- Taste wine and get active in New Zealand's adventure capital, Queenstown
- Take a fjord cruise across Milford Sound / Piopiotahi, then fly above it
- Learn about native Australian foods with an Aboriginal guide in Sydney
- Spend a full-day sailing and snorkeling in the Great Barrier Reef
|Arrive in Queenstown, TSS Earnslaw Farm Tour & Dinner
|Milford Sound / Piopiotahi Sightseeing Flight & Nature Cruise
|Gourmet Food & Wine Tour, Shotover Jet Boat, Onsen Evening Session
|Fly to Sydney (Australia), Afternoon Cruise, Evening Rocks Pub Tour
|Sydney Sights Tour, Taronga Zoo Keeper Tour, Potts Point Dining Walk
|Aboriginal Bush Tucker Tour, Coastal Delights Tour
|Fly to Cairns, Hartley's Crocodile Adventure & Zootastic 5
|Full-Day Kuranda Tour
|Full-Day Great Barrier Reef Sailing
|River Drift Snorkeling, Depart
Day 1: Arrive in Queenstown, TSS Earnslaw Farm Tour & DinnerKia ora! Welcome to Queenstown, New Zealand's adventure capital. Set on the shores of Lake Wakatipu in the Southern Alps, this ruggedly beautiful region offers hair-raising thrills, beautiful vineyards, and historic gold-mining towns. On arrival, a private driver will be waiting to transfer you to your accommodation. Settle in and spend the rest of the afternoon exploring the town. One of the best ways to appreciate the area's majesty is to ride the Skyline Gondola. Drink in panoramic views of Coronet Peak and The Remarkables before taking the downhill luge track back to town.
This evening you'll take a leisurely cruise across the breathtakingly beautiful Lake Wakatipu. The historic TSS Earnslaw Steamship will take you to the lakeside gardens of Walter Peak High Country Farm for a gourmet dinner by the water. Soak up the alpine scenery at the homestead and watch as chefs prepare a seasonal bounty of succulent meats cooked on the outdoor rotisserie and a selection of delicious vegetables and salads. Enjoy desserts and New Zealand cheese before the return trip, complete with a singalong from the ship's pianist.
Day 2: Milford Sound / Piopiotahi Sightseeing Flight & Nature Cruise
Known for its spectacular mountains, waterfalls, and rainforests, the dramatic landscape of Milford Sound / Piopiotahi is unmissable on any New Zealand itinerary. Today you'll board a 45-minute scenic flight and soar over the glacially carved valleys of the Southern Alps and Fiordland National Park on your epic journey to the sound.
On arrival, board a small boutique boat to enjoy views of Mitre Peak and towering cliffs. Cruise past rugged tall cliffs covered in magnificent native rainforest, with powerful waterfalls that tumble down into the fjord. Keep a look out for seals, dolphins, and penguins in the waters below. The return journey to Queenstown is equally rewarding as your flight takes a different route, giving you a bird's-eye view of the rugged Central Otago region.
Chat with a local specialist who can help organize your trip.
Day 3: Gourmet Food & Wine Tour, Shotover Jet Boat, Onsen Evening Session
Enjoy an indulgent day tasting wine in the Central Otago region with the help of a local wine expert. Discover the scenic and diverse wine subregions of Gibbston, Bannockburn, and Cromwell with tastings at four boutique vineyards. You'll sample the region's renowned cool-climate wines and retrace early pioneering history at the historic settlements of Old Cromwell and beautiful Arrowtown. You'll take a guided tour through New Zealand's largest underground wine cave and savor a memorable lunch of five dishes cooked in retired oak barrels, perfectly matched with five local wines.
Late this afternoon, take an exhilarating ride through the Shotover River Canyon in a high-speed jet boat that seems to defy gravity. Take a ride on "Big Red" through the spectacular canyon walls of the upper Shotover River. You'll gasp in amazement as your jet navigates 46 miles (75 km) of rapids and narrow twists and turns. Finally, relax in a hot pool under the stars. Based on the Japanese bathing tradition, Onsen offers cedar-lined steaming pools on a cliffside overlooking the Shotover River. Enjoy an hourlong soak accompanied by a drink and snack as you take in the alpine scenery.
Day 4: Fly to Sydney (Australia), Afternoon Cruise, Evening Rocks Pub Tour
It's time to swap the thrills of the South Island for buzzing Sydney. A driver will collect you from your accommodation and transfer you to the airport in time for your three-hour international flight to Australia. On arrival in Sydney, a private transfer will take you to your accommodation. This city is known around the world for its scenic harbor, and you'll get a good glimpse of it during an afternoon cruise around Sydney Harbour.
Venture down to the port, where you'll board the boat and soak up views of shimmering skyscrapers, national parks, golden beaches, secluded bars, and—of course—the Opera House and Harbour Bridge. Relax on deck with a refreshing drink in hand while listening to colorful commentary. Then, after dark, join a guided tour of The Rocks, one of the most distinct neighborhoods in Sydney. Hear about its rich and dark history, and explore plenty of 19th-century pubs once frequented by cutthroats, street gangs, and prostitutes. Finish the day with a pub meal and beer with your tour mates.
