Cover the spectrum of these two dynamic countries with this comprehensive itinerary. Start off in New Zealand, where you'll visit both the North and South islands to explore Maori culture, natural wonders, adventure sports, and more—sip wine on Waiheke island, hike at Aoraki, and cruise through Milford Sound. Then head to Australia, starting with the city sights in Melbourne before you meet the penguins of Phillip Island, stunning scenes of Uluru and the Great Barrier Reef, and urban streets of Sydney.

Highlights

  • Hike past New Zealand's tallest peak in Aoraki National Park
  • Learn about Maori culture over a traditional dinner in Rotorua
  • Take a boat tour through the stunning scenery of Milford Sound
  • Stroll the cosmopolitan streets of Sydney and Melbourne
  • Experience the natural wonders of Uluru and the Great Barrier Reef

Brief Itinerary

Day Highlights Overnight
Day 1 Arrive in Auckland Auckland
Day 2 Waiheke Island Auckland
Day 3 Auckland - Waitomo - Hobbiton - Rotorua Rotorua
Day 4 Rotorua Sights Rotorua
Day 5 Rotorua - Wellington Wellington
Day 6 Wellington - Christchurch Christchurch
Day 7 Day Trip to Akaroa Christchurch
Day 8 Aoraki National Park Aoraki Village
Day 9 Christchurch - Queenstown Queenstown
Day 10 Day Trip to Milford Sound Queenstown
Day 11 Free Day in Queenstown Queenstown
Day 12 Queenstown - Melbourne Melbourne
Day 13 Melbourne City Sights Tour Melbourne
Day 14 Phillip Island & Penguin Parade Melbourne
Day 15 Melbourne - Uluru Uluru
Day 16 Free Day at Uluru Uluru
Day 17 Uluru - Cairns Cairns
Day 18 The Great Barrier Reef Cairns
Day 19 Daintree Rainforest Cairns
Day 20 Cairns - Sydney Sydney
Day 21 Blue Mountains Day Tour Sydney
Day 22 Depart Sydney  

Detailed Itinerary

Day 1: Arrive in Auckland

Auckland
Auckland

Welcome to Auckland! You'll be greeted at your hotel by your host, then have the rest of the day to spend exploring the country's largest city.

Day 2: Waiheke Island

Explore Waiheke Island Wineries
Explore Waiheke Island Wineries

Take a short ferry ride out to Waiheke Island to enjoy succulent fresh oysters, award-winning olive oil, and other locally produced specialty foods, accompanied by wines from some of the island’s top boutique vineyards and commentary from your guide.

You will visit an award-winning olive oil mill, along with two vineyards, each offering a range of gourmet snacks to accompany their wines. Treats may include oysters straight from Te Matuku Bay, wild honey, the local green herb spread, and artisan cheeses. Top it off with a platter lunch at a vineyard restaurant before you board the return ferry to Auckland.

Day 3: Auckland - Waitomo - Hobbiton - Rotorua

Glow worms
Glowworm caves

Depart Auckland and travel south towards Waitomo. Your first stop is the famous Waitomo Glowworm Caves, where you'll take a 45-minute guided tour through the underground caverns alongside stalactites, stalagmites, and other limestone structures formed over millions of years. Your tour includes a boat ride through the Glowworm Grotto, where you'll glide silently along the underground river and gaze at the twinkling glowworms overhead. 

Your next stop is the Hobbiton movie set from the Lord of The Rings and Hobbit movie trilogies. Take a guided tour of Hobbiton and learn how a working farm was transformed into The Shire from Middle-Earth for the films. Visit locations like Hobbit holes, the Green Dragon Inn and the Mill as you learn some secrets from filming. After your tour, you will make your way to Rotorua.

Day 4: Rotorua Sights

Te Puia
Te Puia

Start your day with a morning sightseeing tour of Rotorua. Your tour will begin at Te Puia to learn about the indigenous New Zealand Maori culture. Enjoy a visit to the woodcarving and weaving schools, where you'll see how these forms of art are being passed on to a new generation of master artists.

The next stop will be at the Agrodome, a working organic farm where you can watch a sheep-shearing display and see sheepdog trials. Continue to your last stop at the Rainbow Springs Nature Park, where you can get up close with native flora and fauna, including the famous kiwi. 

Spend a leisurely afternoon back at your hotel before you move on to the evening's activity: a Maori cultural performance and hangi dinner. You'll be picked up at your hotel to journey to a Maori village nestled in the Rotorua forest and be formally welcomed onto sacred grounds. You will explore Maori art forms, take part in ancient rituals, and learn Maori traditions before enjoying a feast cooked beneath the ground on hot stones.

