This moderately active multicountry tour covers three fantastic cities Down Under and their scenic outskirts: Melbourne, Sydney, and Queenstown. Kick off in Australia's capital of culture, Melbourne, with guided excursions to the Great Ocean Road and Phillip Island. Then jet off to Sydney and take in the sights by bike, bridge climb, and harbor cruise. Finish in New Zealand's South Island with a luxury tour to Milford Sound to round out this world-class adventure.


  • Explore Melbourne's cool café scene with a local who will introduce you to baristas
  • Take a guided bike ride around Sydney, followed by a tour of the iconic Opera House
  • Have a drink atop the Skyline Gondola in Queenstown, with outstanding views
  • Get close to local residents like kangaroos, koalas, penguins, fur seals, and dolphins

Brief Itinerary

Day Highlights Overnight
Day 1 Arrive in Melbourne, Explore Melbourne
Day 2 Morning Cafe Culture Walk, Afternoon at Leisure Melbourne
Day 3 Full-Day Great Ocean Road Trip Melbourne
Day 4 Full-Day Phillip Island Tour Melbourne
Day 5 Fly to Sydney, Harbor Experience Cruise Sydney
Day 6 Sydney Guided Bike Tour, Sydney Opera House Tour Sydney
Day 7 Full-Day Blue Mountains Tour Sydney
Day 8 Climb the Harbor Bridge, Explore at Your Own Pace Sydney
Day 9 Fly to Queenstown (NZ), Skyline Gondola Ride Queenstown (NZ)
Day 10 Full-Day Jet-Boat Adventure & Funyak River Safari Queenstown (NZ)
Day 11 Full-Day Milford Sound Tour Queenstown (NZ)
Day 12 Depart Queenstown  

Detailed Itinerary

Day 1: Arrive in Melbourne, Explore

Melbourne's compact and attractive city center is ideal for walking

Welcome to Australia! Upon touching down in Melbourne, your driver will be waiting for you in the arrivals hall. From there, transfer to your hotel in the city.

You can spend the rest of the day exploring this eclectic metropolis at your own pace. Melbourne is the capital of the state of Victoria, and it's also been declared the cultural capital of Australia. This city of over five million people is a melting pot of diversity and a paradise for fine food and wine lovers. In the city center, hidden enclaves and back-alley laneways hold the keys to the city's most exciting nightlife, trendiest boutiques, and liveliest bars. It's also a gateway to unspoiled national parks and home to stunning coastlines and beaches.

The most efficient way to experience Melbourne's many cultural offerings is to hop on the City Circle, a free tram that runs throughout the central districts and along the waterfront. You can visit attractions like St. Paul's CathedralParliament House, and the 19th-century Royal Exhibition Building on these routes. For great city views, head to the Shrine of Remembrance, a stately war memorial adjacent to the Royal Botanic Gardens Victoria. This 89-acre botanical garden contains more than 8,500 species of plants from around the world. 

Day 2: Morning Café Culture Walk, Afternoon at Leisure

Get a taste of Melbourne's lively café culture with this morning tour

Wake up hungry! Today's morning tour allows you to indulge in Melbourne's foodie scene and café culture. You'll enjoy tastings and hear quirky insider stories from passionate baristas, making this a memorable experience. Bring your sweet tooth, but balance it with coffee and a light lunch. After your tour, make your own way to your Melbourne accommodation.

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Chat with a local specialist who can help organize your trip.
From here, you can spend the afternoon exploring more of the city independently. Perhaps you want to check off more attractions you may have missed on your first day or consider a Melbourne Sports and Entertainment Precinct tour. You'll find venues hosting everything from football and the Formula 1 Grand Prix to tennis and cricket. Also, here is the Melbourne Cricket Grounds (MCG), the biggest cricket stadium in the world. Come for an event or book a private tour of the venue—you might even spot some of the nation's top cricketers during a training session. 

Day 3: Full-Day Great Ocean Road Trip

Make several stops along the Great Ocean Road, like the Twelve Apostles

Today you'll wake up early for an exciting road trip along one of the most scenic coastal routes in the world: the Great Ocean Road. This stretch of highway runs 150 miles (240 km) down Victoria's southwest coast, passing national parks, limestone rock formations, seaside bluffs, coastal mountain ranges, and incredible beaches. This is a full-day, 11-hour trip where you'll have ample time to stop and enjoy the highlights.

