17-Nights Australia & New Zealand: The Lands Down Under - Luxury Small Group Journeys
Australia & New Zealand: The Lands Down Under
Explore two inspiring destinations in a single journey, starting in Australia with Melbourne, Uluru, the Great Barrier Reef and Sydney, followed by Christchurch, Franz Josef Glacier, Queenstown a
17 nights from $13645 per person
Supplier: Abercrombie & Kent
Christchurch was founded in 1850 by members of the Church of England, who wanted a little bit of heaven on earth. They succeeded, and today the city takes great pride in its spacious layout and distinctive English-style buildings in elegant grey stone. The River Avon winds through Christchurch, along parks and gardens that cover one-third of the city.
Soak up Sydney’s gorgeous harbour, seductive outdoor lifestyle and great natural beauty. Kayak under the Sydney Harbour Bridge or wave at the Opera House as you ride a ferry across the harbour to Manly. Learn to surf at Bondi Beach or swim in the calm waters of Coogee. Lose yourself in the cobblestone cul-de-sacs of The Rocks or in the markets, boutiques, cafes and pubs of Paddington. As well as a world-famous harbour and more than 70 sparkling beaches, Sydney offers fabulous food, festivals and 24-7 fun.
Five Sydney Experiences Not to Miss:
1. Explore the historic Rocks
Discover Sydney’s colorful convict history in the harbourside quarter where it all began. Just five minutes from Circular Quay, you can hear stories of hangings and hauntings on a ghost tour, wander the weekend markets or climb the span of the Harbour Bridge. In amongst the maze of sandstone lanes and courtyards, you’ll find historic workman’s cottages and elegant terraces, art galleries, hotels with harbour views and Sydney’s oldest pubs. See people spill out of them onto a party on the cobblestone streets when The Rocks celebrates Australia Day on January 26th, Anzac Day on April 25th and New Years Eve.
2. Hit the world-famous harbour
Sail past the Opera House on a chartered yacht or paddle from Rose Bay in a kayak. Take a scenic cruise from Circular Quay or Darling Harbour, past waterfront mansions, national parks and Shark, Clark, Rodd and Goat islands. Tour historic Fort Denison or learn about the life of Sydney’s first inhabitants, the Gadigal people, on an Aboriginal cultural cruise. Watch the harbour glitter from the green parklands of the Royal Botanic Gardens, which curves around its edge. Or take in the view from a waterfront restaurant in Mosman, on the northern side of the bridge, or Watsons Bay at South Head. Walk from Rose Bay to Vaucluse or Cremorne Point to Mosman Bay, on just some of the 16 spectacular routes hugging the harbour foreshore.
3. Visit Manly on the ferry
Travel across Sydney Harbour on a ferry to Manly, which sits between beaches of ocean surf and tranquil inner harbour. Wander through native bushland on the scenic Manly to Spit Bridge walk, learn to scuba-dive at Cabbage Tree Bay or ride a bike to Fairy Bower. Picnic at Shelly Beach on the ocean and sail or kayak from Manly Wharf round the harbour. Hire a scooter and do a round trip of northern beaches such as Narrabeen and Palm Beach. Explore the shops, bars and cafes along the bustling pine tree-lined Corso and dine at world-class restaurants with water views.
4. Enjoy café culture and top shopping in Paddington
Meander through the Saturday markets, browse fashion boutiques on bustling Oxford Street or discover the antique shops and art galleries in upmarket Woollahra. Visit the 1840s Victoria Barracks Army base, open to the public once a week, and see restored Victorian terraces on wide, leafy streets. Ride or roller-blade in huge Centennial Park, then stop for coffee and lunch on Oxford St or in the mini-village of Five Ways. Catch a movie at an art-house cinema or leaf through a novel at midnight in one of the huge bookstores. Crawl between the lively, historic pubs. They hum even more after a game at the nearby stadium or a race day, when girls and guys arrive in their crumpled trackside finery.
5. Walk from Bondi to Coogee
Take in breathtaking views of the Pacific Ocean as you walk the winding, sea-sculpted sandstone cliffs between Bondi and Coogee. Swim in the famous Bondi Icebergs rock pool or just watch the swimmers with a sunset cocktail from the restaurant above. See wild waves in Tamarama, nicknamed Glamarama for the beautiful people who lie on its golden sand. From mid-October to November, the stretch from here to Bondi is transformed into an outdoor gallery for the Sculptures by the Sea exhibition. You can surf, picnic on the grass or stop for a coffee at family-friendly Bronte. Or swim, snorkel or scuba dive in Clovelly and tranquil Gordon’s Bay. See the graves of poets Henry Lawson, Dorothea Mackellar and aviator Lawrence Hargrave in Waverley Cemetery, on the edge of the cliffs. Finish your tour in the scenic, backpacker haven of Coogee.
Queenstown hosts an outstanding collection of adrenaline inducing activities and spectacular scenery. From jumping from tall bridges or quiet fishing, this is New Zealand's number one adventure destination. Lake and river join towering mountain ranges to make Queenstown as popular in the winter as it is in the summer.
At the heart of the action are cafes, the entire spectrum of accommodation, boutique shopping, restaurants and the visitor services expected in a small town with a big reputation.
Franz Josef Glacier
The South Island's most renowned explorer and geologist, Julius von Haast, named Franz Josef Glacier after the Emperor of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. Franz Josef Glacier is a remnant of a much older, larger glacier which flowed from the alpine snowfields right to the sea. The glacier is over 7.5 miles long extending into the rainforest just 3 miles from the Franz Josef township, making it easy to visit. Walk to viewpoints and the terminal face or, for a close-up view of the spectacular ice formations, take a guided glacier walk, helihike or scenic flight.
