Beaches of the South Pacific Tour: Secluded Islands to Great Barrier Reef

A More than 18 day trip to Australia & New Zealand 
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Evocative and inspiring, this unique tour reveals the incredible diversity of coastal destinations in the South Pacific.  Explore hidden enclaves only accessible by kayak, the world's largest sand island, indigenous cultures, famous city beaches, and salubrious getaways miles from anywhere. Including three countries, this handcrafted vacation is framed by relaxation but alive with coastal adventure, providing a wealth of exclusive experiences.  

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General Information

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Detailed Itinerary

Places Visited 

Bay of Islands, Ninety Mile Beach, Auckland, Nelson, Abel Tasman National Park, Sydney, Bondi Beach, Coogee Beach, Whitsunday Islands, Cairns, Great Barrier Reef, Port Douglas, Savusavu, Nadi, Coral Coast, Korolevu

Departure Dates 

Dates are flexible and customizable for private departures.

Detailed Itinerary 

Day 1: Bay of Islands – Welcome to Tropical New Zealand

New Zealand rises evocatively from the South Pacific, an archipelago of volcanic islands that tumble across the world's greatest ocean. There's a sense of the surreal here as white-tinged peaks glimmer above towering waves, and beaches seeming to stretch on for eternity. Classic tropical colors dominate the landscape, all those warming blues and greens of the Pacific reverie quickly introduce you to New Zealand. After landing in Auckland, connect onto a light aircraft that brings you north towards the tip of the North Island. Your five-star resort stands on a green cliff above the ocean and provides an unforgettable panorama for a relaxed day as you acquaint yourself with the Coast.

What's Included: accommodation, domestic flight, airport transfer

Day 2: Bay of Islands – Deserted Islands and Maori Life in the Pacific

This abundant landscape has a proud history, one that continues to reveal the ways of its ancestors. Waka canoes ply through the water, paddled with ease by young Maori warriors. A fanfare of horns and shouts welcome visitors to a remote island, the chief emerging from the whare taka (meeting house) with a single feather as a show of peace. The Maori migrated from other islands in the South Pacific, and they continue to live by the water, using nature's assets to define a lifestyle. Today's very rare experience enables you to celebrate their ancient culture; after lunch, you will be picked up by waka to row out to where whare punis (sleeping houses) are found hidden beneath canopies of native forest. Stories will be told through song and dance, and a local guide will introduce you to the tribe's lifestyle, culminating in a hangi (feast) of seafood collected from the turquoise waters. Return to the mainland in the early evening, paddling across as sunset paints the sky.

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

Day 3: Bay of Islands – Ninety Mile Beach

The northern tip of New Zealand is remote and untamed. Few visitors venture further north than the Bay of Islands, which helps to preserve an evocative landscape of native flora. Huge kauri trees reach above the forests to cast a shadow on the white beaches that gently form when the cliffs break. A guided scenic drive brings you through the trees; the road emerges from the green and travels along rugged sections of the volcanic coast. Stop off at various points on the way to end at a beach that is the stuff of legend. Yes, Ninety Mile Beach is as long as it claims, just mile after mile of firm sand that can take the weight of the car. Few places in the world can imbue such impressions of being lost on the edge of nowhere. Nearby Cape Reinga is equally impressive, an endless roll of the forest, sand, and huge waves.  It’s only possible to take on the full enormity of it all from the air, so a helicopter tour brings you back to the Bay of Islands, islets and beaches glistening beneath the wingtips as you soar south.

What's Included: accommodation, tour including helicopter ride, breakfast, lunch

Day 4: Auckland to Nelson – Relaxing on the South Island

After a local flight back to Auckland, take a scheduled domestic flight to Nelson, on the northern tip of the South Island. Immediately notice the contrast as this island is dominated by the striking peaks of imposing mountains. Dolphin pods swim along the coast, joined by the antics of six different whale species. Even from the beach, it's possible to see some of these majestic creatures. After landing in Nelson, enjoy a free day in this quiet beach town; wander the coastal pathway, dip into art deco stores and wineries, and take in the distant high-altitude backdrop.

