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From the Outback to the Glaciers 2013

21-day escorted tour with Collette

Collette Tour Itinerary
Day 1 - Day 2: Depart from Home
Today you will board your overnight flight for your trip to Australia and New Zealand. Crossing the International Dateline, you skip a day ahead.

Day 3: Cairns, Australia - Tour Begins
Your tour begins in Cairns, the tropical gateway to the Great Barrier Reef. One of the world's most spectacular natural attractions, the reef was established as a marine park in 1975 and is a haven for thousands of species of sea life, as well as turtles and birds. In 1981 the United Nations designated the Great Barrier Reef a World Heritage site. (Dinner)

Day 4: Cairns
Spend your day at leisure, enjoying the tropical surroundings. Or, explore the rainforest canopy this morning with an optional ride on the Skyrail Rainforest Cableway; make a few stops on the ascent to experience the beauty of this World Heritage site and experience the forest floor from specially designed boardwalks. (Breakfast)

Day 5: Great Barrier Reef
Board a high-speed catamaran for an exciting excursion on the Great Barrier Reef. From your base on Green Island, explore the reef in many ways. Enjoy a trip on a glass bottom boat* where beautifully colored fish swim beneath in their natural habitat. Choose a stroll on the walking trail to take in the rainforest and the beaches, snorkel or watch the fish and sea turtles swim past from the pier. You may also visit the underwater observatory. For a more adventurous encounter with the reef, optional scuba diving and an outer reef tour are also available. (Breakfast, Lunch)

Day 6: Cairns - Uluru (Ayers Rock)
Fly to Uluru (the Aboriginal name for Ayers Rock) in the heart of the Australian Outback. This huge monolith and the sandstone domes known as Kata Tjuta were created through the process of upheaval and erosion. Tour the Olgas and the base of “the Rock,” learning about their significance to Aboriginal culture. As the sun sets, enjoy a champagne toast and watch as Uluru magically changes color. (Breakfast)

Day 7: Uluru - Alice Springs
Traverse the “Red Centre” today as you drive to Alice Springs, located in the middle of Central Australia and the Outback. A sightseeing tour includes the Old Telegraph Station and Anzac Hill, with its excellent view of Alice Springs and the surrounding area. A special experience is in store for you this afternoon as you will have the opportunity to meet the young Aboriginal group, Drum Atweme. Supported by the Collette Foundation**, Drum Atweme is a musical group comprised of at-risk youth from the local community. Tonight, enjoy a memorable dinner in the bush complete with entertainment under the stars. (Breakfast, Dinner)

Day 8: Alice Springs
Discover the culture of the Aboriginal people this morning during a "Dreamtime Tour." Your specialist guide, along with members of the Walpiri tribe, will share their stories of creation and show you the everyday activities of the Aboriginals. You will meet these people at their camp and watch as various Dreamtime stories are depicted in paintings. Then, gain insight into the educational system in the Outback with a visit to the School of the Air - you may even see a class in session! (Breakfast)

Day 9: Alice Springs - Melbourne
Leaving behind Australia’s Outback, fly to the beautiful Victorian city of Melbourne. Set around the shores of Port Phillip Bay and the Yarra River, the city boasts a lively and cosmopolitan atmosphere. (Breakfast, Dinner)

Day 10: Melbourne
Today’s tour of Melbourne features Fitzroy Gardens, valued for their historic, architectural and horticultural significance. Later, you may participate in an optional tour that travels to Phillip Island, arriving at the fascinating home of the world’s largest colony of Little Penguins. See hundreds of these lovable birds waddling out from the sea as they cross the beach to their burrows in the dunes during the Little Penguin Parade. On this option you will also visit the interpretation center where you will learn about the life of the Little Penguins and their significance to the area. Dinner is included on Phillip Island when you purchase this option. (Breakfast)

Day 11: Melbourne - Christchurch, New Zealand
Today you board your flight to begin your exploration of New Zealand. You arrive in Christchurch, considered to be “the most English city outside of England.” (Breakfast)

