Best of New Zealand & Australia
Auckland, Rotorua, Queenstown, Dunedin, Christchurch, Melbourne, Cairns & Sydney
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|Style||Small Group TourTravel with a small, intimate group of 15-24 likeminded travelers escorted by an English speaking guide and/or tour manager for some or all of your journey. More of these packages
24 travelers max, dedicated tour escorts & guides throughout
|Highlights||Auckland, Rotorua, Queenstown, Dunedin, Christchurch, Melbourne, Cairns & Sydney, including Milford Sound and the Sydney Opera House.|
|What to Expect||Small groups guaranteed not to exceed 24 passengers. This moderately-paced, partially escorted tour includes a reasonable amount of walking or hiking and requires an average level of physical fitness.|
|As Seen in|
|Already Booked?||Find everything you need to know before you go, including how to pay your balance due, passport & visa requirements, flight information, weather, and more.|
If you thought that New Zealand or Australia, two of the world's most attractive and popular destinations, were too expensive to visit this year, think again! Check out our new Australia and New Zealand vacation package.
To take full advantage of your visit, we offer a variety of optional excursions, which must be purchased locally. These are not "seat in coach" excursions that pick up passengers in various hotels—all our optional excursions are operated for Friendly Planet groups only. See our detailed itinerary below for full descriptions of each excursion.
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Flights & Departure Cities
Transfers: Transfers for this package are provided on a group basis only. For passengers deviating in any way from the group program, transfers are not provided. Individual, private transfers can be arranged at a supplement in price. Taxis and other forms of transportation are also available and may cost less than private transfers. If you wish to arrange private transfers, please request this service at the time of reservation.
Day 1: Depart USA. Your fascinating journey begins tonight as you check-in for your overnight flight for New Zealand.
Day 2: En Route. Cross the International Date Line and lose one day en route. (You'll recover this day on your return trip.)
Day 3: Auckland. Arrive today in Auckland. After customs formalities, meet your guide and transfer to your centrally located hotel for check-in. En route, enjoy a panoramic tour of the city and a visit to the Auckland Museum. Dinner this evening will be at your hotel. Accommodations: Crowne Plaza Hotel. Dinner provided.
Day 4: Auckland, Waitomo & Rotorua. This morning, depart for Waitomo. Formed on an earthquake fault over 30 million years ago, Waitomo Caves are home to The Tomo, a 16 meter limestone shaft marking the site of an ancient waterfall. The Cathedral, the largest cavern of Waitomo Caves, stands at 18 meters tall. The upper level to the cave contains formations known as the Catacombs, the Pipe Organ and the Banquet Chamber. Countless pale brown, pink and white stalactites intermingle in the subterranean formations with the light of thousands of glowworms, native only to New Zealand, who light the dripping walls and serve to help illuminate intricately-carved cave decorations. Later, drive to Rotorua and check-in at your hotel. Accommodations: Millennium Rotorua Hotel. Breakfast provided.
Day 5: Rotorua & Queenstown. Take in the sights and sounds of Rotorua as you tour the city. Visit the foremost Maori cultural center in New Zealand, Te Puia, and the Agrodome Sheep Show, featuring a world-renowned live show which highlights New Zealand's thriving agricultural development. Transfer to Rotorua Airport for your short flight to Queenstown. Upon arrival, enjoy a panoramic tour of Queenstown. Return to your hotel and spend the remainder of the day at your leisure. Accommodations: Millennium Queenstown. Breakfast provided.
Day 6: Queenstown. Today, visit one of the most beautiful spots in the area. Spend the day relaxing and admiring the beauty of Milford Sound's sheer rock cliffs as you embark upon a Milford Sound scenic cruise. A picnic lunch will be provided on board. Enjoy the refreshing spray of its waterfalls and learn about the history of the region. Keep your eyes open for dolphins, seals and, during the breeding season, the rare Fiordland crested penguins. Breakfast & lunch provided.
