Day 1 - Brisbane Once considered the "country cousin" among Australian cities, Brisbane is today the nation's third-largest metropolis - and one of the most desirable places to live in the country. Lying on the banks of the meandering Brisbane River, this cosmopolitan city boasts elegant 19th-century sandstone buildings, a lively cultural scene and superb parklands. Brisbane is also your gateway to uniquely Australian adventures, be it the theme parks of the Gold Coast or Queensland's dazzling beaches.
Day 2 - At Sea
Day 3 - At Sea
Day 4 - At Sea
Day 5 - Auckland Straddling a narrow isthmus created by 60 different volcanoes, New Zealand's former capital boasts scenic beauty, historical interest and a cosmopolitan collection of shops, restaurants, museums, galleries and gardens. Rangitoto, Auckland's largest and youngest volcano, sits in majestic splendor just offshore. Mt. Eden and One Tree Hill, once home to Maori earthworks, overlook the city. One of New Zealand's fine wine districts lies to the north of Auckland. Auckland served as New Zealand's capital from 1841 until 1865, when the seat of government moved to Wellington.
Day 6 - Tauranga New Zealand's natural bounty is always on display at the Bay of Plenty. It was Captain James Cook who in 1769 aptly named this bay after he was able to replenish his ship's provisions, thanks to the prosperous Maori villages of the region. Tauranga, the chief city, is a bustling port, an agricultural and timber center and a popular seaside resort. Tauranga is also the gateway to Rotorua - a geothermal wonderland that is the heart of Maori culture. A 90-minute drive from Tauranga, Rotorua is New Zealand's primary tourist attraction. Your ship docks near the foot of Mt. Maunganui, which rises 761 feet above the bay. Across the harbor, Tauranga offers scenic tidal beaches at Omokoroa and Pahoia. The region boasts fine beaches, big-game fishing, thermal springs and seaside resorts.
Day 7 - Napier Napier and Hawke's Bay have become New Zealand's premier lifestyle getaways. Located on the North Island's eastern coast, New Zealand's oldest wine-growing region boasts a superb Mediterranean climate and golden sand beaches. In recent years, Hawke's Bay has become a leading producer of fine olive oils and artisanal cheeses. Wildlife lovers and birders will flock to Cape Kidnappers in Southern Hawke Bay: the Cape is home to the largest mainland gannet colony in the world. In 1931, a 7.8 magnitude earthquake leveled Napier. The town rebuilt itself, and today Napier is hailed as the "Art Deco City" for its superb collection of Deco, Spanish Mission and Classical Revival buildings.
Day 8 - Wellington New Zealand's capital offers stunning views of forested peninsulas, dramatic cliff-side homes and fine Victorian buildings. Settled in 1840 by the London-based New Zealand Company, "wonderful, windy Wellington" is frequently buffeted by bracing winds funnelling through Cook Strait. The sophisticated metropolis boasts museums, winding streets and even a cable car. No wonder many travelers compare it to San Francisco. Despite its steep hills, the city can be easily explored on foot. Kelburn Cable Car, stairways and footpaths climb the slopes from the city center.
Day 9 - Akaroa On the eastern shores of New Zealand's South Island, Akaroa is a popular tourist destination with a distinctly French flair, its history steeped in legend. It lies on the volcanic Banks Peninsula, which the Maori believe was formed when a hero named Maui piled mountains upon a giant who threatened to eat his children. The same peninsula was purchased from the local Maori by a French whaler around 1838, and was later settled by both the French and the British, who had just signed the Treaty of Waitangi ensuring New Zealand's existence as a British colony. With French-named streets leading to restaurants serving French cuisine and colonial architecture all around, Akaroa's heritage as the only French-founded community in New Zealand is unmistakable. Akaroa harbour is home to a diverse array of marine life, including rare Hector's dolphins, and visitors are lured by the area's secluded beaches and quaint boutiques.
Day 10 - Dunedin, New Zealand Perched on the hills above one of New Zealand's loveliest harbors, Dunedin is a Kiwi city with a Scottish heart. Hailed as the "Edinburgh of New Zealand," Dunedin is proud of its heritage. A statue of famed Scottish poet Robert Burns graces downtown, and the presence of New Zealand's only kilt maker and whisky distillery - as well as many bagpipe bands - keep Dunedin's ties to Scotland alive. The city also boasts a distinguished architectural and cultural history, a legacy of New Zealand's 1860s gold rush. Port Chalmers, gateway to Dunedin, is located eight miles from the city center. Dunedin is a planned city: its streets and suburbs fan out from the city's octagon.
Day 11 - Fiordland National Park New Zealand's largest national park was formed millennia ago by massive glacial flows that carved deep fiords into the coast of New Zealand's South Island. At the heart of Fiordland National Park lies Milford Sound. Lined by cliffs that soar nearly a mile above its surface, Milford Sound cuts into the heart of the Southern Alps. Rainforest clings to the cliffs and graceful waterfalls plummet into the void. Mile-high Mitre Peak dominates the upper reaches of the sound. The town of Te Anau in Fiordland National Park is also your gateway to the South Island's other natural wonders including Lake Wakatipu, the resort of Queenstown and Mt. Cook National Park.
Day 12 - At Sea
Day 13 - At Sea
Day 14 - At Sea
Day 15 - Brisbane Once considered the "country cousin" among Australian cities, Brisbane is today the nation's third-largest metropolis - and one of the most desirable places to live in the country. Lying on the banks of the meandering Brisbane River, this cosmopolitan city boasts elegant 19th-century sandstone buildings, a lively cultural scene and superb parklands. Brisbane is also your gateway to uniquely Australian adventures, be it the theme parks of the Gold Coast or Queensland's dazzling beaches.
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