Contrasts of Australia & New Zealand

18 Day Independent Tour | Melbourne to Christchurch

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Contrasts of Australia & New Zealand

18 Day Independent Tour | Melbourne to Christchurch

Contrasts of Australia & New Zealand

18 Day Independent Tour | Melbourne to Christchurch | Travel Period: 1 Apr 2021 – 31 Mar 2022

Contrasts of Australia & New Zealand

18 Day Independent Tour

Melbourne to Christchurch

On this grand, wide-ranging journey, you’ll explore the two diverse and fascinating nations that lie on the shores of the Tasman Sea. Vastly different in size, and each offering unique landscapes and experiences, Australia and New Zealand share a well-earned reputation for warm hospitality and great cuisine. Discover kiwis and crocodiles, exciting cosmopolitan cities, the Great Barrier Reef and stunning Milford Sound.

Why you'll love this trip:

  • In Depth slower paced journey combining iconic cities and highlight regional destinations
  • Exclusive Aboriginal hosted cultural experience and dinner
  • Get up close with native wildlife including the Crocodile and Koala
  • Get on the water with handpicked cruises of Sydney Harbour and the Great Barrier Reef

image map

Insider Knowledge

Experience an exclusive tour and hear stories Australia's oldest surf lifesaving club, usually members-only access.

Local Connection

See first-hand a popular local hangout and how the locals enjoy the beach lifestyle as you go behind the scenes with this guided tour of the Bondi Surf Club.

Cultural Immersion

Visit Tamaki Māori Village where Māori Culture and traditions take centre stage with an authentic Hangi.

Sustainable Footprints

Plant native trees as part of our Rainforest Restoration project that will provide a sanctuary for the birds and wildlife that live here.

Welcome to Melbourne! On arrival you will be transferred to your hotel. This evening join your Travel Director for a welcome reception and dinner at the South Wharf riverside pub, The General Assembly. It's a great opportunity to get to know everyone in a unique setting.

Hotel: Crowne Plaza Hotel Melbourne, 2 nights

Included Meals: Dinner with Wine

Join your Travel Director for a city sights tour that includes a private walk through Melbourne's famous hidden laneways. You'll discover the city's eclectic little lanes, arcades, café society and fascinating street art. There's time afterwards to explore the city on your own, enjoy an optional experience or simply relax and watch the world go by.

Included Meals: Breakfast

This morning you will be transferred to Melbourne Airport for your flight to Cairns, Queensland. On arrival join a private wildlife journey at Hartley's Crocodile Adventures. Enjoy a boat cruise and encounter koalas, wallabies, birds, crocodiles and more! There will be time to partake in regenerating the rainforest particular to the Wangetti Valley which Hartley’s is located in. Feel free to join is as much or as little as you can with this tree planting project and be a part of keeping the World Heritage listed Wet Tropics alive! This evening is free for you to choose from the numerous restaurants that Cairns has to offer.

Hotel: Hilton Hotel Cairns, 3 nights

Included Meals: Breakfast

Get ready for an experience of a lifetime - board a high-speed catamaran and cruise out to the Great Barrier Reef. You can snorkel and view this natural living wonder up close (equipment provided) or stay dry and explore the stunning reef from the comfort of a semi-submersible craft, just one metre underwater. Enjoy a tropical buffet lunch before you return to Cairns.

Included Meals: Breakfast, Lunch

Today is a free day to do as you choose. A great option is the Skyrail Rainforest Cableway to Kuranda, be amazed as you travel over and through World Heritage rainforest, explore quaint Kuranda village and later board the Kuranda Scenic Rail for this historic rail journey. If you’d prefer to spend the day relaxing by your hotel pool or sitting back at a local café you can do that too! In the evening re-join your travelling companions for a dining experience at Tjapukai Cultural Park. Hear dreamtime stories, witness a high impact dance performance and enjoy dinner with your local host to the sounds of the didgeridoo.

Included Meals: Breakfast, Dinner with Wine

Following a leisurely start to the morning, it’s time to switch the tropical vibes back to city highlights as you fly to Sydney. What a way to kick off your arrival to Sydney with a dinner cruise enjoying the famous Sydney Harbour! You’ll pass under the Harbour Bridge, cruise past the Opera House and see many magnificent waterfront homes, beaches and parklands.

