Australian Natural Adventures

Custom Australia, New Zealand & Pacific tours and travel





Day 15 – Sunday, October 25: Adelaide / Sydney
sydney and bridge This morning taxi to the airport, or if you decided to keep the car drop it off and fly to Sydney at 9.30am, arriving at 11.55am. You are met and transferred to the Rendezvous Stafford hotel located in The Rocks, the historical heart of Sydney and adjacent to Circular Quay and Sydney Harbour. As well as a good range of interesting shops, some of Sydney's oldest and most colorful pubs, opera house and bridgeand best restaurants, are found within a ten minute stroll. Australia has developed its own cuisine, a far cry from the stodgy English-based fare of earlier years. Restaurants featuring a fusion of Asian, European and even native Australian food abound, often featuring the superbly fresh fish abundantly available from
cadman's cottageAustralia's long coastline. 

Just a short walk from your hotel (the desk can give you directions) is the office of the Rocks Walking Tours, from where you will start your 2.30pm easy 90-minute walking tour of this historic and vibrant area. Many of the buildings date from the very first years of the settlement, and are convict-built. You will get a good insight to the history of Sydney, and Australia.       (B,*S)


Day 16 – Monday, October 26: Sydney
Discover Sydney today, a wonderfully cosmopolitan city. Most of the day is free to explore this vibrant and friendly city. In addition to great shops to buy the needed souvenirs and gifts, just a short walk is thefruit bat Botanic Gardens and the Domain, which has good views of the harbor, an abundant bird life, and a colony of hbridge climbuge grey fruit-bats, whose wingspans are approximately three feet. While Herb and Keith climb Sydney Harbour Bridge, affording them great views from the top, Georgia and Judie find other aspects of Sydney more to their interest. The Australian Museum, with its impressive collection of Aboriginal artifacts and art, is close by, and you may wish to take a guided tour of the Opera House; tours leave on the half hour from 9.30am until 4.45pm. You could easily time this so the boys can see you - more or less - from the top of the bridge, and you could nominally photograph them. However, this may also be a good time to think about opals. Sydney is a good place to buy opals, and both Art of Opal and Ablack opalltmann & Cherny have a good range of loose and mounted opals in all price ranges. Both have opal displays, and information about mining .A visit to the Opera House can be followed by dinner and a sydney opera houseshow, or just a show, in one of the Opera House theatres, depending on your tastes. What's on can be seen here. Everything is within walking distance of your hotel, although the Museum is a little far and you may wish to take the bus or a train - Sydney is extremely well-serviced by buses and the underground. Lunch can be taken on a cruise on the harbor, with views of the Opera House and Harbour Bridge, as well as the boats and ferries of what is often called the most beautiful city harbor in the world. Suggested this evening is a ferry ride to Taronga Jetty, with a return straight away. This ferry will pass the Opera House and various other landmarks, and on your return the sun sets behind the bridge and opera house as the lights of the city are coming on. Sunset is at 6.17pm tonight, and the ferry ride in each direction is about 10 minutes.      

blue mountains lookout Day 17– Tuesday, October 27: Sydney
Today is to enjoy the sights of the Blue Mountains, including the Thee Sisters and short, scenic walking trails through eucalyptus forest on a guided tour. You'll enjoy the scenery on the road up the mountains - in part the same way the earliest explorers went. Your 4WD vehicle takes you along some tracks to see kangaroos grazing, parrots and other wildlife on your return journey. Duuring the day you’ll see all the most famous sights, including the Three Sisters. You'll arrive back in Sydney about 6pm.     (L)



Day 18 - Wednesday, October 28: Sydney / Auckland / Nelson
Fly this morning at 9.30am to Auckland, arriving at 2.30pm on Qantas flight 28. Pqantas landing at auckland airportass through NZ immigration and customs and move across to the domestic terminal either on foot - follow the sign-posted walkway - or via the shuttle bus. You can check your bags first on the ground floor of the International terminal at the domestic transfer desk. Change planes for your 5.30pm flight to Nelson, arriving at 6.50pm. Pick up your car at the airport and drive to your accommodation tonight, a 2 bedroom/2 bath apartment overlooking a lake. Sunset is at 8pm tonight, so you will arrive at your hotel well before dark.


