New Zealand & Australia ~ 16 Days with Optional Post-Trip to Fiji

16 Days

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October 29, 2024 - November 13, 2024 Guaranteed $7,984 USD
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Follow us to New Zealand


This 16 day grand adventure begins with a scenic train ride through the Southern Alps of New Zealand and a cruise through Milford Sound. Then we will fly to Melbourne and enjoy 10 days of exploring nature filled islands, snorkeling in the Great Barrier Reef, flying above a rainforest on the cableway, and visiting cities like Melbourne and Sydney (with a private tour of the opera house). What’s not to love?


  • TranzAlpine Train from Christchurch to Greymouth
  • Private tour and wine tasting at Gibbston Valley Winery
  • Cruise from Queenstown Bay across Lake Wakatiou to Walter Peak High Country Farm
  • Gourmet Barbecue Dinner
  • Milford Sound Cruise
  • Unique Backstreet Melbourne Tour
  • See kangaroos, koalas, penguins, bats, wallabies, and birds at Phillip Island
  • Winery Tour in Yarra Valley
  • Great Barrier Reef Snorkeling and Presentation by Marine Biologist
  • Kuranda Rail Tour through sugar plantations, Barron Falls, and Stoney Creek Falls
  • Walking Tour through Rainforestation Nature Park and the Koala and Wildlife Park
  • Immerse yourself in dynamic performance of the Pamagirri Aboriginal Dancers
  • Private Sydney Opera House Tour
  • Enjoy Blue Mountains via Scenic Railway, Walkway, Cableway, and Skyway
  • All accommodations for the full tour
  • Meals as described in the itinerary
  • Luggage transport


We depart the US for a very long flight to Christchurch.

While it is only about 20 hours, because of the time zone changes, we will arrive in the mid-afternoon on Sunday, Feb 18 to begin our adventure.

Welcome to Christchurch! After clearing arrival formalities, we will be met and escorted to our waiting coach. En route to the hotel, enjoy a guided sightseeing tour highlighting the most iconic places in the city such as Botanic Gardens, Bridge of Remembrance, and the Pier at New Brighton Beach.


Breakfast at the hotel. We will checkout, and be ready to leave the hotel at 7:15 a.m. Our private coach will collect us from the hotel for our transfer to the Christchurch Train Station to join the TranzAlpine train to Greymouth. In a remarkably short journey – little more than 4 hours – the world famous TranzAlpine train leaves Christchurch on the East Coast, crosses the fertile farmlands of the Canterbury Plains, winds its way through the stunning Waimakariri Gorge, passes over massive viaducts, crosses New Zealand’s greatest mountain range, the Southern Alps, and travels through lush beech forests and past serene lakes, before arriving in Greymouth on the beautiful West Coast. When you arrive in Greymouth at 1:05 p.m. you will re-board your private coach to transfer to Franz Josef Glacier for your overnight stay. Dinner will be at the hotel restaurant (3-course dinner).

Breakfast, Dinner

Breakfast will be served at the hotel, and we will leave at 7:30 a.m. for our overland transfer to Gibbston Valley en route to Queenstown. At 12:30 p.m. we will arrive at Gibbston Valley Winery for our tour that includes a wine tasting and lunch with a glass of wine (additional beverages at own expense).

After lunch, we travel back toward Queenstown with a 30-minute stop at Kawarau Bridge to watch the bungee jumping. Next, we travel through Arrowtown for a 35 – 40 minute stop to enjoy some free time. We will travel back to the hotel at the end of the tour. At 6:00 pm we will meet at the Steamer Wharf to begin our scenic cruise from Queenstown Bay across the stunning Lake Wakatipu to Walter Peak High Country Farm on the vintage steamship TSS Earnslaw.

A dining experience that’s unlike any other in Queenstown – We will disembark from our cruise at Walter Peak where we will be escorted through the lakeside gardens to the recently refurbished Colonel’s Homestead and seated for dinner. We will relax in the unique ambiance in front of a roaring open fire and soak in the views from this stunning lakeside setting while chefs prepare a gourmet BBQ on the outdoor grill. Enjoy a selection of succulent New Zealand meats and seafoods accompanied by delectable seasonal salads, tasty dessert treats and local cheeses. All meat and seafood is cooked on the outdoor BBQ and rotisserie in front of guests and served immediately. A local wine list and other alcoholic beverages are available for purchase from the bar. After our meal, we can join an entertaining farm experience which gives guests an insight into life in the New Zealand high country (including a sheep shearing demonstration). The night cruise home is magical. Join in the camaraderie of a sing-a-long with the ship’s pianist on our return journey.

Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

After breakfast at the hotel, our private coach will collect us from the hotel for our full day tour including a land transfer and Milford Sound Scenic Cruise.

Our Milford Sound Cruise will depart from Milford Sound Visitor Terminal at 1:45 p.m.  We will enjoy a spectacular one-hour and 40 minute cruise to the mouth of the fiord on a spacious, modern vessel with excellent viewing opportunities. Large windows, spacious decks and comfortable lounges offer uninterrupted views of towering peaks and surging waterfalls. Keep a look out for seals basking on the rocks, dolphins and penguins! Enjoy scenic highlights such as Mitre Peak and Pembroke Glacier. Our guide will explain the history, highlights, and points of interest during the cruise. Complimentary tea and coffee are available on board. Buffet lunch is included.

At 3:25 p.m., you will re-board your coach for the return journey to Queenstown and your hotel. For today’s tour, be sure to bring: Waterproof Jacket, Woolen Sweater/Fleece, Jacket, Sunscreen, Insect Repellent & Sunglasses

Breakfast, Lunch

Breakfast at the hotel, and then we will transfer to the airport to join the flight to Melbourne. After arriving at the airport, we will be met and transferred the hotel.  We will have the rest of the day to settle in before meeting for dinner.

Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

We will have breakfast at our hotel. Have you ever been to a city and wondered what all the fuss was about? Or wasted time trying to find that cool local café you were told of, and ended up missing everything? Melbourne’s arcades and laneways hide many of these answers. Join this indulgent morning walk through Melbourne’s beautiful back streets, and get orientated in the life of the city that locals love. Some of the quirkiest cafes, independent designers, street art, architecture, and historical tales are found in these walkways; there is something for everyone, locals and visitors alike. See over 30 stores on this casual stroll during your free time in marvelous Melbourne. Morning tea is included during the tour. We will have lunch before boarding our private coach for our Phillip Island Tour.
We will visit Phillip Island Nature Park and experience a range of unique Australian attractions including the world famous Penguin Parade and the Koala Conservation Centre where we will come ‘face to face’ with koalas in their natural habitat. Explore the treetop boardwalks and stroll through the woodlands, home to many animals including wallabies, echidnas, bats and birds.
Later we will get to experience the magic of little penguins returning home at sunset to one of the largest penguin colonies in Australia from the Penguins Plus viewing platform. Enjoy a more personal viewing experience, limited to 190 people, along with a commentary from an experienced ranger. Note: Video and Photography is not permitted at the Penguin Parade or any of the penguin viewing areas.
Dinner is included at a local restaurant (excludes alcoholic beverages). Please remember to bring warm clothing (rain jacket or poncho) in any season for the penguin watching on the beach. At the end of the evening, we will return to the hotel.

Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

After breakfast, we will be collected from our hotel and taken on a Full day Yarra Valley Tour. Under an hour’s drive from Melbourne, the Yarra Valley is famous for its wine, fresh food and breathtaking scenery. The place where Victorian winegrowing started, the Yarra Valley is now home to over 55 wineries, most of which offer cellar door tastings and sales. Many are as serious about food as they are about their harvest, pairing the wine they make with local produce in restaurants located in beautiful vineyards.
The Yarra Valley is richly endowed with some of the most beautiful countryside in Victoria. Distant blue ranges, rolling hills strung with vines, towering trees, and verdant valleys with pristine rivers make up the spectacular scenery on offer around Marysville and Warburton. Our guided tour will take us to at least 3 wineries all with their own unique character and style, but each with a welcoming cellar door. We will have wine tastings followed by a luncheon at one of the wineries before arriving back at our hotel in the late afternoon.

Tonight is free for you to dine with the locals and try one of Melbourne’s many restaurants maybe a BYOB or one of Melbourne’s well known Italian, Greek or Indian restaurants… the choices are limitless!

