Day 1 UK - Melbourne
Today you'll depart on your scheduled flight to Melbourne.
Days 2 & 3 Melbourne
On early arrival in the beautiful city of Melbourne on day 3, we'll transfer you to your hotel. You'll have time to settle in and freshen up before heading off on an included sightseeing tour this afternoon. One of the world's most liveable cities, it's packed with attractions from renowned art galleries and vibrant markets to world-class restaurants and legendary sports venues.
Day 4 Melbourne - at Leisure
You can spend the day at leisure, making your own discoveries in Melbourne, or you might be tempted to join an optional excursion to Phillip Island to watch the remarkable penguin parade. At sunset, after a hard day's fishing, hundreds of these delightful creatures - the world's smallest penguin - appear from out of the ocean and waddle their way across the beach to their sand dune burrows. You can take in this marvellous spectacle from special viewing stands and boardwalks, which give you the chance to get up close to nature.
Day 5 Melbourne - Sydney
This morning we'll transfer you to the airport for your flight to Sydney, where you'll stay for three nights. On this afternoon's tour you can tick off highlights including the gorgeous white sands of Bondi Beach, and Hyde Park, which is home to numerous monuments including the ANZAC Memorial. You'll also visit Darling Harbour, which hosts a dazzling array of attractions from bars and bistros to an aquarium and a zoo as well as Mrs Macquarie's Chair. This huge sandstone rock was hand-carved by convicts into the shape of a bench for Governor Macquarie's wife, Elizabeth, in 1810. Why not sit for a while and take in the views from this wonderful vantage point.
Day 6 Sydney - at Leisure
With a day at leisure, you can discover Sydney at your own pace. As you explore you'll find that its centre is surprisingly compact.
Alternatively, you could choose to discover Sydney Harbour from the water. This hour-long optional cruise will introduce many wonderful sights, from beautiful gardens and parkland to the iconic Sydney Opera House and Bridge. For an entirely different perspective, you could take in exceptional views of Sydney Harbour and the surrounding area on a guided Sydney Harbour Bridge climb. Don't worry, you'll get a safety briefing beforehand and will wear a harness at all times. At the end you'll receive a group photo, a cap, certificate and a pass to the Pylon Lookout for further sweeping views.
Another option is to step beneath the sails and enjoy a guided tour of the Sydney Opera House. You'll learn about the history of the building, uncover stories about artists and the shows performed here and have an opportunity to visit areas usually off limits to the general public.
Day 7 Sydney - at Leisure
Enjoy a further day at leisure, or you can join us on a thrilling optional excursion. You'll head through the Blue Mountains, past the Three Sisters rock formation and along Jamieson Valley - Australia's answer to the Grand Canyon. Finally, you'll visit Scenic World where you can opt to take a journey on the world's steepest incline railway into ancient rainforest, or enjoy a cable-car ride over the valley.
Day 8 Sydney - Uluru
You'll fly to Uluru, also known as Ayers Rock, this morning via Alice Springs. This gigantic sandstone monolith, which is two miles long, 1,000ft high and measures six miles around the base, is located in Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park. One of the most impressive landmarks in Australia, this UNESCO World Heritage Site is a sacred place in Aboriginal culture and features many caves and ancient rock paintings. It's an incredible sight at any time of the day, but at sunrise and sunset it changes colour dramatically with the light. Your sunset visit this evening includes a cocktail.
This evening you can enjoy an optional visit to the impressive Field of Light installation.
Day 9 Uluru - Alice Springs
You've an early start today, but it's definitely worth it as you visit Uluru once again, but this time at sunrise. You can also tour the base of the rock and view Aboriginal rock paintings in the caves here. After this. we'll head to the mysterious Kata Tjuta, although you may know these 36 domed rock formations better as The Olgas. Located to the west of Uluru, they are thought to have similarly been one huge piece of rock but over millions of years they have been shaped this way by nature.
We then continue by road to Alice Springs, where you'll enjoy an authentic bush barbecue in the Australian Outback this evening. The fun starts at sunset as we take to the road to try to spot kangaroos. Before you eat you can try your hand at boomerang throwing, and afterwards you can indulge in a spot of stargazing.
