If you're planning to visit Australia and New Zealand between May and October, this 14-day itinerary ticks all the right boxes. Experience the best of each country, along with special seasonal activities such as whale watching from Sydney Harbour and sledding in the snow at Queenstown. While it might be winter and spring Down Under, you'll still be snorkeling on the Great Barrier Reef and connecting with culture in Port Douglas and Rotorua.


  • See humpback whales splashing about in Sydney Harbour
  • Spend a whole day exploring the world's largest coral reef system
  • Take a leap of faith with the Nevis Bungy and spend 8.5 seconds in freefall 
  • Cruise across the remote beauty of Milford Sound / Piopiotahi 
  • Feast on Maori song, drama, tradition, and food at Te Pa Tu in Rotorua

Brief Itinerary

Day Highlights Overnight
Day 1 Arrive in Sydney (Australia), Sunset Dinner Cruise Sydney
Day 2 Brekkie with the Whales, Afternoon Panoramic Sydney Sights Sydney
Day 3 Fly to Port Douglas, Private Wildlife Habitat Tour Port Douglas
Day 4 Quicksilver Outer Barrier Reef Cruise Port Douglas
Day 5 River Drift Snorkeling, Afternoon Ngana Kulkinga Dungay Sightseeing Tour Port Douglas
Day 6 Fly to Melbourne, Lanes & Arcades Tour, Evening Tales & Cocktails Tour Melbourne
Day 7 Free Day in Melbourne Melbourne
Day 8 Fly to Queenstown (New Zealand), Botswana Butchery Dinner & Evening Onsen Queenstown
Day 9 Nevis Bungy Experience, Tobogganing at Coronet Peak Ski Field Queenstown
Day 10 Milford Sound / Piopiotahi Sightseeing Flight & Nature Cruise Queenstown
Day 11 Fly to Rotorua, Te Pā Tū Māori Feast & Performance Rotorua
Day 12 Te Puia Tour, Kiwi Tour & Māori Arts, Hell's Gate Experience Rotorua
Day 13 Transfer to Auckland via Hobbiton & Waitomo Glowworm Caves Auckland
Day 14 Depart Auckland  

Detailed Itinerary

Day 1: Arrive in Sydney (Australia), Sunset Dinner Cruise

Sydney Opera House
See Sydney's iconic landmarks, like the Sydney Opera House, from the water with a sunset cruise

G'day and welcome to Australia! A driver will meet you on arrival at Sydney Airport for your private transfer to your hotel. This metropolis feels like the heart of Australia thanks to its iconic landmarks, historic neighborhoods, world-class culinary scene, prime waterfront location, and pristine beaches. The afternoon is yours to explore as you wish. Start with a visit to Sydney's harbor and soak up views of the Sydney Opera House and Sydney Harbour Bridge over a drink at a waterfront bar, like the Opera Bar, to get your bearings.

This city is known around the world for its scenic harbor, so what better way to explore than via the water? This evening you'll take in the city's most famous sights and neighborhoods on a leisurely cruise around Sydney Harbour. 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.

Day 2: Brekkie with the Whales, Afternoon Panoramic Sydney Sights

Whales frolicking on the Gold Coast
Up to 50,000 humpback whales pass the east coast of Australia on their annual migration

In the winter months, Sydney receives some very special visitors—humpback whales! Set off early this morning and enjoy a buffet breakfast while cruising out of Sydney Harbour to the open Pacific Ocean. After passing through the magnificent Sydney Heads, you'll start to see these gentle giants slashing about and playing in the calm waters. A whale expert will be on hand, describing the various behaviors and detailing the epic winter migration journey of these marine mammals.

Back on dry land, it's time to explore Sydney with a local. After lunch, you'll hear fascinating stories of early convict history in The Rocks area and see postcard-worthy views of the Opera House and Harbour Bridge. Shop until you drop at the Queen Victoria Building and explore the trendy Oxford Street district. Head east for a scenic 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 a relaxed sunset drink or dinner.

Day 3: Fly to Port Douglas, Private Wildlife Habitat Tour

Your Wildlife Habitat tour
Enter the koala habitat for one-on-one time with these special marsupials

Today you'll swap sunny Sydney for the tropics. A private driver will take you to the airport for your three-hour flight to Cairns in far northern Queensland. Another driver will meet you for the transfer to your hotel in Port Douglas. This beachfront resort town is a favorite for exploring the two UNESCO World Heritage sites: the Great Barrier Reef, the world's largest reef system, and the Daintree Rainforest

This afternoon you'll get up close with cuddly koalas at Wildlife Habitat. On a private two-hour tour, you'll enter the koala enclosure for one-on-one time and visit the Tropical Animal Rehabilitation Centre, where you'll meet rescued, injured, and orphaned wildlife. Spend 90 minutes with a wildlife keeper, enjoy a private reptile presentation, and receive special souvenir photos to remember the occasion. As for lunch, enjoy dining in the company of Aussie wildlife at the center's Rainforest Beach! Before or after, you'll have time to explore the wildlife park solo too.

