Australia & New Zealand
October 12, 2024 thru November 1, 2024
Roundtrip air transportation from Albuquerque to Sydney / Auckland to Albuquerque
Intra-country air transportation
Air transportation Melbourne to Queenstown
Transfers and transportation by deluxe motorcoach
18 nights lodging in excellent hotels
Baggage handling at hotels (for one piece)
35 meals – 18 breakfasts, 7 lunches, 10 dinners
Admission and tours as described
Your professional Tour Director
Your Sun Tours Escort (for groups of 15 or more)
All taxes and gratuities for included items (except housekeeping)
$12,195 per person double occupancy
$14,555 per person single occupancy
Final Payment Due: June 11, 2024
None through June 11, 2024
$250 – June 12 – July 9, 2024
$7,300 – July 10 – August 6, 2024
100% – After August 6, 2024
Join Sun Tours for a journey of a lifetime as we tour Australia & New Zealand in the Springtime. A continent in its own right, Australia’s landscapes range from tropical rainforests to the red deserts of the Outback via vineyards, surf beaches and cosmopolitan cities. We’ve found some of the biggest Australian myths to be true: this really is a land of easy-going attitudes where active, outdoor lifestyles are celebrated and natural wonders abound. New Zealand has the kind of scenery that demands a standing ovation — and it’s all in such close proximity. You’ll love this tour!
Included meals are denoted: Breakfast: B, Lunch: L, Dinner: D
Today we fly from Albuquerque on our overnight flights to Sydney. We cross the International Date Line, so we arrive the following day.
DAY 2 (L, D)
Welcome to Sydney, Australia! Clear Immigration and Customs and we’re off for a short Orientation tour of the city before proceeding to a restaurant for a 2-course lunch. Sydney is the first stop on many Australian itineraries, and for good reason. It’s an inviting blend of exhilarating and easygoing. You can find excitement in the city, but drive just a few kilometers and you’ll hit the golden sand of famous beaches like Bondi and Manly. Plus, with endless nature at its doorstep, Sydney is the starting point for day trips serving up the fresh air, unique flavors, and locals who know a thing or two about living life to the fullest. Set along Australia’s southeastern coast, Sydney is one of Australia’s largest cities and serves as the capital of New South Wales. No matter what you fancy – shopping, the arts, the outdoors – you’re likely to be bewildered by the scope of choice available here. After Lunch proceed to the hotel to check-in and freshen up. This evening, enjoy a 3-course dinner with a glass of wine.
Four Points by Sheraton Sydney – 3 nights
DAY 3 (B, D)
Today we enjoy a tour of Downtown Sydney with your guide. This tour is a thorough introduction to Sydney and its neighbors. Tour through the historic Rocks area and take in views of the Hyde Park, St Mary’s Cathedral, Parliament House and the Art Gallery. Then we enjoy a guided tour of the Sydney Opera House. See inside the world’s most recognizable sails. Experience this miracle of architecture and engineering. When the Sydney Opera House became a UNESCO World Heritage-listed site in 2007, it was hailed as “one of the indisputable masterpieces of human creativity, not only in the 20th century but in the history of humankind”. Now it’s your turn to step inside this iconic landmark and discover the stories behind Danish architect Jorn Utzon’s remarkable achievement. We then proceed to the world-famous Bondi Beach and enjoy the spectacular scenery. Lunch on your own at the many restaurants that dot the famous beach. Later, we proceed to Circular Quay to board a ship for a Dinner Cruise with glass of wine!
DAY 4 (B,L)
This morning we depart Sydney to discover the spectacular Blue Mountains and see native wildlife whilst you explore World Heritage-listed Blue Mountains National Park along with your guide. This rugged and beautiful region forms part of the Great Dividing Range, linking tropical north to temperate south while dividing coastal cities from the vast Outback. Enjoy a stop at Echo Point and see the famous Three Sisters rock formation. Arrive at Scenic World and join the Blue Mountain rides – Scenic Railway, Cableway, or Skyway (entrance included). These rides are a great way to see the steep valleys, canyons, and Three Sisters Rock formation. After a 2-course lunch, we depart for Featherdale Wildlife Park and see kangaroos, wombats, dingoes, platypus and cute little penguins. We drive past Homebush Bay, the venue of the Sydney 2000 Olympic Games before we return to the city and enjoy an independent dinner and evening.