Day 19– Thursday, October 29: Marlborough Region
As well as being the gateway to the Abel Tasman national Park, Nelson has two interesting world of wearable aart and classic cars posterattractions - the World of Wearable Art and Classic Cars Museum (there's also an art gallery showing contemporary New Zealand artists) and the Hoglund art glass gallery. After visiting one or both of these head east around the Richmond Range to Picton, at the base of the Queen Charlotte Sound and the northern lientrance to ship cove trackmit of the Marlborough wine region, New Zealand's most famous. Here you'll board the Delphinus for a half day ecocruise along the length of Queen Charlotte Sound. The Sound is one of New Zealand's most beautiful waterways, and this small boat cruise is oriented towards the wildlife of the area. After cruising much of the Sound you stop for about 45 minutes at Ship Cove, where in addition to its historical nature - this is where Captain Cook* first landed on the South Island, eventually spending over 3 months there over several visits - you'll encounter some local friendly wildlife, and be able to enjoy the untouched forest. On your return enjoy hot chocolate and cookies on board before arriving back about 5.30pm. Drive to your B&B near Blenheim (pronounced blennum) for the night.      (B,S)


Day 20 – Friday, October 30: Nelson/Blenheim
Explore New Zealand's famous Marlborough region today. There are about 40 wineries within a 15 mile radius of Blenheim, mostly thought the Wairua Valley. This area is ideal for Sauvignon Blanc, the area's signature wine,wine picninc but bicycle wine touralso increasingly for Pinot Noir. As well as wine the area is ideal for fruit and vegetables, and with New Zealand sheep everywhere, and of course fine seafood from the coast just minutes away, and taken together the Marlborough region is a gourmet's paradise. While it's easy to put together a self-driving wine tour, safety (and New Zealand's tough 0.05 level drink driving rules and random traffic stops) suggests that if there's no sacrificial designated driver a wine and food tour for half a day is a nice way to enjoy what the area has to offer. While there are several doing this, a more interesting and gentler way to get around is by bicycle. The roads are flat, and the distances short (Cloudy Bay, perhaps the area's most iconic winery, is just 5 minutes from downtown Blenheim) and with luck the weather mild and sunny making a bicycle tour a great option. If bicycles are not your forte, a small group tour can also be arranged.    (B)

Day 21 – Saturday, October 31: Blenheim/Christchurch

Wander down the east coast at your leisure to kaikoura coastChristchurch, a little under four non-stop hours away, and enjoy the English air, parks and gardenspunting on avon river christchurch of this pretty city. Kaikoura, about 80 miles south of Blenheim, offers Sperm Whale watching trips; these are best booked ahead, and there is a departure at 12.45pm and you need to be there at least 15 minutes prior to the tour. A highlight of Kaikoura is a crayfish lunch, or meal at any time. There are a number of small roadside places that will serve you a split crayfish (lobster) with salad in the simplest of surroundings. These crayfish were in the water within a few miles of your table last night, and can't be fresher. Of course New Zealand is famous for seafood, and look for green-lipped mussels, scallops and whitefish as well. There's also a 30 minute sheep-shearing demonstration in Kaikoura, with additional information about the sheep types. Your Christchurch hotel is centrally located, overlooking Victoria Square and the Avon River, where punting English-style is very popular. The hotel is just a five minute walk from the city center, and fifteen minutes from Hagley Park. It provides free parking for guests.    (B)


Day 22 – Sunday, November 1: Christchurch
christchurch tram A free day to explore Christchurch. Christchurch is known for churches and especially its gardens, both public and private. Suggested is a visit to one or two if the public gardens, such as Hagley Park and the Botanic Gardens which are easily accessible and adjacent to each other. Another feature of Christchurch is the International Antarctic Centre, which in addition to having displays open to the public, live penguins and other features is the base for several countries explorations of Antarctica, including the US. As it is likely that your car rental return location will close early today, you should either visit the Antarctic Centre in the morning, or alternatively drop your car off at the airport and have your hotel pick you up from there.      (B)


tranzalpine trainDay 23– Monday, November 2: Christchurch / Greymouth / Fox Village
Today taxi to the railway station (about ten minutes) to take the famous Tranzalpine train at 8.15am across the island to Greymouth, where you arrivepancake rocks paparoa national park at 12.45pm. A couple of minutes away, at the station, is your car rental location where you pick up your next rental car. Depending on how you feel you could first drive about half an hour north along the coast to Paparoa National Park, where limestone rocks appear stacked like pancakes, and blowholes create impressive sprays of water. There are inland and beach walks in and around this ponamu tikismall national park. Retrace your steps to Greymouth and continue south, stopping at the small town of Hokitika for ponamu (jade) carvings and other crafts produced by local artisans as you head towards Fox Glacier Village, your stop tonight. Alternatively just head south to Hokitika and continue on to Fox Glacier Village, about 2 non-stop hours away. Overnight tonight at the Fox Glacier Mountain View B&B, set out of town with sweeping views of the snow-capped mountains.    (B)



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