THE BRITISH ISLES - ENGLAND, IRELAND, SCOTLAND & WALES (MAY 5TH - 28TH, 2013)

Professionally Hosted by: Monica Bayda

Day 1 - Depart Saskatoon for Dublin, Ireland.

Day 2 - Arrive Dublin (B/L/D) - “Cead Mile Failte – A Hundred Thousand Welcomes to Ireland” - On arrival and after clearing Irish Passport Control, we will be met by our local Tour Director and be transferred to the hotel. Two nights in Dublin. Rest of the day is free to relax or take a little stroll down O’Connell Street. 

Day 3 – Dublin Sightseeing (B/D). They say Dublin is delightful and full of surprises, so after breakfast we will set out on a city tour to explore the sights. Our local guide will take us through the history of this Fair City. You will see Dublin Castle, St. Patrick’s Cathedral, Phoenix Park, and of course a visit to Trinity College is a must. Here we will admire the ancient Book of Kells. This 1200 year old manuscript is a feat of artistic intricacy. It depicts the four gospels creatively crafted by the monks at Kells. This evening we will enjoy a Traditional Irish Dinner and Show. 

Day 4 – Dublin - Rock of Cashel - Kinsale, one night (B). We say good-bye to Dublin city as we continue our journey south, travelling through the rolling pasture lands of the Golden Vale of Tipperary. We will stop for a visit at the spectacular Rock of Cashel. Continuing through the Vale of Tipperary, we stop at the town of Clonmel and then continue to the quaint village of Kilsheelan. Our overnight will be in the town of Kinsale which is known as the gourmet capital of Ireland. Located by the ocean you will delight in the delicious fresh seafood meals. Dinner is not included this evening, as we will enjoy finding that quaint restaurant on our own. 

Day 5 – Kinsale - Blarney - Killarney, two nights (B/D). A short drive will take us to Blarney Castle, where the legend says that if you kiss the stone of eloquence on top of the castle, you will be blessed with the gift of the gab. Wonderful shopping at the Blarney Woolen Mills, where we can find every Irish gift imaginable, from beautiful hand-knitted Arran sweaters to wee leprechauns. A scenic drive down the road will take us to the most picturesque part of Ireland, the Lakes of Killarney. A ride around the Lakes on a traditional Irish Jaunting car is planned this afternoon. 

Day 6 – Killarney - Ring of Kerry, two nights (B/D). Travel through the dramatic landscape of the “Ring of Kerry”. Admire plunging cliffs, shimmering lakes, granite mountains, and jagged wind-swept coastlines as we pass through quaint villages lost in time. This is the most Gaelic area of Ireland, where the locals still speak the traditional old Irish language. 

Day 7 – Killarney to Galway, one night (B/D). As we journey to Galway, we will travel through the town of Limerick famous for the movie Angela’s Ashes. We will enjoy a view of St. Mary’s Cathedral, King John’s Castle and the famous Treaty Stone. Continuing our journey we will drive through the mysterious limestone landscape known as the Burren. This is an outcropping left over by the ice-age. We will enjoy a stop at the Cliffs of Moher before arriving in Galway City. 

Day 8 – Galway to Belfast, three nights (B/D). Today we will drive through the bog-lands where turf was the main source of income for the people of this region. Arrive in Newgrange where we will visit a prehistoric monument built during the Neolithic period around 3200 BC. This tomb is older than the Pyramids of Egypt. Driving north through County Down we will arrive in Belfast for our three night stay. 

Day 9 - Giants Causeway - London Derry (B/D). Today we will visit a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Here we will stand on basalt columns left by volcanic eruptions 60 million years ago. This area is steeped in folklore and we will hear the legend of the Scottish Giant who the locals gave credit for building the causeway. London Derry is a city with a very troubled past. Our local Derry guide will take us on a stroll around the city walls and relate to us the sad history of this northern town. 

Day 10 – Belfast sightseeing and Mount Stewart Garden (B/D). On the city tour this morning, we will see the City Hall, Queen’s University, the historical Stormont Castle, and the shipyard where the legendary Titanic was built, with the addition of the new Titanic Museum. After lunch, we will visit the beautiful Mount Stewart Gardens located in Co Down. Here we will visit the Shamrock Garden, Italian Garden, Spanish Garden and Mount Stewart House. 
 
Day 11 - Belfast - Ballaculish, Scotland, one night (B/D). We bid farewell to the Emerald Isle, boarding the ferry for a short ride from Larne to Cairnryan in Scotland. “Welcome to Bonnie Scotland”: Our journey takes us through the spectacular Ayrshire countryside arriving in the town of Ballachulish for a one night stay. 

