Grand Adventure of the South Pacific: Fiji, Australia, New Zealand, and French Polynesia Itinerary

A 18 day trip to Australia, Fiji, New Zealand & Tahiti 
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Embrace tropical paradise and ice tunnels, adventure and discovery, during your customizable South Pacific vacation. Witness rainbow hues on the Great Barrier Reef. Feel your heart race while snorkeling with sharks in Bora Bora. Walk along the frozen surface of Franz Josef Glacier. Listen to the stories of Dreamtime in the rainforest of Queensland. Search for penguins lounging on the rocks in a fjord and glide beneath the jungle canopy on a zip line over Viti Levu, Fiji. From luxurious resorts to engaging thrills, cosmopolitan atmosphere to tropical ambiance, indulge in the diverse majesty of the South Pacific. 

Customize This Trip For Me
Most tours are customized for private travel.

General Information

Photos
close up of coconuts on a palm tree
large whale swimming under water in the blue ocean
bundle of red tropical flowers with green leaves
Polynesian cultural statue
man snorkeling with manta ray in the ocean
Detailed Itinerary

Places Visited 

Viti Levu, Cairns, Sydney, Daintree, Mossman Gorge, Christchurch, Franz Josef, Queenstown, Milford Sound, Tahiti, Bora Bora 

Departure Dates 

Dates are flexible and customizable for private departures.

Detailed Itinerary 

Day 1: Viti Levu – Fijian Bula Vinaka  (A Fijian Hello)

The Fijian island of Viti Levu is the largest of the tropical archipelago. Coconut palms fringe the white sand beaches along the Coral Coast. The South Pacific Sea shimmers with crystal clear turquoise waters. The jungle canopy shades the heart of the island, giving a perfect tropical ambiance for orchids and the tubular white flowers of Tahitian gardenias. The underbrush produces yellow and green fruit utilized for its sweet fragrance and medicinal properties.

The red and yellow bulbs of heliconia resemble flames as the flowers blossom on stems growing up to three feet tall. The red-throated lorikeet twitters in the trees and the bottlenose dolphins swim in view of the shoreline. Your flight lands at Nadi International Airport, where your private transfer greets you upon your arrival. Take some time to visit the central market that brims with vibrant tropical hues emanating from guavas, melons, limes, and passion fruits. The aromas of banana and oranges drift beneath the lofted ceiling.

Boys roll through the marketplace and along the streets of town with barrels filled with cassava melons bound for restaurants, homes, and shops around the city. Chili peppers shimmer with red luster and large taro roots offer more than just a meal. Your private transfer escorts you to your resort surrounded by lush tropical gardens and views of the small islands trailing away from Viti Levu. The concierge greets you with a traditional welcoming ceremony, during which you leave your shoes away from a large mat, and sip kava, a drink made from ground taro root.

What’s Included: airport transfer, accommodation

Day 2: Viti Levu – An Aerial View of Fiji

In the morning, the aroma of zesty oranges and juicy mangoes accompany the scent of fresh banana pancakes filling the dining room. You can hear the gentle waters of the South Pacific lapping against the white sand beach of your resort. The sea breeze rustles through the coconut palms. Your adrenaline begins pumping with the thought of the adventure to come. You meet your guide in the lobby and set out into the jungle terrain for a zip lining adventure. You pass seductive emerald forest underbrush growing wild along the untamed hills.

You follow your guide into the trees for a safety briefing before stepping into the harness that connects you to the zip line. You will glide over a mile through the rainforest canopy. You can hear a waterfall rushing down the hillsides and disturbing the dangling bushes. You leap from the platform and soar as far as 525 feet, reaching a speed of more than 27 miles per hour. The fragrant blossoms of Tahitian gardenias provide a subtle sweetness to the air as the wind brushes against your cheeks.

