Street address in the heart of Auckland’s most vibrant and dynamic district, our stylish 5-star hotel offers the perfect base for exploring the city. This evening, gather with your fellow travelers for a Welcome Dinner here at our hotel. Delight in the Art Deco surroundings as we enjoy a delightful Table d’hôte culinary experience prepared under the direction of award-winning Executive Chef Jinu Abraham. Meals D
Our morning sightseeing begins with a guided tour of the Auckland Museum. Housed in a grand colonnaded heritage building, its brilliantly curated collections tell the story of New Zealand, from award-winning natural history exhibits to galleries that explore the islands’ cultural origins. Auckland is a beautiful city, comprised of islands, harbors and mountain ranges. From the Museum, we’ll continue our sightseeing – experiencing life in the city as we discover its sights and landmarks. After a free afternoon, we’ll gather for a specially arranged dinner at Chef Peter Gordon’s restaurant, The Sugar Club. High above the city on the 53rd floor of the Sky Tower, we’ll enjoy a 5-course Tasting Menu accompanied by excellent New Zealand wine. After dinner, you can ascend to the Sky Deck where you’ll have breathtaking 360° views! It’s a 10-minute stroll back to the Hotel Grand Windsor, so you’re free to linger at the Sky Tower for as long as you wish, making your way back to the hotel whenever you’re ready. Meals B+D
After breakfast, we’ll depart the hotel leaving Auckland behind as we travel southward through the lush Waikato region to the world-famous Waitomo Glowworm Caves. An underground boat ride reveals the amazing site of the cavern roof aglow with millions of worms! Then at the Polynesian Spa, we’ll have a chance to relax and reinvigorate in their soothing geothermal pools overlooking Lake Rotorua. Late this afternoon, we’ll check in to the Black Swan Lakeside Boutique Hotel where you’ll have time to refresh before we take you to a Māori village. After being welcomed onto these sacred grounds, we’ll experience genuine Māori rituals, art forms, song and dance. Afterwards, we’ll enjoy a traditional Māori feast prepared with hot stones in an underground oven known as a Hangi. Meals B+D
This morning we’ll explore the Te Puia Thermal Reserve. Here in a lush valley outside of town, we’ll marvel at steaming springs and bubbling mud pools as we learn about the geothermal forces that power these awesome displays of nature. A highlight of our visit is sure to be Pōhutu Geyser; erupting once or twice every hour and reaching heights up to 100 feet, this is the largest and most reliable geyser in the Southern Hemisphere. Then we’ll continue to the airport for our included flight to the South Island. Arriving in Queenstown, we’ll be escorted to the 5-star St. Moritz, where your 1-bedroom Alpine Suite offers gorgeous views of Lake Wakatipu. You’ll have time to relax or explore a bit on your own before dinner at Lombardi’s. Using freshly-sourced New Zealand fare, our 3-course dinner will be accompanied by wine from the renowned Central Otago Region. Meals B+D
This morning’s excursion to Glenorchy finds us on the northern end of Lake Wakatipu in a region of towering mountain ranges and old beech forests. Setting out in comfortable 4WD vehicles with skilled professional drivers, you’ll have ample time to take in these magnificent landscapes, including several sites that were featured in the Lord of the Rings film trilogy. In the afternoon we’ll visit historic Arrowtown. Founded in the heady days of the Gold Rush, its heritage buildings old miners’ cottages are now home to galleries and shops. There are also cafes and restaurants where you can have lunch on your own. Next up is a thrilling jetboat ride through the picturesque canyons of the Shotover River. After this adrenaline-rushing adventure, you’ll have time back at the hotel to freshen up before our dinner at Rātā. Under the direction of celebrity chef Josh Emett, its inventive menu reflects the diverse traditions of the South Island. Locally and sustainably sourced meats, seafood and organic produce are skillfully blended and generously presented with fine local wine. Meals B+D
Our day of expertly guided exploration in and around Queenstown begins at Kiwi Bird Park, where we’ll observe and learn about some of New Zealand’s indigenous wildlife including the Brown Kiwi, Tuatara Lizard, and the colorfully plumed Rainbow Lorikeet. Midday finds us aboard the Skyline Queenstown Gondola, ascending to the 1,476-foot summit of Bob’s Peak. We’ll enjoy the expansive luncheon buffet at the Stratosfare Restaurant and have ample time to take in the breathtaking vistas of Queenstown and Lake Wakatipu. For the adventurous, we’ve included two tickets for the Skyline Luge, which you can do before or after lunch. Spanning a spectacular river gorge, we’ll stop by the Kawarau Suspension Bridge where two daring adventurers launched the worldwide bungee jumping craze in 1988! We’ll enjoy the views and maybe watch a couple jumps before returning to our hotel where you’ll have time to relax, refresh and revel in the spectacular setting of our lakeside hotel.. This evening, we’ll board the TSS Earnslaw, an authentic turn-of-the-century steamer that will take us across Lake Wakatipu to a working high-country homestead were we’ll see highly-trained sheep dogs in action and delight in a lakeside dinner. Meals B+L+D
