Friday 02 August Auckland – Doha
We commence the tour with an afternoon flight to Doha. We cross the international dateline enroute, arriving into Doha late evening.
Saturday 03 August Doha (B,D)
A leisurely start to the day today, after our late arrival last night. Late morning, discover the best that Doha has to offer as we embark on a sightseeing tour through the Qatari capital. We explore the main highlights of the city including the National Museum, Souq Waqif, and Pearl Island. We also get a closer look at Qatar’s history and culture with a visit to the Katara Culture Village.
We return to the hotel late afternoon.
Sunday 04 August Doha – Edinburgh (B,D)
As early start this morning as we return to the airport and continue our journey. We arrive into Edinburgh early afternoon. We are met by our local representatives and transferred to our hotel. The remainder of the day is yours at leisure, until we meet up for dinner this evening.
Monday 05 August Edinburgh (B,D)
Today we set off on an orientation tour of Edinburgh, Scotland’s capital city. Our knowledgeable guide will share many fascinating stories about the historic city as we travel along Princes Street and eventually make our way to the famed Royal Mile. Stop to tour the imposing Edinburgh Castle, perched high above the city on volcanic rock and dominates the skyline. The castle has been involved in many historical conflicts from the War of Scottish Independence to the Jacobite Rising in 1745 and even acted as a military prison during both World Wars. Returning to the hotel in the afternoon, there is some free time before tonight’s festivities. This evening, we enjoy the “Spirit of Scotland” dinner. During the festive evening, we will experience traditional Scottish music and culture as we dine on superb food.
Tuesday 06 August Holyroodhouse (B)
This morning, we visit the Palace of Holyroodhouse at one end of the Royal Mile. This magnificent palace has a long history of royal owners, was the official residence of Her Majesty, The Queen, and used for many receptions and state visits. Head back to our nearby hotel and spend the remainder of the afternoon at leisure for individual pursuits and dining. After an independent dinner, experience the Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo, a tremendous outdoor spectacle held annually. See many international performers both military and civilian, set against the incredible backdrop of Edinburgh Castle.
Wednesday 07 August Edinburgh – St. Andrews – Pitlochry (B, D)
Leaving Edinburgh, we journey into St. Andrews, where golf originated. Upon arrival, we embark on a panoramic tour to see the highlights of this historic town. Then, travel through the lush countryside of Aberdeenshire to visit Glamis Castle, the legendary setting of the story “Macbeth” and childhood home of the Queen Mother. We continue our drive into Pitlochry, check into our hotel and settle into our rooms. In the evening, we come together in the hotel restaurant for a delicious meal.
Thursday 08 August Blair Castle (B)
After breakfast, visit Blair Castle, home of the Duke of Atholl. We take a tour of the castle and enjoy the fine collections of furniture, portraits, china, and armor. Then, continue on to visit the Blair Atholl Distillery, where we will see the process of whiskey production and mull over the unique flavor as we sample a wee dram. Return to our nearby hotel for an evening at leisure.
Friday 09 August Pitlochry – Inverness (B,D)
Departing Pitlochry, we travel to visit a local farm, where we will see a sheepdog demonstration and learn about farming life in Scotland. Then, continue our drive into Culloden Moor and stop to tour the Visitor Centre. Walk around the battlefield where, on April 16, 1746, British Government forces defeated the army of Prince Charles Edward Stuart in just one hour and ended hopes of restoring Jacobite Stuarts to British throne. The brutal measures imposed after the battle signaled the end of the distinctive Highland way of life and culture. This afternoon we transfer to our hotel in Inverness, check in and spend some time at leisure before dinner tonight.
Saturday 10 August Fort George (B)
Today, visit Fort George an artillery fortification that was built after the great Jacobite defeat. The garrison building provides an insightful look into military life in the 18th century. Then, travel east of Inverness to visit Cawdor Castle, the reputed place where Duncan, Thane of Cawdor was murdered and then immortalized in Shakespeare’s play “Macbeth”. After our tour, we return to our hotel and the balance of the day is free to sightsee, shop and dine on your own.