What's Included: accommodation, domestic flights, transfer, breakfast

Days 5 – 6: Nelson – Adventures in Abel Tasman National Park

Nelson is the gateway for two days exploring in Abel Tasman, a thickly forested national park with beaches that reward adventure. Most of the coast is hidden, inaccessible by road or even by boat. The native forest extends all the way to the sand, a tangled maze of walking trails and strange flora that gives you a sense of paradise. Travel by foot on an inspiring two-hour walk through the trees and emerge at white sand beaches concealed from the world. Rocks and overhanging forest prevent you from moving to the next strip of sand, helping to keep the beaches private for the intrepid that know the way.

After the guided walk, the following day includes a 30-minute trek to another beach and a boat brings you back to Nelson. Following that, the next excursion is equally adventurous; this time, a kayak brings you across the coastline. Shallow turquoise waters are dappled with reefs and dolphin fins, sights to admire as you keep paddling to another tiny enclave of private sand. Spending days on these beaches will provide a complete submersion in nature. There are no roads, no buildings, not even a small bamboo shack. It's just the rainforest and the sand, the colors blurring together as they greet the ocean's waters.

What's Included: accommodation, hiking day trip, kayaking day trip, breakfast, lunch

Days 7 – 8: Sydney – World-Famous City Beaches From Bondi to Coogee

Land in Sydney and the beaches are no longer quiet! Atmospheric restaurants stand above them with surfers and sunbathers below. Coastal walkways take you to another beach, and the scene is usually the same, a vibrant atmosphere that creates new definitions of city life. Fly to Sydney and be transferred to a hilltop hotel close to Bondi Beach, the most famous beach in the South Pacific. Surfers carve across the waves, and they're visible from your verandah, while further along the coast there's a series of exceptional restaurants. Sydney's relaxed ambiance seems to stem from these beaches, and it's just a few miles along the Parramatta River to the iconic sights of the Opera House and Harbour Bridge.

These two days are at your leisure, giving you a chance to absorb how the city is defined. Surfing lessons are available, but watching the pros is equally exciting. A boat cruise can unveil the sights that line the waters of Parramatta, while the Bondi to Coogee walkway is Australia's most revered coastal path. Despite the popularity of Sydney's beaches, these are not places where crowds fight for sunbathing space. There's more than enough beach to go around and by exploring the coast, you enjoy an introduction to Australian life. Open-air communal barbecue areas dot the beaches while cafes encourage an afternoon of slumber, and no one takes anything too seriously.

What's Included: accommodation, airport transfers, breakfast

Days 9 – 11: Fraser Island – An Exotic Escape and Remote Adventure

World Heritage Fraser Island doesn't look real from the air.  The sand stretches for nearly 80 miles and is untrammeled, the dunes tumble and the rainforest rises like a mythical character. Nothing looks real when you are on the ground. Drive across the dunes, and surreal freshwater lakes are found bringing more turquoise colors to the landscape. There's nothing beneath your feet but sand here, yet somehow the rainforest can survive as its roots spread beneath the dunes. Understandably, Fraser is mostly uninhabited; the development concentrated on a small sweep of its coast. As you explore, it's impossible to know when the beach starts or where the sand dunes end. Effectively, this is one giant beach, but as you cross another dune, there is more sweet water and rainforest to behold.

After flying to Fraser Island, your guide will pick you up in a four-wheel drive vehicle. There are few roads here, so you will explore by meandering across the peaks and troughs of sand. Eucalyptus woodland is sprinkled with languid koalas, while the mangrove forests bring fresh emerald colors. Creeks flow inland; wild wallabies hop around, and over 100 lakes seem to redefine notions of clarity. For these three days, the itinerary is flexible, with the guide taking you across the island's distinctive landscapes to reveal all that nature grows out of the sand. Accommodation is at two carefully chosen eco lodges on the sand, enabling you to continue the adventure without returning to the island's main town.

What's Included: accommodation, airport transfers, domestic flight, four-wheel drive tour, all meals

Day 12: Port Douglas – Aboriginal Culture in the Tropical Northeast of Australia

Much like Fraser Island, the beaches of Port Douglas provide the sense of infinite sand and tropical rainforest but on the mainland, the flora also stretches for eternity. Sweeping across the entire northeast of the country are the UNESCO World Heritage wet tropics of Queensland, an eclectic landscape of strange animals and plants. Ancient conifers stand side by side with rugged gorges, the cassowary birds tweet from beneath giant ferns, and mangroves sweep around wide golden-sand beaches. Land in Cairns, and the one-hour drive to Port Douglas introduces you to the scale of this land, the forests hanging over the road and the beaches swerving beneath granite rocks.