This morning’s drive begins along the shores of Lake Wakatipu and takes us through the amazing Homer Tunnel that opened in 1953. We’ll continue through the glacier-carved Eglington Valley into Fiordland National Park to embark our overnight cruise aboard the comfortable Milford Mariner. Settle in to your private outside cabin and get set for the adventure of a lifetime! As we journey the full length of Milford Sound, our ship’s expert naturalists are on hand to explain the history and geology of the region and to answer our questions. We’ll have plenty of time to take in the fjord’s pristine waterfalls, rainforests and soaring mountain peaks - and with sharp eyes, we’re bound to observe seals and possibly even dolphins and penguins. Anchoring in a sheltered cover, we’ll be able to join our naturalist guides to explore in the Mariner’s tender or by kayak. This evening after a delicious carvery buffet, we can relax in the company of our fellow passengers or hit the deck to observe the constellations of the Southern Sky. Meals B+D
After breakfast onboard theMariner, we’ll step off ship and journey to Te Anau, a small town set in an alpine region of unparalleled beauty on the shores of one of New Zealand’s deepest lakes. Here at the Bird Sanctuary, we’ll have a chance to see and learn about native Fiordland birds that are often difficult to observe in the wild. After lunch at The Fat Duck, we’ll continue our scenic journey to historic Clyde where we’ll check in to Oliver’s, a charming boutique hotel set on an authentic 19th-century homestead. This evening’s private dinner in the Merchant Room here at Oliver’s will be freshly prepared for us under the careful direction of Head Chef, James Waite. Meals B+L+D
With fruit orchards, waterways and rolling hills, Central Otago is one of New Zealand’s loveliest and most bountiful agricultural areas. We’ll start our exploration at a local orchard where you’ll learn a bit about life in this pastoral corner of the South Island; of course, we’ll also have a chance to sample some of the region’s fine fruits and produce. Midday finds us at the Carrick Winery. Another standout of Central Otago, we’ll be treated to a tasting of their fine vintages – including some excellent Pinot Noir. Lunch at Carrick offers another chance to sample more of the region’s bounty; its eclectic menu features some of New Zealand’s best game, exceptional fish and shellfish from the cold-water southern seas, and local organic produce. In the mid 1800’s, this region also witnessed New Zealand’s first major gold rush and fortune seekers and adventurers poured into Central Otago to dig for gold. This afternoon’s tour at the Goldfields Mining Center will immerse us in this colorful chapter of the island’s history. You can follow paths along the Kawarau Gorge to the mine shafts that were excavated more than a century ago and see the land laid bare by ground sluicing. Gold nuggets can still be found in the soil and you might even try our luck as you try your hand at gold panning! This evening we’ll sit down to a 3-course dinner at our hotel. Meals B+L+D
Departing Clyde this morning, our first stop of the day will be the Maori Point Vineyard. Against a lovely mountain backdrop, we’ll enjoy a guided tour of the estate as we learn about the viticulture traditions of Central Otago, one of New Zealand’s premier wine-producing areas. Paired with local products including dried fruits, nuts, pâté, artisanal cheese and freshly baked bread, we’ll sample four of their award-winning wines including Pinot Noir and a desert wine to finish. Then we’ll continue through the Lindis Pass at an altitude of 3,800 feet and make our way through the Mackenzie Basin – a land of powder blue lakes and wide-open grasslands set against a backdrop of snow-capped mountains. Arriving in Aoraki Mt. Cook National Park, we’ll check in to the Hermitage Hotel where our Premium Plus rooms offer views of Mt. Cook. We’ve left the remainder of our afternoon unplanned so you can enjoy this alpine setting as you wish. There will be enough time if you want to join an optional flightseeing expedition to behold New Zealand’s highest peak. Our guests also enjoy prepaid admission to the Sir Edmund Hillary Alpine Center. Later tonight after dinner, the absence of ambient light makes the Aoraki Mackenzie International Dark Sky Reserve one of the best places to view the Southern Constellations. If conditions are not favorable to be on the outdoor viewing platform, we’ll enjoy a presentation in New Zealand’s first 360° digital Dome Planetarium. Meals B+D