Day 10 Alice Springs - at Leisure
Today we head off on a fascinating tour that introduces you to the Flying Doctor Base and the old Telegraph Station, the original site of the first European settlement in central Australia, which is now a museum. You will also visit the famous School of the Air. Later if you want to get out and about in the great outdoors, you could choose to join an optional excursion to the spectacular Western MacDonnell Mountain Ranges.Meals included: B
Day 11 Alice Springs - Darwin
This morning we'll transfer you to the airport for your flight to Darwin.Meals included: B
Day 12 Darwin - Kakadu National Park
Your destination today is Kakadu National Park, where you'll discover lush rainforest, scenic rivers and a diverse range of wildlife. It is most famed though for its natural galleries of fascinating Aboriginal rock art.
Before we make our way to our hotel, you've the chance to walk up Ubirr Rock, where you'll see some of the most outstanding examples of rock art in the world.
Day 13 Kakadu National Park - Katherine
A journey by road this morning takes us to Katherine via the stunning Nourlangie Rock. Here you can set off on a walk to see more Aboriginal rock art.
Next, head off on a thrilling cruise on the famous Yellow Water Lagoon, where you can look for many species of birds - from whistling ducks to eagles - and crocodiles in their natural habitat.
Day 14 Katherine - Darwin
Today's highlight is a cruise through the Katherine Gorge, to see ancient rocks and caves decorated with Aboriginal paintings. As you sail through this picturesque valley, expert guides will explain the history and geology of the area and tell you all about the flora and fauna you're likely to see. You'll step ashore for a walk before boarding another boat for your return journey.Meals included: B
Day 15 Darwin - Cairns
This morning we're heading to Cairns where we will stay, it's your gateway to the Great Barrier Reef!Meals included: B
Day 16 Great Barrier Reef
Today you have the chance to explore a whole new world on an included trip by catamaran to the outer Great Barrier Reef. You'll see that marine life comes incredibly close to the vessel, and you can experience the reef without getting wet from the comfort of a semi-submersible or an underwater observatory. Of course, you can also go snorkelling in this amazing underwater world – all the equipment and guidance you need is provided, as well as lunch.Meals included: L
Day 17 Cairns - at Leisure
All you have to do now is relax! If you want to get out in the great outdoors, why not come with us on an optional trip to Daintree Rainforest. Daintree is an ecologically unique tropical forest, which is home to an extensive range of flora and fauna. Also included is an environmental wilderness cruise as you go in search of crocodiles with an expert guide. You'll then enjoy lunch at the Daintree Tea House and round off your excursion with a tour of Daintree.
Day 18 Cairns - at Leisure
You can spend today doing just as you wish, exploring at your own pace or simply enjoying the facilities at your hotel.
However, if you want to see more, a ride on the Kuranda Railway is an option today to see the Atherton Tablelands. Your first stop will be the Skyrail Rainforest Cableway, where you'll glide over and through heritage rainforest. After free time in the village of Kuranda, you'll take a journey on the Kuranda Scenic Railway, with the Barron Falls just one of the incredible highlights.
Day 19 Cairns - Brisbane
Today we'll transfer you to the airport for your flight to Brisbane. The capital of the Sunshine State, boasting 293 days a year of sunshine, Brisbane is a modern, bustling metropolis that sits on the banks of the Brisbane River. There is no shortage of things to see and do here including a vast array of restaurants, cafés and shops to explore. The Eat Street Market on the North Shore is always buzzing with activity and the sights, smells and tasty treats are well worth discovering. Head to the cliffs at New Farm Park for beautiful views of the iconic Story Bridge lit up at night, against the backdrop of the sparkling city, or enjoy a drink at one of the city's many rooftop bars. A great way to explore is on a CityCat, which takes you out into the river to explore from the water. The South Bank, Queensland's Cultural Precinct, is also well worth a visit. Here, you'll find Streets Beach, Australia's only beach that is located within a city!
Day 20 Brisbane - at Leisure
Before flying home tomorrow you might choose to spend a day at leisure. Alternatively, why not join an optional excursion to North Stradbroke Island. Fondly known as Straddie by the locals, it is the world's second largest sand island at about 38km long and 11km wide. Relax on the beach, or maybe head off on a bush walk, keeping an eye out for resident kangaroos, koalas and kookaburras - the largest member of the kingfisher family.
Day 21 Brisbane - Auckland
We will transfer you to the airport today for your flight to Auckland. You'll stay in Auckland for the next two nights and the rest of the day is yours to do as you please.
