Melbourne's elegant façades and broad boulevards are your launchpad to an immersive encounter with Australia and New Zealand. On arrival, you'll be transferred to your hotel (flights to arrive prior to 12pm). This evening, get to know your Travel Director and fellow travellers at a Welcome Reception including a Regional Dinner.
Admire the city's Victorian architecture, arcades and eclectic little laneways revealing some of the world's most incredible street art as you 'Dive into Culture' on a private walking tour of the city - encounter the aroma of Melbourne's coffee culture around every corner.
Enjoy a day at leisure to explore stylish Melbourne or consider an Optional Experience along the Great Ocean Road.
Journey to the heart of the continent, the gateway to central Australia's soul-stirring landscapes. On our first stop, we join 'Local Specialists' to delve into the support that the School of the Air and Royal Flying Doctor Service provide to isolated communities. Later, we 'Connect with Locals' over a Be My Guest dinner at the Earth Sanctuary World Nature Centre, where we'll meet the famous Outback Paramedic Falzon brothers and learn about the sustainable lifestyle they've established.
The rusty red landscapes of Uluru beckon today and we leave Alice Springs bound for Ayers Rock Resort. This evening, watch as the Outback sky ignites in shades of red, yellow and purple - the perfect backdrop for Uluru sundowners. Later, consider an optional authentic Aussie BBQ Dinner under the glittering southern-night sky. Our home for the next two nights is one of Trafalgar's 'Stays with Stories' - the Desert Gardens Hotel which reveals the natural beauty of the surrounding landscape.
Watch night turn to day as you witness a magical sunrise over Uluru. 'Dive into Culture' and hear stories about the Anangu, caretakers of this remote arid landscape, touring the base of Uluru to discover its ancient rock art. This afternoon, continue your journey through the desert plains to Kata Tjuta (the Olgas) and enjoy a walk amidst its towering domes through Walpa Gorge. Admire yet another magnificent sunset paired with sparkling wine.
Rise with the birds and visit the kaleidoscopic art installation in the desert, the Field of Light. This soul-stirring start to your morning gives way to yet another magical experience on top of a sand dune to watch the desert landscape awaken over Uluru with a hot drink in hand. Later, join your 'Local Specialist' Aboriginal artist for a fun introduction to Western Desert Art and craft your own story as a memento of the experience. Fly to Cairns.
Ease into the laidback lifestyle of Cairns - a full free day to explore this tropical city or consider an Optional Experience to Tjapukai Aboriginal Cultural Park or Hartley's Crocodile Adventures.
Board a high-speed catamaran and cruise out to the Great Barrier Reef. Don your mask and fins for an up-close encounter with this natural wonderland (equipment provided) or stay dry and explore the world's largest living reef system from the comfort of a semi-submersible craft. Before your return to Cairns, you'll enjoy a tropical buffet lunch under the glorious Aussie sunshine. This evening, join your fellow travellers for a Regional Dinner on the Cairns waterfront.
Fly south to Sydney and spend the rest of the day at leisure exploring the beauty of this harbour city.
Delve into the story of a building 'that changed the image of an entire country' joining a 'Local Specialist' for a guided tour of Sydney Opera House. Dip your toes in the Pacific waters of Bondi Beach, then board a Captain Cook Lunch Cruise as you sail past Sydney's iconic harbour sights.
Enjoy a full free day to explore Sydney on your terms or consider joining an Optional Experience to the Blue Mountains to connect with nature. Admire the small-town atmosphere of Leura, see the famous Three Sisters rock formation and visit a Wildlife Park to get up close to some of Australia's cuddly creatures. Spend your last evening in Sydney with your Travel Director and companions enjoying a Regional Dinner at a waterfront restaurant.
Set your sights on New Zealand as you fly to Auckland, where this evening you'll join your Travel Director for dinner at your hotel.
Explore the iconic sights of Auckland during a sightseeing tour, followed by the rest of the day at leisure.
Keep a keen eye out for shy kiwi and learn about the endemic flora and fauna of this land during a visit to Rainbow Springs Nature Park with a 'Local Specialist'. This evening, 'Dive into Culture' at the Tamaki Maori Village, complete with a Hangi Regional Dinner with wine and powerful Māori cultural performance revealing the rituals and traditions of this ancient culture.
There's time this morning to consider an Optional Experience. Perhaps visit Te Puia to see the bubbling geysers, mud pools and thermal springs of Rotorua. We fly to Queenstown next.
Prepare for a day filled with pinch me moments as you journey over Devil's Staircase and along the shore of Lake Wakatipu to Te Anau, the gateway to South Island's fiordland. Glaciers and snow-capped peaks emerge from the dense rainforests as we travel through the UNESCO-listed Fiordland National Park en route to Cleddau Valley. Capture the splendid natural beauty of Mirror Lake, the Chasm, Mitre Peak and Bowen Falls on camera before reaching Milford Sound. Slice through its gleaming still waters, almost entirely surrounded by mountains that dwarf your cruise boat. After a soulful encounter with epic natural surrounds, return to Queenstown for an evening at leisure.
A day at leisure could see you take an Optional Experience ride on the Shotover Jet boat or a cruise aboard New Zealand's oldest steamship the TSS Earnslaw to Walter Peak High Country Farm for a gourmet BBQ lunch. This evening, join your Travel Director for a Regional Dinner at The Boatshed.
Before departing Queenstown, you'll visit the historic gold mining village of Arrowtown, then savour the juicy flavours of apricots, peaches, plums in Cromwell, New Zealand's stone fruit capital, near the pristine waters of Lake Dunstan. Journey along the pebbled shores of Lakes Wanaka and Hawea, across the Haast Pass and past Thunder Creek Falls. Continue to the luminescent icy depths of the Franz Josef Glacier, which you may choose to explore by air on an Optional Experience scenic flight (weather permitting).
Journey to Hokitika and visit a local greenstone (jade) factory to witness a 'Local Specialist' master carver at work creating intricate pieces of jewellery and art. At Arthur's Pass board the TranzAlpine for one of the world's most scenic train rides through the snow-capped Southern Alps to Christchurch.
After a city sightseeing tour, 'Connect with Locals' Isabelle and Tim Weston for a 'Be My Guest' morning tea at their home, Britten Stables. Formerly a horse stables, the couple restored the property and transformed it into the exquisite home it is today. Spend the last evening with your travel companions and Travel Director at a Farewell Dinner.
Bid farewell to your newfound friends as your holiday concludes this morning after breakfast. You will be transferred to Christchurch Airport for your onward flight (flights anytime).