Australia & New Zealand Uncovered
AAA Member Choice Vacations | 22 Days | Wellington, NZ to Cairns, AUS
Uncover the core of Maori culture in New Zealand. Dive into the unparalleled Outback of Australia. This is Oceania, a paradise in the South Pacific. Cruise through the dramatic Milford Sound and the organic splendor of Abel Tasman National Park. Tour the Sydney Opera House to get a glimpse of the action behind the scenes. Admire the striking essence of Uluru (Ayers Rock) as you dine under the stars. Choose how you spend the day discovering the legendary Great Barrier Reef – by snorkeling, hiking, relaxing or learning. From sparkling coastlines to age-old traditions, take in the natural beauty and engaging society of these captivating countries.
Extend your vacation with an optional 3-Night Fiji post tour extension!
Special Offers and Member Benefits:
**Air from BOI (Boise, ID) and other city gateways available for an additional charge**
Stay: 22 Days, 21 Nights
Meals: 32 Meals- 19 Breakfasts, 5 Lunches, 8 Dinners
Activity Level: 3
Must-see Inclusions: Set sail through the graceful natural beauty of Abel Tasman National Park. Cruise through the dramatic Milford Sound. Enjoy a behind-the-scenes tour of the Sydney Opera House.
Culinary Inclusions: Taste Maori culture at a Hangi lunch. At a memorable Sounds of Silence dinner, dine under the stars overlooking Uluru (Ayers Rock).
Rydges Wellington: Explore the exciting capital of Wellington when you stay at Rydges Wellington. Located right downtown, it is walking distance to Lambton Quay, Westpac Stadium and Queens Wharf. Also, check out the nearby harbor. At the end of the day, return to the hotel to relax and enjoy the many modern amenities.
Day 1 Overnight Flight
Encounter the untamed vitality and the captivating culture of New Zealand and Australia – a perfect blend of wildlife and urban energy that is rooted in tradition but is ever evolving with the Outback air. Delve into the South Pacific heritage and get a close look at New Zealand’s Maori lifestyle and the roots of Australia’s Aboriginal groups.
Day 2 Wellington, New Zealand - Tour Begins
Your journey starts in New Zealand. Feel the ever-present heartbeat of Maori culture on this set of islands. Comprised of natural beauty and striking contrasts, live the Kiwi lifestyle for the next 10 days. Say hello to Wellington, the colorful capital city of New Zealand. Take in the gourmet eats, seaside charm, and scenic coastline as you feel the warm ocean breeze of the “Windy City.”
Day 3 Wellington
Jump right into Maori culture with a traditional powhiri, an elaborate ceremony for welcoming guests. Marvel at the carved wakas, sleek canoes of intricate design, at a Maori culture center. Get exclusive access to an archaeological site not open to the public during a guided exploration of a waterfront pa (Maori for village). Taste Maori heritage in a Hangi dish and discover the roots of the culture at the Te Papa Museum. Admire the rolling waves as you share conversation, connecting over dinner.
Day 4 Wellington - Picton - Nelson
Surrounded by green slopes and rolling mountains, the Cook Strait will offer a picturesque landscape as you cruise over the stunning waters on your way to the South Island. Visit Nelson, the oldest city on the island. Enjoy an evening at leisure to experience this coastal hub, full of local works and a trending foodie scene. This local art hub highlights works from the area, artisan food markets, and sparkling waters.
Day 5 Nelson - Abel Tasman National Park - Nelson
Explore the open-air Nelson Market, featuring delicious foods and goods. Chat with artisans as you walk along the spirited stalls and peruse an ever-evolving library of Kiwi crafts. Venture on to Kaiteriteri, a coastal paradise where you’ll set sail through the graceful natural beauty of Abel Tasman National Park. Coast over the crystal-clear waters and pass reaching trees huddled along the shore. A picnic lunch awaits at the Anchorage, a scenic bay set amongst gentle waves and sandy coasts.
Day 6 Nelson - Hokitika
Today venture to the natural phenomenon of Punakaiki’s Pancake Rocks. Feel the spray of the ocean crashing against these unique limestone formations with a flapjack façade. Tonight, dine at your beachfront hotel, a natural haven of craggy peaks and lively waterspouts.
Day 7 Hokitika - Franz Josef
Wake up in Hokitika, better known as a “cool little town.” Head to Hokitika Gorge for a taste of New Zealand’s beloved West Coast nature. Return to town for a tour, ending with a walk along the beach and some free time to explore on your own. Make your way to Franz Josef, New Zealand’s glacier country. Discover the area’s seaside allure by combing the beach in search of New Zealand jade or perhaps you’ll explore the shops and eateries in town.
Day 8 Franz Josef
Choose how to start your day because it’s your choice! View the Franz Josef Glacier with a local guide, traversing an exclusive trail not open to the public -OR- get a glimpse of kiwis at the West Coast Wildlife Centre, where you’ll learn more about conservation and rehabilitation of this national icon. Enjoy free time to relax. Perhaps you will step into the rainforest and soak in the steamy thermal waters of the Franz Josef Glacier Hot Pools. Finish your day with dinner at the hotel.