What’s Included: breakfast, lunch, tour, accommodation

Day 3: Viti Levu – Culture in the Garden

The morning fills with the delightful aroma of coconut and the subtle scent of the South Pacific Sea. You spend some time before breakfast digging your toes into the cool, powdery sands of the resort’s private beach before meeting your private guide. The day is yours to experience and explore the island of Viti Levu with a private car, leading you to the majesty of island life, beginning at the Arts Village. The scent of hibiscus sweeps across the village landscape. Houses were erected to embody the traditional architecture of the island, containing restaurants, boutique shops, and a theater. The jovial ambiance is intoxicating and inviting.

You can hear the sounds of the meke, a traditional song and dance being performed. The dancers use the movements to tell a story, often an island folktale. When the drums and rhythm stop the broad male dancers in woven grass sulu raise their spears for the traditional war dance. The men beat their bodies and clap their legs to keep the beat as they puff out their chests. Continue to the rippling landscape of the Sigatoka Sand Dunes, a protected area peppered with sandy monoliths overlooking the shoreline. The windblown dunes reach nearly three miles long and more than half a mile wide, with the average dune rising to a height of 65 feet above sea level.     

What’s Included: breakfast, tour, accommodation

Day 4: Cairns – An Australian G’Day

At breakfast, you enjoy the scent of mango and the rich flavor of ripe papaya. You remember the stunning colors and the unique design of the Mariamma Temple, a Hindu relic that helps locals celebrate the fire-walking festival in July and August. The rich and vibrant colors of the temple façade accentuate the relics and statues adorning the little niches looking out to the streets. Your private transfer meets you at the hotel after the meal and escorts you to Nadi International Airport for your flight to Cairns, Australia. As the flight descends over the tropical landscape of northeast Queensland, you notice how the rainforest rushes over the Great Diving Range.

The mountains separate the fertile plateau and Red Desert landscape from the calm turquoise waters of the Coral Sea. Your private transfer greets you upon arrival at Cairns Airport and escorts you to a luxurious hotel overlooking the tranquil marina. The scent of fresh seafood and delicious brick-oven pizza emanates from the lively promenade. Metal sculptures of tropical fish fly above the quiet swimming lagoon, which looks out to the sea. Flying foxes dangle upside down in the lush trees and snack on mangoes. Acclaimed artwork decorates the former 1930s government offices, offering displays connected to the Indigenous peoples of the region.

What’s Included: breakfast, transfer, accommodation

Day 5: Cairns – Taking the Plunge at the Great Barrier Reef

The tropical north of Australia fills with the scent of mangoes and the vibrant colors of dragon fruit. You wake early and venture to the marina to board a boat bound for the Great Barrier Reef. A light mist rises from the hull of the boat as you speed across the Coral Sea. The semi-sweet aroma of the saltwater fills the air. Droplets of sea spray land on your skin as you watch the shoreline fade behind the horizon. You will stop at three different spots to view the biodiversity of the more than 1,400 miles of reef. The boat weighs anchor against a floating platform.

You jump into the water with fins, a mask, and snorkel, eager to view the blossoming aquatic gardens below. The water is warm as it wraps around your body. The salt content helps you float along the surface. Sea fans rustle in the current, waving like trees in the wind. Pillar coral ascend above plates and rounded mounds glowing with rainbow hues. Soft coral known as sunset cups have tendrils that move with the ebb and flow of the water. The body of the coral shimmers orange and yellow, which resembles the sunset. You follow a glint of orange peeking from within the purple forest of the tendrils of a sea anemone to find hiding clown fish hiding. 

What’s Included: breakfast, lunch, tour, accommodation

Day 6: Cairns – The Treasures of Northeast Queensland

The morning light washes over the canopy of the mangrove trees thriving in the wetlands. A boardwalk meanders through the opening of the forest offering views to vibrant life living in the mixture of salt and freshwater. Your guide greets you in the lobby after breakfast and escorts you north to view the majesty of Mossman Gorge and the Daintree Rainforest. The gorge is situated along the southeast corner of the national park and is home to the traditional lands of the Kuku Yalanji.

