The Best of Australia and New Zealand
PLEASE NOTE: We can help you add, adjust and tailor the itinerary to suit your requirements. Each clients itinerary is different. We work to your budget and take advantage of current specials in the marketplace for your time of travel.
Destinations: Australia (Sydney, Port Douglas, Melbourne), New Zealand (Queenstown, Auckland)
Experiences: Culture, Scenery, Food and Wine, Wildlife, Relaxation, Adventure
No. of days: 15 days / 14 nights
Discover the best of Australia and New Zealand on this compact but comprehensive itinerary. Begin your adventure exploring Sydney both on the water and land, tour the iconic Sydney Opera House before heading to the Hunter Valley for a relaxing tour in this famous wine region. Head to the tropical north where you discover the beauty of the Daintree Rainforest and experience the stunning Great Barrier Reef both from the air and water. Melbourne is next on your agenda where you discover the highlights on a city tour and spend the evening wandering the famous arcades and laneways on a progressive degustation walking tour. Get your wildlife fix on Phillip Island where you see native Australian animals including the famous penguin parade. Head to New Zealand for adventures in Queenstown where you fly into Milford Sound for a nature cruise in the stunning fiord and enjoy a great day out on a scenic wine tour. Finish your adventure in Auckland with a city tour and day relaxing on Waiheke Island famous for its stunning beaches and wineries.
DAY BY DAY:
Day 1: Arriving into Sydney and transfer to your accommodation. This afternoon you get to visit one of Australia’s most iconic buildings. The Sydney Opera House is one of the world's most recognizable landmarks and this is your chance to truly get up-close. 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. Explore theatres and foyers where more than 1600 concerts, operas, dramas and ballets take place each year. This evening enjoy dinner at one of the harborside restaurants. (3 nights Sydney)
Day 2: Explore Sydney today on the water and land. See all the highlights on this day tour. Travel to Manly Beach for a stroll along The Corso to see the beach that has made Manly famous. Along the way to Manly view Darling Harbour and then cross the Sydney Harbour Bridge stopping at Milsons Point for spectacular views of the Opera House and Harbour Bridge. Stop at a lookout for panoramic views of the Pacific Ocean. Enjoy time at Manly beach before heading back to Sydney via the exclusive and trendy suburbs of Neutral Bay and Mosman. On returning, board the Captain Cook Cruises vessel to enjoy a buffet lunch cruise on Sydney Harbour. Following the cruise, board your coach and tour through the historic Rocks area and take in views of the Opera House, Hyde Park, St Mary's Cathedral, Parliament House and the Art Gallery. Stop at Mrs Macquarie's Chair for magnificent views of the Opera House and Harbour Bridge and see the colourful Royal Botanic Gardens. Visit The Gap to enjoy the stunning views, then stop at the world famous Bondi Beach before returning to Sydney.
Day 3: It’s a day for wine lovers on a small group tour to the Hunter Valley, a premium wine region. Travel directly to the Hunter Valley, which is nestled in the lee of the Great Dividing Range. 180 years young, this is Australia's oldest and best known wine region and is soaked in history. It's a dynamic and fascinating area that brims with over 150 top class wineries, 65 indulgent restaurants as well as gourmet produce and boutique breweries. Our first visit is to a 5-star winery nestled in the Mount View region of the Hunter Valley, a well renowned viticulture area. Sample exquisite wines in your own private area. From here continue onto Leogate Estate. Here you will enjoy a selection of cheeses to accompany the wine tasting, followed by a tour of the onsite winery to learn of the wine making process. On conclusion of the tour enjoy a relaxing 2 course lunch (selection of platters, followed by dessert of choice) accompanied by a glass of wine. After lunch you travel to Keith Tulloch Winery. This small completely family owned winery and vineyard produces wines that express the unique terrain and climate from the ancient soils of the Brokenback Range. Enjoy unique wine tasting experience in collaboration with artisan chocolatier Cocoa Nib, sensational way to conclude our day in the Hunter Valley Wine Region.
