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Oak Lawn, IL
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Small Group Tour Highlights
  • Ride aboard vintage Kuranda steam train and Skyrail gon­dolas
  • Great Barrier Reef excursion
  • Aboriginal “dreamtime” experience
  • Sunset at Ayers Rock
  • Sydney touring and Harbour cruise
  • Leisure time in Sydney
  • Christchurch touring
  • Two-night stay at Mt. Cook National Park
  • Milford Sound cruise
  • Geothermal Rotorua
  • Maori cultural experience
  • Auckland touring
Day-by-Day Itinerary

Days 1 & 2: Depart U.S. for Cairns, Australia

Day 3: Arrive Cairns This afternoon we arrive in Cairns, gateway to Australia’s Far North and the Great Barrier Reef. We transfer to our hotel where tonight we enjoy a briefing and dinner. D

Day 4: Cairns/Kuranda We take an orientation tour of Cairns then board an historic railway to the mountain village of Kuranda. After time to explore here, we descend via the gondolas of Skyrail. We return to our hotel and the remainder of the day is at leisure to explore Cairns independently. B

Day 5: Great Barrier Reef This morning we board a boat for a day-long excursion to the Great Barrier Reef, at 1,200 miles long the world’s largest living organism and richest marine resource. We pull up at Michaelmas Cay where we can swim, snorkel, or view the reef from a semi-submersible vessel. B,L

Day 6: Cairns/Alice Springs We take a morning flight to Alice Springs, where we see the Anzac Hill Monument to Australian and New Zealand soldiers, the Royal Flying Doctor Service, and School of the Air, which provides schooling to widely scattered Outback children. Tonight we enjoy a traditional dinner in the “bush.” B,D

Day 7: Alice Springs This morning we embark on an Aboriginal “dreamtime” tour, to meet Walpiri tribespeople and learn about their ancient culture. Then we visit Simpsons Gap and Standley Chasm, where we enjoy a picnic lunch and see the sheer rock walls aglow in reflected sunlight. B,L

Day 8: Alice Springs/Ayers Rock We reach our Ayers Rock hotel early afternoon. After lunch on our own, we visit Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage site that is the traditional land of the Anangu Aboriginal peoples and home to the Olgas rock formations and Uluru (Ayers Rock). We watch the sun set over this fabled sandstone monolith that rises to a height of 1,114 feet. B,D

Day 9: Ayers Rock/Sydney This morning we visit the base of Uluru and the interesting museum here. Mid-day we fly to Sydney, arriving late afternoon. B,D

Day 10: Sydney Today’s tour features The Rocks historic neighborhood, Darling Harbour and Mrs. Macquarie’s Point, Rose and Watson’s bays, and popular Bondi Beach. Then we board a catamaran for a lunch cruise around Sydney Harbour. B,L

Day 11: Sydney This morning we tour Featherdale Wildlife Park, where wombats, dingos, and koalas reside. Then the afternoon is at leisure; tonight we enjoy dinner together at a local restaurant. B,D

Day 12: Sydney/Christchurch, New Zealand After a late morning tour of the iconic Sydney Opera House, this afternoon is free for independent exploration. This evening we board a flight to Christchurch, New Zealand’s “Garden City.” B

Day 13: Christchurch/Mt. Cook National Park This morning’s orientation tour features the acclaimed Botanic Gardens and Cathedral Square, the beating heart of Christchurch and site of Christchurch Cathedral. Then we board our motorcoach for the journey south to Aoraki/Mount Cook National Park, in the Southern Alps. We dine tonight at our hotel. B,D

Day 14: Mount Cook This morning’s tour of alpine Mount Cook Village includes a visit to the Sir Edmund Hillary Alpine Center, where we see a 3D planetarium movie about the region. We also visit the Hillary Gallery, commem­orating Sir Edmund’s achievements, including the first ascent of Mount Cook’s difficult South Ridge in 1948 (at 12,316 feet, Mount Cook is New Zealand’s tallest mountain). After time in the village for lunch on our own, this afternoon is at leisure to relax amid the breathtaking scenery, hike, or take an optional scenic flight (weather permitting). B,D

Day 15: Mount Cook/Queenstown We depart this morning for Queenstown, stopping en route in historic Arrowtown for lunch on our own followed by a visit to Kawarau Bridge Bungy, the world’s first bungy jump operation open to the public. Mid-afternoon we reach Queenstown, New Zealand’s “adventure capital.” We dine tonight at our hotel. B,D

