Explore Australia & New Zealand

National Geographic Journeys, Sydney to Queenstown

Image by G Adventures

Tour description provided by G Adventures

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.

What’s included

  • Your Journeys Highlight Moment: The Rocks Aboriginal Dreaming and Welcome Tour, Sydney Your Journeys Highlight Moment: James Cook University Research Aquarium Your Journeys Highlight Moment: Melbourne Foodie Walk, Melbourne Your Journeys Highlight Moment: Waiheke Island Wineries, Waiheke Island Your Journeys Highlight Moment: Meet a Maori Elder, Rotorua Your Discover Moment: Cairns
  • Sydney Harbour Aboriginal Walk
  • Sydney Harbour cruise
  • Aboriginal walk through the Daintree Rainforest
  • Sunrise interpretive walk at Uluru
  • Melbourne orientation walk
  • Visit glowworm caves
  • Orientation walk in Christchurch
  • Scenic TranzAlpine train
  • Queenstown Gondola ride
  • Wilderness day cruise (winter) or overnight cruise (summer) in Fiordland National Park
  • Internal flights
  • All transport between destinations and to/from included activities

Highlights

  • Enjoy a sunset cruise on a private yacht
  • Take an interpretive walk with an aboriginal guide
  • Get an exclusive tour of a research aquarium
  • Witness thousands of glowworms lighting up the scenery

