Australia, New Zealand
Auckland, Sydney, Melbourne, Rotorua, Queenstown, Franz Josef, Christchurch, Uluru (Ayers Rock) & Kata
Dates are customizable for private departures.
This comprehensive and comfortable 26-day journey through Australia and New Zealand showcases the incredible natural scenery these two island nations have to offer. In addition to witnessing iconic locations, such as as Ayers Rock, the Great Barrier Reef, and Doubtful Sound, you will also be introduced to the rich heritage of the indigenous peoples. Set your own pace and navigate through charming villages, otherworldly landscapes, and imposing mountain vistas.
Sydney – Arrive in Australia
Sydney is famous for its architectural landmarks, beautiful beaches, and thriving restaurant scene. Your flight will arrive at Sydney Airport, where your private transfer will take you to your centrally located hotel. Sydney is a walking-friendly city that is home to many major attractions and great restaurants. In the Rocks district, the Harbour Bridge and Opera House are not to be missed. In the harbor area, you can also find Circular Quay, the Museum of Contemporary Art, as well as ferry departures to Manly Beach, Watsons Bay, and Taronga Park Zoo.
Sydney – Walking Tour and Harbor Cruise
Today, you will take to the streets of Sydney with your knowledgeable guide, who will share with you the history and highlights of The Rocks District. The entertaining stories of the neighborhood’s past and present are illustrated by the sites around you. You can kick your feet up on board a small yacht and sail around Sydney Harbour. During your cruise, you will enjoy an unimpeded view of the harbor coastline and city scenery, including the Sydney Opera House and Harbour Bridge, while being treated to a three-course lunch. From the yacht, you can swim, paddle a kayak, or try a little fishing.
Sydney – Blue Mountains Tour
Blue Mountains National Park is a ruggedly beautiful land full of rocky outcrops, waterfalls, and mist-filled valleys. It is also home to wild kangaroos and abundant birdlife. Today, you will join a small group tour for a full-day excursion to this amazing park located just 50 miles from Sydney. In addition to some easy hiking to discover amazing views, unique rock formations, and nature, your tour will also include a marsupial experience at Featherdale Wildlife Park and a stop at the Mount Tomah Botanic Gardens.
Ayers Rock – Into the Outback
One of the most iconic images of Australia is the red ochre rocks of Uluru in the heart of the Australian outback. This morning, you will transfer to Sydney's Airport to catch a flight to Ayers Rock. Your comfortable accommodations are a perfect base from which to explore this sacred and magical land, retreat from the heat of the desert, enjoy a massage at the spa, and discover Aboriginal art. This afternoon, you will join a guide for a visit to Kata Tjuta and Walpa Gorge. By walking around the rock domes, you will learn about the significance of this site to the local Aboriginal people.
Ayers Rock – Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park
You will rise early to watch the colors of Uluru and Kata Tjuta change as the sun comes up over the desert. Your small-group tour will begin with a delicious breakfast in the bush, followed by a guided walking tour at Uluru. Here, you can view the rock paintings and learn about the culture of the Anangu people at the Uluru-Kata Tjuta Cultural Centre. Ultimately, you will cap off this special day with an unforgettable dinner under the brilliant stars and the accompanying sounds of a didgeridoo.
Port Douglas – Queensland Calling
Cairns and the nearby resort town of Port Douglas are your gateways to the Great Barrier Reef and some incredible coastal national parks in Queensland. You will spend one final morning at Ayers Rock, enjoying the desert scenery, spa, and art galleries at your leisure. A short transfer will then bring you to the Ayers Rock airport for your flight to Cairns, where you will be met and transferred to your comfortable accommodation in Port Douglas. Here, you have easy access to Four Mile Beach, restaurants, cafes, and shops.
Port Douglas – The Great Barrier Reef
Your full-day sailing adventure will depart this morning from the Port Douglas Marina. Accompanied by a marine biologist guide, you will sail in comfort along the Queensland coast to Undine or Mackay Reefs, where you will enjoy views of the Daintree that you will be exploring tomorrow. At the coral reefs, you will have the opportunity to snorkel through coral and giant clam gardens with your guide or view the stunning marine life from a glass-bottom boat. A beautiful buffet lunch will then be served on board.