Day 9 Franz Josef - Queenstown
Journey through the thick rainforest and emerge on the “wild” west coast. With cliffs and beaches on your right and the southern snowcapped Alps on your left, there will be no shortage of riveting landscapes to capture your eye. Pause in Wanaka, a slice of tranquility nestled along a mountain-lined lake. Continue to Queenstown, the adventure capital of the world, and settle into your home for the next 3 nights.
Day 10 Queenstown - Milford Sound - Queenstown
Enjoy the rugged grandeur of the Hollyford Valley and cross through an ancient red beech forest. Cruise along the waters of the dramatic Milford Sound, taking in the natural splendor around you. With cliffs rising up to nearly 4,000 feet, you’ll see why this is one of the most visited sights on the South Island. Following your cruise, you may choose to return to Queenstown via a short optional flight (weather permitting) for spectacular views of New Zealand’s Southern Alps.
Day 11 Queenstown
Today is yours! Explore the adventure capital whichever way your heart desires. Perhaps you’ll choose an optional tour to cruise Lake Wakatipu surrounded by Queenstown’s stunning landscape aboard an iconic coal-fired steamship. Once on land, enjoy a BBQ lunch lakeside followed by a sheepdog demonstration.
Day 12 Queenstown - Sydney, Australia
Wish New Zealand goodbye and enter Australia, home to the expansive Outback and lively waterfront cities. Start your Aussie adventure in Sydney, the country’s largest city.
Day 13 Sydney
During a city tour get a glimpse at all the main highlights Sydney has to offer. Then, take a step into the past and explore the historic Rocks neighborhood, situated along the edge of Sydney Harbour. Continue along to the port Circular Quay before strolling through the winding paths of the Royal Botanical Gardens. Here, you’ll delve into Aboriginal culture by learning about native plants and foraging for traditional foods. Go behind the scenes of the Sydney Opera House on an expert-led guided tour of this legendary venue. As the sun sets, admire the city skyline on a dinner cruise through Sydney Harbour and watch the sky transform into a myriad of pinks and oranges over the iconic Sydney Opera House.
Day 14 Sydney
Make the most of your final day in Sydney with a full day at leisure where you can take advantage of your included hop-on, hop-off bus passes! You could take the bus out to Bondi Beach for the surf culture, visit one of the many local museums or take in the sights at Darling Harbour.
Day 15 Sydney - Adelaide
Set off on a short flight to Adelaide, the cosmopolitan hub of South Australia. Indulge in a wine tasting at d’Arenberg Cube, home to eccentric architecture and vibrant surroundings, and discover why the wine maker is referred to as the “Willy Wonka of Wines.”
Day 16 Adelaide - Barossa Valley - Adelaide
Treat your taste buds to a full-day exploration of the Barossa Valley’s fine food and wine. Visit one of the local farmsteads, famed for its produce and enjoy a private interactive cooking demonstration. Your vintner voyage continues with a tour and tasting at the famous Seppeltsfield Winery, one of the oldest in the Barossa Valley, followed by lunch.
Day 17 Adelaide - Uluru (Ayers Rock)
Your adventure continues to Uluru (Ayers Rock). After your flight from Adelaide, relish in free time this afternoon before gathering for an unforgettable evening set in the backdrop of this Aboriginal destination. Experience the Sounds of Silence dinner, a gourmet meal overlooking the glowing Uluru. As the sun drops behind the horizon and the Milky Way starts to twinkle, relax as you eat dinner under a bed of stars, overlooking Australia’s greatest natural wonder.
Day 18 Uluru (Ayers Rock) - Cairns
Get a close look at the iconic, massive red rocks emerging from the earth, sprung up as if beckoned toward the clouds. On a guided tour of Uluru’s base and the neighboring Kata Tjuta rock formations, discover the heritage of Australia’s Aboriginal people. Fly to Cairns and enjoy an evening at leisure, getting to know this gateway to an underwater paradise.
Day 19 Cairns - Great Barrier Reef - Cairns
Board a glass-bottom catamaran and sail to the Low Isles to discover the aquatic realm of the Great Barrier Reef. Spend the day however you please, perhaps choosing from a selection of included activities. Maybe you’ll soak up the sun on a tiny remote island,* located along the outer reef. Or consider snorkeling in the rolling waves, uncovering a pod of vibrant sea life. You can also meet with a marine biologist, or join an expert on a heritage trail walk along the island.
Day 20 Cairns
This morning, a short cruise takes you to a stunning wetland environment where Traditional Aboriginal Owners greet you with a Welcome to Country and Smoking Ceremony. Afterwards your indigenous guides will introduce you to native foods and bush medicines, as well as ancient Aboriginal traditions, customs, and artifacts. This afternoon is at your leisure to relax or explore the tropical city of Cairns. Toast to the end of your journey at a farewell dinner, reflecting on your Outback escapade.
Day 21 Cairns - Tour Ends
Your tour of New Zealand and Australia comes to a close today.
Flynn Crystalbrook Collection: Experienced travelers will tell you, “don’t pass up once-in-a-lifetime opportunities.” You’ve come so far; now complete your tour with an incredible 3 night Fiji Extension. Escape into a tropical paradise. Relax with a fresh fruit drink, read a book, go for a swim —you won’t regret adding three nights on this stunning archipelago.