4 nights Rarotonga
5 nights Sydney
5 nights Auckland
Rarotonga lagoon cruise with snorkeling
Aitutaki day tour, lagoon cruise with snorkeling
Cultural village tour, cultural performance and buffet dinner
The Essential Sydney Tour
Sydney Opera House Tour
Sydney Harbour dinner cruise
Hunter Valley wine tour
Blue Mountain Tour
Featherdale Wildlife Park, pat a koala and feed kangaroos
Private tour of Auckland city
Auckland Harbor Cruise
Auckland City Food Tour
Coromandel Peninsula Day Tour
Waiheke Island Private Gourmet Food and Wine Tour
Destinations: Rarotonga (Cook Islands), Sydney (Australia), Auckland (New Zealand)
Experiences: Culture, Scenery, Food and Wine, Wildlife, Relaxation, Adventure
No. of days: 15 days / 14 nights
Combine a South Pacific island experience with vibrant cities showcasing both Australia and New Zealand on this three country itinerary. Relax and unwind in a tropical paradise in the Cook Islands. Spend time in both Rarotonga and a day in stunning Aitutaki. Learn about Cook Islands Polynesian culture while sampling delicious local foods and swimming in warm blue waters. It’s the best place to unwind. Head to vibrant Sydney for an Australian experience. See the best of Sydney from the land and water on a dinner cruise. Visit the legendary Hunter Valley wine region and the famous World Heritage Blue Mountains. Get up close and personal with native Australian animals at the Featherdale Wildlife Park. You’re off to New Zealand next to experience the best of Auckland and its surrounding areas. Tour the city and harbor, explore the Coromandel Peninsula renowned for pristine beaches and lush forests before finishing with a truly relaxing day on beautiful Waiheke Island.
DAY BY DAY:
Day 1: Arrive in Rarotonga having flown direct from Los Angeles International Airport. You will be greeted at the airport and transferred to your accommodation. Spend the rest of the day at leisure. (4 nights Rarotonga)
Day 2: Explore the lagoon and inner reef area on a lagoon cruise today. You will be picked up from your accommodation and transferred to Muri Beach to board your cruise. Traditional Cook Islands drums welcome you on arrival before you cruise on the glass bottom boat to the marine reserve for some awesome snorkeling with giant clams and colorful tropical fish. Feed the fish before heading to Motu Koromiri for a Raro style fresh fish BBQ, salads and tropical fruits. Enjoy the sounds of the crew's string band then be treated to a couple of shows on the Motu that we guarantee will make you smile.
Day 3: You’re off to discover Aitutaki today, a truly stunning location. You will be picked up from your accommodation and transferred to Rarotonga airport for a short 40 minute flight to Aitutaki. On arrival at Aitutaki you will be taken on a short island tour by 'le truck' lasting around one and a half hours and during which a stop is made at the local village market where souvenirs can be purchased. Then on to the highlight of the day - the lagoon cruise on board a 21 meter catamaran. The clear turquoise water of the Aitutaki lagoon are spectacular! There is time for snorkeling and swimming before stopping at a motu (small islet on the fringing reef) for a tasty barbecue lunch, cooked right on board. Your return flight to Rarotonga arrives back in at 5.30pm and you will be transferred back to your accommodation.
Day 4: You have a morning at leisure today to explore Rarotonga and relax. This afternoon you will be picked up from your accommodation to enjoy a cultural experience. Your tour begins with a cultural village tour, learning about Cook Islands history including ancient warrior weapons, cannibalism, missionaries, the seven-canoe migration, traditional navigation techniques, legends, first governance and more. Visit the Marae, learn about traditional medicines, traditional fishing methods, pearls and local pearl farming, tattoos, traditional costumes, carving, coconut climbing, husking and more. Your evening finishes with an Over Water Night Show Dances of Legends cultural performance and Island/Western Fusion Buffet prepared by local and international chefs.
