Discover three paradises lost in the South Pacific that connect the diverse experiences of Australia, New Zealand, and Fiji. Traverse the landscape and connect vineyards with ice fields and exotic palm-dappled beaches with famous city attractions. Indulgence is at the heart of this unique three-week itinerary, every day an opportunity to explore these sentinels in the Pacific; helicopter tours, cruises through fjords, submarine journeys, and spas hidden in the wilderness.
Day 1 - 2
Sydney – Iconic Sights Welcome You to Australia
The Parramatta River slices through the heart of Sydney defines the city and connects some of the world's great icons. White sails reflect in its waters; the famous Sydney Opera House dominates the riverfront from afar. Continue your cruise and pass under the great archway of the Sydney Harbour Bridge, its vivid steel brilliance the next necessary photo. As the luxury cruise winds inland, appreciate Sydney's rural setting as the city is surrounded by lush hills and distant peaks. As lunch is served as you cross under the bridge, cruise out towards Australia's vast coastline. Upon return, be transferred to your five-star hotel to relax and recuperate from the flight. The afternoon Parramatta cruise provides an easy introduction to all the famous sights, without you having to walk around.
Your second day is left free, giving you time to discover the city and your own pace. There are history and heritage at The Rocks, resonant performances inside the Opera House, and a series of superb Victorian buildings all within walking distance of your hotel. Darling Harbour presents the city's futuristic style as fine dining restaurants hang over the Parramatta waters. If you already crave the beach, choices abound. Bondi is the most famous and filled with surfers most days, but a nearby coastal walkway takes you to the quieter sand of Cloverly and Bronte.
Day 3 - 4
Hunter Valley – Boutique Vineyards and the Stunning Blue Mountains
A shimmering azure haze floats across the green eucalyptus-clad valley of the Blue Mountains, a World Heritage site that climbs above the outskirts of Sydney. Your first glimpse into the scale and style of Australia's landscape, the crumbling sandstone pinnacles stand above the forest as the views seem to stretch for eternity. A private driver guide will escort you to the Blue Mountains, and the itinerary is flexible to leave time for hiking and ample exploration.
Continue on route to the Hunter Valley, a world-famous wine growing region that is your base for several days. Vineyards galore and rows of grapes dominate with the green mountains and sweeping views to complement. Many Australian wine exporters originate here, and they are joined by boutique cellars that have newly arrived. In true indulgent style, your boutique lodge is situated on a winery with almost two centuries of history. Nearly 150 cellars are found within easy distance, and the tasting is always unpretentious and relaxed. The lodge's spa is enhanced by the sense of health and wellness. Your driver guide is at your disposal to enable you to tour the valley and taste it all!
Day 5 - 6
Melbourne – Inspiring Tones in Australia's Cultural City
Sydney and Melbourne are vastly different, and the locals have been arguing for 200 years as to which city rules. Melbourne revels in the alternative; the streets a mishmash of old-world charm and modern shopping boutiques, the riverside alive with the tunes of buskers, and is surrounded by the Victoria region that sprawls around green forests and empty beaches. Travel back towards Sydney on Route 33 and pass through the sandstone houses of Wollomi on route to the airport. It's a short domestic flight south to Melbourne, where your hotel overlooks the Yarra River.
Melbourne is easy to explore, and a walking tour the next day delves into its cultural complexities. Colonial remains stand between modern skyscrapers; arcades spill out onto narrow Chinese markets, and a hundred nationalities mingle on the streets. The city's original architecture has managed to survive the bulldozer better than elsewhere in Australia and form an ode to yesteryear. The engineering indulgence and Victorian style stand out as you visit places like the Royal Arcade, Clarendon Street, and St Patrick's Cathedral. A shopper's city, complete the walking tour at Queen Victoria Market, the Southern Hemisphere's largest open-air market with a vibrant atmosphere and eclectic food.
Day 7 - 9
Bay of Islands – Sublime Coastal Serenity and Undeveloped Beaches
New Zealand awaits across the Tasman Sea, a spacious land of a dramatic landscape that blurs everything from beaches to mountains, sheep-filled pastures to the enticing rainforest. Land in Auckland and connect to a 35-minute domestic flight to the Bay of Islands, a meandering expanse of deserted inlets, vivid beaches, and waters that swarm with dolphins. The tropical tones don't always reflect preconceptions of New Zealand; this sliver of the country is far closer in aesthetics to Fiji than Hobbiton. Your base is Paihia, a quiet coastal town where uninterrupted views over the bay come from your lodge verandah. Indulge in the spa upon arrival, and it's easy to fill the rest of your day just enjoying the view.