Day 12 - Ballachulish - Isle of Skye, one night (B/D). Admire the magnificent scenery along the banks of Loch Lomond. A perfect picture stop. Hear tales of the tragic massacre of 1692 at Glencoe. Continue along the shores of Loch Linnhe in the shadow of Ben Nevis, before arriving in the Isle of Skye. 

Day 13 – Isle of Skye - Scottish Highlands - Aviemore, 2 nights (B/D). Hear the legend of the monster and its many mysterious sightings, as we stop to take photos on the banks of Loch Ness. 
 
Day 14 - Scottish Highlands (B/D). After a leisurely breakfast we will drive through the Scottish Highlands. Pass the ruins of Urquhart Castle on our way to visit the battlefield at Culloden, where Bonnie Prince Charlie’s army was crushed by the English. 
 
Day 15 – Aviemore - Pitlochry - St. Andrews - Edinburgh, 2 nights (B/D). Drive through the picturesque Cairngorm Mountains to view Blair Castle and visit the charming fishing village of Pitlochry. See the ecclesiastical ruins of St. Andrews and take a picture at the 18th hole of the famous Royal and ancient golf course. Cross the Firth of Forth to the inspiring city of Edinburgh. 

Day 16 - Edinburgh sightseeing (B/D). Our guided tour will take us to Edinburgh Castle. We will see the Royal Mile, the 18th century New Town with its classical facades, the new Scottish Parliament building and we will stroll on Princess Street. Lots to see in this beautiful city. This evening enjoy a Traditional Scottish dinner with entertainment. 

Day 17 – Edinburgh - Billingham - York, one night (B/D). Time to say good-bye to Bonnie Scotland. Today we head south to the historical city of York. En route we will see the ruins of Jedburgh Abbey. Admire Hadrian’s Wall from the time of the Romans and visit the town of Billingham, before arriving in the medieval town of York. 

Day 18 - York - Chester, two nights (B/D). Walking tour of York includes the Manson House, the Roman Walls, the Shambles, and awe-inspiring Minster. Prior to leaving this intriguing town a visit to the National Railway Museum is planned. Here you will see 100 locomotives and enjoy the history of the railroad. Leaving York a short two hour drive will have us arriving in the Roman-Medieval city of Chester. 

Day 19 - Sightseeing - Chester (B). Enjoy a guided walking tour of Chester including the “Rows” and Roman ruins. Free time to shop and enjoy this unique town. Supper not included this evening. Enjoy a traditional English meal in one of the many restaurants.

Day 20 – Chester to Cardiff, two nights (B/D). Travelling south today through the Welsh countryside, we will visit the Tudor market town of Ludlow, before entering the city of Cardiff. 

Day 21 - Sightseeing – Cardiff (B/D). Sightseeing today includes views of Cardiff Castle and Millennium Stadium. This afternoon we are free to explore on our own. This evening enjoy a Traditional Welsh Evening of food and music.

Day 22 – Cardiff to London, two nights (B/D). This morning we will cross the Severn Bridge into England and the glorious city of Bath. See the splendid Georgian architecture during the orientation. Our tour will take us to the Roman baths dating back to the time of the Romans in England. On our way to London, we will travel through the Wiltshire countryside visiting the mysterious monolithic stone circle of Stonehenge.  

Day 23 - London sightseeing (B/D). This morning see all the major city sights such as Buckingham Palace, Big Ben, Westminster Abbey, House of Parliament and St. Paul’s Cathedral. In the afternoon visit the Tower of London and view the Crown Jewels. This evening we will enjoy a Farewell Dinner.

Day 24 - Depart for Canada (B).


Southern Belle (Feb. 16th – Mar. 15th, 2013)
Tour Directors: Arch & Bev Esplin

This tour gives you a chance to slow your pace and restore your soul. Come with us to explore unique, charming, laid back destinations and discover the historic south.

Meals are as indicated: (B) breakfast, (L) lunch, (D) dinner.

Day 1, Sunday, February 16th - Saskatchewan to Winnipeg MB. Get to know your fellow travellers.

Day 2, Monday, February 17th - Winnipeg to Plymouth MN (B). EVENING: Option to go to Mall of America. 

Day 3, Tuesday, February 18th - Plymouth to Rockford IL (B). MORNING: There are a couple of unique stops along the way for coffee and lunch. AFTERNOON: Tour the Rockford Burpee Museum, where you must see Jane which was nominated as one of Illinois' Seven Wonders. 

