Explore Australia and New Zealand's stunning landscapes—from the Great Barrier Reef and the Australian Outback to the renowned Milford Sound and Rotorua's geothermal features. Plus gain insights into traditional cultures such as Australia's Aboriginal people and New Zeland's Maori people.

Starting at: $10,184 * Includes airfare, taxes & all fees Make a Reservation Ask Us A Question or Call 855-330-1542
 Sydney Opera House at night  Australia's Great Barrier Reef  The Great Barrier Reef  Fish and coral found along the Great Barrier Reef  Tropical fish and coral, the Great Barrier Reef  Uluru or Ayers Rock  Sydney skyline, early evening  The Royal Botanic Garden, Sydney  Koala  A joey in Australia Credit: Kirt Kempter  Queenstown, Lake Wakatipu, and the Remarkables  Looking out over Queenstown Credit: Chris Sisarich/Tourism New Zealand  Dramatic Milford Sound with Mitre Peak. Credit: Rob Suisted/Tourism New Zealand  View from Mt. Cook. Credit: Hannah Coles  Wines of New Zealand. Credit: Chris McLennan/Tourism New Zealand  Maori sculpture  Maori woman with traditional tattoos. Credit: James Heremaia/Tourism New Zealand  Traditional Maori greeting, or <i>Hongi</i>. Credit: Chris SisarichTourism New Zealand  Maori Haka performance. Credit: James Heremaia/Tourism New Zealand  Traditional Maori meeting house  Rotorua's Te Puia. Credit: Eric Lindberg/Tourism New Zealand

Splendors of Australia and New Zealand

22 days from $10,184 | includes airfare, taxes and all fees

Explore Australia and New Zealand's stunning landscapes—from the Great Barrier Reef and the Australian Outback to the renowned Milford Sound and Rotorua's geothermal features. Plus gain insights into traditional cultures such as Australia's Aboriginal people and New Zeland's Maori people.

or Call 855-330-1542

Tour Details

TOUR BROCHURE

brochure iconbrochure

WHAT OUR TRAVELERS SAY

Smithsonian Journeys tours always have unique interesting itineraries and always have a very interesting like-minded set of other traveling companions. The lecture information always help better understand the countries and geology better. 

- Previous Journeys Traveler

This was the very best trip I have ever taken. I will travel with Smithsonian Journeys again and again! Thank you so much. 

- Previous Journeys Traveler

This was the only tour we found that went to every place we wanted to visit in Australia and New Zealand (including the Outback!). 

- Richard S.

JOURNEYS DISPATCHES

See All Journeys Dispatches ››

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.

Overview

Venture “Down Under” for an exploration of some of the world’s most stunning landscapes—from Australia’s spectacular Great Barrier Reef to the storied Outback and sophisticated Sydney. In New Zealand, discover Christchurch, Mt. Cook, Milford Sound, Queenstown, and Auckland. You'll also gain insight into the traditional cultures of both countries.

Highlights Include

  • Great Barrier Reef: Learn about this World Heritage site from a marine biologist and see the reef up close as you swim, snorkel, or view it from a glass-bottomed boat. You'll also take a thrilling journey aboard the historic Kuranda Railway and travel through the rain forest canopy on the world's largest gondola cableway. 
  • The Australian Outback: Watch the sun set over the sacred site of Uluru (also known as Ayers Rock) at Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park. Relax around a campfire and look for the Southen Cross as you savor a traditional "bush" dinner and learn about the Walpiri Aboriginal people during a "Dreamtime" tour. 
  • Sydney: Enjoy two fascinating days exploring Sydney, where highlights include tours of the iconic Sydney Opera House and Featherdale Wildlife Park (home to koala, kangaroos, and wallabies), plus a luncheon cruise around Sydney Harbour. 
  • New Zealand's South Island: Venture to the Southern Alps and Mt. Cook to experience the mountainscape and visit the Hillary Gallery, which commemorates Sir Edmund's achievements, including the first ascent of Mt. Cook's south face. Look in awe upon breathtaking Milford Sound, a World Heritage site, during an afternoon cruise through the fjords. Plus, savor a wine tasting and enjoy independent time in Queenstown.
  • The North Island: In Rotorua, meet with a group of Maori people, and enjoy a traditional hangi dinner and cultural performance. Plus, observe famed geothermal features such as geysers and thermal hot springs at a nearby park. Conclude your spectacular journey with a two-night stay in Auckland, the “City of Sails,” where the city tour features the War Memorial Museum, Auckland Harbour, and the America's Cup Village.  

Smithsonian Journeys tours always have unique interesting itineraries and always have a very interesting like-minded set of other traveling companions. The lecture information always help better understand the countries and geology better. 

- Previous Journeys Traveler

This was the very best trip I have ever taken. I will travel with Smithsonian Journeys again and again! Thank you so much. 

- Previous Journeys Traveler

This was the only tour we found that went to every place we wanted to visit in Australia and New Zealand (including the Outback!). 

- Richard S.

