October 21: For those choosing to depart on October 21, we gather at the Salt Lake Airport for our flight to Los Angeles. Our non stop flight from LA to Sydney departs in the evening. Those joining us from other cities will meet us in Los Angeles and fly with us to Sydney.
October 22: Because we cross the international dateline, we skip this day. We’ll get it back at the end of the tour.
October 23: Welcome to Sydney, Australia! Our flight arrives in the morning hours today and it will be important that we stay awake. A local guide and luxury coach will meet us to show us around this world-class city. We’ll stroll some world famous beaches, impressive overlooks, and learn some important colonial history of the city. We’ll then check into the hotel for a mid day rest. In the late afternoon, You’ll have the option to board a luxurious catamaran for a cruise on Sydney Harbor. You’ll enjoy interesting commentary as we sail under famous Harbour Bridge, by the front of the Opera House, near the prestigious suburbs and more. Or you can spend time on your own enjoying Sydney (cost of cruise is additional if you choose to participate).
October 24: After a good night’s rest and a delicious breakfast, we’ll head for the famous Blue Mountains. The people of Sydney have been doubly blessed by nature. Not only do they have a magnificent coastline at their front door, but less than 50 miles from the city is one of the most spectacular wilderness areas of Australia - the Blue Mountains. This landscape is a combination of forested hills, beautiful gardens, sandstone chasms and breathtaking vistas. While in the mountains, we’ve included a gondola ride which takes you over Cox's Crossing, a 1,000 foot wide chase with Katoomba Falls at the base. In addition, we’ll enjoy a ride on the world's steepest railway as it descends into incredible scenery. Lunch is included today at in the town of Leura where you’ll have a bit of time to browse in this charming place. Before returning to Sydney, we’ll see a brief show at the Waradah Aboriginal Centre at the rim of the Blue Mountains. You’ll have a free evening back in Sydney.
October 25: This morning, we’ll enjoy a tour of the world famous Opera House, Sydney’s signature structure and an absolute must-see in Sydney. We will then be transferred to the pier where we will board Holland America’s Noordam. The Noordam is an 82,000 ton ship with about 1,900 passengers. Holland America is famous for unmatched service, excellent cuisine and creative itineraries with stops at more ports. It will be our floating resort for 14 days. We sail out of Sydney tonight enjoying a delicious dinner in the Rotterdam Dining Room.
NOTE: We highly recommend that you see Sydney. However, if you choose NOT to see Sydney, you can depart the USA on October 23 and go straight to the ship on October 25).
October 26: At sea today as we become familiar with our ship and enjoy the scenery.
October 27: Today we spend all day in lovely Melbourne, Australia. At each of the ports, you can do your own thing, chose an excursion offered by the ship or join us on our private Webb Tours excursion. Our private excursion today takes us outside of Melbourne to enjoy native Australian animals (in the You Yang Mountains). This is a chance (not guaranteed) to see koalas and kangaroos in the wild. We’ll take a look. Our coach then takes us to charming Williamstown for a fish and chips lunch (or other options) before boarding a boat that will take us on a one hour ride into the heart of downtown Melbourne. This is the BEST way to enter the city and enjoy the incredible skyline (you’ll see). Our guide meets us there to show us some highlights (including an hour to shop at the Victoria Market) as we make our way back to the ship.
October 28: At sea today.
October 29: Today you wake up in TASMANIA! We dock in Hobart. Our private excursion today is exceptional. Our private coach will take us out to Port Arthur. At the end of the peninsula, this majestic place was used as a prison for English inmates being housed in Australia. It was overseen by privileged Brits who had lush gardens and living quarters in this magnificent setting – with a prison in the middle of it. We’ll have a guided tour. We’ll give you time for lunch on your own in Richmond before making our final stop at famous Bonorong Wildlife Park to interact with the Kangaroos and Koalas – and to see Tasmanian Devils and other native animals. We then return to the ship.
October 30 & 31: Enjoy two relaxing days at sea as we cross the Tasman Sea that separates Australia from New Zealand. Choose from lots of activities on board, take in the fabulous entertainment or just read a book on the decks as you watch the ocean go by. And don’t forget to watch for wildlife as whales and dolphins are often spotted in this area.
November 1: Today you will live in postcard scenery. The seaward edge of Fiordland National Park is a series of fourteen massive knife cuts, carved by the glaciers during successive ice ages. Towering, snow-capped peaks reflect in the midnight blue fingers of ocean that reach into the park's thickly forested interior, where you can find trees that are more than 800 years old. For sheer drama, few places of earth can compete with this remarkable natural environment. Milford Sound, part of the park, is a natural wonder of the world. Most visit from Queenstown which involves an arduous 3 hour bus ride, much of it on windy roads. But we are on a cruise ship and we will simply sail into the fjords and enjoy the day taking in the incredible scenes. Enjoy towering Mitre Peak, plunging waterfalls, bottlenose dolphins, fur seals, penguins and more. As we leave Milford Sound, we will continue cruising in other parts of Fjordland National Park visiting Doubtful Sound which is equally dramatic.
