Deciding between a holiday to Australia and a holiday to New Zealand is a difficult choice. So why not just do both? At Distant Journeys, we’ve taken all of Australia’s highlights, and all the highlights of New Zealand, and put them together to create the Highlights of Australia and New Zealand tour.
You can look forward to seeing New Zealand’s sparkling lakes, gushing geysers and snow-capped mountains. Not to mention Australia’s spectacular outback, tropical Queensland and the Great Barrier Reef, and cosmopolitan cities such as Sydney. And throughout each and every highlight, you’ll be guided by your experienced Distant Journeys Coach Captains and Tour Manager. This comes as standard on all of our Australia and New Zealand tours from the UK.
28-day Highlights of Australia and New Zealand, from only £4,995pp
To find out more information about a particular hotel or destination, please click on orange text.
Day 1 – Depart UK
Depart from the UK airport most convenient for you – London Heathrow, Manchester, Birmingham, Newcastle or Glasgow – at no extra cost. You’ll fly with Qantas / Emirates,
In-flight meals and drinks included
Day 2 – Singapore, 2 nights
Arrive into the wonderful city of Singapore and transfer to the four star Copthorne Kings hotel, situated in an enviable position close to the banks of the Singapore River.
In-flight meals and drinks included
Day 3 – Singapore
This morning enjoy a city tour which includes a stop at the Merlion Park and the impressive views of Marina Bay, the historic Civic District, Thian Hock Keng Temple and the fabulous orchid gardens set within Singapore’s botanical gardens. Return to the hotel where the rest of your day is free to spend as you please.
Day 4 – Depart Singapore
Enjoy spending the day exploring the city until it’s time to leave for the airport for your flight to Christchurch.
Breakfast and in-flight meals and drinks included
We have based days 2 – 4 of this itinerary on a stopover in Singapore. Alternatively you may choose to stop in Bangkok or Dubai for the same price. All stopovers include transfers to and from the hotel, daily breakfast and a city sightseeing tour. If choosing an alternative stopover, flight timings and inclusions vary – please speak with one of our personal travel experts for more details.
Day 5 – Christchurch, Overnight
Welcome to Christchurch, New Zealand. Christchurch is a charming city renowned for its many gardens and parks. En route to our hotel we will take a short orientation tour. Enjoy an overnight stay at the Rendezvous Hotel.
In-flight meals and drinks included
Day 6 – Franz Josef, 2 nights
Following breakfast, we embark on one of the most stunning drives in New Zealand. Leaving Christchurch we travel through the patchwork fields of the Canterbury Plains, heading towards the imposing Southern Alps and across Arthur’s Pass. We make the spectacular descent down the western side of the Southern Alps, towards the rocky beaches of the untamed west coast. Our route takes us along striking wild scree-scarred terrain with forests of Crimson Rata and Kahikatea – and past Lakes Ianthe and Mapourika. We’ll then spend time sighting Franz Josef and the Westland National Park. Today is a true highlight of your trip to New Zealand. Your next two nights will be spent at the Franz Josef Glacier Hotel.
Day 7 – Franz Josef Freedom Day
Today is left completely free to absorb the beauty of Franz Josef. For those that so wish, we shall drive to the Franz Josef Glacier terminal where we will have the opportunity to walk to view the glacier. Weather permitting we may also take an optional scenic flight (at an additional cost) over the awe-inspiring Alpine region.
Day 8 – Queenstown, 3 nights
Witness incredible scenery today as we travel through Mount Aspiring National Park, and across the Haast River Bridge on one of the most exciting scenic roads ever built. We journey along the shores of Lake Hawea and Wanaka as we enter New Zealand’s Central Otago region. Later in the afternoon we arrive at the four star Millennium Hotel in the stunning alpine resort of Queenstown which will be home for the next three nights.
Day 9 – Milford Sound
Today we travel to the magnificent Fiordland National Park and Milford Sound, which will undoubtedly prove to be one of your tour highlights in New Zealand. The scenic drive takes us through a variety of landscapes – farmland, native tussock grasslands, lush beech forests and impressive glacial valleys – before arriving at Milford Sound to begin our cruise. Only when out cruising on Milford Sound can the sheer scale of the dramatic scenery be fully appreciated: towering peaks rise all around and spectacular waterfalls cascade into the calm waters below. Our cruise takes in the impressive Mitre Peak and Bowen Falls; and remember to keep a look out for dolphins as well as seals and penguins
Day 10 – Queenstown Freedom Day
Your day is free to take advantage of the incredible variety of activities available in and around New Zealand’s most glamorous alpine resort. Maybe go horse riding or take a four-wheel drive safari over old mining tracks. For those requiring a more tranquil day, a stroll around this lovely township could be more suitable. There is also an opportunity to take an optional leisurely cruise (at an additional cost) across Lake Wakatipu aboard the vintage steamboat TSS Earnslaw. The cruise includes a visit to the Walter Peak Homestead and a sheep shearing show, before returning to Queenstown aboard Earnslaw.
