After you travel through Australia, join us on this showcase of New Zealand’s stunning South Island—a wonderland of alpine peaks, verdant farms, Victorian garden towns, ancient Maori culture, and good-natured Kiwi hospitality. It would be a shame to come all the way "Down Under" and miss Australia’s beautiful neighbor, New Zealand.
- It's Included:
- International airfare from Sydney to Auckland
- Accommodations for 2 nights in Auckland, a 1-night homestay in Mount Cook region, 3 nights in Queenstown, and 1 night in Sydney
- 12 meals—7 breakfasts, 4 lunches, and 1 dinner (including 1 Home-Hosted Dinner)
- 5 small group activities
- Services of an expert OAT Trip Leader
- All transfers
After a light breakfast, we fly to Auckland, New Zealand, as our Ultimate Australia adventure comes to a close. Your Trip Leader who has been with you throughout your trip in Australia will travel on this trip extension. Auckland is New Zealand’s largest and most culturally diverse city, and is a melting pot of European, South Pacific, Asian, and indigenous Maori cultures.
The balance of the afternoon and evening is at leisure for independent exploration. Your Trip Leader can provide suggestions for dinner on your own this evening.
This morning, we’ll embark on a tour of Auckland that includes visits to the Viaduct Harbour and Harbour Bridge, Newmarket, the Mission Bay beachfront neighborhood, and the dramatic summit of Mount Eden. The Polynesian diversity is reflected in the unique cultural, culinary, and shopping experiences that we’ll find here. Known as the “City of Sails” for its coastal locale and the America’s Cup Village situated here, Auckland is noted for its breathtaking scenery, love of rugby, and excellent food and wine.
After an included lunch, we’ll enjoy an afternoon at leisure. Perhaps you’ll take a stroll on Auckland’s magnificent beaches, visit the War Memorial museum, or go sailing on Auckland Harbour.
This morning after breakfast, we’ll transfer to the Auckland airport for a flight to Christchurch. From here, we’ll travel overland to Fairlie, a thriving farming town. We’ll have the opportunity to visit a local farm, where we’ll see the shearing shed and watch the farm’s sheepdogs work with the sheep.
Later this evening, we’ll enjoy an overnight stay and dinner with a local Kiwi family on their farm. This is a chance for you to meet people who call this area home, learn about their daily lives on the farm, and share a little of yourself. Please note: This overnight stay is held at a local farm with a shared bathroom.
After breakfast with our hosts, we'll travel alongside the Southern Alps to take in views (weather permitting) of New Zealand's highest peak, 12,346-foot Mount Cook. Called Aoraki by the Maori, this world-renowned mountain wears a permanent mantle of snow and ice. It towers above turquoise glacier-fed lakes and grassy foothills where snow gentians and the white buttercups called Mount Cook Lilies bloom.
Continuing south, we arrive at a local wine center for an included lunch and interactive wine-tasting experience.
We arrive at our hotel in Queenstown where dinner will be on your own among the city's numerous restaurants.
We rise early this morning for a full day of adventure. After breakfast, we travel to Milford Sound—dubbed the “Eighth Wonder of the World” by Rudyard Kipling—situated in the heart of Fiordland National Park. Dense forests, shimmering Lake Te Anau, and a pass known as “The Avenue of Disappearing Mountains” mark our route. Upon boarding our cruise boat, we’ll marvel at towering cliffs and stunning peaks, see thundering waterfalls, impressive beech forests, and unique flora and fauna as we cruise along magnificent fjords. A picnic lunch is included on board our cruise.
We return to Queenstown in the evening, where you can enjoy dinner on your own.
Today is at leisure. Queenstown, one of the world’s great centers for outdoor recreation, offers multiple opportunities for exciting adventures. Or, you may choose to visit the Kiwi Birdlife Park, which is a must-see if you are a birder.
You may wish to take the optional excursion in a jet-boat on the Shotover River. The jet-boat, which takes in water and ejects it from the stern under great pressure to create the propulsion, was invented in New Zealand. It’s designed to run in water that is only inches deep, and the boat needs very little room to maneuver, making it capable of handling the twisting channels between rocky outcrops with ease.
You have the rest of your evening at leisure to explore the charms of Queenstown.
We'll start our day with breakfast in the hotel, and then transfer to Queenstown International Airport. We fly to Sydney where we will spend the night before departing for Los Angeles the next day.
This morning we'll have breakfast in our hotel, and transfer to Sydney International Airport for our flight back to Los Angeles.