There's so much to see and do in Australia and New Zealand, and this 10-day itinerary bites off the perfect chunk. Start with three days in sunny Sydney, where you'll see a show at the Opera House and hug a koala, then cross over to New Zealand's South Island for an adventurous self-drive holiday. Land in Christchurch, where you'll enjoy a historic tram dinner, then drive south to Lake Tekapo and take a heli-hike up Mount Cook. Finally, reach Queenstown, where local wine and adrenaline activities await.


  • Get the best views in Sydney when you climb the famous Harbour Bridge at sunset
  • Discover Maori culture and contemporary New Zealand cuisine with a food tour
  • Ride a Helicopter to the Haupapa / Tasman Glacier for a special hike through the ice
  • Taste wine and chase thrills in New Zealand's adventure capital, Queenstown
  • Take a fjord cruise across Milford Sound / Piopiotahi, then fly above it

Brief Itinerary

Day Highlights Overnight
Day 1 Arrive in Sydney (Australia), Sunset BridgeClimb Sydney
Day 2 Panoramic Day Tour, Taste of Sydney Tour, Sydney Opera House Show Sydney
Day 3 Full-Day Wildlife, Waterfalls & Wine Tour Sydney
Day 4 Fly to Christchurch (New Zealand), Historic Tram Dinner Christchurch
Day 5 Māori Cultural Food Tour, Drive to Lake Tekapo, Tekapo Springs Stargazing Lake Tekapo
Day 6 Cass Valley Backcountry Tour, Mount Cook Heli Hike Lake Tekapo
Day 7 Drive to Queenstown, Skyline Gondola & Luge, Farm Tour & Dinner Queenstown
Day 8 Kawarau Bridge Bungee Jump, Half-Day Wine Tour, Onsen Evening Session Queenstown
Day 9 Milford Sound / Piopiotahi Full-Day Adventure Queenstown
Day 10 Short Hike, Depart Queenstown  

Detailed Itinerary

Day 1: Arrive in Sydney (Australia), Sunset BridgeClimb

Sydney BridgeClimb
Climb the Sydney Harbour Bridge at a whopping 3,770 feet (1,149 m)

G'day and welcome to beautiful Sydney! On arrival, a private transfer will take you to your accommodation. Use the rest of the day to explore at your own pace—taking your pick of the city's standout sights, historic neighborhoods, world-class culinary scene, and prime waterfront location. Start with a visit to Sydney's iconic harbor and soak up views of the Opera House and Sydney Harbour Bridge over a drink at a waterfront bar, or go for a gentle stroll through the Royal Botanic Gardens to stretch your legs after your flight. You could get a hop-on hop-off bus ticket and tour the city loop.

As evening falls, prepare to see Sydney turn from day to night atop the famous "coathanger"—the Sydney Harbour Bridge. Strap on a harness and let a BridgeClimb leader take you 439 feet (134 m) above sea level for an adrenaline-pumping journey that provides stunning 360-degree views of the city. After your descent, head to Circular Quay and Darling Harbour to take your pick of some of the city's best restaurants.

Day 2: Panoramic Day Tour, Taste of Sydney Tour, Sydney Opera House Show

Bondi Beach
Take a break from sightseeing and enjoy a drink at Bondi Beach

Wake up and get ready to explore Sydney on a guided tour. Hear fascinating stories of early convict history in The Rocks area, and see postcard-worthy views of the famous Opera House and Harbour 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 lifeguards. At the end of the tour, wave goodbye to your guide and return to the city.

By now, you'll be hungry to explore the more delicious side of Sydney. Get a true taste of the city with a four-course lunch extravaganza that will take you all over the city across the entire afternoon. You'll visit four precincts and neighborhoods to indulge in food and drink pairings, including local beer tasting and farm-to-table eating. When the fun is over, head to the Sydney Opera House. Step inside the sails and catch a performance on stage. This venue showcases an extremely impressive roster of music, seasonal dance, and theater productions worth seeing.