Day 16: Milford Sound Our day-long excursion to Milford Sound includes a nature cruise through the breathtaking fjords. We have lunch on board then later have the opportunity to return to Queenstown on an optional scenic flight (weather permitting). B,L

Day 17: Queenstown We board the Spirit of Queenstown this morning for a scenic cruise to Mt. Nicholas High Country Farm. At this working ranch, we watch a sheepdog demonstration and learn about the wool industry then explore on foot and on a four-wheel drive excursion into the breathtaking high country. B

Day 18: Queenstown/Rotorua We depart today for the Maori center of Rotorua, with its geysers, bubbling mud pools, and hot thermal springs. Upon arrival, we take a panoramic tour of this city on the shores of Lake Rotorua. This evening we visit Te Puia Thermal Reserve and Cultural Centre for a traditional hangi dinner and Maori performance. B,D

Day 19: Rotorua This morning we visit Rainbow Springs Nature Park, a popular showcase of native flora, fauna, and birdlife, and where we also tour the National Kiwi Trust, which rehabilitates injured kiwis, the national bird. B

Day 20: Rotorua/Auckland En route to Auckland, we stop this morning at Ruakuri Caves to see the unique glowworms that illuminate the underground grottoes and caves. We reach Auckland late this afternoon; we’re on our own for dinner tonight. B

Day 21: Auckland Our half-day tour of this city set atop 48 volcanic hills features glittering Auckland Harbour and the America’s Cup Village. We also visit the War Memorial Museum, with its prized Maori and Pacific Islander collections. Tonight we enjoy a farewell dinner at our hotel. B,D

Day 22: Depart for U.S. Very early this morning we depart for the airport for the flight to Los Angeles (via Sydney) and our return flights home. B

Please note: This trip involves full days of sightseeing and significant amounts of walking on stairs and uneven surfaces. You should be in good physical condition to enjoy the tour to its fullest.

B = Breakfast included L = Lunch included D = Dinner included

Tour Price Includes
  • Round-trip air transportation from listed cities; all flights within itinerary
  • 19 nights’ accommodations in Deluxe, Superior First Class, and First Class hotels
  • 33 meals: 19 breakfasts, 4 lunches, 10 dinners
  • Extensive sightseeing as described, including all entrance fees
  • Services of an Odysseys Unlimited Tour Director
  • Private motorcoach transportation throughout your trip
  • Luggage handling for one bag per person
  • Gratuities for local guides, dining room servers, airport and hotel porters, and all drivers
  • $100 frequent traveler credit towards your next Odysseys Unlimited tour ($200 after 3 tours; $300 after 10 tours)
Tour Dates & Prices

2019 Tour Dates & Prices
including international airfare and all taxes, surcharges, and fees

May 4*
May 11*
Aug 31
Sep 7
Apr 1*, 3*
Apr 10*
Sep 18
Sep 25
Oct 2
Oct 9
Nov 9
Nov 16
Nov 23
Mar 6*+
Mar 13*+
Mar 20*
Oct 16
Oct 23
Los Angeles$8,684$8,984$9,184
Dallas, Houston,
Phoenix, Port (OR),
San Fran, Seattle
$8,984$9,284$9,484
Atlanta, Boston,
Chicago, Cleve,
Denver, Detroit,
Miami, Minn,
Orlando, Tampa
$9,084$9,384$9,584
Balt, Charlotte,
Cinc, New York,
Phil, Washington, DC
$9,184$9,484$9,684

Please call if your city is not listed or for land only prices. Prices are per person based on double occupancy and include airline taxes, surcharges, and fees of $389, which are subject to change until final payment is made.

Single travelers please add $1,995 Mar-Sep; $2,295 Oct, Nov. Your $375 deposit is fully refundable up to 95 days prior to departure. All 2019 tour prices above (excluding airline taxes, surcharges, and fees) are guaranteed.

Accommodations: *Stamford Plaza (Auckland); +Millennium (Queenstown)

Airline upgrades (subject to availability) on round-trip Trans-Pacific flight: Business Class – $6,995 per person Mar-May; $5,995 per person Sep-Nov; Premium Economy: $2,995 per person

A visa is required for this tour. Odysseys Unlimited will provide information about visa requirements upon reservation.