Day 22 Auckland
The beautiful city of Auckland - the largest in New Zealand - is situated on North Island in the spectacular Hauraki Gulf. The area is home to stunning landscapes of thermal springs and geysers, glorious national parks, luxuriant forests, stunning lakes and more. Now you've had time to relax, let's get out and discover the city on an included tour. Highlights include the 328-metre-high Sky Tower, the imposing War Memorial and the sweeping Waitemata Harbour, which is the most prominent natural feature of the 'City of Sails'. Downtown Auckland is a great mix of modern and historic architecture, so look out for St Patrick's Cathedral, built in 1848, and Auckland High Court, which was modelled on England's very own Warwick Castle.
Day 23 Auckland - Paihia
There's a scenic treat in store today as we travel along the beautiful Hibiscus Coast to Paihia, the perfect base from which to discover the lush forests and idyllic beaches of the Bay of Islands.
En route we'll visit the Treaty House of Waitangi, where you can learn about the history of the 1840 agreement between the British Crown and the Maoris.
Day 24 Paihia - at Leisure
You can choose how you spend today. Maybe you'll explore Paihia at your own pace but if you'd like to join an organised excursion we offer an optional trip to Cape Reinga. Located at the very top of North Island, this vast, untouched region is reached via a journey along the never-ending paradise of Ninety Mile Beach.
Once here you'll have the chance to negotiate the Te Paki Quick Sand Stream, backed by towering dunes, and visit a lighthouse to take in exceptional views of the Pacific Ocean meeting the Tasman Sea.
Day 25 Paihia - at Leisure
You've a chance to explore more of the stunning Bay of Islands on an optional catamaran cruise today. Keep your eyes peeled for a variety of marine life, including bottlenose dolphins and fur seals as we head past islands and secluded beaches to the Cape Brett 'Hole in the Rock'. If sea conditions are right, we should be able to sail through this narrow arch, carved by the forces of nature. The cruise ends with a stop at one of the beautiful islands.
Day 26 Paihia - Rotorua
The warm, emerald-green North Island was shaped by volcanic activity, and evidence of this remains in the thermal springs surrounding Rotorua. This is where we head today, and our journey takes us through the Waikato farming region, home of the Maori kingdom.
We'll spend the next two nights in Rotorua and if you wish, you can take an optional float plane or helicopter flight to Mount Tarawera. Surrounded by unique scenery and towering above the pristine waters of Lake Tarawera, this now dormant volcano wreaked havoc on the nation when it erupted in 1886. If you choose to fly overhead you'll be able to look deep into its crater - a 6km ravine - and take in spectacular views of crater lakes and rugged peaks.
Day 27 Rotorua
Your scenic tour today takes you to Te Puia Thermal Reserve, where you'll see bubbling mud, pools of boiling water, dramatic spouting geysers and traditional Maori architecture.
Later, you could join a tour of Hobbiton, the location created for The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit films. This thrilling site includes hobbit holes and the Green Dragon Inn, and your guide will tell you all you need to know about these popular movies.
Tonight, you will experience an authentic Hangi meal - where your food is cooked by steam underground using a centuries-old method. Journey back to a time of proud warriors and ancient traditions with a visit to the Tamaki Maori Village, where you'll experience ceremonial rituals, wonderful performances including action songs, poi, stick games and the world famous 'haka' – the Maori War Dance. Hear stories that have been passed down through the generations and watch as the earth is carefully scraped away from the hangi pit to reveal baskets laden with a sumptuous mouth-watering feast cooked beneath the ground on hot stones.
Day 28 Rotorua - Wellington
Wellington, New Zealand's capital, is our next destination. We'll make our way here via the forested slopes of the Wairakei Thermal Valley and Lake Taupo, whose waters flow rapidly into the impressive Huka Falls. Every second, around 220,000 litres of water pours through a narrow passage, and then rushes under a pedestrian bridge, where we will stop to take in this incredible sight.
On arrival in Wellington, get your bearings on a short tour before we check into the hotel.
Day 29 Wellington
We're going to explore Wellington in more detail today on a walking tour. One of the leading cities for arts and culture in New Zealand, there is so much to see, from an array of museums and galleries to historic architecture and fabulous shopping. We'll take in the Te Papa Museum, a showcase of New Zealand's cultural treasures, and the lively waterfront area. We'll also visit the botanical gardens, which run over 26 hectares, and take a trip on the historic Wellington Cable Car for fabulous views across this lovely city.
