Australia and New Zealand are perfect destinations for the single traveler; safe, indelibly welcoming, incredibly diverse, and bursting with unique experiences. This handcrafted vacation of a lifetime unveils the best of both countries, sublimely combining iconic cities, unforgettable nature, indigenous culture, Middle Earth, and the continent’s best destinations for solo travelers. Just pack your adventurous spirit and get ready to explore…
Sydney – Welcome to Australia
Gaze from the plane window and admire Sydney, the cityscape flanked by twinkling ocean and dissected by a meandering river. Touch down and smile. You’ve landed in Australia and 16 days of handcrafted adventure awaits. A chauffeur is waiting in arrivals, ready to whisk you away from the airport and into streets that dance with delight and intrigue. The rest of the day is free, giving you a chance to recover from the flight and explore a surprisingly compact and easy to navigate city center.
Sydney – Ultimate Sydney Aerials and Learning to Surf at Bondi Beach
Have a lie-in, if you want. It’s your vacation, so no need to rise to someone else’s schedule. Today is all about Sydney’s most iconic experiences. Start beneath the bridge, gazing up at the exposed spine of metal that connects the two sides of the city. Step by step you ascend Sydney Harbour Bridge, standing on top of the thick steel and peering down on the Opera House and glass-fronted skyscrapers. Climb to the halfway point, admiring the forests and ocean that dazzle in the distance. Stop for photos and slowly descend, the whole Sydney Bridge Climb Experience offering over two hours of unforgettable panoramas and excitement.
Competing with the bridge for world fame is Bondi Beach, a glistening bay of surfers and bronzed bodies soaking up the sun. Is there anywhere more memorable on the planet to try out surfing? An expert instructor teaches the basics with a private lesson, and (hopefully) after two hours you’ll be proudly declaring “I surfed a wave at Bondi Beach!” Relive your day with a sundowner at a bar overlooking the ocean, your first full day is complete and it already feels like you’ve been away for a week.
Sydney – Majestic Beauty in the Blue Mountains
Australia and New Zealand suit many moods, effortlessly taking you through the gears. After yesterday’s excitement there’s a wonderful sense of calm as you journey into the Blue Mountains. A mystical haze hangs over a gaping eucalyptus clad valley, sandstone pinnacles contain provocative Aboriginal narratives, and your small group tour stops at numerous lookout points away from the tourist crowds. This is a day for taking thousands of photos, each angle a subtle reflection of the Blue Mountain’s majestic beauty. It goes without saying that this natural wonder is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Easy rainforest walks and an afternoon in a wildlife sanctuary add some additional surprise before you cruise back to Darling Harbour and Sydney on a local boat.
Melbourne – The Chic Delights of Melbourne
Sydney and Melbourne have always been in competition, each city proudly declaring itself the best in Australia. Fortunately, you don’t have to choose. You get both. This itinerary uses domestic flights to connect destinations, with luxury chauffeured transfers taking you to and from the airports. Land in Melbourne and spend the day exploring; cute alleys of boutique shops and cafes, crumbling remains of 19th century Australia, elegant riverside bars, buskers performing on ebullient streets…there’s an unmistakable captivation that finds a way into every heart.
Melbourne – Kangaroos and Koalas in the Wild
Traveling solo is ideal for meeting the locals and these two countries are famed for their welcoming and open residents. You’ll already have met many Australians, their inherent friendliness often coming as a shock to those hailing from more reserved countries. Today you meet more indelible locals, this time those of the marsupial variety. Koalas cling to eucalyptus branches, slowing turning their heads and offering a cute yawn for the camera. Their tranquility and stillness is a sharp contrast to the nearby kangaroos. They group in mobs that skip around the green plains. Rival males rock back onto two legs and start to box, while females tease out adoring local attention. This is not a zoo or wildlife sanctuary experience. The marsupials are living wild in their natural habitat; approach slowly and they’ll happily allow you to get close.
