Welcome to Auckland, New Zealand!
‘Haere Mai’ … Welcome to New Zealand!
Fly to Auckland, New Zealand and enjoy free time in the city. As well as volcanoes, Auckland is famous for its waterfront - there's lots to see at the harbour. Grab dinner at one of the fantastic eateries at the nearby Viaduct, where you can see giant super-yachts come and go.
Accommodation: Auckland - 2 Nights (or similar)
Aucklands' Waiheke Island
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.
Waiheke Island Wineries
Catch the ferry to picturesque Waiheke Island to learn about New Zealand’s highly celebrated wine industry in its founding region. Tour a boutique vineyard and learn from our host about the process of making the syrahs, merlots, and chardonnays that the region is so well-known for. Enjoy a taste of the vineyard’s estate-grown olive and avocado oils. After, continue to one of Waiheke’s original wineries for a tour and tasting – while learning about the evolution of wine production in New Zealand. Return to Auckland this evening via a scenic ferry ride.
Auckland to Rotorua via the Waitomo Caves
On our way to Rotorua today we visit the Waitomo Caves, famous for their glow-worms and adventure activities. Then continue to Rotorua, notable for its geothermal activity and culture.
Included Activity: Waitomo Caverns Excursion - Ruakuri Cave
Walk through caverns covered with magical glowworms that are unique to New Zealand. Hundreds of thousands of these tiny creatures radiate luminescent light in underground caves carved by rivers and time. Take in more than 120 years of cultural and natural history on this unique excursion.
Accommodation: Rotorua - 2 Nights
Rotorua At Your Leisure
On a full-day excursion, head to the Maori-owned Kohutapu Lodge, our base for exploring New Zealand's indigenous culture. See ancient rock carvings and learn about their spiritual significance to the Maori people, both past and present. Watch as a hangi lunch is prepared the traditional way--buried in an underground pit—and enjoy the resulting feast with your Maori hosts. After lunch, take a walk through the 800-year-old podocarp trees in Whirinaki Rainforest, learning the history of the forest and spotting endemic birds and medicinal plants. Return to Rotorua for an optional evening meal or a well-deserved soak in the hot springs.
Your Journeys Highlight Moment: A day at Kohutapu
Meals: Breakfast & Dinner
Rotorua to Christchurch
Catch a flight to Christchurch on New Zealand's South Island. Walk around town with a local guide and learn about how communities have rebuilt after the earthquake in 2011. This evening, enjoy free time and get a feel for the city.
Included Activity: Resourceful Ōtautahi Walking Tour
Explore lesser-known paths around Christchurch on this walking tour of the city led by a member of Rekindle — a social enterprise where resourcefulness skills are shared among members to build self-confidence and create art out of under-valued materials. The hands-on, workshop-based environment keeps everyone engaged and helps to strengthen the community.
Accommodation: Christchurch - 1 Night Chateau on the Park (or similar)
TranzAlpine Rail Journey
Travelling by train still remains one of travels most exciting experiences. This morning we board Tranz Alpine Train that journeys between Christchurch and Greymouth. We leave Christchurch crossing the Canterbury Plains before following the Waimakariri River and traversing the spectacular Southern Alps. before finally descending through native beech forest into Greymouth. From Greymouth we transfer to a coach and continue down the west coast to the township of Franz Josef.
Accommodation: Rainforest Retreat - 2 nights (or something similar)
Explore Franz Josef Glacier
Today is a free day to explore the region around Franz Josef. You are in the heart of the Westland National Park, considered to be the most diverse and beautiful areas in New Zealand and the home of the Kea, a protected native parrot that thrives in the chilly environment and is infamous for its inquisitive and often destructive behaviour!
Simply relax in the Glacier Hot Pools or if you are feeling adventurous take a Glacier Heli Hike and land on the glacier with an experienced guide to explore the towering peaks and ice formations.
Excursions available in and around the Franz Josef area:
|Glacier Hot Pools||Glacier Scenic Flight|
|Walk to Glacier Face||Glacier Heli-hike|
West Coast to Queenstown
Today is a travelling day. We travel south along the rugged West Coast this morning stopping at Lake Matheson to view the stunning snowcapped peaks of the Southern Alps reflected in the lake’s dark waters. We then continue through the Haast Pass, one of only three passes through the Southern Alps to Queenstown ’The Adventure Capital’ of New Zealand.
