Australia, New Zealand
Sydney, Blue Mountains, Cairns, Great Barrier Reef, Queenstown, Rotorua, Hobbiton, Auckland, Daintree Rainforest
Dates are flexible and customizable for private departures.
Bursting with inimitable adventures yet indelibly tranquil, this tailored Australia and New Zealand adventure tour showcases the endless outdoor possibilities. Snorkeling, mountain biking, rafting, hiking, kayaking; a diverse array of experiences compliment the untamed landscapes, ensuring your immersion is maximized, and that there are a hundred tales of wonder to take back home.
Arrive in Sydney
Before embarking on an action-packed itinerary, it's nice to settle into the relaxed rhythm of the land down under. Rest up in your sumptuous luxury hotel and explore the ravishing surroundings of central Sydney. This day is free at leisure, allowing you to adjust slowly to the time difference and soak up the charms of this world-famous city. Rest, relax, and get ready; your outdoor adventure starts tomorrow.
Climbing Sydney Harbour Bridge and Cycling Through Sydney
Sydney Harbour Bridge dominates the city, a single steel arch connecting two distinct sides of the river. In a thick jump suit, you begin to climb, ascending above the road and onto the exposed spine of the bridge. With each step you get closer to the summit and to astonishing views of the city. From up here, the river meanders into the ocean, forests merge with suburbs on the horizon, and the Opera House sails seem to float and glimmer. This afternoon, you insert your feet into peddles, using a bicycle to best explore Sydney's hidden wonders. Combining famous sights and off the radar attractions, this afternoon's ride reveals the city's old and new world charms.
Wandering Into the Blue Mountains
Sydney is dominated by its surrounding nature, from the surfers riding waves on Bondi Beach to the river that cuts through different suburbs. Just beyond the city boundaries are the Blue Mountains, a provocative expanse of vibrant cliffs and eucalyptus-clad valleys, Start the day by savoring the vistas, a mystical blue haze hanging over the valley and dancing amongst the stark mountain walls. Take a steep hiking trail and descend from the summit, walking past gushing waterfalls and entering an ancient rainforest. Hundreds of steps take you down into the valley, with iconic views of the Three Sisters peaks offering a backdrop to the surreal adventure. Choose to ascend using the steps or take the world's steepest railway back up the mountain. Return to Sydney via a wildlife park, enjoying the company of the marsupials who are always outside: koalas, wallabies, and kangaroos.
A Warm Welcome to Tropical Cairns
Keep your eyes glued to the window as the plane swoops down into tropical Cairns, a seemingly endless sweep of rainforest surrounding this tropical town. On one side lies the Pacific Ocean, the 900 odd islands that form the Great Barrier Reef just offshore. Unadulterated beaches merge Cairns with the water, a dozen expanses of sand providing relaxation and views. The Bay Village Tropical Retreat epitomizes the feel of Cairns; calm and comfortable, yet brimming with a vibrant, colorful edge. It's ideally located, within walking distance of central Cairns and the charming beachside boardwalk.
Snorkeling on the Great Barrier Reef
Not many of the planet's natural features are visible from space, but the Great Barrier Reef is one of them. Running for over a thousand miles and formed from thousands of individual reefs, this astonishing spectacle could offer a lifetime of outdoor adventure. Your tour takes you away from the crowds and onto the Outer Reef, a wonderfully preserved expanse of color and charm awaiting your mask and snorkel. Dip beneath the surface. There's a turtle. A huge grouper fish sails past. Needlefish baffle your eyes and then a dazzling array of surreal marine creatures dance before your eyes. And this is all in the first five minutes of being in the water. While the Great Barrier Reef earns regular plaudits with its size, the intimate level of detail offers the abiding memory a stunning array of macro close-ups accompanying your underwater journey. This tour offers a few hours out on the reef, allowing you to relax and enjoy a huge buffet in between the marine adventure. Scuba diving is available at an additional cost, for both first timers and qualified divers.
Hunter Gathering and an Immersive Aboriginal Experience
Aboriginal tribes have always viewed the landscape as a way of life, surviving off the land with remarkable ingenuity. Lick a green bug to relieve a cold, use a tree to build a shelter, and learn which plants contain deadly poison. Today's aboriginal dreaming tour offers an authentic insight into how to survive off the land, as well as evoking ancient cultures that continue to survive in modern Australia. Start on the beach and in the mangroves, using a spear to find a lunch of rock crabs with a traditional hunter. Boil the catch and sit down to eat. Delicious, isn't it? Weave a trail into the indigenous forest, an aboriginal guide revealing the secrets to bush survival. It's quite a day for new experiences, the tour culminating in an aboriginal art class. Recall your day's story the traditional way, using bamboo sticks to paint a narrative represented in dots and lines.