Day 30 Wellington - Christchurch
Today we're going to cross the Cook Strait to South Island and travel to Christchurch for an overnight stay. This city, the second-largest in New Zealand, has a fascinating English heritage, which is apparent in some of its older buildings. Also known as the Garden City, it boasts plenty of natural beauty too.
Day 31 TranzAlpine Train
You've a spectacular journey ahead today, as you step aboard the TranzAlpine train and head into the Southern Alps. Here you'll see narrow gorges and towering snow-capped peaks, so be sure to have your camera ready. Your journey continues to the Franz Josef and Fox Glacier regions, where you'll witness enormous valleys of ice and deep, dramatic ravines. Later, if the weather conditions are right, you'll have the opportunity to take an optional helicopter flight over the glaciers for views that are out of this world.
Day 32 Fox Glacier - Queenstown
The road through the Westland National Park has to be one of the most scenic ever built. It crosses Clark Bluff and the Haast River Bridge and today we'll drive along it on our way to Queenstown.
If you're looking for an adrenaline rush, you've come to the right place, as Queenstown is known as New Zealand's capital of adventure. One option on your free afternoon is to take a ride on the Kawarau Jet Boat. On this thrilling excursion, you will travel at speeds of up to 50 miles per hour in the very shallow waters of the Shotover and Kawarau Rivers.
Day 33 Queenstown - at Leisure
Today has been left free so you can spend some time at leisure and discover Queenstown at your own pace. However, if you're feeling adventurous we have another optional thrill-packed excursion for you to join. You'll start with a walk through the bush and then you'll head off on an exciting four-wheel-drive journey before boarding a jet boat for an exhilarating ride along the Dart River.
This evening if you wish you could enjoy a more relaxing experience, with a cruise on Lake Wakatipu with dinner served in a restaurant at the foot of Walter Peak.
Day 34 Milford Sound
Today is the day you visit one of the most beautiful locations in New Zealand – Milford Sound. Located deep within Fiordland National Park, this inky-blue expanse of water is surrounded by forest-covered hills and dramatic mountain peaks and must be seen to be believed. If the weather conditions are good, we'll take in the fjord's majestic beauty on a cruise.
Day 35 Te Anau - Dunedin
Today we make our way to Dunedin, and on the way we're going to make a stop at the Glow Worm Caves. This labyrinth of limestone caverns is lit by thousands of glow worms, offering us an incredible sight.
Day 36 Dunedin - at Leisure
You can spend your time exploring at leisure today, or perhaps you'll choose to join an optional trip to the Royal Albatross Colony on the Otago Peninsula. This is the world's only mainland breeding colony of these fascinating birds, and during your visit you'll learn more about them, watch a short film and visit the observatory where hopefully you will see them nesting.
Day 37 Dunedin - Omarama
As we travel northwards to Omarama, we'll make a stop at the Moeraki Beach Boulders. These huge spherical rocks are scattered along the sand and are shrouded in Maori legend. Thought to have started forming in ancient sea floor sediments, the largest boulders are estimated to have taken around four million years to reach their current size. Some weigh several tonnes and the largest measure more than two metres in width. It's no wonder this is a very popular spot for photographers!
Our route then follows the Waitiki River inland and if you wish you can take an optional flight over some of New Zealand's highest mountains and largest glaciers. Your pilot will provide an interesting commentary as you take in the breathtaking scenery.
Day 38 Omarama - Christchurch
We're bound for the Mount Cook region this morning. On the way we'll make a stop at Lake Tekapo, a picturesque turquoise-coloured body of water, which boasts a stunning backdrop of the Southern Alps. We'll then head over Burkes Pass, a mountain passageway, and continue across the Canterbury plains. This vast patchwork of agricultural land nestled between the mountains and the sea produces more than 80% of the country's grains, crops and seeds.
Mount Cook is the highest peak in New Zealand, towering to 12,000ft, and if weather conditions are favourable you might be tempted to view it on an optional scenic flight.
We'll arrive back in Christchurch late this afternoon and stay here overnight.
Day 39 Christchurch - UK
Today we'll transfer you to the airport for your flight back to the UK.
Day 40 UK
You'll arrive back in the UK today.