Accommodations
    Pullman Reef Hotel Casino, Cairns / Days 3-5 / Deluxe

    Located in the heart of Cairns overlooking Trinity Bay, the 128-room Pullman Reef Hotel Casino offers three restaurants, a café, and three bars; Internet access; laundry and dry cleaning services; health club with hot tub, spa, and massage; unheated rooftop swimming pool; jogging track; casino; and gift shop. Air-conditioned guest rooms have private bath with hair dryer, in-room safe, mini-bar, TV, and phone.

    DoubleTree by Hilton (formerly Crowne Plaza), Alice Springs / Days 6-7 / Superior First Class

    Adjacent to the Alice Springs Golf Course and a 10-minute walk to “Alice’s” major sights, the 236-room DoubleTree by Hilton offers two restaurants and a bar, gym, tennis courts, sauna and whirlpool, outdoor pool, internet access, and laundry and dry cleaning services. Air-conditioned guest rooms have private bath with hair dryer, in-room safe, TV, and phone. Please note that while the DoubleTree by Hilton is one of the best in Alice Springs, it may not meet the standards of the other hotels on your tour.

    Voyages Sails in the Desert Hotel, Ayers Rock / Day 8 / Superior First Class

    Part of the Voyages Ayers Rock Resort complex, the 228-room Sails in the Desert celebrates Aboriginal heritage and culture through its décor and the on-site Mulgara Gallery of native art and crafts.  Hotel amenities include several restaurants and bars, an outdoor pool, spacious grounds, complimentary Wi-Fi internet access, and laundry and dry cleaning services, while the greater resort complex offers a host of amenities, from three additional swimming pools and two tennis courts to a shopping complex, hair salon, and visitors’ center.  A free shuttle bus operates continuously around the property.  Spacious air-conditioned guest rooms have private bath with hair dryer, coffee- and tea-making facilities, private balcony or verandah, minibar, TV, and phone. 

    Sir Stamford, Sydney / Days 9-11 / Deluxe

    Sir Stamford at Circular Quay stands in the heart of Sydney on historic Macquarie Street and in close proximity to the Opera House, Royal Botanic Gardens, and Sydney Harbour. Built in the late 1800s, the 120-room hotel features 18th-century Louis XV and Georgian antiques. Amenities include a restaurant and bar, Internet access, laundry and dry cleaning services, fitness center, sun deck, sauna, and outdoor heated pool. Comfortable guest rooms have private bath with hair dryer, coffee- and tea-making facilities, TV, and phone.

    Rydges Latimer Christchurch, Christchurch / Day 12 / Superior First Class

    Completely rebuilt, the Rydges Latimer Christchurch reopened in 2013. The 138-room hotel’s amenities include a restaurant and a bar/lounge, fitness center, and sauna. Air-conditioned guest rooms have private bath with hair dryer, complimentary Wi-Fi internet access, in-room safe, coffee- and tea-making facilities, mini-bar, ironing facilities, TV, and phone.

    The Hermitage Hotel, Mt. Cook / Days 13-14 / First Class

    Located inside Mt. Cook National Park, The Hermitage Hotel offers a range of options for enjoying the park, from hiking to flightseeing. The recently refurbished (2011) 162-room hotel, which is part of the Aoraki Mount Cook Village of several hotels, has two restaurants, café, and lounge; Internet access; gift shop featuring native Maori crafts; and laundry facilities. Guest rooms have private bath with hair dryer, coffee- and tea-making facilities, TV, and phone.

    Hotel St. Moritz, Queenstown / Days 15-17 / First Class

    Nestled on a hillside overlooking Queenstown’s breathtaking lake and mountains, the alpine-lodge style 134-room Hotel St. Moritz is located just a few minutes’ walk from prime dining and shopping areas. Hotel amenities include a restaurant and bar, Internet access, laundry and dry cleaning facilities, fitness center, sauna, and spa. Air-conditioned guest rooms have private bath with hair dryer, coffee- and tea-making facilities, mini-bar, ironing facilities, TV, and phone.

    Regent of Rotorua, Rotorua / Days 18-19 / First Class

    The newly refurbished Regent of Rotorua is a boutique-style accommodation located in the center of Rotorua, close to the city’s restaurants and pedestrian shopping street. Hotel amenities include a restaurant and bar, mini fitness center and spa, heated outdoor pool, indoor thermal mineral pool, and complimentary Wi-Fi internet access. Each of the 35 air-conditioned guest rooms have mini-bar, in-room safe, coffee- and tea-making facilities, microwave, TV, phone, and luxury linens and robes.