From the stunning sweep of its 4 Mile Beach to the wilderness of Dicksons Inlet, the world famous seaside village of Port Douglas has become an international holiday mecca. Port Douglas has a distinctive "laid back" low rise tropical old world charm, with an extensive range of accommodations and international shops and restaurants. It also offers extensive touring and cruise options with its magnificent marina and close proximity to world heritage rainforests. In Port Douglas you can also chose from activities and attractions such as bicycle riding, swimming, relaxing on magnificent 4 mile beach, shopping the exotic and colorful Sunday markets, the Shipwreck museum, the award winning Rainforest Habitat with its unique native flora and fauna, and a ride on the old sugar cane train. The Port Douglas hinterland extends to the sugar cane town of Mossman with picturesque golf course, rainforest walking tracks and swimming in the cool mountain streams of Mossman Gorge.
Great Barrier Reef
The Great Barrier Reef is pure enchantment casting a spell over all. Stretching through sapphire blue waters of Queensland for over 1,242 miles, the Great Barrier Reef is the world’s most extensive coral reef system. It is also the largest World Heritage area, and the largest structure made completely by living organisms. The warm waters off Queensland offer some of the best boating and diving in the world. Diving the Reef is an introduction to a fathomless underwater world and thousands of brilliantly colored species of marine life. This diversity creates a kaleidoscope of color for divers, snorkellers, and people viewing from underwater observatories and glass-bottomed boats. Humpback whales swim up from the Antarctic to give birth to their young in reef waters. Six of the world's seven species of sea turtle breed on the Reef. High-speed catamarans take visitors to isolated areas which were previously only seen by a privileged few. Whether you sail, snorkel, dive or swim, the Reef is a marvelous place for recreation.
Melbourne is a maze of hidden laneways, opulent bars, exclusive restaurants and off-the-beaten-track boutiques. Here you can soak up culture, hit the sporting grounds, taste the dynamic food and wine scene, dance til dawn or wander the parks and leafy boulevards. Visit Federation Square, the city's landmark cultural space, and enjoy a sunset beer on the St Kilda promenade. Shop till you drop on funky Brunswick Street or upmarket Chapel Street. Wander Southbank's cafes, bistros and bars and get a world tour of cuisines in Carlton, Richmond and Fitzroy. Take an Aboriginal Heritage Walk through the Royal Botanic Gardens and cheer with a capacity crowd at the Melbourne Cricket Ground.
Five Must-Have Melbourne Experiences:
1. Shop till you drop
Bag a bargain at the Rose Street Artist's Market and browse the funky boutiques on Brunswick Street. Buy designer labels such as Akira Isogawa and Zimmerman on Chapel Street in Prahran or in the historic Melbourne General Post Office, which covers an entire city block. For everything from fashion to furnishings at fantastic value, visit Bridge Road in Richmond. Melbourne is a shopper's haven, offering eclectic boutiques, high-end fashion, funky homeware stores and European style piazzas in the city's arcades and hidden laneways.
2. Bar hop and dance till dawn
Sip a cocktail in a converted sea container in Chinatown, enjoy a sunset beer in a St Kilda pub or listen to cabaret in lush retro surroundings in jazz bars in the city. Linger over exquisite tapas and exotic wine in a Little Collins Street bar and mingle in a pink parlour with fake grass in Bourke Street. You can party from dusk in the bars of Brunswick Street. Or dance till dawn in bars in the city's lantern-lit laneways, secret apart from the spill of coloured light under heavy brass doors.
3. Get into the gourmet goodness
Let the aroma of good coffee waft over you in Melbourne's gothic European laneways. The city is famous for its coffee and old-world café culture but there's so much more to explore. Once you've downed a 'short black' or taken an afternoon aperitif, try tea in a nineteenth-century hotel or salivate over your silver spoon in acclaimed restaurants like Nobu, Botanical and Becco. Pick up fresh fruits, vegetables and seafood at the Queen Victoria Market on a Saturday, known for its bustling crowds and buskers. Try out the restaurants, cafes, bistros and bars in Southbank or Federation Square. Make your way around Melbourne's multicultural cosmos of cuisines: Carlton for Italian classics, Richmond for budget-friendly Vietnamese and Fitzroy for Spanish tapas.
4. Fill up on culture
See a performance by the Australian Ballet, which is based here in Australia's cultural capital. Or enjoy a dazzling musical at the Princess Theatre. Browse the Southern Hemisphere's best collection of international art at the National Gallery of Victoria. Or visit the Australian Centre for the Moving Image in Federation Square, a landmark cultural 'space' for Melbournians. Challenge yourself with the creative collections in the Australian Centre for Contemporary Art in Southbank. To learn more about Melbourne's Aboriginal cultural heritage, see contemporary and dreamtime art or take an Aboriginal Heritage Walk through the Royal Botanic Gardens.
5. Go sports mad
Cheer for an Australian Rules Football game with a capacity crowd at the Melbourne Cricket Ground over winter. Go cricket mad in summer, when the city hosts the Ashes and one day internationals. Or join the huge crowds watching the Australian Tennis Open at Melbourne Park. Rev heads head to Melbourne in March for the Australian Formula 1 Grand Prix in Albert Park. And whether you are a racing fan or just a casual punter, you won't want to miss the Melbourne Cup - the world's richest horse race on the first Tuesday in November.
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