Deluxe New Zealand & Australia Tour

A More than 18 day trip to Australia & New Zealand 
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386 reviews

The vibrant colors of the Great Barrier Reef shine beneath the ocean’s surface. The Red Center soaks up the heat of the Australian sun. The glistening turquoise of glacial lakes reflects the towering mountains of New Zealand’s South Island. The colors of New Zealand and Australia change with the shifting sun, from milky-blue glaciers to the breathtaking neon stripes of angelfish. Come see the stunning colors of Oceania, where the water sparkles in the sunlight, the ancient land breathes, and the only thing missing is you. 

Customize This Trip For Me
Most tours are customized for private travel.

General Information

geyser in the thermal valley in new zealand on a sunny day
Rotorua maori figure in the North Island, New Zealand.
Detailed Itinerary

Places Visited 

New Zealand, Auckland, Rotorua, Queenstown, Christchurch, Australia, Melbourne, Cairns, Uluru (Ayers Rock), Sydney 

Departure Dates 

Dates are flexible and customizable for private departures.

Detailed Itinerary 

Day 1: When Colors Change

Enjoy the view of the sea populated with local sailboats and the landscape pitted with ancient volcanoes as you arrive in Auckland in the early morning.  The skyline rises above the surrounding forest of deep green that, in some areas around the city, stretches to sandy shores. New Zealand’s largest city Auckland is a cultural melting pot that includes the world’s largest Polynesian population. Enjoy first class food and wine and the stunning scenery of a cosmopolitan city surrounded by bustling waterways and volcanic islands. The sizzling scent of slow cooked lamb fills the streets of South Auckland. Live guitar drifts from the cafés and through the neighborhood of Ponsonby. Your stunning accommodation at the Auckland Hotel DeBrett is a stone’s throw away from High Street's hip fashion center. The hotel is filled with vibrant color and has a retro flair. Hotel DeBrett's iconic building has been stylishly reinterpreted into a small boutique hotel that has a very personal feel. 

What’s Included: transfer, accommodation 

Day 2: A World in Highlight

You’ll discover why Auckland consistently ranks as one of the best places to live in the world. For the best scenic sights, journey to the central city. For a memorable view back to the city, visit the Auckland Harbour Bridge. And to experience the city’s largest and one of the most oldest, visit the Auckland Domain, located on a volcano that is over 60,000 years old.

What’s Included: tour, accommodation 

Day 3: The Color of Light

Today you will depart Auckland for the cultural vivacity of Rotorua. The rich farmland fills the window as you make your way out of the city. Along your way you will make a stop at the Waitomo Caves for a stunning guided tour of the cavernous labyrinth. Enter the long galleries and high-ceilinged chambers of the caves. The air is dense and earthy; the cave walls are made of smooth limestone. Climb onto the small boat that will guide you through the winding waterways. The darkness recedes in the vibrant glow of the Glowworm Grotto. The cave becomes illuminated with speckles of blue and green, lit by thousands of tiny lights from the glowworms suspended from the lofty ceiling. 

Continue your journey to Rotorua, a city filled with quaint gardens, cobbled streets, and the fabulous mix of Maori and European culture. Beyond the urban city center lies a backdrop of geothermal steam, volcanic mountains, crater lakes, and undulating hazy hills all positioned above the Pacific Ring of Fire. Settle into your luxury accommodation at the Novotel Rotorua Lakeside, positioned next to the emerald water of Lake Rotorua. Step onto your private balcony with a perfect view of the water and the trees surrounding the lake. The cool breeze blows through the trees, over the water, and through your hair bringing the scent of evergreen with it. 

What’s Included: tour, accommodation

Day 4: An Illuminating Life

Exploring Rotorua will bring you to the fabulous world of Te Puia where the stunning geothermal landscapes, bubbling earth, and vivacious Maori culture come together. The crashing sound of water can be heard from the eruption of Pohutu Geyser, the largest active geyser in the Southern Hemisphere. The slow trudge of bubbling mud gurgles. Visit the Kiwi House to see the famous and elusive kiwi, New Zealand’s best-known indigenous bird. Although the kiwi is nocturnal, the Kiwi House uses a lighting cycle to simulate night, allowing visitors to witness the unique and lively bird run through the brush and use its thin, long beak to pierce fallen trees.