Hotel: Hyatt Regency Darling Harbour, 3 nights

Included Meals: Breakfast, Dinner with Wine

Kick off this highlight day of sightseeing on a guided tour of iconic Sydney Opera House. Later, your destination is famous Bondi Beach, for an iconic Australian experience. You’ll be greeted by a local surf lifesaver who will take you on an exclusive tour through Australia’s oldest surf lifesaving club (generally members-only access) and share with you the history of Bondi and surf lifesaving. Allow your feet to sink into the warm sand before joining your host for a Be My Guest lunch. Chat about all things Bondi at an Aussie institution, the Returned Servicemen’s Club, with its views over the sparkling Pacific Ocean. Later enjoy some free time to do some shopping, enjoy an Optional Experience or maybe just take a stroll along the harbour front.

Included Meals: Breakfast, Be My Guest Lunch

Today is free for you to do as you choose. Why not take a day trip to the spectacular Blue Mountains for fresh mountain air and stunning scenery. You’ll visit the charming village of Leura, see the famous Three Sisters rock formation and visit a Wildlife Park to see some of Australia’s cuddly native animals. If you’ve always wanted to climb Sydney Harbour Bridge, today could be your chance on a thrilling Bridge Climb. This evening join your Travel Director and fellow travellers for a farewell dinner on the harbourfront.

Included Meals: Breakfast, Dinner with Wine

This morning you say goodbye to Australia and fly to New Zealand! This evening meet your Travel Director for a welcome reception and dinner at your hotel in Auckland.

Hotel: The Grand by SkyCity, 2 nights

Included Meals: Breakfast, Dinner with Wine

Embark on a city sightseeing tour this morning. Travel around the waterfront from central city out to Mission Bay. Prepare your camera for the stop at Bastion Point and the Michael Joseph Savage Memorial, as you will get stunning shots of Auckland, the North Shore and the Waitemata. This afternoon is at leisure.

Included Meals: Breakfast

Today, you’ll venture through Waikato region passing through Cambridge known as ‘The Town of Trees and Champions’ on your way to Rotorua. On arrival embark on an orientation of the area before visiting Rainbow Springs Nature Park for a guided tour of the National Kiwi Hatchery Aotearoa, the national leader in kiwi husbandry. Learn about the work being done to save New Zealand’s national bird, see kiwi eggs being incubated, the hatching process and newly hatched kiwi chicks. This evening enjoys a traditional Hangi Highlight Dinner and cultural performance at the Tamaki Maori Village.

Hotel: Millennium Hotel, Rotorua

Included Meals: Breakfast, Highlight Dinner

Your day starts with breakfast at Hobbiton, experience the iconic rolling hills and green pastures of the Hobbiton Movie Set as seen in The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit trilogies before continuing to Auckland to board your flight to Queenstown. Tonight, speak with your Travel Director about dining recommendations in Queenstown.

Hotel: Millennium Hotel, Queenstown, 3 nights

Included Meals: Breakfast

Journey along the shores of Lake Wakatipu, over the Devil’s Staircase and along to Te Anau and its lake, the largest in the South Island. Experience magnificent scenery as you continue along this alpine highway to Fiordland National Park. Enjoy numerous photo opportunities afforded by the Mirror Lakes, Knobs Flat, Hollyford Valley lookout (Pop’s view), Cleddau Valley and the Chasm, drive through the hand-hewn Homer Tunnel towards the iconic Mitre Peak and the Bowen Falls before reaching Milford Sound. Enjoy lunch and a cruise on this wonder of nature. Later, return to Queenstown for the evening.

Included Meals: Breakfast, Lunch

Today choose from a range of optional sightseeing experiences. You could ride the world famous’ Shotover Jet or enjoy a cruise across Lake Wakatipu aboard the TSS Earnslaw to Walter Peak High Country Farm for a gourmet barbecue lunch at the Colonel’s Homestead. This evening, join your Travel Director for dinner at the BoatShed. Set in the restored historic Railway Shipping Office and relocated to its lakefront setting in 1936, The Boatshed with its spectacular views of Lake Wakatipu and the Remarkables is the perfect venue for your highlight dinner.

