The perfect itinerary for families with active older kids and teens, this two-week tour takes you to the heart of Australia and New Zealand's natural wonders. Discover Sydney and Melbourne's top attractions before heading north to Cairns for an epic day at the Great Barrier Reef. Travel through the rainforest and down the Great Ocean Road, then hop over to New Zealand's adventure capital of Queenstown to explore mountains, fjords, and "Lord of the Rings" country.


  • Go behind the scenes at Sydney's Royal Opera House 
  • Cuddle up to the koalas at Taronga Zoo
  • Explore the wonders of the Great Barrier Reef
  • Travel the Great Ocean Road from Melbourne
  • Release your inner adrenaline junkie in Queenstown

Brief Itinerary

Day Highlights Overnight
Day 1 Arrive in Sydney Sydney
Day 2 Sydney Opera House, Bondi Beach & Taronga Zoo Tour Sydney
Day 3 Free Day in Sydney  Sydney
Day 4 SEA LIFE Sydney Aquarium, Free Afternoon Sydney
Day 5 Fly to Cairns Cairns
Day 6 Full-Day Daintree Rainforest Experience Cairns
Day 7 Discover the Great Barrier Reef Cairns
Day 8 Fly to Melbourne Melbourne
Day 9 Great Ocean Road Day Trip Melbourne
Day 10 Explore St Kilda & Luna Park Melbourne
Day 11 Fly to Queenstown Queenstown 
Day 12 Free Day in Queenstown Queenstown 
Day 13 Milford Sound Adventure  Queenstown 
Day 14 Depart Queenstown  

Detailed Itinerary

Day 1: Arrive in Sydney

Welcome to Sydney!
Welcome to Sydney!

Welcome to Australia! Upon arrival in Sydney, your driver will be waiting to take you to your city accommodation. The capital of New South Wales, this former penal colony for British convicts is now a glittering metropolis and a perfect destination for families. With its dizzying array of beaches, famous harbor, zoo, and watersports, there are numerous fun-filled activities for all ages—adults included.

After a recharge at your hotel, head out for a bite to eat, where you'll be spoiled for choice with the wide variety of multicultural cuisine. The rest of the day is yours to spend as you choose. Ride the ferry across the harbor to the beach at Manly and wave at the Sydney Opera House, stroll through the Royal Botanic Gardens, or go swimming in the tranquil waters of Coogee. Explore the cobblestone laneways of The Rocks before trying out the cafés and pubs of upscale Paddington, whose distinctive terraced houses dating back to the Victorian era.

Day 2: Sydney Opera House, Bondi Beach & Taronga Zoo Tour

Taronga Zoo
Cuddle up to the koalas at Taronga Zoo

Explore all of Sydney's favorites with today's city highlights tour. Your morning starts with a visit to the iconic Sydney Opera House. Go behind the scenes of this UNESCO World Heritage Site and discover its inner workings as you learn about the rich history of this 20th-century masterpiece's architecture. Next, spot historical landmarks such as Hyde Park, St Mary's Cathedral, Parliament House, and the magnificent views from the rocky sandstone outcropping of Mrs. Macquarie's Chair.

Continue through the harborfront suburb of Woolloomooloo, Kings Cross, and Paddington as you make your way to the world-famous Bondi Beach—one of the most visited beaches in Australia and a great surf destination. Stop here for a mid-morning break, laze on the golden sands, or take a stroll along the coast.

After lunch, head to Taronga Zoo. A quick ferry ride from the harbor, the zoo cares for over 5,000 animals from more than 350 species. During your guided tour, encounter some of the country's most recognizable marsupials alongside African lion cubs, Sumatran tigers, and Asian elephants. Your visit concludes with a ride on the zoo's Sky Safari—Sydney's only cable car experience. Soak up the breathtaking views while the kids try to spot the squirrel monkeys below. The remainder of the day is yours to spend at leisure.