Day 12: Christchurch - Franz Josef Glacier
Traveling across New Zealand’s spectacular Southern Alps, marvel at the snowcapped peaks and beautiful river gorges as you wind your way past waterfalls and rugged mountain scenery. You may take a train ride (optional) aboard the Tranz-Alpine Express for a scenic trip through the Southern Alps. You’ll end your day at the Franz Josef Glacier Region, which offers travelers a rare opportunity to experience a dynamic glacial landscape in a temperate environment. (Breakfast)

Day 13: Franz Josef - Queenstown
This morning you may choose to view the jagged snow-covered mountaintops by taking an optional flightseeing tour (weather permitting) over New Zealand’s beautiful glacier region. Before departing Franz Josef, visit the new West Coast Wildlife Centre to learn about the endangered Kiwi bird and other types of wildlife indigenous to New Zealand’s west coast. Board your coach and journey to Queenstown. An amazing landscape unfolds before your eyes as you pass through the rainforest, bordered by the Southern Alps and the twisting coastline. Cross jade green glacial rivers, view thundering waterfalls and enjoy dramatic changes in scenery. After crossing the Haast Pass, arrive in Queenstown, one of New Zealand’s prettiest towns. This evening, enjoy dinner at the Skyline Restaurant where you will enjoy spectacular views overlooking Queenstown, the Remarkable Mountains and mysterious Lake Wakatipu. (Breakfast, Dinner)

Day 14: Queenstown - Milford Sound - Queenstown
Travel through beech forest into the impressive Hollyford Valley via the Homer Tunnel to Milford Sound for a fascinating cruise. You may choose to return to Queenstown via a short optional flight (weather permitting) for spectacular views of New Zealand’s Southern Alps. (Breakfast, Lunch)

Day 15: Queenstown
Enjoy your day at leisure. Queenstown offers limitless diversions set amidst breathtaking Alpine scenery. Shop in the charming village center or enjoy an optional and exhilarating jet boat ride on the Shotover River. You may also choose to take a journey around the Queenstown area to witness its rugged grandeur and see some of the locations where the Lord of the Rings movies were filmed. (Breakfast)

Day 16: Queenstown - Mt. Cook
Enjoy a visit to Arrowtown, a boomtown during the 1800’s gold rush. Next, enjoy a tasting and tour at one of New Zealand's famous wineries. Stop at a local fruit stand to experience some of the delicious produce that grows in the Central Otago region. Crossing the Kawarau River, you see Lindis Pass before arriving in New Zealand’s most famous national park, Mt. Cook. There will be time to enjoy the Alpine paradise of Mt. Cook – a larger than life experience. You may choose to take a nature walk, enjoy an optional glacier flightseeing tour (weather permitting), or simply meditate on the beauty of the Southern Alps. (Breakfast, Dinner)

Day 17: Mt. Cook - Christchurch
This morning, drive through magnificent landscapes as you return to Christchurch. Visit a working farm where you will view a demonstration by a skilled New Zealand “strong eye” sheep herding dog, followed by a sheep shearing demonstration. Learn how this New Zealand farm family has survived the changing times. A special treat is in store for you tonight as you dine with a New Zealand family in their home. Meet and talk firsthand with a friendly Kiwi family who are delighted to share their culture, traditions and home with you. (Breakfast, Dinner)

Day 18: Christchurch - Sydney, Australia
A sightseeing tour highlights the city’s magnificent gardens and elegant park district where you learn why Christchurch is referred to as the “Garden City.” This afternoon, depart for the exciting city of Sydney. Later, sample Sydney’s best dining experiences – all in a single evening. Think of it as an epicurean tour with each course in a different, unforgettable restaurant. (Breakfast, Dinner)

Day 19: Sydney
Today is a full day exploring the fun-loving city of Sydney. Begin with a tour that includes sights such as Kings Cross, the Harbour Bridge, Chinatown, the Rocks, Circular Quay, the Botanic Gardens and the fashionable suburb of Paddington. Discover one of the world’s most fascinating architectural sights as you take a guided tour of the Sydney Opera House, poised majestically on Sydney Harbour. Your discovery of Sydney continues with time to pursue your own interests. Stroll through the city streets, visit the historic Rocks area, or simply relax. Your tour manager will be on hand to offer suggestions. (Breakfast)