Day 4, Wednesday, February 19th - Rockford to Dayton OH (B). AFTERNOON: Tour the Indianapolis Museum of Art, located on 152 acres, it is the 9th oldest & 8th largest encyclopedic art museum in the United States. EVENING: Mingle with fellow passengers during happy hour in your hotel.
 
Day 5, Thursday, February 20th - Dayton to Charleston WV (B). MORNING: appreciate the Wright Cycle Company Complex where three exceptional men from Dayton, OH, Wilbur Wright, Orville Wright and Paul Laurence Dunbar, found their creative outlet here through accomplishments, failures, and finally success. AFTERNOON: Tour Charleston’s State Capitol, with the magnificent 293 foot dome, gilded in 23½ karat gold leaf. 
 
Day 6, Friday, February 21st - Charleston to Norfolk VA (B). TODAY: Travel from West Virginia which is located entirely within the Appalachian Region, the state is almost entirely mountainous into Virginia where geography and climate are shaped by the Blue Ridge Mountains and the Chesapeake Bay. Virginia is also nicknamed the "Mother of Presidents" after the eight U.S. presidents born there. EVENING: Schedule permitting the Virginia Symphony Orchestra at the Chrysler Hall. 
 
Day 7, Saturday, February 22nd - Norfolk to Greensboro NC (B/D). MORNING: Weather permitting you will tour the Norfolk Botanical Gardens and Arboretum, situated on 155 acres which includes numerous themed gardens. AFTERNOON: You are off to a tour at Greensboro, Replacements Ltd, world's largest selection of old and new dinnerware, in a 12,000 sq ft showroom. EVENING: Enjoy a great home cooked meal and local entertainment. 
 
Day 8, Sunday, February 23rd - Greensboro to Raleigh NC (B). MORNING: Opportunity to walk through Greensboro’s Bog, Bicentennial or Arboretum Garden. AFTERNOON or EVENING: NHL game, pending schedule, Carolina Hurricane in Raleigh schedules released in August. If we don’t catch a game here we will try to catch one down the road.

Day 9, Monday, February 24th - Raleigh to Myrtle Beach SC (B/L). MORNING: Guided City Tour of Raleigh, which has a rich Civil War history. Sights you will see are NC State University, state government complex, Mordecai Plantation, Joel Lane home, Executive Mansion and some local residential historic districts with Victorian homes. You’ll finish your city at restaurant 18 Seaboard for lunch. AFTERNOON: Head for Myrtle Beach, a coastal city situated on the centre of a large, continuous stretch of beach best known as the Grand Strand in Northeastern South Carolina. 
 
Day 10, Tuesday, February 25th - Myrtle Beach (B). MORNING: City Tour of Myrtle Beach and Grand Strand. Some sights you may see, Whaling Wall by Wyland, the Boardwalk, and Barefoot Landing. AFTERNOON: Is yours, rest, relax or possibly take in Medieval Times, go to Stone Theatres, the Carolina Opry or Old Timer Baseball game.

Day 11, Wednesday, February 26th - Myrtle Beach to Charleston SC (B). AFTERNOON: Tour through the Boone Hall Plantation and Gardens it is an antebellum plantation located in Mount Pleasant SC, and is one of America’s oldest working plantations. 
 
Day 12, Thursday, February 27th - Charleston SC (B). MORNING: Guided City Tour of Charleston SC. Some of the sights will be the College, Harleston, Citadel, Military College, breathe in the scents of tea olive & magnolia. AFTERNOON: Is yours to do a walking tour or a carriage tour. 

Day 13, Friday, February 28th - Charleston to Savannah GA (B/D). AFTERNOON: Guided City Tour of Savannah, travel back to another era with historic sites and beautiful treasures. EVENING: Seafood restaurant with marsh view dining at Uncle Bubba’s Oyster House. 
 
Day 14, Saturday, March 1st - Savannah GA (B). FREE DAY. Driver & Bus do not move. Explore Savannah on your own using the Hop on Hop off Trolley. Take a carriage ride or maybe try a “Foodie Tour”.
 
Day 15, Sunday, March 2nd - Savannah (B/L). MORNING: Guided Tour of Tybee Island, a small island, which has long been a quiet getaway for local residents & tourists, with a stop at the Crab Shack for lunch and opportunity to feed the gators. AFTERNOON: Is yours. 
 
Day 16, Monday, March 3rd - Savannah to Jacksonville FL (B). Farewell to Savannah as you head to Jacksonville, largest city in Florida, centred on the banks of the St. Johns River, a major military and civilian deep-water port. AFTERNOON: Guided City Tour of Jacksonville.
 