Later in the day you will learn why Rotorua is the cultural capital of New Zealand, filled with both the colorful worlds of European and Maori history. A visit to the traditional Maori hangi feast is a must for anyone traveling through or living in Rotorua. Enjoy the cultural journey to the Maori village where the lifeblood of New Zealand's indigenous people once again thrives. The welcome ceremony is filled with traditional Maori instruments, chants, and outfits. The Polynesian similarities can be seen in the woven skirts and heard in the traditional chants and ceremonies. Accept the welcome into the meetinghouse where you will hear the famous and powerful haka, the traditional song and dance of war. The performers bulge out their eyes, stick out their tongues, and pound their chests. The slap and smack of the dance echoes along the wooden walls of the meetinghouse. The evening begins to calm as the hangi feast is ready. The food has been slow-cooked beneath the ground in earth ovens, the meat falls off the bone, and the roasted sweet potatoes emanate a soft and succulent scent. Dine and enjoy your meal as a new member of the tribe, knowing that the life and history of New Zealand’s indigenous people has been colored in.

What’s Included: tour, accommodation

Day 5: Colors of the South Island

Today you will wave goodbye to Rotorua and New Zealand’s North Island as you make your way to the South Island at Queenstown. The city feels more like an alpine village quietly nestled into the hills of Switzerland. Snuggled on the shores of Lake Wakatipu and watched over by the stunning Remarkables Mountain Range, Queenstown is a gentle mix of active and charming. The cool breeze blows in off the lake and brings the sweet scent of fresh water through the streets. Transfer to the lovely Novotel Queenstown Lakeside, located on the waterfront of Lake Wakatipu, and steps from the sophisticated city center. As the sun sets the sky fades to deep orange, the Remarkables’ silhouette stands against the darkening sky, and the colors of the New Zealand night feel comforting.

What’s Included: accommodation, transfer

Day 6: Mighty Sound

Today you will travel to and through the majestic world of Milford Sound. Set deep in the Fiordland National Park, the sound is filled with famous natural wonders. Climb aboard the tour boat and glide through Milford Sound to experience an unparalleled view. The mountains stand tall over the reflective water. The luxurious rainforest clings to rock walls. The sound of crashing water thunders from waterfalls tumbling far lengths to the sea below. Dolphins jump through the wake of your boat as you sail along the pristine waterway. Whether brooding and wet or tranquilly bathed in sunshine, the views of waterfalls, rainforest, mountains, and wildlife will embrace you in the silence, and you might not want to be let go.  

What’s Included: tour, accommodation 

Day 7: The Antique Life

Today you will enjoy a relaxing scenic cruise aboard the vintage steamship TSS Earnslaw. The lakeside terrace of the ship gives you the breathtaking views of Lake Wakatipu, the pristine water below and the Remarkbles Range running along the horizon. Visit the giant steam engine in the heart of the ship. The loud hissing of the steam fills the room. The heat wraps around your body, but the incredible scene of an antique engine still powering the large vessel is awe-inspiring. Across the water you will disembark the ship and enter the lush Walter Peak High Country Farm. The farm’s bright red roof shines in the sunlight just before the tree line. The wooly sheep speckles the fresh grass as horses trot along the lake’s shore. Within the farm is Colonel's Homestead where the scent of fresh barbecue fills the air. Taste the sweet, tangy sauces, the crisp crunch of fresh bread, and hear the interesting tales of rural life in New Zealand. As the tour ends you will re-board the Earnslaw, cross the stunning lake, and return to vibrant Queenstown.

What’s Included: tour, accommodation, lunch

Day 8: The Colors of Mount Cook

Today you will depart the charming alpine city of Queenstown and make your way to Christchurch, the Garden City, stopping in the stunning Mount Cook Region along the way. Mount Cook is not only New Zealand’s largest peak but also the largest mountain in the Southern Hemisphere. The region is filled with rolling mountains, stunning glaciers, and pristine lakes. For a unique view of Mount Cook, known historically to Maori as “Cloud Piercer,” enjoy an optional scenic flight (weather permitting) through the region. Rise above the mountaintops where the crisp scent of snow practically floats through the windows. You can see Lake Tekapo stretching along the craggy terrain. The lake’s milky-blue color shimmers in sunlight. Whether by helicopter or scenic plane, the view is nothing less than exceptional. 

After you land you can visit the historic Church of the Good Shepherd, a smooth stone structure known for its offering of awe inspiring views of the lake and mountains through the altar window. The bright white of the mountain tops glows against the reflective blue of the lake as you leave Mount Cook behind you on your way to Christchurch. 

Once in Christchurch you can settle into the luxuries of The George Hotel where modern decor, attentive staff, and personalized service add to the experience of the two award-winning restaurants situated in the lobby. The George is located in the heart of Christchurch overlooking charming Hagley Park and the quaint Avon River. Christchurch is the largest city in the South Island and is filled with fresh and exciting life. Whether the vibrant cafe scene, stunning Victorian architecture, or the many beautiful gardens, the city has an endless supply of attractions. Punt down the Avon and feel the cool water on your fingertips. Sit in one of the many budding gardens where the colors of the lupines and daisies shine above the lush grass. Relax in the luxury of your hotel and savour the garlic prawns and sea-salted fries. 