Day 7: Queenstown. Enjoy a full day at leisure in Queenstown, the adventure capital of New Zealand, to explore on your own. Get your adrenaline going on a bungee jump or speedboat ride up the nearby rivers. Or relax in Queenstown's charming downtown area and enjoy views of the stunning Remarkables Range and Lake Wakatipu. Breakfast provided.
Day 8: Queenstown & Dunedin. This morning, depart for Dunedin and pay a visit to Larnach, New Zealand's only castle, filled with antiques, a breathtaking glass-encased gazebo and stunning gardens. Larnach Castle is one of only a handful of places in New Zealand to be acclaimed as a "Garden of International Significance." Accommodations: Scenic Hotel Dunedin City. Breakfast provided.
Day 9: Dunedin & Christchurch. This morning, depart Dunedin via the coastal highway. Stop for a view of the Moeraki Boulders, a series of strangely spherical rocks strewn along Koekohe Beach. According to Maori legend, the boulders are gourds and calabashes, traditional Maori food, washed up from the voyaging canoe Araiteuru, wrecked upon landfall in New Zealand some 1000 years ago. Continue to quaint Oamaru, nick-named "The White Stone City" for the pale local stone from which most buildings are constructed. Cross the 45th parallel (midway between the Equator and the South Pole) en route to Timaru, a popular seaside town, and Temuka, known for its earthenware pottery. Drive through the sheep and wheat farming area of Ashburton and cross the mighty Rakaia River—famous for salmon fishing and the country's longest bridge. Arrive in Christchurch, New Zealand's "Garden City." Accommodations: Chateau on the Park on Jun 3, 2015 departure, Rydges Hotel on all others. Breakfast & dinner provided.
Day 10: Christchurch & Melbourne. On your final day in New Zealand, explore the "most English city outside England," picturesque Christchurch. Step into an old-fashioned gondola and enjoy one of Christchurch's most scenic botanical gardens as your Edwardian-dressed punter takes you on a leisurely tour of the Avon River. Travel past many of Christchurch's noted landmarks as you glide through the quaint historic inner city.
Later, transfer to the airport to board your flight to Melbourne. After completing immigration formalities and clearing customs, meet your guide and transfer to your hotel for check-in. Accommodations: Novotel Melbourne on Collins. Breakfast provided.
Day 11: Melbourne. Welcome to Melbourne, center of Australian fashion and culture and the country's second largest city. Superbly preserved Victorian architecture and magnificent parks and gardens give Australia's "Garden City" a stately charm reminiscent of the great cities of Europe.
Discover Melbourne's past and present on a half-day city tour. Drive through the central business district with its eclectic architecture and past the Victorian Arts Centre with its imposing pyramid-style Shrine of Remembrance. Continue to the Rodeo Drive of Melbourne, the fashionable Toorak Village. Wonder at the splendid Fitzroy Gardens, lined with avenues brimming with English elms and gently contoured lawns, offering a serene beauty throughout the year. Spend the afternoon at your leisure. Breakfast provided.
Optional Excursion: Phillip Island Penguin Tour. This afternoon, join an optional Phillip Island Penguin Tour. Wonder at the sight of the world's smallest penguins, returning ashore to their natural habitat after a full day of fishing. Each evening at sunset, visitors flock to the boardwalk and viewing stands to watch the little penguins burrow into the sand dunes and find safety for the night. Learn more about this special breed of penguins in the interactive Visitor's Centre. This is a magical procession that will never be forgotten.
Day 12: Melbourne & Cairns. After an early morning breakfast, transfer to the airport for the flight to Cairns. Upon arrival in Cairns, a local guide will meet you and accompany you to your hotel. Spend the remainder of the day exploring Cairns at your leisure, the gateway to the Great Barrier Reef, abounding with tree-lined streets, good restaurants, and excellent shopping. Accommodations: Pacific Hotel Cairns. Breakfast provided.