Day 3: Free Day in Sydney

Sydney Guided Bike Experience
See Sydney's city sights with a family-friendly bike tour 

After a leisurely breakfast, you have several options for spending the day exploring Sydney's attractions at your own pace. If energy levels are high, head to the heritage-listed Luna Park. Located just below Sydney's famous Harbour Bridge on the northern shore, this world-famous theme park will be a big hit with the kids. Make your way to the Big Dipper, where thrill seekers of all ages will encounter Australia's tallest and fastest rollercoaster, or head to the Coney Island section, where the whole family can enjoy classic slide rides with speed levels set from sedate to hair-raising. 

In the afternoon, you can explore Sydney's classic landmarks by bike on a cycling tour. Visit sights, including the Royal Botanic Gardens, Chinatown, Harbour Bridge, and over 30 more attractions. Led by an entertaining and knowledgeable guide, the tour showcases nearly all of the city in just a few hours and maintains a leisurely pace throughout. 

Day 4: SEA LIFE Sydney Aquarium, Free Afternoon

Explore the oceanarium tunnels at SEA LIFE Sydney

This morning it's time to discover the city's SEA LIFE Aquarium, home to the world's most extensive collection of Australian aquatic life, displaying more than 13,000 fish and sea creatures from over 700 species. Explore the 14 themed zones, including Shark Walk, Jurassic Seas, and Discovery Rockpool. Get up close and personal with animals unique to each habitat, including one of only four dugongs on display in the world.

Walk through the oceanarium tunnels, hop aboard the Penguin Expedition boat ride, and spot sea turtles as you explore the world's largest Great Barrier Reef display. For particularly adventurous teens and adults, the Shark Reef Snorkel Tour offers a thrilling underwater experience close to these infamous predators!

Afterward, enjoy lunch at one of Sydney's many great restaurants, or take a picnic in the peace and tranquility of the Royal Botanic Garden. Stroll among 8,000 plant species across the 94 acres (38 ha) of shaded walks and lush greenery. If energy levels are still high, head to Bondi Beach for a family surf lesson to burn off some holiday excitement. Meander back to your hotel in anticipation of the next leg of your Australia adventure tomorrow.

Day 5: Fly to Cairns

Cairns Swimming Lagoon
Take a dip in the Cairns Lagoon Swimming Pool
Plan your trip to Australia
Chat with a local specialist who can help organize your trip.

This morning you'll be picked up from your hotel and whisked to the airport for your flight to Cairns. Lying at the center of a tropical paradise on the shores of Trinity Bay and known as the city "where the rainforest meets the reef," Cairns is the gateway to the 100-million-year-old Wet Tropics World Heritage Rainforest and the Great Barrier Reef

After an energetic few days, enjoy some family downtime before heading out to get your bearings. Take a stroll along the central esplanade, where you'll find bustling weekend markets, great food options, and the Cairns Lagoon Swimming Pool. Relax on the grassy knoll as you watch the kids splash in the shallows and take a dip to cool off before making your way to the City Botanic Gardens. Stroll along the Rainforest Boardwalk and meander through Centenary Lakes before dining at one of the numerous international cafés and restaurants.

Day 6: Full-Day Daintree Rainforest Experience

Explore the wonders of the Daintree Rainforest

Get back on the adventure trail with an all-day excursion that explores the wonders of the UNESCO-listed Daintree National Park—the world's oldest rainforest. Marvel at the spectacular views and keep a beady eye out for estuarine crocodiles as you explore the Daintree River on a guided cruise. Continue your journey by land to witness the stunning panorama of the rainforest and ocean from Mount Alexandra Lookout. Experience the canopy of lush vegetation from a unique perspective as you stroll over the treetops on an elevated boardwalk. 

After a well-deserved lunch in the heart of the rainforest, you'll visit the Mossman Gorge Centre. Kids will be fascinated to learn more about the Kuku Yalanji people and how First Nations Australians lived here for 50,000 years, using the jungle's natural bounty for survival. Return to your hotel by cable ferry and dine at one of the many eateries along the esplanade.