What’s Included: Tour, accommodation, transfer

Day 9: The Wonderful Color of OZ

Today you will wave goodbye to the stunning beauty of New Zealand as you depart Christchurch for the fabulous city of Melbourne, Australia. Touch-down in Melbourne and ready yourself for a city known for great shopping, excellent art, and a passion for food and wine. Whether inside the city where the stunning architecture sprawls over the urban landscape or beyond Melbourne’s limits where the natural landscape will amaze you, Melbourne will bring you the vibrant life of its urban center and rural surroundings. Each neighborhood varies culturally, artistically, and gastronomically. Stroll down Lygon Street filled with the aromas of fresh pasta and rich sauce. Wander through Lonsdale where the aroma of the sweet honey of baklava drifts from restaurants and homes. You'll be transferred to Melbourne's Crown Promenade Hotel filled with the luxuries and style of modern Australia with a staff and ambiance will remind you of a cottage in the countryside. 

What’s Included: accommodation, transfer

Day 10: The Shifting Colors of an Ocean Road

Today you will travel the stunning expanse of the Great Ocean Road, one of Australia’s most famous scenic routes. The roadway winds along the cliffs that stretch the length of Victoria, from Melbourne to the South Australia state line.  The waves crash along the rocky shores. Visit the 12 Apostles, large monoliths protruding from the turquoise sea that decorate the water just off of the shoreline. The mist from the crashing waves is picked up by the breeze. The scent of warm earth and the sea blend together. Take the Gibsons Steps, a stairway consisting of 86 steps, down below to where you will feel dwarfed by the incredible cliff-line that stretches along the shore, the colors shifting from bronze to red in the drifting sun. Witness the London Bridge, a natural archway and tunnel that collapsed becoming a bridge with no middle. From the shifting color of the earth, to the glistening color of the sea, the Great Ocean Road adds the color of Victoria to the vibrancy of Melbourne’s sights that could never be missed. 

What’s Included: tour, accommodation

Day 11: The Island Life for Me

Today you will make your way to Phillip Island located a short distance away from Melbourne’s bustling center. Phillip Island is a not-for-profit that manages four major nature parks, including the famous Penguin Parade. The shores of the island are pristine stretches of beach that run into protruding cliffs. The sweet scents of wet earth and seawater blend together. During the day you can wander through shores or the trees and visit one of the many conservation efforts of the island. 

Whether by exploring one of the research centers, strolling through the vibrant hills on a trail, or visiting the Koala Conservation Centre, the vibrant life of the island comes to life. As the sun begins to set behind the water you can watch the ocean glisten in an orange glow. Amble along the boardwalk to watch the Penguin Parade in action. Stretching from the visitor center to the shoreline, the countdown to the Penguin Parade gives you down to the minute access of the penguin’s activity, the moment the sun dips behind the horizon the penguins waddle up the shore from the cold ocean waves and into the warm sand of their situated nests. Their squawks shout over the crash of ocean waves. The night is brought in with a huddled mass of the shuffling cuteness of the island’s natural life. 

What’s Included: tour, accommodation

Day 12: The Different Shades of Melbourne

With the day at your leisure to see the eclectic city of Melbourne, there is plenty of opportunity to explore, meander, experience, or just simply luxuriate in all that the city has to offer. For a unique view of the city, you can wander through the stunning street art that any local will say is second to none. The city is known as one of the world's great street art capitals due to its unique and varied expressions of art, such as stencils, paste-ups, and murals located on a variety of outdoor locations. The city walls are not just bursting with color but are brimming with the diversity of life in Melbourne as the art explores the deeper culture of the cityscape, from the artist’s personal history of Melbourne, to an expression of their inner struggle in supporting the progression of Australia while uncomfortable with the country’s questionable history. 

The city boasts color and culture through crowded laneways filled with the scent of rich coffee and sweet pastries, or an empty street where the only person you can find is the innocent face of the child stenciled on the center of the building. The streets of Melbourne offer as much of the city life as any museum could; whether you wander the streets for eight minutes or eight hours, the bursting colors of the city embrace you. 

What’s Included: accommodation

Day 13: Australian Shangri-La

Today you will transfer to the Melbourne Airport and fly to the fantastic beachside city of Cairns, Australia’s gateway to the sensational Great Barrier Reef. The landscape shifts beneath the clouds from the vibrant green of the rainforests to the golden shine of dried bush and back again as you soar over the lush green of Queensland. 