Your stay in Port Douglas provides a quintessential coastal escape; think empty beaches, warm waters, and the odd, indulgent cafe. It’s a destination that can offer two very distinctive experiences; today's journey is with an Aboriginal guide, one that reveals the abundance of both the bush and the beach. Travel into the forest, and learn which leaves create soap, which nuts have the poison for arrowing possums, and where to find tiny green ants that are as effective as a modern mouthwash. Then, along the beach, travel with an Aboriginal spear, heading into the mangroves to seek out mud crabs and snails. Only the Kuku Yalangi tribe, the traditional landowners, are allowed to hunt along the ocean here, and your journey with a local provides an ancient initiation into their methods.

What's Included: accommodation, domestic flight, tour, breakfast, lunch

Day 13: Port Douglas – Into the Great Barrier Reef

Port Douglas's second highlight is found offshore as the Great Barrier Reef stretches some 1,200 miles along the coast of Australia. This quaint, northern town provides the easiest access to the outer reefs, which are the most untouched by tourism, revealing the authenticity of the world's largest reef system. A 90-minute boat journey takes you to a series of reefs in the Pacific Ocean, each offering a blend of macro life and cruising turtles. Colors swirl as you explore the coral, a rainbow of unusual colors inhabited by large schools of strange fish. Choose to snorkel, scuba dive, or travel in a semisubmersible craft and watch it all while staying dry. A full-day boat excursion, you will enjoy a suite of individual reefs that make up the Great Barrier ecosystem.

What's Included: accommodation, tour including snorkeling and semisubmersible, breakfast, lunch

Days 14 – 15: Korolevu – Local Culture Along the Coast of Fiji

Fiji is synonymous with the South Pacific, an archipelago of tiny islands that immediately evoke the promise of the tropics. A destination that looks like the postcards; the natural colors and the iconic sense of escapism nearly too beautiful to feel real. For many people, Fiji is a destination that reflects the revered preconception of a beach getaway. It's impossible not to be immediately impressed, even with all the superlatives that the name seems to summon yet it's not just a place to lie back and slumber (although there will be plenty of that). Indigenous culture remains high here and much like the Maori of northern New Zealand, there's a fierce sense of pride and preserving traditions.

In Korolevu, find the classic image of white sand, tumbling waves, and green interior. Local fishermen softly glide into the Pacific, and villages are alive with song and dance. It's part getaway and part cultural immersion, a chance to savor island life as it always has been. Fly to Nadi and transfer across the island to Korolevu and the Coral Coast, a journey that sweeps you across a spectacular mountain interior. Head out into a local coastal village in the late afternoon for dinner cooked by the fire beneath the moonlight. Next day, discover the traditions of an inland mountain village before retiring to the private beach of your water-facing resort.

What's Included: accommodation, transfers, village excursions, all meals

Days 16 – 18: Savusavu – Exclusive Fijian Beach Getaway

After over two weeks of beaches, there is no sense of boredom. Each has been different, and the itinerary has never been about the most typical of beach activities: sunbathing and swimming in the shallows. That changes today as you fly to the island of Vanua Levu and the exclusive enclave of Savusavu. Now it's all about indulgent luxury, spa treatments, cocktails at sunset, and sinking your feet into the soft white sand. After the days of adventure, enjoy three days of absolute tranquility with nothing but the tweeting of exotic birds to interrupt the salubrious atmosphere. You do not need shoes, and you do not need to think: just lie back and absorb the classic image of a South Pacific beach.

What's Included: accommodation, domestic flight, transfers, all meals

Day 19: Savusavu – Departure

Depart Fiji this morning on the scheduled weekly flight to Los Angeles. You'll be privately transferred to the airport at Savusavu for the one-hour connection to Nadi and your international departure.

What's Included: transfer, breakfast

Price

Starting Price 

$4,495
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.