Combine two remarkable countries and enjoy a once-in-a-lifetime tour.
From Perth in Australia to Auckland in New Zealand, this epic tour will take you to some of the famous sights and cities of these two countries. Starting in Australia, the cities you see will include Perth, Sydney and Melbourne, while your visits will include some of Australia’s best-known sights including the Great Barrier Reef, Alice Springs and Uluru (Ayers Rock) in the outback.
In New Zealand look forward to visiting Christchurch, Wellington, Tororua and more and taking in such sights as the Fjordland National Park and Milford Sound, Tongariro National Park, and the Tamaki Maori Village where you can enjoy a traditional ‘hangi’ dinner.
After taking Saga's included UK door-to-door travel service to Heathrow, board your flight to Perth. Please refer to your final confirmation invoice for flight details.
Arrive in Perth where you'll be met by your Saga tour manager and taken to the Rendevous Perth Central (3Q) for a two-night stay. Located 10 minutes from major attractions including Kings Park and Perth Arena, the hotel has a restaurant and lobby bar. All 336 air-conditioned rooms have a television, telephone, hairdryer and safe.
Embark on a cruise along the Swan River, then discover the attractions of this 'new frontier city' during an included sightseeing tour which takes in the Botanical Gardens, King’s Park, the magnificently restored His Majesty’s Theatre and the unique Forrest Chase Mall area.
Afterwards, you continue to the port of Fremantle. Although close enough to be a suburb, the town has its own unique maritime character. Enjoy a welcome drink and dinner this evening. B, D
Today you fly inland to Alice Springs, originally founded as a staging point for the overland telegraph line in the 1870s. Today 'The Alice' is a bustling town with numerous shops and restaurants.
You spend two nights at the locally rated 4-star Crowne Plaza Alice Springs Lasseter’s (4Q).
This evening you can look forward to travelling from your hotel for an authentic barbecue dinner – a unique experience not to be missed as you become immersed in the spirit of the Australian outback. For smaller groups, dinner will be provided at the hotel. B, D
Spend the day at leisure in Alice Springs. B
This morning enjoy a tour of Alice Springs, which includes a visit to the historic Old Telegraph Station, the halfway point of the Overland Telegraph Line between Adelaide and Darwin. Before the wires were strung, a message could take three months to reach London from Adelaide! You also visit the Royal Flying Doctor Service before setting out on a six-hour journey overland to Uluru.
Travelling through the Outback, you pass Mount Conner, vast cattle stations and Mount Ebenezer Road House, one of just a handful of refuelling stops en route. As you approach the Red Centre you'll have the chance to see the Olgas, a group of domed rocks rising from the plains and named after Queen Olga of Wurttemberg. The aboriginal name of Kata Tjuta is perhaps more descriptive, since it means ‘many heads’. You'll arrive in time to see the sunset at Uluru, the official and Aboriginal name for this imposing monolith, also known as Ayers Rock after the five-times Premier of South Australia. Enjoy canapés and sparkling wine as you watch this vast natural wonder change colours with the dwindling light.
You'll stay overnight at the locally rated 4-star Desert Gardens Hotel (3Q), which has a restaurant and swimming pool. All air-conditioned rooms have a television, telephone, tea and coffee-making facilities and a minibar. B, D
Travel to the airport for your flight to Cairns, located in tropical North Queensland.
You'll spend the next four nights at the locally rated 4-star Novotel Oasis (4Q), which is situated on the waterfront within walking distance of the city's art galleries and shops. The hotel has a Brazilian-themed restaurant, bar and outdoor pool. All 176 bedrooms are air conditioned and feature a balcony, fridge, tea and coffee-making facilities, hairdryer, iron and ironing board and internet connection (extra charge). Cairns is a modern, vibrant city and in your free time you might like to get your first taste of it with a stroll along the scenic esplanade to The Pier with its many restaurants.