Day 17, Tuesday, March 4th - Jacksonville (B). MORNING: Is yours. AFTERNOON: Witness the Catty Shack Ranch, a rescue centre for big cats from serious situations. (Symphony Orchestra if Norfolk does not work). 
 
Day 18, Wednesday, March 5th - Jacksonville (B/D). MORNING: Check out Friendship Fountain. Some believe the fountain has special powers. AFTERNOON: Is yours. EVENING: Alhambra, longest running dinner theatre. 
 
Day 19, Thursday, March 6th - Jacksonville to Pensacola FL (B). MORNING & AFTERNOON: A step on guide for City Tour of Tallahassee, a genteel Southern town with good manners, rolling hills, oak-canopied roads, and plantation homes. Off to Pensacola, a sea port that connects to the Gulf of Mexico & home to the Blue Angels flight demonstration team.
 
Day 20, Friday, March 7th - Pensacola (B/L). MORNING: Guided City Tour of Pensacola. Drive to Perdido Key, a barrier island no more than a few hundred yards wide in most places and stretches some 16 miles. See some of the stilted buildings along the way, stop at a local restaurant for lunch. AFTERNOON: a guided tour of the Pensacola Naval Museum.

Day 21, Saturday, March 8th - Pensacola to Atlanta GA (B). TODAY: Is a leisurely drive to Atlanta, capital of and the most populous city in the state of Georgia. Atlanta situated among the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains. EVENING: Free, rest up for tomorrow.
 
Day 22, Sunday, March 9th - Atlanta (B). MORNING: Is a big touring day! You have a step on guide for the historic City Tour of Atlanta. You will also be touring the World of Coca Cola and then exclusive, behind-the-scenes glimpse of news and broadcasting in action from the global headquarters of CNN.

Day 23, Monday, March 10th - Atlanta to Nashville TN (B/L). MORNING & AFTERNOON: Stop in Chattanooga, experience the thrill of Incline Railway. 'America's Most Amazing Mile' up to Lookout Mountain. From there you will trek through Rock City's natural wonders and "see seven states" views. Then it is off to Ruby Falls walking tour of a 145-foot high underground waterfall, (wheelchair & walkers not accessible). LATE AFTERNOON: Wander through Opryland Hotel. EVENING: Stroll downtown Nashville, catch some musical entertainment while you dine. (Hockey game if Raleigh does not work)

Day 24, Tuesday, March 11th - Nashville to St Louis MO (B). AFTERNOON: A guided City Tour of St Louis, includes the Arch & a stop at the Anheuser-Busch brewery. (Hockey game)

Day 25, Wednesday, March 12th - St Louis to Kansas City MO (B). AFTERNOON: Lunch, shop & stroll through the Kansas City Market.

Day 26, Thursday, March 13th - Kansas City to Sioux Falls SD (B/D). Windup banquet to bid farewell to fellow passengers. 
 
Day 27, Friday, March 14th - Sioux Falls to Winnipeg MB (B).
 
Day 28, Saturday, March 15th – Winnipeg to HOME (B). Return home with fond memories of all the sights & new found friends. 
 
Tour Includes: 1) Motor Coach Transportation, 2) Hotel Accommodations, 3) 27 (B) breakfasts, 4 (L) lunches, 4 (D) dinners, 4) Admission to attractions listed, 5) 8 city tours, 6) Hop On Hop Off Trolley, 7) 2 professional Tour Directors, 8) 0 prior trip interruption insurance.


THE BRITISH ISLES - FALL 2013 (Sept. 11th - Oct. 4th)
Professionally Hosted by: Monica Bayda with Bev & Archie Esplin

Day 1 - Depart Saskatoon for Dublin, Ireland. 

Day 2 - Arrive Dublin - Two nights (B/D). “Cead Mile Failte - A Hundred Thousand Welcomes to Ireland”. On arrival and after clearing Irish Passport Control, we will be met by our local Tour Director and be transferred to the hotel. Two nights in Dublin. Rest of the day is free to relax or take a little stroll down O’Connell Street. 

Day 3 - Dublin Sightseeing (B/D). They say Dublin is delightful and full of surprises, so after breakfast we will set out on a city tour to explore the sights. Our local guide will take us through the history of this Fair City. You will see Dublin Castle, St. Patrick’s Cathedral, Phoenix Park, and of course a visit to Trinity College is a must. Here we will admire the ancient Book of Kells. This 1200 year old manuscript is a feat of artistic intricacy. It depicts the four gospels creatively crafted by the monks at Kells. This evening we will enjoy a Traditional Irish Dinner and Show. 