DAY 5 (B, D)
Wake up to a sumptuous breakfast and depart from the Sydney airport and fly to Ayers Rock. Located in the south of Australia’s Northern Territory, the remote town of Yulara lies only 18 short kilometres from the sacred world heritage site, Uluru, also known as Ayers Rock. This isolated town serves as a service hub for the Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park and offers some welcome comfort in the harsh Outback landscape. Visitors use it as a base when exploring the park and viewing the main attraction in the area, Uluru. This epic sandstone formation stands almost 350 metres high and measures 10 kilometres in circumference featuring hidden caves, ancient rock art and otherworldly fiery hues at sunset. Other popular attractions and activities include: the Field of Light Uluru, the Desert Awakenings Tour and the Wintjiri Arts & Museum. This evening we enjoy the Field of Lights Dinner. As darkness falls and Uluru is thrown into a silhouette, the Field of Light illuminates. As far as the eye can see gentle rhythms of color light up the desert. The exhibition, aptly named Tili Wiru Tjuta Nyakutjaku or ‘looking at lots of beautiful lights’ in local Pitjantjatjara is Bruce Munro’s largest work to date. Overwhelming in size, covering more than seven football fields, it invites immersion in its fantasy garden of 50,000 spindles of light, the stems breathing and swaying through a sympathetic desert spectrum of ochre, deep violet, blue and gentle white.
Desert Gardens Hotel – Ayers Rock Resort – 2 nights
DAY 6 (B)
We rise early for a sunrise tour of Uluru (Ayers Rock) – we drive to Talinguru Nyakunytjaku – the Uluru sunrise viewing area. During the journey, your experienced Driver Guide will share some history on the numerous sacred sites that you’ll pass along the way. These stories form part of what is known to the local Anangu people as Tjukurpa – the foundation of Anangu life and culture. Tjukurpa encompasses Anangu religion, law and moral systems, the creation period, and the relationship between people, plants, animals, and the land. Join our fun and organic dot painting workshop that runs twice daily. You will be taught by a local Anangu artist (and an assisting interpreter). You’ll learn about traditional art, symbols, tools, and more! Get inspired by the ancient ways of the desert and create your very own work of art to treasure. Afternoon and evening on your own.
DAY 7 (B, D)
Enjoy some free time to shop and peruse the galleries in town, before we head to the Ayers Rock Airport to fly to Cairns. Once a sleepy sugar-milling town, Cairns in North Queensland is now a vibrant cosmopolitan city and a premier destination for sailing, diving and snorkelling. Its tropical waters are home to the spectacular Great Barrier Reef, and lush rainforests cover the surrounding areas. Make the most of this coastal paradise by cycling along the 14 kilometres of sandy beachfront, or rafting through rapids to view the ruins of Mission Beach. Other popular activities include visiting Cooktown for a taste of history or taking a scenic drive through the farmlands, stopping at village markets along the way. In the town centre, visit the Tiapukai Aboriginal Cultural Park for a musical and dance interpretation of Aboriginal history, or relax at Cairns Esplanade for a perfect seaside dining experience coupled with a romantic sunset. Upon arrival in Cairns, we transfer to your hotel to relax, before a group dinner close to our hotel. Pacific Hotel Cairns for 3-night stay.