Breakfast, Lunch

Breakfast at the hotel, then we will transfer to the airport to join the flight to Cairns. After clearing arrival formalities, we will take a private van to our hotel. The balance of the day will be spent in leisure, and we will meet for dinner before retiring at our hotel.


After breakfast, we will walk about 10 minutes to The Reef Fleet Terminal for our full day reef trip. Our cruise departs at 9.00am. These new, luxurious, and fast catamarans that travel directly from Cairns to the spacious, stable Marine World activity platform in less than 90 minutes. We will have privileged access to one of the most pristine, accessible & versatile Outer Great Barrier Reef sites available on a day trip from Cairns. We will enjoy the complete reef experience with 5 full hours at a private patch of reef & the smallest pontoon passenger numbers – no rush, no crowds. We will also be treated to lunch and a glass or wine or soft drink. There are many inclusive activities to choose from and an affordable range of optional extras in a uniquely relaxed, friendly and personalized atmosphere. Be sure to bring swim suits, towel, hat, sunglasses, sunscreen, change of clothes, extra cash or credit card for onboard purchases.

Included Activities:

All snorkeling equipment (including FREE use of wetsuit or lycra suit)

Semi-Submersible and Glass Bottom Boat Tours

Underwater reef viewing observatory

Great Barrier Reef presentation by a Marine Biologist

Breakfast, Lunch

Following breakfast, we will meet our local guide who will accompany us on our full day Kuranda tour. We will go to the Railway Station and join the historic Kuranda Rail for one of the most spectacular rail journeys in Australia. Traveling slowly, it winds its way up the epic pioneer track with every turn revealing a new panorama – sugar plantations, Barron Falls, Stoney Creek Falls – until it reaches Kuranda Station, a cool, tropical environment of native shrubs, ferns and flowers. Upon reaching Kuranda, we will have time to explore and enjoy the old-world charm of this “village in the Rainforest.”

Then we will take a short transfer to Rainforestation Nature Park, boasting 40 hectares of gardens and rainforest set amidst World Heritage areas. Ride the amphibious army duck through the rainforest and visit the Koala and Wildlife Park. The Dreamtime Walk provides a comprehensive introduction to Aboriginal and Islander culture and history with practical experiences including boomerang lessons or spear throwing. Witness the dynamic performance of the Pamagirri Aboriginal Dancers in the natural amphitheater where the rainforest serves as the theatre walls and the sounds of the forest and the didgeridoo create the backing music. A Barbecue lunch will be served during the day.

After lunch we will board the Skyrail Rainforest Cableway for an amazing experience over Australia’s World Heritage listed Tropical Rainforest canopy and deep into the forest. Our Skyrail experience will take approximately 1 ½ hours and includes stops at the two rainforest mid-stations. Allow 20 minutes for each station to enjoy Ranger guided boardwalk tours and visit the Rainforest Interpretation Centre lookouts and historical displays.

Breakfast, Lunch

After breakfast at the hotel, we will transfer to the airport to join the flight to Sydney. After clearing arrival formalities, you will be met and transferred to the hotel. The balance of the day is at your leisure.


Breakfast at the hotel, before meeting our guide for a city tour. Drive through the historic ‘Rocks’ area where Australia was first founded with its maze of terrace houses, restored warehouses, pubs and restaurants. Drive under the famous ‘coat hanger’, the Sydney Harbour Bridge and view Sydney’s famous architectural masterpiece, the Sydney Opera House. Continue through the commercial area of the city passing the historical buildings of Macquarie Street – Parliament House, The Mint and Hyde Park Barracks. Alight at Mrs. Macquarie’s Chair for breathtaking views of the city and harbor. Proceed through cosmopolitan Kings Cross and exclusive garden suburbs to the Gap on the ocean headland at Watsons Bay. Return to the city via famous Bondi Beach and Paddington, a Victorian suburb of restored terrace houses richly decorated with cast-iron lace. Then we will make our way to the Opera House and check-in for our private tour.

