This two-week crossover trip takes you from Australia to New Zealand with plenty of adventure laced throughout. Start by touring one of the most cosmopolitan cities in the world: Sydney. Then, head to Cairns to explore the Great Barrier Reef. In the last Australian stop, Melbourne, you'll spend time in hip neighborhoods and visit wild kangaroos and koalas. Afterward, it'll be time to hop over to New Zealand, where you'll get your adrenaline fix in Queenstown, the adventure capital of the world.

Highlights

  • Snorkel or dive the fascinating underwater world of the Great Barrier Reef
  • See wild koalas and kangaroos on an exciting guided bushland excursion
  • Taste the multicultural cuisine of Melbourne on a food & wine tour
  • Sail around the majestic Milford Sound fiord in New Zealand
  • Bungee jump, jetboat, or skydive in adventure-filled Queenstown

Brief Itinerary

Day Highlights Overnight
Day 1 Arrival in Sydney Sydney
Day 2 Sydney City Tour Sydney
Day 3 Blue Mountains Day Trip Sydney
Day 4 Sydney Free Day Sydney
Day 5 Fly to Cairns Cairns
Day 6 Great Barrier Reef Day Trip Cairns
Day 7 Cairns Free Day Cairns
Day 8 Fly to Melbourne Melbourne
Day 9 Culture & Food Tour Melbourne
Day 10 Kangaroos & Koalas in the Wild Day Tour Melbourne
Day 11 Arrive in Queenstown Queenstown
Day 12 Overnight Trip to Milford Sound Milford Sound
Day 13 Milford Sound Excursions Queenstown
Day 14 Queenstown Free Day Queenstown
Day 15 Jetboating & Wine Trail Tour Queenstown
Day 16 Depart Queenstown  

Detailed Itinerary

Day 1: Arrival in Sydney

View of Sydney Opera House
View of Sydney Opera House

Welcome to Sydney! A representative will be waiting to take you to your hotel. 

The rest of the day is yours to rest or explore the town. We recommend walking around Darling Habour and seeing the iconic Harbour Bridge

Day 2: Sydney City Tour

The famous Bondi Beach
The famous Bondi Beach

In the morning, embark on a local sightseeing tour. You'll visit many notable destinations around Sydney, like The Rocks and Mrs Macquarie’s Chair, where you will get scenic views of the harbor. Continue past Kings Cross and Double Bay, through to Watson’s Bay and the famous Bondi Beach, where you will have free time to discover the area.

In the evening, you can join a group walking pub tour and learn about the history of the city while mingling with new people.

Day 3: Blue Mountains Day Trip

Three Sisters Blue Mountains
Three Sisters Blue Mountains

Spend the day hiking in the Blue Mountains National Park, one of seven national parks that make up the Greater Blue Mountains UNESCO World Heritage Area. This wonderland of sandstone outcrops, deep ravines, and blue eucalyptus forests boasts a peaceful atmosphere and stunning views. A guide will take you off the beaten track to visit remote lookouts, and discuss the history, flora, and fauna of the region. You will also visit a working farm, home to kangaroos, emus, wombats, and koalas.

After a picnic lunch, you will continue exploring the area on your own. You can hike across a number of valleys and ridges while looking out across Australia’s Grand Canyon, the Grose Valley

Following a day of exploration, the evening is yours to enjoy back in Sydney.

Day 4: Sydney Free Day

Sydney Harbour Bridge
Sydney Harbour Bridge

Enjoy a free day to explore Sydney. Consider making your way down to the BridgeClimb to reach the summit of the Sydney Harbour Bridge—440 feet above sea level—for an uninterrupted panorama of the city and its surroundings. After completing your BridgeClimb, stop by the visitor center, located at the base, to learn more about the history, preservation, and celebration of the Sydney Harbour Bridge. 

Following the BridgeClimb excursion, enjoy lunch, and then plan to visit one of Sydney's most famous landmarks: the Sydney Opera House. Enter beneath the iconic sails to discover what makes the venue so awe-inspiring. Uncover the stories, history, and magic of the Sydney Opera House with an informative guided tour.

In the evening, take advantage of Sydney's vibrant nightlife.