Afterwards, you could visit the popular night market which opens at 5pm. B
You have a full day to do as you please, or you might be tempted to join an optional trip into the rainforest… B
Today is sure to be a highlight of your tour as you'll travel by catamaran to Green Island for your first glimpse of the Great Barrier Reef. Take the opportunity to go snorkelling or see the marine life on a trip by glass-bottom boat and learn all about the largest marine park in the world. After a buffet lunch, you might then want to simply relax on the idyllic sandy beach before heading back to the mainland. B, L
You have another full day at leisure, allowing you to explore independently or perhaps join another optional excursion – your tour manager will give you details of what's available. B
It's time to head south for Sydney, where you'll stay for four nights at the locally rated 4-star Vibe Hotel (4Q). Situated in the heart of Sydney, the hotel is a short drive from Hyde Park and Sydney Harbour Bridge. Enjoy Spanish cuisine at the hotel restaurant and bar. All 191 air-conditioned rooms have a television, hairdryer, safe and free Wi-Fi. B, D
You will see the very best of Sydney on today's included full-day excursion. Sights include the elegant quarter of Paddington and the Rocks, a beautifully-restored area of cobbled streets where the first European settlers stepped ashore on January 26, 1788.
Continue onto the Sydney Opera House for a guided tour, then it's on to Circular Quay for an included sightseeing cruise on Sydney harbour. Lunch is included at a local restaurant. B, L
There's still lots to see in Sydney, so you won't be short of things to do during your day at leisure. Alternatively, you could always head into the countryside for a spot of wine tasting. B
You have the freedom to explore more of Sydney at your own pace, or perhaps you will want to take the opportunity to explore further afield. B
This morning your tour continues with a short flight to Melbourne, where you will spend the next four nights of your trip at the locally rated 4-star Crowne Plaza Melbourne (4Q). B
Melbourne is an intriguing blend of skyscrapers, elegant Colonial-style public buildings, stately churches and leafy avenues. Settled by British explorer John Batman in 1835, its British heritage has been kept alive in the Victorian buildings and beautiful parks. Today's included full-day tour will reveal more of Melbourne’s history, with visits to the Queen Victoria Market and Captain Cook's cottage.
After some free time for lunch (not included), you continue through South Melbourne to see the city’s oldest swimming beach at Port Melbourne, before crossing Westgate Bridge for panoramic views of Port Phillip Bay and historic Williamstown. B
Today is free for you to spend as you please – perhaps go shopping, do a bit more sightseeing or join one of these optional trips... B
Spend more time exploring independently or join another tempting excursion.
Later, there will be a special farewell dinner cruise on the Yarra River. B, D
Travel to the airport for your flight to Christchurch via Sydney, arriving around midnight, when you will be transferred by coach to your hotel.
You'll spend the next two nights at the locally-rated 4.5-star Distinction Christchurch Hotel (4Q). Situated in Christchurch’s Cathedral Square, the hotel has been recently refurbished and facilities include a restaurant, bar, gym, sauna (charges apply) and free Wi-Fi. There are 179 rooms. B
Embark on a tour of the city this morning.
Many parts of the city were damaged during an earthquake in 2011, and it's still slowly recovering – but its fresh outlook and forward-thinking attitude to rebuilding have resulted in a number of intriguing and ingenious constructions. You'll see the amazing Cardboard Cathedral which, aside from a timber and steel framework and glass windows, is built entirely from cardboard! Officially opened in 2013, it's just a few blocks from the original Christchurch Cathedral, which was severely damaged in the quake, and acts as a 'temporary' base while work continues on the original.
During the tour you'll also head to Port Hills Lookout or Sumner, dependent upon weather conditions. Return to the central city and enjoy a punting trip on the River Avon later his afternoon, relaxing as the river passes through the botanical gardens. Look forward to an included welcome dinner this evening. B, D
Depart Christchurch this morning for your drive, a journey of 485km that will take approximately eight hours, to Queenstown, on the shores of the Frankton Arm of Lake Wakatipu in the south west of the island.
