AACI’s Kosher & Friendly Australia and New Zealand   

31 January 2020 - 17 February 2020
Locations: Auckland, Cairns, Franz Josef Glacier, Great Barrier Reef, Melbourne, Milford Sound, Punakaiki, Queenstown, Rotorua, Sydney, Tongariro

A trip of a lifetime awaits! As the planet heats up environmentally and politically, it’s good to know that New Zealand exists. This uncrowded, green, peaceful and accepting country is considered the ultimate escape!

Australia is a land of savage beauty, big adventure and even bigger horizons. To top it all, its major cities are outstanding destinations in their own right.

Day 1 Friday January 31st ARRIVE AUCKLAND  
Upon arrival we will begin our orientation tour with a visit to the Auckland War Memorial Museum, one of New Zealand’s most important museums and war memorials whose collections concentrate on New Zealand history, natural history, as well as military history. Visit Parnell Rose Garden and enjoy the vibe of Parnell Village suburb; Mission Bay, Viaduct Marina and more.

Check in at your hotel and prepare for Shabbat.
Shabbat evening service at the Auckland Hebrew Congregation. Shabbat dinner at the hotel.
Overnight in Auckland

Day 2 Shabbat AUCKLAND
After our long flight we deserve a relaxing day. Shabbat will include Tfillot, Seudat Shabbat and an afternoon walk around the Harbor.

Overnight in Auckland
Motzaei Shabbat – visit the Sky Tower – for magnificent views over Auckland

Travel south via Waitomo Glowworm Caves and onto the World Heritage Tongariro National Park  – home to New Zealand’s 3 active volcanoes.
At Waitomo we go underground to the vast caves system featuring glowworms, a phenomenon unique to this part of the world; Waitomo caves are very easy to be explored and our private guide will explain how the glowworms are formed and behave. We conclude with a short boat ride in the cave.  Continuing on to the Tongariro National Park, we will enjoy a short hike in the Park before reaching the Chateau for our overnight stop.

We will start the day with a helicopter flight at the Volcanic region, sighting the 3 volcanoes from above.
We then travel over the Central Plateau to Rotorua. We will stop at a geothermal power station, which produces power to 60% of the North Island.
In the early evening we will immerse ourselves at the Polynesian hot spa on the shores of Lake Rotorua before we seal the day with a fabulous dinner at the hotel.

Today is a full day to explore the geothermal activity and Maori culture. We start at Wai O Tapu – geothermal wonderland, featuring 18 colorful mineral pools; we continue to Waimangu Volcanic Valley – the youngest volcanic valley in the world, formed in 1886 as a result of the Mt Tarawera eruption. The walk in the valley is along a magical steaming river, bubbling geysers, mineral lakes and more; the terrain is very easy for walking with hand rails and benches. A bus will pick you up from the bottom of the valley to the start of the track. Lunch can be enjoyed  at your leisure. In the afternoon we visit Te Puia Maori village which is the National Center of Maori Culture and a geothermal reserve. Our private guide will walk us through the steaming geyser reserve and tell us the stories and history of the Maori People of the region and their survival of the eruption of Mt Tarawera. The evening will follow with a Maori cultural show and Hangi – Kosher food cooked underground – especially for our group.

Today we bid farewell the North Island and fly to the South Island.
Fly from Rotorua to Nelson.

From Nelson we travel to the wild, untamed West Coast, presenting Rain-forest to the east, the Pacific Ocean to the west, with rugged wild beaches along the way and, glaciers from the Ice Age planted in the heart of it all. At Westport we take a short walk to the cliff edge to watch the seal colony, where the stunning views of Cape Foulwind expand in front of our eyes, at Paparoa National Park we walk to Punakaiki to see the Pancake Rocks – a long stretch of tall rocks on the shore line looking like massive layers of pancakes. It is lovely watching the waves splash vigorously onto the pancake rocks and through the blowholes.
Overnight at Punakaiki.

Day 7 Thursday WEST COAST AND GLACIERS – Franz Josef Glacier
We travel along the West Coast Road, we stop at the Bushman Centre, at Hokitika, visit the Jade factory – the green stone or Pounamu in Maori, we can watch the carving of the green stone in the workshop. We arrive at the Franz Josef Glacier in the early afternoon. NZ glaciers are situated in the heart of a rainforest and a very close proximity to the ocean. Franz Josef is the steepest Glacier so close to an ocean.   We will take a Scenic flight over the Franz Josef glacier with landing on the glacier.
Overnight: Franz Josef

Well, what a day ahead of us! We continue down the West Coast Road to the Fox Glacier, just south of the FJ, we take advantage of the easy short walk to the view point of the glacier – approx. 400 meters. We visit Lake Matheson which is fed by the glaciers and offers pure clarity and reflection (if no wind). From here we travel across the glorious Haast Pass on its stunning and ever-changing scenery, to take us to Queenstown. Thunder Creek Falls is a 5 min walk to the Falls through the mountainous rainforest, the Blue Pools are an easy walk through the forest to clear blue pools including two swing-bridges on the way.