Accommodation: Peppers Beacon Hotel - 3 nights Peppers Beacon Hotel (or something similar)
QUEENSTOWN/FIORDLAND NATIONAL PARK
From Queenstown we drive the scenic route to the lakeside town of Manapouri in Fiordland National Park a World Heritage Area.
From Manapouri we embark on an amazing cruise through the moody and mysterious Doubtful Sound. Onboard the Fiordland Navigator experienced nature guides will provide commentary on the wildlife sightings ensuring you don’t miss any of the highlights. Watch out for bottlenose dolphins, fur seals, and the Fiordland yellow eyebrow crested penguin. After anchoring for the evening you will have the opportunity to explore the shoreline by kayak or tender boat.
Dinner will be prepared by an onboard chef and served in the dining saloon. Before retiring to your private cabin (with ensuite bathroom) take time to gaze at the stars and listen to the sound of ‘silence’.
**Please Note: This tour may go to either Doubtful Sound or Milford Sound (and the itinerary for this day varies in the winter: 18 May – 20 Sept)
Meals: Breakfast and Dinner
Accommodation: Fiordland Navigator Doubtful Sound (or similar) - 1 night
Fiordland National Park / Queenstown
Rise early for a wildlife viewing cruise along the pristine fjord. Then navigate back to Queenstown and spend the rest of the day at leisure in this fun-loving lakeside town, known as the adventure capital of the world.
Accommodation: Queenstown - 2 nights
The day is yours to explore Queenstown. Choose to go bungee jumping at the world’s first commercial bungee jumping site; Cruise lake Wakatipu on a historic steamer; experience a thrilling jet boat ride; or visit a local winery to sample the region’s award-winning vintages. This evening, enjoy a cable car ride to the top of Bob’s Peak for panoramic vistas of Lake Wakatipu and the Southern Alps.
Queenstown to Melbourne, Australia
Today reflect on your fabulous National Geographic Journey of New Zealand, as you prefer to say G'day Australia!
You'll be flying to Victoria's capital, Melbourne, sits on the Yarra River and around the shores of Port Phillip Bay. It has been ranked as one of the world’s most liveable cities and is a UNESCO City of Literature as well as being one of the most vibrant and cosmopolitan cities in Australia. Once one of the richest cities in the world the central city is a mix of modern, Victorian and Edwardian architecture reflecting Melbourne’s early gold rush days and its ‘Boom and Bust’ era at the turn of the 20th century. Melbourne is a multicultural city with stunning gardens, spacious parks, galleries, museums, and superb cafes and restaurants.
Accommodation: Rendezvous Hotel Melbourne - 2 nights (or something similar)
Melbourne Foodie Walk
With its multicultural population Melbourne has a reputation of being a ‘foodie heaven’. Australian chefs borrow from all cuisines to produce cutting edge and innovative contemporary cuisine. We explore the laneways and arcades of Melbourne city with a culinary storyteller for a three-course progressive lunch - savour French style sweet treats, authentic Chinese dumplings, superb coffee and a glass of sparkling wine By understanding the food culture you will understand the diversity and history of the local people.
You will then have free time to further explore the city or discover the many wineries in the surrounding district.
Meals: Breakfast and Lunch
Free Day Melbourne
Spend the day exploring vibrant Melbourne. Set out on an optional excursion on the Great Ocean Road, following spectacular sea cliffs along the windswept Southern Ocean. Visit some of the region’s top wineries or wander the city’s narrow cobbled lanes and alleys, discovering quirky cafés and colorful murals.
Melbourne to Uluru
Flying into Uluru/ Ayers Rock - believed by The Anangu people to be formed by ancestral beings during the creation period ‘Dreamtime’ – we arrive to witness the incredible ever changing colours of the outback as the sun sets over the ‘Rock’ in the Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park.
Enjoy a glass of sparkling wine while watching the sunset over Uluru. Marvel at the changing colours over the desert and keep reminding yourself that yes, you really are there.
Accommodation: Pioneer Outback Hotel - 2 nights (or something similar)
Awaken at dawn to witness the sunrise over Uluru and see the famous Field of Light installation. Then delve into a full-day exploration of the ancient, red-hued landscapes of Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park. After breakfast, make your way to Kata Tjuta, Uluru’s neighboring natural wonder for a morning of exploration. Later set out on a guided walk around the base of the monolith, gaining insight into its sacred significance to the Anangu.
Uluru to Sydney
Enjoy free time on our final morning in the Red Centre. Then pack up and head off to the airport for an afternoon flight to Sydney. Check in to our hotel and opt to join our CEO for a dinner out on the town in one of Sydney's famous neighbourhoods.