Sydney Opera House Exclusive Private Tour

This 45-minute tour offers the opportunity to experience the Sydney Opera House in its daily operation. Visitors are guided into theatres, given a fascinating account of the history and architecture of the House and introduced to the magic of performance. With its white, sculptural ‘shells’ rising from the harbor foreshore at Bennelong Point, the Opera House is Sydney’s most recognizable building and, officially, one of the seven wonders of the 20th century. Joern Utzon, the Danish architect who designed the Opera House, ascribed the inspiration for his masterpiece to the sails of yachts on the harbor. As the Opera House is first and foremost a performing arts center, some areas may be restricted for viewing due to rehearsals and performances. After the tour, you will be transferred back to your hotel for a free evening.


After breakfast, we will meet our local guide and depart by private coach for a full day tour of the world-famous Blue Mountains. Today you will travel 100 km west of Sydney to the Blue Mountains by a private charter. Follow the trail of Australia’s early explorers as the coach ascends into the Blue Mountains National Park. We will visit Featherdale Wildlife Park for a memorable and unique experience in a natural and well-established bush setting. View Koalas, kangaroos and wallabies, wombats, fairy penguins and Australian reptiles.

Then we will travel through the historic townships of Blaxland, Springwood, Lawson and enjoy some free time in the National Trust township of Leura, a little town made up of cafes, craft shops, art galleries, tea houses and quaint boutiques. It is situated at the edge of the Blue Mountain National Park and has magnificent views of Mt. Solitary. Continue along Cliff Drive to Echo Point to view the world famous “Three Sisters.” Perched on the edge of the escarpment, Echo Point precinct provides panoramic views of the southern Blue Mountains, Kanangra-Boyd Wilderness and the iconic Three Sisters rock formation from a variety of lookouts.

Enjoy a 2-course lunch (excludes beverages) at Mountain Heritage restaurant overlooking the stunning views and gardens of The Blue Mountains. The Mountain Heritage restaurant offers seasonal menu of fine Australian cuisine. After lunch visit Scenic World, located at the World Heritage-listed Blue Mountains, Scenic World is renowned for providing the ultimate Blue Mountains Adventure – from native birds and fresh air to breathtaking views of the World Heritage-listed region including the Three Sisters, Katoomba Falls & Jamison Valley. The Unlimited Discovery Pass offers unlimited experience on the Railway, Walkway, Cableway and Skyway.

Scenic Railway – Discover the thrill of a 52-degree incline riding the steepest passenger railway in the world, the Scenic Railway. A whole new visitor experience awaits, with glass-roofed red carriages offering expansive views of the rainforest setting and spectacular Jamison Valley.

Scenic Walkway – Discover the tranquility of ancient rainforest whilst strolling along the 2.4 kilometer Scenic Walkway. The elevated boardwalk immerses you in Jurassic rainforest on the Jamison Valley floor with minimal impact on the environment. Along the way, explore elements of the site’s coal mining history including the mine entrance, a replica miners’ hut and scale bronze sculpture of a miner and his pit pony.

Scenic Cableway – Discover panoramic views of the World Heritage-listed Blue Mountains from the Scenic Cableway. The 545-metre journey gently descends into the Jamison Valley and also returns you to the top of the escarpment. The Cableway’s fully enclosed cabin is a unique vantage point for viewing the Three Sisters, Orphan Rock, Mt Solitary and Katoomba Falls.

Scenic Skyway – Glide between cliff tops and gaze at the rainforest canopy through the glass floor of the Scenic Skyway! Suspended 270 metres above ancient ravines, the Skyway provides a unique thrill as breathtaking views are revealed beneath your feet through the electro-glass cabin floor. For the less adventurous, seating and solid flooring is also available. With 360° views, the 720 meter journey provides the best views of Katoomba Falls, the Three Sisters, and Jamison Valley stretching to the horizon.

On your return to Sydney travel through Sydney Olympic Park before returning to your hotel.

Breakfast, Lunch

Following breakfast, we will transfer to the airport to leave Sydney – Please learn more about our 4 day post-trip in Fiji!

What's Included

  • All internal flights
  • All admission tickets and snorkeling gear
  • 13 nights accommodations (standard and above standard)
  • Luggage transport
  • Most meals as described in itinerary
Do New Zealand and Australia have the same currency?