DAY 8 (B,L)
The Ocean Spirit Cruise sets sail from the Reef Fleet Terminal in Cairns City. Passengers aboard this catamaran enjoy an 8.5-hour experience with 4 hours on the reef. A hot and cold buffet lunch along with morning and afternoon tea are included. On this tour, passengers can enjoy snorkeling, semi-submersible coral viewing and scuba diving for introductory divers. Passengers will explore the cays along the journey while a glass of complimentary sparkling wine is served along with snacks on the way back to Cairns. It is advisable that passengers bring a camera, swimwear, a towel, a hat, and sun protection and cash or a credit card for optional activities or onboard purchases.
DAY 9 (B,L)
Today begins with our check in to board the Skyrail Rainforest Cableway, spending time at the two rainforest mid-stations. Enjoy Ranger guided boardwalk tours and visit the Rainforest Interpretation Centre, lookouts, and historical displays. Journey by Cableway to Kuranda to spend some free time browsing the Kuranda Village and Heritage Markets. We experience the Pamagirri Aboriginal Experience, which ncludes both the Pamagirri Aboriginal Dance Performance held in the Rainforest Amphitheatre and the Dreamtime Walk conducted either before or after the show.
After the show we board an amphibious WWII Army Duck for a rainforest tour. After, board the Scenic Rail train to Freshwater station. The famous Kuranda Scenic Railway was built over 120 years ago and winds its way through the tropical mountain ranges between Cairns and Kuranda. Your day concludes with the scenic ride back to Cairns on board the Kuranda Scenic Railway.
Independent evening and dinner tonight.
DAY 10 (B)
This morning we check out and transfer to the Cairns Domestic terminal for your flight to Melbourne. Australia’s ‘heart of culture’, Melbourne, is the capital of Victoria and lies on the banks of the Yarra River. Famous for its gorgeous gardens, exciting culinary scene, and wealth of arts and culture attractions, the city is alluring to travelers with a variety of interests. Melbourne’s Royal Botanic Gardens offer a spectacular display of indigenous plants and flowers, an Aboriginal Heritage Walk, and live concerts; and the uber-modern Federation Square includes the magnificent NVG International Gallery, housing ancient works as well as contemporary masterpieces. Other highlights include the abundance of Queen Victoria Market, the hidden lanes and alleyways around Bourke, Collins, and Flinders streets for food and nightlife, and the mighty Melbourne Cricket Ground, arguably one of the best in the world. Upon arrival in Melbourne we’ll have a short city tour before arriving at our hotel and an independent evening and dinner.
Pan Pacific Melbourne – 3 nights
DAY 11 (B, D)
Rise and shine! We enjoy some free time to explore the city on your own. Afterwards we proceed to Phillip Island. Set just off Australia’s southern coast, Phillip Island is a coastal paradise, famous among all types of travellers, particularly for a day trip from Melbourne. Home to flourishing landscapes, many of the island’s drawcards revolve around its’ natural assets. They include the Penguin Parade, where hundreds of penguins make their way back to their burrows on the beach at sunset time, whale watching during migration season, and surfing the many remarkable breaks. Birding enthusiasts are drawn to the island each year as it is known for hosting more than a million mutton birds during their migration from Alaska. We’ll visit the Koala Conservation Centre, which offers fantastic koala viewing in their natural habitat.
Take a waddle on the wild side and see the penguins at the world-famous Penguin Parade – home to one of largest little penguin colonies in the world and a world-class ecotourism destination for wildlife lovers. The penguins arrive at sunset every evening, and we’ll enjoy dinner before the Parade.
DAY 12 (B,L,D)
This morning we head outside of Melbourne as we depart for the Yarra Valley – the name given to the region surrounding the Yarra River in Victoria, Australia. The river originates approximately 90 kilometers east of the Melbourne central business district and flows towards it and out into Port Phillip Bay. Outside of Melbourne, settlement in the Yarra Valley represented a very significant segment in the history and economic development of the state of Victoria. We first visit Rayner’s Orchard. Next, we visit a winery for wine tasting and lunch. Depart the winery after lunch and stop at the Yarra Valley Chocolaterie. Return to the hotel and freshen up before a 3-course Dinner at a local restaurant with a glass of wine/beer, followed by a nightime visit to the Melbourne Sky Deck. THE SKY IS THE LIMIT! It is time to once again elevate your senses at the Southern Hemisphere’s highest observation deck.
