Ayers Rock, Australia, geology, landscape, aborigines
The mysterious Ayers Rock in the heart of the Outback

Splendors of Australia and New Zealand

Explore the treasures of Australia and New Zealand, from breathtaking natural wonders to inviting cities
Starting at $9,178
Including airfare, airline taxes & departure fees
Call 855-330-1542 or Ask Us a Question

Special Value
This tour is specially designed for a small group of 16 to 24 Smithsonian travelers and offers outstanding travel value. Prices include airfare, airline taxes, fuel surcharges, and departure fees.

Venture “down under” for an exploration of some of the world’s most stunningly diverse landscapes—from colorful coral reefs and lush forests to stark deserts and dramatic fjords. In Australia’s unique northern ecosystems, travel through the rain forest canopy of Kuranda on the world’s longest gondola cableway and visit the Great Barrier Reef, a World Heritage site. In the storied Outback, savor a traditional “bush” dinner and Aboriginal “Dreamtime” tour and watch the sun set over Ayers Rock at Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park. Fly to magnificent Sydney, where highlights include the Royal Botanic Gardens, the Koala Sanctuary, and the iconic Opera House.

Continue to New Zealand for an eight-day journey that features Mt. Cook and magnificent Fjordlands National Park, both World Heritage sites, with a cruise across the renowned Milford Sound. Observe famed geothermal features on the North Island and visit the Maori cultural center in Rotorua, where you’ll enjoy a traditional hangi dinner and Maori performance.

Check out our slide show for a photo journey of this tour!
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Days 1 - 2 — U.S. and Cairns, Australia

Fly to Australia, losing a day as you cross the International Date Line.

Days 3 - 5 — Cairns, Kuranda, and the Great Barrier Reef
Arrive in Cairns and enjoy a special welcome dinner. The next day, take a thrilling journey aboard the historic Kuranda Railway and travel through the rain forest canopy on the world’s longest gondola cableway. Devote a day to the Great Barrier Reef, the world's largest living organism. Learn more about the Reef's riches and delicate resources from a marine biologist; swim, snorkel, or view the reef from a glass-bottomed boat; and enjoy a guided eco-walk. (2B,1L,1D)

Days 6 - 8 — Alice Springs and Ayers Rock
Fly to Alice Springs and upon arrival visit the monument to Australian and New Zealand soldiers at Anzac Hill. Tonight, relax around a campfire and look for the Southern Cross constellation at a traditional “bush” dinner. You’ll visit the camp of the Walpiri Aboriginal people and learn about their ancient culture on a “Dreamtime” tour. Then, explore Simpsons Gap, an Aboriginal spiritual site, and Standley Chasm. The next day travel to Ayers Rock, where you’ll take a walking tour of the Olgas rock formations and watch the sun set over Uluru, the fabled sandstone monolith. (3B,1L,2D)

Day 9 — Ayers Rock and Sydney
Tour Uluru during an optional morning excursion, then set off for a tour of the archaeological museum. Fly to Sydney and take a brief orientation tour of The Rocks, the city’s oldest preserved colonial district, located near your hotel. (B)

Days 10 - 12 — Sydney
Experience Sydney for three fascinating days. Highlights include a visit to the Royal Botanic Gardens, a luncheon cruise around Sydney Harbour, time at the Koala Sanctuary Park, and a drive along Sydney’s Northern Beaches. You'll also enjoy a tour of the iconic Sydney Opera House and time for individual pursuits. This evening dine at the Waterfront Restaurant, known for its outstanding seafood and beautiful harbor views. (3B,1L,1D)

Day 13 — Sydney, Christchurch, Mount Cook Nat'l Park, New Zealand
Fly this morning to Christchurch, New Zealand, and board a motorcoach for the drive to Mount Cook National Park (Aoraki in the native tongue). Arrive at the hotel this evening in time for dinner. (B,D)

Day 14 — Mount Cook
This morning's tour of alpine Mount Cook Village and environs features a visit to the Sir Edmund Hillary Alpine Center. Also visit the Hillary Gallery, commemorating Sir Edmund's achievements, including the first ascent of Mount Cook's difficult South face. After time in the village for lunch on your own, this afternoon is at leisure to enjoy Aoraki Mount Cook as you wish. (B,D)

Day 15 — Mount Cook, Queenstown
Travel by motorcoach today through New Zealand’s lush fruit-growing region to Queenstown, stopping en route in the former gold mining town of Arrowtown. Enjoy a savory lunch and wine tasting at a local winery before reaching the famed Kawarau Bridge where in 1988 AJ Hackett invented Bungee jumping. Late afternoon arrive at the “adventure capital” of Queenstown. (B,L,D)

Days 16-18 — Queenstown, Milford Sound, Rotorua
Take a day trip through spectacular alpine scenery en route to Fiordland National Park. Cruise across the renowned Milford Sound, past cascading waterfalls, breathtaking fjords, dense forests, and Mitre Peak, a soaring landmark over 5,500 feet high. Enjoy some leisure time in Queenstown before visiting Walter Peak High Country Farm and watching a sheep-shearing demonstration and sheep dogs in action. Fly to Rotorua, the center of Maori culture, and visit the new Rotorua Museum. (3B,1L,1D)

Day 19 — Rotorua
Visit Te Puia’s thermal reserve and Maori cultural center, where you’ll observe the famous Pohutu Geyser and other natural phenomena, sample a traditional hangi dinner, and attend a Maori performance. (B,D)

Day 20 — Auckland
En route to Auckland, stop at Ruakuri Caves to see the glowworms that illuminate the underground grottoes and daves. Reach Auckland late this afternoon. (B)

Day 21 — Auckland
Take a half-day guided sightseeing of the “City of Sails” and tour Auckland’s Harbour and America’s Cup Village. Visit the War Memorial Museum with its prized Maori and Pacific Islander collections. Tonight celebrate your grand adventure at a farewell dinner. (B,D)

Day 22 — Depart Auckland
Depart Auckland for the U.S. (B)