Day 5: Rotorua - Wellington

Wellington Sightseeing
Wellington sightseeing

Fly from Rotorua down to Wellington this morning.

After you've settled into your hotel, you'll head out on a guided afternoon sightseeing tour. See the famous Beehive and Parliament Buildings as well as scenic views from the top of Mount Victoria. Take in the beauty of the Botanical Gardens, then drive around the rugged Wellington coastline before you return to your hotel to spend the evening as you see fit.

Day 6: Wellington - Christchurch

Vintage style trans on the Christchurch Tramway
Vintage style trans on the Christchurch Tramway

Get back on an airplane to head down to the South Island. You'll fly to Christchurch in the morning, then spend the afternoon and evening exploring the city.

Day 7: Day Trip to Akaroa

Akaroa ocean bay
Akaroa bay

Today you will travel to Akaroa, where you will have some time to explore the charming village, a former French and British settlement.

After exploring the town, take a cruise along the Akaroa Harbor, where you may spot native wildlife including New Zealand fur seals, the white-flippered blue penguin, and the Hector's dolphin. After your cruise, you will return to Christchurch.

Day 8: Aoraki National Park

Mount Cook landscape reflection on Lake Pukaki
Aoraki landscape reflection on Lake Pukaki

Depart Christchurch in the morning and travel through the lush farmland of the Canterbury Plains to Lake Tekapo, where you can see the iconic Church of the Good Shepherd as it stands in solitude next to the blue waters. After Tekapo,  continue into the Southern Alps towards Aoraki/Mount Cook National Park, home to New Zealand's tallest mountain, accompanied by your guide's commentary on the area history and sights.

Day 9: Christchurch - Queenstown

Welcome to Queenstown
Queenstown lakefront

Continue to Queenstown with another morning flight, then enjoy a free afternoon to explore this adventure-sport hub.

Day 10: Day Trip to Milford Sound

Milford Sound
Milford Sound

Get an early start to see one of New Zealand's star natural attractions at Milford Sound. You'll take a coach bus down, with a brief stop in Te Anau, the gateway to the Fiordland National Park. Once you arrive in Milford, you'll board your boat to cruise through its dramatic landscape. Be on the lookout for dolphins and penguins and enjoy the breathtaking views and waterfalls.

You can choose to return to Queenstown in the late evening via coach or upgrade to a helicopter tour to fly over Milford Sound and enjoy the natural wonder from an aerial view.

Day 11: Free Day in Queenstown

Arrowtown - Neighbouring town of Queenstown
Arrowtown during its autumn festival

Today's agenda is up to you as you explore New Zealand's adventure capital. Go jet boating through Dart River, visit neighboring towns of Arrowtown and Wanaka, take a trip to some of the nearby Lord of the Rings filming locations, or visit local wineries.

Day 12: Queenstown - Melbourne

Welcome to Melbourne
Welcome to Melbourne

Wave goodbye to New Zealand and hello to Australia as you fly from Queenstown to Melbourne. You'll catch a transfer from the airport to your lodgings, where you'll chat with a local guide before you enjoy a free evening.

Day 13: Melbourne City Sights Tour

One of Melbourne's many hidden lanes
One of Melbourne's many hidden lanes

This morning, enjoy a city sights tour to notable sights such as the Flinders Street Station, Federation Square, Queen Victoria Market, and the Royal Botanical Gardens. Melbourne is known as the cultural capital of Australia, with many street-art-filled lanes and funky coffee shops on every corner. Your tour is a great way to familiarize yourself with the city, and you can set out with confidence to explore on your own once it ends in the early afternoon.

Day 14: Phillip Island & Penguin Parade

Phillip Island Penguin Parade
Phillip Island Penguin Parade

Sleep in this morning or enjoy one of the famous coffeehouses. In the afternoon, you will be taken to Phillip Island for the iconic Penguin Parade. Each night these petite flightless birds come in from the ocean to return to their burrows.

Before the parade starts, you can explore the daytime wildlife and scenery of the island with a tour. Admire panoramic views of Western Port and French Island, get up close with kangaroos, and look for koalas in their natural habitat from treetop boardwalks at Koala Conservation Center. Then you'll make your way to the Visitor's Information Center for an opportunity to learn about the life of the Little Penguins as you walk through the "Penguin Experience" and head out to the boardwalk to watch them arrive.