Day 4: You leave Sydney today for Port Douglas. Transfer to the airport for your flight to Cairns and transfer to Port Douglas. Enjoy the rest of the day at leisure. (3 nights Port Douglas)
Day 5: Explore the Daintree National Park today on a small group tour. You’ll be picked up from your accommodation and taken to the World Heritage listed forest region of the Daintree National Park. Cruise on the Daintree arriving on the northern side of the river and enter the Daintree section of the Wet Tropics World Heritage protected rainforest. Enjoy a home-made morning tea underneath the rainforest canopy. Next, your journey takes you up the beautiful Alexandra Range passing through local rainforest and on to the first stop where you take a scenic walk through this amazing eco system. Continuing along the next stop is at one of magical beaches that adorn the coastline of Cape Tribulation. Lunch today is a delicious meal which includes rainforest-inspired local produce. Get up close and personal with reptiles, frogs and lizards endemic to the area and you will have the opportunity to feed the kangaroos and swamp wallabies in your own private zoo. After lunch you get to see unusual, exotic fruit originating from all over the globe's tropical regions. Your last stop will be at the outstanding panoramic picture postcard view at Alexandra Range Lookout. The final treat for the day is the crossing on the Daintree River Ferry the iconic vehicle punt which transfers you out of the world heritage rainforest and on to your home-ward road.
Day 6: The Great Barrier Reef is your destination today and you get to see it from the air and experience it below the water. Enjoy a 35 minute helicopter scenic flight out to Quicksilver's unique and stunning outer reef destination - the renowned Agincourt Reef situated on the edge of Australia's Continental Shelf. Explore the reef from the comfort of a semi-submersible, the underwater observatory. Also available are guided snorkeling tours with a marine biologist. Cruise in comfort aboard a sleek wave piercing catamaran back to Port Douglas.
Day 7: You’re off to Melbourne today. Transfer from your Port Douglas accommodation to Cairns airport for your flight to Melbourne. Transfer to your accommodation. Spend the afternoon at leisure shopping, dining and exploring the city. (3 nights Melbourne)
Day 8: Enjoy a morning tour Melbourne city sights today on a small group tour. You’ll be collected from your accommodation to begin your Melbourne adventure. With its Victorian architecture, stunning gardens and edgy bar, culinary, fashion and live music scenes, Melbourne is an obvious start to any visit to Victoria. Its iconic laneways and alleys are home to some of the city's best cafes, bars, boutiques and galleries. Explore these with your local guide, getting a real insight into what makes this cosmopolitan city tick. As Melbourne is widely recognized as the sporting capital of Australia you will also visit sporting areas including the famous Melbourne Cricket Ground (affectionately known as the MCG), Melbourne Park and Albert Park Grand Prix circuit. Enjoy a stroll in the Royal Botanic Gardens and tour the Shrine of Remembrance and learn about Australia's wartime history. Visit bayside areas including St Kilda (Melbourne's summer playground) and take a walk along the beach-side promenade. Other attractions include the Queen Victoria Markets, the Yarra River, The Golden Mile, Royal Exhibition Building, Parliament House and the Fitzroy Gardens. The luxury of this private city tour allows you to get a comprehensive look at the city through a local's eyes.
This evening you get to explore the city on a progressive degustation walk. There are so many great restaurants in Melbourne, and with new ones popping up regularly, it's hard to keep up. The best way to sample Melbourne's wonderful restaurant scene is to experience a few in one evening. With clusters of amazing venues within walking distance the Progressive Degustation Walk is a tour of Melbourne's hidden away and local favorite dining spots. Visit three unique venues, with carefully chosen wine tastings and tantalizing savory tastes from their menus. Hear from passionate staff who share their favorite drops, or learn about how their distinctive restaurant design, location and menus came to be. Each venue is a different food style, with history and design as diverse as the city too.
Day 9: You have a day exploring Phillip Island today on this small group tour. Discover Phillip Island's unique nature experiences and dramatic landscapes. Visit Moonlit Sanctuary Conservation Park where you will meet endangered species, kangaroos, wallabies and koalas plus an array of colorful birds and reptiles. The journey then leads onto Phillip Island, the home of the Australian Motorcycle Grand Prix and the famous Little Penguins. Upon arrival on the island, depending on the time of year and your particular interests, you will then visit Woolamai beach to see surfers riding the waves. From here, tour continues to the western corner of the island to enjoy magnificent views of Bass Strait and the Nobbies, which is home to the largest colony of fur seals in Australia. Following a stop for dinner you will head to the Visitor Centre to shop, have a coffee and meander along the boardwalk to the viewing platform where you will see the little penguins come ashore, decked out in their tuxedos as they hurry off to find their burrows.
Day 10: You’re off to Queenstown today. Transfer to Melbourne airport from your accommodation for your onward flight to Queenstown. Enjoy the rest of the day at leisure. (3 nights Queenstown)
Day 11: Today you explore the beautiful Milford Sounds. You will be collected from your accommodation and transferred to the airport to board your twin engine aircraft to commence a half day tour to Milford Sound. During the 35 minute flight, enjoy panoramic views of spectacular alpine scenery including glaciers, rivers, lakes and rainforest. Land at Milford Sound Airport and transfer to the Visitor Terminal for a leisurely nature cruise the full length of the fiord to the Tasman Sea. View spectacular alpine scenery including waterfalls, rainforest and towering peaks and keep a look out for wildlife including seals, dolphins and penguins. Afterwards you will be transferred back to Milford Airport for a scenic return flight to Queenstown.