Included Meals: Breakfast, Dinner

Today you will leave the alpine wonderland of Queenstown behind, traveling through Central Otago to the Mackenzie region with time along the way to stop in Arrowtown then Cromwell, situated next to the pristine Lake Dunstan and taste delicious stone fruit at a local orchard. Continue over the dramatic Lindis Pass before reaching the Starlight Highway and Tekapo's world renowned UNESCO Aoraki McKenzie International Dark Sky Reserve. This afternoon enjoys the views of Mt Cook before heading to the iconic Church of the Good Shephard. This evening, see amazing constellations that can only be seen in the southern hemisphere, including the Southern Cross, to the Magellanic Clouds and the Milky Way. Your local specialist expert astronomy guide will enhance your knowledge and understanding of our Southern Skies as you admire and ponder the possibilities through our powerful optical telescopes.

Hotel: Peppers Bluewater Resort Lake Tekapo

Included Meals: Breakfast, Dinner

Enjoy a relaxed start before heading north through South Canterbury, visit the charming boutique village of Geraldine as you travel through to Christchurch.

Hotel: Distinction Christchurch Hotel, 2 nights

Included Meals: Breakfast

This morning see how Christchurch is rebuilding after the devastating earthquakes of 2010 and 2011, pop into the Transitional Cathedral in Latimer Square, the temporary home of the Christchurch Cathedral. It is the world’s only cathedral made substantially of cardboard! After a Christchurch city sights tour, you’re invited to a Be My Guest morning tea at the home of Tim and Isabelle Weston, owners of Britten Stables. Formerly a horse stables for nearby Mona Vale Gardens and following that, the birthplace of the world-record-setting Britten V1000 motorcycle designed and built in the garage by Isabelle's late father, John Britten. The couple restored the original charm of Britten Stables and transformed it into the exquisite home that it is today. This evening, join your AAT Kings Travel Director and Driver, and your new-found friends for a farewell dinner.

Included Meals: Breakfast, Farewell Dinner

Your AAT Kings New Zealand holiday concludes this morning after breakfast. Your flights can depart any time today, and you will be transferred to Christchurch Airport.

Included Meals: Breakfast

Please note: This itinerary may be subject to change.

Your Guided Holiday includes a range of quality accommodation for your comfort.
The accommodation you will enjoy on this tour includes:

 Accommodation Hotel
 Accommodation Hotel

Crowne Plaza Hotel Melbourne is located on Spencer Street on the fringe of the CBD. Just a short stroll to Crown Casino, Docklands and South Wharf, Crowne Plaza Melbourne is a Southbank hotel ideally situated on the bank of the Yarra River.

    Features

  • 220/240 V AC
  • Air Conditioning
  • Radio
  • Direct Dial Telephone
  • Satellite/cable colour TV
  • Wi-Fi
  • Iron / Ironing Board
  • Microwave
  • Hair Dryer
  • Communal self-catering kitchen
  • Manual temperature control
 Accommodation Hotel
 Accommodation Hotel

The Hilton Cairns hotel boasts a unique tropical setting, enjoying spectacular scenery surrounded by lush gardens. The hotel offers bright accommodation with spacious bathrooms and private balconies with stunning waterfront views of Trinity Inlet, the Cairns Esplanade and blue-green mountains beyond

    Features

  • Air Conditioning
  • Radio
  • Phone
  • Private balcony
  • Bathrobe
  • Bathroom Amenities
  • Hair Dryer
  • Internet Access
  • Mini Bar
  • Iron / Ironing Board
 Accommodation Hotel
 Accommodation Hotel

As one of Australia's largest hotel, we are a self-rated 4.5 star hotel with 648 rooms including 17 suites, we have what matters most to you like stylish rooms and a comfortable bed. Located in Sydney's Central Business District and overlooking the spectacular Darling Harbour, you'll be surrounded by all of Sydney's major entertainment and shopping districts including Pitt Street Mall and Queen Victoria Building with The Rocks, Sydney Harbour Bridge and Opera House just a 15 minute walk away!