Boulders erupt from the valley floor, framing sparkling rivers and hiding ancient rocks. The Indigenous Ecotourism Centre welcomes you with a gallery dedicated to the cultural heritage of the Kuku Yalanji, including artifacts such as boomerangs and spears used for hunting mud crabs. You continue to the water hole fed by the Mossman River. The waters are refreshingly cool, contrasting the tropical heat of the rainforest. The Mossman River washes over the granite boulders and fills the forest with the sounds of whitewater.

You feel as though you’ve discovered a hidden tropical paradise, decorated with crystal clear water and emerald ferns with more than 135 million years of history. Follow your guide through the forest on a Dreamtime walk to hear the stories of spirits and the beginnings of the ancient landscape. Your Aboriginal guide points out the plants used for medicinal purposes and directs your attention to the winding vines of the strangler fig. You find tracks of the elusive, captivating cassowary, which resembles a prehistoric bird glowing with an indigo neck and turquoise crown.

What’s Included: breakfast, lunch, tour, accommodation

Day 7: Sydney – Ideal Australian City

The sunlight washes over the greenery inside the Cairns Botanical Garden. The 19th-century collection of Australia’s tropical plants highlights the more than 4,000 different species of flora to create a kaleidoscope of colors deriving from the blossoming flowers. You find the scent of mangosteen and lime at breakfast before your private transfer escorts you to Cairns Airport. Your flight to Sydney offers a spectacular view of the arching Sydney Harbour Bridge, framing the iconic sails of the Sydney Opera House standing on a promontory surrounded on three sides by water. You follow your private transfer to a gorgeous luxury hotel overlooking the famous harbor. The Central Business District brims with exciting activity. Sailboats catch the sea breeze and glide across the cobalt water.

The cafes in the youthful neighborhood of Glebe set out tables and chairs for patrons to sip their coffee and tea in view of the antique markets. Your guide leads you on a private tour of historic Sydney, beginning along the George Street, the oldest street in the country. Trams cruise between the cobbled walkways, passing the historical structure of the Queen Victoria Building, the first arcade erected in Australia. The grandeur of the architecture remains, embodied in the 20 small domes surrounding the single main dome filling with light. Mosaic tiles line the walkways and lobby leading to the gilded window frames bordering the upscale boutiques. 

What’s Included: breakfast, transfer, tour, accommodation

Day 8: Sydney – In the Grandeur of an Icon

In the morning, the ferries begin to crisscross Sydney Harbour, traveling between stations hidden in the canals across the greater city. The herbaceous aroma of tea fills the dining room, accompanied by the scent of sizzling bacon. You venture to Darling Harbour after the meal and board a small catamaran bound for the waters of the harbor. The boat disembarks and you bask in the beauty of the Sydney Opera House standing poised besides passing boats. You have a fabulous view of the skyline crowned by Sydney Tower, which reaches nearly 1,015 feet above the surrounding streets.

The Royal Botanic Gardens glisten with blossoming roses. Return to shore and walk along the brick esplanade connecting to the Sydney Opera House. Your guide greets you in front of the shimmering glass panels wrapping around the lobby. Before entering the building, you learn about the history of the grand structure, including the reason for the textured rooftop. The crenulated and tiered shapes resemble sails to capture the seaside ambiance of the city. Once inside, you notice the tangible splendor of the design. The main gallery resembles an oyster and has remarkable acoustics due to the size, which maintains 2,000 seats.

What’s Included: breakfast, lunch, tour, accommodation

Day 9: Christchurch – Kia Ora, New Zealand

In the morning, the café culture of Sydney returns to life with locals venturing to indulge in salted honey tarts and chocolate fudge cake while sipping their coffee. At breakfast, you delight in your view over Circular Quay as the Central Business District teems with business people venturing to work and shops opening their doors. Your private transfer leads you to Sydney Airport for your flight to Christchurch, New Zealand. The city on the South Island offers a mixture of European ambiance and the gorgeous scenery for which the country is known.