Day 5: Fly to Cairns

Panoramic view of Cairns
Panoramic view of Cairns

Enjoy the morning at leisure before taking a flight to Cairns.  On arrival, you will be transferred to your accommodation.

The rest of the afternoon/evening is yours to discover this tropical haven. We recommend heading to the Cairns Night Markets or enjoying the city's laid-back backpacker nightlife.

Day 6: Great Barrier Reef Day Trip

The Great Barrier Reef from above
The Great Barrier Reef from above
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Today, you will get to see one of the most incredible natural wonders in the entire planet: the Great Barrier Reef!

As the world’s largest coral reef, it contains an abundance of marine life and is home to more than 3,000 individual reef systems and coral cays. Around the reef, you'll find hundreds of picturesque tropical islands with golden beaches.

Snorkel, enjoy multiple Introductory or Certified scuba dives, or join a Semi-Submarine Tour. For five hours, you'll get to explore the world’s most famous National Park. The tour also includes a gourmet buffet lunch, live music, and a free glass of wine.

Enjoy the evening at your leisure.

Day 7: Cairns Free Day

The view from a lookout in Kuranda
The view from a lookout in Kuranda

Today, enjoy a free day in Cairns to do as you wish.

Explore some of the local wildlife exhibits, like the Koala Gardens, where you will also be able to see other native animals, including wombats and kangaroos. Next, stroll through Cairns Aquarium, a landmark rich with Tropical North Queensland species. 

In the afternoon, ride the Skyrail Rainforest Cableway. This 4.66-mile scenic ride goes up to Kuranda, which passes over Barron Gorge National Park for incredible views. 

Day 8: Fly to Melbourne

View of Melbourne
View of Melbourne

Depart from Cairns and fly towards beautiful Melbourne. A representative will greet you at the airport and help you check into your accommodation.

The rest of the day is free for you to enjoy on your own. One of the most exciting metropolises in the world, Melbourne is full of museums, coffee houses, bars, and art galleries. For your first day, you can stroll around Yarra River, do a street art tour, or relax at the Botanic Gardens.

Day 9: Culture & Food Tour

Melbourne Immigration Museum
Melbourne Immigration Museum

Melbourne is one of the most multicultural cities in the world, having experienced many waves of migration from all over the globe. The diversity of the communities has contributed to an ever-evolving melting pot of history, food, and culture.

You will start your trail at the Immigration Museum, where you will hear stories of immigrants; their challenges, their triumphs, and their food.

Afterward, you will do a delightful walking food and wine tour. On this walking tour of Melbourne’s favorite local dining spots, you'll visit three unique venues that offer carefully chosen wine tastings and savory bites.

Day 10: Kangaroos & Koalas in the Wild Day Tour

Meet wild koalas near Melbourne
Meet wild koalas near Melbourne

This morning, embark on the popular Kangaroos and Koalas in the Wild day tour, which includes a walk through natural bushland.

Learn about the koalas with a wildlife guide and koala researcher. Next, help to create a new koala habitat for future generations of baby koalas by participating in the Make a Home for Koala Clancy Conservation Project.

Then, join wild mobs of eastern grey kangaroos on the plains and in open forests. Their instinct is to flee humans, but your wildlife guide will help you get close enough to observe their complex social life and take some great photographs.

Your wildlife guide will help you locate and understand other species, such as parrots, fairy-wrens, emus, honeyeater birds, possums, wallabies, and lizards, and teach you how to spot wildlife wherever you travel in Australia. 

Return to your hotel after a day of touring and enjoy the evening at your leisure.

Day 11: Arrive in Queenstown

Queenstown, the adventure capital of the world
Queenstown, the adventure capital of the world

It's time to leave the Land Down Under and head to amazing New Zealand. You will arrive in Queenstown, the self-proclaimed adventure capital of the world!

Sitting on the edge of Lake Wakatipu, Queenstown is a thriving city surrounded by nature. It is also a great jumping off point for exploring the area's vineyards and historic mining towns. 

After checking into your accommodation, you'll have a free day to get your first impressions of the city. If you feel the need to take it easy, you can sit by the shores of Lake Wakatipu or walk around the scenic Queenstown Gardens.

If you're looking to get in on the adrenaline rush that draws people to the city, you can go bungee jumping. After all, the extreme sport was invented in New Zealand, and the first bungee jumping company was founded right here in Queenstown!