We arrive in Queenstown in the late afternoon in time to prepare for Shabbat.
Overnight: Queenstown

Day 9 Shabbat QUEENSTOWN
Shabbat in Queenstown. Enjoy Shabbat lunch, tefillah and seudah shlishit.

The town is a few steps away from the hotel and we will enjoy a walk along the Lake and Botanic Gardens.
Overnight: Queenstown

Today, we visit the Fiordland National Park, the largest park in New Zealand.
One of our highlights of the tour is today, as we take a scenic flight by aeroplanes from Queenstown to the Milford Sound, over the Southern Alps, mountain lakes and glaciers. We will land at Milford Sound and board a boat to sail the full length of the Fjord til the point where it meets the Tasman Sea. We will see some mighty waterfalls and be greeted by the local wildlife such as fur seals, Hector dolphins and native birds.

Note: the flight is weather dependent and will be confirmed on the morning of the flight.
Free afternoon on arrival back in Queenstown.
Overnight: Queenstown

Day 11 Monday QUEENSTOWN AND MELBOURNEThis morning we will take a ride up the Skyline Gondola to enjoy the views over Queenstown, Llake Wakatipu and the Remarkables Range. You are then off to experience another adrenaline boost, this time exhilarating on a jet-boat on the Shotover River. which will be recorded  on DVD.  We continue on to visit Arrowtown – a preserved township from the days of the first settlers and the gold rush and visit the old Chinese settlement. From here we drive to the airport for our  flight to Melbourne. Upon arrival, transfer to the hotel. Dinner at the hotel.
Evening walk tour from the hotel.

Overnight: Melbourne

Day 12 Tuesday MELBOURNE
Visit the highlights of Melbourne, walks through its lanes and arcades, see the Street Art, The Botanic Gardens, Shrine of Remembrance ( – memorial to the Australian and New Zealand soldiers who fought in Beer Sheva WW1), visit the National Museum or the Jewish museum and the Yarra River which was used for agriculture by early European settlers

We will have an early dinner at the hotel before we head to Philip Island to watch the Penguin Parade as the sun goes down; hundreds of penguins’ march from the sea to the beach to rest for the night after a hard day at sea….

Overnight: Melbourne

Day 13 Wednesday MELBOURNE – CAIRNS
Morning flight to Cairns.  Arriving in the late morning, we will visit Kuranda Village, situated at the top of the Atherton Tableland in the far north tropical rainforest of Queensland. We will ride the Skyrail up the mountain through the lush dense rain forest. We will visit Tjapukai Aboriginal tribe for fascinating story telling of the Aboriginal culture and history.

We reach our hotel in the early evening.
Overnight: Cairns

Full day cruise on the Great Barrier Reef – 8am – 5pm, including stopping at  2 sites at the Outer Reef, 2 snorkeling spots, all meals and snorkeling gear.  Afternoon at ease at the hotel.
After dinner we take a stroll along the Esplanade and visit aboriginal galleries.
Overnight: Cairns

Day 15 Friday SYDNEY
Morning flight to Sydney
We start our Sydney tour at the Royal Botanic Gardens, walk through the gardens to the ‘Chair of Lady Macquarie’ – described as the ‘million dollar view’, walk to the famous Opera House and be welcomed inside for a guided tour of one of the world’s famous architectural designs. Enjoy a stroll along the Esplanade (time for ice cream or coffee) ; we continue on to ride over the Harbour Bridge, visit Manly beach and take a ferry ride back to downtown Sydney. Check into our hotel and prepare for Shabbat.

Shabbat services and dinner at Sydney Great Synagogue.
Overnight: Sydney

Day 16 Shabbat  SYDNEY
Shabbat service at Sydney Great Synagogue.Lunch & Seuda Shlishit.
Afternoon walk
Motzaei Shabbat – enjoy a visit to Circular Quay and The Rocks area.
Overnight: Sydney

Day 17 Sunday  SYDNEY
Sydney & Featherdale Wildlife Reserve.
We start the last day of our tour with a drive to one of Australia’s wildlife reserves where you will get close to Australia’s wildlife and be able to touch and feed them. Featherdale Wildlife Reserve is an hour’s drive from Sydney. From here we travel to the Eastern Suburbs and Bays of Sydney, the hidden gems of Sydney. We will stop at Bondi Beach and learn about the Jewish community in Sydney, who mainly reside at the Eastern Bays and Bondi, St Eves, as well as in the City. From here we will visit Darling Harbour and enjoy free time in Sydney. There will be the option to return to the hotel instead.
Overnight: Sydney

Day 18 Monday DEPART
Following breakfast, we transfer to Sydney international airport.

Price: AACI members $12,950 per person in a double room                                      Currency Converter
non members    $13,025 / single supplement $3,150

This deluxe trip includes:
*Accommodations at hotels
*Entrance Fees to all sites mentioned in itinerary
*4 Shabbatot with full board kosher food
*International Flights from Israel
*Internal flights
*Kosher full board with packed lunches
*Water on bus (2 per day)
*Tips to driver/guide, hotel & restaurant staff
*Israeli guide
*AACI staff escort

Not included:
*Expenses of a personal nature
*Any activity not included in above itinerary
*Visa Fees
*Medical Insurance