Art projects decorate the streets of the city center and the Botanic Gardens around Hagley Park add layers of extra color to the combination of antique stone structures and shimmering modern architecture. Punters glide down the Avon River beneath the dangling trees. After settling into the comforts of your luxury hotel, you traverse the city accompanied by your guide, culminating in a gondola ride to the top of Mount Cavendish. The cable car travels for nearly 3,100 feet to reach the 1,640-foot summit. From the top, you have a dramatic view spanning the city and reaching the surrounding Canterbury Plains.

What’s Included: breakfast, transfer, tour, accommodation

Day 10: Franz Josef – Discovering the South Island  

In the morning, the sunlight washes over the Re:START Mall, an area that was rebuilt after the 2011 earthquake to revitalize the downtown area. The 29 stores and single café built out of shipping containers helped re-establish the city center as a chic, inviting, and exciting place to visit for locals and visitors alike. After breakfast, your private transfer escorts you to the train station to board the celebrated TranzAlpine train. The tracks travel nearly 150 miles through 19 tunnels to reach the Greymouth.

You relax in the comforts of your train car for the duration of the scenic ride west. The beauty of untamed New Zealand abounds outside the window, beginning with the sweeping colors of the Canterbury Plains. The grassland shimmers with green and gold spreading over the hills. You find the marvels of the Southern Alps peeking through the sporadic clouds in the distance. The train travels through Arthur’s Pass. Beech forest thrives in the cooler climate and frames the township near the Bealey River.

The pass reaches a height of more than 2,400 feet above sea level. You disembark the train upon reaching Greymouth. Before traveling south to reach the town of Franz Josef, your guide leads you on a short drive north, passing the dairy farms and small symbols of rugged hills to reach the Punakaiki Pancake Rocks. The stunning black sands on the beach lead to captivating views of the cliffs with layered limestone that looks like tall stacks of pancakes. The sea air offers a soothing aroma amidst the sporadic bursts of water spouting from the powerful blowholes. 

What’s Included: breakfast, transfer, accommodation

Day 11: Franz Josef – Visions of the South Island Glaciers

The aromas of buttery pastries and fresh jam drift through the doors of Picnics Bakery in the morning. You delight in a fresh cup of refreshing coffee before meeting your guide in the lobby of your hotel. You make your way to the helipad where the propellers of the helicopter are warming up. The rush of air chills your cheeks as you step aboard the helicopter ready to lift into the air. The pilot offers insightful commentary about the landscape as you travel through the mountain gully. The rugged terrain frames the undulating ice field that travels over seven and a half miles. The chopper lands on a plateau.

You strap crampons to your feet and follow your guide onto the ice of Franz Josef to continue your unforgettable glacial excursion. The sound of your feet crunching the ice fills the air. The shallow breeze bites your cheeks, carrying sporadic flecks of frost. From a distance, the glacier looked smooth against the black granite peaks. While walking atop the ice, you find a more grainy texture, similar to packed snow. You enter into a natural tunnel. The pure, untouched ice glows an unfathomable indigo in the beams of sunlight pouring through the mouth of the passageway.

What’s Included: breakfast, lunch, tour, accommodation

Day 12: Queenstown – The Scene of the South Island

At breakfast, you can’t help but think of the light bouncing off the pristine blue ice inside the tunnel. Remembering the helicopter ride over the glacier makes your heart race with excitement. The scent of fresh coffee brings you back to breakfast where you meet your private transfer. After the meal, you set out on a scenic drive south towards the magnificent city of Queenstown, celebrated for the beauty of the surrounding mountains and reflective waters of Lake Wakatipu. The route leads you along the winding roads of Glacier Country. Lush forest grows alongside the roadway and frames the snowcapped mountain peaks in the distance. Stop along the road through Haast Pass to find Fantail Falls.

The cascade divides the forest with a delta-like stream pouring over silver granite for nearly 50 feet. The crystal clear pool waits below. You can also visit the marvelous Blue Pools, known for their crystal clear indigo hues created from the melt water from the surrounding glaciers. You make another stop in the Gibbston Valley, a famous branch of the Otago wine-growing region. Steep cliffs grow alongside the valley floor where vines thrive in the cool climate. You can take a moment to enjoy the refreshing, fruity notes of a celebrated Pinot Noir with a view to valley floor before continuing to the shores of Lake Wakatipu in Queenstown.