Day 15: Melbourne - Uluru

Uluru Sunset
Uluru sunset

Catch a transfer to the airport for a flight out to Uluru (previously known as Ayers Rock). Once you've dropped off your things, head out to discover the region on a tour of the Olgas and the mighty Uluru monolith. Enjoy a glass of champagne while watching the changing colors as the sun sets over the Rock.

Day 16: Free Day at Uluru

Fields of Lights Installation - Uluru
Fields of Lights Installation at Uluru

Awake to the outback and enjoy the morning in the Red Centre. Travel to the sunrise viewing area, near Uluru to watch the awesome spectacle of the first sunlight of the day creep across the desert plains. Enjoy a warming cup of tea or coffee as the morning sun slowly changes the color of Uluru. Transfer back to the resort once the sun is up to enjoy the rest of the day discovering the region at your own pace.

Day 17: Uluru - Cairns

Welcome to Tropical North Queensland
Cairns Promenade

Enjoy the morning at leisure before transferring to the airport for your onward flight to Cairns. Collect your bags, catch your transfer, and spend the rest of the day discovering this tropical haven.

Day 18: The Great Barrier Reef

The Great Barrier Reef
The Great Barrier Reef

Board a high-speed catamaran for a full-day cruise to the Great Barrier Reef. One of Australia’s most remarkable natural gifts, the Great Barrier Reef contains an abundance of marine life. More than 3,000 individual reef systems and coral cays lie alongside hundreds of picturesque tropical islands with sun-soaked, golden beaches. Morning tea and a buffet lunch will be served on board the catamaran before you return to your hotel in the late afternoon.

Day 19: Daintree Rainforest

Daintree Rainforest
Cape Tribulation

Enjoy a scenic drive up north to one of the oldest rainforests in the world. Take in the stunning mountain peaks and pristine white empty beaches of Cape Tribulation, where you can witness the amazing sight of two World Heritage sites together, the Daintree Rainforest and the Great Barrier Reef, at the only place in the world where the rainforest meets the reef. Hop on a Daintree River cruise to learn about the wildlife, including birds, tree snakes, unique plants, and the estuarine crocodile.

Break for a tropical lunch, followed by a visit to Mossman Gorge Center, an important cultural center for the Kuku Yalanji people, and learn how the indigenous people lived here for 50,000 years using flora and fauna of the wild jungle for survival.

Day 20: Cairns - Sydney

Welcome to Sydney
Welcome to Sydney

Fly from Cairns to Sydney today, your final destination on this tour. After you've settled in, make your way over to the Sydney Opera House for a guided one-hour tour.

The Sydney Opera House is one of the world’s most recognizable landmarks, and you will get an up-close view on the guided tour. Run your hands over the world-famous shell tiles, take a seat in the elegant custom-made white birch timber chairs, and marvel at the vaulted ceilings. Visit areas off-limits to the public and capture photographs from rare vantage points as you explore theaters and foyers where more than 1,600 concerts, operas, dramas, and ballets take place each year. 

Switch over to an afternoon city sights tour after you finish at the Opera House, visiting notable sights such as the historic Rocks area and Mrs. Macquarie’s Chair for splendid views of this magnificent harbor. Continue on past Kings Cross and Double Bay, through to Watson’s Bay and famous Bondi Beach. Your tour concludes at the beach, giving you time to lounge into your free evening.

Day 21: Blue Mountains Day Tour

Sydney - Blue Mountains
Blue Mountains

Today takes you on a journey into the heart of a unique World Heritage Region.

The first stop of the day is at Calmsley Hill, a working farm that's also home to kangaroos, emus, wombats, and koalas. Enjoy morning tea and time to wander at your leisure. Then travel through picturesque villages, seeing spectacular views and waterfalls as you take a short walk to a lookout point and learn about the unique Australian forest species.

Break for lunch overlooking valley views, then spend the afternoon visiting a selection of scenic lookouts. The view from Govett’s Leap is one of the most famous in Australia, as the magnificent waterfall drops a whopping 590 feet (180 m) to the base of the cliff. The last stop is the delightful Mt. Tomah Botanic Gardens, where you can stop briefly to enjoy the sweeping views and enjoy a glass of sparkling wine or orange juice before traveling back to your hotel.

Day 22: Depart Sydney

Sydney Opera House & Harbour Bridge
Sydney Opera House & Harbor Bridge

Unwind over one last Australian breakfast before you head to the airport for your flight home.