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The Great Australia and New Zealand Escape

20 NIGHTS

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.

TRIP HIGHLIGHTS:

  • 3 nights Sydney

  • 2 nights Uluru

  • 3 nights Port Douglas

  • 3 nights Melbourne

  • 3 nights Queenstown

  • 2 nights Wellington

  • 2 nights Rotorua

  • 2 nights Auckland

  • Sydney Opera House tour

  • Sydney Highlights tour

  • Blue Mountains tour

  • Australian wildlife encounter

  • Sound of Silence Dinner, Uluru

  • Uluru Sunrise and Kata Tjuta tour

  • Cape Tribulation and Daintree tour

  • Great Barrier Reef day cruise with snorkeling

  • Melbourne city sights tour

  • Phillip Island tour, wildlife park and penguin parade

  • Milford Sound flight and nature cruise

  • Queenstown scenic wine tour

  • Wellington city highlights tour

  • Wellington city walking food tour

  • Treetops Redwood, walk Rotorua

  • Rotorua Skyline gondola

  • Polynesian hot pools

  • Wai-O-Tapu Thermal Wonderland tour

  • Maori culture evening with hangi dinner

  • Hobbiton movie set tour

  • Auckland city highlights tour

  • Waiheke Island sunset wine and dine tour

  • All transfers

  • Breakfast Daily

ITINERARY OVERVIEW:

Destinations:     Australia (Sydney, Uluru, Port Douglas, Melbourne), New Zealand (Queenstown, Wellington, Rotorua, Queenstown)

Experiences:     Culture, Scenery, Food and Wine, Wildlife, Relaxation, Adventure

No. of days:       21 days / 20 nights

Enjoy a visit to Australia and New Zealand that gives you a taste of everything.  Start your adventure in Sydney with a visit to the iconic Sydney Opera House and a city tour of all the highlights.  Head to the stunning Blue Mountains and see the Three Sisters and experience native Australian animals at the wildlife park.  Visit Uluru for your Outback adventure, take in Kata Tjuta, stunning sunsets, sunrises and a wonderful night dining under the stars with the award winning Sounds of Silence Dinner. Explore Cape Tribulation, the Daintree Rainforest and Great Barrier Reef on your tropical north stay in Port Douglas.  Finish your Australian adventure in Melbourne famous for its boutique shopping, laneways and multicultural lifestyle.  Next you’re off of Queenstown the adventure capital of New Zealand.  Enjoy a scenic flight into Milford Sound and a nature cruise of the fiord.  Take a relaxing day enjoying the Queenstown scenery and wineries before moving to Wellington for a scenic tour and gourmet food expedition on the compact city.  Visit Rotorua for a geothermal and cultural experience before heading to Auckland stopping at Hobbiton the movie set on the way.  See Auckland’s best sights on a highlights tour before finishing your adventure with an evening on Waiheke Island sipping on New Zealand wines and dining while watching the sunset.

DAY BY DAY:

Day 1:   Arrive into Sydney, transfer to your accommodation.  This afternoon you get to enjoy a guided tour of the iconic Sydney Opera House.  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. (Sydney 3 nights)

 

Day 2:   Today you get to explore Sydney on a small group tour covering all the essential Sydney highlights. Start in the historic Rocks precinct. See the convict built cottages, pubs and the first church in Australia.  Other highlights include the stunning Botanical Gardens Macquarie Street, Australia's first Parliament House, Mint, Hyde Park Barracks and St Mary's Cathedral. The tour continues onto Mrs Macquarie's Chair situated on the water's edge, here you will enjoy a walking tour of the harbor’s edge with magnificent views of the Sydney Harbour Bridge and the Sydney Opera House. Stop for lunch at the Cruising Yacht Club of Australia, Australia's premier yacht club. After lunch continue through some of Sydney’s most affluent suburbs, pass by Double Bay, Rose Bay, Vaucluse and Watsons Bay, before traversing along the coastline to Sydney's most famous beach, Bondi Beach. Here you will have some time to soak up the atmosphere of this beachside Mecca. Stroll down the esplanade with the locals and maybe enjoy an ice cream.

 

Day 3:  Leaving the city behind you’re off to the beautiful Blue Mountains.  Discover the spectacular Blue Mountains and see native wildlife whilst you explore World Heritage listed Blue Mountains National Park. This rugged and beautiful region forms part of the Great Dividing Range, linking tropical north to temperate south, while dividing coastal cities from the vast Outback.  Arrive at Scenic World and join the optional Blue Mountains rides - Scenic Railway,

Cableway or Skyway. These rides are a great way to see the steep valleys, canyons and Three Sisters rock formation.  Stopping at a vantage point, you'll be treated to a spectacular view of the three sisters.  Discover Leura village where you will have free time for lunch or the chance to wander the streets. Next, we enjoy an afternoon encounter at Featherdale Park and have your photo taken with a cuddly koala, see kangaroos, wombats, dingoes and cute little penguins. Our last stop will be at Homebush Bay, the venue of the Sydney 2000 Olympic Games. Here, you can catch your river cruise vessel back to Sydney and enjoy a relaxing cruise along the Parramatta River (own expense). If you do not wish to join the ferry, the coach will arrive in Sydney at approximately 6.00pm.

