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The Ghan Railway, Australia

Southern Explorer

Tour Code: ECCN
Tour Duration: 25 Days

Boats, New Zealand
Southern Explorer is a 25 Day tour from North America that is Fully Escorted in Australia and New Zealand. Your APT Tour Director will meet you on arrival "Downunder", introduce you to your fellow travelers, and escort you from beginning to end on your unforgettable South Pacific adventure.

Cities you will visit while on tour include Auckland, Rotorua, Christchurch, Arthurs Pass, Queenstown, Milford Sound, Franz Josef Glacier, Sydney, Melbourne, Adelaide, Alice Springs, Ayers Rock, Cairns, Darwin, Kakadu National Park, Port Douglas and more.

Tour Highlights
Sightseeing Highlights
Travel aboard the luxurious Ghan Railway, following the original route of the Afghan camel trains across the Red Centre desert
Tour World Heritage Kakadu National Park
See crocodiles in the wild on the Jumping Crocodile Cruise
Explore the resort town of Port Douglas
Tour Uluru (Ayers Rock), learning of the ancient legends surrounding this landmark
Visit Chateau Yaldara Winery, Barossa Valley
Sightseeing tour of Melbourne
Guided tour of Sydney Opera House
City sights tour of tropical Cairns
Cruise the glow-worm grotto, Waitomo Caves
Visit Rainbow Springs to see the Kiwi bird
Cross the Southern Alps by rail aboard the TranzAlpine Train
Explore the domes of Kata Tjuta (Olgas)
View the imposing Franz Josef Glacier
Cruise the full length of spectacular
Milford Sound admiring Mitre Peak
Christchurch city sights tour
Ride the Skyrail Cableway above rain forest
Nourlangie Rock Aboriginal art site
Tour the thermal region of Rotorua
Enjoy Royale Service as you travel through rain forest on the Kuranda Scenic Railway

Superior Accommodation
Three nights at Sydney Harbour Marriott Hotel; see the Harbour Bridge from your room
Two nights in luxurious Port Douglas
Stay two nights at Sails in the Desert, your home at Uluru (Ayers Rock)
Stay two nights in the heart of Melbourne
Stay three nights in stunning Queenstown
Centrally located hotels in key locations
All hotel porterage and tipping included

Finest Dining - 43 Meals Included
Dine Around Dinner, Queenstown
Dine in style on Sydney's stunning harbor
Colonial Tramcar Restaurant, Melbourne
'Sounds of Silence' dinner in the desert
Traditional Maori Hangi (feast) and cultural performance
24 hot breakfasts (B); 3 lunches (L)
16 dinners, Freedom of Choice Dining - multi-choice menus or buffets (D)
Restaurant tipping included

Feature Benefits
Tour prices include all touring as listed plus all air from North America and within Australia and New Zealand
Friendly and professional Tour Director and Driver/Guide at your service
Luxury motorcoaches featuring large panoramic windows, reclining seats with foot rests and rest room
Cultural Touring Experiences
Free travel kit including stylish travel bag


Southern Explorer (ECCN) Map

Click map to view full size

   B = Breakfast    L = Lunch    D = Dinner 

(Departure dates and pricing below itinerary)
Day 1 Fri. Los Angeles
This evening board your flight bound for Australia. (D)

Day 2 Sat. In Flight
Cross the international dateline and 'lose' a day.

Day 3 Sun. Sydney
Meet your Tour Director on arrival at Sydney Airport and transfer to your hotel. We have arranged a special early check-in, so you can spend the day relaxing or step out to explore. Tonight, join fellow travelers and your Tour Director at the hotel.
Three Night Stay: Sydney Harbour Marriott Hotel. Enjoy luxurious rooms with Harbour Bridge views. (BD)

Day 4 Mon. Harbour Cruise, City Sights Tour, Opera House Guided Tour and Dinner
This morning we cruise Sydney Harbour, taking in the sights that make Sydney so recognizable, such as the magnificent Harbour Bridge, Opera House and Fort Denison. Then we tour the landmark sites of Sydney, including Hyde Park, Kings Cross, the Royal Botanic Gardens, the historic Rocks area and famous Bondi Beach. This afternoon, a guide takes us through one of the world's architectural wonders and a true Sydney icon, the Sydney Opera House. Tonight, enjoy dinner in one of Sydney's finest restaurants. (BD)