Day 7: Discover the Great Barrier Reef

The Great Barrier Reef
Discover the natural wonders of the Great Barrier Reef

Today it's time to explore one of Australia's most remarkable natural gifts—the Great Barrier Reef. A driver will transport you and your family to Port Douglas this morning to board your catamaran. Depart from the Crystalbrook Superyacht Marina and relax on deck as you set sail to the pristine white sands of Mackay Coral Cay and the epic snorkeling spots at Undine Reef. Enjoy the stunning coastline and soaring peaks of the Daintree Mountains before reaching the coral reefs for a guided snorkel led by a qualified marine biologist.

After a tropical buffet lunch, children and adults alike will love the coral-viewing tour on a glass-bottom boat. Marvel together at the colorful reef sites that showcase the abundant marine life living among the corals, and see who will be first to spot the various tropical fish and turtles that call the reef home. Relax on the spacious sundeck as you sail back to Port Douglas Marina, where you will be transferred to your Cairns accommodation. The evening is yours to spend as you wish. 

Day 8: Fly to Melbourne

Melbourne's riverfront
Melbourne's gorgeous riverfront

Today you'll fly 1,432 miles (2,305 km) south to Melbourne—the capital of Victoria and heralded for being one of the most liveable cities on earth. After settling in, get your bearings as you head out to immerse yourselves in the vibrant energy of Australia's cultural capital. Older kids will love exploring the European-style cobbled laneways as you discover the funky street art, bohemian shops, and numerous cafés that make this such a fun city to visit. 

The most family-friendly way to experience all Melbourne offers is to hop on the City Circle, a free tram that runs throughout the central districts and the waterfront. Bring a picnic and make your way to the city's green heart at the Royal Botanic Gardens. Stroll among 8,000 plant species across the 94 acres (38 ha) of shaded walks and lush greenery. 

Spend the rest of the day relaxing or exploring the sporting capital of Australia. Sports enthusiasts will be spoiled for choice—from tennis to Formula 1 Grand Prix and cricket, Melbourne is a city obsessed with sport! Book a tour of the world-famous Melbourne Cricket Grounds (MCG), where you can explore one of the world's most iconic stadiums and walk in the footsteps of Australia's sporting legends.

Day 9: Great Ocean Road Day Trip

12 Apostles
Enjoy a stunning day trip exploring the wonders along the Great Ocean Road

It's an early start today, but worth it. This morning set off on an epic all-day guided road trip down one of the world's most scenic coastal routes: the Great Ocean Road. This stretch of highway runs 150 miles (240 km) along Victoria's southwest coast, passing national parks, limestone rock formations, seaside bluffs, coastal mountain ranges, and incredible beaches. 

Along the way, stop at various viewpoints and scenic spots to admire the rolling hills and majestic coastal cliffs. You might even spot dolphins and whales frolicking just offshore. Take a family stroll through a eucalyptus forest and watch the children's faces as they see the country's most adorable marsupial at every turn. Enjoy a leisurely lunch at Apollo Bay, a tranquil seaside town that's the gateway to the famous mountains of the Otway Ranges. Afterward, browse the local shops before embarking on a hike through the rainforests of Otway National Park.

From here, you'll travel farther west to Port Campbell National Park, where you'll see the world-famous rock formations on the Great Ocean Road. These include the romantic cove at Loch Ard Gorge, the London Bridge Archway, and the 12 Apostles, a group of ancient limestone rock formations rising out of the sea. Relax on the transfer back to your Melbourne accommodation—the rest of the evening is yours to spend as you wish.

Day 10: Explore St Kilda & Luna Park 

older kids with surfboards
Have fun on the beach at St. Kilda

Spend today exploring the family-friendly neighborhood of St Kilda at your own pace. You'll find this iconic beachside suburb within a 25-minute tram ride from Flinders Railway Station in central Melbourne. Roller skate down the promenade, play on the beach or cool off with gelato. Stroll the market stalls and boutiques as you soak up the decidedly European ambiance and check out the vast range of beach activities for kids of all ages.