Day 20: Sydney
This morning, visit Koala Park for an up-close and personal chance to learn about the different types of wildlife native to the land down under. You’ll walk amongst wallabies, indigenous birds, kangaroos, dingoes and koalas. Experience the koala habitat where you can even take your picture with a koala! Next, journey to the National Opal Collection where you will enjoy a fascinating opal presentation and learn how raw opals are transformed from the dark mine shafts to beautiful artistic creations. This evening, say farewell to Australia with an unforgettable experience as you dine while cruising Sydney Harbour, enjoying views of the city’s great icons - the Harbour Bridge and the Sydney Opera House. (Breakfast, Dinner)

Day 21: Sydney - Tour Ends
Your tour ends, leaving you with many pleasant memories of a wonderful vacation. (Breakfast)

Tour Highlights
  • The origins of the Aboriginal people are conveyed through enchanting stories as you walk through the bush on a 'Dreamtime Tour.'
  • Discover the underwater rainbow of coral and fish when you explore the Great Barrier Reef from aboard a glass bottom boat.
  • Experience the refined English flavor of the Canterbury region as you dine on the grounds of the region's first home.
All This Included
Explore the diverse wonders of the lands "down under." A 3-day adventure in the rugged Outback introduces you to the Aboriginal life and culture of Alice Springs and Ayers Rock. Delve into the colorful world of the Great Barrier Reef. Enjoy a guided tour of the Sydney Opera House. Meet Australia and New Zealand's famous wildlife up-close. Explore the snow-capped peaks, vistas, gorges and waterfalls of New Zealand's Southern Alps. Cruise Milford Sound. Experience the Franz Josef Glacier and the majestic Mt. Cook region.
  • Accommodations for 18 nights.
  • 28 meals. (Welcome and farewell dinners feature local specialties.)
  • Centrally-located hotels provide a home away from home.
  • Hotel-to-hotel baggage handling.
  • A professional tour manager accompanies you throughout your trip. 
  • Expert local guides provide insightful, personalized tours.
  • Unparalleled sightseeing includes all of the "must-sees."
  • Enriching cultural experiences bring the destination to life.
  • Private climate-controlled motorcoach enhances your tour.
  • Free round trip sedan service that takes you from your home to the airport when you purchase an air-inclusive Collette tour (within 50 miles of nearest airport gateway).
Accommodations on this Tour
Cairns: Pacific International Cairns
Uluru (Ayers Rock): Desert Gardens
Alice Springs: Crowne Plaza Alice Springs
Melbourne: Rendezvous Hotel Melbourne
Christchurch: Rendezvous Hotel Christchurch
Franz Josef Glacier: Scenic Franz Josef Glacier Hotel
Queenstown: Novotel Queenstown Lakeside
Mt. Cook: The Hermitage
Christchurch: Rendezvous Hotel Christchurch
Sydney: Menzies Hotel
Pre and Post Add-ons
Extend your stay with 3 nights in Fiji for an additional fee.
  • Some dates may feature various changes in hotels, sightseeing and inclusions.
  • The internal flights on this program are not included in the land price.
  • **Please note that Collette Foundation sites may not be available for visits due to school holidays or programming challenges.
  • Please ask your Vacations To Go travel counselor for more information.
Terms and Conditions

* The prices shown are U.S. dollars per person, based on double occupancy, and subject to availability. Prices quoted for land/cruise arrangements are subject to increase without notice. Once we have received your deposit, land/cruise prices are guaranteed. Air prices quoted via phone or email are subject to increase and are guaranteed only from the time that full payment is received. Also, air prices or air promotions mentioned on this site or on the phone do not include baggage fees imposed by airlines. Sorry, we are unable to offer air from countries other than the U.S. However, for those international customers who are able to arrange their own transportation to the trip origination city, we are able to offer the land/cruise portion of the package, at the price quoted.

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