Join Karena & Kasey, Masterchef Winners
on this specially created guided holiday of Southern USA.
Embark upon a journey of musical discovery, contrasting cultures, tastes, sights and sounds as you travel from Houston and the heart of the Deep South to Chicago. From BBQ, Bourbon, Blues and Jazz to Country and Rock n Roll, add a touch of Cajun and this trip is a recipe for success.
Departing on Friday 03 May 2019
- Economy Class return airfares with Air New Zealand (Auckland return).
- One departure only. 17 days from 3 -19 May, priced from $10,480pp twin share.
Limited seats, secure your place now.
- Economy Class return airfares with Air New Zealand (Auckland return).
- 15 day Costsaver custom-made itinerary travelling from Houston to Chicago in handpicked 3 & 4 star hotels in twins bedded rooms with private facilities.
- Breakfast daily (combination of continental and full breakfast).
- Lunches (3) including Memphis BBQ; Gus’s World Famous Fried Chicken Mason; and Taste of Nashville food tour with local specialist.
- Dinners (5) including Tex Mex style Welcome dinner in local Houston restaurant, Randols Lafayette; private cooking demonstration and meal in New Orleans; “Connect with the locals” highlight dinner in Natchez – traditional four course deep Southern dinner with wine; and Farewell Dinner in local restaurant Chicago.
- Services of an expert Travel Director from arrival Houston to departure Chicago.
- Local Specialist in Houston (day 2), New Orleans (day 6), Frogmore Plantation and Gins (day 7), Memphis (days 8 and 9).
- Travel by luxury air-conditioned coach with reclining seats.
- Groups airport transfers in Houston and Chicago.
- Tips and gratuities to the Travel Director and Driver.
- Local taxes at hotels and venues (where applicable).
- Group photo taken by a professional photographer (one per guest).
Day 1: May 03, 2019 – ARRIVE HOUSTON (D)
A warm welcome to the USA. Relax and unwind after flight and later meet with the Travel Director for an authentic Tex-Mex style Welcome Dinner.
Hotel: Hampton Inn Houston or similar. (2 nights)
Day 2: May 04, 2019 – HOUSTON SIGHTSEEING & AT LEISURE (B)
Meet with Local Specialist for a guided tour including Minute Maid Park, home to the Houston Astros baseball team; Market Square Park, a historical square surrounded by 19th century buildings; the original court house and City Hall; the Theatre District; and learn about the Houston tunnel system.
Day 3: May 05, 2019 – HOUSTON – LAFAYETTE (B&D)
This morning, visit the Houston Space Center and learn about space exploration. Cross the border into Louisiana, state of mixed cultures and unique swamps and bayous to Lafayette. This evening we dine at the traditional Dance hall and Restaurant, Randol’s. For over 35 years, Randol’s has been serving the good people of Lafayette excellent food, great service and toe-tapping entertainment!
Hotel: Fairfield Inn & Suites Lafayette South or similar.
Day 4: May 06, 2019 – LAFAYETTE – NEW ORLEANS (B)
Drive from Lafayette to New Orleans. Join a swamp cruise this afternoon with a Local Specialist. The remainder of the evening is at leisure.
Hotel: Wyndham New Orleans FQ or similar. (3 nights)
Day 5: May 07, 2019 – NEW ORLEANS SIGHTSEEING & AT LESIURE (B & D)
Let the good times roll in New Orleans today, tracing the cosmopolitan history of one of America’s oldest cities with a Local Specialist, stopping at City Park and one of the ornate above-ground cemeteries, a unique feature of this city built on swamplands. Spend the afternoon soaking up the laid-back vibes of The Big Easy. Tonight, enjoy a private cooking demonstration and meal hosted by local chefs showcasing authentic, regional flavors at the New Orleans School of Cooking.
Day 6: May 08, 2019 – NEW ORLEANS SIGHTSEEING & AT LEISURE (B)
This morning is yours to explore! Then we start our French Quarter walking and tasting tour with a Local Specialist. Over the next three hours you will experience classic Creole restaurants, neighborhood sandwich shops, hot sauce bars, artisanal candy store and more.
Day 7: May 09, 2019 – NEW ORLEANS – NATCHEZ (B & D)
Stop at Oak Alley Plantation, situated on the banks of the Mississippi River, get a full picture impression of the Antebellum roots of the South and how modern southern living emerged. Continue to Frogmore Plantation and Gins, where we join a Local Specialist to discover the Mississippi Delta’s cotton plantation heritage that produced over 900 bales of white gold each day. The slave customs, secret music and an authentically reconstructed 19th century plantation is yours to explore.
Tonight, enjoy an incredible evening highlighting Southern hospitality at a Be My Guest dinner beginning with a reception at the private residence of Joe Stone, whose gracious 1850s home features a gallery collection of rare maps, a quaint billiards hall, and exquisite ornamental glasswork Joe performs on his 1903 Steinway grand piano and delves into the inspiration behind each piece of music before you are treated t a glass of wine and are free to tour the expansive collection. Head over to the 1804 residence of Esther Carpenter, a former Four-Season Chef once named one of the Top 20 female chefs in America by USA Today, to enjoy a traditional four course Deep Southern Dinner with wine.
Hotel: Hotel Vue Natchez or similar.
Day 8: May 10, 2019 – NATCHEZ – MEMPHIS (B)
Depart for Memphis, home of the blues. Upon arrival, take a sunset introductory tour of Memphis. Your Local Specialist is a professional Beale Street musician who play and sing selections from the city's rich musical heritage, while entertaining you with comedy, history, and behind-the-scenes stories of your favorite Memphis personalities. This evening, enjoy some time at leisure.
