This wonderful trip highlights parts of Australia and New Zealand’s North and South Islands. We are flying in one day before the tour begins to give you time to rest or explore on your own. Due to crossing the International Date Line and overnight travel, you arrive on Day three in Cairns, Australia where you spend the first four nights. Day four enjoy a welcome dinner tonight with your fellow travelers. Day five board a high speed catamaran for an excursion to the Great Barrier Reef. Explore the reef from your base on Green Island. Enjoy a glass bottom boat ride, stroll the island walking trails, relax on the beaches or snorkel. An optional scuba diving and outer reef tour are also available. Day six visit the Tjapukai Aboriginal Cultural Center. See traditional Aboriginal dances, learn about the Aborigiinal lifestyle, and even throw a boomerang. This afternoon visit Hartley’s Croc Farm where you may see crocodiles and also meet some of the local koalas and kangaroos. Take a cruise on the lagoon before enjoying a delicious Aussie Barbecue. Day seven This morning is at leisure. Later today, fly to the bustling city of Sydney. Day eight begins with a city tour of where the original English colonists first settled in 1788. Next, take a guided tour of the Sydney Opera House. Later, enjoy an opportunity to learn how raw opals are transformed to works of art at the National Opal Centre. This evening is at leisure. Day nine take in the sights at your leisure. Your Tour Manager will be on hand to offer suggestions. Tonight, experience the best of Sydney with a dinner cruise of the Sydney Harbor. Marvel at the magnificent skyline and iconic attractions: the Sydney Opera House and the Harbour Bridge. Day ten leave Australia and fly to the North Island of New Zealand. Auckland, the “City of Sails”, is rated one of the best places in the world to live. The evening is at leisure to explore New Zealand’s largest city. Day eleven embark on a panoramic city tour of Auckland featuring the America’s Cup Village, the War Memorial, vibrant Queen Street and the Auckland Harbour Bridge. Next, travel to Rotorua. Known as the Maori capital of New Zealand, over one-third of Rotorua’s population has Maori roots dating back over 1,000 years. Tonight, experience an authentic Hangi dinner celebration. Day twelve visit TE Puia, New Zealand’s premier Maori cultural and geothermal experience. Next, meet the skilled carvers who work with pounamu at local jade factory. Then, visit the Agrodome where you will see a sheep shearing demonstration and learn about the importance of agriculture to the nation. Day thirteen a short flight brings you to the historic city of Christchurch, New Zealand. Devastated by an earthquake in early 2011, see firsthand how the city is recreating itself. Tonight, a New Zealand family welcomes you into their home for dinner! Make new friends and learn about the customs of the “Kiwis”, and enjoy a home-cooked meal. Day fourteen explore Christchurch on your own. You may wish to visit the International Antarctic Centre or relax and enjoy what the city has to offer. Day fifteen traverse the spectacular countryside to New Zealand’s most famous national park, Mount Cook. Mt. Cook is one of the most impressive mountains in the world. En route, visit a Canterbury farmyard where you’ll learn how a New Zealand family farm operates. Continue to Queenstown. Tonight enjoy a gondola ride to dinner at the Skyline Restaurant which overlooks Queenstown, Lake Wakatipu and the mountains. Day sixteen enjoy the grandeur of the Hollyford Valley on the way to Milford Sound. During a cruise of Milford Sound, you’ll see why this fjord is one of the most visited sites on the South Island. Following your cruise, return to Queenstown. You may choose to return via a short optional flight (weather permitting) for spectacular views of New Zealand’s Southern Alps. Day seventeen you may choose an optional and exhilarating jet boat ride on the Shotover River; or join the optional “Journey through Middle Earth” tour, showcasing many of the spots where The Lord of the Rings movies were filmed. Day eighteen enjoy a leisurely touring day as you set off for the beautiful turn-of-the-century Gold Rush settlement of Arrowtown. Stroll its quaint, historic streets. Next, explore the Central Otago region where many of New Zealand’s best wines are grown and produced. During a stop at a local winery, visit their storage cave for a tasting of some of their famous wines. Day nineteen the tour ends. Fly home or take the optional 3 night extension to tropical Fiji.