Many people are surprised to know that Australia and New Zealand have two different currencies – to make it even more confusing, both currencies are the dollar.  It is important to remember that you cannot use the Australian dollar in New Zealand or the New Zealand dollar in Australia.

What are the electrical outlets used in Australia & New Zealand?

Both New Zealand and Australia use different outlets from the rest of the world – the Type I plug. Type I plugs have three flat pins, with two angled to form an inverted ‘v’ at the top and one running straight down underneath. The voltage in New Zealand is 230/240 volts (50Hz).

What will the weather be like when we are there?

February is the last month of summer with March leading into fall, so this is an ideal time to visit the region. Plan for temperatures as high as 25ºC (77ºF) and only as low as 17ºC (63ºF) on most nights.

Is tipping expected in restaurants in Australia and New Zealand?

Waitstaff receive a fair wage, and do not expect large tips.  They are seen as a small bonus for exceptional service. It is most common in more touristy areas, especially at high end restaurants and bars.  If you decide to tip, a good general rule is to add 10% to the bill or to round up to the nearest $10.

Is a Visa required for US citizens to travel to Australia and New Zealand?

All US citizens are required to have a visa to enter Australia.  It is a simple online process, and we will help you with it.

New Zealand has a visa exemption policy for certain nationalities, including US passport holders. However, they do require eligible visitors to apply for an NZeTA before departure.  It is also done online and approved within 1-3 days.


Distinction Christchurch Hotel

The renovated Distinction Christchurch Hotel is an urban escape combining sophisticated smarts and familiar warmth whilst standing proud amongst the buzz of the rejuvenation of Cathedral Square. This luxury Christchurch accommodation is ideally positioned in the heart of the city only a few minutes’ walk from the Avon River, Botanical Gardens, Christchurch Casino, Cashel Mall and new Te Pae Christchurch Convention Centre.

Scenic Hotel Franz Josef Glacier 

Located in the heart of Franz Josef village. Scenic Hotel Franz Josef Glacier offers guests a cosy atmosphere and convenient base for exploring the West Coast. The hotel features an onsite restaurant and bar. guest laundry. free parking and free WiFi. Rooms feature a mini fridge. tea/coffee making facilities and TV with Freeview channels.

Novotel Queenstown Lakeside

Enjoy Queenstown’s natural beauty from your hotel room as you look over the tranquil Lake Wakatipu or venture further out and experience some of the adventure sports Queenstown is known for such as bungee jumping off Kawarau Gorge Suspension bridge. This hotel is located in the midst of the local fine dining precinct and just 15 minutes from the airport, making it very easy to get around on foot.

Crown Promenade in Melbourne

Crown Promenade is a modern hotel located within walking distance of Melbourne’s Central Business District offering city views and friendly service. Stylish yet functional, our contemporary guest rooms are comfortably furnished and offer a range of bathroom amenities and all the in-room facilities we may need.

Pacific Hotel Cairns

Located on the Cairns Esplanade overlooking Trinity Harbour, Pacific Hotel Cairns offers guests stunning views from private balconies and provides easy access to the nearby Reef Fleet Terminal, shopping precinct, casino and Esplanade Lagoon. The modern rooms offers accommodation for all travellers which include free WiFi, a flat screen TV, work desk, en suite and 24-hour room service. Dual-key rooms are available. Other facilities at Pacific Hotel Cairns include the guest lounge, where you can meet friends or wait for your tour to depart and the outdoor swimming pool and proximity to waterfront boardwalks for you to enjoy.

Crowne Plaza Sydney Darling Harbour

Featuring a rooftop heated outdoor pool, 24-hour fitness centre, restaurant, bar, cafe and unlimited free WiFi, Crowne Plaza Sydney Darling Harbour is just a 3-minute walk from Town Hall and 10 minutes’ walk from Pitt Street Mall and the Darling Harbour foreshore, where you can visit the SEALIFE Aquarium, WILDLIFE Sydney Zoo, Maritime Museum and International Convention Centre Sydney. The property offers spacious guest rooms which are suitable for business or leisure travellers. There are also twin and interconnecting room options suitable for families. The rooms feature marble bathrooms with walk-in showers, bathrobes and Antipodes organic bathroom amenities. All rooms also provide guests with contemporary décor with art deco accents, sofa areas to relax, Chromecast technology, wireless charging and Bluetooth speakers.