According to Maori legend the name of the lake come from Whakatipu, which means ‘hollow of the giant’. It was formed when a sleeping giant was set alight by a young boy, the resulting fire melting the snow and ice on the mountains and filling the 80-kilometre-long hollow in which the giant slept – though his remains have yet to be discovered! Queenstown was founded during the Otago Gold Rush in the 1860s, when hundreds of foreign miners flooded to the area in search of their shiny, yellow fortune. By 1900, the gold had petered out and the population of the town had dropped from several thousand to just 190! The town has since come back to life as the self-styled adventure capital of the world, with about 7,500 permanent inhabitants and many more visitors. There are also good walks in the area.
Today, there will also be the opportunity to enjoy an optional flight over Tekapa, Mount Cook and more.
Your hotel for the next three nights is the locally rated 4-star Copthorne Lakefront Resort (4Q). This is a year-round resort on the shores of Lake Wakatipu and within walking distance of the central shopping and entertainment area. All 240 guest rooms have a satellite television, direct-dial telephone, tea and coffee-making facilities, fridge or minibar and iron. Hairdryers and safety deposit facilities are available. B, D
Enjoy a full-day tour of Fiordland National Park and Milford Sound today.
Fiordland covers three million acres of wilderness, and is one of the biggest national parks in the world. Everything here is on a grand scale, with waterfalls tumbling thousands of metres into virgin, forested valleys, and peaceful fjords indenting the coast. The road to Milford Sound cuts through Fiordland and is considered to be one of the best alpine drives in the world. It follows Lake Te Anau, passing through dense forests, along small lakes and river flats, and through the Homer Tunnel. This is over one-and-a-half kilometres long and took 12 years to build. Finally you reach Milford Sound via the awe-inspiring Cleddau Canyon.
Milford Sound was described by Rudyard Kipling as ‘the eighth wonder of the world’ and it’s easy to see why, as you cruise the dark waters of the fjord under the gaze of the mile-high Mitre Peak. This monument, on one of New Zealand’s most distinctive mountains, was named because of its resemblance to a bishop’s mitre. Milford Sound was used to represent Nen Hithoel, Amon Hen and Fangorn Forest in Peter Jackson's The Lord of the Rings film trilogy.
You can enjoy an included picnic lunch during your cruise. B, L
Enjoy a day at leisure to relax, perhaps explore independently or join an optional excursion – details will be available in resort.
This evening visit Skyline, where you step aboard the Skyline Gondola this evening – it's the steepest cable car ride in the southern hemisphere! Take in the far-reaching views of Queenstown, Lake Wakatipu, and the surrounding mountains as you rise to the summit of Bob's Peak. When you reach the top enjoy dinner at the Stratosphere Restaurant. B, D
Look forward to a scenic drive today, leaving Queenstown and passing alongside the Kawarau Gorge, a popular spot for adventurers where you might spy bungee jumpers and white-water rafters. Continue across the Central Otago region and pass the glacial lakes of Wanaka and Hawea. You'll then cross Haast Pass, which runs between the Southern Alps, and drive north through the forest to the village of Franz Josef at the foot of New Zealand’s most famous glacier.
If time permits, you may be able to visit the information centre across the road before checking-in at the locally rated 3-star Scenic Franz Josef Glacier Hotel (3Q). The west coast is an isolated area with a limited choice of accommodation, and consequently your hotel may be very busy (which may mean some delays). Facilities at the hotel include spa pools, bars and laundry service. All 130 bedrooms are equipped with a television, tea and coffee-making facilities, and a hairdryer. B
Perhaps treat yourself to one of the following optional excursions, details of which will be available in resort: Haast River Safari; The Grand Traverse Flight from Fox Glacier to Franz Josef; and Twin Glacier Helicopter Flight.
Perhaps join an optional guided Glacier Valley Walk this morning.