Itinerary

Day 1 Sydney Please make your own way to the joining hotel. There are no planned activities during the day, so check into the hotel and enjoy exploring the city before joining the welcome meeting at 6pm. If you arrive early enough, you'll have time to head into the city to visit The Rocks neighbourhood, the Australian Museum, Bondi Beach, or Darling Harbour. Additional Notes: Please try to arrive before 6:00pm for an important group welcome meeting where you can meet the Chief Experience Officer (CEO) and the other group members. This is a busy trip with a lot of early mornings to catch connecting flights, enabling you to see as much of Down Under as possible. Want to start your Down Under adventure with an adrenaline rush? Add the 'Sydney Adrenaline Bundle' or 'Sydney Bridge Climb' extra to your tour. Get an incredible view of the iconic Sydney Harbour from the top of the Harbour Bridge, then zip through the waterways on a jet boat ride if you book the 'Adrenaline Bundle'. PLEASE NOTE: if booking either of these extras a pre-night in Sydney is highly recommended as the Bridge Climb starts early in the morning on Day 1. Included Activities: Arrival Day and Welcome Meeting
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 yacht 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. Included Activities: Sydney Harbour Sunset Dinner Cruise The Rocks Aboriginal Dreaming and Welcome Tour Transport: Metro
Day 3 Sydney/Port Douglas (1B) We catch a very early flight to ensure we make the most of the day. Additional Notes: Please note that the max luggage allowance on domestic flights within Australia is 1 checked bag (20 kgs) and 1 carry on (7 kgs) per person. Any additional luggage is subject to airline fees and is not included. Included Activities: Aboriginal Interpretive Walk Transport: Taxicab (0.50-1.00 hours) Plane (3.00 hour(s)) Private Vehicle (1.00 hour(s), 70km)
Day 4 Port Douglas (1B) Enjoy the colourful resort town of Port Douglas. Take time to stroll the main streets, enjoy the beach, or opt to go snorkelling at the Great Barrier Reef.
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. Included Activities: James Cook University Research Aquarium Transport: Private Vehicle (1.00 hour(s), 70km)
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) Get a good nights sleep as our flight could be quite early today. Included Activities: Sunset at Uluru Aboriginal Cultural Centre Visit Transport: Plane (3.00 hour(s)) Taxicab (0.50 hour(s))
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. Additional Notes: Between November and March, there is extreme heat with temperatures averaging between 43-46°C (109-115°F) in the middle of Australia, especially around Uluru. This can lead to heat exhaustion and potentially become very dangerous. Be sure to drink plenty of water and replenish electrolytes by drinking sports drinks, coconut water or water mixed with electrolyte powder packets. The Mala Walk at Uluru is not permitted if temperatures exceed 36°C (98°F). During these hot months, we try to offer all walks early in the day to avoid the midday sun. Our CEOs will monitor the weather conditions to gauge the safety of any included walks and may need to call off a given day's walk due to extreme heat. Included Activities: Uluru Mala Walk Kata Tjuta National Park
Day 9 Uluru/Melbourne (1B) Enjoy another sunrise over Uluru before flying to Melbourne for the night. Additional Notes: Flight times today can very depending on airline schedules. Transport: Plane Taxicab (0.50-1.00 hours)
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. Additional Notes: Occasionally Monique Bayer may not be available for the Melbourne Foodie Walk. In the event this happens, an equally qualified guide will lead the walk. Included Activities: Melbourne Foodie Walk
Day 12 Melbourne/Auckland (1B) Fly to Auckland, New Zealand and enjoy free time in the city. Transport: Plane (4.00 hour(s))
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. Included Activities: Waiheke Island Wineries Orientation Walk
Day 14 Auckland/Rotorua (1B) Rotorua sits over an active geothermal zone with bubbling mud pits and multi-coloured pools in different areas around the town. This is a fascinating region with Maori history and culture tied directly to the geothermal aspects of the land. Included Activities: Waitomo Cave Excursion Transport: Private Vehicle (6.00-7.00 hours, 300km)
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. Included Activities: Meet a Maori Elder Tamaki Maori Village
Day 16 Rotorua/Christchurch (1B) With free time in Rotorua this morning, opt to relax in one of the hot pools fed by water coming directly from the natural springs. Included Activities: Orientation Walk Transport: Private Vehicle Plane (1.00-1.50 hours)
Day 17 Christchurch/Franz Josef (1B) Transport: Train (2.50 hour(s)) Private Vehicle (3.00-3.50 hours, 240km)
Day 18 Franz Josef (1B) Options are plentiful. Choose from a helicopter hike, ice walking on the glacier, or soaking in hot pools among stunning scenery.
Day 19 Franz Josef/Queenstown (1B) Early start to travel to the picturesque Lake Matheson. When the weather is right, you can get a great photo of the Southern Alps reflected in the lake. Follow the wild West Coast Road, through the rainforest before stopping for some short walks and waterfall visits. Transport: Private Vehicle (8.00-9.00 hours, 365km)
Day 20 Queenstown/Fiordland National Park (1B, 1D) In the evening, enjoy a delicious three course buffet dinner prepared by our onboard chef and served in the dining saloon. Mingle with fellow travellers, savour some of the fine wines at our licensed bar (additional price) and if the skies are clear in the evening, spend some time on the upper deck gazing at the stars. Additional Notes: *Please note that the itinerary for this day varies in the winter: Winter Schedule 18 May – 20 Sept Fiordland National Park/Te Anau Drive the scenic route around Lake Wakatipu to the town of Manapouri. Travel by boat and bus to arrive at an eco cruise boat. Spend the afternoon cruising through Milford or Doubtful Sound, two of the most untouched, remote places in the world. Marvel at the steep cliff walls and cascading waterfalls. The boat offers excellent chances for wildlife viewing in the area. Dolphins, penguins, seals and a variety of birds are some examples of what you can hope to see. In the evening, head to Te Anau for the night. We take in a screening of the award winning ‘Ata Whenua – Shadowland‘ Fjordland on Film documentary at the local cinema before having a group meal. Included Activities: Fiordland National Park Overnight Wilderness Cruise Transport: Private Vehicle (3.00 hour(s), 250km)
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. Transport: Private Vehicle (3.00 hour(s), 250km)
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. Included Activities: Gondola Ride
Day 23 Queenstown (1B) For more time to explore Queenstown, we recommend booking post nights with your agent if you are interested in the countless adrenaline-packed activities in the town known as the "adventure capital of the world." Jet boating, bungee jumping, mountain biking, and sky diving are some of the activities available. Included Activities: Departure Day
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