    Grand Millennium Auckland, Auckland / Days 20-21, Extension / Superior First Class

    Additional information to come.

Ratings are based on the Hotel & Travel Index, the travel industry standard reference.
Post-Tour Extension

Auckland – On Your Own

3 days/2 nights for $325 total price
Single Supplement: $245

Enjoy additional time in the sparkling “City of Sails,” at your own pace.

 

Your Tour Price Includes
  • Grand Millennium Auckland (Superior First Class)
  • 2 meals: 2 breakfasts
  • Transfer to airport

Please see the Accommodations tab for hotel information.

Tour Directors for this Journey
Hayley Anderson

“We loved Hayley. She went above and beyond what anyone could have expected.”
Monica Moore
Saint Louis, MI

Peter Brose

“We have taken many tours and Peter is the best tour director that we’ve had by far.”
Mariann & Paul Springer
Encino, CA

Tessa Clarke

“Can’t say enough great things about Tessa.  Odysseys is lucky to have her available.”
Charles Pearson & Jennie Genualdo
Sandown, NH

Patricia Fouracres

“Based on our 10+ years of overseas tours, we rate Ms. Fouracres as ‘the best of the best’ because of her capable attention to all tour members.”
Joe & Susan Yea
San Jose, CA

Roxanne Garner

“Roxie was upbeat, cheery, fun loving, knowledgeable, and accommodating.”
Don & Sandy Lewis
Winters, CA

Sharron Hickman

“Sharron was outstanding – very thorough and knowledgeable. She was extremely helpful with free time.”
Pat Torres-Smith & Clay Smith
Centennial, CO

David Hill

“David was erudite, extremely articulate, and amazingly knowledgeable about all aspects of New Zealand … [He] ensured an optimal travel experience.”
Pamela G. Schaffer
Annapolis, MD

Patricia Johnston

“Patricia was fabulous in every way. Helpful, friendly, knowledgeable. She went way above the call of duty.”
Carolyn McClurkan
Bremerton, WA

Matt Kay

“Great sense of humor, handled some difficult situations very well; worked to see that everyone was taken care of at all destinations. We very much enjoyed his services.”
Les & Tyree Wieder
Chatsworth, CA

Allan McKay

“Allan was a wonderful asset.  Totally knowledgeable and experienced.  Had lots of interesting stories that really added depth to the trip.  We all had confidence in him that he could handle any problems that might arise.”
Kathryn Fudge
Huntington, NY

Chas Morris

“In my 16 trips with Odysseys, the tour directors have been outstanding, but Chas stands out as the best of the best! The breadth and depth of his experience and knowledge was amazing. He handled the details of the trip effortlessly and made sure we all had a good time. And all with good humor.”
Edythe Holubec
Taylor, TX

Warren Phelan

“Warren was a superb guide – his sense of humor, attitude, and helpfulness were outstanding. His knowledge of Australia and New Zealand was obvious.”
Helen L. Rangel
Edmond, OK

Rosie Stewart

“… her enthusiasm was so infectious!! As a native-born ‘kiwi,’ she has an immense knowledge of the land and seems to know everyone on both the North and South islands!”
Christina & Michael Davis
Houston, TX

Elizabeth Tobin

“Elizabeth was outstanding in all areas and obviously worked very hard to give us a wonderful and problem-free experience.  She is what an excellent tour director should be!”
George & Cathy Castille
Baton Rouge, LA

Leigh Tymms

“Leigh should give classes to other tour directors. He is efficient, courteous, friendly, humorous, and very knowledgeable.”
Doame Chism
Hampton Bays, NY

Destination Insight

Suggested Reading

Bill Bryson
In a Sunburned Country
The intrepid, ever-resourceful Bill Bryson revels in Australia’s eccentric characters, dangerous flora and fauna and other oddities in this wildly funny, effortlessly informative travelogue.

Christina Thompson
Come on Shore and We Will Kill and Eat You All
Historian Thompson effortlessly alternates tales of mostly disastrous early encounters with the Maori and the story of the love of her life, Seven, the Maori she married, in this endearing memoir.

Roff Smith
National Geographic Australia
A thoroughly illustrated travel guide by National Geographic expert and adventurer Roff Smith, who has written extensively about his travels in Australia.

Eyewitness Guides
Eyewitness Guide New Zealand
This superb guide features color photography, dozens of excellent local maps and a region-by-region overview of attractions.