Spend the next morning on a cruise through the bay as dolphin pods follow you to tiny, uninhabited beaches. Whales regularly swim here, another element of New Zealand's natural offering. Reach the white beaches and completely escape into the country's silence; just keep watch for the flumes of water expelled by a migrating sperm whale. The next day, move inland, and it's equally tranquil. The untrammeled Raetea and Herekina forests offer easy walks or cycling past the towering Kauri trees. Continue the tour with a dramatic coastal journey to reveal modern Maori culture villages and local life. You will be privately invited into a village to get a taste of how tradition lives on in the region. Like everything in New Zealand, both of your day tours run at a very relaxed pace; there's never any rushing in this country.
Day 10 - 12
Hawkes Bay – New Zealand's Dramatic Landscapes and Wineries
Fly next to Hawkes Bay to find flat, fertile landscapes that stretch out to rise into remarkably rugged cliffs. The North Island's East Coast, this is a place of quiet countryside, rolling vineyards, and a beautiful journey through soporific landscapes. Your base is just outside Napier on a vast private farm that overlooks the coast, yet opens onto the region's famous vineyards. Gaze one way, at it's easy to fill your nostrils with the promise of the country's oldest wine-growing region. Look the other, and flocks of seabirds soar on the salty breeze. Your farm retreat has its own private beach to elevate the region's sense of exclusivity. Throughout these days, you will see far more sheep than people, and with 6,000 rolling acres to explore, it would be easy to spend all of your days without ever leaving the farm.
The coastal roads encourage relaxed exploration, leading you to boutique cellars and rolling hills of vineyards. It's an area of rich Maori heritage, exemplified when you travel south and connect to villages. Blending wine tasting with Maori culture is part of the appeal. Stop at a remote winery for lunch before traveling past Taumatawhakatangihangakoauauotamateaturipukakapikimaungahoronukupokaiwhenuakitanatahu and onwards to quiet indigenous villages along the coast. Complement the wine with the excellent organic restaurants in Napier, then combine an afternoon at the beach with an evening amidst the quaint art deco of the town. A private driver guide is at your disposal throughout your time in Hawkes Bay, opening up a whole region of wilderness and wineries.
Day 13 - 15
Queenstown – Adventure Amidst Snow-Capped Mountains and Spectacular Fjords
Everything about New Zealand's North Island brings calm. Fly over to the South Island, and nearly everything makes you gasp. A dramatic line of mountains rises precipitously from the ocean and ascends to permanently snow-covered peaks. Alpine lakes are hidden amongst the contours to reflect a white wonderland in waters of deep blue. Fjords cover the coast as great open expanses spill into the Tasman Sea. Almost the entire western coast of the island is a national park and forms a 1.2 million hectare chain of protected land that is also preserved as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. One glance at the panorama, and you immediately feel the inspiration to explore.
Fly in from Hawkes Bay and the plane offers an indication of the landscape to come. Touch down in the heart of the mountains, and be transferred to a boutique lodge on the outskirts of Queenstown. With the Remarkables Mountain Range reflected in Lake Wakatipu, the accommodation provides an immediate escape into the South Island's appeal. With a day at your leisure, take the time to breathe in the tranquility and get your head around the panoramas. For a very adventurous introduction to the town, consider the tandem parasailing above Queenstown.
Next day, drive out to the West Coast national parks and enter a land of shining glaciers and narrow fjords. Milford Sound is the most astonishing of the fjords; 3,500-foot vertical cliffs stand above the narrow inlet; their faces reveal tumbling waterfalls and the antics of seals. Mist swirls around to elevate the impression of mystique as you journey towards the ocean. It's a seductive three-hour drive out to board a small luxury boat to explore the fjord; cruising through the landscape exudes a great sense of insignificance, revealing how man's creations are so small in comparison to Nature's.
Return to Queenstown via helicopter and sweep across the chain of mountains to touch down on a glacier en route. Disembark the plane in the heart of nowhere to be surrounded by white peaks, the 360-degree panorama a symbol of the region's expansive realm. Fjords glisten beneath the propellers as the scenic flight soars before landing beside Lake Wakatipu. The following day is free, and there are dozens of ways to explore, from Lord of the Rings driving tours to jet boat riding, easy hikes in the forest to cruising on the lake.
Day 16 - 19
Laucala – An Exotic Island Retreat in Fiji
Fiji will match up with your preconceptions, an archipelago of bliss that's far from anywhere in the Pacific. A tiny country, time zones from everywhere else, Fiji, tropical colors dominate every panorama; the resplendent waters lap onto postcard-perfect white beaches. Coconut palms arch skywards to create canopies of green and havens of shade. Reefs stand untouched, exotic collections of coral hidden from currents by other islands. When you picture the perfect tropical location, your imagination likely matches up to how Laucala Island looks.
A small private island to the north of Fiji, flying into Laucala Island is part of the experience. After landing in Nadi, take a light aircraft for a 50-minute journey across the South Pacific and be enamored with the ocean's tones. Touch down and enter into one of the world's most exclusive island getaways. Rich, green, subtropical forest fills the interior, burbles with birdsong and the sweet smells of fruit trees. Only a tiny sliver of the island has been developed, just a handful of ocean-facing villas enjoy the private beaches. Rarely will you find anyone else in view whether you are along the white sands or hiking through the forests.
