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Australia & New Zealand: From Ayers Rock to the Great Barrier Reef & Beyond - 2023

Melbourne • Ayers Rock • Cairns • Great Barrier Reef • Sydney • Queenstown • Auckland
  • Australia and New Zealand Land Tour including Melbourne, Ayers Rock, Great Barrier Reef, Sydney, Queenstown and Auckland
    DISCOVER THE SPLENDOR OF ULURU/AYERS ROCK, A UNESCO WORLD HERITAGE SITE
  • Tropical fish and coral, Great Barrier Reef, Australia
    OBSERVE VIBRANT MARINE LIFE ON A FULL-DAY EXCURSION TO THE OUTER GREAT BARRIER REEF
  • Mitre Peak, Milford Sound, New Zealand
    TAKE IN THE SCENIC SPLENDOR OF THE PRISTINE MILFORD SOUND
  • Sydney Harbor Opera House, Australia
    EXPLORE THE SYDNEY OPERA HOUSE ON A GUIDED, SPECIAL-ACCESS TOUR
  • Captain Cook Sydney Harbor cruise, Australia
    VIEW SYDNEY HARBOR’S ICONIC SKYLINE AND BE REGALED WITH TALES OF THE CITY ON A SCENIC CRUISE
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$10,499
  • $524
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  • 20
    DAYS
  • 24
    TOURS
  • 1 FREE Single Supplements Available
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Simply think of Australia and New Zealand and your mind will likely conjure up these iconic scenes: the vast Outback, with Uluru at its heart; the kaleidoscopic coral kingdom of the Great Barrier Reef; the pearlescent “sails” of the Sydney Opera House; and the velvet mountains rising from sapphire waters, at Milford Sound. Join Vantage Deluxe World Travel in 2023 on this epic adventure, and you’ll see all of this — and much, much more.

Get set to delve into the natural and cultural landscape of this region: this small-group adventure features 24 included features and Cultural Discoveries, as well as 6 UNESCO World Heritage Sites. You’ll explore rainforests, fjords, and deserts, and discover how the indigenous peoples — from the Maori of New Zealand to the Pitjantjatjara of central Australia — live in harmony with the land. What’s more, jump into the crystal-clear waters of the outer Great Barrier Reef as we spend a full day swimming, snorkeling, and learning from a marine biologist about this unique ecosystem.

These experiences dovetail with your visits to the vibrant cities of Melbourne, Sydney, and Auckland, where world-famous architecture and exquisite cuisine await. Vantage Adventures gives you greater access to people and places for a more rewarding experience. Through our panoramic tours and in your free time, discover coffee- and mural-filled laneways, picture-perfect scenes of the Sydney Opera House, and top-notch wine.

Solo travelers also benefit from FREE or Reduced Single Supplements on every departure! With so many unforgettable moments and the unmissable Vantage value, you’ll understand why Australia and New Zealand are so loved by travelers around the world.

Click here to get a glimpse of the wildlife you may encounter on this adventure and tips on how to capture the perfect photos for a lifetime of memories.

Melbourne to Auckland

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DAY 1:

Depart home for Melbourne, Australia

Board your overnight trans-Pacific flight to Australia.

DAY 2:

Cross the International Date Line

Your journey will take you across the International Date Line today. Your excitement builds as you begin imagining the adventure to come.

DAY 3:

Arrive in Melbourne, one of Australia’s most beloved cities

Arrive in Melbourne, regularly called one of the world’s most livable cities. What makes it such a great place to be? Perhaps its pastiche of cultural influences — from Greek and Lebanese to Chinese and Italian — blended with the Australian spirit. The result is a vibrant, cosmopolitan, fun-loving city, and a true pleasure to explore. After time on your own this afternoon, join your group for an orientation tour, followed by a Welcome Briefing and Dinner at your hotel.