Day 12: Enjoy a small group tour of the Queenstown wine region today. Get ready to enjoy an indulgent and varied tour seeing local sights, enjoying fresh cuisine and tasting a selection of fine wines, cheeses and locally handcrafted chocolates. Venture into the heart of Central Otago to taste wines at 4 premium vineyards over 2 contrasting wine sub-regions. Take a guided tour through New Zealand's largest underground wine cave, enjoy a cheese and wine presentation and indulge in a divine wine barrel-cooked lunch paired with matching wines. Take a stunning drive through the Kawarau Gorge, learn about the early pioneering history of this rugged region, see the historic Kawarau Bridge and original AJ Hackett Bungy, and return to Queenstown via the must-see Arrowtown with some take-home artisan chocolates.
Day 13: Leaving Queenstown today you head to Auckland. Transfer from your Queenstown accommodation to the airport for your flight to Auckland. Transfer from the airport to your Auckland accommodation. This afternoon you have an afternoon small group tour of Auckland city. See the highlights of Auckland city with its 55 volcanoes and the marine village of Devonport on Auckland's North Shore. Be amazed by spectacular views of both the Pacific Ocean and the Tasman Sea, dramatic views of several volcanoes and the marine village of Devonport.
Day 14: Head to Waiheke Island today for a fabulous day out exploring the island on a gourmet food and wine tour. You will have a chance 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. Your guide will provide an entertaining and informative commentary along the way. Visit an award-winning olive oil mill, followed by two vineyards, each offering a range of gourmet tastes to accompany their wines. Treats may include oysters straight from Te Matuku Bay, wild honey, the famous local green herb spread and artisan cheeses. Enjoy a platter lunch at one of the top vineyard restaurants. After lunch return to Auckland on the ferry. Enjoy the afternoon at leisure.
Day 15: You leave Auckland today for your journey home. Transfer to the airport for your flight home.
3 nights Sydney
3 nights Port Douglas
3 nights Melbourne
3 nights Queenstown
2 nights Auckland
Sydney Opera House Tour
Sydney Harbour Cruise with lunch and city tour
Hunter Valley wine tour
Daintree Rainforest tour
Great Barrier Reef flight, cruise and snorkeling
Melbourne city sights tour
Melbourne progressive degustation walking tour
Phillip Island tour, wildlife park and penguin parade
Milford Sound flight and nature cruise
Queenstown scenic wine tour
Auckland City highlights tour
Waiheke Island gourmet food and wine tour
All aspects of this itinerary can be changed to suit your requirements.
The itineraries provided are great introductions to your chosen destination. You can create a travel plan using the itinerary provided or make modifications to destinations, activities and accommodation and create the dream trip you want.
Not every traveler is the same, we get that and so that’s why we recommend making changes to suit your needs. In fact, we insist - we want you to have the best trip.
If you would like any recommendations for dinner or shopping areas please let us know we are happy to help and make bookings for you where necessary
To travel to Australia you will need a US passport valid for at least 6 months and we can process an ETA Visa for free for US Citizens. We will need a copy of your Photo Page of your Passport. Nationalities of any other countries please enquire with your agent to see if you are eligible for a free ETA Visa or if you need to apply for a Visitor Visa.
To travel to New Zealand you will need a US passport valid for at least 6 months and an NZeTA (New Zealand Electronic Travel Authority. More information on the NZeTA application requirements and process can be found on our FAQ page here.
We highly recommend purchasing travel insurance to protect your investment. We will provide a travel insurance quote at the time of booking, and you are free to use our recommended insurance with Travelguard, find your own, or book without insurance.
A product that we can offer is a Cancel For Any Reason policy that will provide you with 80% back in refunds. If the cancellation is for medical reasons there is a 100% refund..
Downunder Journeys services travel requests from the United States and Canada for travel to Australia, New Zealand, Fiji, Cook Islands and Tahiti. All pricing on this website is in US Dollars.
All of the sample itineraries on this website do not include airfares as the airfare price changes daily and to ensure you get the best possible price we will work with the best airfares at the time. If you happen to buy your airfare first and then need a package to fit it, we can certainly help with that as well, just let us know.
As an idea for a 2-week vacation to Australia or New Zealand we recommend a budget of around $8,000-10,000 (including economy airfare), this would be for a 4 star and above itinerary, a little cheaper if we did more moderate accommodations.