After a leisurely breakfast, we’ll depart the hotel and travel across the lovely Canterbury Plains to Christchurch. On arrival, we’ll visit the Botanic Gardens and tour the town; with its lovely parks and handsome Gothic buildings, there’s a very English ambience to the city. In contrast, the Cardboard Cathedral designed by Shigeru Ban in 2011 is a marvel of 21st-century architectural design and ingenuity. After sightseeing, we’ll check in to our Premium Executive guestrooms at The George, our luxury boutique hotel on the Avon River. This evening, we’ll be the guests of a Christchurch family in their lovely home. Congenial conversation with our hosts and perhaps a few of their friends will accompany a wonderful home-cooked meal of traditional New Zealand fare. Meals B+D
You’ll be escorted to the airport today for your homeward journey. Or why not complete your Down Under adventure with our 12-day extension to Australia? Meals B TRAVEL ON WITH US TO AUSTRALIA… 12 Days from $6,999 Day 12 – Sep 23, 2019: Continue to Melbourne, Australia On arrival in Melbourne, you’ll be warmly greeted and escorted to the sophisticated Sofitel on Collins. The balance of this day is yours to enjoy as you wish. Our luxury hotel enjoys a privileged location on the city’s most prestigious and elegant street, so it’s easy to step out and explore at your own pace. [Note: The international flight from Christchurch to Melbourne is not included in our Extension Tour Fare. This segment can be booked and purchased as part of your transpacific air ticket.] Day 13 – Sep 24, 2019: Discover Melbourne After an orientation walk to get a feel for Melbourne’s lively spirit, we’ll enjoy a guided tour of the city with its handsome Victorian buildings and lovely gardens. Along the way, our expert guide will enhance our experience with insight and stories about Melbourne and its multi-cultural residents. We’ll stroll through the Royal Botanic Gardens and learn about Australia’s wartime history at the Shrine of Remembrance. Then visit the delightful coastal enclave of St. Kilda and walk along the beachside promenade before returning to our hotel. The afternoon is at leisure to explore, relax or shop as you wish. This evening, we’ll enjoy a 3-course dinner at Berth, a casually elegant, waterfront restaurant. Meals B+D Day 14 – Sep 25, 2019: The Beautiful Mornington Peninsula Today’s excursion explores the spectacular coastal scenery, fishing hamlets, picturesque farms, and award-winning vineyards of the Mornington Peninsula. Begin with an introduction to the town of Mornington and then continue to the harbor pier for wonderful views across Port Phillip Bay. At the southernmost tip of the Peninsula, you’ll discover Cape Schanck which separates the wild ocean surf of the Bass Strait from the tranquil waters of Western Port Bay. Our morning ends at Green Olive, a 27-acre family farm. After a tour of the property including its olive groves, vineyards and kitchen gardens, you’ll sit down to a delightful farm-to-table lunch featuring fresh produce, quality meats and fine wines – all produced on the property! After lunch, you’ll visit Arthur’ Seat; from the top of this 1,000-foot summit, you’ll have spectacular views of Port Phillip Bay and the Peninsula’s coastal towns and golden beaches. Back in the city, the evening is free to enjoy and dine as you wish. Meals B+L Day 15 – Sep 26, 2019: Onward to Cairns, the Queensland Rainforest + Palm Cove After breakfast, we’ll transfer to the airport for our included flight to Cairns. Our adventures begin in Kuranda, a mountain village surrounded by the vast rainforests that extend for 300 miles along the tropical coast of North Queensland #WHS#. Next up is theSkyrail Rainforest Cableway, a 4.5-mile adventure that takes us gliding just a few yards above the treetops before descending through the lush canopy layers and deep into the heart of the forest. At the end of our cableway adventure, we’ll continue to Palm Cove, a charming beach community just north of Cairns. AtPeppers Beach Club, we’ll have spacious 1-bedroom accommodations with a private balcony overlooking the lagoon-style swimming pool or lush tropical gardens. Meals B Day 16 – Sep 27, 2019: The Great Barrier Reef After breakfast, we’ll be escorted to the Cairns Marina to embark our full-day cruise adventure to Michaelmas Cay on the Great Barrier Reef #WHS#. Situated nearly 25 miles off the coast and close to the pristine outer reef systems, Michaelmas is the largest of the uninhabited coral cays in the Cairns region. It’s home to 35 unique species of sea birds and its gently sloping beach offers comfortable entry into the sheltered waters that surround the cay. With complimentary snorkeling equipment, you’ll discover an undersea realm teeming with colorful marine life – including sea turtles, hundreds of species of tropical reef fish and even giant clams. Throughout the day, our marine biologists are on hand to answer questions and enrich your exploration. In addition to snorkeling, the reef lagoon offers excellent swimming and you can always take some time to explore the flora and fauna of the Cay. You can also join an available guided snorkeling tour - or stay dry as you explore the reef world from a semi-submersible vessel. Meals B+L Day 17 – Sep 28, 2019: A Free Day in Paradise This entire day is yours to enjoy the amenities and beachfront setting of our tropical resort. You can also wander