After grabbing a bite to eat at one of the many great cafés and restaurants in St Kilda, earn some major brownie points with a trip to Melbourne's Luna Park. The theme park has many of the same classic attractions and rides as its original counterpart in Sydney, including the world's oldest continually operating rollercoaster—the Great Scenic Railway! Finish your afternoon with a walk along the coastal path to unwind next to the colorful Brighton Beach bathing boxes. The rest of the day is yours to spend as you choose before your flight tomorrow.

Day 11: Fly to Queenstown

Welcome to Queenstown

Your family adventures continue today with a three-hour flight to Queenstown on New Zealand's South Island. Upon arrival at the airport, you'll be met by your driver and delivered to your accommodation. Parked on the shores of Lake Wakatipu, this small alpine town sits below the soaring vistas of The Remarkables Mountain Range. A popular destination for thrill-seekers, adventurous older kids and teens will love the adrenaline-filled activities on offer.

Soak in the scenery around the lake, or venture deeper into Fiordland National Park. Head over the hill to resort town Wanaka, or explore the rugged terrain of the "Lord of the Rings" film locations by 4WD. If you're feeling brave, take a leap of faith and bungee jump off the infamous Kawarau Bridge or hop aboard a jet boat for an exhilarating ride through the narrow Shotover Canyon. Whatever your preference, Queenstown's scenic, historical and gastronomic wonders cater to the entire family.

Day 12: Free Day in Queenstown

Shotover River Canyon
Hold tight for the ultimate jet boat ride at Shotover River

Today is yours to explore Queenstown at your leisure. Get your bearings with a stroll along Lake Wakatipu or visit Queenstown Gardens. Browse the waterfront cafés before taking a scenic ride in the iconic Skyline Gondola—the steepest cable car lift in the Southern Hemisphere. Marvel at the stunning views as you travel 1,574 feet (480 m) above the city to the top of Bob's Peak. Reach the top and enjoy refreshments while the kids take a few rides on the thrilling Luge.

Get to see the best of New Zealand's natural wonders with an off-road 4WD adventure, and explore the country's most scenic drives. Soak up the panoramic views of the Southern Alps and tour the "Lord of the Rings" movies' film sites. If the teens are clamoring for more action, head to the Shotover River Canyon and hold tight as you prepare for the ultimate jet boat ride. Experience exhilarating 360-degree spins on the water before boarding a helicopter for a scenic flight over the famous Franz Josef and Fox Glaciers.

Day 13: Milford Sound Adventure

The iconic Milford Sound
Visit Milford Sound and hike the breathtaking Fiordland National Park

It's an early start today to see one of New Zealand's star natural attractions at Milford Sound. The country's only fjord accessible by road retains its breathtaking unspoiled beauty with its remote location. Surrounded by sheer rock faces that rise 3,900 feet (1,200 m) or more, the highest, Pembroke Peak, towers majestically at 6,710 feet (2,045 m). Board your bus and head to Te Anau, the gateway to the Fiordland National Park and part of Te Wahipounamu, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Arrive in Milford, and you'll take a two-hour nature cruise through the dramatic landscape. Discover the towering waterfalls and splendor of Mitre Peak, which led to English author Rudyard Kipling declaring it the "Eighth Wonder of the World." Look out for dolphins and penguins as the breathtaking views and waterfalls enchant even the world's weariest teens. After the cruise, hop back on your bus and return to Queenstown. Spend your last night dining in style at one of the city's great restaurants, and recount your favorite memories of the trip.

Day 14: Depart Queenstown

Sunset over Queenstown
Until the next time Queenstown!

It's time to say goodbye as your memorable holiday in Australia and New Zealand concludes today. Your driver will pick you up at your hotel and transfer you to the airport for your flight home. Safe travels!

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