Australian Natural Adventures

nature travel, wildlife tours, adventure travel and general travel to Australia, New Zealand and the Pacific


Custom Australia & New Zealand tour for

Richard & Margaret Atmar

wildlife crossing sign Australia

April 13 - M ay 11, 2005


Day 1 – Wednesday, April 13: Houston / Los Angeles / Lost in Space
Fly to Los Angeles, and transfer to the Tom Bradley International Terminal for your 10.30pm Air New Zealand flight to Auckland, New Zealand. Down Under begins the moment you step aboard your Air New Zealand plane. The Australian/New Zealand style is apparent—easy going, casually efficient and very friendly. Air NZ is known for its excellent food and in flight service, so sit back and enjoy the hospitality, meal and a movie.

Day 2 – Thursday, April 14: Lost In Space
Day lost due to the International Dateline, but regained on the return journey.

Day 3 – Friday, April 15: Auckland / Queenstown
You arrive in Auckland early morning, pass through customs and immigration and New Zealand jade tikitransfer to your flight to Christchurch and Queenstown on the South Island. Check in to your hotel and relax. However, it’s important not to lie down – even for a short while, or take “just a nap.” You need to stay up until about 8pm tonight, to more easily adapt to the new time zone. Dinner might be taken tonight on Bob’s Peak, with its stunning views, accessed by cablecar. There is an excellent kiwi house and birdlife park located near the base of the gondola which you may be interested in, and will give you a first look at New Zealand's national emblem. *B

Day 4 – Saturday, April 16: Queenstown / Milford Sound / Te AnauMilford Sound New Zealand
This morning travel by bus to Te Anau and Milford Sound, a very scenic and enjoyable ride. While Milford Sound itself Fiordland Milford Sound New Zealandis justly famous for its spectacular beauty, the road from Te Anau to the Sound is rightly considered one of the world’s best drives. Towering snow-clad peaks, forests and superb vistas combine to make this an unforgettable day. Once on the Sound your nature-oriented boat will spend two hours cruising the waters, describing the geology, wildlife and natural history of the area. With luck dolphins, penguins and other inhabitants may be seen. Return to Te Anau this afternoon to overnight at the Luxmore Hotel. A packed lunch is included in the boat cruise. B,L

Day 5 - Sunday, April 17: Queenstown / Invercargill / Stewart Island
Travel south to Invercargill by intercity coach, departing at 8am and arriving at 11.15am. Once again this is a scenic drive, opening up the vistas of the South Island from the mountains to the southern plains. At Invercargill take the 15 minute, 1pm flight Stewart Island Lodge New Zealandacross to Stewart Island, where the isolation has maintained a lifestyle lost in many parts of New Zealand. Simple farming, fishing and a sense of old world leisure pervades. There are many walking trails, conservation areaorange-fronted parrot New Zealands and beaches to explore. On arrival you are met and transferred to your hotel, the comfortable and friendly Stewart Island Lodge. Stewart is the best place in New Zealand to see the Kiwi, as well as many other kinds of New Zealand’s birds. This evening or the next you will travel to a beach with your guide to look for the sometimes elusive kiwi as it forages along the shore. Your accommodation for the next two nights is at the traditional and comfortable South Sea Hotel. B

Day 6– Monday, April 18: Stewart Island
Today you explore the island, with its trails, wildlife and history. There is much to see, from seabirds spreading their huge wings to wildflowers and sealions, and your guide for an exploration of the island will help you understand the nature of this southern outpost. There are few better places to Ulva Island water taxi New Zealandget a feel for the true New Zealanders, and their history. Also included is a guided trip on Ulva Island, a major bird and wildlifekiwi New Zealand sanctuary in the bay. On the trip to the island you may see skuas (jaegers), and very occasionally albatrosses, both wind-soarers of the wild southern seas. This evening you will take to a beach after dark, where in the company of your expert guide you will look for Kiwis, the symbol of New Zealand. Stewart Island is probably the only place in all of New Zealand where you have a reasonable chance of seeing this elusive bird. You’ll be going to the same place that David Attenborough managed to film these unique birds for his Life of Birds television series. B

Day 7– Tuesday, April 19: Stewart Island / Invercargill / Dunedinyellow-eyed penguin New Zealand
sheep New Zealand This morning fly back to Invercargill at 8.15am, pick up your car and self-drive to Dunedin on the east coast, through typical New Zealand rolling sheep country. The drive is a very easy three hours. Dunedin, and the Otago Peninsula, is home to nesting colonies of both Royal Albatross and the extremely rare Yellow-eyed Penguin, and both of these are on our agenda this afternoon and tomorrow morning. Your admission to both colonies is included, and an introductory talk about the albatrosses and a guided walk to see the penguins. Overnight tonight at the Southern Cross Hotel. B

Day 8 – Wednesday, April 20: Dunedin / Christchurch / Melbourne
After a final look around Dunedin this morning - it's a favorite New Zealand city for many people - fly to Christchurch to connect with your 3.15pm flight across the Tasman Sea to Melbourne, Australia. You arrive about 5.30pm, and are met and transferred to your hotel. B,*M

Day 9– Thursday, April 21: Melbourne
The morning is open to relax a little and look at Flinders St Station Melbourne Victoria AustraliaMelbourne, and to relax after your busy time in New Zealand. The Botanic Gardens are world-class, and close byCaptain Cooks Cottage Melbourne Victoria Australia . Also close by is the National Gallery of Victoria, with probably the world’s best collection of Australian art, and a notable collection of masterpiece works (a part of which toured selected US galleries in 2003). For the history buff the Fitzroy Gardens, at the top of Collins St, has Captain Cook’s Cottage, his actual home that was packed up and shipped to Melbourne for re-erection. It’s interesting to see just how small an English middle-class home was back then.

Day 10 – Friday, April 22: Melbourne / Warrnambool
Great Ocean Road Victoria Australia This morning pick up your rental car and head southwest to Geelong, Torquay and the Great Ocean Road. This now-famous stretch of Victorian coast, and the road that snakes along it for about 70 miles, offers superb views of the Southern Ocean, beaches, and near Port Campbell the sandstone stacks known as theOtway Ranges, Great ocean Road, Victoria Australia Twelve Apostles. Another feature, London Bridge, has become London Arches due to erosive wave action. Take you time along the route – the non-stop but easy drive to grey kangaroo Anglesea golf course, Great ocean Road, Victoria AustraliaPeterborough takes about four hours – and enjoy the scenery. Check the golf course at Anglesea for kangaroos, a common sight there. About three quarters of the way along the road are the Otway Ranges, and you should allow some time to enjoy this area of forests and glens, usually rich in bird calls. Continue past Peterborough (the official end of the Great Ocean Road) a further 40 miles to Warrnambool and overnight.

Day 11 – Saturday, April 23: Warrnambool / Hall's Gap, The Grampians
kookaburaa Australia
galah Australia Today first visit Tower Hill, an extinct but recent volcano now home to a lake and wildlife reserve a few miles west of Warrnambool. Swing north to Mount Eccles National Park, a volcanic cone complete with small lake and lava tunnels. Continue north via Hamilton to Dunkeld and up through the Grampians National Park to Halls Gap. Just outside Hall’s Gap is Wonderland, a place oGrampians lookout Victoria Australiaf strange weathered sandstone formations featuring lots of silica. Around Hall’s Gap is plenty of wildlife, from the easy-going kangaroos to galahs, kookaburras and much else. Overnight in Hall’s Gap.



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