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AUSTRALIA & NEW ZEALAND & CRUISE

AUSTRALIA & NEW ZEALAND & CRUISE

This bucket list trip to Australia and New Zealand is the ultimate dream vacation! Start with 14 nights in the Gold Coast, in your luxury ocean view apartment in the centre of Surfers Paradise! Then fly from Brisbane to World Heritage-listed Fraser Island for two nights, and discover this rare and beautiful island at the beginning of the Great Barrier Reef. Your accommodations will be at the stunning Kingfishers Bay Fraser Island resort, with views of the natural surroundings, while waking up to water views, and natural surroundings from your resort hotel room. Then continue to Sydney, Australia’s harbour city for a two nights stay. Your amazing journey continues with a luxurious 14 night New Zealand Discovery cruise aboard Holland America’s Ms. Noordam sailing from Sydney, Australia. Take in the spectacular scenery and discover some of the most popular ports in New Zealand’s North and South Islands. This is truly an adventure of a lifetime.

Includes

• round-trip airfare
• AUSTRALIA’S GOLD COAST: 14 nights at the Mantra Sun City Apartments
• ocean view apartment in the heart of Surfers Paradise, 15 minutes from the shopping centre
• four excursions, including: Outback Spectacular with Medieval dinner, Wilderness Rainforest tour with lunch, Brisbane city tour
and Aqua Duck Safari
• FRASER ISLAND: two nights at Kingfisher Bay Fraser Island resort with breakfast and dinner daily
• two excursions, including: Bushtucker and Taste and Beauty Spots 4WD with lunch, ferry transfers
• SYDNEY: two nights at the Grace Hotel with breakfast, and welcome dinner
• two excursions, including: Sydney city tour and Blue Mountains tour with lunch
• CRUISE: 14 night New Zealand Discovery cruise onboard Holland America’s MS. Noordam with meals
• all transfers, service fees, and gratuities**
• Merit Travel tour host

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32 nights

$11,495* p.p.


Departure Dates:
Feb. 9, 2018:
Toronto - $11,495* p.p.
Vancouver - $11,295* p.p

VIEW ITINERARY +

Day 1 | Feb. 9, 2018 | TORONTO—BRISBANE
Air Canada flight 33 departs Toronto 20:15 pm. arrives Vancouver 22:13 pm. Connecting with Air Canada flight 35 departs Vancouver on Feb 10 at 0035 am arrives Brisbane at 0915 am the following day.

Day 3 | Feb. 11, 2018 | BRISBANE—GOLD COAST
Upon arrival in Brisbane International airport meet your local representative, and transfer to your accommodations in the Gold Coast. Accommodations: Mantra Sun City Apartments
Address: 3400 Gold Coast Highway Surfers Paradise, QLD 4217
Phone: +07 5584 6000

Facilities:
The Mantra Sun City offers quality service and facilities including a fitness room, games room, 24-hour reception, outdoor pools with waterslides, indoor pool and sauna, restaurant, bar, café and porter service. The indoor and outdoor pool, sauna, steam room and indoor spa are all free of charge. One-bedroom ocean view apartments feature a balcony offering breathtaking views of the pacific ocean, one king bed (two twin beds can be requested), air conditioning, cable TV, pay per view movies, a fullyequipped kitchen and laundry facilities.
WiFi access can be provided in the apartments at a cost of: $25 AUD per day, $40 AUD for three days or $60 AUD for five days (data allowances apply). One cleaning is provided during your stay. Additional housekeeping service can be requested at a cost of $35 AUD per service.

Days 4-16 | Feb. 12-24, 2018 | GOLD COAST
Days at leisure to explore the Gold Coast and its surrounding areas on your own. Your Merit Travel tour host will be available for suggestions on optional excursions. You will have four cultural excursions included to really understand the local culture.

Day 6 | Feb. 14, 2018 | GOLD COAST
HALF-DAY BRISBANE EXCURSION: Depart your hotel for a half-day Brisbane city excursion to discover Brisbane's convict and colonial past, and see its oldest buildings including the magnificent St. John's Cathedral and City Hall, Treasury Casino, Parliament House and the Commissariat Store. Pass the City Botanical Gardens and stop on top of Kangaroo Point Cliffs for great views of the river and the city skyline. Then cross the Story Bridge, passing Chinatown to Bartley's Lookout, for a panoramic view of Brisbane. See Queensland's oldest home and enjoy sweeping views from Mt. Coot-tha Lookout, a favourite destination for locals and visitors. Return to your hotel in the Gold Coast.