Later, depart for the resort of Hokitika and check in to the locally rated 3-star Beachfront Hotel Hokitika (3Q) for an overnight stay. The hotel, which has a restaurant and bar and free W-Fi, is on the beachfront and within easy walking distance of shops, bars and restaurants. All 53 rooms have a television, free Wi-Fi and tea and coffee-making facilities. B
This morning's scenic journey along the West Coast via Punakaiki Rocks, traces the route of the Buller Gorge past the town of Brightwater, the birthplace of Sir Ernest Rutherford. This Nobel Prize-winning physicist was the first man to split the atom and become known as the 'father of nuclear physics'.
Continue to Nelson, a beachside city on the shores of Tasman Bay. A very laid-back city, Nelson is dotted with lovely Victorian houses, quirky cafes and small art galleries, as well as a fabulous art deco cathedral.
Check in to the locally rated 4-star Heritage Rutherford Hotel (4Q) where you stay for the next two nights. The hotel has two restaurants including a Japanese restaurant, a bar, an indoor pool, gym and sauna. All 110 rooms have a television, telephone, hairdryer, minibar (extra charge), and tea and coffee-making facilities. B
Enjoy a day at leisure today to explore independently or relax on the beach. Alternatively, perhaps join an optional excursion to Abel Tasman National Park. B
After breakfast transfer to Picton, where you board the Interislander Ferry for your three-hour crossing to the North Island.
It’s one of the world’s most delightful journeys, as the ship sails through the sheltered waterways of the Marlborough Sounds, where there are masses of inlets and bays with cliffs plunging straight down into the sea, and across the Cook Strait. You can sit out on deck and enjoy the views, or relax in the lounge. There is also a bar and cafe, a self-service restaurant, snack bar and cinema. Please be aware that the latter part of the crossing can be quite choppy. The city of Wellington is a sight to behold as you make your approach, as the many buildings cascade down the hillsides which surround its central bay.
Disembark the ferry and set off on an included sightseeing tour. See the Parliament buildings, including one shaped like a beehive, and Old St Paul's Cathedral – built entirely from wood, it's a rare example of timber Gothic architecture. Your tour also includes a visit to the Te Papa museum, which celebrates all facets of New Zealand culture and heritage through intriguing exhibits, fascinating exhibitions and interactive displays.
Spend the night at the locally rated 4-star Grand Mercure Wellington (4Q) situated close to the city’s creative Cuba quarter. Facilities at the hotel include a restaurant, bar, indoor pool, gym and sauna (charges apply) Each of the 114 rooms is equipped with a television, tea and coffee-making facilities, iron and ironing board, hairdryer and free Wi-Fi. B
Begin your journey further north today as you trace the Kapiti Coast, formerly known as the Golden Coast. Cross rural farming regions up into the Mangaweka Hills to Whakapapa Village in the heart of Tongariro National Park.
This diverting, barren and beautiful landscape makes up New Zealand's oldest national park, and Tolkien fans may recognise some of the topography – it was used as the location for Mordor in The Lord of The Rings trilogy! The area is dominated by three active volcanoes; Ruapehu, Tongariro and Ngauruhoe – which also doubled as Mount Doom.
Spend the night at the locally rated 4-star historic Chateau Tongariro (4Q), a beautiful Georgian-style building on the slopes of Mount Ruapehu. There's a restaurant, bar, where you can enjoy a game of billiards, indoor pool, fitness room, sauna and even a cinema which shows three films a day. All 106 rooms have a television, telephone, hairdryer, minibar (extra charge), and tea and coffee-making facilities. B, D
Enjoy a scenic drive around the shores of Lake Taupo this morning. It's the largest lake in New Zealand and lies in the caldera of an extinct supervolcano. Continue north, pausing at the spectacular Huka Falls, where water from Lake Taupo plunges violently into the Waikoto River and creates a bright-blue deluge of rapids. 220,000 litres of water pass through the falls every second – in other words, it would take just 11 seconds to fill an entire Olympic-sized swimming pool!
