Itinerary & Activities
Finally, the first day of your Australia and New Zealand Adventure is here! Your trip of a lifetime begins in beautiful Auckland, New Zealand, nicknamed the City of Sails. We will check in to the Rydges Auckland hotel, located near the energetic and bustling waterfront. We'll experience the thrill of sailing an authentic America's Cup Yacht on Waitemata Harbour, taking in the city's iconic landmarks. Work hard on the grinders, hoist the mainsail, and take the helm of this magnificent vessel. The adrenaline will be pumping during on-water maneuvers such as 360 degree spins, fishtails, and powerbrakes on our action-packed Jet-Boat ride! You'll have the rare opportunity to view New Zealand's only colony of Antarctic penguins at the Sea Life Aquarium. We will enjoy the views from Mt. Eden and Bastion Point as we make new friends and start bonding with fun introductions and ice-breakers at our group orientation.
We travel north and check into the comfortable Copthorne Hotel near the beautiful Bay of Islands. We'll visit the traditional carved wood Waitangi Wharenui (meeting house) as we follow in the footsteps of Maori chiefs and British delegates and learn how this important historic site became the birthplace of modern New Zealand. Our travels take us to the northernmost point of New Zealand, home to magnificent Cape Reinga and 90-Mile Beach. Plummet down massive dunes on a body board during our exhilarating Sand-Boarding adventure! Next, we hop aboard our catamaran for our relaxing cruise through the Bay of Islands. We'll weave throughout the 144 tiny islets that dot this most scenic bay on our way to the Hole in the Rock, a cave thought of as good luck by Maori warriors. The Bay of Islands also happens to be a favorite playground of Bottlenose Dolphins. If we're lucky we'll get to watch the dolphins frolicking in the bay!
Our next stop is "bubbling" Rotorua, a town synonymous with thermal activity and rich Maori culture. Our home is the Millenium Hotel, located on beautiful Lake Rotorua. Get ready for an afternoon of thrills at Velocity Valley Adventure Park, home to the Agrojet, Freefall Body Flying, and the Schweeb Racer. Explore Whakarewarewa Geothermal Valley, where geysers dazzle you with their grand sprays of steam. Next, we will experience the Hobbiton Movie Set Tour and see some of the actual locations where the Lord of the Rings and Hobbit movies were filmed. Ride the gondola up Mt. Ngongotaha for the ultimate exhilarating experience, the Zoom Zipline! Race your friends and soar over the majestic Redwoods on these amazing dual ziplines. An evening at Tamaki Maori Cultural Show gives us insight into authentic Maori culture. Experience the ancient ceremony of powhiri as we are welcomed into the pre-European Maori village. Our group will be entertained by a powerful cultural performance, including action songs, poi, stick games, and the world-famous Haka, the Maori War Dance. Next, get ready for an incredible White-Water Rafting Adventure down the highest rafted waterfall in the world on the Kaituna River! Finally, no visit to Rotorua is complete without the thrills of OGO, one of New Zealand's most popular activities.
Get ready to go Down Under as we board our flight to vibrant Cairns, gateway to the tropics and home to some of the most stunning scenery in Australia. We'll check into the Doubletree Hotel, perfectly situated on the Cairns waterfront. Snorkel, swim, and take a glass-bottom boat tour at the amazing Great Barrier Reef! Enjoy an evening performance at Tjapukai, the award-winning Aboriginal Cultural Park. A perfect introduction to the 40,000 year-old Aboriginal culture, this interactive experience showcases Aboriginal rituals, dance, and traditional foods. Next, we enter Wooroonooran National Park, part of the UNESCO Wet Tropics World Heritage Area, and visit Josephine Falls. Take an easy walk through the jungle and emerge at the falls, where Josephine Creek plunges down a gorgeous set of cascades. You'll enjoy a dip in a refreshing Swimming Hole as you slide down a Natural Water Slide on the smooth, sloping rock face. Next, we'll take the Kuranda Scenic Railway on the way to quirky Kuranda Village. We'll pass by rushing waterfalls and over the stunning Barron Gorge on our way to this unique town, located on the edge of the Australian rainforest. Visit Rainforestation Nature Park, home to koalas and kangaroos, and travel deep into the jungle on our Army Duck Rainforest Tour. Soak up the tropical atmosphere of Cairns as we stroll through the vibrant Night Markets.
We'll cross the Atherton Tablelands into classic Outback Country, where dingoes and kangaroos roam free. We will be welcomed as guests at a Traditional Working Cattle Station and Homestead. We stay in dorm-style cabins and learn about the challenges and rewards of living in the outback. Channel your inner Indiana Jones by learning how to Crack a Whip and the proper technique for throwing a Boomerang (and yes, it really does come back to you!). We'll really appreciate a simpler way of life as we spend the evening star-gazing, listening to tales of life on the range, and enjoying a classic Australian BBQ.
A short flight takes us to the Gold Coast, world-renowned for having some the most popular beaches in Australia. We'll stay at Crowne Plaza Surfers Paradise, located right in the middle of the action. Spend time soaking up the sun on the coast's beautiful white-sand beaches and enjoy the atmosphere as you stroll down famous Cavill Avenue. Get your feet wet in the clear azure waters as you learn to catch waves during our Professional Surf Lessons! Next up is MovieWorld, known as the Hollywood of the Gold Coast. With exciting rides, live shows, and fun performances, this park is a must-visit destination. Grab your paddle and glide across the pristine turquoise waters on our fun Kayak Tour. Take in the Australian Outback Spectacular's "Spirit of the Horse," a unique evening dinner show filled with outback music, drama, and action - a perfect taste of Aussie outback culture.
Australia's third-largest city, Brisbane is the gateway to the Sunshine Coast and the hub of Queensland culture, offering a peek at the past and a glimpse of the future. We check in to the centrally located Novotel Brisbane, located in the heart of this exciting city. We'll head to the world-renowned Australia Zoo, made famous by the crocodile hunter himself, Steve Irwin! Cuddle a koala, feed kangaroos, check out the growling Tasmanian Devils, and watch the crocodile shows at this unique Australian animal kingdom. Next, we'll join marine experts for an awesome Whale-Watching experience. Witness majestic humpback whales as they make their annual migration past the Australian coast. Stroll along Queen Street and take in the views over the Brisbane River as you soak up the energy of this fast-moving, modern city.
We catch our flight to Sydney and settle in to our hotel, the Park Royal Sydney, located just steps from famous Darling Harbour. Take in a performance at one of the most recognizable buildings in the world, the Sydney Opera House. We'll weave among historic buildings and narrow laneways in the historic Rocks District, home to Australia's first settlement. . We'll hop aboard a ferry for our cruise through Sydney Harbour and explore famous Bondi Beach. No visit to this incredible city would be complete without experiencing the Sydney Harbour Bridge Climb. We'll climb to the bridge's summit, 440 feet above Sydney Harbour, for incomparable views of the city. When you reach the top, you will have a sense of achievement that you will remember forever - you've conquered an Australian icon recognized the world over!