Day 8 | Feb. 16, 2018 | GOLD COAST (L)
EXCURSION TO WILDERNESS RAINFOREST TOUR WITH SOUTHERN CROSS:
Depart your hotel for the World Heritage listed rainforests of Lamington National Park. The trek into the Hinterland region follows the original pioneer’s track to the volcanic plateau of Tamborine Mountain and this area of secluded eucalyptus forests provides a private sanctuary for koala, wallabies and other varied wildlife. Aboriginal people gathered food from the forest floor and the animals and birds that call the area home. Tucked away in the beautiful Sarabah Valley is our private lunch venue, Spring Gully, that has all the appeal of the outback, yet only a stone’s throw from the Gold Coast. This 400 acre property provides the ideal venue for a delicious BBQ lunch, and on a hot day, nearby cool waters and rock pools provide the opportunity for a refreshing swim. It is recommended that guests bring their swimsuits. Following lunch, the tour continues on into the mountainous regions of Lamington National Park (Australia’s largest preserved natural stand of subtropical rainforest). At O’Reilly’s Plateau, some 3,000 feet above sea level, colourful native birds flock around and can be fed. The Treetop Boardwalk through the rainforest canopy offers a bird’s eye view of this enchanting area, especially for those who climb the observation tower. Leaving O’Reilly’s we take in the magnificent view of mountains and valleys with a 300-degree view from the Gold Coast to Brisbane and around to the Great Dividing Range. On the return journey to the Gold Coast, sightings of kangaroos and the pretty-faced wallabies is common, as they emerge from their bush retreats to feed on the lush grass in the cooler part of the day. Return to your hotel in the Gold Coast.

Day 12 | Feb. 20, 2018 | GOLD COAST (D)
Aqua Duck Safari Excursion – Depart your hotel and experience the Gold Coast as you never have before! Your Ducktacular land and water tour begins with a bit of ducking and weaving around the streets of Surfers Paradise, followed by a waddle along the glorious Gold Coast beaches and up to the magnificent Versace and Marina Mirage Resorts. That's where our Aquaduck Gold Coast Adventure gets to show its true colours with a bit of 'duck diving' into the spectacular Broadwater and you get to experience the thrill of the big splash. Cruise along and take in the sights of the beautiful waterways and of course the fabulous millionaire's row. The Aquaduck has a unique seating layout which offers you more room to stand and move around, along with great views.

Day 13 | Feb. 21, 2018
OUTBACK SPECTACULAR, INCLUDING MEDIEVAL DINNER:
Depart your hotel and enjoy a fabulous dinner and a high country show at the Outback Spectacular. Saddle up and join us on a captivating journey to the snow peaked mountains of the high country, where enchanted whispers and legendary yarns come alive with the most inspiring stories of Australian characters. Be dazzled like never before by the amazing animal stars, and see death-defying stunts and aerial performances as you hear the brave tale of the Aussie girl sold to the circus at the tender age of seven. You will be mesmerized by the biggest display of special effects, seen as you travel the Road to Omeo, with Australia’s yesteryear ghosts. This popular dinner show is accompanied by a stirring musical score as well as fantastic country music composed and written by country music legend Lee Kernaghan. Australians are famous for their competitive spirit, and it’s impossible not to become involved in the competition that develops between stockmen and women from rival stations. High country hospitality demands that every visitor to the mountains be well fed, and that applies especially to the audience. Sit back and enjoy the majesty of an arena transformed into the snowy peaks of the high country as 40 stockmen and women serve up a gourmet Aussie feast with beer, wine or soft drink to every member of the audience—all in record time. Witness the bravery, beauty and courage of the greatest Australian stories never told. High Country Legends, proudly presented by R.M. Williams at the Australian Outback Spectacular.

Day 17 | Feb. 25, 2018 | GOLD COAST—FRASER ISLAND (D)
Transfer by coach to Brisbane airport for flight to Hervey Bay. Qantas flight 2376 departs Brisbane at 11:00 a.m. arrives Hervey Bay at 11:50 a.m. Upon arrival on Fraser Island, you will transfer to the Kingfisher Bay Mainland Reception to catch your ferry. The ferry departs River Heads (Hervey Bay) at 12:30 p.m. Sit back and enjoy a 50 minute cruise across the Great Sandy Straits to Kingfisher Bay Resort. On arrival, you will be met by the resort representative and transferred to reception for check-in. You will then join an afternoon Bushtucker and Taste tour, before relaxing in the afternoon at the resort. Enjoy a buffet dinner this evening. Accommodations: Kingfisher Bay Resort
Address: 4655 Fraser Island Queensland 4655
Phone: +61 7 4120 3333
Merit Travel | 1.866.341.1777 | MeritTravel.com/Longstays

Day 18 | Feb. 26, 2018 | FRASER ISLAND (B, L, D)
Enjoy a relaxing buffet breakfast at the Maheno Restaurant, then make your way to the Village Square to meet your Ranger for your day’s adventure on the world’s largest sand island. Embark on a full-day exploration of Fraser Island from the comfort of an air-conditioned, custom designed 4WD coach with lunch. Swim in the fresh waters of Eli Creek on Fraser Island’s eastern beach and see the rusting hulk of the Maheno Shipwreck and continue on to the coloured sands of the Pinnacles. Discover the former logging station at Central Station, walk along the boardwalk of Wanggoolba Creek, and visit Pile Valley, where Fraser famous Satinay trees grow in sand. Then take a dip in the clear waters of Lake McKenzie, walk around the sandy shoreline or just relax and enjoy the spectacular view. Arrive back at your resort and relax while enjoying the stunning views of the natural surroundings. A buffet dinner will be served at the resort.