Uluru – Journey to the Red Center and Uluru
Australia begins to change color through the plane window, the green giving way to an endless blanket of scorched red. It’s barren and inhospitable, virtually uninhabited but for a few remaining Aboriginal residents. Rising proud above this landscape is Uluru, the world’s biggest monolith dominating with almost mythical prowess. Some may know it as Ayer’s Rock, but this spiritual Aboriginal rock has been returned to its original indigenous name. Circle the rock and gawp at its size, then sit back and watch sunset unfold, Uluru magically changing through a kaleidoscope of reds and oranges, before the desert descends to darkness and an astonishing sky of stars is revealed. Uluru is not merely a rock in the desert. It’s a place that imbues a deep sense of spirituality and natural beauty, offering a journey into the wilderness that ignites the imagination and soothes the soul.
Cairns – The Tropical Delights of Cairns
Uluru isn’t the only protruding rock on the red horizon. The 36 domes of Kata Tjuta provide an idyllic dawn setting, each glowing ochre red as they're slowly illuminated by the rising sun. Spend the morning immersed in their geological wonder, walking alongside valleys that have deep spiritual meanings. Then it’s off to the airport and an afternoon flight to Cairns, the land turning back to lush green and the glistening ocean visible from your hotel balcony. Tucked away on the northeastern coast of Australia, Cairns is your final base in Australia, the next three days effortlessly combining culture with nature.
Cairns – Immersion in Aboriginal Culture
Aboriginal culture is vastly misunderstood and homogenized. This is a land of over 250 languages and some 1000 tribes, each very different from the next. Today’s tour offers a thick immersion in one tribe's culture, starting with a lesson in catching your own food. Head into the mangroves with a bamboo spear, searching for mud crabs and other bush tucker. It’s all boiled up in a local aboriginal’s home, the meal accompanied by stories and laughter. Now head into the forest, the uses for every plant revealed. Natural toothpaste, green bugs to cure colds, branches for constructing huts, leaves that magically form soap…every turn brings a lesson in natural innovation and deep harmony with the environment.
On today’s trip you meet three different Aboriginal guides, each helping to unravel the subtleties and nuances of local culture. Retell your day in the traditional manner, painting your narrative with a bamboo stick. Art has always been the means of storytelling and a deaf local artist teaches the significance behind interwoven works of dots and lines. Create your own piece of Aboriginal art to take home and then journey through the thick rainforest as you return to Cairns.
Cairns – Snorkeling the Great Barrier Reef
Yesterday you went inland, exploring the exuberant greenery that surrounds Cairns. Today you head east, cruising out onto the ocean and ogling the delights of the Great Barrier Reef. Thousands of interconnected reefs form this immense natural spectacle, each dancing with delightful colors and peculiar marine specialties. Jump into the water and snorkel around, a wonderful tranquility accompanying the giant groupers, occasional turtles, and myriad of tropical fish. The reef exudes originality, each flick of the flippers bringing further submersion in nature’s most impressive underwater attraction. And while the size of the Great Barrier Reef is well documented, today you discover the intricate detail and distinctive characters that bring the reef to life. Few places on the planet are as vibrant. This is a full day tour from Cairns with four hours at the reef, allowing you to combine snorkeling with relaxing on the ocean, and even providing the chance to go scuba diving.
Auckland – Welcome to New Zealand
New Zealand is equally fond of single travelers, the country exuding warmhearted sociability. Saying hello to strangers is part of the culture, so while you get all the benefits of traveling solo, you’re also never far from making new friends. After a quick aircraft change in Brisbane you land in Auckland, in northern New Zealand. As always, a chauffeur is waiting in arrivals and a luxury transfer takes you directly to the hotel. The evening is free to relax and soak up the city of sails. Explore an elegant harbor, charming colonial relics, stunning fine dining restaurants, and a city that has a cozy village-like atmosphere.
