This wonderful trip highlights parts of Australia and New Zealand’s North and South Islands. We are flying in one day before the tour begins to give you time to rest or explore on your own. Due to crossing the International Date Line and overnight travel, you arrive on Day three in Cairns, Australia where you spend the first four nights. Day four is at leisure. Tonight enjoy a welcome dinner tonight with your fellow travelers. Day five visit the Tjapukai Aboriginal Cultural Center. See traditional Aboriginal dances, learn about the Aboriginal lifestyle, and even throw a boomerang. This afternoon visit Hartley’s Croc Farm where you may see crocodiles and meet some of the local koalas and kangaroos. Take a cruise on the lagoon before enjoying a delicious Aussie Barbecue. Day six board a high-speed catamaran for an excursion to the Great Barrier Reef. Explore the reef from your base on Green Island. Enjoy a glass bottom boat ride, stroll the island walking trails, relax on the beaches or snorkel. An optional scuba diving and outer reef tour are also available. Day seven this morning is at leisure. Later today, fly to the bustling city of Sydney. Day eight begins with a city tour of where the original English colonists first settled in 1788. Highlights include Kings Cross, the Harbour Bridge, Chinatown, the Rocks, Circular Quay and more. Next, take a guided tour of the Sydney Opera House. Later, enjoy an opportunity to learn how raw opals are transformed to works of art at the National Opal Centre. Later this evening you may choose to take in an optional dinner and performance at the Sydney Opera House. Day nine take in the sights at your leisure. Your Tour Manager will be on hand to offer suggestions. Tonight, experience the best of Sydney with a dinner cruise of the Sydney Harbor. Marvel at the magnificent skyline and iconic attractions: the Sydney Opera House and the Harbour Bridge. Day ten leave Australia and fly to the North Island of New Zealand. Auckland, the “City of Sails”, is rated one of the best places in the world to live. The evening is at leisure to explore New Zealand’s largest city. Day eleven embark on a panoramic city tour of Auckland featuring the America’s Cup Village, the War Memorial, vibrant Queen Street and the Auckland Harbour Bridge. Next, travel to Rotorua. Known as the Maori capital of New Zealand, over one-third of Rotorua’s population has Maori roots dating back over 1,000 years. Tonight, experience an authentic Hangi dinner celebration. Enjoy an immersive experience featuring authentic Maori entertainment such as the poi dance and the famous “Haka” war challenge. Day twelve visit Te Puia, New Zealand’s premier Maori cultural and geothermal experience. Next, meet the skilled carvers who work with pounamu at local jade factory. You will also view the Kiwi bird and learn what is being done in an effort to remove the Kiwi from the endangered species list. Then, visit the Agrodome where you will see a sheep shearing demonstration and learn about the importance of agriculture to the nation. Day thirteen a short flight brings you to the historic city of Christchurch, New Zealand. Devastated by an earthquake in early 2011, see firsthand how the city is recreating itself. Tonight, a New Zealand family welcomes you into their home for dinner! Make new friends and learn about the customs of the “Kiwis”, and enjoy a home-cooked meal. Day fourteen journey through New Zealand’s unspoiled wilderness and arrive in the Mt. Cook region, where permanent ice fields and glaciers blanket the ragged peaks. This is where famed New Zealand mountaineer Sir Edmund Hillary honed his skills before conquering Everest. . Day fifteen traverse the spectacular countryside as you set off for the beautiful turn-of-the-century Gold Rush settlement of Arrowtown. Enjoy a stroll on its quaint, historic streets. Later arrive in Queenstown and have the evening at leisure. Day sixteen enjoy the grandeur of the Hollyford Valley on the way to Milford Sound. During a cruise of Milford Sound, you’ll see why this fjord is one of the most visited sites on the South Island. With rock faces that rise nearly 4,000 feet on either side, the scenery will take your breath away. Following your cruise, return to Queenstown. You may choose to return via a short optional flight (weather permitting) for spectacular views of New Zealand’s Southern Alps. Day seventeen you may choose an optional and exhilarating jet boat ride on the Shotover River; or join the optional tour taking you through the majestic Queenstown countryside showcasing many of the locations where blockbuster movies have been filmed. Day eighteen enjoy the spectacular scenery of the Remarkables, Cecil Peak, Bob’s Cove and Mt. Earnslaw as you cruise across spectacular Lake Wakatipu to Mt. Nicholas High Country Farm. During an exclusive, behind-the-scenes visit to this authentic family-run merino sheep farm, you will follow the journey of merino wool from mustering sheep though the creation of modern wool garments. Enjoy a freshly prepared farmer’s lunch before sailing back to Queenstown. Later this afternoon, it’s your choice! You may go bird watching at the Kiwi Birdlife Park or take a gondola to the top of Bob’s Peak for stunning panoramic views of the region. Later, gather for a farewell dinner overlooking Lake Wakatipu and the Remarkable Mountains. Day nineteen the tour ends leaving you with many pleasant memories of a wonderful adventure.