Day 5 Tue. At Leisure in Sydney
Today is free for you to explore Sydney. From your hotel, it's a short walk to the historic Rocks area and Circular Quay. Perhaps take a sightseeing excursion to the nation's capital, Canberra, or to the stunning Blue Mountains (own expense). Tonight is yours to explore Sydney and its world-class restaurants.
Your Tour Director can help with arrangements. (B)

Day 6 Wed. Sydney, Cairns, Port Douglas
This morning we fly to Cairns, the largest city in Northern Queensland. From here, drive north to the exclusive resort town of Port Douglas. Enjoy the afternoon at leisure; perhaps take a walk along the palm-fringed beaches Port Douglas is renowned for.
Two Night Stay: Port Douglas, the stunning Radisson Treetops Resort. (BD)

Day 7 Thur. Port Douglas, Barrier Reef Cruise, Underwater Viewer, Snorkeling
This morning, board a luxury catamaran for a full day guided cruise to the World Heritage Great Barrier Reef. At Agincourt Reef, a magnificent ribbon reef, glide through the coral gardens aboard the semi-sub, or swim and snorkel over an enchanting seascape. You can also view the marine life from the underwater observatory. A delicious lunch is served on board. (BL)

Day 8 Fri. Breakfast with the Birds, Pamagirri Aboriginal Dancers, Kuranda Train, Skyrail Cableway, Cairns
This morning, enjoy Breakfast with the Birds at the Rainforest Habitat, feasting on a tropical breakfast within this lush native environment. After breakfast, explore the wetlands on a guided tour. Hand-feed kangaroos and view native wildlife. Ride the Skyrail above the rain forest to Kuranda. At Rainforestation, see the Pamagirri Aboriginal Dancers perform. This afternoon, ride the Kuranda Scenic Railway through rain forest down the mountain range to Cairns, enjoying the luxury of Royale Service all the way.
Accommodation: Cairns, the superb Radisson Plaza Hotel at the Pier, right on the waterfront. (BD)

Day 9 Sat. Cairns at Leisure, Darwin
Explore Cairns at leisure, with time to stroll along the Esplanade. Join your flight to Darwin.
Accommodation: Darwin, Saville Park Suites. (B)

Day 10 Sun. Kakadu National Park, Jumping Croc Cruise, Nourlangie Rock
In World Heritage Kakadu, board the Jumping Croc Cruise along the Adelaide River. View birdlife and the saltwater crocodile. Later, we visit Nourlangie Rock, exploring ancient Aboriginal rock art.
Accommodation: Kakadu National Park, Gagudju Crocodile Holiday Inn. (BD)

Day 11 Mon. Bowali Visitor Centre,
This morning we call into the Bowali Visitor Centre, where educational displays detail Kakadu's fauna, flora and Aboriginal culture. Fly to Alice Springs.
Accommodation: Alice Springs Resort. (BD)

Day 12 Tue. Alice Springs Town Tour, Uluru (Ayers Rock), Kata Tjuta (Olgas)
This morning we tour Alice Springs, including the Royal Flying Doctor Base, for a unique insight into Outback life. Travel to Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park, home of Uluru (Ayers Rock) and the domes of Kata Tjuta (Olgas). Explore Kata Tjuta on a guided walk.
Two Night Stay: Ayers Rock Resort, Sails in the Desert Hotel. Luxury in the Australian Red Centre. (B)

Day 13 Wed. Uluru (Ayers Rock) Base Tour,
Tour the base of Uluru (Ayers Rock), viewing caves and Aboriginal rock art. At the Cultural Centre and Maruku Arts and Crafts Gallery, you can purchase Aboriginal artifacts. Tonight, as the sun sets on Uluru, enjoy the haunting sounds of the didgeridoo during the gourmet 'Sounds of Silence' dinner. After dinner, an astronomer guides you through the stars of the great southern skies using powerful telescopes. (BD)

Day 14 Thur. Alice, The Ghan Train Journey
Return to Alice Springs in time for your afternoon boarding of The Ghan. Begin one of the world's great train journeys through stunning desert landscapes to Adelaide. On board, enjoy first-class sleeper berths, fine dining, bar facilities and inimitable Australian scenery.
Accommodation: The Ghan. (BD)

Day 15 Fri. Adelaide, Barossa Valley
Complete your unforgettable journey aboard The Ghan on arrival in Adelaide. Travel to the wine region of the Barossa Valley where you can savor superb wines and wander among historical buildings and galleries. Visit the Barossa Wine and Visitor Centre and learn of the winemaking process at Chateau Yaldara Winery. Take in panoramic views from Menglers Hill and visit Haigh's Chocolates for some delicious tastings.
Accommodation: Adelaide, Radisson Playford. (BD)