Day 11 – Rotorua, 2 nights
After breakfast we make our way to Queenstown Airport in time for our Jetstar flight to Auckland. Upon arrival we board the waiting coach and make our way to the world famous thermal region at Rotorua for our next two nights at the Distinction Hotel.
Day 12 – Rotorua
Sightseeing this morning takes us via Rotorua’s famous Bath House, a Tudor-style building situated within the Government Gardens. We continue to Te Puia including the Whakarewarewa Thermal Reserve with its spurting geysers and boiling mud pools. Your afternoon is at leisure to relax. For those that so wish, optional activities include a float plane journey departing Lake Taupo over Mount Tarawera, or perhaps an afternoon enjoying the healing properties of the thermal pools at the nearby Polynesian Spa may be more appealing? Rotorua is the heart of New Zealand’s rich Maori culture and this evening we attend a concert featuring traditional song and dance, including the world famous war dance – The Haka. Also included is a Hangi buffet dinner, cooked using traditional Maori methods.
Breakfast and dinner included
Day 13 – Auckland, 2 nights
After breakfast it’s time to leave Rotorua as we make our way to the beautiful city of Auckland, the ‘City of Sails’. Our sightseeing tour this afternoon begins with a drive along the beautiful coastline of the famous Auckland harbour. In the distance you can see Rangitoto Island, an extinct volcano, dominating the horizon. We continue to the stylish Viaduct Harbour, host to many America’s Cup celebrations. Our final two nights in New Zealand are spent at the four star Amora Hotel.
Day 14 – Auckland Freedom Day
Enjoy a day at leisure in New Zealand’s largest city. Auckland boasts a beautiful waterside setting and an America’s Cup excursion (at your own expense) around Waitemata Harbour offers the fun and pleasure of a real sailing experience and at the same time providing magnificent views of the city’s skyline. Alternatively visit the boutique shops of nearby Parnell or take a trip to the top of Sky Tower. The panoramic views from the tallest building in the southern hemisphere are truly breath taking.
Day 15 – Melbourne, 2 nights
After an early start, we make our way to Auckland airport for your flight to Melbourne, Australia. Once your luggage has been collected, you’ll meet your local Australian Tour Manager and take your first look at Melbourne on a sightseeing tour. Sights include Captain Cook’s Cottage (optional entry at own expense), Victoria Markets, Federation Square, the MCG and Rod Laver Arena. We also head out of the city to see the waterside suburbs of St. Kilda and Port Melbourne. We stay the four star Rendezvous Hotel.
Boxed breakfast included
Day 16 – Melbourne, Freedom Day
This is your first Freedom Day in Australia, where you can choose to relax or explore as you please. You have the opportunity to enjoy an optional tour along one of the world’s most spectacular coastal drives, the internationally renowned Great Ocean Road. The full day optional tour begins in Torquay (home to the surfing paradise of Bells Beach) and meanders along the dramatic southwest coastline of Victoria to the impressive Twelve Apostles. Alternatively, take the Puffing Billy steam train through the Blue Dandenong Ranges or take a trip to Phillip Island, home to the world’s largest colony of Fairy Penguins, to view the ‘Fairy Penguin Parade’.
Day 17 – Uluru (Ayers Rock), Overnight
Our morning Jetstar flight takes us from Victoria State to Uluru in the Northern Territory and Australia’s Red Centre. We will hopefully have the opportunity to view Uluru from the air prior to landing. Rising from the flat surrounding scrubland, Uluru is a site of deep cultural significance to the Aboriginal communities of the Northern Territory. It is the icon of Australia’s outback, and is also the world’s largest monolith. This afternoon we take a gentle stroll around certain areas of the rock to learn more about its historical and cultural importance, and then we have the opportunity to witness the changing colours with a glass of sparkling wine, as the sun begins to set. It’s truly a photographer’s delight. Overnight at the four star Desert Gardens Hotel.
Day 18 – Alice Springs, 2 nights
For early risers, an optional dawn visit to the rock has been arranged. Seeing Uluru at sunrise, from a different vantage point and in a different light, offers a totally new perspective on the ever changing colours and character of the rock. We return to the hotel for breakfast, and later, we visit the impressive series of rounded sandstone domes known as the Olgas. Leaving Uluru, we head east through amazing outback landscapes as we journey along the scenic Lasseter and Stuart Highways as we make our way to Alice Springs. Later in the day we arrive at the four star DoubleTree by Hilton.
Day 19 – Alice Springs Freedom Day
Our day is free to relax in the outback town of ‘Alice’. You may wish to take an optional hot air balloon ride over the outback. Alternatively a visit to the Western MacDonnell Ranges is an excellent opportunity to get a real picture of life in the outback. The full day excursion takes us through the wondrous and picturesque scenery of Simpson’s Gap and the towering granite walls of Standley Chasm.
Day 20 – Cairns, 4 nights
This morning we enjoy a sightseeing tour of the outback’s largest town. Alice Springs was originally established in the 1870’s as a staging post for the overland telegraph line between Darwin and Adelaide. During our sightseeing tour we relive a bygone era at the Old Telegraph Station historic reserve, which faithfully recreates the settlement’s earliest years. Also included are the remarkable Royal Flying Doctor Service and the School of the Air. These unique institutions provide real insight into life in the vast Australian outback. This afternoon we leave for the airport in time for our flight to Cairns. Centrally located in the heart of Cairns, our home for the next four nights is the four star DoubleTree by Hilton.
