First Choice

Contrasts of Australia & New Zealand

18 Day Guided Vacation | Melbourne to Christchurch

Travel Period

A bit city, a bit country; sometimes beachy, sometimes mountainous; in the company of locals and Indigenous guides – this epic Melbourne to Christchurch tour is diverse and dynamic. Traversing the East Coast of Australia, from Cairns and the Great Barrier Reef to Sydney and Melbourne, the tour also uncovers NZ’s North and South islands, where Auckland’s cuisine, Milford Sound’s grandeur and Rotorua’s thermal springs beckon.

Prices From Code: QCANA

$9064

Adult Twin i A person 16 years and over (note a person 16–17 years must be accompanied by a person 18 years and over). All prices are per person, land only.

$11609

Single i A person, who must be 18 years and over, travelling alone, must pay the single room price. All prices are per person, land only.

$8349

Child i A child must be accompanied by a person 18 years+. Some tours have minimum age requirements.
Prices above are per person in USD
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Contrasts of Australia & New Zealand

First Choice

18 Day Guided Vacation

Melbourne to Christchurch

A bit city, a bit country; sometimes beachy, sometimes mountainous; in the company of locals and Indigenous guides – this epic Melbourne to Christchurch tour is diverse and dynamic. Traversing the East Coast of Australia, from Cairns and the Great Barrier Reef to Sydney and Melbourne, the tour also uncovers NZ’s North and South islands, where Auckland’s cuisine, Milford Sound’s grandeur and Rotorua’s thermal springs beckon.

Highlights

Local Connection

The Weston family broke records with the motorcycle designed in their garage. See where the magic happened over morning tea.

Insider Knowledge

Craft beer is big business in Sydney, and you’ll discover how it’s made in a neighbourhood brewery masterclass.

Cultural Immersion

Indigenous culture is celebrated and sustained at Tamaki Māori Village. You’ll enjoy a traditional hangi meal and revealing cultural performance.

Sustainable Footprints

Wendy’s Secret Garden is one of Sydney’s most enchanting hideaways, its future ensured thanks to your visit.

Itinerary

image map

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!

  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

Enjoy a later start to the day, perhaps you’ll take an early morning stroll or simply make the most of a slow start. Today we explore the vibrant Inner West suburbs of Sydney. Tour Newtown, a community rich with lively culture and home to numerous street art sites that will surprise you. Continue through the suburb of Marrickville, recently crowned the 10th “coolest” and most livable neighborhood in the world before arriving at Dear Delicious Café. Meet the owner Greg in his sustainable garden and learn about how he has brought urban farming to the community before enjoying a tasty meal made with fresh local produce for your Be My Guest Lunch. After lunch you will meet Andrew the founder of Batch Brewery. Take part in a masterclass on site and learn how they combine creatively inspired limited release batches with sustainable practices. Later take some free time to do some shopping or enjoy an Optional Experience with free time this evening.

  Included Meals: Breakfast, Be My Guest Lunch

Visit Wendy’s Secret Garden at Lavender Bay, overlooking Sydney Harbour.  Meet a local volunteer and learn the story of how the garden was formed from unused wasteland and how it is beautifully maintained by a group of volunteer gardeners. Most importantly, your visit to the garden provides a contribution to the ongoing maintenance of the enchanting garden. Take the opportunity to walk along the Sydney Harbour foreshore and make the most of some free time. 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 Postmasters Café. The historic cottage was once home to the town’s postmaster and has been a main street feature since the 1860s. Its old-world charm, complete with horse-hitching post, picket fence, beautiful gardens and hanging wisteria, has made it one of Arrowtown’s most photographed buildings and 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 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.


Accommodation

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. Ask our friendly reservations at the time of booking.

Trip Details

What's included

  • • Specialist team of two highly experienced Travel Director and Driver Guide
  • • Local Specialists (Guides)
  • • Centrally located premium hotels

What to Bring

  • • Camera
  • • Comfortable walking shoes
  • • Sunglasses, sunscreen and hat
  • • Water bottle
  • • Warm layers in cooler months

Fitness Requirements

  • • Low level of fitness required

Dining

  • • Breakfast (17)
  • • Lunch (2)
  • • Be My Guest Lunch (1)
  • • Dinner (9)

Flight Information

  • • Day 1: Flights to arrive prior to 12:00pm into Melbourne Airport
  • • Day 18: Flights to depart any time from Christchurch Airport

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