Day 3: Full-Day Wildlife, Waterfalls & Wine Tour

Full Day Wildlife, Waterfalls and Wine
Get a special koala photo and hand-feed kangaroos with today's adventure

Say goodbye to the city and hello to quintessential Australian experiences with this full-day tour that takes you south of Sydney. Today you'll wind through Australia's oldest national park, take in spectacular coastal scenery along the Grand Pacific Drive, and then climb a sandstone escarpment to return via the forests and farmland of the picturesque Southern Highlands.

Along the way, you'll meet koalas and kangaroos with a private experience at Symbio Wildlife Park. You'll traverse the iconic Sea Cliff Bridge and pause for a local lunch (and maybe an ocean swim) at a seaside café. Then in the afternoon, wander through fragrant eucalyptus forest to view a tumbling waterfall, and sample some of the cool climate wines for which the region has developed a reputation. Finally, return to your accommodation in Sydney happy, tired, and ready to call it a day.

Day 4: Fly to Christchurch (New Zealand), Historic Tram Dinner

Enjoy a four-course meal on the Christchurch Dinner Tram
Enjoy a four-course meal on the Christchurch Dinner Tram

This morning you're hopping over to New Zealand's South Island. A private drive will drop you at the airport in time for your 3.5-hour flight to Christchurch / Otautahi. On arrival, collect a rental car and set out to explore the "Garden City." Christchurch features many majestic trees and extensive parks and gardens—the most notable being Hagley Park. Bordering the park, you'll find the botanical gardens and the Gothic revival building, which houses the Canterbury Museum.

Visitors to Christchurch / Ōtautahi today will witness a virtual rebirth of the city rebuilding following the 2010 and 2011 earthquakes. The urban city center is full of new secrets, from modern architecture and immense street art to cocktail bars and bustling restaurants. Explore the city ahead of tonight's unique dining experience. You'll board a historic colonial-style dining tram for a moving four-course dinner. Journey along the inner city tram loop, taking in the regenerating central business district and the city's top landmarks, all while enjoying a memorable feast.

Day 5: Māori Cultural Food Tour, Drive to Lake Tekapo, Tekapo Springs Stargazing

Church of the good shepherd at lake Tekapo
Stop to see the Church of the Good Shepherd, a stone building dedicated in 1935

Explore the cultural richness of Christchurch / Ōtautahi while savoring the city's diverse culinary offerings. This two-hour inner-city walking tour, punctuated with gourmet tasting stops, is an ideal way to explore the heart of Christchurch while connecting with its Māori traditions. You'll experience firsthand how Māori people share kai (food), a practice that fosters both communal bonding and cultural enrichment. Each stop reveals true Kiwi flavors and inspiring stories of modern-day Christchurch / Ōtautahi. Hear stories of ancestors gathering by the river banks, and taste the best contemporary cuisine.

Plan your trip to Australia
Chat with a local specialist who can help organize your trip.
After the tour, jump behind the wheel and head three hours south. You'll cross the vast Canterbury Plains, pass Beautiful Valley, and ascend Burkes Pass up to the high country plateau. Turquoise Lake Tekapo is New Zealand's highest large lake, and its color comes from fine rock particles suspended in the glacier-fed waters. This evening combines stargazing and relaxation at Tekapo Springs. Learn about the constellations in Aoraki Mackenzie International Dark Sky Reserve as your guide combines astronomy and storytelling, then soak beneath the stars in a 99°F (37.5°C) hot pool.

Day 6: Cass Valley Backcountry Tour, Mount Cook Heli Hike

Cass Valley Backcountry Tour
Get off the beaten track with a backcountry tour deep into nature
Journey through the high country wilderness of Mackenzie Country with a scenic 4WD tour this morning. This backcountry tour rolls across breathtaking landscapes, traveling through Glenmore Station, one of New Zealand's finest Merino wool providers, and incredible high country stations. You'll gain private access to the remote and remarkable scenery of the Cass Valley. Discover towering mountains, glaciers, river crossings, and incredible scenery while learning about the geology, ecology, and history that formed this part of New Zealand's South Island.