Rotorua – A Journey to Hobbiton and Middle Earth
Frodo Baggins had to make some difficult solo journeys in Peter Jackson’s Lord of the Rings. Thankfully your solo adventure into Middle Earth doesn’t have any surprising challenges. Get picked up from your hotel and meander through profuse green landscapes, each turn and curve taking you deeper into a mythical landscape. Alight at Hobbiton, 44 surreal hobbit holes complete with rocking chairs, potted plants, and remarkably intricate detail. With smoke rising from chimneys you almost expect Gandolf to wander past. The Hobbiton movie set is completely unchanged since filming, and your tour concludes with a mug of Hobbit Stout in the charming Green Dragon Tavern. This one-way tour then continues to Rotorua, not a filming location but equally spectacular in its portrayal of a lost, seemingly chimerical landscape.
Rotorua – Exploding Geysers and Maori Culture
Bubbling beneath Rotorua’s surface is vivacious volcanic activity, the earth’s crust occasionally pierced by boiling jets of water soaring towards the sky. These geysers continually erupt, active reminders of the earth’s power. After a relaxed morning, explore these geothermal wonders at Tu Puia; mud pools bubble redolently, steam sails across red tinged rock, and such is the drama of the geology; it’s impossible to escape the feeling of being transported back to a pre-historic period. These thermals aren’t just a visual delight; the local Maoris have always found practical uses for the natural heat.
With your dinner being roasted on an underground rock, the Maori chief officially welcomes you with a fanfare of trumpets and singing. Accept the invitation and this very rare and unique opportunity to enter their indigenous home. While the evening’s cultural performances are tailored for tourists, this remains an immersive and authentic experience. It’s thanks to these evenings that the Tu Puia center has ensured that traditional song and dance has not been diluted over the generations. So while the outside world changes, the next group of Maori youngsters maintain the same indigenous practices. Learn the haka war dance, marvel at narrates told through song and dance, and then sit down for a huge buffet feast.
Rotorua – Trekking Up an Active Volcano
Rotorua’s geysers are proof enough of New Zealand’s volcanic history, but today’s exhilarating experience brings you even closer to what hisses beneath the surface. Cruise over to White Island, iconic crater rims dominating the horizon and dolphins jumping alongside the boat. Don the hard hat and gas mask and start your ascent, trekking up an active volcano that last erupted just over a decade ago. It’s all here; the blankets of steam that mysteriously rise, the provocative sounds from the earth’s core, and now an inedible crater rim with views into the abyss. After marveling at the White Island volcano follow the earth’s fiery underbelly to Mount Tarawera, another example of the country’s volcanic past. Note that White Island is constantly monitored and this tour may be cancelled if there is any imminent chance or eruption.
Queenstown – Serenity Then Jet Boating in Queenstown
Queenstown is the most idyllic of New Zealand bases, tucked between jaw-dropping alpine scenery and overlooking a sapphire lake. It regularly appears in lists of the best destinations for single travelers, the streets filled with an eclectic international crowd who arrived alone. Kicking off the socializing is a jet boat ride down the Shotover River, 16 passengers brought together by the communal thrill of 360° spins and hurtling through the narrow canyon. The rest of the afternoon and evening is free to soak up Queenstown and it's quiet charms.
Queenstown – The Unforgettable Beauty of Milford Sound
Something extra special has been saved for the last day. Take a glass-ceilinged coach into the mountains, weaving through thick indigenous forests and alongside serene alpine lakes. Slowly you ascend, crossing a mountain pass usually tinged with snow and ice. Rugged rock rises high, panoramas extend beyond the horizon, and slowly you descend to infamous Milford Sound. A blanket of mist flickers in the distance, elegantly floating into a narrow valley of hidden waterfalls and calm waters. Your nature cruise heads into this mythical realm, the boat cruising along Milford Sound and out into the Tasman Sea. Marvel at the vistas, smile at the mystique, and rock your head back to admire the enormity of this World Heritage Site. It's a three hour drive back to Queenstown but it's full of more visual delights.
Queenstown – Fond Farewells
This morning you wave farewell to New Zealand. Soar back over the Pacific and think about your vacation. You came alone so you got to do everything you wanted to do. There was an overarching freedom that accompanied these 16 days, and any brief apprehension about traveling solo was extinguished within the first two days. Traveling alone is addictive. After this trip you'll already be dreaming of your next personalized vacation.