Day 13: Cairns. Today, travel by coach along the spectacular coastal road to Port Douglas, where you will board the Quicksilver for a full day cruise to the outer Barrier Reef. Moor over one of the most beautiful sections of the Great Barrier Reef, close to Australia's continental shelf. Teeming with brilliant fish and offering a seascape dotted with sunlit valleys and coral reefs, the Great Barrier Reef provides some of the best snorkeling and diving in the world, with the warm waters of the Coral Sea affording crystal-clear visibility. Upon your return to Port Douglas, transfer to your hotel and enjoy the balance of the day at leisure. Breakfast & lunch provided.
Day 14: Cairns. Today is your day for independent sightseeing or shopping. Breakfast provided.
Optional Excursion: Kuranda. Enjoy a full-day or half-day all-inclusive tour of Kuranda, an enchanting mountain-top retreat just west of Cairns. Known as the "Village in the Rainforest," Kuranda presents a range of tropical delights. Attractions in Kuranda include a bird aviary, butterfly sanctuary, wildlife rescue/rehabilitation facility, reptile park and koala sanctuary.
Day 15: Cairns & Sydney. Transfer to Cairns Domestic Airport for your short flight to Sydney, where you will meet your guide and transfer to your centrally located hotel. Sydney's natural harbor serves as a major gateway to Australia, here you'll see many striking landmarks, and a variety of cosmopolitan shopping and dining. Enjoy the balance of the day at leisure. Accommodations: Parkroyal Darling Harbour. Breakfast provided.
Day 16: Sydney. Today, tour Sydney and its Southern Beaches, including the picturesque Botanical Gardens, the Conservatorium of Music and Mrs. Macquarie's Chair. Stop for a spectacular view of the Opera House. Continue to the city's commercial center, Darling Harbour and Chinatown, before heading to King's Cross and the exclusive suburbs of Double Bay, Rose Bay and Watson's Bay. Enjoy a spectacular view of the Pacific Ocean from The Gap before a visit to Bondi Beach to stretch your legs on this world famous beach.
Embark upon the Captain Cook Lunch Cruise. Enjoy the stunning view of Sydney Harbour, along with a comprehensive commentary on the history of such national iconic landmarks as The Sydney Harbor Bridge, The Sydney Opera House, Fort Denison and Rose Bay. After the cruise, enjoy a leisurely walk around Circular Quay and visit the Sydney Opera House for a one hour guided tour. Return to the hotel, or stay in the area and return on your own later in the day. Breakfast & lunch provided.
Day 17: Sydney. Spend a final day of leisure in Sydney for independent sightseeing, browsing or shopping. Tonight, enjoy a farewell dinner at the Waterfront Restaurant. Built in 1839, the Waterfront restaurant is in the heart of Sydney and features magnificent views of the Opera House and harbor. The menu boasts a range of fresh Australian cuisine. Breakfast & dinner provided.
Optional Excursion: Featherdale Wildlife Park. Half-day tour to the Featherdale Wildlife Park. Located just 40 minutes from Sydney on what was once a poultry farm, the interactive wildlife experience found at Featherdale Wildlife Park allows you the opportunity to cuddle up to a koala or hand-feed a kangaroo. Featherdale Wildlife Park opened in 1972 and has won the best Major Tourist Attraction award in 2005 and 2009.
Day 18: Sydney/USA. Bid farewell to Sydney. Your memorable journey to Australia and New Zealand comes to an end as you transfer to the airport for your flight back to the USA.
I have been traveling for over 20 years and this was my favorite trip. New Zealand is such a very pretty country. The hotels were excellent, and I give [this tour] 5 stars plus!
Gloria de la Paz, San Jose, CA
Before You Book
- Do I need a visa or any other documents? Travel visas are required for this package. Please review the requirements.
- Should I get travel insurance? Protect your travel investment with our comprehensive policies.
- What's the fine print? Read the terms & conditions for this package.
- I'm traveling solo. Can you help me find a roommate? Yes, you can connect with other travelers to share a room and avoid single occupancy rates.
- Can I bring my kids? Are there any age restrictions? To book this package, you must be 18 or older. Your traveling companions must be 8 or older at the time of travel.
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Find everything you need to know before you go, including how to pay your balance due, and information about passport & visa requirements, flights, packing & luggage, weather, electrical standards, currency exchange, immunizations you should get, and more.