November 2: While we sleep, the ship makes its way around the southern tip of New Zealand and we wake up in Port Chalmers, in Dunedin, New Zealand. They call this the “Edinburgh of the South” because of the Scottish influence here – and the scenery is similar as well. Our private excursion will take you to the top of the mountain to visit Larnach Castle and Gardens. You have to see this place! The castle, the history, the gardens and the views overlooking the water over 1000 feet below are all stunning. Before going back, we’ll stop for 30 minutes at Glenfalloch Gardens. It’s springtime in New Zealand and these places are quite incredible to see. We’ll also show you the world’s steepest street on the way back to the ship.
November 3: Today we wake up in beautiful Christchurch, the largest city on the South Island. Chirstchurch is often referred to as “the most English city outside of England”. Our private excursion today takes us from the port, through a bit of the town (showcasing lovely Victorian & Edwardian architecture) and up Port Hills for lovely views of the Southern Alps and ocean. Leaving the city, we’ll enjoy some of the beautiful farms that were established in the 1840’s as we explore this lush section of New Zealand called the Canterbury Plains – lovely, green landscapes with the snow-capped southern Alps in the background. A barbecue lunch, sheep dog and sheep shearing demonstration are included today on a lovely farm. Back in Christchurch, we’ll enjoy a lovely stroll along the Avon River before returning to the ship.
November 4: Today we wake up in port of Picton, New Zealand at the northern tip of the south island. You’ll have a free morning in town (free shuttles from the ship) and an early lunch. Our excursion departs at 12:30 and shows you the sweeping views overlooking the picturesque Cook Straits. We then drive 30 minutes to the town of Blenheim
where we’ve included admission to the Omaka Aviation Heritage Center. Started by Sir Peter Jackson (Lord of the Rings fame), this is his private collection of World War I aircraft and artifacts – but not just that. They recreate WWI
scenes as if you’re in them with interesting technology. The Sydney Herald called it “the best museum in the world” which may be an overstatement, but you get the idea. As our ship leaves port this afternoon, we’ll sail through scenic Queen Charlotte Sound and Captain Cook Ship Cove – places best enjoyed from comfort of our cruise ship.
November 5: Today we are in Wellington – New Zealand’s capital city. Our private tour takes you via cable car to enjoy the amazing panoramic views from Mt. Victoria. We’ll also make a brief visit to Kelburn Rose Gardens before making our way to the Weta Workshop to enjoy an interesting tour in the studios where they filmed much of Lord of the Rings. It’s a bit like a mini Universal Studios in New Zealand. Whether a fan of the epic movies or not, the tour here is very interesting. We’ll take you by Parliament and some other highlights before giving you some time in town before getting back on the ship.
November 6: Today we wake up on the North Island of New Zealand. We will be in the port of Napier until 2:00 PM. We highly recommend that you join us for an interesting morning tour that includes three things: First: A visit to Arataki Honey for an interesting education about honey bees (and a chance for some honey ice cream). Second: A short trip to the top of Te Mata Peak with fabulous views in all directions (and other interesting things we’ll show you). Third: A chance to browse in this interesting town of Napier that was almost entirely built in the 1920’s (after being destroyed by an earthquake). The whole town looks like a movie set from the 20’s with everything built in that distinct Art Deco style. It is unlike any other town in the world. We continue sailing north in the afternoon.
November 7: Today we are docked in Tauranga on the North Island. One of New Zealand’s most famous attractions is in Rotorua which is like the “Yellowstone” of New Zealand. We’ll drive about 40 minutes to Hellsgate Geothermal Park. It is sacred ground for the Maoris and you will enter with one of their chiefs. We’ll learn much about the Maori’s and witness an authentic Hangi performance which is always fun. We’ll then give you some free time in the fun town of Rotorua for shopping and lunch. Before returning to the ship, we’ll stop at Rainbow Springs Nature Park where you can see Kiwi’s and much more as you wander the lovely nature path. We then return to the ship in Tauranga.
November 8: This morning we dock in Auckland where our cruise comes to an end. You can transfer to the airport for flights home, or you can extend one day to see more of this area. Our excursion today will take us to two BEAUTIFUL and interesting places. First, we’ll make a picture stop at the LDS Temple in Hamilton, New Zealand, recently celebrating its 56th year. The grounds and surrounding area are beautiful to see. The scenery between Auckland and Hamilton is comprised of green, rolling hills and sheep farms. We’ll then continue another 30 minutes south to visit the famous Waitomo Caves known as Glow Worm Grotto. We board a small boat for a short ride inside these natural caves that are lit (from the ceiling) by glow worms! It is a very interesting sight to see. We then return to Auckland where we stay at an airport hotel in preparation for tomorrow’s flight.
November 9: Today, we board our plane for our flight through Los Angeles back to Salt Lake. Because we cross back over the dateline today, we retrieve the day we lost, so we get home mid day on the 9th.