Laucala – Experiencing the Delights of Paradise
Your time spent on this island refuge brings a packed three-week itinerary to a close. For most, the appeal is the setting, an untouched white beach and a soundtrack of lapping waves. An on-site dive center takes you into the marine world, filled with the same exotic array of colors found on land. Snorkeling excursions are possible, and if you don't want to get wet, there is a deep-flight submarine that cruises the depths. Gallop horses across the sand, sail along the island's coastline for sunset or head deep into the forest with a guide. As befits the tranquility of the setting, the on-site spa is as indulgent as they come. All meals are included throughout your stay so all you need to do is take off your watch and kick off your shoes.
Laucala – Departure
Three weeks in three countries and an itinerary that creates the impression of three different vacations. Fly back to New Zealand via Nadi to catch your direct international flight as you conclude your fantastic luxury vacation.
- Discover the best of all three countries, traveling from the icons of Southeastern Australia to the wilderness of New Zealand, then the remote bliss of Fiji
- Explore the famous sights of Sydney and wander through the country's cultural heart – Melbourne
- Savor the exciting flavors of the countries' wine regions with nights spent in the Hunter Valley and New Zealand's Hawkes Bay
- Wallow in the wilderness of New Zealand as you spend three days on the South Island, surrounded by fjords and mountains that spill into the rainforest
- Kick off the shoes and delight in the absolute serenity of Laucala Island; a remote Fijian paradise lost in the Pacific Ocean
- Head beneath the water to discover vast untouched reefs; choose snorkeling, scuba diving, or trips in a deep flight submarine
- Take a luxury day boat cruise along two of the Southern Hemisphere's most memorable waterways, the Parramatta River and Milford Sound
- Feel the pull of nature with three nights in New Zealand's Bay of Islands, where volcanic hills hide exotic rainforest and untouched beaches
The landscape of the South Pacific does not seem real in photographs. Red deserts tumble into blue mountains and green vineyards; tropical beaches are defined by white sand and the waving trunks of palm trees. Towering snow-capped mountains reflect in expansive fjords, the mirror imaging only interrupted by playful seals and dolphins. These three countries stand as sentinels to Nature's power, yet each is remarkably diverse. On this handcrafted three-week itinerary, travel across the realms to lose yourself in landscapes that continue to feel surreal even when experienced personally. Each country elevates the setting with its distinctive atmosphere, enabling you to capture the spirit of a land and enjoy three vacations in a single trip. While these islands are geographically connected, they couldn't be more different.
Australia provides a fantastic start to your trip as the city of Sydney introduces you to world icons and incredible beauty with a cruise of the Parramatta River. A mystical haze hangs over the eucalyptus-clad Blue Mountains, a colorful counterpoint to the vineyards of the Hunter Valley, two destinations that take up several days. Then it's onto Melbourne, a vibrant city of culture that delivers a wealth of art and heritage. Local flights connect these destinations, and there's always time to relax along the river during your days in Australia.
New Zealand beckons you to rewind the clock and bask in the calming charms of its terrain. At the Bay of Islands, enjoy hundreds of miles of empty coastline to explore with a rugged land of volcanic hills that open onto white beaches. Immediately sense the remoteness and rurality of the country; serenity is something that comes naturally here. Your flight to Hawkes Bay sweeps you into green pastures, and the indulgent soul of the country's wine industry is topped off with more cliff-top trails and hidden beaches. Your flight to the South Island brings a change of tempo, the spectacular alpine landscape envelopes you with glaciers, fjords, lakes, and peaks that spill into the ocean. For scenic drama, the land around Queenstown is unrivaled.
The South Island encourages adventure and exploration and is complemented by your nights spent on Laucala Island. Dream of Fiji and the first image into your mind will look a lot like this private island escape. Think verdant mountains tumble into coconut plantations, white sandy beaches that squeak beneath your feet, and sublime turquoise waters that ripple with world-class reefs. Settle into the Pacific's great escape, with your beach bliss together with unique submarine trips, sailing, and a variety of other activities as well. Of course, like so many of the stops on this itinerary, there's also a spa to ensure that you are fully attuned with the calming ambiance of the country.
$5,581 per person (excluding international flights)
Your Zicasso trip is fully customizable, and this sample itinerary is a starting place for your travel plans. Actual costs are dynamic, and your selection of accommodations and activities, your season of travel, and other such variables will bring this budget guideline up or down. Throughout your planning experience with your Zicasso specialist, your itinerary is designed around your budget. You can book your trip when you are satisfied with every detail. Planning your trip with a Zicasso travel specialist is a free service.
- In-country transportation
- Some or all activities and tours
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Your final trip cost will vary based on your selected accommodations, activities, meals, and other trip elements that you opt to include.
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