 

Day 4:    Today you leave Sydney, transfer to the airport for your flight to Uluru where you will begin your outback adventure.  This evening you have an unforgettable evening eating beautifully prepared food under the sparkling outback sky. The journey begins on a lone sand dune. A meandering path takes participants to an uninterrupted, 360 degree view of this vast landscape. In front is the fabled Uluru; behind are the domes of Kata Tjuta and possibly the most spectacular sunset you have ever seen. Here enjoy sparkling wine and a selection of delectable canapés. As the sun sets in a blaze of reds and oranges and into the starlit night, feast on a gourmet barbecue buffet of authentic Australian delicacies including barramundi, kangaroo, crocodile, bush salads and classic desserts, complemented by some of Australia's finest wines. Attention then turns to some of the world's best stargazing as the resident astronomer takes diners on an unforgettable tour of the spectacular southern night sky. (2 nights Uluru)

 

Day 5:  Early this morning you will be picked up from your accommodation to commence a morning Uluru Sunrise and Kata Tjuta tour. Travel to the sunrise viewing area, Talinguru Nyakunytjaku, and watch the first rays of sunlight creep across the desert plains. Enjoy a cup of tea or coffee and biscuits as the morning sun slowly changes the color of Uluru. After watching the sunrise travel to the mystical 36 domes of Kata Tjuta enjoying panoramic views of the southern side of Kata Tjuta before arriving at the base of Walpa Gorge. Spend time exploring the gorge and the unusual conglomerate rock formations. The walking trail through Walpa Gorge follows the natural creek between two of the tallest domes of Kata Tjuta. Enjoy lunch back at your accommodation and the afternoon at leisure.

 

Day 6:   This morning you leave the Uluru – Kata Tjuta National Park and fly to Cairns to begin your tropical north adventure in Queensland.  After arriving in Cairns you will be transferred to Port Douglas. Spend the afternoon at leisure, enjoy the beaches. (3 nights Port Douglas)

 

Day 7:  You’re off to explore Cape Tribulation and Daintree today.  You will be picked up from your accommodation and head to Cape Tribulation, through some of the oldest rainforest in the world. Visit the Mossman Gorge Centre for the transfer into Mossman Gorge. Your guide will take you for a guided walk sharing their knowledge of this enchanting rainforest environment. Learn about the fascinating secrets of one of the world's oldest rainforests. Cruise on the Daintree River learn about the habitat of birds, tree snakes, unique plants and of course the estuarine crocodile. Enjoy a delicious BBQ lunch in the rainforest of Noah Valley. Next you drive to Cape Tribulation, where the rainforest meets the reef. Walk on this world-renowned rainforest beach, admire the coastline and fringing coral reef from the Kulki Lookout.  After winding through the rainforest of the Alexandra Range, enjoy this spectacular lookout over the Daintree River Estuary, Snapper Island and beyond to the Coral Sea. Tour concludes at approximately 6.00pm, at which time hotel drop offs will commence.

 

Day 8:  Spend the day exploring the Great Barrier Reef.  Unwind while you snorkel, the pristine warm waters off the coast of Port Douglas to visit spectacular reefs and beautiful coral bombies. Even if you've never snorkeled before, this is an opportunity you can't afford to miss! The day consists of visiting 3 breathtaking sites on the reef with ample time to relax, enjoy and explore spectacular reefs with abundant marine life. The crew provides professional supervision and tuition, with a comprehensive snorkeling safety brief and guided snorkel tour. Flotation devices and in water assistance provided. Lunch, morning and afternoon tea are included.

 

Day 9:    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 10:   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.

 

Day 11:    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 12:     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 13:     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 14:     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 15:  Your leaving Queenstown today for Wellington, the capital city of New Zealand.  Transfer from your Queenstown accommodation to the airport and your flight to Wellington.  You’ll be met at the airport and transferred to your Wellington accommodation.  This afternoon you have a Wellington City Highlights tour. This is an unforgettable journey around the city's dramatic highlights, during which clients will travel around the earthquake-scarred South Coast to see the site of the Wahine ferry disaster and the distant ranges of the South Island, overlooked by coastal houses perched on the steep, rocky hills. Enjoy views of the harbor from the top of Mount Victoria and ride the steep cable car up to an incredible, far-reaching panorama. Visit the magnificent Parliament buildings and the famous Beehive and see the gorgeous, timber-built Old St Paul's Cathedral before visiting the national museum of Te Papa to experience the extraordinary mix of Maori and European history, amid the nation's natural and cultural treasures. Enjoy dinner at a waterfront restaurant. (2 nights Wellington)

 

Day 16:  Discover the inner city this morning on a walking food tour.  Discover fresh tastes in New Zealand's café capital, as we introduce you to the city, its local tastes, products and people on this popular tour. Stroll behind the scenes at some of our favorite Wellington food places with a personal guide, to taste hidden culinary treasures and meet some of the people behind some of the city's best food. This tour is perfect for finding out where to head this afternoon.  Spend this afternoon at leisure, in addition to revisiting interesting places from this morning’s tour, we highly recommend visiting Te Papa the national museum.

