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Explore Australia & New Zealand
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23 days

from $0 AUD

trip_detail module icon Journeys trip_detail hint icon

Offered in partnership with G Adventures, our National Geographic Journeys line blends fun, hands-on exploration, meaningful encounters with people and cultures, and more free time and choices—with the structure and security of traveling in a small group.

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Travelers should be in good health and comfortable walking or standing for extended periods of time. Daily activities may include walking tours, visits to sites, safari drives, and easy hikes; and some days will have more physical activities such as longer hikes, kayaking, snorkeling, or biking.

Casual trip_detail hint icon

Casual trips offer immersive travel experiences at an unbeatable value with free time and plenty of choices built into the itineraries. Accommodations are comfortable, well-located, and modest. Trips are led by dynamic local guides, some meals and activities are included, and transportation is provided for included excursions.

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Expedition Overview

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Trip Details
EXPEDITION OVERVIEW
  • Explore the Daintree Rainforest with an Aboriginal guide, watch the sun rise over Uluru, and opt to snorkel on the Great Barrier Reef.
  • Journey across New Zealand’s Southern Alps aboard the TranzAlpine, one of the world’s most scenic railways.
  • Take a private tour of the James Cook University research aquarium in Cairns, founded by a National Geographic grantee.
  • Join naturalists on a cruise through spectacular Fiordland National Park (seasonal), spotting dolphins, seals, and penguins.
Itinerary

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.

Day 1: Sydney

Arrive at any time.

Day 2: Sydney

Enjoy a traditional Indigenous welcome and a walkabout around The Rocks area and Sydney Harbour to learn the history of the Indigenous people’s saltwater heritage and their spiritual connection to the area. In the afternoon, board a private vessel 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.

Day 3: Sydney/Port Douglas

Fly to Cairns then travel up the coastal road to Mossman Gorge. Take an interpretive walk with a local Indigenous guide and learn about traditional ways of life and survival techniques in the Daintree Rainforest. Continue on to the resort in Port Douglas, our home for the next two nights.

Day 4: Port Douglas

Enjoy the colourful resort town of Port Douglas. Take time to stroll the main streets and enjoy the beach.

Day 5: Port Douglas/Cairns

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.

Day 6: Cairns

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

Catch a flight to Uluru. Visit the cultural centre and learn about ancient beliefs and traditions portrayed in art, food, and music before witnessing an incredible sunset with a glass of bubbly.

Day 8: Uluru

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 Indigenous people. Later, take a walk in Kata Tjuta National Park and view the beautiful red-domed rock formations. The afternoon is at your leisure.

Day 9: Uluru/Melbourne

Enjoy another sunrise over Uluru before flying to Melbourne for the night.

Day 10: Melbourne

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

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.

Day 12: Melbourne/Auckland

Fly to Auckland, New Zealand and enjoy free time in the city.

Day 13: Auckland

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.

Day 14: Auckland/Rotorua

Drive to Rotorua, stopping for an excursion at Waitomo Caves where you'll take a boat ride through the cave and see thousands of flickering glowworms lighting up the walls.

Day 15: Rotorua

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.

Day 16: Rotorua/Christchurch

Enjoy free time this morning in Rotorua before catching a flight to Christchurch. This afternoon, meet with a local expert and explore lesser-known paths around Christchurch on a unique walking tour of the city.

Day 17: Christchurch/Franz Josef

Enjoy one of the world’s great scenic train trips on the TranzAlpine train, crossing the scenic Southern Alps to New Zealand's glacier region. Disembark and finish the journey over the highest pass in the Southern Alps in a private vehicle before transferring to a beautiful rainforest lodge, our home for two nights.

Day 18: Franz Josef

Enjoy free time to explore the area. Opt for a helicopter hike, ice walking on the glacier, or soaking in hot pools among stunning scenery.

Day 19: Franz Josef/Queenstown

Take a stunning scenic drive through the rugged rainforest along the west coast to Queenstown.

Day 20: Queenstown/Fiordland National Park

Embark on an amazing wilderness cruise through Fiordland National Park. Led by onboard naturalist guides, we have the chance to see dolphins, fur seals, birds, and penguins, with the option to kayak. Spend the night onboard in comfortable cabins (seasonal) with time to relax on deck and stargaze.

Day 21: Fiordland National Park/Queenstown

Enjoy early morning wildlife viewing along the fiord as we cruise back to port, then return to Queenstown.

Day 22: Queenstown

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.

Day 23: Queenstown

Depart at any time.

ABOUT NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC JOURNEYS

Offered in partnership with G Adventures, our National Geographic Journeys line blends fun, hands-on exploration, meaningful encounters with people and cultures, and more free time and choices—with the structure and security of traveling in a small group.

Age Requirement:12+

All travelers under age 18 must be accompanied by an adult.