Day 4 - Dublin - Rock of Cashel - Kinsale - One night (B). We say good-bye to Dublin city as we continue our journey south, travelling through the rolling pasture lands of the Golden Vale of Tipperary. We will stop for a visit at the spectacular Rock of Cashel. Continuing through the Vale of Tipperary, we stop at the town of Clonmel and then continue to the quaint village of Kilsheelan. Our overnight will be in the town of Kinsale - known as the gourmet capital of Ireland. Located by the ocean, you will delight in the delicious fresh seafood meals. Dinner is not included this evening, as we will enjoy finding that quaint restaurant on our own.

Day 5 - Kinsale - Blarney - Killarney - Two nights (B/D). A short drive will take us to Blarney Castle where the legend says that if you kiss the stone of eloquence on top of the castle, you will be blessed with the gift of the gab. Wonderful shopping at the Blarney Woolen Mills; where we can find every Irish gift imaginable, from beautiful hand-knitted Arran sweaters to wee leprechauns. A scenic drive down the road will take us to the most picturesque part of Ireland, the Lakes of Killarney. A ride around the Lakes on a traditional Irish Jaunting-car is planned this afternoon. 

Day 6 - Killarney - Ring of Kerry - Two nights (B/D). Travel through the dramatic landscape of the “Ring of Kerry”. Admire plunging cliffs, shimmering lakes, granite mountains, and jagged wind-swept coastlines as we pass through quaint villages lost in time. This is the most Gaelic area of Ireland, where the locals still speak the traditional old Irish language. 

Day 7 - Killarney to Galway - One night (B/D). As we journey to Galway, we will travel through the town of Limerick famous for the movie Angela’s Ashes. We will enjoy a view of St. Mary’s Cathedral, King John’s Castle and the famous Treaty Stone. Continuing our journey we will drive through the mysterious limestone landscape known as the Burren. This is an outcropping left over by the ice-age. We will enjoy a stop at the Cliffs of Moher before arriving in Galway City. 

Day 8 - Galway to Belfast - Three nights (B/D). Today we will drive through the bog-lands where turf was the main source of income for the people of this region. Arrive in Newgrange where we will visit a prehistoric monument built during the Neolithic period around 3200 BC. This tomb is older than the Pyramids of Egypt. Driving north through County Down we will arrive in Belfast for our three night stay. 

Day 9 - Giants Causeway - London Derry (B/D). Today we will visit a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Here we will stand on basalt columns left by volcanic eruptions 60 million years ago. This area is steeped in folklore and we will hear the legend of the Scottish Giant who the locals gave credit for building the causeway. London Derry is a city with a very troubled past. Our local Derry guide will take us on a stroll around the city walls and relate to us the sad history of this northern town. 

Day 10 - Belfast sightseeing and Mount Stewart Garden (B/D). On the city tour this morning, we will see the City Hall, Queen’s University and historical Stormont Castle. We will see the shipyard where the legendary Titanic was built and also visit the new Titanic Museum. After lunch, we will visit the beautiful Mount Stewart Gardens located in Co Down. Here we will visit the Shamrock Garden, Italian Garden, Spanish Garden and Mount Stewart House. 
 
Day 11 - Belfast - Ballachulish, Scotland - One night (B/D). We bid farewell to the Emerald Isle, boarding the ferry for a short ride from Larne to Cairnryan in Scotland. “Welcome to Bonnie Scotland”: Our journey takes us through the spectacular Ayrshire countryside arriving in the town of Ballachulish for a one night stay.

Day 12 - Ballachulish - Isle of Skye - One night (B/D). Admire the magnificent scenery along the banks of Loch Lomond. A perfect picture stop. Hear tales of the tragic massacre of 1692 at Glencoe. Continue along the shores of Loch Linnhe in the shadow of Ben Nevis, before arriving in the Isle of Skye.

Day 13 - Isle of Skye - Scottish Highlands - Aviemore - 2 Nights (B/D). Hear the legend of the monster and its many mysterious sightings as we stop to take photos on the banks of Loch Ness. 

Day 14 - Scottish Highlands (B/D). After a leisurely breakfast we will drive through the Scottish Highlands. Pass the ruins of Urquhart Castle on our way to visit the battlefield at Culloden, where Bonnie Prince Charlie’s army was crushed by the English.