    Features

  • Hair Dryer
  • Flat Screen TV
  • Wi-Fi (additional cost)
  • In-room safe
  • Mini Bar
  • iPhone/iPad connectivity
  • Newly Refurbished
 Accommodation Hotel
 Accommodation Hotel

Discover an oasis of luxury in the heart of Auckland's vibrant city. The modern and spacious SKYCITY Grand Hotel allows you to relax in style while enjoying our world-class casino, more than 20 restaurants, cafes and bars, a theatre, free live entertainment on selected nights and the iconic Sky Tower.

    Features

  • Plasma television
  • Bathrobe
  • Luxury bathroom products
  • Mini Bar
  • Refrigerator
  • Air Conditioning
  • In-house movies
  • Coffee/tea making facilities
  • Work Desk
  • Iron / Ironing Board
  • Hair Dryer
  • In-room safe
 Accommodation Hotel
 Accommodation Hotel

Centrally located in the city beside mystical Lake Rotorua, this hotel is just a brief stroll from the Rotorua Museum, Convention Centres and adjacent to a Polynesian Spa.

    Features

  • Air Conditioning
  • Mini Bar
  • Coffee/tea making facilities
  • Internet Access
  • Sky TV
  • Personalised message and wakeup service
  • Work Desk
  • Radio
  • Hair Dryer
  • In-room safe
  • Iron / Ironing Board
 Accommodation Hotel
 Accommodation Hotel

Millennium Hotel Queenstown is only minutes from Queenstown shopping, entertainment and outdoor activities such as bungee jumping, white water rafting and jet boating.

    Features

  • Air Conditioning
  • Colour TV
  • Refrigerator
  • Mini Bar
  • Phone
  • In-room safe
  • Iron / Ironing Board
  • Hair Dryer
  • Electric blankets
  • Broadband Internet access
 Accommodation Hotel
 Accommodation Hotel

Near the shores of Lake Tekapo, in the heart of Mackenzie Country in New Zealand’s central South Island, is Peppers Bluewater Resort. Overlooking Lake Tekapo this resort is located in an intensely beautiful part of the world. Peppers Bluewater Resort is set amongst the purest natural landscape.

Your accommodation in Lake Tekapo reflects the beautiful landscape surrounding you. You can explore the natural wonders of Mount Cook and the Mackenzie region from here. Marvel at an International Dark Sky Reserve with millions of stars. Ride horses through the mountains, catch a scenic flight to Franz Josef glacier, go skiing, or immerse yourself in the Tekapo Springs Day Spa and Hot Pools.

 Accommodation Hotel
 Accommodation Hotel

The newly renovated Distinction Christchurch Hotel is an urban escape combining sophisticated smarts and familiar warmth whilst standing proud amongst the buzz of the rejuvenation of Cathedral Square.

Ideally positioned in the heart of the city only a few minutes' walk from the Avon River, Botanical Gardens, Christchurch Casino, Cashel Mall and future Christchurch Convention Centre.

    Features

  • Wi-Fi
  • Sauna
  • Gym facilities
  • TV
Need accommodation before or after your tour?

Our special discounted rates make booking accommodation with us during your holiday both easy and affordable at selected AAT Kings hotels and resorts. Find out more

  • Quality accommodation
  • Travel in luxury coach
  • Experienced Travel Director and Driver Guide
  • Airport Transfers (see flight information below)

What to Bring

  • Comfortable walking shoes
  • Sunglasses, sunscreen and hat
  • Water bottle
  • Warm layers in cooler months
  • Swimwear and beach towel (if swimming)

Fitness Requirements

  • Low level of fitness required

Dining

  • 17 Full Buffet Breakfasts
  • 2 Lunches
  • 1 Be My Guest Lunch
  • 2 Dinners
  • 4 Dinners with Wine
  • 1 Highlight Dinner
  • 1 Farewell Dinner

Flight Information

  • Day 1 - Flights to arrive prior to 12 noon into Melbourne Airport
  • Day 3 – Melbourne to Cairns: VA1291
  • Day 6 – Cairns to Sydney: VA1418
  • Day 9 – Sydney to Auckland: VA141
  • Day 12 – Auckland to Queenstown: NZ623
  • Day 17 - Depart Christchurch any time

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