Return in time for this afternoon's half-day heli-hike up Aoraki / Mount Cook. Take an exhilarating helicopter ride to the mighty Haupapa / Tasman Glacier. Witness the amazing icebergs of the Tasman Lake, and fly past the famous Hochstetter Ice Fall and the east face of the peak before landing on the glacier. You'll explore this world of ice equipped with crampons, an ice ax, or walking poles. As your guide cuts steps in the ice, he or she will share fascinating tales and facts, such as how it flows and what makes the crevasses and sinkholes appear. 

Day 7: Drive to Queenstown, Skyline Gondola & Luge, Farm Tour & Dinner

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

Today's final destination is Queenstown, New Zealand's adventure capital, a three-hour drive south. 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. En route, you could pause at Lake Pukaki to take in spectacular views of Aoraki Mount Cook National Park. "The Lord of the Rings" fans will love Twizel, a popular filming location. Stop at Omarama, the gliding capital of New Zealand, then climb Lindis Pass, one of New Zealand's highest roads, and into the Central Otago region.

Once in Queenstown, ride the Skyline Gondola, one of the steepest cable cars in the Southern Hemisphere. You'll climb over 1,400 feet (450 m) to Bob's Peak for top views of the Remarkables, Coronet Peak, and sparkling Lake Wakatipu. After, ride the two hilltop luge tracks. Later, board a leisurely cruise across the beautiful lake on the historic TSS Earnslaw Steamship. Arrive at the lakeside gardens of Walter Peak High Country Farm for a gourmet barbecue dinner. Enjoy desserts and New Zealand cheese before the return trip, complete with a singalong from the ship's pianist.

Day 8: Kawarau Bridge Bungee Jump, Half-Day Wine Tour, Onsen Evening Session

Kawarau Bridge Bungy
Take a memorable leap off the Kawarau Bridge

Get your heart racing this morning when you leap from Kawarau Bridge. This destination is the home of the first commercial bungee jump, so if you're ready to up the adrenaline and take the jump, this is the place. Then, spend much of the day exploring wine across the Central Otago region. Here you'll discover the incredibly scenic and diverse wine subregions of Gibbston, Bannockburn, and Cromwell with tastings at three boutique vineyards, followed by a platter-style lunch at a local wine country restaurant.

As part of the wine tour, you'll stroll through the charming historical settlement of Old Cromwell and learn about this wine region's early pioneering history and development through fun facts and anecdotes from your knowledgeable wine guide. Return to town and refresh before your relaxing evening 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 9: Milford Sound / Piopiotahi Full-Day Adventure

Return to Queenstown by air
Marvel at the beauty of the Milford Sound / Piopiotahi fjord-like landscape

Today you'll experience the world-famous Milford Sound / Piopiotahi from the air and the water. From your glass-roofed bus, you can gaze up at the rocky mountains as you travel along Milford Road. Be mesmerized by the reflective Mirror Lakes, and quench your thirst with pristine glacial water at Monkey Creek. Travel through Homer Tunnel, carved out of solid rock. Marvel at The Chasm, a series of uniquely shaped rocks and potholes formed by the Cleddau River rushing into a dark narrow abyss. Finally, descend through the Cleddau Valley into Milford Sound / Piopiotahi.

Board a small boutique boat to enjoy views of Mitre Peak and towering cliffs. Cruise past rugged 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. Board a 45-minute scenic flight and soar over the glacially carved valleys of Milford Sound / Piopiotahi and Fiordland National Park. Closer to Queenstown, enjoy a bird's-eye view of the rugged Central Otago region.

Day 10: Short Hike, Depart Queenstown

Ben Lomond Summit, one of the hardest hike on the South
Squeeze in a morning hike in the area before boarding your plane

If you have time before your flight this morning, lace up your boots and hit a local trail. If you're feeling fit, take the Skyline Gondola to the top and hike the Ben Lomond, a steep two-hour return trek. For an easier, quick walk, Bob's Cove takes just 20 minutes along the lakeside. Then, it's time to say goodbye to New Zealand. Safe travels!

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Map of Sydney & New Zealand's South Island Ultimate Adventure - 10 Days
Map of Sydney & New Zealand's South Island Ultimate Adventure - 10 Days