Keep an eye toward the coast throughout the drive, as you're likely to spot whales and dolphins; on the inland side, you might even see koalas, echidnas, and bandicoots. Stop for lunch at Apollo Bay, a tranquil seaside town set among the rolling coastal hills. You can also stretch your legs on a forest hike through the mountains of the famous Otway Ranges. In the afternoon, you'll visit the romantic cove at Loch Ard Gorge, then cap the adventure at the most incredible natural landmarks on the route: the Twelve Apostles, a group of ancient limestone rock formations rising out of the sea. Afterward, return to your hotel in Melbourne.

Day 4: Full-Day Phillip Island Tour

Meet some local residents, like penguins, kangaroos, and furry koalas, on Phillip Island

Today is another exciting full-day tour outside of Melbourne. First, you'll stop at the Moonlit Sanctuary Conservation Park to meet endangered species like kangaroos and koalas. Then you'll travel onto Phillip Island, home of the Australian Motorcycle Grand Prix and the island's little penguins, which you'll see later in the day. But first, you can visit Woolamai Beach to see surfers riding the waves. You can also go to the western corner of the island to enjoy magnificent views of Bass Strait and the Nobbies, home to Australia's largest colony of fur seals.

Later in the evening, you'll have a chance to witness the natural phenomena of the Penguin Parade on floodlit Summerland Beach. First, head to the visitor center and then meander along the boardwalk to the viewing platform, where you'll see the little penguins come ashore, dressed in their formal wear as they scamper to find their burrows.

Day 5: Fly to Sydney, Harbor Experience Cruise

Cruise around Sydney Harbour and soak in the views

It's time to fly to Sydney! You'll be picked up at your hotel in Melbourne and transferred to the airport for your flight to Syndey at the appointed time. Upon arrival, you'll be transferred to your hotel in the city center. Often mistaken as Australia's capital (that would be Canberra), this city feels like the country's central metropolis. This is due to Sydney's iconic sights, historic neighborhoods, world-class culinary and nightlife scenes, prime waterfront location, and an array of pristine beaches (well over 100). Sydney is known worldwide for its iconic waterfront, where you'll find many of the city's most famous sights and neighborhoods.

Get your first look during a leisurely and scenic cruise around Sydney Harbour. Board a cruise vessel and embark on a 1.5-hour tour that will take you alongside iconic city sights like the Sydney Opera House and Harbour Bridge. Besides the urban skyline, with its shimmering skyscrapers, you'll also pass national parks, golden beaches, and secluded bays. Relax on the deck and marvel at these stunning views with a refreshing drink in hand (available onboard). As an added convenience, you can listen to colorful commentary from a virtual guide from your smartphone.

Day 6: Sydney Guided Bike Tour, Sydney Opera House Tour

Get ready for a ride
Cycle past several of the city's best-known highlights on this guided tour

Today begins with a Sydney Classic Bike Tour—an excursion led by a local guide who will provide expert commentary and historical perspective, via headsets, on the landmarks and areas you visit. Highlights include the Royal Botanic Garden, Hyde Park, Anzac War Memorial, and Chinatown, to name a few. Halfway through the tour, you'll make a pit stop at a local pub for a quick pint before returning to the road.

Later in the day, you'll have a chance to enter the Sydney Opera House, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and see its inner workings. On a one-hour guided tour, you'll learn about the history of this architectural gem and its design elements, plus visit all the main public spaces. Working with state-of-the-art audio-visual components—in which images are projected right onto the building—your guide will take you on an unforgettable journey into a story with enough twists and turns to rival an opera plot.

Day 7: Full-Day Blue Mountains Tour

Snag views of the Three Sisters rock formation in the Blue Mountains

Put on your hiking boots for today's full-day adventure in the Blue Mountains outside of Sydney. First, you'll stop at Calmsley Hill, a working farm that hosts kangaroos, emus, wombats, and koalas, where you can enjoy morning tea and a walk. Then visit a stunning viewpoint of the Jamison Valley, followed by a stop at Eaglehawk Lookout, which offers a remote lookout point of the famous Three Sisters rock formation.

In midday, you'll arrive at Evans Lookout, where you'll be issued lunch and instructions for the hiking trail. You'll cross several valleys and ridges as you hike to Govetts Leap (one of the most famous lookouts in Australia) while looking across the Grose Valley. Your last tour stop is the Blue Mountains Botanic Gardens, where there is time for a short inspection of the flora, including the ancient Wollemi Pine. Return to Sydney in the late afternoon and transfer to your accommodation. 

Day 8: Climb the Harbor Bridge, Explore on Your Own

Make the epic climb up to the top of Sydney's Harbour Bridge

It's your last full day in Sydney and an excellent opportunity to accomplish the BridgeClimb Sydney, which has led group climbs since 1998. This sky-walk adventure commences with a briefing and safety demonstration, after which you'll strap on your safety gear and harness. Then follow your Climb Leader and embark on a journey that will eventually take you 439 feet (134 m) above sea level. You'll be treated to 360-degree views of the city and surroundings along the way. At the end of the climb, you'll receive a photograph of your group, a personalized certificate, and a cap.