Day 15 - Aviemore - Pitlochry - St. Andrews - Edinburgh - 2 Nights (B/D). Drive through the picturesque Cairngorm Mountains to view Blair Castle and visit the charming fishing village of Pitlochry. See the ecclesiastical ruins of St. Andrews and take a picture at the 18th hole of the famous Royal and ancient golf course. Cross the Firth of Forth to the inspiring city of Edinburgh.

Day 16 - Edinburgh sightseeing (B/D). Our guided tour will take us to Edinburgh Castle. We will see the Royal Mile, the 18th century New Town with its classical facades, the new Scottish Parliament building and we will stroll on Princess Street. Lots to see in this beautiful city. This evening enjoy a Traditional Scottish dinner with entertainment. 

Day 17 - Edinburgh - Billingham - York - One night (B/D). Time to say good-bye to Bonnie Scotland. Today we head south to the historical city of York. En route we will see the ruins of Jedburgh Abbey. Admire Hadrian’s Wall from the time of the Romans and visit the town of Billingham, before arriving in the medieval town of York. 

Day 18 - York - Chester - Two nights (B/D). Walking tour of York includes the Manson House, the Roman Walls, the Shambles, and awe-inspiring Minster. Prior to leaving this intriguing town a visit to the National Railway Museum is planned. Here you will see 100 locomotives and enjoy the history of the railroad. Leaving York a short two hour drive will have us arriving in the Roman-Medieval city of Chester. 

Day 19 - Sightseeing - Chester (B). Enjoy a guided walking tour of Chester including the “Rows” and Roman ruins. Free time to shop and enjoy this unique town. Supper not included this evening. Enjoy a traditional English meal in one of the many restaurants. 

Day 20 - Chester to Cardiff - Two nights (B/D). Travelling south today through the Welsh countryside, we will visit the Tudor market town of Ludlow, before entering the city of Cardiff. 
 
Day 21 - Sightseeing - Cardiff (B/D). Sightseeing today includes views of Cardiff Castle and Millennium Stadium. This afternoon we are free to explore on our own. This evening enjoy a Traditional Welsh Evening of food and music. 

Day 22 - Cardiff to London - Two nights (B/D). This morning we will cross the Severn Bridge into England and the glorious city of Bath. See the splendid Georgian architecture during the orientation. Our tour will take us to the Roman baths dating back to the time of the Romans in England. On our way to London, we will travel through the Wiltshire countryside visiting the mysterious monolithic stone circle of Stonehenge.

Day 23 - London sightseeing (B/D). This morning see all the major city sights such as Buckingham Palace, Big Ben, Westminster Abbey, House of Parliament and St. Paul’s Cathedral. In the afternoon visit the Tower of London and view the Crown Jewels. This evening we will enjoy a Farewell Dinner.

Day 24 - Depart for Canada (B).


AUSTRALIA AND NEW ZEALAND (Feb. 3rd - Mar. 1st , 2013)

Day 1, February 3rd - Depart Canada for Australia (D). 

Day 2, February 4th - Cross International Dateline (B). 
 
Day 3, February 5th - Arrive Melbourne (D). G’day mate! Welcome to Melbourne, Australia. Meet and Greet by Local Guide then board your private coach for transfer to your hotel accommodation for check in. Remainder of day to rest or roam. Welcome Dinner this evening. 

Day 4, February 6th - Melbourne (B). After breakfast, meet your Local Guide then board your private coach for a Melbourne City tour including Queen Victoria Markets, Cook Cottage, Cruise on the Yarra River and visit to the Dandenongs for a Ride on the Puffing Billy Railway. 

Day 5, February 7th - Melbourne (B/D). Morning free at your leisure. This afternoon, Phillip Island tour includes: a visit to the Koala Conservation Centre, Nobbies Centre, Penguin Reserve. Dinner at Local Restaurant before returning to hotel. 

Day 6, February 8th - Melbourne (B/D). Morning free at your leisure. This afternoon you are off to Ballarat, including a visit to Ballarat Wildlife Park & Sovereign Hill followed by the “Blood on the Southern Cross Show” including Dinner. 

Day 7, February 9th - Melbourne to Canberra (B/L). Today you will enjoy the Australian country side as you make your way to Canberra, Australia’s capital city. Your route will take you via Gundagai where the Dog on the Tucker Box is located. The day ends at your Canberra hotel. 
 
Day 8, February 10th - Canberra - Sydney (B). This morning a City Tour of Canberra including the Australian National Botanic Gardens is on the agenda before your 3 hour drive to Sydney.