ITMB
Australia Map
A handy, folded map at a scale of 1:3,500,000.

National Geographic Maps
New Zealand Adventure Map
A detailed map at a scale of 1:1,000,000, printed on handy tear- and water-resistant paper.

John Chambers
A Traveller’s History of New Zealand and the South Pacific Islands
A brisk portrait of New Zealand and its culture, economy and society, this concise history also covers the settlement of the Pacific Islands.

Robert Hughes
The Fatal Shore
In this celebrated social history, both scholarly and entertaining, Hughes traces the fate of those who were transported to the penal colonies of Australia between 1787 and 1868. It’s an engaging popular account, drawn from the experiences of the colonists themselves.

Iain McCalman
The Reef, A Passionate History
McCalman, a historian at the University of Sydney, brings to life the explorers and scientists, beachcombers, divers, indigenous peoples and castaways who first experienced the Great Barrier Reef.

Bruce Chatwin
The Songlines
Rory Stewart provides the introduction to this 25th anniversary edition of Bruce Chatwin’s celebrated travelogue. Chatwin transforms a journey through the Outback into an exhilarating, semi-fictional meditation on our place in the world.

Paul Theroux
The Happy Isles of Oceania
The peripatetic author flies off to Australia and New Zealand with a kayak and ends up exploring much of Melanesia and Polynesia, including Tonga, Fiji and the Marquesas, in this wickedly funny, wide-ranging tale.

Thomas Keneally
Australia
This epic history of Australian art begins with early aboriginal paintings from the 1800s and leads up to contemporary works by modern artists, exploring the inescapable link between the dramatic landscapes and the art scene.

Wally Caruana
Aboriginal Art
This well-illustrated survey focuses on the spiritual and geographic sources of art and ritual traditions in Australia. With 187 well produced black-and-white and color illustrations.

Robyn Davidson
Tracks, A Woman’s Solo Trek Across 1700 Miles of Australian Outback
The true-life story of a woman’s trek across the Australian Outback – an adventurous tale shot through with a feel for the landscape and empathy for the Aborigines she meets along the way.

Jeffrey Moussaieff Masson
Slipping Into Paradise, Why I Live in New Zealand
In this far-ranging travelogue, Masson (who wrote a series of books on the emotional lives of animals) combines his travels and tales with history, riffs on the kiwis, nature and society.

de Grenade, Rafael
Stilwater: Finding Wild Mercy in the Outback
A vividly descriptive account of a woman’s experiences as a cattle rancher at the Stilwater cattle station in Queensland; de Grenade contrasts the startling, pastoral beauty of the land and wildlife with the harshness of ranch life.

Robert Ross
Australia, A Traveler’s Literary Companion
Arranged geographically, this collection of works by mostly local writers, including Patrick White, Peter Carey and other luminaries introduces the cultures, geography and mindset of Australia.

Keri Hulme
The Bone People
Set on the South Island, this powerful novel brings together three troubled individuals who represent Maori and European traditions in contemporary New Zealand.

Eleanor Catton
The Luminaries
Murder and mystery in 19th-century New Zealand. This epic and intricately constructed tale – spinning out over 800 pages – is set during the wild days of the 1866 gold rush on the west coast on South Island. It’s just over Arthur’s Pass from where Catton was raised in Christchurch.

Paddy Ryan
The Snorkeller’s Guide to the Coral Reef, From the Red Sea to the Pacific Ocean
This take-along guide covers coral reefs, fish, invertebrates and plants of the Indo-Pacific and includes 200 color photographs.

Barrie Heather
The Hand Guide to the Birds of New Zealand
The revised compact edition of the classic field guide, featuring 74 color plates by Derek Onley.

Ken Simpson, Nicholas Day
Field Guide to the Birds of Australia
A handbook and field guide to Australia’s birds with 2,000 vivid color illustrations, each accompanied by a brief description and revised range map.

I Greenberg
Fishwatcher’s Field Guide, Great Barrier Reef
A double-sided, laminated card covering the reef fish of Australia, Papua New Guinea and the tropical Pacific.

Jill Ker Conway
The Road From Coorain
Jill Ker Conway grew up on an 18,000-acre tract of land in the Australian outback, worked on her family’s farm from the age of seven, and grew up to become the first female president of Smith College and a visiting professor at MIT. This stirring memoir captures her life in Australia beautifully, and paints an evocative picture of this windswept, often unhospitable land.

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