Accommodation: Vibe Sydney - 3 nights (or something similar)
Take it slow with a leisurely morning, or get up early and join your CEO for a walk around the Rocks area, a waterfront neighborhood that marks the spot of the first European settlement in Australia. It also holds a spiritual significance for the area’s indigenous people. Around midmorning, circle back and meet for a private tour of the Sydney Opera House. This afternoon, step aboard a private catamaran for a sunset sail around Sydney's famous harbor. Tuck into a delicious Australian Barbecue dinner as the sun sets in the background.
Meals Included: Breakfast, Dinner
Enjoy a day at leisure to explore the best of Sydney. Walk the Rocks and stop by Maybe Sammy for a drink, which happens to be one of the best bars in Sydney. Take the ferry to Manly Beach or walk the Bondi Coastal walk and snap some photos. Or, spend a full day exploring the Blue Mountains on an optional excursion.
Sydney to Port Douglas
Fly to Cairns today and travel up the scenic coastal road to Daintree Rainforest, the world’s oldest tropical rainforest and part of a UNESCO World Heritage site. Embark on an interpretive walk with an indigenous guide at the lush Mossman Gorge, learning about the traditional ways of life of the region’s Kuku Yalanji people. Continue to the resort town of Port Douglas, our home for the next three nights.
Accommodation - Port Douglas - 3 nights
Explore the Great Barrier Reef on a full-day catamaran tour to the Outer Reef. Immerse yourself in the largest coral reef system in the world, which teems with 1500 species of tropical fish, as well as whales, dolphins and porpoises. Hop into the warm waters off Australia's east coast and experience this marine wonderland for yourself. Lunch will be served onboard. Back in Port Douglas the evening is yours to do as you please.
Meals: Breakfast | Lunch
Free Morning then Cooya Beach
Enjoy a free morning in charming Port Douglas. Stroll the town’s boutique-lined streets and idyllic beaches or head to the Sunday markets to browse the stalls. Later in the day, join your fellow travelers for an exclusive cultural experience at Cooya Beach. Meet Indigenous guides for a welcome ceremony, and get acquainted with members of the Kuku Yalanji people. Our CEO will organize an optional farewell dinner to toast your adventures down under.
Exclusive Inclusions: Your Journeys Highlight Moment Exclusive Indigenous experience at Cooya Beach
Meals: Breakfast mant
Farewell from Cairns
After one last breakfast in Port Douglas, transfer back to Cairns where our tour ends at the airport mid-morning. Alternatively, extend your stay in Port Douglas.
Please book your departing flights no earlier than 1pm out of Cairns.
The tour will end at the airport in Cairns. If you have booked extra nights you will be staying at the final hotel in Port Douglas about an hour north from the airport. Please note that should you book extra nights you will be responsible for getting yourself to the airport in Cairns from Port Douglas.
Your Journeys Highlight Moment: Waiheke Island Wineries, Waiheke Island
Your Journeys Highlight Moment: A day at Kohutapu, Rotorua
Your Journeys Highlight Moment: Melbourne Foodie Walk, Melbourne
Your Journeys Highlight Moment: Private Tour of the Sydney Opera House, Sydney
Your Journeys Highlight Moment: Exclusive Indigenous experience at Cooya Beach, Port Douglas. Trip to Waiheke Island Wineries. Visit glowworm caves. Queenstown gondola ride. Wilderness day cruise (winter) or overnight cruise (summer) in Fiordland National Park. Melbourne Foodie Experience. Sunrise interpretive walk at Uluru. Sydney Harbour dinner cruise. Indigenous Peoples Interpretive Walk in the Daintree Forest. Great Barrier Reef Excursion. Exclusive Indigenous experience at Cooya Beach. Internal flights. All transport between destinations and to/from included activities.
Go behind the scenes at Sydney Opera house, take an interpretive walk with an indigenous guide, snorkel with the fish in the Great Barrier Reef, witness thousands of glowworms lighting up the scenery
Service Level: Upgraded. Quality accommodations and more inclusions than on other G Adventures tours, like meals, private transport, and activities.
Physical Grading: 2 - Light. Light walking and hiking suitable for most fitness levels. Nothing too challenging.
Travel Style: National Geographic Journeys. Greater exploration, insider access, and the freedom to roam – all without sacrificing comfort.
Trip Type: Small Group. Small group experience; Max 16, Avg 12.