Itinerary

Days 1-2 — Depart the U.S. for Cairns, Australia

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

Days 3-5 — Australia's Far North—Cairns, Kuranda, The Great Barrier Reef

Arrive in Cairns, transfer to your hotel, and enjoy a special welcome dinner. The next day, tour Cairns, then take a thrilling journey aboard the historic Kuranda Railway. Explore Kuranda, then travel through the rainforest canopy on the world’s longest gondola cableway. During an all-day excursion, cruise from Cairns to the Great Barrier Reef, the world’s largest living organism and richest marine resource, with more than 2,800 coral reefs. At Michaelmas Cay swim, snorkel, and view the reef from a semi-submersible vessel. (2B,1L,1D) 

Days 6-7 — The Outback—Alice Springs

Fly to Alice Springs, the capital of the Outback. At Anzac Hill, enjoy a panoramic view and see the monument to the Australian and New Zealand soldiers who fought in both World Wars. Visit the Royal Flying Doctors Service, the first comprehensive aerial medical organization in the world, then tour the School of the Air, which provides education to the widely scattered Outback children. Relax around a campfire, enjoy musical entertainment, and look for the Southern Cross and other constellations at a traditional “bush” dinner. Spend the next day exploring more rugged terrain as you visit the camp of the Walpiri Aboriginal people and learn about their ancient culture on a “Dreamtime” tour. Explore Simpsons Gap, an Aboriginal spiritual site, and Standley Chasm. (2B,1L,1D)

For the September 25, 2021 departure, travelers will fly from Cairns to Uluru (see Day 8 for activities) before heading to Alice Springs.

Day 8 — The Outback—Uluru

This morning, depart by coach for Uluru (also known as Ayers Rock). Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park is a World Heritage site and home to the Anangu Aboriginal peoples. Take a walking tour of the Olgas rock formations and watch the sun set over Uluru, the fabled sandstone monolith that rises 1,114 feet above the flat plain. (B,D)

For the September 25, 2021 departure, travelers will explore Alice Springs (see Days 6-7 for activities).

Day 9 — Uluru and Sydney

This morning explore the base of Uluru before visiting the museum there. Fly to Sydney, arriving late in the afternoon. (B,D)

For the September 25, 2021 departure, travelers will fly from Alice Springs to Sydney.

Days 10-11— Sydney

Experience Sydney for two fascinating days. Highlights include a visit to the Royal Botanic Gardens and a luncheon cruise around Sydney Harbour. You’ll also spend time at Featherdale Wildlife Park, featuring ten acres of rain forest, eucalyptus, and garden habitat where koalas, kangaroos, wallabies, and dingoes roam freely. Dine in the popular “Rocks” area at the Waterfront Restaurant, known for its outstanding seafood and beautiful harbor views. (2B,1L,1D)

Day 12 — Sydney and Christchurch, New Zealand

After a late morning tour of the iconic Sydney Opera House, this afternoon is free for independent exploration. This evening board a flight to Christchurch, New Zealand’s “Garden City.” (B)

Day 13 — Christchurch and Mt. Cook National Park

This morning’s orientation tour features the acclaimed Botanic Gardens and “Re:START Mall,” the vibrant civic area that rose from the rubble of the 2011 earthquake. Then board a motorcoach for the journey south to Mt. Cook National Park, stopping en route at a local farm in Geraldine. At this working farm, you'll learn about wool handling/classing by watching a sheep-shearing demonstration and see the amazing sheepdogs in action mustering Suffolk sheep. Additionally, get the opportunity to witness Red and White Deer farming and tour the working deer sheds and yards.

This evening you reach Mt. Cook in the Southern Alps, New Zealand's great alpine preserve of turquoise lakes and snowcapped mountains and a World Heritage Park. Dine together tonight at the hotel. (B,L,D)

Day 14 — Mount Cook

This morning’s tour of alpine Mount Cook Village and environs includes 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 and Queenstown

Travel through New Zealand’s lush fruit-growing region to Queenstown, stopping in the former gold mining town of Arrowtown. Enjoy a wine tasting and savory lunch before continuing to the famed Kawarau Bridge where in 1988 AJ Hackett invented Bungee jumping. Mid-afternoon reach the “adventure capital” of Queenstown. (B,L,D)

Day 16 — Milford Sound

The day-long excursion to Milford Sound includes a nature cruise through the breathtaking fjords. Have lunch on board then later have the opportunity to return to Queenstown on an optional scenic flight (weather permitting). (B,L)

Day 17- — Queenstown

Today enjoy a day at leisure in breathtaking Queenstown that sits on the shores of the South Island’s Lake Wakatipu, set against the dramatic Southern Alps. 

Day 18 — Queenstown and Rotorua

Depart Queenstown for Rotorua, with its geysers, bubbling mud pools, hot thermal springs, and a center of Maori culture. Upon arrival, take a panoramic tour of this city on the shores of Lake Rotorua. This evening visit Te Puia Thermal Reserve and Cultural Centre for a traditional hangi dinner and Maori performance. (2B,1D)

Day 19 — Rotorua

This morning visit Rainbow Springs Nature Park, a popular showcase of native flora, fauna, and birdlife, and where you tour the National Kiwi Trust, which rehabilitates injured kiwis, the national bird. (B)

Days 20-21 — Rotorua and Auckland

On your way to Auckland, stop at Ruakuri Caves to see the unique glowworms illuminate underground grottoes. Late this afternoon arrive in the “City of Sails,” in a beautiful natural setting atop 48 volcanic hills. Take a half-day city tour featuring the War Memorial Museum, Auckland Harbour, and the America’s Cup Village. Tonight celebrate your adventure at a farewell dinner. (2B,D)

Day 22 — Depart for the U.S.

Early this morning transfer to the airport for the flight to Los Angeles (via Sydney) where you connect with the return flights home. (B)

Included meals are denoted as follows: Breakfast (B), Lunch (L), Reception (R), Dinner (D)