Hotel: Crowne Plaza Memphis or similar. (2nights)
Day 9: May 11, 2019 – Graceland Excursion (B & L)
Graceland is as much an object of pilgrimage as a museum dedicated to the late, great Elvis Presley. From the flowers and painted signs outside the gates, to the tear-streaked cheeks of fans inside, see the effect that Elvis and his music had on popular American culture. Marvel at Graceland's Jungle Room, walls full of gold and platinum records. Stroll the grounds and you just might find yourself humming "Blue Suede Shoes."
This afternoon, join a Local Specialist for a Barbeque tasting excursion of the best BBQ joints in Memphis. Get the history of BBQ and head out to taste authentic, mouth-watering BBQ... Memphis style! Dry-rubbed or saucy wet ribs, pulled pork, pork nachos and BBQ spaghetti, all delicious regional favorites that round out this restaurant tasting experience. Your Local Expert will provide a sampling of culture and history sprinkled throughout this walking tour. Enjoy your evening at leisure.
Day 10: May 12, 2019 – Memphis – Nashville (B&L)
Enjoy a leisurely morning in Memphis. For those who are interested, take an optional tour of Sun Studio. Depart Memphis to travel to the Original Gus’s World Famous Fried Chicken in Mason, Tennessee for lunch. Over 60 years ago in the small community of Mason, Tennessee, Napoleon “Na” Vanderbilt created something amazing – fried chicken that could unite a community. In an era of divisive racial attitudes, the residents of Mason found that they could all agree on how much they loved Na’s fried chicken. Afterwards, continue to Nashville, otherwise known as music city. Your Travel Director will lead you on a city tour and show you the best sights in town.
Hotel: Quality Inn Nashville or similar. (3 nights)
Day 11: May 13, 2019 – NASHVILLE SIGHTSEEING (B)
The famous Nashville Sound comes alive this morning as RCA’s Studio B reveals the legends of Elvis Presley, Jim Reeves and Roy Orbison. Take a Cultural Insight into the life and music of Johnny Cash during a discussion and private performance of original and popular Cash tunes with Johnny and June’s son, John Carter Cash (or another family member). Our acoustic journey continues with a visit to the Country Music hall of Fame and Museum to see Elvis’ Solid Gold Cadillac limousine and Jim Reeve’s tuxedo jacket – an extraordinary collection of memorabilia on display to admire. You’ll have some time to yourself to continue your discovery of Nashville exploring the Johnny Cash Museum.
Tonight, consider an optional “Honky Tonk” pub crawl, where you’ll get a taste for Nashville sound with a taste of some special Nashville drinks!
Day 12: May 14, 2019 – NASHVILLE SIGHTSEEING & AT LEISURE (B&L)
Enjoy a morning at leisure. This afternoon, hop aboard and take your taste buds for a tour! Sample Nashville's favorite signature dishes and visit quaint and quirky Nashville neighborhoods along the way. On this tour, you'll sample the best of Nashville's classic cuisine. Experience southern specialties like slow-roasted barbecue, authentic hot chicken, and Nashville's own frosty cocktail, the Bushwhacker.
You'll also visit a fun and funky neighborhood eatery for a unique twist on southern foods. We'll finish up with great local dessert that will thrill your taste buds. Along the way, you'll see the Capitol, Bicentennial Mall, Sounds stadium, Germantown, the Cumberland River, East Nashville's Five Points, Nissan Stadium, and more. Tonight, enjoy an included show at the Grand Ole Opry!
Day 13: May 15, 2019 – NASHVILLE – LOUISVILLE (B)
Travel to Hodgenville. Visit the Abraham Lincoln Birthplace National Historical Park and the Abraham Lincoln Boyhood Home at Knob Creek. Continue to Frankfort and visit a bourbon distillery and discover the Southern signature spirit before a tasting.
Hotel: Drury Inn & Suites Louisville East or similar.
Day 14: May 16, 2019 – LOUISVILLE – CHICAGO (B & FD)
After breakfast, head on to Chicago, the “Windy City.” Upon arrival, enjoy a sightseeing tour which includes famous Michigan Avenue, the “Magnificent Mile,” the Wrigley Building, the Loop, the Lakefront and Millennium Park. Tonight, join your Travel Director and fellow travellers for a Farewell Dinner.
Hotel: Hotel Indigo Chicago or similar.
Day 15: May 17, 2019 – CHICAGO SIGHTSEEING – DEPART CHICAGO (B)
This morning, see Chicago in all its glory as you visit the 360 Chicago observation deck, located 1000 feet above the famed Magnificent Mile in the iconic John Hancock Building, offers breathtaking 360 degrees views of the city skyline and Lake Michigan. Enjoy some free time for lunch in downtown Chicago.
After, be inspired by the captivating visual art that is Chicago’s legendary architecture, and the exceptional architects who created this ever-changing, dynamic legacy for all to enjoy and admire. This comprehensive cruise will navigate through the heart of the city on all three branches of the Chicago River while your professionally-trained architectural guide tells the story of more than 130 years of innovation in design, style and technique and why it is important today.
Then bid farewell to a memorable holiday as you are transferred to the Chicago International Airport.
Day 16: May 18, 2019 – IN TRANSIT
With Air New Zealand from Chicago to Auckland.
Day 17: May 19, 2019 – ARRIVE AUCKLAND
Arrive back in Auckland.