Soothing Hellos to New Zealand
Another picturesque plane journey takes you across the Tasman Sea, this time, the window bringing vistas of dramatic snow capped mountains and endless fjords. Land in Queenstown and admire the South Island from ground level, a brilliant blue lake reflecting an array of rugged peaks. It's this soothing sight that helps you adjust to New Zealand time, the country's laid-back atmosphere pervading through a town of glistening natural beauty. Relax and rest, because Queensland will reveal its adrenaline side tomorrow.
Jet Boat Rides and Bungee Jumps in Queenstown
Trust Queenstown to offer a multitude of novel ways to experience the outdoors, after all, this was where bungee jumping was invented. The mood in town is infectious, with most visitors returning from some adrenaline-fueled activity and buoying the confidence of everyone else. Your day starts on the Shotover River, a narrow stretch that winds between stark canyon walls. A small jet boat accelerates onto the water, hair getting pinned behind ears as the wind gushes past. The pilot pulls 360º spins, then speeds alongside the cliffs, a last minute hand break turn keeping everyone onboard. Keep your hands inside the boat and enjoy the thrill.
This afternoon you're going bungee jumping. The question is where? Maybe at the sight of the world's first ever jump? Perhaps the 100-meter drop from a canyon? Or the 30-meter jump that has you leaping above the town of Queenstown? Yes, it's scary, but the rewards are sublime, a huge dose of endorphins pumping through the body. Calming the heart rate is your boutique hotel, providing two hours of fine wines and nibbles in an elegant lounge.
Exploring the Lord of the Rings Movie Locations
You're not the first to gasp in astonishment at the landscape. Peter Jackson is among dozens of movie directors who keep returning to New Zealand's South Island, using the surreal panoramas as backdrops to Middle Earth and countless fictional tales. A Land Rover rolls into this phantasmal setting, every few miles revealing another famous location from the movies: swamps, forests with orc battles, farms and pastures that evoke images of JRR Tolkien, and mountains that have dazzled in countless TV commercials. You don't even need to have seen The Lord of the Rings to appreciate the world that Jackson was trying to portray. This land screams Middle Earth with such velocity that you're left wondering why a couple of dwarfs haven't wandered past. After this morning tour, the afternoon is free at leisure to soak up Queenstown. For the energetic, a dozen hiking trails lead off from near your hotel, taking you deep into the mountains that dominate the landscape.
Maori Welcomes in Rotorua
Just as the Aboriginal lived harmoniously with nature, the indigenous Maori have always found intimate methods of maximizing the land's resources. Geothermal activity rumbles below Rotorua, heating up rocks and spurting great jets of steaming water some 20 meters into the air. It's breathtakingly photogenic; raw volcanic rock sprayed with subtle color and ferocious explosion. It's also wonderfully useful. A huge dinner feast has been roasting beneath the ground, lamb joints and full chickens slowly cooked by naturally heated rock. Before enjoying this Maori feast, you must be traditionally welcomed into the community, an ancient offering presented by the local chief. By laying down a single leaf he indicates peace, and by accepting the offer you are cordially invited to their meeting place for an evening of traditional entertainment. Thoroughly authentic and erupting with life, this evening's Maori experience will linger long in your memory.
Mountain Biking and White Water Rafting Through the Forest
New Zealanders are famed for their love of the outdoors. Everywhere you go you'll spot mountain bikes and walking boots, kayaks and climbing gear. And what a playground the locals have to explore! These next two days present a very local experience, the country's boundless natural beauty explored from a variety of exciting vantage points. Start in the forest, with hundreds of miles of mountain bike trails weaving through the trails. Some are international standard downhill routes while others are perfect for beginners. An experienced guide finds a route to suit your interests and fitness; full suspension bikes coast between indigenous trees before weaving along a trickling river.
Rivers in New Zealand never stay calm for long. This afternoon, you board a raft and head out onto the white water, the river narrowing and funneling water into a series of rapids. Paddle hard and propel the raft forward, each rapid increasing in intensity before a dramatic six-meter waterfall drop. Cling on hard and hope for the best, as getting flipped is a serious possibility here, the drop being one of the world's most difficult commercially navigable rapids. However, it's very safe, and a team of support kayakers waits at the bottom for anyone who falls out. In fact, such a thrilling drop is only available because of the safe open run off beneath the waterfall. Like everywhere else on this itinerary, your luxury hotel offers a serene and indulgent place to sleep, adding a further dose of intimacy and inimitability.
Hiking and Kayaking Around Rotorua
Yesterday was just half the fun. Another full day of adventure takes you deep into the wilderness. This time, it's the walking boots that make the imprints, intrepid footsteps following a trail through the forest. Birds flutter and sing from the treetops; waterfalls appear in the clearings, and there's a stunning tranquility to these ancient forests. The tantalizing combination of adventure and serenity reaches its climax as you kayak across a lake. Open your eyes to forests that hang over the water, and slowly paddle to an uninhabited island. Rotorua's natural geysers have emerged from beneath the water, creating natural hot springs that soothe your aching muscles. As the mineral enhanced water works its magic, a surrealist painting works on the eyes. Like always, your outdoor adventure is always wonderfully picturesque in New Zealand.