What’s Included: breakfast, transfer, accommodation

Day 13: Queenstown – Enchanting Milford Sound

The sunlight washes over the reflective waters of Lake Wakatipu in the morning. The Remarkables Mountains reach into the sky along the southeastern shores of the water. The gondola returns to a circling steep ascent to the top of Bob’s Peak, which travels at a 220-degree angle to reach the nearly 1,500-foot tall summit. The scent of fresh snow blends with the aroma of strong coffee drifting out of a café. Your guide greets you at the hotel and escorts you south along the secluded scenic road to reach the banks of Milford Sound.

Melted glaciers shaped the fjord, creating marvelous peaks, sensational waterfalls, and the crowning summit of Mitre Peak at 5,550 feet above sea level Pebbles pave the shoreline leading to granite boulders reflected in the placid surface water. Your boat cruises along the fjord with your captain exclaiming how the famous British author Rudyard Kipling declared the enchanting scenery, “the Eighth Wonder of the World.” Seals lounge on the rocks and bathe in the sun. Crested penguins leap out of the water. Their yellow crests stand out against the black and white plumage. The sound of rushing water grips you as you pass Lady Elizabeth Bowen Falls, which stands at more than 530 feet above sea level while providing Milford Sound with power and water.

What’s Included: breakfast, lunch, tour, accommodation

Day 14: Tahiti – Maeva in French Polynesia

The scent of sizzling bacon offers a comforting ambiance in the cool outside temperatures of the South Island. The lobby of your resort offers a warming, roaring fire as you take in the scenic view of the Remarkables Mountains. Indulge in the pleasures of a decadent hot chocolate to embrace the alpine charm of Queensland. The morning is yours to enjoy the town at your leisure. Walk along the pine-knotted buildings or stroll around the shores of Lake Wakatipu along the promenade. You could also take some time to view the Underwater Observatory. The popular site acts like a reverse aquarium, allowing visitors to walk through a series of glass panels looking into the deep waters of the lake.

Freshwater eels emerge from hidden coves and ducks dive down into the cold water in search of unsuspecting trout. Your private transfer meets you in the hotel lobby when you are ready and escorts you to Queenstown Airport for your flight to Tahiti, French Polynesia. You arrive in the evening and find the island awake with the scent of coconut and the sounds of the lapping water. The warm, tropical night contrasts the alpine climate on New Zealand’s South Island. Your private transfer escorts you to the hotel to relax in the exotic landscape amidst the tranquil, soothing sounds of the South Pacific Sea.

What’s Included: breakfast, transfer, accommodation

Day 15: Bora Bora – Delights of Bora Bora

The sea breeze rustles the coconut palms soaring above the black sands of Tahiti. The market in Papeete brims with colorful fruits, from mangos to guavas, pineapples to dragon fruits. Pearl shops open their doors along the second level, sparkling with precious stones shaped by oysters. After a refreshing breakfast accentuated by the delectable exotic fruits of the island, your private transfer escorts you to the airport for your brief flight to magnificent Bora Bora. The island radiates serenity and charm embodied in the emerald rainforest, black basalt mountain peaks, and crystal clear turquoise water spanning the shallow lagoon.

You meet your private transfer at the airport and travel across the lagoon by boat, arriving to a stylish comfort with an iconic French Polynesian overwater bungalow. Dig your toes into the hot white sand on the private beach and embrace the marvelous colors of the blossoming Tahitian gardenias. You return to the main shores of the island for a 4x4 jeep safari offering you secluded panoramas and hidden histories beneath the soaring peak of Mount Otemanu.