Day 4: Quicksilver Outer Barrier Reef Cruise

Explore the Great Barrier Reef
Explore the Great Barrier Reef with a full-day sailing and diving adventure

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 catamaran destined for a platform at the outer edge of Australia's continental shelf. 

Dive off the platform and snorkel or dive among colorful fish, sea turtles, rays, and even sharks. Join a semi-submersible reef viewer or glass bottom boat tour. Or stay dry and simply view the reef from the platform's underwater observatory. The Great Barrier Reef is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, one of the Seven Natural Wonders of the World, and is an essential ecosystem for the world's oceans, providing vital habitat and protection for marine life.

Day 5: River Drift Snorkeling, Afternoon Ngana Kulkinga Dungay Sightseeing Tour

Mossman Gorge
Drift along the Mossman River while learning about how special this area is
Plan your trip to Australia
Chat with a local specialist who can help organize your trip.

Immerse yourself in the rainforest when you travel inland to Mossman River for a one-of-a-kind River Drift snorkeling tour. Mossman Gorge is the gateway to the UNESCO World Heritage-listed Daintree National Park, which is estimated to be 135 million years old. Here you'll literally 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.

This afternoon join a local Indigenous guide who will share details about the special relationship the local Kuku Yalanji still have with their land. They'll show you culturally significant sights between Port Douglas and Cape Tribulation. You'll gain an insight into the history, culture, and traditions of the local Aboriginal people while walking through the world's oldest living rainforest and seeing where the rainforest meets the reef. Learn about the environment, native foods, and medicines, sample some bush tucker (food), and swim at one of the clear freshwater streams in the area.

Day 6: Fly to Melbourne, Lanes & Arcades Tour, Evening Tales & Cocktails Tour

Lanes and Arcades Walk
Dive into Melbourne's hip laneways with a local guide who knows all the best spots

After breakfast, take a private transfer to Cairns Airport for your three-hour flight to Melbourne, the cultural capital of Australia. On arrival, another driver will transfer you to your accommodation. Drop your bags and set out to get lost in Melbourne's back streets, laneways, and arcades with a guide. This city is famous for its laneway culture, and on a three-hour afternoon walk, you'll discover local designers and specialty retailers, quirky cafés, and cool street art—all while hearing fascinating tales. Expect to find hidden gems and epic street art at every turn.

This evening's tour takes you into the heart of Melbourne's elegant and lively nightlife. It's a stark contrast with the city's dark past, which was shaped by curious characters on both sides of the law. Begin with a dinner that reflects Melbourne's fantastic culinary scene, and learn about the city's history from a local guide. Next are some of the best spots in town, many of which are deliberately hard to find, and you can enjoy this firsthand insight into all that Melbourne has to offer. 

Day 7: Free Day in Melbourne

Sunrise in Melbourne
Modern meets historic in Melbourne's vibrant city center

Today is yours to explore Melbourne as you wish. Choose to join a full-day tour to Phillip Island to meet the little penguins that call it home, hire a car and set out to drive the Great Ocean Road, or simply stay in Melbourne's pulsating city center and tick off the sights. The free City Circle tram passes by must-see attractions such as St Paul's Cathedral, Parliament House, and the Royal Exhibition Building. Hop off at Flagstaff Station for Queen Victoria Market, a Melbourne landmark for over a century. Grab a coffee and a spinach and cheese borek (a Turkish savory pie) from the Borek Shop

Later, explore the creative and cool side of this eclectic metropolis. Continue the laneway explorations to discover more hidden bars and trendy boutiques. Venture to the suburbs and visit the lively Prahran Market, renowned for its gourmet delis and specialty produce, and then walk down the funky Greville Street. Take a taxi to St Kilda Beach, where you can stroll along the esplanade and historic St Kilda Pier and enjoy a cake at one of Acland Street's famous patisseries.

Day 8: Fly to Queenstown (New Zealand), Botswana Butchery Dinner & Evening Onsen 

Ride the Skyline Gondola to Bob's Peak for amazing views like this

Bid Australia farewell today as you catch a three-hour flight 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, take a transfer to your accommodation and settle in. The best way to appreciate the Queenstown area's majesty is to ride the Skyline Gondola over 1,400 feet (450 m) to Bob's Peak. At the top, enjoy views out to Coronet Peak and the Remarkables.

You could choose to stay for a buffet dining experience at the summit or ride the downhill luge track back to town for dinner at Botswana Butchery, one of Queenstown's top restaurants. Located in the historic Archer's Cottage, you'll enjoy spectacular lake views, roaring log fires, and contemporary New Zealand food and wine. After, retire to 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 alpine scenery. 


