Australia, New Zealand
Auckland, Hobbiton, Rotorua, Queenstown, Melbourne, Uluru, Cairns, Sydney, Great Barrier Reef
Dates are customizable for private departures.
Stargazing, bridge climbing, wine tasting, exploring a fjord, and exploring filming locations will be just some of the experiential highlights on your luxurious, two-week adventure that leads you to much of the very best of New Zealand and Australia. Landscapes will set the scene down under, such as vast deserts, tropical reefs, luscious rainforests, volcanic hills, and iconic cities. The Maori and Aborigines will narrate their tales as nature demonstrates its surreal power.
Auckland – Harbor Cruise
You will touch down in New Zealand, where it will be easy to pick up the country’s laid-back atmosphere. Most flights land in the early morning, so you will have a full day to ease into the Kiwi experience. You will be picked up at the airport and transported to your luxurious accommodation in Ponsonby, which is a hip area that is dominated by street art and cafes that serve flat white coffee. This morning will be relaxed. You will check-in to your hotel early, where you will have some time to take a nap or stroll around the area to get a feel for the Kiwi style. Around mid-afternoon, you will be picked up for a three-hour, private harbor cruise.
Auckland – Trip to Waiheke Island
You will be back on the water this morning as you travel to Waiheke. You will step off the boat to giant sculptures that are part of a permanent art exhibition that reflects the island’s artisanal style. Your guide will show you around the installation before leading you on a full-day, private tour. Hiking trails connect many of the vineyards and will lead you on a journey through indigenous bush. This is a serene island and an excellent place to be if you are battling jet lag and any fatigue from flying. Your exact plan can be customized upon your arrival before you take the fast boat back to Auckland later in the day.
Rotorua – Hobbit Holes and Maori Experiences
You will leave Auckland and visit Hobbiton, which is a perfectly preserved movie set that is completely hidden within the hills. Rotorua is a lakeside town that is dominated by geothermal activity with hot springs and hissing steam that drifts from manhole covers. This afternoon, you will tour a geothermal park in Rotorua, where water shoots high into the air. The Maori settled here and made use of all the natural heat, and you will be welcomed by a tribe that will give you a powerful performance that evokes their traditional warrior history. After this invitation, you can spend the evening with the tribe as they educate you about their customs and dance. You will then dine on a feast that will be cooked underground on the thermals, which is known as a hangi meal.
Rotorua – Day of Adventure
Today will be all about New Zealand’s outdoor adventure, which will be completely customizable to your interests. Your private guide can lead you mountain biking, hiking, kayaking to the hot springs, white-water rafting through the forest, and any combination of these activities. A more adventurous option will be a helicopter trip to two volcanoes. One of the volcanoes is an island, where blue and green pools bubble in wild Pacific surroundings. A helicopter makes it easy for you to access all the volcanoes and their incomparable grandeur. Another option for the day will be to make a day trip to nearby Taupo.
Queenstown – Lord of the Rings Filming Locations
This morning you will fly to Queenstown and be there by late morning. The town itself is sleepy and laid-back, but it is also a base for some of New Zealand’s most famous adrenaline activities. This was where commercial bungee jumping and jet boating started, which are two activities that you may want to add to your itinerary. A Lord of the Rings movie locations tour will be planned for this afternoon, and you will bounce off-road in a 4WD to visit wilderness areas that have become known all over the world. Your guide will narrate tales of horses and battles, and even if you are not a fan of the movies or books, it will be a tour that will impress you with the South Island’s inspiring beauty.
Queenstown – Trip to Doubtful Sound
Fjords will be waiting for you when you travel from Queenstown. Milford is recommended if you will be staying overnight on the fjord, but as all the day trips arrive at the same time, the fjord loses some of its wilderness appeal. With only a day to explore, it is better to visit Doubtful Sound. Getting there will be an adventure because you will cross a lake before crossing a mountain in a 4WD vehicle. You will then be able to travel onto the water of the fjord. As you travel toward the Tasman Sea, you will be able to admire how the slopes grow steeper and higher. After an afternoon on the water, you will return to Queenstown, where the lakeside can offer some real downtime.
Melbourne – History and Culture
Today, you will fly from New Zealand to Australia, which will save you some time because the flight time is only a little longer than the time difference. Melbourne is Australia’s most laid-back city, so you will not notice many immediate differences between the countries or cultures. If you want to make the most of the city you need an excellent guide who knows the alleyways and history. You will be picked up at the airport and will stay at a luxurious hotel that is close to Flinders Street Station, which is Melbourne’s most iconic old building. This afternoon and evening, you will be exploring a changing urban landscape. You will have time to explore the superb National Gallery of Victoria and the Aboriginal galleries.
Melbourne – Intimate Wildlife Encounters
Every marsupial encounter will be memorable when you spend the day on Phillip Island. Kangaroos stand tall and sometimes participate in boxing battles. You can often see large mobs on the open grassland, hopping around enchantingly and occasionally looking up at their human visitors. You can move closer to koalas, and wallabies are smaller and cuter versions of kangaroos. While these three species can be seen elsewhere in Australia, Phillip Island is a perfect day trip because you can also immerse yourself with Australia’s unique bird and sea life as well. Small penguin colonies waddle around just before dusk, so you will travel to the island in the early afternoon.
Uluru – Southern Sky Stargazing
After a relaxed morning, you will fly to the heart of Australia. Uluru will show its face as you land, and your pilot will alert you to the world’s biggest monolith. You will touch down and spend the afternoon touring what used to be known as Ayers Rock. Sunsets are spectacular here, and your guide will find you a secluded place to watch how colors change upon Uluru’s face. With nothing around, there is no light pollution, and you can enjoy the spellbinding skies of Australia. On a privately guided stargazing expedition, you will learn about different constellations and how to identify planets in the sky. It can be clear and bright enough that the Milky Way appears more like a white cloud than individual stars.