Breakfast and in-flight drinks included
Day 21 – Great Barrier Reef
A holiday to Australia would not be complete without a visit to the Great Barrier Reef. Its vibrantly coloured marine life and breathtakingly beautiful coral make this World Heritage site a must see for all visitors. During your full day Great Barrier Reef excursion, we board a high-speed catamaran and journey out to the Marine World platform located on the Outer Reef. Snorkel in the sheltered coral lagoon, or if you prefer to stay dry, view the reef from the semi-submersible reef viewer, glass bottom boat or underwater observatory. With five hours at the reef there is plenty of time to do it all. For the more adventurous, there are a number of activities available at an additional cost, including scuba diving (no experience necessary), joining the Marine Biologist on a guided snorkel safari, or soaring above the reef on a spectacular scenic helicopter flight. Today will be a truly exceptional highlight of your tour to Australia.
Breakfast and lunch included
Day 22 – Cairns Freedom Day
Although today has been left free you may wish to take an optional trip to Kuranda. To begin the day, guests are able to immerse themselves in traditional aboriginal culture at the Tjapukai Cultural Centre, with authentic music, dance and storytelling by the Tjapukai people. We then take the Skyrail Rainforest Cableway, a beautiful experience gliding over the rainforest canopy, to the picturesque market town of Kuranda, ‘the village in the rainforest’. Kuranda is a lovely place to while away a few hours visiting the daily markets, the butterfly sanctuary or the Koala Gardens. The tour returns to Cairns by a scenic railway journey.
Day 23 – Cairns Freedom Day
Today you have another free day to enjoy and relax in tropical northern Queensland. Surrounded by rainforest and mountains, Cairns boasts over 200 walking tracks; there are also numerous interesting museums and art galleries to explore. If you prefer to explore further afield, a day trip to the nearby World Heritage listed Daintree Rainforest, which is the oldest rainforest in the world, is a fascinating experience. The tour gives a wonderful insight into its unique flora and fauna, including a guided walk with an aboriginal guide and a cruise spotting saltwater crocodiles. Enjoy your day!
Day 24 – Sydney, 3 nights
This morning we make our way back to Cairns airport in time for our flight to Sydney. Upon arrival we head to the North Sydney Harbourview Hotel. Sydney is a city that takes full advantage of its natural setting – its sparkling harbour is host to the world famous Sydney Harbour Bridge and the spectacular Sydney Opera House. Sydney’s suburbs are blessed with lush native bushland and pristine sandy beaches. Add to this the excellent restaurants and cafes, endless shopping opportunities and a vibrant culture and it’s so very easy to understand why Sydney is one of the world’s favourite cities.
Day 25 – Sydney Sightseeing
This morning’s sightseeing tour begins with a drive through some of Sydney’s most fashionable inner city suburbs en route to Bondi Beach. Travel by Double Bay and Rushcutters Bay as we make our way back to the city centre. Travel via Hyde Park and Parliament House to Mrs Macquarie’s Chair in the Royal Botanical Gardens, where we stop for the ‘classic’ photo opportunity of the Opera House and Harbour Bridge. We complete our tour in the best possible way – enjoying a lunch cruise around Sydney’s beautiful harbour. The views of the Opera House, the Harbour Bridge and the many dream homes nestled along the edge of the water are truly amazing. The afternoon has been left free for you to spend as you please.
Day 26 – Sydney Freedom Day
Today has been left free but for those that so desire, we shall be taking an optional trip to the World Heritage listed Blue Mountains. The Blue Mountains are a perfect example of native Australian bushland, with gum trees, majestic peaks and deep gorges stretching as far as the eye can see. Experience the panoramas from a series of lookouts, including Echo Point – the prime position to view the Three Sisters rock formation. The excursion also visits Wentworth Falls and the pretty village of Leura, famous for its annual garden festivals and playing host to many of the region’s local artists.
Day 27 – Depart Sydney
The morning is yours until it’s time to depart for the airport, soon after lunch. Our flights to your chosen airport operate via Dubai where there will be a change of aircraft.
Breakfast and in-flight meals and drinks included
EARLY BOOKING OFFER – SAVE UP TO £492 PER COUPLE
If you would like to stopover on your way home, we have an amazing offer on a selection of stopovers for you to choose from: Singapore, Hong Kong, Bangkok or Dubai.
The price is only £99 per person if sharing a twin or double and £198 for single occupancy.
Included are return airport transfers and two nights accommodation in a four or five star hotel with full daily breakfast. Please see the departure dates and prices for full details. All you need to do is book by 30th June 2017.
Day 28 – Arrive UK
This morning you arrive at your chosen airport (London Heathrow, Manchester, Birmingham, Newcastle or Glasgow) bringing an end to your incredible adventure.
In-flight meals and drinks included