Sunday 11 August Loch Ness (B,D)
This morning, we set off on a one-hour circular cruise from Clansmen Harbour across the mysterious waters of Loch Ness. Savor the loch’s facts and legends with the onboard audio. Don’t forget to look out for Nessie with the help from the onboard sonar! Next, travel to visit the picturesque Eilean Donan Castle, one of the most iconic images of Scotland. Eilean Donan is situated on an island at the point where three great sea lochs meet and is surrounded by some majestic scenery. We enjoy scenic views as we drive across the Skye Bridge to the Isle of Skye, one of the Inner Hebrides, which is formed by a chain of hills with scenic glens and sandy beaches. Upon arrival, visit the charming fairy pools near Glenbrittle that attract visitors from all over the world. We continue into Portree and check into our hotel. Tonight, we enjoy dinner together.
Monday 12 August Glencoe – Oban (B,D)
After breakfast, we join the ferry back to the mainland before stopping for photos of the Glenfinnan Viaduct, which was made famous by the movie Harry Potter. Then, travel into Glencoe to visit the Glencoe Visitor Centre. While here, we explore the landscape, wildlife, and history of this special place and learn about the conservation issues that the Trust faces, both past and future. We continue our journey into Oban, check into our hotel. There is some free time before having dinner in the hotel restaurant.
Tuesday 13 August Inveraray Castle – Glasgow (B, D)
Leaving Oban, we drive into Inveraray and stop to visit Inveraray Castle, home of the 12th Duke of Argyll. Tour the elaborately decorated castle, which contains an armory, many historic relics and a portrait collection. Next, journey into Glasgow and set off on a panoramic tour to see the highlights of the city. Drive around George Square, filled with statues of Sir Walter Scott, Queen Victoria and other influential people. See the Victorian City Chambers, opened in 1888 by Queen Victoria. Pass Glasgow Cathedral, a splendid 12th century Gothic building dedicated to St. Mungo, the patron saint of the city. We stop to visit Kelvingrove Gallery, which was built to house the 1901 International Exhibition. The collection within ranges from local historical art to even a Storm Trooper costume from the original Star Wars films. We motor a short distance to our hotel and check in. This evening, we come together in the restaurant for dinner.
Wednesday 14 August Glasgow – Belfast (B,D)
This morning, we travel to Cairnryan and take a ferry ride across the narrow channel between Scotland and Ireland into Larne, just outside Belfast. Upon arrival, we will meet our guide who will welcome us to Ireland. Next, we drive into Belfast and embark on a panoramic tour to see the Albert Memorial, the Opera House and Crown Liquor Saloon. Travel along such routes that may include Donegall Street, the famed Great Victoria Street and even along the waterfront. Stop to visit Titanic Belfast to learn about the evolution of the Titanic from concept until her ill-fated end in 1912. This afternoon we head to our nearby hotel, check in and spend some time at leisure before dinner tonight.
Thursday 15 August Belfast (B)
After breakfast, we drive along the coast to experience one of Ireland’s popular scenic routes. Here, we’ll see the “Nine Glens of Antrim” which offer wonderful views of mountains, valleys, and coastline. Stop to visit the Giant’s Causeway, an impressive area of hexagonal columns formed over 60 million years ago by cooling lava, which has given rise to many legends. There is a free evening tonight.
Friday 16 August Belfast – Dublin (B,D)
Departing Belfast, we travel south through Newry and Dundalk with views of the Mountains of Mourne in the background. Continue our drive past the gentle hills of the Mourne Mountains and into the metropolitan region of Dublin. Upon arrival, we embark on an orientation drive around Dublin city centre. See the main thoroughfares of O’Connell Street, Nassau Street and some lovely public parks as we pass by many historical sites. Stop to visit EPIC Ireland, which celebrates the dramatic story of the spread of the Irish culture around the globe, and how Ireland has changed throughout the years. We drive a short distance to our hotel and we have some time at leisure before tonight’s festivities. In the evening, we enjoy a dinner of Irish specialties followed by a lively show of traditional Irish music, songs and displays of step-dancing.
Saturday 17 August Dublin (B)
Today, we set off with a local guide who will show us around Dublin. The city has been moulded through the centuries by economic, political and artistic influences that has shaped its architecture. Stop to tour St. Patricks Cathedral, which is almost as old as the city itself and famous for its connections with the brilliantly eccentric Dean Jonathan Swift. Then, continue on to tour the Guinness Storehouse to see exhibits on how this world-famous stour was first created and why it is so popular today. We finish our visit in the roof-top bar, where we can sample a draft of Guinness, before returning to the hotel. The rest of the day is at leisure.