Cairns – Camel Ride into the Sunrise
This morning, you will ride into the desert on camelback, where orange hues will replace the shadows as the 36 domes of Kata Tjuta come into focus. Most visitors find Kata Tjuta to be more impressive than Uluru, even though most visitors are completely unaware that there is more than one rock in the outback. After a camelback ride in the desert and a hike beneath the enormous red frames of these domes, you will indulge in brunch back at your hotel and check out. You will then fly to Cairns. Today, you will not land on the Pacific coast until dusk, which will leave you without any more daylight. After your airport transfer, you can venture out to explore this small, coastal town, including its evening markets, busker-filled promenade, and lively selection of bars.
Cairns – The Great Barrier Reef
Today, you will transfer to the Great Barrier Reef. After an early start, you will indulge in a boat to one of the outer reefs. While the boat journey will be longer than some Great Barrier Reef trips, the outer reefs are generally more pristine. The boat will drop you at a pontoon, where you can eat, get a drink, and relax after your marine activities. The snorkeling here is sublime, and a guide will accompany you in the water, so you can go from reef to reef with the current. There is also a semi-submersible vessel that makes it possible to enjoy the Great Barrier Reef without getting wet.
Cairns – Immersed in Aboriginal Culture
Aboriginal culture is vastly misunderstood. Before the colonial invasion, Australia was a land of over 250 Aboriginal languages and more than 500 nations. Each had their specialism, and this morning, you will meet a member of a coastal tribe and venture out to catch rock crabs with a spear. Then, this afternoon, you will explore a rainforest, where the people have a completely different mode of survival. After requesting a greeting from the forest spirit, you will wander amid the trees to learn how each plant has its use. Between these two outdoor activities, you will have an Aboriginal art lesson with a deaf artist.
Sydney – Sydney Harbour Bridge Climb
From Cairns, you will fly to Sydney, which is Australia’s most iconic city. There will not be much time left of your two weeks in Australia and New Zealand, but a day is enough to get a grasp of Sydney. After an early morning flight, you will be transferred to your luxurious accommodation in Circular Quay, which is an excellent location for when you are short on time. A walking tour will introduce you to Sydney and its history from where the first sailors landed at The Rocks to some of the grand Victorian buildings. Later in the afternoon, you will harness up and traverse upon the Sydney Harbour Bridge. The famous opera house will be next door, and the best way to experience it is to indulge in an evening show rather than a tour during the day.
Sydney – Departure
Most international flights leave Sydney in the afternoon and evening, so you can have a customizable day to discover more of the city before your departure. Late check out will be arranged as well, so you can freshen up after any activities.
- Marvel at how the sun sets magnificently over Uluru before an evening of guided stargazing in Australia’s red desert
- Relive scenes from the big screen by walking around Hobbiton and exploring Lord of the Rings filming locations near Queenstown
- Cruise around the magnificent Great Barrier Reef and enjoy marine encounters during a snorkeling excursion with semi-submersible vessel
- Connect with Maori heritage during an evening of dance and tradition in the hot spring town of Rotorua
- Uncover authentic Aboriginal stories during an inspiring day of art and rainforest near Cairns
- Luxuriate during a day on Waiheke Island that will immerse you into the New Zealand experience at white beaches and vibrant vineyards
- Climb upon the iconic steel arch of Sydney Harbour Bridge for the perfect view over Australia’s most famous cityscape
- Immerse yourself with Australia’s indigenous wildlife, including koalas and kangaroos near Melbourne
- Escape into the wilderness and cruise through the majestic Doubtful Sound, which is a place of silence and surreal impressions
- Ride into an Australian sunrise on a camel and wander the Queensland coastline for sunset
This Australia and New Zealand adventure is handcrafted with the region’s most iconic destinations and activities. You can experience a little bit of everything that these two countries have to offer on a journey that will lead you from volcanoes to fjords, cities to deserts and reefs, and from Maori tradition to Aboriginal heritage. The route is carefully designed to minimize travel time, so you can enjoy seven different overnight destinations with day trips to legendary destinations. You will need a few years to experience all of Australia and New Zealand, and most people do not have this kind of time. Even to have two weeks is a luxury, and this tour will make sure that you experience much of the best of both countries.
You will fly into Auckland, which is where you can ease into your vacation and the new time zone. You will be provided with a full day’s trip to the vineyards and beaches of nearby Waiheke Island. Then, you will make a stop in Hobbiton en route to Maori encounters in Rotorua, where you will experience New Zealand’s famous outdoors. Afterward, you will fly to Queenstown for a 4WD excursion to different Lord of the Rings filming locations. You will then feel the adventure during a day trip to Doubtful Sound. These first six days will pack a lot in, but New Zealand’s atmosphere will provide a laid-back edge to all the discovery.
You will then fly to Melbourne, where you will have an afternoon and evening of being immersed in the artistic city. Phillip Island will provide you with intimate wildlife encounters on day eight before you fly to the red desert to experience a magnificent sunset with Uluru or Ayer’s Rock. After a night of stargazing, you will ride a camel into the desert sunrise before flying back to Cairns. Day 11 will be dedicated to the Great Barrier Reef while day 12 will immerse you in Aboriginal culture. These authentic tours can provide you with very personal moments before you culminate your adventure with 24 hours in Sydney. This is a luxury itinerary that maximizes your time, so you can experience the very best of both countries on a single trip to the South Pacific.
$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.
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.
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