DAY 13 (B)
After breakfast, check out and transfer to the Melbourne International Airport for your flight to Queenstown, New Zealand. Queenstown, an idyllic resort town, lies on the shore of Lake Wakatipu in the southwest of South Island, New Zealand, surrounded by beautiful alpine peaks. Considered by many as one of the world’s top adventure capitals, this nature-laden destination offers a wide choice of adrenaline-boosting activities including white water rafting, zip-lining, skiing, skydiving and bungee-jumping (and a particular highlight, the world’s largest rope swing at Nevis Valley). Those who prefer soaking up the gorgeous scenery without too much effort will enjoy the lush vineyards, pristine golf courses, the dazzling Queenstown Gardens and the town’s luxury spas and wellness centres. Culinary types will also be pleased with Queenstown’s exciting gourmand offerings – the lively bar and restaurant scene provide a variety of flavours and experiences.
Independent evening and dinner in Queenstown.
Hotel Novotel Queenstown Lakeside – 3 nights
DAY 14 (B,L)
Today we travel to Milford Sound with scenic stops en-route at Eglington Valley, Mirror Lakes, Homer Tunnel, and The Chasm. Milford sound, New Zealand’s most well-known tourist destination, is not really a sound at all but a fjord as it was created by a succession of glaciers which carved through the rocks as they gouged a track to the sea leaving in their wake the impressive rock formations visible today. Home to some diverse and particularly unusual wildlife including fur seals and crested penguins, as well as bottlenose and dusky dolphins, this geographical gem is a must-see for nature lovers. With the striking Mitre Peak towering over head, sheer rocky cliffs rise vertically out of the calm dark waters while nearby, the waters of the exquisite Bowen Falls plunge down a 520-foot drop before crashing dramatically into the fjord below. With its remarkable geographical setting and its unbelievable abundance of wildlife, it is easy to see why writer Rudyard Kipling once called Milford Sound the “eighth natural wonder of the world.” We’ll enjoy an afternoon Milford Sound Cruise including picnic lunch on board. Milford Sound cruises must be experienced to be believed. The stunning sheer cliffs surrounding you, the inky blackness of the water, and the frosty alpine peaks looming over it all combine to create a stunning tableau. In Milford Sound, you’ll see towering cliffs and peaks – including the much-photographed and iconic Mitre Peak that rises more than a kilometer straight out of the sea. Waterfalls cascade into the fiord and luxuriant rain forest clings to sheer rock faces in this exceptional place.
DAY 15 (B, D)
You have the day free to walk around the town on your own, or explore beyond. Tonight we depart the hotel to visit Skyline gondola. We’ll see magnificent views of Queenstown as we ride the gondola to Bob’s Peak and enjoy a buffet dinner at Stratosfare Restaurant atop the Mountain. Skyline’s Stratosfare Restaurant and Bar is located at the top of the gondola. The restaurant offers a buffet dinner featuring iconic New Zealand cuisine which is infused with international influences. The tiered seating design ensures that all guests can enjoy a panoramic view of Queenstown.
DAY 16 (B, D)
We depart by coach from Queenstown to Christchurch. Situated on the eastern coast of New Zealand’s South Island, the vibrant city of Christchurch is the largest city on the island. Dubbed the ‘Garden City’, it is known for its many lush green spaces and possesses a multicultural charm with an added dash of Victorian flair. The city offers a fabulous array of activities, including punting down the Avon River, helicopter tours, hot air ballooning and whale and dolphin watching. Visitors can enjoy a stroll around the beautifully sculptured parks, visit the Christchurch Botanic Gardens and browse numerous art galleries, followed by a visit to Pomeroy’s for a craft beer and the adjoining Victoria’s Kitchen for a pub-style lunch. On arrival in Christchurch we have a sightseeing tour of the city. We enjoy an iconic Christchurch activity not to be missed. Admire the beautiful Christchurch Botanic Gardens or the changing face of the city center as you are expertly guided gently along the Avon River on our Edwardian-style Punting tours. The Avon River Punting tours are set aboard handcrafted flat bottomed boats, poled along by a punter from the platformed till at the rear end of the boat. Group dinner with local fare this evening. Crowne Plaza Christchurch for 1 night.