Day 19 | Feb. 27, 2018 | FRASER ISLAND TO SYDNEY (B, D)
Enjoy a relaxing buffet breakfast at the Maheno Restaurant. Take some time and explore more of the natural surroundings with our team of resort rangers. Depart on the 10:30 a.m. ferry to transfer to the airport for your flight to Sydney. Qantas flight 2377 departs Hervey Bay at 12:15 p.m. arrives Brisbane at 1:10 p.m. connecting to Qantas flight 0537 departs Brisbane at 2:05 p.m. arrives in Sydney at 4:40 p.m. Upon arrival in Sydney, collect your luggage and meet your local representative for your transfer to the hotel. This evening, enjoy dinner at a local restaurant, I’m Angus (3 courses) within an easy 15 minute walk around the Darling Harbour/Cockle Bay district.
Accommodations: Grace Hotel Address: 77 York Street Sydney, NSW 2000
Phone: +612 8076 0385

Day 20 | Feb. 28, 2018 | SYDNEY (B, L)
Breakfast at hotel. Depart at 7:30 a.m. and travel to Lincolns Rock lookout for a beautiful view over the Blue Mountains. Arrive in the quaint mountain village of Leura with some free time to look at the shops and for morning tea. Travel onto Govetts Leap in Blackheath for a short walk and some more spectacular views, then onto the Three Sisters lookout. A two-course lunch will be provided at the Hydro Majestic, with our final stop of the day being the Scenic Railway which is included for two rides to take the group up and down the valley boardwalk. Arrive back at the hotel by 4.00 p.m.

Day 21 | Mar. 1, 2018 | NEW ZEALAND DISCOVERY CRUISE (B, D)
Depart our hotel mid-morning accompanied by our Sydney local guide for our sights of Sydney tour and the famous beaches. Driving through the city centre, we will see many contrasts—from the traditional Victorian architecture of the Town Hall and the Queen Victoria Building (worth an interior visit on your own) to the modern skyscrapers of the business district; from the sweeping design of the Opera House to the modern developments of Darling Harbour. Drive through the Botanic Garden to Lady Macquarie's Chair (for views of the harbour, the Opera House and bridge) and then head out to the exclusive eastern suburbs, passing Kings Cross en-route to Vaucluse and Double Bay. Continue to the Heads, famous Bondi Beach and historic Paddington with its iron railed town houses, ending at White Bay Cruise terminal where you will board your 14-night New Zealand Discovery Cruise at 3.00 p.m. onboard MS Noordam.

Facilities:
HOLLAND AMERICA’S MS. NOORDAM: Launched in 2006, MS.Noordam is the newest member of our renowned Vista-class ships. On board MS Noordam you will discover museum-quality paintings such as an oil painting of the city of Utrecht painted in 1842, as well as contemporary art like the series of photographs of music greats Dizzy Gillespie and BB King. One of the most valuable pieces of furniture on board the ship is a remarkable chest flanked by 17th-century Baroque columns, carved out of wood. Made in Germany in 1885, the chest is inlaid with ebony and precious stones. MS. Noordam exemplifies the classic style of ocean travel with contemporary amenities and modern enhancements. Dining: As You Wish dining is all about flexibility and freedom. Throughout the ship there are restaurants to suit every mood, from a casual lunch by the pool, to authentic Italian cuisine, to a legendary experience at Le Cirque, to a perfectly grilled porterhouse steak. If you prefer a private dining experience, enjoy complimentary 24-hour in-room dining.

SHIP FACTS:
Ship's Registry: The Netherlands
Passenger capacity: 1,924
Crew members: 800
Gross Tonnage: 82,318 grt.
Length: 936 feet | Beam: 105.8 feet
Maximum speed: 24 knots
Dedicated: February 2006, by actress Marlee Matlin
Below is information on your cruise itinerary and ports of call you will be visiting. Meals and gratuities are included onboard the cruise (B,L,D). Shore excursions are not included.

Day 35 | Mar. 15, 2018 | SYDNEY—TORONTO (B)
After breakfast disembark your cruise. Your guide will be waiting at the pier at 9:00 am. for your transfer to the airport for your flight home. Air Canada flight 34 departs Sydney at 11:20 am. arrives Toronto at 16:22 pm.
END OF SERVICES.

Location Map

*CDN$ pp. dbl. occ. taxes and port fees included. Based on Cat. L Interior stateroom or similar. Upgrade to Cat. D Outside stateroom or similar: $800. Upgrade to Cat. VD Balcony stateroom or similar: $1,400. Or Cat. VC Balcony stateroom or similar: $1,500. **Gratuities are included and prepaid onboard cruise.

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