Sunday 18 August Dublin – Kinsale (B,D)
This morning we travel into County Tipperary and stop to visit the Rock of Cashel. While here, we see majestic church ruins that are clustered high on limestone outcrop overlooking the surrounding countryside. Next, drive into Kinsale and embark on a brief walking tour with a local guide to learn the history of the town. Kinsale has been a favourite for artists due to its steep, narrow streets, quirky shopfronts and many fine Georgian houses. Today, it is renowned as the “gourmet capital” of Ireland as there are many award-winning restaurant and pubs. At the conclusion of the tour, we check in to our hotel for the night. Enjoy dinner at the hotel.
Monday 19 August Kinsale – Killarney (B,D)
Leaving Kinsale, we journey into Cobh to visit the Cobh Heritage Centre, which depicts the varied history of emigration from Ireland and many European countries to the United States over the past 150 years. Cobh was the last port of call for the “Titanic” and many liners that carried emigrants to the New World. Next, we drive into Blarney where you can climb the battlements of Blarney Castle and kiss the famous “Stone of Eloquence”. We then visit the Blarney Woollen Mills, which has an excellent range of Irish products. There is time to browse around the village, charmingly set around a large village green. We continue through to Killarney and check into our hotel. We have free time to explore the town before coming together for dinner tonight.
Tuesday 20 August Killarney (B, D)
Following breakfast this morning, we discover the beauties of the Dingle Peninsula, once described by National Geographic Traveller as “the most beautiful place on earth”. Drive along the south shore of the peninsula for plenty of vistas of heathery mountains, sandy stretches of beach, stunning green landscapes and rocky headlands. We continue to Slea Head at the western tip of the peninsula. This excursion will give us excellent views of mountains and coastline and the Iveragh Peninsula. We stop in at Dingle town to enjoy some free time and then head into Inch for an early dinner at Foley’s Bar and Restaurant before returning to the hotel. The remainder of the day is at leisure.
Wednesday 21 August Killarney – Cliffs of Moher – Galway (B,D)
Today we travel into Tarbert and take a short ferry ride across the River Shannon Estuary. We drive along the coast of scenic County Clare and stop to visit the Cliffs of Moher, one of Ireland’s most beloved, natural landmarks. See magical vistas overlooking the shimmering Atlantic Ocean along with Ireland’s western coastline. Then we continue into Galway and join a local guide for a gentle walking tour of the city. See the medieval city walls, Lynch’s Castle and the narrow streets. At the end of the tour, we transfer to our hotel and later come together to enjoy dinner.
Thursday 22 August Aran Islands (B)
This morning, we take a short ferry ride from Rossaveal to Inis Mor, the largest of the three Aran Islands. These rocky islands are renowned for the hardy islanders who maintained traditional fishing and farming. The Irish language is still spoken widely. We take a minibus ride to Dun Aengus, a huge pre-historic fortress perched on sheer cliffs which fall away to the Atlantic Ocean below. We take a look around Kilronan before heading back to our hotel in Galway for an evening at leisure.
Friday 23 August Galway – Kilbeggan – Trim (B,D)
Departing Galway, we drive into Athlone and stop at Sean’s Bar, Irelands oldest pub to enjoy a drink together. Then it is on to Kilbeggan to visit the Kilbeggan Distillery, which was established in 1757 and is one of the oldest licensed distilleries in the world. While here, we enjoy a tour and tasting of the finished product. We then continue to Trim to check into the beautiful Trim Castle Hotel for our overnight stay. You may wish to rest or explore some of the castle grounds before our wonderful dinner tonight in the Trim Castle’s fine restaurant.
Saturday 24 August Dublin – Dubai (B)
Following breakfast this morning, we are transferred to Dublin Airport in time for our flight to Dubai. We arrive into Dubai just after midnight on 25 August, and have a few hours to rest up before our mid-morning flight to Auckland.
Sunday 25 August Dubai – Auckland (B)
Time for the last leg of our journey on our flight home.
Monday 26 August Arrive Auckland
Arrive Auckland mid-morning.