into Palm Cove to shop, dine, explore and just enjoy its inviting ambience. Meals B Day 18 – Sep 29, 2019: Fly to Ayers Rock + Discover Kata Tjutu This morning we’ll be taken to the airport today for our flight into the Outback. On arrival in Ayers Rock, we’ll be met and escorted to theSails in the Desert Resort; our enchanting resort is set amidst shading gum trees and surrounded by gardens of native shrubs and flowers. Later this afternoon, we’ll venture through these captivating landscapes as our in-the-know guide offers insight into the flora, fauna and unique geology of the region. Our destination is Uluru Kata Tjuta National Park #WHS#where a guided walk in Walpa Gorge promises spectacular views of the 36 towering red-rock domes that comprise Kata Tjuta (The Olgas). Learn about the importance of Kata Tjuta as a sacred Aboriginal ceremonial site, and gaze in wonder upon the scale of the rock walls that surround us. As the sun dips towards the horizon, we’ll be escorted to a prime vantage point to witness the sun set over Uluru (Ayers Rock). Enjoy a glass of sparkling wine and experience the shifting moods of Uluru as darkness begins to fall. Meals B Day 19 – Sep 30, 2019: Sunrise at Uluru + Bush Tucker Adventure Arise early this morning for a picnic breakfast and dramatic views of Uluru at sunrise – its vast presence seeming to emerge from the arid desert landscape as the day brightens. Enjoy a guided walk to a nearby waterhole as our guide shares the Creation stories of the region’s indigenous inhabitants and drive around the base of Uluru on our return to theSails in the Desert Resort. Later this morning, our Bush Tucker + Reptile Adventure takes us into the wilds of the Outback to learn how early settlers survived in the harsh desert climate. Learn about the animals that sustained them and sample the native bush seeds that they relied on. We’ll also see and learn about some of the reptiles that survive in these arid landscapes before returning to our resort for some leisure time. Tonight, we’ll enjoy canapés and sparkling wine on a viewing platform overlooking Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park #WHS#. As darkness falls, listen to the haunting sounds of the didgeridoo and enjoy a congenial dinner. An introduction to Aboriginal culture features a traditional Anangu performance. Meals B+D Day 20 – Oct 1, 2019: Onward to Sydney We’ll be escorted to the airport today for our included flight to Sydney. On arrival, we’ll be greeted by our resident guide and transferred to the deluxeSir Stamford, at Circular Quay Hotel, ideally located close to the waterfront in the heart of this vibrant city. Meals B Day 21 – Oct 2, 2019: Out and About in Sydney Arise early this morning for our exclusive insiders-access tour of the iconic Sydney Opera House #WHS#. Taking you behind the scenes to areas normally accessible only to staff and performers, we may even have the opportunity to stand on the Concert Hall stage, take up the conductor’s baton in the Opera Theater orchestra pit, or even peek inside the stars’ dressing rooms. The Green Room is usually the private domain of performers and crew, but this is where we’ve arranged for our group to breakfast – a highpoint of our exclusive backstage tour! [Please Note: The Opera House is very much a working center for the performing arts; as such, the specifics of our exclusive behind-the-scenes tour and breakfast will be determined by rehearsal and performance schedules on the day of our visit.] We’ll continue our tour with some of the city’s other well-known landmarks, including the Harbour Bridge and Botanic Gardens. From Mrs. Macquarie’s Chair, we’ll have a breathtaking view of the Bridge and Opera House. A guided walk through the historic Rocks district is enlivened by colorful tales of the convicts, sailors and rogues who were among the city’s earliest settlers! See the Parliament House and St. Mary’s Cathedral and drive through some of Sydney’s most vibrant districts including Kings Cross and Paddington. Strolling along Bondi Beach, we’ll see surfers and world-famous Aussie lifeguards! Then take in the view from Sydney Heads, situated at the mouth of the harbor, before enjoying lunch and a glass of wine atDoyles on the Beach. The rest of your afternoon is at leisure. Meals B+L Day 22 – Oct 3, 2019: At Leisure in Sydney This day is yours to enjoy as you wish! Take advantage of our hotel’s heart-of-it-all location to explore more of this friendly city at your own pace. This evening, we’ll gather for a dinner cruise on one of the world’s most beautiful harbors. Take in the exhilarating views from the Sky Deck, with its retractable roof, and enjoy canapés and pre-dinner drinks as we make our way under the Harbour Bridge and past the Opera House. A 3-course dinner will be served in the dining room, accompanied by fine Australian wines. After this delightful experience, we’ll step off and stroll together back to our hotel. Meals B+D Day 23 – Oct 4, 2019: Depart Sydney After breakfast, you’ll be escorted to the airport for your homeward journey. Meals B
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