- Journey to Middle Earth and Hobbiton, and travel to the red heart of Australia and unforgettable Uluru
- Fully immerse yourself in indigenous culture with whole days dedicated to Aboriginal lifestyles and Maori traditions
- Snorkel the wonders of the Great Barrier Reef, just one of your highlights in tropical Cairns
- Feel the exhilarating pull of New Zealand by trekking up an active volcano and taking a roaring jet boat down the Shotover River
- Spend three days exploring the different sides of Sydney, including surfing on Bondi Beach and climbing up Sydney Harbour Bridge
- Marvel at wild kangaroos and koalas, the evocative marsupials an iconic image of Australia
- Experience some of the planet’s most majestic landscapes, like the mystical Blue Mountains of Australia or the breathtaking New Zealand Fjordlands and Milford Sound
- Enjoy a handcrafted itinerary that’s been carefully tailored for single travelers, ensuring there’s lots of opportunity to meet the locals and forge new friendships
Cast adrift in the Pacific Ocean that exudes an untamed charm, Australia and New Zealand are destinations that most people dream of visiting once in a lifetime. There’s no need to wait for a travel partner as this handcrafted itinerary is perfectly tailored for the solo traveler. It’s a journey of nonstop highlights, the continent’s finest destinations revealed in intimate detail. There’s adventure, tranquility, cultural immersion, and a perennial indulgence in the unique and iconic. Each destination rewards the single traveler; come alone and you’re able to discover more, as well as experience the local and hidden side of these majestic countries. With an expert collection of guides showing the way, these 16 days reveal the very best of two inimitable countries.
There might be a brief whiff of apprehension as you depart alone, but that’s soon silenced in Sydney, the exhilarating city on the coast providing an evocative taste of what’s to come. Like everywhere on this itinerary, it’s incredibly safe and cascading with opportunities to meet the locals. Climb Sydney Harbour Bridge, learn to surf on famous Bondi Beach, and explore the mystical Blue Mountains that overlook the city. Hop down to Melbourne for a further compelling dose of city delights, combined with a journey into the wilderness and a chance to meet Australia’s most adorable residents: wild kangaroos and koalas. Aboriginal residents are similarly memorable. First visit their most sacred homeland, the scorched desert that surrounds burning red Uluru (Ayer’s Rock), a spectacular monolith rising proud in the wilderness. Learn their lifestyles with a day discovering aboriginal art, traditional hunting, and the bush tucker that hides in the forest.
You’re halfway through the vacation by now, so change the pace as you jump into the marine blue and snorkel the Great Barrier Reef, another of nature’s wonders revealed in intricate detail. From tropical Cairns you cross the waters to New Zealand, where the enchantment of Hobbiton firmly confirms your suspicions that you’ve landed in Middle Earth. Geysers explode, mud bubbles, forests dance with mystery, and mountains roll across the horizon; this is all within a few miles of your base in Rotorua. Get even closer by trekking up a live volcanic crater, suggestive hissing and roaring accompanying standing on the rim. Each experience has been selected with single travelers in mind; small group tours make it easy to make new friends. Guides are skilled at unveiling the intimate and authentic, and there’s never a dull moment during these 16 days of highlights.
Queenstown is your final stop, its idyllic lakeside location belying a mischievous passion for adventure. Take a thrilling jet boat ride down the Shotover River, the pilot pulling 360º spins and hurtling alongside stark canyon walls. Cruise across the Fjordlands in a glass-ceilinged coach, one of the world’s most remarkable landscapes coming alive before your eyes. Then climb aboard a graceful boat and journey along world famous Milford Sound, exploring a natural wonder that juxtaposes the sublime with the ethereal. As with all Zicasso itineraries, every facet of this vacation can be customized. The beauty of traveling solo is there’s no need to debate and negotiate the options with a travel partner. So let your mind run free and prepare yourself for a vacation that exceeds longstanding travel dreams.
$3,995 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
- Expert trip planning
- 24x7 support during your trip
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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