As the plane descends into Cairns the open space of the city sits between the warm clear water of the Pacific Ocean and the vibrant green mountains of the Kuranda Rainforest. Check-in to the fabulous Shangri-La Hotel, The Marina, where from you window you overlook the marina and city's shore.  Enjoy the view of Trinity Bay and the surrounding, stunning mountain ranges. The sun glistens in the sky and warms the city welcoming you in and inviting you to stay.

What’s Included: accommodation, transfer

Day 14: A Kaleidoscope of Color

Today you will venture off of the Cairn’s shores and journey to a reef at the very edge of Australia's Continental Shelf. Enjoy the Great Barrier Reef while scuba diving in the deeper water, snorkeling on the surface or while staying dry in a semi-submersible.  No matter what you choose, you will see the vibrant coral reefs, an array of fish and maybe even a sea turtle.   A kaleidoscope of dazzling color shines from the coral; pinks, blues, oranges, and reds twist and turn, rising from the sandy bottom and providing home and food to the variety of aquatic life that live within and around the reef. Clown fish and eels, friendly reef sharks, and lively striped angelfish swim around the hard edges of the calcium rich coral. Stingrays glide through the warm water. The magnificent ribbon of color shows you the magic that is the Great Barrier Reef. 

What’s Included: accommodation, tour, breakfast, lunch

Day 15: The World within the Trees

Go beyond the edges of the Queensland rainforest and venture into the incredible world within the trees. Climb aboard the Kuranda Scenic Rail for a stunning journey to the charming town of Kuranda. The cabin is quaint and comfortable. The railway winds through the rugged terrain of the rainforest, hugging the mountainside and passing the thunderous rush of waterfalls tumbling through the trees. Arrive in the rainforest town of Kuranda where the canopy shades the walkways and the scent and sound of fresh sizzling sausages from the German Tucker Wursthouse flows through the streets. The town is a fabulous place to experience the natural beauty and culture of the local Aboriginals. The local arts market boasts an incredible collection of Aboriginal carvings, from authentic didgeridoos to intricate geometric designs carved into the shell of a wooden turtle. 

Continue your exploration of the Kuranda rainforest with a ride on the Skyrail. Drift above the forest canopy, the Pacific shoreline visible in the panorama, the mountains running along the horizon’s edge. Depart the Skyrail at Hartley’s for the unique visit to see Australia’s wondrous wildlife in their natural settings. Experience an intimate encounter with the natural behavior of crocodiles on a cruise of the lagoon’s water. Watch the crocodiles laze on the bank and build their nests. 

The cruise gives you the unique opportunity to understand the capabilities of crocodiles and their importance in the wetland community. For a fabulously Jurassic experience you can visit the cassowaries, a bird similar to an ostrich in its size, but the cassowary’s neck and head shine bright blue, adorned with a helmet, a hard, thin plate that looks similar to a Mohawk. From the cassowary’s origins to information on their close relatives, the journey along the boardwalk and through the rainforest to visit these incredible birds is nothing less than wondrous and is full of so much more.   

What’s Included: breakfast, accommodation, transfer, tour

Day 16: Rainforest Green and Ocean Blue to Desert Red

Today you will say goodbye to the eclectic ribbon of colors that surrounds Cairns and fly to the ineffable beauty of the Red Desert in Uluru (Ayers Rock). The desert is an awe-inspiring expanse of red sand and open sky. Arrive in Uluru and transfer to the luxuries of the Sails in the Desert Hotel. The sails of the hotel are made from the shady awnings that stretch over the lodging’s patios and ripple in the desert breeze. The open desert sprawls in every direction through your window giving you a sense of tranquil solitude and natural majesty. As the hot sun fades away you will have the exceptional dining experience of the Sounds of Silence Dinner. The tables are set beneath the open desert sky where stars twinkle in the velvety darkness of the vast expanse. The scent of rich pastas, roasted meats, and Australian favorites fill the desert air. The haunting didgeridoo music fills the night as ancient Aboriginal myths are shared beneath the star filled night sky.   

What’s Included: dinner, tour, accommodation, transfer

Day 17: The Changing Colors of Uluru

Depart the hotel in the early morning hours to experience the majesty of Uluru in the sunrise. The largest monolith in Australia, known for its depiction in various movies such as Baz Luhrmann’s Australia, is an important landmark for the local Aboriginals and is significant in its connection to the creation myth. The mighty Uluru stands tall above the flat land of the desert. The air is filled with the scent of dried earth and bush. As the sun rises over the desert the deep red of the monolith changes color from the sun's incoming light. A variety of earthly particulars filter the blue light of the sun but allows the redder light, which makes the reflections from the rock and clouds, dance like a kaleidoscope of vivid colors.