Day 9, February 11th - Sydney (B). Meet your Local Guide this morning to commence a Full Day Sydney Southern Beach Tour including Mrs. Macquarie Chair, Bondi Beach, The Gap, Sydney Opera House Tour and Cruise on Sydney Harbour with Captain Cook Cruises. 

Day 10, February 12th - Sydney (B). Today we visit the Three Sisters on a Full Day tour of the majestic Blue Mountains including Featherdale Wildlife Park, Scenic World and a guided tour of ANZ Stadium (home of the Olympic Games). 

Day 11, February 13th - Sydney (B). Today is a free day to visit Paddy’s Market, Circular Key, Darling Harbour or at your leisure discover your own Sydney. 
 
Day 12, February 14th - Sydney - Coffs Harbour (B). Departing Sydney, you will make your way along the Eastern coast line to Coffs Harbour. 

Day 13, February 15th - Coffs Harbour - Sunshine Coast (B/L). This morning you will travel to the beautiful Sunshine Coast, including a visit to Tropical Fruit World for lunch. 
 
Day 14, February 16th - Sunshine Coast (B/L). Today we fly to Lady Elliott Island for a full day tour on the Great Barrier Reef. Champagne/Prawn Lunch and activities on the island: Glass bottom boat, snorkelling, fish feeding and turtle watching. 
 
Day 15, February 17th - Sunshine Coast (B). A coastal inlet cruise, shopping on beach, or a relaxing day at resort pool are but a few options for your free day. 

Day 16, February 18th - Sunshine Coast (B). After breakfast, you are off to the world famous Steve Irwin’s Australia Zoo. 

Day 17, February 19th - Brisbane - Christchurch (B). Today you say good bye to Australia as your transfer to Brisbane International Airport for your flight to Christchurch.

Day 18, February 20th - Christchurch (B). This morning is at leisure to enjoy what the greater Christchurch area has to offer or just rest up. This afternoon you will visit the Garden City and take a stroll through the tranquil Botanic Gardens. Enjoy lunch at the cafe there. These botanic gardens showcase some of the most beautiful flora from New Zealand and around the world. 

Day 19, February 21st - Christchurch - Omarama - Queenstown (B/L). Depart Christchurch this morning for Omarama via Tekapo Lake and Twizel. Enjoy a BBQ lunch at a local restaurant in Omarama before heading for Queenstown crossing the Lindis Pass, which links Mt. Cook and the Mackenzie Country with northern Central Otago. 

Day 20, February 22nd - Full day Milford Sound & Scenic Cruise (B/L). Enjoy a scenic cruise on Milford Sound with Real Journeys. The cruise stops at various points to view waterfalls, rainforest, mountains, and wildlife. The cruise includes a comprehensive commentary. Buffet Lunch is included. 
 
Day 21, February 23rd - Free Day in Queenstown (B). Today, the Adventure Capital of the world is yours to enjoy.

Day 22, February 24th - Queenstown - Oamaru - Christchurch (B/L). Moeraki Boulders are on the agenda this morning en route to Oamaru for a 2-course set lunch. After lunch, continue through the vast farmlands of the Canterbury Plains ending the day in Christchurch. (B/L)

Day 23, February 25th - Christchurch - Rotorua (B/D). After breakfast, you will be transferred to the Christchurch Domestic Airport to connect with your flight to Rotorua. This evening, tour the Tamaki Maori Village, providing an authentic introduction to Maori culture. Enjoy a traditional cultural performance and a Hangi meal. 
 
Day 24, February 26th - Rotorua (B). This afternoon you will enjoy a tour of Rotorua. Your visit will include Guided tour to Te Puia Thermal Valley, Agrodome Sheep Shearing & Dog Demonstration, Skyline Gondola and Guided tour to Rainbow Springs & Kiwi Encounter. 

Day 25, February 27th - Rotorua - Paihia, 2 nights. After three weeks of touring, the Bay of Islands presents a tranquil and unique conclusion to your tour. Known for its natural beauty, Maori culture, and abundant sea life; Paihia is truly paradise.

Day 26, February 28th - Paihia (B). A morning visit to the Waitangi Treaty Grounds and Russell will provide you with the historical beginnings of New Zealand. "Hole in the Rock" cruise, dolphin watching or a tour of Cape Reinga (90 mile beach) are a few of the optional tours available to you this afternoon. 

Day 27, March 1st - Paihia - Auckland - Vancouver (B/D). This morning you will leave Paihia for Auckland and your return flights to Canada with amazing memories of Down Under and friends for life. 