Day 5: Sydney Sights Tour, Taronga Zoo Keeper Tour, Potts Point Dining Walk
Wake up and get ready to explore more of Sydney. Hear fascinating stories of early convict history in The Rocks area, and see breathtaking views of the famous Opera House and bridge. Shop till you drop at the Queen Victoria Building and explore the trendy Oxford Street district. Head east for a walk around Tamarama and Bronte, and enjoy a refreshing drink at the famous Bondi Beach while admiring bronzed Aussie lifesavers. Then wave goodbye to your guide and find somewhere for lunch by Bondi Beach.
Return to the city and head to Taronga Zoo, where you'll go behind the scenes with a local zookeeper who will introduce you to Australian animals, including koalas and kangaroos. This 52-acre (21 ha) zoo is home to over 4,000 animals, including tigers, gorillas, and plenty of native wildlife, and the small-group tour gives you access to off-limits areas.
Day 6: Aboriginal Bush Tucker Tour, Coastal Delights Tour
Kick off your day by getting to know the traditional owners of this land. On an Aboriginal bush tucker tour, you'll join an Indigenous guide on an hourlong tour through the Royal Botanic Gardens. Learn more about local bush foods and how these foods were used traditionally and adapted to the modern plate and palate, all while tasting some for yourself!
After, make your way to Circular Quay and hop on a ferry to Rose Bay. Stroll through the affluent neighborhood, making your way to the Hermitage Foreshore Reserve, a magnificent 5-mile (8 km) trail that winds along the coast. Soak up harbor views, and bring swimwear and a towel to take a dip at hidden beaches. It typically takes around 4.5 hours to complete the entire walk to Watsons Bay, but you explore specific sections such as Queens Beach or Shark Beach. Finally, treat yourself to a late lunch or drink at the waterfront Watsons Bay Hotel before ferrying back to the CBD.
Day 7: Fly to Cairns, Hartley's Crocodile Adventure & Zootastic 5
Today, you'll catch a three-hour flight to Cairns, a tropical paradise and the gateway to the UNESCO-listed Great Barrier Reef and the 135-million-year-old Daintree Rainforest. Over the next few days, you'll experience some of the most remarkable natural wonders in Australia. Check into your hotel, refresh, and get ready for a serious adventure.
A 40-minute drive north of Cairns, Hartley's Crocodile Adventures is one of the best places to see crocodiles and local wildlife in Tropical North Queensland. Take a boat cruise on Hartley's Lagoon to see crocodiles in the Melaleuca wetland, then wander timber boardwalks to meet beautiful tropical birds, reptiles, insects, and other native fauna. Your Zootastic 5 experience, which includes transfers, will get you up close with five different animals. You'll feed, pat, and hold koalas. You might also meet a cassowary, hold a python, pat a wombat, and meet wallabies, depending on the day.
Day 8: Full-Day Kuranda Tour
This morning, you'll take a ride on the historic Kuranda Scenic Railway up to the mountain village of Kuranda, located about 15 miles (25 km) inland. The train snakes along hillside tracks and offers breathtaking views of waterfalls, cane fields, and the Barron Gorge as you rise from sea level to 1,072 feet (327 m). Explore the rainforest village and its colorful Heritage Markets, which offer an array of locally-made clothing and jewelry, wood carvings, ceramics, gemstones, and Aboriginal art.
Then tour the Rainforestation Nature Park in an amphibious Army Duck vehicle that offers another vantage point on the forest, and visit the koalas, kangaroos, and other critters at the Koala and Wildlife Park. Stop for lunch in town, then learn about Australia's Indigenous culture with the Pamagirri Aboriginal Experience. Finally, return via the Skyrail Rainforest Cableway and glide over the canopy of one of the world's oldest rainforest ecosystems. See the only place on earth where two World Heritage Sites meet.
Day 9: Full-Day Great Barrier Reef Sailing
Today you'll dive into one of the world's great natural wonders with a full-day excursion to the Great Barrier Reef. The world's largest coral reef system is home to an incredible diversity of marine life, including over 1,500 species of fish, 30 species of whales and dolphins, and six species of sea turtles. Made up of over 2,900 individual reefs and 900 islands, the protected area spans over 1,430 miles (2,300 km). Pack your swimsuit and sunscreen this morning and board a personal sailing reef and island tour with Ocean Free.
You'll sail out to Pinnacle Reef, close to Green Island, which is set within the highly protected Marine Park zone, to snorkel the reef or go scuba diving. You'll see colorful fish, sea turtles, rays, and perhaps even sharks. Enjoy lunch onboard, then moor at Green Island to enjoy the tropical palm-fringed beaches. You can then spend some time relaxing on the shore or snorkeling off the beach! Return to the boat for a fruit and cheese platter and a glass of wine on the return sail back to Cairns.
Day 10: River Drift Snorkeling, Depart
It's your last day in Australia, and you'll have the morning to enjoy the rainforest. Travel inland to the Mossman River for this one-of-a-kind River Drift snorkeling tour. Mossman Gorge is the gateway to the UNESCO-listed Daintree National Park, which is estimated to be 135 million years old. Here you'll go with the flow as you drift down the pristine river while admiring what lies beneath. Learn about the local history, flora, and fauna from your guide while looking at freshwater fish, turtles, butterflies, birds, and the elusive platypus.
Then, it's time to make your way to the airport. A driver will pick you up from your accommodation and transfer you to Cairns airport to catch your flight home or your next destination. Safe travels!
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