As the sun rises higher in the sky it is time to leave Uluru and its absorbing mysticism behind you. From the airport you will fly over the Red Desert’s vastness and make your way to the fabulous city of Sydney, where the sails of the desert are no longer in sight; the sails of the Sydney Opera House have replaced them. The Harbour Bridge arches over the shimmering ocean as you transfer to the fantastic comfort of The Grace Hotel. Your room looks over the bustling life of downtown Sydney as the lights of the city began to glow in the rising night. 

What’s Included: tour, accommodation, transfer

Day 18: The Colorful Life of Sydney 

Adventure through Sydney and see the very best of what the city has to offer on a guided highlight tour. From the city’s stunning architecture to its fabulous beaches, there is never an end to the fantastic sights that Sydney has to offer. The sweeping sails of the Sydney Opera House practically flutter in the breeze as the structure slightly protrudes from the harbor as if on a pedestal. The Rocks area, which now is host to vibrant shops, fabulous art galleries, and delicious restaurants built in and around an old factory along the waterfront, was once home to 19 different Aboriginal tribes. Filled with rich history and the growing scent of delicate coffee, the walkways are brimming with life as vibrant laughter spreads along the storefronts. The Rocks sits below the base of the Harbour Bridge, its metallic arch stretching into the sky and over the bay. Whether traversing the streets or the beaches there is never an end to Sydney’s colorful life, past, present, and future. 

What’s Included: tour, accommodation

Day 19: Inside and Around the Lively Sails

Today you will venture in and around the Sydney Opera House on a guided tour. Step inside the most recognized sails in the world and into the glitzy interior of the Opera House. The lobby is filled with open windows that offer the stunning vista of the glistening water that surrounds the opera house. The multi-tiered heart of the structure blossoms in cacophonous beauty, resembling the delicate indentations of a clamshell and whispered words echo through the concert hall. Sit in the bright lights of the pristine design and you can practically hear past concerts reverberating against the walls before you make your way to Darling Harbour to enjoy a harbor cruise. The cool breeze brushes past you as you drift through the bay. The Sydney skyline reaches into the sky. A touch of mist offers the scent of the crisp ocean as the arching steel of the Harbour Bridge frames the sails of the Sydney Opera House. As the sun fades along the horizon, Sydney begins to shimmer in the coming night, offering a variety of reachable stars to flicker in the evening’s dark blue. 

What’s Included: tour, harbor cruise, accommodation 

Day 20: The Mountains Are Blue

Leave the wonders of Sydney’s urban life behind for the day to explore the majesty of the Blue Mountains just beyond the city’s reach. The Jamison Valley dips along the foothills of the Blue Mountains becoming an expanse of green that fills the air with the scent of soft earth and juniper. Standing atop the Govetts Leap lookout shows the breathtaking magnitude of the valley and the mountains at eye level. The valley winds through the mountain basins where rivers meander and carve through the colorful bedrock. The Govetts Leap Waterfall streams from high atop the craggy terrain and thinly thunders down into the river below. The Three Sisters rock formation juts out from the plateau and stands tall above the valley, changing colors in the sun’s movement. 

Venture to the fantastic Featherdale Wildlife Park for a fabulous example of Australia’s conservation efforts, along with a look at the natural wonders that call New South Wales their home. From the incredible strength and resilience of crocodiles, to the bouncy pouches of kangaroos, the Featherdale Wildlife Park maintains the necessary habitats to sustain the natural wildlife of the area, whether it is beneath the rugged mountain rocks or high above within the trees. Enjoy one of the highlights of the park by getting up close and personal with a koala. Their thick fur is soft and scratchy beneath your fingers and, when not sleeping, the koalas seem to maintain a surprised look on their face. Whether within the confines of the Wildlife Park or winding through the trees of the Jamison Valley, the view is majestic, the expanse is breathtaking, and Australia is filled with vibrant life. 

What’s Included: tour, accommodation, lunch

Day 21: Colorful Conclusions

Today you will depart Sydney and make your way over the Pacific Ocean to home. As your flight ascends over the water you will never leave behind the colorful worlds of Australia and New Zealand; you will carry them with you beyond the return journey and forever more. The shifting red and purple of Uluru, the milky-blue of glacial lakes on the South Island, within the stunning stretch of Oceania its vibrant life has offered itself to be seen, explored, and enjoyed giving you colorful memories that will never fade. 

What’s Included: transfer

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Starting Price 

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.