Tour begins: 5:30 PM, The Langham Melbourne. A transfer is included from Melbourne Airport to The Langham Melbourne; you'll enjoy a river-view room. Your tour kicks off with a welcome cocktail reception and dinner at the hotel.
Discover Melbourne's Charm
Melbourne is brimming with Victorian-era charm and a distinctive European feel; today's sightseeing includes a guided walking tour to discover the real city (and its amazing coffee) along its distinctive laneways, the Shrine of Remembrance, and the Royal Botanic Gardens. Spend the rest of the day at leisure among its elegant tree-lined boulevards and trams, and sample multicultural cuisine in its many cafés and restaurants.
On to Uluru (Ayers Rock)
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 over looking the monolith.
Explore the mysteries of Uluru, then fly to Queensland
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. Head to the mountain village of Kuranda, where you'll board the Skyrail Rainforest Cableway, taking you over and through the rainforest canopy. 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.
Cruise to the Outer Great Barrier Reef
The Great Barrier Reef is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and the only living structure on Earth visible from the moon. Cruise to the Agincourt Reef today, at the edge of Australia's Continental Shelf, for a day of swimming, snorkeling and underwater discoveries. Dinner is back at your rainforest lodge.
Optional balloon ride and a day at leisure
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 a special themed dinner tonight at the lodge.
Crocodile adventures and on to Sydney
Learn all about crocodiles at Hartley's Crocodile Adventures; have a meet and greet with a crocodile and blue tongue lizard and snake... 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 four-night stay in the city's heart at the Shangri-La Hotel, Sydney.
Sydney Harbour cruise & a "Foodie Tour"
A private cruise on Sydney Harbour - complete with morning tea - is a fabulous way to introduce yourself to this extraordinary city, taking a good look at some of its landmark sites from the water. Accompanied by an informative, knowledgeable local guide, taste your way through some very cool culinary nooks and crannies on a Sydney "Foodie Tour" focusing on cultures that have emigrated to Sydney over the past decades, presenting their history through food. Check out (and sample) a variety of local eateries including an Italian deli, gelato shop, fish market, a 150-year-old pub (with a craft beer tasting), and a post-WWII pie-cart-turned-café. Sydney sightseeing continues as you view The Rocks, Kings Cross and other highlights on a city tour; spend the rest of the day exploring as you please. You may enjoy an included dinner tonight (or tomorrow night) at Australian celebrity chef Peter Gilmore's Bennelong restaurant at the Sydney Opera House.
Sydney Opera House & the city at leisure
One of Australia's most famous iconic sights takes center stage today when you visit the amazing Sydney Opera House on a personally guided tour. Afterwards, return to your hotel; the remainder of the day and evening are yours to spend as you wish in remarkable Sydney.
G'day to Australia, hello to New Zealand
Bid Australia a fond farewell this morning and board a flight across the Tasman Sea, bound for New Zealand! First stop is Wellington, New Zealand's intimate waterfront capital with an impressive artistic and cultural edge. Accommodations for the next two nights are at the Copthorne Hotel Wellington, Oriental Bay; enjoy a 3-course dinner at the hotel this evening.
Wonders of Wellington
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. Dinner tonight is a "dine-around" from a choice of Wellington restaurants.
To Blenheim & the Marlborough Sounds
Tauck puts a charter plane at your service today for a flight to Blenheim on New Zealand's South Island, and a two-night stay in the heart of the Marlborough wine country. Upon arrival, head off on a visit to the Marlborough Sounds. Besides producing great wine, this region is one of the most beautiful and picturesque areas in the country, and boasts delectable freshly caught seafood, including green-lipped mussels; sample them, along with local wines, on a luncheon cruise that celebrates New Zealand's bounty. Following your cruise, drive to your home for the next two nights, the 5-star Chateau Marlborough in Blenheim, where you'll enjoy dinner at your leisure this evening.
Farm life, a winery lunch & "Dinner with the Warbirds"
A memorable day in the Blenheim area begins with a visit to a working private farm for a sheep shearing demonstration and sheep dog experience; morning tea at the homestead with the farmer and his family; and a walk through their extensive gardens. Continue on to Brancott Winery for a wine tasting and three-course lunch with matching wines at the Brancott Heritage Centre, followed by a stop for a chocolate tasting en route to the hotel for some free time. Join us this evening for a Tauck Exclusive event: a visit to the Omaka Aviation Heritage Centre - which displays an incredible collection of World War I and II aircraft and memorabilia owned by film director Sir Peter Jackson - for "Dinner with the Warbirds," featuring a tour of the museum's "Knights of the Sky" and "Dangerous Skies" exhibitions, and a three-course dinner showcasing seasonal Marlborough produce and a selection of quality Marlborough wines.
Fly to Te Anau
Today, depart Blenheim and fly off aboard Tauck's charter to Manapouri (Te Anau) in the magnificent Fiordlands region, for two nights at an ideally located hotel. Dinner at your leisure at the hotel is included tonight.
Fiordland National Park & Milford Sound
Take a dramatic drive through the unparalleled scenery of New Zealand's Fiordland National Park, then set off aboard a private boat (with a naturalist onboard) for a scenic nature luncheon cruise among the sheer cliffs and glacier-hewn inlets of beautiful Milford Sound. Enjoy the rest of the day and evening as you please at your hotel.
To Queenstown and lunch at a winery
Make your way across more beautiful South Island landscapes to Queenstown, where you'll have lunch at the Amisfield Winery, set in an iconic stone building with gorgeous mountain views and known for its Pinot Noir. Your accommodations at the Sofitel Queenstown exude French-inspired sophistication in the heart of the city.
Adventures by jet boat & 'copter in Queenstown
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 both be memorable highlights of Tauck's tours to Australia and New Zealand! Head back down the mountain via Skyline gondola to spend the rest of the day and evening as you wish in Queenstown.
Charter flight to Auckland & Maori culture
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. Enjoy an afternoon visit to the Auckland Museum with a Maori cultural presentation and music concert. Have dinner at your hotel tonight.
A wine tasting & more on Wahiheke Island, and a farewell evening in Auckland
Take a ferry to nearby Waiheke Island, a free-spirited mecca of farmland, forest and beaches - and boutique vineyards. A sightseeing drive around the island takes you to Mudbrick Vineyard for lunch and a wine tasting, before returning to Auckland by return ferry. Join us this evening for a farewell reception and dinner at your hotel as we share memories of our journey in the "lands down under."
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.