Day 12: Overnight Trip to Milford Sound

The world-famous Milford Sound
The world-famous Milford Sound

Depart early in the morning to one of New Zealand's most famous natural wonders: Milford Sound.

On the way, you will have a rest stop at Te Anau, gateway to the Fiorland National Park. Take in the breathtaking scenery while you stretch your legs.

Once you've arrived at Milford Sound, you can explore the shoreline by small boat with a nature guide, and learn about the area's flora and fauna. Keep a lookout here for some interesting wildlife.

Alternatively, you can go via small vessel to Sandfly Point. From here, you'll start a short guided walk on a short section of the world-famous Milford Track. If you’re feeling brave, you can go swimming in the fiord’s extremely pure (but oh-so-cold) waters. 

As the shadows deepen, you'll leave the water for the shelter of your accommodation. You’ll be served a three-course meal in a cosy saloon, where you can order drinks and relax in the company of like-minded travelers.

Back on deck after dinner, you'll stand in awe at the brightness of the stars in the inky blackness of the remote Fiordland night sky. Then, when you’re ready, retire to a comfortable cabin and dream of tall cliffs and still waters.

Day 13: Milford Sound Excursions

Stirling Falls, Milford Sound
Stirling Falls, Milford Sound

Fuel up for the day with a hearty breakfast before heading back out to the Tasman Sea.

You will spend the day exploring even more more of this incredible fiord. Pass by famous natural landmarks like Mitre Peak and the astonishing Stirling Falls. Depending on the season, you might be able to see wild dolphins swimming in the crystalline waters, and fur seals sunbathing on Seal Rock—one of their preferred resting spots.

After you come back to land, you will start the journey back to Queenstown. Take the evening to rest or explore the city.

Day 14: Queenstown Free Day

Shotover River, Queenstown
Shotover River, Queenstown

Seize the (free) day by taking full advantage of the thrills Queenstown has to offer.

You can do the Ben Lomond Hike for amazing views over the city, take trips to Lord of the Rings filming locations, ride the Luge Track down the mountains, go up Queenstown Hill, or dare to tackle the Canyon Swing & Zipline. For even more adrenaline, go mountain biking, canyoning, or skydiving.

Alternatively, you can visit neighboring towns like Arrowtown and Wanaka. The Later is famous around the world for its natural beauty, especially for the lone tree that grows in the middle of its lake.

If you want to end the day on a relaxed note, take a sunset cruise on Lake Wakatipu.

Day 15: Jetboating & Wine Trail Tour

Jetboating in Queenstown
Jetboating in Queenstown

The day begins at the Main Town Pier, where you'll partake in one of Queenstown's most exciting traditions: Jetboating.

Enjoy 60 minutes of unforgettable thrills across three waterways in one of the world's most stunning locations. Your twin engine Jetboat first roars across the crystal-clear Lake Wakatipu. Then, you zoom under the Kawarau Dam onto the deep green waters of Kawarau River—expect a lot of 360-degree spins. Next, the adventure heightens as your driver navigates the fast-moving currents of the narrow-braided Shotover River. Finally, you return to the pier for a complimentary view from Queenstown's Underwater Observatory, where you can purchase photos from your trip and see what life is like underneath the lake. 

In the afternoon, you'll do a tour of three premium vineyards. You'll taste the local pinot noir and other wine varietals, and go into New Zealand’s largest underground wine cave. You will also have some free time in the vineyards, which gives you the chance to unwind or sample a selection of local cheeses. Craft beer tasting is also available.

After a full day of thrilling activities, visit the Onsen Hot Pools for a few hours of relaxation in a private cedar-lined hot tub overlooking the astonishing Shotover River canyon.  

Day 16: Depart Queenstown

View of Lake Wakatipu from Queenstown Gardens
View of Lake Wakatipu from Queenstown Gardens

The adventure ends this morning, as you make your way to the airport for your onward journey. 

Good luck and safe travels!

Map

Map of Australia & New Zealand Adventure: Sydney, Cairns, Melbourne & Queenstown - 16 Days
Map of Australia & New Zealand Adventure: Sydney, Cairns, Melbourne & Queenstown - 16 Days