DAY 17 (B, D)
This morning we depart Christchurch airport for Rotorua. The city of Rotorua has been a spa town since the 1800s, thanks to the many geysers, hot springs and mud pools that can be found in what is one of the world’s most active geothermal fields. The Maori, who considered the region sacred, make up 35% of the population and a popular attraction is discovering their rich culture and traditions. Rotorua is surrounded by lakes, mountains, forests and other natural features that afford visitors the opportunity to try out a number of outdoor activities between relaxing sessions in the hot springs and pools. Upon arrival we’ll enjoy a sightseeing tour and lunch before a Kiwi Hatchery Tour. See conservation in action at one of the largest and most successful kiwi hatcheries in the world! The National Kiwi Hatchery is the national leader in kiwi husbandry, egg incubation systems, hatching techniques, and kiwi chick rearing. You’ll get to see kiwi eggs being incubated, the hatching process, and newly hatched kiwi chicks. We visit the Ohinemutu Village and Government Gardens before checking into our hotel and exploring the lakefront. Tonight is a special dinner at Te Pa Tu with a traditional Hangi Dinner. Millennium Hotel Rotorua for 2 nights.
DAY 18 (B)
Enjoy breakfast and then enjoy a half day of sightseeing, which includes Lake Rotorua, Government Gardens and Kuirau Park. Discover Te Puia Thermal Reserve with a 90 minute guided tour of the Whakarewarewa Geothermal Valley. Venture into a landscape unlike any other, where you will see bubbling mudpools and active geysers. Watch the world-famous Pohutu geyser unleash vapor jets up to 30 metres high. Your guide will take you through the New Zealand Māori Arts and Crafts Institute.
Traditionally, weaving and carving were vital Māori arts but by the 1920’s they were in danger of extinction. Established in 1926, the New Zealand Māori Arts and Crafts Institute at Te Puia has seen carving, weaving and other traditional Māori art forms not only survive but thrive. The rest of the afternoon and evening is at your leisure.
DAY 19 (B,L,D)
This morning we depart by coach to Auckland via Matamata and Waitomo. We first stop at Hobbiton and take a guided tour of the Hobbiton Movie Set, as featured in The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit Trilogies. After the tour, we depart for Otorohanga for lunch. at the Crosshills Country Farm. After lunch, we depart for the Waitomo Glowworm Caves. Known as one of New Zealand’s best natural attractions, take a boat ride through the glow worm grotto, marvel at thousands of magical glowworms, and become part of over 130 years of cultural and natural history. Discover an ancient world 30 million years in the making and marvel at Mother Nature’s light display as you glide silently through the starry wonderland of the Glowworm Grotto. Experience the serene ambiance as you enter this galaxy of tiny living lights. The glowworm (Arachnocampa Luminosa) is unique to New Zealand, making the Waitomo Glowworm Caves an absolute must-do. See thousands of these tiny creatures as they radiate their unmistakable luminescent light in a subterranean world. Upon completion, we continue our journey to Auckland. Make your way to the Sky Tower Elevator and check-in at the Orbit Restaurant for dinner Enjoy the stunning views over Auckland’s two harbors while you enjoy a 3-course farewell dinner. The iconic Sky Tower has stood tall at 328 meters, owning Auckland’s skyline for over 20 years. It’s an exciting hub of adrenaline activities, sky-high events, superb dining, and breath-taking views. Rydges Auckland Hotel for 1 night.
DAY 20 (B)
Today we depart Auckland and fly back home, taking wonderful memories of your extensive tour to Australia & New Zealand.
Itinerary is subject to change.