Continue to the thermal region of Rotorua, which lies on a volcanic rift stretching from White Island to Lake Taupo. This is a place of lush forests, green pastures and lakes. When you arrive in the city of Rotorua, every now and then you may catch a whiff of pungent sulphur gas escaping from subterranean fires not too far beneath your feet, and sometimes steam wafts through the cracks in the pavements! Join an included trip to the Te Whakarewarewa Thermal Reserve. Here you can see boiling mud pools and gushing geysers. The most famous is Pohutu – ‘Big Splash’ – which erupts roughly once every 20 minutes, shooting hot water up to 20 metres into the air. You also have time to visit the Te Puia New Zealand Arts and Crafts Centre on the reserve, where you can watch craftspeople at work, see a replica Maori village and visit an art gallery.
Spend the next two nights at the locally rated 4-star Distinction Rotorua (4Q), close to Whakarewarewa Forest and around two kilometres from the city centre. Facilities include three restaurants, a bar, outdoor swimming pool, fitness centre and spa (charges apply). All 133 rooms feature a television, telephone, hairdryer, tea and coffee-making facilities and free Wi-Fi. B
Spend the day at leisure and perhaps discover what this intriguing resort city has to offer. Visit the hot springs or perhaps take a trip to a mud bath spa.
This evening you'll head to the Tamaki Maori village to experience the culture of New Zealand's first settlers. Watch a performance of ceremonial rituals and dances and enjoy a traditional hangi buffet dinner, where meat and vegetables are cooked in a covered pit, or earth oven, for several hours. B, D
After breakfast, travel to the Waitomo Caves for a walking tour of the cavernous interior to admire the stalactites and stalagmites.
On reaching the Glow-Worm Cave, you board a boat for a ride through the subterranean river lit by thousands glow-worms that dangle from the ceiling – a delightful bioluminescent light show! The glow-worms live for around nine months and use the light to attract flying insects they feed upon. Because of the cave’s sensitive inhabitants, you won’t be allowed to take pictures here.
Continue past rural farmland to Auckland, where you stay two nights at the locally rated 4-star Rydges Auckland Hotel (4Q). Situated close to the city centre, facilities include a restaurant, bar, rooftop terrace, gym and free Wi-Fi. Each of the 267 air-conditioned rooms has a television, safe, tea and coffee-making facilities, hairdryer and iron and ironing board. B
Auckland is New Zealand’s largest metropolis and main gateway city. The locals say that everything they need can be found within the boundaries of the greater Auckland region. The coast is dotted with secluded islands and there are two beautiful harbours: Waitemata in the north-east and Manukau to the south-west. Auckland was built on the back of a ridge of extinct volcanoes, and your half-day city tour includes a visit to one of these – the Pukekawa volcano in the Auckland Domain park, where you'll also visit the Auckland Museum.
Enjoy a farewell dinner this evening. B, D
Perhaps join an optional Bush and Beach Wilderness Experience excursion today. Details available in resort.
Spend the day at leisure, then check out of the hotel and travel to the airport for your overnight flight to the UK. B
Arrive in the UK this morning for your onward UK travel service home.
32 nights in hotels and 2 in flight
47 meals: 32 breakfasts, 3 lunches and 12 dinners
Excursions and visits
Use of audio headsets on guided tours
Saga Holidays have been creating holidays exclusively for over 50s for more than 60 years, with incredible destinations, memorable experiences and fantastic value at the heart of what they do.
Every holiday has been meticulously planned by their expert team, who are passionate about finding new exciting destinations and creating holidays full of unforgettable experiences that are tailored just to you. They also continually fine-tune their holidays from the feedback they receive from previous guests, to make sure every holiday upholds their high standards.
They visit over 150 countries and islands – from well-known destinations such as Portugal and Canada, to more unusual places such as Uzbekistan and Burma. Whether you want to venture as far afield as New Zealand, or stay closer to home on the charming coast of Cornwall, they can take you there.
Choose to ‘Stay & Explore’ from one unique base, or embark on an escorted tour and discover the world and travel by road, rail or sea on their exclusive itineraries, which visit all the major sites in the company of an experienced Saga Tour Manager.
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