Day 16 Sat. Adelaide, Melbourne Tour, Colonial Tramcar Lunch
Join a flight to Melbourne. On arrival, take in the city sights, including Victoria Market, Parliament House and Fitzroy Gardens. For lunch, board the Colonial Tramcar Restaurant, a fully restored vintage tramcar. Enjoy delicious food and fine wines while touring the beautiful streets of the 'Garden City'.
Two Night Stay: The Melbourne Marriott, in the center of this vibrant city. (BL)

Day 17 Sun. At Leisure in Melbourne
Step out and explore Melbourne at your own pace today. Stroll down to Southgate on the Yarra River or visit the city's exclusive shopping arcades. Perhaps take a tour to the Great Ocean Road or the famous Penguin Parade at Phillip Island (own expense). (B)

Day 18 Mon. Fly to New Zealand, Christchurch City Sights Tour
A morning flight takes us to New Zealand's South Island and the city of Christchurch. On arrival, tour the city's elegant gardens and grand architecture.
Accommodation: Christchurch, Crowne Plaza. (BD)

Day 19 Tue. Southern Alps, Franz Josef
Board the TranzAlpine Train for a journey through spectacular alpine scenery in the Southern Alps. We continue down the coast to the Franz Josef Glacier. A scenic helicopter flight landing on the glacier is available (own expense).
Accommodation: Franz Josef Glacier Hotel. (BD)

Day 20 Wed. Queenstown, DINE AROUND
Magical alpine scenery is on offer as we drive over Haast Pass, then along the shores of lakes Wanaka and Hawea. Experience our special Dine Around Dinner tonight as you dine in your choice of Queenstown's restaurants.
Three Night Stay: Queenstown, Queenstown Gardens Hotel, right on the lakefront. (BD)

Day 21 Thur. Milford Sound Cruise
Discover the beauty of Fiordland National Park on our Milford Sound cruise, passing beneath spectacular tumbling waterfalls and famous Mitre Peak. The optional return flight to Queenstown provides a memorable aerial perspective of this untamed region (own expense). (BL)

Day 22 Fri. At Leisure in Queenstown
A free day to relax and enjoy this spectacular resort town at your own pace. Visit the many shopping arcades, take a thrilling jet boat or helicopter ride, play a round of golf or enjoy a winery tour, the choice is yours (own expense). (B)

Day 23 Sat. Rotorua, Traditional Feast
A morning flight takes us to New Zealand's North Island and the thermal region of Rotorua. We tour the Whakarewarewa Thermal Reserve, viewing its boiling mudpools and steaming geysers, then travel to Rainbow Springs to view the rare Kiwi bird. Tonight, we are welcomed as special guests at a traditional Maori Hangi (feast) and cultural performance.
Accommodation: Rotorua, Royal Lakeside Novotel. (BD)

Day 24 Sun. Waitomo Caves, Auckland
This morning we take a guided boat tour of the glow-worm grotto at Waitomo Caves, then continue to the city of Auckland.
Accommodation: Auckland, Crowne Plaza. (BD)

Day 25 Mon. Auckland, Los Angeles
Enjoy a late checkout before an evening flight. Arrive in Los Angeles Monday morning. (B and BD)


Departure Dates and Price (Back to beginning of itinerary)
Southern Explorer
Tour Code: ECCN

Fully inclusive air/land tour prices
include all international and domestic airfares in Australia and are based on flights starting and  finishing in Los Angeles (US$) and Vancouver (Cdn$).
 Departure Dates US$ Cdn$
Jan 10;
Feb 7;

Please call or email for current prices.

Mar 6, 20;    
Oct 15;
Nov 12.
Jan 21;
Feb 11;
Mar 4, 25.    

-Many dates are guaranteed - ask when booking.

-For departures after March 2005 please inquire.
-Single Supplement may apply.
-Land Only tour prices available upon request.
-Special add-on airfares from US and Canadian cities available upon request.
-Air taxes and departure taxes not included.
Additional Information

Extend Your Vacation With a Stopover in Tropical Fiji
Indulge yourself and add a few days to your South Pacific vacation with a three day stopover in tropical Fiji. Enjoy the warm, clear blue Pacific waters and unspoilt sandy beaches of this island paradise. Your three day stopover includes two nights accommodation, airport transfers, a cruise and a barbecue lunch on the second day.




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