Avocado and mango trees thrive in the tropical climate, planted by villages in the rainforest terrain. You travel along the unpaved inland roads, ascending the hills to reach a World War II defensive gun looking out over the lagoon. You can see the outline of Raiatea Island in the distance. The rusted but strong metal outlines the preserved gun secured by the US Navy to protect the island from Japanese invasion. The dangling branches frame the remarkable view of the white sand and stunning South Pacific Sea. In the evening, the rhythmic drums of a Polynesian dance performance call you to dinner.

What’s Included: breakfast, dinner, tour, accommodation

Day 16: Bora Bora – Sharks on the Lagoon

The scent of coconut permeates the sea breeze drifting through the windows of your overwater bungalow. You have a secluded view of Mount Otemanu and its twin peak of Mount Pahia. After breakfast, you board a traditional outrigger canoe on the resort’s shores to begin your guided snorkeling private tour of the stunning lagoon. The sea spray splashes over the hull of the boat. The tropical sunlight is already warm on your skin. The lush, verdant rainforest on the island is always within view as you traverse the crystal clear lagoon in search of reef bodies and coral gardens.

After diving into the water at two other sites, the salt begins to form crystals on your shoulders. You reach your final site on the tour, famous for the abundance of manta rays and sharks bold enough to swim next to your boat. Before jumping into the lagoon, you can see the dorsal fin of blacktip reef sharks, immediately understanding their nomenclature based upon the black spot tipping the dorsal fin. The warm, refreshing water offers visibility up to 20 feet in front of you, allowing you to observe the brilliance of the five-foot long sharks and the giant manta rays whose wingspans can grow up to 23 feet wide.

What’s Included: breakfast, lunch, tour, accommodation

Day 17: Bora Bora – Whale of a Time in Bora Bora

The morning light washes over the beauty of the island, returning the jewel-like splendor of the rainforest, mountains, and waters. At breakfast, you bask in the refreshing aroma of coffee made from beans cultivated in the hills of French Polynesia. The day is yours to indulge in the beauty of island life at your preferred pace. Rest with a soothing massage in the celebrated spa at your resort or traverse the circular road around Bora Bora on a bicycle to explore hidden beaches and delightful restaurants. You travel by boat across the lagoon to reach the marina at Vaitape. Board a 21-foot long catamaran and set sail on the deep waters of the South Pacific Sea in search of migrating humpback whales.

The boat manages to stay within view of the shores of Bora Bora offering a different perspective of the twin peaks of Otemanu and Pahia. Your captain offers insight into the lives of the whales and how they pass through the archipelago upon returning from the Antarctic waters. Females can grow up to 52 feet long with dark gray skin and white patches around their stomachs. A nearby splash demands your attention. You turn towards the island where a full-grown humpback breaches the water, managing an elegant pose before crashing back into the sea. 

What’s Included: breakfast, accommodation

Day 18: Bora Bora – A Grand Ending to the South Pacific Vacation

At breakfast, you recall the elegance with which the humpback sprung from the water during your whale watching tour the previous day. The luscious scent of coconut and citrusy pineapple bring you back to the delectable flavors of Bora Bora. You delight in fresh banana pancakes, which accentuate the tropical ambiance of the morning light. When you are ready, your private transfer escorts you across the lagoon to Vaitape. You have a chance to visit a local pearl shop.

The boutique is known for its vibrant collection of precious stones ranging from white to green and black to purple. A representative of the shop greets you like an old friend and offers insight into the cultivation of pearls across French Polynesia. They invite you into the workshop to see how they craft each piece of jewelry to best accompany the size, shape, and color of the pearl. After visiting the workshop, you continue to the Bora Bora Airport for your flight home. 

What’s Included: breakfast, airport transfer 

Price

Starting Price 

$4,945
This trip is customizable for your private travel.

What's Included 

  • Accommodations
  • In-country transportation
  • Some or all guided tours and activities (dependent on season)
  • Expert trip planning
  • 24x7 support during your trip
The starting price is based on travel during the low season for a minimum of two travelers staying in shared 3-star accommodations. Please inquire for a custom trip quote based on your travel preferences and travel dates.