Then take the rest of the day to continue exploring on your own. If you're feeling adventurous, take a surf lesson at famous Bondi Beach, or, for a calmer pastime, swim in Coogee's tranquil waters. Travel to historic neighborhoods and lose yourself in the cobblestone laneways of The Rocks, or browse the markets, boutiques, cafés, and pubs of upscale Paddington, whose unique terrace houses date to the Victorian era. And when the sun goes down, book a table at one of Sydney's delectable five-star restaurants before sampling the city's legendary nightlife.

Day 9: Fly to Queenstown (NZ), Skyline Gondola Ride

Ride the Skyline Gondola to the top of Queenstown and stay for a drink or meal

It's time to fly to New Zealand! At the appointed time, a driver will meet you at your hotel for transportation to the airport, and similarly, a driver will transfer from Queenston airport to your hotel. This photogenic city on New Zealand's South Island lies on the shores of Lake Wakatipu. This ruggedly beautiful region is known as the adventure sports capital of New Zealand. Here you can enjoy thrills that include skydiving, bungee jumping, jet-boating, ziplining, and much more.

Besides adrenaline-pumping adventures, Queenstown is a great base for exploring Central Otago's vineyards and historic gold-mining towns. The best way to get your first taste of the area's majesty is to ride the Skyline Gondola, the southern hemisphere's highest cable car. At the top is a restaurant/bar offering breathtaking panoramic views all the way to Coronet Peak around the Remarkables mountain range.

Day 10: Full-Day Jet-Boat Adventure & Funyak River Safari

Spend the day in Mount Aspiring National Park, the backdrop for many action films

Get ready for a truly unique outdoor adventure only available in New Zealand. This full-day tour begins in the morning with a transfer north into the wilds of Mount Aspiring National Park. Upon arrival, you'll hop in a jet boat for an adrenaline-pumping ride down the glacier-fed Dart River. Feel the excitement as you zip along this shallow waterway at high speeds while your daredevil captain performs exhilarating spins. After the thrills, you'll stop on the riverbanks to observe the unspoiled wilderness featuring snow-capped peaks, glaciers, and alpine lakes.

Return to the water and continue at a more leisurely pace in an inflatable canoe. Paddle along this beautiful downstream route as your local guide reveals insight into the geology and history of the Dart River's sparkling channels. You'll break again at an ancient beech forest for a delicious picnic lunch. Afterward, you can venture into the wilderness and hike to hidden streams, rock pools, and granite river gorges like the dramatic Rockburn Chasm.

Then, continue downstream to the settlement of Paradise. This whole region is so attractive that it has served as a shooting location for films including "The Lord of the Rings," "Mission Impossible: Fallout," and "Chronicles of Narnia," among others. You'll board a bus from Paradise and transfer back to Queenstown via scenic backroads.

Day 11: Full-Day Milford Sound Tour

Mitre Peak is one of the must-see views in Milford Sound 

Today kicks off early as you embark on an unforgettable full-day tour to and from Milford Sound. From Queenstown, you and a small group will travel in a custom-made 16-seater Mercedes touring vehicle—a premium mode of transportation with extended legroom, leather interior, panoramic windows, and a glass roof for the best views. Enjoy personalized commentary from your experienced guide as you travel along the shores of Lake Wakatipu, through Southland farmland, and onto Te Anau.

From here, your journey continues into the heart of Fiordland National Park, taking you on a remote touring experience with many scenic highlights, including glacier-carved valleys, blue lakes, and native bush, as you cross the Southern Alps. Once in Milford Sound, join a stunning two-hour small boat nature cruise on the fjord and see waterfalls, fur seals, penguins, and occasional dolphins. Enjoy entertaining and informative commentary from your nature guide, and make plenty of off-the-beaten-track stops far away from the crowds. Upon completing your cruise, your driver-guide will take you back to Queenstown.

Day 12: Depart Queenstown

Until next time, Queenstown!
It's time to say goodbye to New Zealand! Spend any extra time today exploring downtown Queenstown's shops and cafés, or take a long walk along the shores of Lake Wakatipu. At the appointed hour, meet your driver at your hotel for transport to the airport for your departure flight. Safe travels!

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Map of Ultimate Melbourne,  Sydney & Queenstown Tour - 12 Days
Map of Ultimate Melbourne, Sydney & Queenstown Tour - 12 Days