Day 5: Spend the morning at leisure. This afternoon you will be transferred to the airport for your onward flight to Sydney. Arrive in Sydney and you will be transferred to your city accommodation. (5 nights Sydney)
Day 6: You’re off to discover Sydney on your small group tour. In this comprehensive 5-hour tour you will learn all about Sydney, see iconic landmarks, gardens, harbor areas, famous beaches, visit affluent suburbs, and lunch at Australia’s premiere yacht club. This Sydney tour covers all the essentials in one tour.
Day 7: This morning you have a tour of the Sydney Opera House. Learn about the history and unique architectural design. Visit areas off-limits to the public and capture photographs from rare vantage points. This afternoon explore the city at your leisure. Revisit areas of interest from your tour the previous day. Tonight, you get to experience Sydney Harbour on a dinner cruise. Enjoy stunning views of Sydney Harbour whilst feasting on a 3 course a la carte dinner. After dinner, enjoy live music and dancing or star gaze from the open deck as the lights of Sydney city twinkle in the background.
Day 8: You’re off on a wine lovers adventure tour today exploring the Hunter Valley. The Hunter Valley is a dynamic and fascinating area that brims with over 150 top class wineries, 65 indulgent restaurants as well as gourmet produce and boutique breweries. Your first visit is to a 5 star Mount View winery, followed by Leogate Estate with a wine and cheese pairing followed by a tour of the onsite winery to learn the wine making process. Enjoy a leisurely lunch followed by a visit to Keith Tulloch Winery where you will finish your tour with a wine and chocolate tasting experience.
Day 9: You’re off to see the Blue Mountains today as they should be seen - from secluded lookouts and short bushwalks. Take in the beauty and fresh mountain air exploring the sites. Visit the Waradah Aboriginal Culture Centre for an insight into this fascinating ancient culture with a dynamic dance and didgeridoo performance. Enjoy a 2-course restaurant lunch in the mountain village of Katoomba which is also a great place to wander to enjoy the shops and galleries. In the afternoon, head to Featherdale Wildlife Park for a hands on Australian native wildlife encounter and the chance to pat a koala and feed kangaroos. Return to the city in style by River Cruise, a relaxing way to see this beautiful Harbour city.
Day 10: Today you leave Sydney for Auckland. Transfer to the airport for your flight to Auckland. Upon arrival you will be transferred to your Auckland accommodation. (5 nights Auckland)
Day 11: You’re off to explore Auckland city today. This tour is designed with your interests in mind and to showcase Auckland including selected historical and cultural sites of significance, cityscapes, harbor views and coastlines, views of ancient volcanic peaks and parks with unique flora and fauna in and surrounding New Zealand’s largest city. This is the perfect way to get a feel for Auckland, sit back, relax, enjoy the views.
Day 12: Enjoy a harbor cruise this morning on the sparkling waters of Auckland's beautiful Waitemata Harbour. View all the highlights of the harbor’s 70 square miles, including Rangitoto Island, Bean Rock Lighthouse, and Devonport's North Head volcanic cone. Cruise under the Auckland Harbour Bridge and finally past Viaduct Basin. After lunch you’re off on a food tour, the perfect way to take in sights, tastes and history of the city. The tour includes a visit to one of the city's finest purveyors of artisan products, locally made chocolates, visit to one of the cities favorite eateries and world class ice cream. Conclude the tour relaxing with a local wine or beer sampling.
Day 13: Today you are off to explore the Coromandel Peninsula – a favorite holiday destination for many New Zealanders. Spend the day with your experienced guide finding out about the best that the Coromandel Peninsula has to offer. The tour includes amazing ancient native Kauri forest, stunning white sand beaches on the east and the sheltered bays on the west. Highlights are the famous Hot Water Beach where you can dig your own hot tub right beside the lapping waves and stunning Cathedral Cove.
Day 14: You’re off to beautiful Waiheke Island today. Arrival is via a short scenic ferry ride from downtown Auckland. Waiheke Island is the perfect destination to enjoy a private gourmet food and wine tour. You will have the 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. Indulge in a platter lunch or a fine dining experience at one of the islands top restaurants.
Day 15: Leaving New Zealand today, transfer to the airport for your flight home.
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.