Day 9: Nevis Bungy Experience, Sledding at Coronet Peak Ski Field

Nevis Bungy 134 Meters
Tick off hair-raising thrills while in the world's adventure capital

Maybe skipping breakfast this morning is a good idea! You're about to take a leap of faith with the Nevis Bungy. Sitting 440 feet (134 m) above the rugged Nevis River, you'll spend 8.5 seconds falling for an exciting rush. Getting there's half the fun with a 35-minute 4WD journey of New Zealand's backcountry. On arrival, you'll be harnessed up and board a shuttle for the Bungy Pod. Come ready to face your fears and tick off one of the greatest personal challenges of your life.

Later, take the thrills down a few notches and go enjoy the snow. Queenstown is a famous ski town, and if you want to enjoy the towering peaks but don't want to ski, you can go sledding! Coronet Peak is New Zealand's original ski field and offers a huge range of activities for all ages. Unlock some of the best views of Queenstown while having a blast in the white powdery snow. 

Day 10: Milford Sound / Piopiotahi Sightseeing Flight & Nature Cruise

Milford Sound / Piopiotahi is a bucket list experience for those visiting New Zealand

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.

Day 11: Fly to Rotorua, Te Pā Tū Māori Feast & Performance

Tamaki Maori Village
Feast on song, drama, tradition, and delicious food at Te Pā Tū this evening

After breakfast, take a private transfer to the airport for your flight to Rotorua on New Zealand's North Island. Here a wonderland of geothermal activity awaits, with boiling mud pools, steaming geysers, and natural hot springs. Take a transfer to your hotel, then use the afternoon to explore as you wish. Beyond geothermal activity, Rotorua is home to redwood forests popular with hikers and mountain bikers. Alternatively, you could step up the adrenaline at Velocity Valley Adventure Park, where you can go static skydiving or ride a giant swing.

This evening, New Zealand's most awarded cultural attraction invites you to feast on song, drama, tradition, and divine seasonal kai (cuisine) within the forest Pa (village), a place of towering tawa trees, blazing bonfires, and a forest-formed amphitheater. Te Pā Tū (formally called Tamaki Māori Village) shares Māori history, traditions, and cultural aspirations across four hours of celebration and food. Upon arrival, share seasonal kai horotai (delicacies) such as roasted tuna, creamy paua (abalone) on rewena (bread) crostini, and foraged greens.

Day 12: Te Puia Tour, Kiwi Tour & Māori Arts, Hell's Gate Experience

Te Puia
Rotorua is where the underworld and our reality collide on the surface!

Today you'll discover New Zealand's geothermal landscapes in Rotorua, an area famed for its green and orange sulfur pools, bubbling mud baths, and spurting geysers. You'll see all of this at the Te Puia Springs, home to Pohutu Geyser, which erupts up to 20 times a day, shooting a plume of scalding water up to 100 feet (30 m) into the sky. After, visit the Kiwi Conservation Centre, a refuge for native birds, including New Zealand's national emblem, the flightless kiwi. Next, learn about carving and weaving at the New Zealand Māori Arts and Crafts Institute.

This afternoon, continue your geothermal explorations at the otherworldly Hell's Gate spa. Join a guided or self-guided geothermal walk of the 50-acre (20 ha) park. Then soak in geothermal mud and acidic sulfur waters and experience the healing properties that local Māori have used for over 800 years. Diving into the warm mud will open and clear your pores. Follow this up with a deeply cleansing sulfur spa that will gently exfoliate your skin. 

Day 13: Transfer to Auckland via Hobbiton & Waitomo Glowworm Caves

Hobbiton in Matamata
Hobbit holes found at the Hobbiton movie set in Matamata

Today you'll take a transfer three hours north to Auckland, New Zealand's largest city. Your scenic journey passes through J.R.R. Tolkien's fictional Middle-earth and the Hobbiton Movie Set, where you'll explore Bilbo's house and drop into the Green Dragon Inn to sip ale, cider, or ginger beer. Next, visit the Waitomo Glowworm Caves to discover an ancient world 30 million years in the making. Glide through the starry wonderland of the Glowworm Grotto and experience a serene ambience like no other under this galaxy of tiny living lights.

Back on the road, you'll continue north through lush Waikato dairy farms and over the Bombay Hills to Auckland. With two bustling harbors and more than 500,000 sailboats and yachts, it's easy to see why Auckland is nicknamed the "City of Sails." Use the rest of your afternoon to explore this urban playground. For supreme views of the city, scale the 1,075-foot (328 m) Sky Tower with its dizzying observation deck, or make your way to Mount Eden, one of its 48 volcanic cones.

Day 14: Depart Auckland

If you have time today, take a gentle stroll around Waitemata Harbour

Your epic adventure to Australia and New Zealand has come to an end. When the time is right, a private transfer will collect you from your accommodation and drive you to Auckland Airport in time for your departing flight. Safe travels!

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Map of Seasonal Highlights of Australia & New Zealand - 14 Days
Map of Seasonal Highlights of Australia & New Zealand - 14 Days