TOUR INCLUDES: 1) International and domestic air fare including international taxes, 2) Accommodations as indicated in itinerary with private facilities, 3) All transfers and touring by private chartered coach with experienced driver / guide, 4) Airport arrival and departure assistance, 5) Meals as indicated: (B) Breakfast, (L) Lunch, (D) Dinner, 6) Entrance fees at attractions listed in the itinerary, 7) Hotel Porterage, 8) Australian & New Zealand GST (Goods and Services Tax), 9) Australian ETA Electronic Visa, 10) 2 Professional Hosts.


ANTARCTICA (Feb. 28th – Mar. 11th, 2013)
Hosted by: Chris Clinton

February 28th - Depart Canada for Buenos Aires, Argentina (B/L/D).

March 1st - Buenos Aires (B/L/D). Upon arrival into Buenos Aires, you will clear Argentine Customs & Immigration then transfer to your hotel. This evening enjoy a Welcome Banquet at the hotel; a chance to get to know your fellow travellers.

March 2nd - Buenos Aires to Ushuaia (B). After breakfast, transfer to the airport for your flight to Ushuaia, the most southern settlement in South America. Upon arrival, your adventure commences. Before embarking, spend some time shopping for souvenirs, stock up on handcrafted chocolate treats or buy any last-minute items you may have forgot to pack.

March 3rd - Embarkation Day (B/D). Embarkation will occur in the late afternoon, after which your vessel will sail down the wildlife-rich Beagle Channel. This will be your first opportunity to get to know your fellow adventurers and get acquainted with the shipboard services. As land fades away from sight, you can prepare for your first night and sea! Next stop? Antarctica!
 
March 4th & 5th - Crossing the Drake (B/L/D). Your time during these first days is largely spent chatting with other travellers and listening to the presentations given by your Expedition Team. By the end of the 2nd day at sea, the anticipation and excitement of landfall will reach a feverish pitch. 

March 6th, 7th, 8th - South Shetland & Antarctic Peninsula (B/L/D). Don’t be surprised to wake up to a sea filled of icebergs! You’re now close to Antarctica, where icebergs are more frequent – and more massive. This far south, you’ll likely also get your first sightings of whales, perhaps Humpbacks or even Orcas. Then, as land appears, you’ll soon get to shake off your sea legs and head out on your first landing. The coast can range from barren, inhospitable landscapes to mountainous peaks dotted with penguins. You will see that everything in Antarctica is done on a bigger scale - don’t be surprised if you feel dwarfed by the dramatic, imposing environment that surrounds you. Your days in the South Shetland Islands and Antarctic Peninsula may be spent watching penguins, taking a Zodiac cruise around oddly artistically shaped icebergs, or witnessing a Leopard Seal hunt in the frigid Antarctic waters. Hiking atop a snow-covered hill in the Peninsula will also provide you with a quiet place for contemplation to enjoy the eerie silence of the continent. Keep your camera at the ready. 

March 9th & 10th - Drake Passage (B/L/D). The journey back across the Drake Passage provides you with some final opportunities for spotting seabirds and scouting for whales. Your Expedition Team will run their last lectures and presentations, recapping the great Antarctic adventure you’ve just had. This is a time to share your favourite encounters and memories with the crew and your shipmates. Enjoy a farewell dinner and final night on the seas.

March 11th - Disembarkation Ushuaia (B). The time to say goodbye has arrived. After breakfast, you will have time to say goodbye to your Expedition Team, after which we will transfer you to the airport for your homeward flights. 

March 12th - Arrive home in Canada (B). The adventure complete with memories and friendships for a lifetime. 

TOUR INCLUDES: 1) International and domestic airfare including taxes, 2) 1 night accommodation in Buenos Aires and Ushuaia, 3) All airport/hotel/ship transfers, 4) All Meals as indicated by (B) Full breakfast (L) Lunch and (D) Dinner, 5) 9 days/8 nights accommodation and meals aboard the luxurious Sea Spirit, 6) All shore landings per the daily program, 7) Leadership throughout the voyage by our experienced Expedition Team, 8) All Zodiac transfers and cruising per the daily program, 9) Formal and informal presentations by our Expedition Team as scheduled, 10) Photographic Journal on DVD, documenting the voyage, 11) A pair of waterproof expedition boots on load for shore landings, 12) An official Quark Expeditions parka to keep, 13) All gratuities and misc. service taxes and port charges, 14) All luggage handling aboard ship, 15) Emergency Evacuation Insurance for all passengers to a maximum benefit of $100,000 USD/per person.