Why choose between Australia and New Zealand? Experience both on an extraordinary 23-day adventure. Discover iconic Sydney, fashionable Melbourne, and welcoming Auckland; stand in the presence of sacred Uluru; explore ancient rainforests; and get your fill of city life, mountainscapes, glaciers, cultural moments, deserts, hot springs, and photo ops.

Trip highlights

Fiordland National Park Overnight Wilderness Cruise, Spend an afternoon cruising dreamy Fiordland National Park, one of the most stunning and pure places on the planet. Steep cliffs and inspiring waterfalls serve as the ideal backdrop for the dolphins, penguins, seals, and thousands of birds that compete for centre stage – all on a nature-viewing eco-expedition you'll remember forever.

James Cook University Research Aquarium, Exclusive to National Geographic Journeys travellers, go on a behind-the-scenes tour of the research aquarium at James Cook University, founded by marine biologist and National Geographic grantee, Dr. Jamie Seymour. Get an up-close look at some of these creatures, and hear about the latest research here.

Meet a Maori Elder, Enjoy a private welcome in Tamaki Village from a Maori elder. Learn about the community’s traditions and myths, as well about the history of the Maori people and their connection to the Rotorua landscape.

Sydney Harbour Sunset Dinner Cruise, Enjoy a private cruise and Aussie BBQ whilst navigating the bays and coves of Sydney Harbour.

Itinerary - 23 Days

Day 1 Sydney

Arrive at any time.

Day 2 Sydney (1B, 1D)

Enjoy a traditional Aboriginal welcome and a walkabout around The Rocks area and Sydney Harbour to learn the history of the Aboriginal people’s saltwater heritage and their spiritual connection to the area. In the afternoon, board a private vessel and enjoy a relaxing sunset cruise with a barbecue dinner. While navigating the bays and coves, sit back and enjoy views of the Harbour Bridge and Opera House.

Day 3 Sydney/Port Douglas (1B)

Fly to Cairns then travel up the coastal road to Mossman Gorge. Take an interpretive walk with a local Aboriginal guide and learn about traditional ways of life and survival techniques in the Daintree Rainforest. Continue on to the resort in Port Douglas, our home for the next two nights.

Day 4 Port Douglas (1B)

Enjoy the colourful resort town of Port Douglas. Take time to stroll the main streets and enjoy the beach.

Opt to pre-book the "Great Barrier Reef Snorkelling" activity on the checkout page ahead of time to include this optional on your tour.

Day 5 Port Douglas/Cairns (1B)

Return to the tropical city of Cairns. Take an exclusive behind the scenes tour of the James Cook University research aquarium, founded by marine biologist and National Geographic grant recipient Dr Jamie Seymour. Enjoy a private tour of the facility and get an up close look at some of these marvelous creatures. We'll also hear about the latest research from Jamie or one of his colleagues.

Day 6 Cairns (1B)

Enjoy a free day to relax at the beach. Opt to explore North Queensland’s tropical rainforests or get your adrenaline pumping with whitewater rafting or bungee jumping.

Day 7 Cairns/Uluru (1B)

Catch a flight to Uluru. Visit the cultural centre and learn about ancient beliefs and traditions portrayed in art, food, and music before witnessing an incredible sunset with a glass of bubbly.

Day 8 Uluru (1B)

Awake before sunrise to watch the colours change over Uluru. Continue on with a guided Mala Walk around the base of Uluru, gaining insight into its significance to the local Aboriginal people.

Later, take a walk in Kata Tjuta National Park and view the beautiful red-domed rock formations. The afternoon is at your leisure.

Opt to view the spectacular scenery from above when you pre-book the "Uluru & Kata Tjuta Helicopter Ride" optional activity on the checkout page.

Day 9 Uluru/Melbourne (1B)

Enjoy another sunrise over Uluru before flying to Melbourne for the night.

Day 10 Melbourne (1B)

Enjoy a full free day in Melbourne. Opt to visit wineries, explore the Great Ocean Road, or discover hidden gems in the city's famous laneways.

Day 11 Melbourne (1B, 1L)

Go on a guided foodie walk through the laneways of Melbourne with a local author and culinary storyteller for a three-course progressive lunch. Later, enjoy free time to explore Melbourne.

Day 12 Melbourne/Auckland (1B)

Fly to Auckland, New Zealand and enjoy free time in the city.

Day 13 Auckland (1B)

Enjoy a morning orientation walk before catching a ferry to Waiheke Island. Visit two local wineries to learn more about New Zealand's burgeoning wine industry and the history of wine production in the country while sampling some of the local blends, of course.

Day 14 Auckland/Rotorua (1B)

Drive to Rotorua, stopping for an excursion at Waitomo Caves where you'll take a boat ride through the cave and see thousands of flickering glowworms lighting up the walls.

Day 15 Rotorua (1B, 1D)

Enjoy a free day in Rotorua which sits over an active geothermal zone with bubbling mud pits and multi-coloured pools. Opt to visit one of the geothermal sites, or go whitewater rafting. This evening visit Tamaki Maori Village and enjoy a private welcome and talk from a “Kaumātua” (an elder in Māori society). After, watch an extravagant performance about local myths and legends while dining on traditional Hangi cuisine.

Day 16 Rotorua/Christchurch (1B)

Enjoy free time this morning in Rotorua before catching a flight to Christchurch. This afternoon, meet with a local expert and explore lesser-known paths around Christchurch on a unique walking tour of the city.

Day 17 Christchurch/Franz Josef (1B)

Enjoy one of the world’s great scenic train trips on the TranzAlpine train, crossing the scenic Southern Alps to New Zealand's glacier region. Disembark and finish the journey over the highest pass in the Southern Alps in a private vehicle before transferring to a beautiful rainforest lodge, our home for two nights.

Day 18 Franz Josef (1B)

Enjoy free time to explore the area. Opt for a helicopter hike, ice walking on the glacier, or soaking in hot pools among stunning scenery.

Day 19 Franz Josef/Queenstown (1B)

Take a stunning scenic drive through the rugged rainforest along the west coast to Queenstown.

Day 20 Queenstown/Fiordland National Park (1B, 1D)

Embark on an amazing wilderness cruise through Fiordland National Park. Led by onboard naturalist guides, we have the chance to see dolphins, fur seals, birds, and penguins, with the option to kayak. Spend the night onboard in comfortable cabins (seasonal) with time to relax on deck and stargaze.

Day 21 Fiordland National Park/Queenstown (1B)

Enjoy early morning wildlife viewing along the fiord as we cruise back to port, then return to Queenstown.

Day 22 Queenstown (1B)

Enjoy a free day to explore on your own, visit a winery, or cruise on a historic steamship. Feeling a bit more adventurous? Opt to go bungee jumping, jet boating, skydiving, paragliding, or mountain biking. This evening enjoy a gondola ride with spectacular views of the city and surrounding landscape.

Day 23 Queenstown (1B)

Depart at any time.

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