Port Douglas – The Daintree Rainforest
This part of Queensland is rich in both nature and cultural heritage. You will be collected from the hotel by your guide to walk in the footsteps of the Kuku Yalanji people around the beach and mangroves that are part of their fishing grounds. You will learn and try your hand at some of their traditional fishing techniques as well before continuing to the Daintree Rainforest and Mossman Gorge. Here, your indigenous guide will share the secrets of the rainforest and the uses of native plants. By traveling on foot through the home of the Kuku Yalanji people, you will learn about their history and traditions in addition to discovering the wonders of the rainforest and enticing swimming holes.
Port Douglas – River and Rainforest Snorkeling
Today, you will slip into the gentle current of a river that flows through an ancient rainforest and enter the underwater world in search of fish and turtles. This is an easy snorkeling activity for nature-lovers of all ages and a perfect escape from the hot summer sun.
Melbourne – Fly to the South Coast
Today, you can enjoy a relaxing morning in Port Douglas before transferring to the airport in Cairns for your flight to Melbourne, the capital of Victoria. A private car will meet you on arrival to transfer you to your centrally located hotel. Once you have acquainted yourself with your new surroundings, you can begin to explore this vibrant city. Thanks to Victoria’s farms and wineries, Melbourne’s food scene is world-class. You will enjoy seeking out all this easily navigable modern city has to offer, from wine to wildlife.
Melbourne – Live like a Local
Today, you will navigate the city like a local with your friendly guide who will show you the best-kept secrets of Melbourne on a half-day walking tour. Whether you are into art, architecture, cool eateries, or the quirky backstreet finds, you will find it today and may never want to leave!
Melbourne – Great Ocean Road Tour
One of the most scenic coastal drives in the world can be accessed from Melbourne: The Great Ocean Road. Today, you will travel with a small group and knowledgeable guide to a part of this great scenic route in comfort. You will be looking for whales and dolphins as well as unique Australian fauna, such as echidnas and bandicoots. You can break up the drive with lunch in Apollo Bay and a koala and kangaroo encounter in a Eucalyptus forest. Probably the most photographed geologic feature here is the impressive Twelve Apostles, which you will encounter in the late afternoon along with the wild Shipwreck Coast before returning to Melbourne.
Auckland – Fly to Auckland
Treat yourself to a tasty breakfast and a little souvenir shopping before meeting your transfer to the Melbourne airport to catch your flight to Auckland. On arrival you are met and transferred to your hotel in the heart of New Zealand’s capital city. Auckland’s nickname is “The City of Sails” and life is lived between the city’s ample coastline and volcanic hills. Locals are proud of the nautical, wildlife, adrenaline, and culinary adventures that abound here.
Auckland – Maori Experience
Maori culture is alive and thriving in New Zealand. It is also one of the top reasons visitors flock to this small island nation. Today, your New Zealand adventure will begin by looking through a Maori lens with a small group and an indigenous guide. You can take in the wild scenery of the West Coast’s volcanoes, black-sand beaches, and rainforest in the Waitakere Ranges. Furthermore, you will learn about Maori history and costumes from your guide before visiting the Auckland Museum for a cultural performance.
Rotorua – Waitomo Glowworm Caves
New Zealand’s North Island is known for being an active geothermal area, and the city of Rotorua is at its heart. Today you pick up a rental car and make your way to Rotorua, stopping here and there as the mood strikes you. Not to be missed en route is a visit to Waitomo to see the impressive limestone cave features and bioluminescent glowworms that create a faux night sky scene on the cave ceiling.
Rotorua – Geothermal and Maori Experience
New Zealand’s answer to Old Faithful is the Lady Knox Geyser, which is found between Wai-O-Tapu Thermal Wonderland and Waimangu Volcanic Valley. Here, you will witness its fluorescent colors, boiling mud lakes, steaming hot pools, and silica terraces that characterize the otherworldly landscape around Rotorua. This evening, you will join a very special Maori cultural experience at Tamaki Maori Village. After a traditional greeting and invitation to enter the village, you can celebrate together with a traditional music and haka demonstration before sitting down to a hangi feast.
Queenstown – Fly to the South Island
Today’s destination is Queenstown, the adventure capital of New Zealand’s South Island. Queenstown is located on the shores of Lake Wakatipu at the base of The Remarkables mountain range and on the doorstep to Mount Aspiring and Fiordland National Parks. You will transfer to the Rotorua airport for your flight to Queenstown, where you will be met on arrival and transferred to your hotel with excellent access to the lake and all the city’s shops, bars, and restaurants.