A Rural Journey to Auckland via Hobbiton
Dripping with authenticity and oozing a fictitious charm, Hobbiton offers an idyllic conclusion to your Australia and New Zealand experience. One tentative step through the short wooden gate and you're surrounded by hobbit holes, 44 of them to be precise. Some are tiny, built to make Gandalf look big. Others are much larger, helping the hobbits become miniature with some old school filming techniques. They're all enchanting, each cute garden and fastidious detail creating a world of fiction. Soak it all up on a Hobbiton tour, including lunch in the Green Dragon Tavern, and then continue onto the country's largest city, Auckland. Your hotel by the harbor places you in the heart of the city and its relaxed spell.
Departure from New Zealand
This morning you bid farewell to the continent, a succession of indelible memories flooding through your mind. How can you pick a highlight from all that you have experienced? It's a question that accompanies your return flight; each unique experience relived in your mind as you leave New Zealand.
- Spend three days in Sydney, indulging in world famous attractions and meandering into the dazzling vistas of the Blue Mountains
- Snorkel into the world's most hypnotic marine world, with the Great Barrier Reef providing an immersion in vibrant colors and unique marine life
- Aboriginal tribes have always lived outside, and an immersive day of bush walking and hunter-gathering provides a new perspective on the untouched landscape
- Be soothed by the sight of mountain encircled Queenstown, and be thrilled by what's on offer at the “adrenaline capital of the world”
- Discover the outdoor world that's been made famous on the big screen as you tour Lord of the Rings filming locations, and gaze upon iconic forest, swamp, pastures, and hobbit holes
- Be welcomed by a traditional Maori tribe and spend an evening learning about the protectors of New Zealand's pristine environment
- Spend two days exploring the volcanic landscape that surrounds Rotorua, including kayaking to island hot springs, mountain biking into the forest, and rafting down international trails
Australia and New Zealand grab you by the hand, magnetically pulling you into a spell of adventure and excitement. Lace up the boots and climb aboard, allowing the countries' visual euphoria to greet every mountain bike turn, kayak paddle, or intrepid snorkel. These are countries that compel you to be outdoors, dozens of pristine national parks offering escapades suitable for everyone. Simultaneously, there's a wonderful tranquility and calmness to this lost continent. Each new adventure is easily accessible, every surge of adrenalin is matched by a soothing vista, and footprints provide the only impact on prehistoric landscapes. Australia and New Zealand outdoors is Australia and New Zealand at its best; intimate, achingly authentic, and glowing with surreal wonders.
It all starts in Sydney, unique adventures showcasing the diverse sides to this world famous city. Walk up the city's spine, climbing Sydney Harbour Bridge for stupendous views of a cityscape merging with nature. Then get lost in the old streets with a city bicycle tour. Behind Sydney is a shimmering expanse of vibrant mountains and eucalyptus engulfed valleys, the Blue Mountains offering a day of panoramas and walking trails. Undertake tropical Cairns for the next three days, the experience centered around deserted beaches and the astonishing beauty of the Great Barrier Reef. Aboriginal locals help to show you around, and marine biologists provide a narrative to accompany underwater exploration.
Fly across the Tasman Sea to New Zealand's South Island, the self-proclaimed “adrenaline capital of the world” welcoming every outdoor enthusiast with a mischievous grin. Ride a jet boat into narrow icy canyons, take your pick from five bungee jumps and swings, and indulge in the natural drama that overlooks Queenstown. Lake and dazzling mountains combine to provide an oil painting of reflections and serenity, and dozens of hiking trails start within meters of your hotel. It's a landscape that's inspired millions, including Lord of the Rings director Peter Jackson. Tour the famous shooting locations, from hobbit-crossed swamps to Gandalf-inhabited pastures. Like every destination during this itinerary, a perfectly appointed boutique style hotel offers a relaxed evening and a chance to rest the legs in indulgent luxury.
Fly to the country's volcanic North Island and immerse yourself in your final base, the geyser-strewn town of Rotorua. Geothermal activity bubbles below your feet and a Maori tribe greet you, their indigenous war dance reminding you of who protects this untamed environment. The North Island is an outdoor paradise, and it's enjoyed from a multitude of angles; hike to hidden waterfalls, kayak across lakes to island hot springs, white water raft through the forest, and mountain bike on stunning trails lost in the trees. Aching muscles are then enchantingly rested with a winding journey to the Hobbiton movie set and Auckland. So pack the outdoor spirit and get ready to explore, for Australia and New Zealand are waiting to be discovered.
$3,495 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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