Explore a host of wonders across Australia and New Zealand—from the Great Barrier Reef and Uluru to Milford Sound; and gain insights into the ancient cultures of Australia's Aboriginal people and the Maori of New Zealand.

Starting at: $10,784 * Price includes special offer * 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
 Masked Butterfly Fish, the Great Barrier Reef
 Swimming with tortoise, Great Barrier Reef
 Tropical fish and coral, the Great Barrier Reef
 Sea fans
 A colorful starfish found at the Great Barrier Reef
 Tropical fish and coral of the Great Barrier Reef
 Daintree River and Rainforest
 Flora in the Daintree Rainforest
 Boardwalks in the Daintree Rainforest
 Australian Azure Kingfisher, Daintree Rainforest
 A rare Southern Cassowary in the Daintree Rainforest
 Uluru or Ayers Rock
 The Olgas at Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park
 Sunset over Uluru
 Night sky in Australia
 Sydney skyline, early evening
 The Royal Botanic Garden, Sydney
 Koala
 Wallabies
 Looking out over Queenstown. Credit: Chris Sisarich/Tourism New Zealand
 Queenstown, Lake Wakatipu, and the Remarkables
 View from Mt. Cook. Credit: Hannah Coles
 Dramatic Milford Sound with Mitre Peak. Credit: Rob Suisted/Tourism New Zealand
 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 $10,784 | includes airfare, taxes and all fees

Explore a host of wonders across Australia and New Zealand—from the Great Barrier Reef and Uluru to Milford Sound; and gain insights into the ancient cultures of Australia's Aboriginal people and the Maori of New Zealand.

or Call 855-330-1542

Tour Details

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

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SPECIAL OFFER

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

Experience a broad array of fascinating sites—both natural and cultural—on a journey to the highlights of Australia and New Zealand. Snorkel the Great Barrier Reef and soar through the canopy of Queensland’s ancient rain forests. Then head into the storied Outback to see the sacred monolith of Uluru and learn about the timeless Aboriginal cultures. Spend two days immersed in cosmopolitan Sydney, and fly to Churchill to soak up the city’s resilient creative spirit. Explore stunning Aoraki Mt. Cook in the Southern Alps and cruise the extraordinary Milford Sound. Get acquainted with the Maori in Rotorua, and end your adventure with two days in Auckland, the “City of Sails.”

Highlights Include

  • Queensland and the Great Barrier Reef: Ride the historic Kuranda Railway through spectacular landscapes, and soar through the canopy of Queensland’s World Heritage-listed rain forests on the world's longest gondola cableway. Gain insights about the Great Barrier Reef from a marine biologist, and see the reef up close as you swim, snorkel, or view it from a glass-bottomed boat.
  • Uluru and the Australian Outback: Watch the sun set over the sacred site of Uluru (also known as Ayers Rock) at Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park. Savor a traditional "bush" dinner around a campfire under the southern constellations, and learn about the Walpiri Aboriginal people during a Dreamtime tour. 
  • Sydney: Spend two full days exploring fascinating Sydney. Tour the iconic Sydney Opera House; enjoy a luncheon cruise on Sydney Harbour; and see koalas, kangaroos, wallabies, and more at Featherdale Wildlife Park.
  • New Zealand's South Island: Stay within Aoraki Mt. Cook National Park in the stunning Southern Alps, visit sites associated with Sir Edmund Hillary, the first to summit Mt. Cook’s south face. Take an afternoon cruise through the fjords to breathtaking Milford Sound and savor local wines at a renowned winery near Queenstown.
  • The North Island: In Rotorua, meet with members of the Maori community, and enjoy a traditional hangi dinner and a cultural performance. Witness geysers and other geothermal features at a nearby park, and venture into a glowworm cave. In Auckland, tour 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, and The Great Barrier Reef

Arrive in Cairns, transfer to your hotel, and gather for a welcome dinner. The next day, enjoy a lecture and a private tour of the Cairns Wildlife Dome, where you’ll have a chance to observe koalas, kangaroos, cockatoos, and more. Ride the historic Kuranda Railway from the coast up through World Heritage-listed Barron Gorge National Park, traversing tunnels and canyons on your way into the lush mountains. Stroll through picturesque Kuranda, and board the world’s longest gondola cableway for a bird’s-eye view of the rainforest canopy. Then spend a day exploring the Great Barrier Reef, where more than 2,800 coral reefs make up one of the world’s richest marine ecosystems. On a full-day excursion to Michaelmas Cay, go swimming and snorkeling or climb into a semi-submersible vessel for a closer look at the reefs. (2B,1L,1D) 