Queenstown – River Safari
Queenstown is a nature and adventure lover’s paradise that draws hikers and adrenaline junkies from all over the world. The scenery is unmatched, and whether your interest is bungee jumping, fishing, or wine tasting, there is something for everyone. New Zealand pioneered the Jet Boat as a means to thrill visitors and navigate the braided rivers that can be found all around the region. Today, you will travel with a small group by Jet Boat and 4WD to access the most scenic water and roadways of Queenstown.
Queenstown – Day at Leisure
Today will be yours to relax and explore as you please. There are so many great options to choose from, including visiting the historic gold rush town of Arrowtown, taking a cruise across Lake Wakatipu aboard an authentic steamboat, or sampling the incredible wines produced in the Central Otago wine region around Queenstown.
Overnight Cruise – Doubtful Sound
The beauty and serenity of Doubtful Sound are best experienced on board an overnight cruise. The Sound is a remote inlet deep in Fiordland National Park, and getting there is half the adventure. You will travel by coach from Queenstown to Manapouri, where you will transfer to a boat that will carry you across Lake Manapouri. You will then continue by coach on the twisty mountain road that leads across Wilmot Pass until finally reaching the cruise launch point at Deep Cove. During your cruise, you will travel the length of the sound to where it opens on the Tasman Sea. You will be able to search for marine life by zodiac or kayak in addition to being treated to a delicious dinner and breakfast on board.
Queenstown – Doubtful Sound
Your scenic cruise will continue this morning when you return to Deep Cove. Here, you will reverse yesterday’s journey back to Queenstown, eventually arriving back at your hotel in the afternoon for another evening of enjoying the tastes of Queenstown.
Franz Josef – Drive to Franz Josef
The West Coast of the South Island is rugged and wild. Trapped between the wind and waves of the Tasman Sea and the mountainous spine of the South Island, your road to Franz Josef is riddled with scenic viewpoints. After collecting your rental car, you will set off at a leisurely pace for what will take you most of the day to reach your overnight destination. Wanaka is a great place to stop for provisions, and you can stretch your legs on the Blue Pools Track just past Makarora.
Franz Josef – Glaciers and Waterfalls
You will wake today surrounded by mountains in a paradise of the natural world. Franz Josef sits on the northern edge of Westland Tai Poutini National Park and is home to one of New Zealand’s most iconic, spectacular, and accessible glaciers. There are several ways to experience the Franz Josef Glacier, and you can choose according to your preference. A scenic helicopter ride and ice climbing options are available for the truly adventurous. You may also enjoy the region on foot with an easy walk to the base of the glacier. Hot springs are also located here.
Christchurch – TranzAlpine Railway
Today, you leave the wild West Coast to travel across Arthur’s Pass to Christchurch on the East Coast. You can drive yourself to Greymouth, where you will swap your automobile for a train car and travel on the famous TranzAlpine Railway. You will be treated to more incredible New Zealand alpine scenery on the journey that eventually drops into the Canterbury Plains. You will be greeted as you disembark and transferred to your comfortable and well-located Christchurch hotel.
Christchurch – Day Trip to Akaroa
Christchurch lies next to a unique peninsula formed from the remnants of an extinct volcano. The small village of Akaroa occupies a special position on the tip of the Banks Peninsula, where Akaroa Harbour lies sheltered in Robinsons Bay within the sunken crater of the old volcano. On today’s tour and nature cruise out of Akaroa, you will be treated to some of New Zealand’s finest craft cheeses before venturing out on the water in search of the rare Hector’s dolphins, which are known to swim in these waters.
Christchurch – Depart for Home
After more than three weeks on the road, you may feel ready to return home. Regardless, it will be hard to say goodbye to the incredible and varied beauty of these two island nations and the amazing hospitality of the Australian and New Zealand people that you have met along the way. After a final transfer from your hotel to the Christchurch airport, you will be on your way home.
- Interact with kangaroos, wallabies, koalas, wombats, and Australia’s natural beauty on a trip to the Blue Mountains
- Embrace the spiritual importance and desert beauty of Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park
- Dive into an underwater paradise at UNESCO World Heritage Site Great Barrier Reef, one of the Seven Natural Wonders of the World
- Uncover Melbourne’s hidden lanes in addition to its dynamic food and art scene
- Travel the scenic Great Ocean Road and view the Twelve Apostles
- Unmask the vibrant Maori culture on guided interactions with local communities
- Step into another world at Waitomo Caves and Rotorua’s geothermal parks
- Revel in the adrenaline-pumping activities that make Queenstown an adventurer’s paradise
- Bask in the vast and untouched wilderness of Fiordland National Park on an overnight cruise on Doubtful Sound
$7,067 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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