 

Day 17:  This morning you will be picked up from your accommodation and transferred to Wellington Airport for your flight to Rotorua.  Arriving in Rotorua you’ll be picked up from the airport and transferred to your accommodation.  This afternoon enjoy Rotorua activities and private transport to these.  Starting with the Treetops redwoods walk where you are suspended high above the forest floor.  Encounter 75-metre-tall redwoods as you walk across eco-suspended bridges and platforms intricately designed to honor and accentuate the stunning natural environment.  Visit the Rotorua Skyline and ride the gondola to the top for spectacular views of Lake Rotorua, the city and steaming geothermal vistas.  While you’re there you can luge down the mountain, mountain bike, zipline or try the Skyswing.  This evening you get to enjoy soaking in the hot pools at the Polynesian Spa, New Zealand’s original and iconic geothermal bathing experience, with exclusive access to both acidic and alkaline natural mineral springs for the ultimate in rest and relaxation. (2 nights Rotorua)

 

Day 18:  Discover the Rotorua’s geothermal secrets on a Geothermal Wonderland tour this morning.  You will be picked up from your accommodation and experience the amazing geothermal activity, gushing geysers, boiling mud pools and the many colors of every tint and hue displayed in the pools, lakes, craters, steaming vents and mineral terraces of Wai-O-Tapu Thermal Wonderland. Then enjoy the Waimangu Volcanic Valley nature walk amidst a stunning volcanic landscape with spectacular views of hot crater lakes, steaming cliffs, hissing fumeroles, colorful silica terraces, rare thermally adapted plants and the opportunity to see some of NZ's native birdlife. Overall walking time is approximately 2 hours for a distance of approximately 2 kilometres. Tour concludes at approximately 12:30pm.   Spend the afternoon at leisure.  Tonight you will be picked up from your accommodation to have an indigenous evening experience combining cultural storytelling, entertainment and a traditional hangi dinner at Te Puia New Zealand Maori Arts and Crafts Institute.

 

Day 19:  Leaving Rotorua today you’ll be transferred to Auckland via Hobitton.   You will be picked up from your Rotorua accommodation by shuttle and transferred to Hobbiton Movie Set where you will meet your guide. Embark on a tour of the Hobbiton Movie Set. This location is the largest green set in the world. See 44 hobbit holes, the Mill and double arch bridge, the party tree and visit the Green Dragon Inn. Take photos at the door of Bilbo's house, Bag End, looking out over the whole set to the hills in the distance. After a free drink inside the Green Dragon Inn, enjoy a sumptuous marquee lunch on set followed by time for shopping ($10 voucher is included). The coach will then depart for Auckland and the tour concludes mid afternoon.  Enjoy the evening wandering the Auckland waterfront and dining in one of the waterfront restaurants. (2 nights Auckland)

 

Day 20:  Experience the highlights of Auckland city on a personal small group tour this morning. Be amazed by dramatic views of numerous volcanoes, expansive vistas across Auckland's Waitamata Harbour on the Pacific Ocean and the marine village of Devonport. On this Auckland City Highlights Half Day Luxury tour you will see why Auckland is known as one of the most beautiful cities in the world.  This afternoon you will be heading to beautiful Waiheke Island.  Board the Fullers ferry to Waiheke Island to commence a Twilight Wine and Dine. A 40 minute cruise takes you across the Hauraki Gulf to Matiatia Wharf on Waiheke Island. On arrival at Mataitia board your coach to begin a late afternoon tour that visits the award winning Stonyridge Vineyard and Restaurant with its spectacular vineyard valley views for wine tastings, before heading to Batch Winery, the highest altitude vineyard on the island, which boasts stunning views across the Hauraki Gulf. Enjoy a tour of their unique gravity-fed wine making facility, wine sampling, and a two course dinner with a small glass of wine while watching the sun set across Waiheke and the Hauraki Gulf. Finish off your evening with a coach back to Matiatia for your ferry back to Auckland.

 

Day 21:  Transfer from your Auckland accommodation to Auckland airport for your flight home.

TOP ACTIVITIES:  Sydney   |   Uluru   |   Melbourne   |   Queenstown   |   Wellington   |   Rotorua   |   Auckland

Customized Itinerary

  • 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.

Visa requirements:

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.

Travel Insurance:

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..

Additional information:

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.

ITINERARIES   |   Australia    |   New Zealand   |    Fiji   |   Cook Islands   |   French Polynesia    |   Multiple destinations

Manassas, VA, USA

info@downunderjourneys.com

Toll free: 1800-409-8496

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We have enjoyed over 30 years in the travel industry.

We're serious about travel and believe great personal service and customized itineraries offer the best way to travel.