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Explore Australia & New Zealand

Primary Itinerary
December 20, 2017 - January 10, 2018 (22 Days)

Days 1 & 2 — Sydney

Arrive at any time. Kick off the trip at Sydney Harbour with a walk to the iconic Sydney Opera House and through the historic Rocks district. Later, set out on a private sunset cruise through Sydney Harbour’s beautiful bays and coves. As we navigate the bays and coves, our captain shares the rich history of Sydney and its famed waters. Enjoy a barbecue on deck, and sit back and relax as the opera house lights up in the evening.(1B, 1D)

Days 3 & 4 — Port Douglas

Fly to Cairns, then travel up the stunning coastal road to Mossman Gorge near Port Douglas. Take an interpretive walk with a local Aboriginal guide and learn about traditional ways of life in the Daintree Rainforest. The next day, opt to snorkel on the Great Barrier Reef and discover its extraordinary marine ecosystem, home to some 1,500 species of tropical fish. (2B)

Day 5 — Cairns

Return to Cairns and take a behind-the-scenes tour of the James Cook University research aquarium, founded by marine biologist and National Geographic grantee Dr. Jamie Seymour. Get up close to the marvelous creatures that live there—from corals and jellyfish to seahorses and sharks. (1B)

Days 6 & 7 — Cairns

Travel southward to the tiny town of Tully for a G Adventures-supported experience with an indigenous community. Meet the people of the Janbanbarra Jirrbal Rainforest and learn how they have lived in harmony with nature for thousands of years. Enjoy a traditional lunch and participate in a painting class with Aboriginal artists. The next day, catch a flight to Uluru and witness the incredible sunset with a glass of bubbly. (2B, 1L)

Days 8 & 9 — Cairns/Uluru

Awaken early to watch the sun rise. Continue on a guided walk around the base of Uluru, visit the cultural center, and learn about the significance of Uluru to the people who live with it. The next day, enjoy another sunrise over Uluru before flying to Melbourne for the night. (2B)

Days 10 & 11 — Melbourne

Enjoy a free day in Melbourne. Opt to visit wineries, explore the Great Ocean Road, or discover hidden gems in the city's famous laneways. The next day, explore this incredible city on a National Geographic Journeys-exclusive guided walk, led by local author and culinary storyteller, Monique Bayer. Enjoy lunch at three popular venues that showcase why contemporary dining in Melbourne is such a special experience. Through a combination of European and Asian flavors, you’ll gain a greater understanding of the city’s history and its people. (2B, 1L) (2B, 1L)

Days 12 & 13 — Melbourne/Auckland, New Zealand

Fly to Auckland, New Zealand’s largest city, and have free time to explore. Begin the next day with a ferry to Waiheke Island.Visit two local wineries to learn more about New Zealand's burgeoning wine industry and the history of wine production in the country, and sample some of the local blends. Later, enjoy a short orientation walk and time at leisure to explore the city. (2B)

Day 14 — Raglan

Take the scenic route to the artsy beach town of Raglan, stopping to visit a local eel farm which focuses on sustainable aquaculture. Enjoy a sunset cruise on Raglan Harbour with striking views of ancient limestone formations and quiet coves. Keep an eye out for dolphins and whales. (1B, 1L)

Day 15 — Rotorua

Drive to Rotorua, stopping for an excursion at Waitomo Caves where you'll take a boat ride through the cave and see thousands of flickering glowworms lighting up the walls. This evening visit Tamaki Maori Village and enjoy a private welcome and talk from a “Kaumātua” (an elder in Māori society). After, enjoy an extravagant performance about local myths, and legends while dining on traditional Hangi cuisine. (1B, 1D)

Day 16 — Christchurch

Enjoy free time this morning in Rotorua before catching a flight to Christchurch. Take an orientation walk with the CEO to get a feel for the city. (1B)

Days 17 & 18 — Franz Josef

Embark on one of the world’s great scenic rail rides on the TranzAlpine, crossing the Southern Alps to New Zealand’s glacier region. Transfer to a beautiful rainforest lodge, our home for the next two nights. Opt to take a helicopter ride and hike, walk over the glacier, or soak in hot pools amid the dramatic scenery. (2B)

Days 19 & 20 — Queenstown/Fiordland National Park

Travel southward along the coast, through the rugged rain forest to Queenstown. Enjoy an evening gondola ride with spectacular views of the city and the option to eat dinner at a skyline restaurant. Then set off on a wilderness cruise (seasonal) through Fiordland National Park. Led by onboard naturalist guides, we’ll have the opportunity to see dolphins, seals, and penguins, as well as the option to kayak. Spend the night on board in your comfortable cabin, with time to relax on deck, stargazing and enjoying New Zealand wine. (2B, 1D)

Days 21 & 22 — Queenstown

Enjoy morning wildlife viewing as we cruise back to port, then return to Queenstown for our final night. The next day, depart any time. (2B)