Join us for a 3 day beach getaway post-trip!

Day 1: Sydney to Nadi, Fiji

Welcome to Fiji! Sunny, unique and unspoiled, the islands of Fiji offer thousands of miles of pristine white sand beaches, fabulous coral gardens and azure lagoons. The genuine friendliness and hospitality of the people is legendary, their smiles infectious and the gentle pace of life is irresistibly seductive. Fiji epitomizes paradise.

Upon arrival, we will be met and transferred to our resort on the Coral Coast. The Coral Coast on the main island of Viti Levu was the first region in Fiji to be developed for tourism and is a popular area for visitors on a Fiji vacation. This region is located on the south-western side of the main island starting 15 kilometres/10 miles south of Nadi and takes 90 minutes to drive along en route to the capital, Suva. It is located on one of the world’s largest coral reefs and offers 80 kilometers/50 miles of excellent beaches with a good choice of resort hotels.

As you drive along the coast made up of bays, beaches, rocky promontories and mangrove forests, you will notice the background of steep hills rising sharply into the mountain ranges. The resort and market town of Sigatoka is one of the main centers of the Coral Coast on trips to Fiji.

Day 2: Coral Coast – Sigatoka River Off-Road Cave Safari

Enjoy an adventure to Fiji’s beautiful interior on the “Road Less Travelled”. Transport across the mighty Sigatoka River on a modern day bilibili or “push push punt.”

We will meander deep into the interior passing through Fijian villages. Our Off-Road guides will stop at several amazing locations providing you with history of the region of Fiji before arriving at Fiji’s largest cave system. You will be greeted by the Bete (priest) the traditional protector of the Naihehe Cave.

We will be provided with headlamps at the cave entrance – After exploring the caves, enjoy a Fijian BBQ lunch overlooking a stunning swimming hole where you are welcome to take a dip before we head back to the hotel.

Day 3: Coral Coast 

Breakfast at the hotel before we call all enjoy a full free day for independent activities.

Day 4: Depart Nadi / Return USA

Breakfast at the hotel. Transfer to the Nadi airport to join your homebound flight.

Naviti Resort – Coral Coast

Set amongst 38 acres of lush tropical gardens, Naviti Resort lies on Fiji’s stunning Coral Coast between Nadi and Suva. Overlooking its own private island, this Fiji accommodation is flanked by a magnificent lagoon and rolling green hills. Discover the warm Fijian welcome and gorgeous tropical ambience as you holiday with family, friends or the one you love at Naviti Resort. Naviti Resort offers an array of accommodation along with the popular all-inclusive option encompassing meals, drinks and activities. The 214 rooms are air conditioned and include a range of hotel rooms, suites and beachfront villas. All rooms are well appointed and offer a comfortable yet sophisticated setting perfect for relaxing on your Fiji holiday.

All-Inclusive Amenities

• Welcome drink on arrival, all meals (breakfast, lunch & dinner specified restaurant), beverage from the bar from 10am to 11pm (includes Local draught beers, house red, white and sparkling wines, local brand spirits, soft drinks by the glass, fruit punch).

• Beverages are limited to (1) one drink per person per order by the glass.

*All Inclusive bar service ceases at 11.00pm; all beverages purchased thereafter will be charged to guest’s room account

• BEVERAGES ON THE ALL INCLUSIVE PACKAGE DO NOT INCLUDE; Mini bars, bottled beers, bottled water, cocktails, milkshakes, slushies, room service and specialty coffee


Botanic Gardens Christchurch

TranzAlpine Railway to Greymouth

Gibbston Valley


Phillip Island Nature Park

Penguin Parade

From $7,984 USD
/ Shared Room (Double Occupancy)
From $10,567 USD
/ Private Room (Single Occupancy)
  • Small Groups of 8 - 15 people
  • Flexible Payments
  • Pre-trip Educational/Preparation Meetings
  • TravelAvidly Trip Leader
  • Immersive Experiences

Trip Information

Activity Level: Moderate (see all ratings)

Curator: Jim Peacock

Trip Leader/CSR: Jim Peacock