Days 6-7 — Alice Springs and The Outback

Fly to Alice Springs, the capital of the Outback. At Anzac Hill, take in expansive views and see the monument to the Australian and New Zealand soldiers who fought in the 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 children in remnote communities scattered across the Outback. Relax around a campfire, enjoy musical entertainment, and look for the Southern Cross and other constellations at a traditional “bush” dinner. Venture into more rugged terrain the next day on a visit to the camp of the Walpiri Aboriginal people, and learn about their ancient culture on a “Dreamtime” tour. Visit Simpsons Gap, an Aboriginal spiritual site, and explore Standley Chasm. (2B,1L,1D)

Day 8 — Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park

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 otherworldly Olgas rock formations and watch the sun set over Uluru, the fabled sandstone monolith that rises 1,114 feet above the plain. (B,D)

Day 9 — Uluru and Sydney

This morning explore the base of Uluru and delve into local culture at a nearby museum. Then fly to Sydney, arriving late in the afternoon. (B,D).

Days 10-11— Sydney

Take two full days to immerse yourself in fascinating Sydney. Admire the views of the iconic Sydney Opera House and the Harbour Bridge during a luncheon cruise on Sydney Harbour. Spend time at Featherdale Wildlife Park, where koalas, kangaroos, wallabies, and dingoes roam freely amid ten acres of rain forest, eucalyptus, and gardens. Dine in the popular Rocks District 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 Sydney Opera House, enjoy a free afternoon to discover the city on your own. In the 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 built from the rubble of the 2011 earthquake. Journey south by motorcoach to Mt. Cook National Park, stopping en route at a working farm in Geraldine. Here, learn about wool handling and classing while witnessing a sheep-shearing demonstration, and watch trained sheepdogs skillfully muster Suffolk sheep. Learn about red and white deer farming and tour the working deer sheds and yards. Arrive at Mt. Cook in the Southern Alps, a stunning landscape of turquoise lakes and snowcapped mountains, and settle into your hotel before dinner. (B,L,D)

Day 14 — Aoraki Mount Cook

Set out for Mount Cook Village and visit the Sir Edmund Hillary Alpine Center. Meander through 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 discover 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 at a renowned winery before continuing to the famed Kawarau Bridge where in 1988 AJ Hackett invented bungee jumping. Reach the “adventure capital” of Queenstown in mid-afternoon. (B,L,D)

Day 16 — Milford Sound

Set out on a rewarding, full-day excursion to the World Heritage-listed Milford Sound. Glide through the breathtaking fjords on a nature cruise, watching for wildlife, waterfalls, and spectacular scenery.  Enjoy lunch on board. This afternoon, you’ll have the opportunity to return to Queenstown on a scenic flight, taking in magnificent aerial views of New Zealand’s dramatic fjordlands. (B,L)

Day 17- — Queenstown

Today is yours to pursue your own interests in Queenstown. You may consider a hike, a stroll along Lake Wakatipu, a day of wine-tasting, or any of the many adventure activities offered in the city. Your Travel Director will have recommendations. (B) 

Day 18 — Queenstown and Rotorua

Fly from Queenstown to Rotorua on the North Island. This geothermal landscape of geysers, bubbling mud pools, steaming thermal springs is a center of Maori culture. Take a panoramic tour of this city on the shores of Lake Rotorua. This evening visit Te Puia Thermal Reserve and Maori Cultural Centre for a traditional hangi dinner and Maori performance. (1B,1D) 

Day 19 — Rotorua

Venture along the leafy paths of Rainbow Springs Nature Park for a closer look at native flora, fauna, and birdlife. Tour the onsite National Kiwi Trust, and learn firsthand how injured kiwis—New Zealand’s flightless national bird—are rescued and  rehabilitated here. (B)

Days 20-21 — Rotorua and Auckland

Venture into  Ruakuri Caves to see the thousands of glowworms illuminate underground grottoes. Late this afternoon arrive in Auckland, the “City of Sails,” set atop more than 50 volcanic hills. Take a half-day city tour featuring the Aukland War Memorial MuseumAuckland 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)

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