Included meals:

Dinner

DAY 4:

Get to know Melbourne on a tour of its highlights

Embark on a city tour of Melbourne, including a visit to the Royal Botanic Gardens. We take a stroll amidst the beautiful blooms and majestic arbors of this splendid site before continuing our tour at the Parliament House and the Anzac Memorial, which honors those who sacrificed their lives at the Battle of Gallipoli during World War I. You’ll enjoy lunch at a local restaurant and have the afternoon at leisure. Dinner is on your own this evening.

Included Feature:

  • Melbourne city tour

Included meals:

Breakfast  & lunch

DAY 5:

Venture from Melbourne to Uluru/Ayers Rock, the heart of Australia’s “Red Center”

We fly to Australia’s “Red Center” today and check in to our hotel. You'll enjoy the day at leisure before we venture to witness the UNESCO-listed star of the show — Uluru, also known as Ayers Rock. Enjoy a glass of sparkling wine as the sun paints the sky and this red sandstone behemoth in dazzling colors. Return for dinner at the hotel this evening.


Included Feature:
  • Uluru sunset viewing, with wine

Included meals:

Breakfast & dinner

DAY 6:

Fall under the spell of this striking red monolith known as Uluru

Your day begins at Talinguru Nyakunytjaku — the best area to watch the sun rise over the desert expanse. As the light spreads across the massive, 1,100-foot rock that is Uluru, the ever-changing colors will enchant you. You can then embark on a base walk to see some of the many sacred Aboriginal sites along the way, including ancient rock art. You’ll have lunch at the hotel before enjoying the rest of your day at leisure.

Included Features:

  • Uluru sunrise viewing
  • Guided Uluru base walk

Included meals:

Breakfast  & lunch

DAY 7:

Venture to Cairns, the Gateway to the Great Barrier Reef

Enjoy a morning at leisure before making your way to the airport for your flight to Cairns. The sunny heart of Australia’s Queensland province, the city is best known as the jumping off point for exploring one of the world’s most impressive natural wonders: the Great Barrier Reef.

Included meals:

Breakfast

DAY 8:

A Dreamtime tour and exploration of Mossman Gorge

After breakfast, you’ll head to Daintree National Park, home to the Kuku Yalanji Aboriginal people. This lush rainforest supports mind-boggling biodiversity, with an extraordinary array of bird species. Explore its incredible beauty by foot during a guided Dreamtime walk with a local Aborigine, visiting important cultural sites and learning about the special relationship between the Kuku Yalanji people and this unique tropical environment. Then, try your hand at lawn bowling, one of Australia’s most popular sports.

After an included lunch, return to your hotel and enjoy the remainder of the day at leisure. Dinner is at your hotel this evening.

Included Features:
  • Guided Kuku Yalanji “Dreamtime” walk
  • Tour of Mossman Gorge
Cultural Discovery:
  • Try lawn bowling

Included meals:

Breakfast, lunch & dinner

DAY 9:

The Great Barrier Reef: Up close and personal with a Natural Wonder of the World

Today, we embark a wave-piercing catamaran for a 90-minute cruise to the Outer Great Barrier Reef, a less frequently visited stretch of this 1,500-mile-long living organism and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Upon arrival at our observatory, we have the chance to swim, snorkel, or watch the colorful fish and coral from the underwater viewing platform. Lunch is included. During our visit, we meet a marine biologist who will share his expertise about the fragile state of the Great Barrier Reef during a fascinating onboard lecture. After a full and rewarding day, we return to the mainland, where dinner is at your leisure.

Included Feature:

  • Full-day Great Barrier Reef excursion, with included lunch
Cultural Discovery:
  • Presentation about the Great Barrier Reef by a marine biologist

Included meals:

Breakfast  & lunch

DAY 10:

Step into a magical rainforest realm at Kuranda

Make sure you have your camera ready for today’s full-day tour. Picturesque Kuranda is a tableland village and the gateway to the UNESCO-listed Wet Tropics of Queensland — a spectacular rainforest habitat containing some of the most primitive flora and fauna on the planet.

From Cairns, you’ll ride on the 132-year-old Kuranda Scenic Railway, enjoying the view as you journey to top of the mountain range through 15 hand-cut tunnels and past spectacular waterfalls. In Kuranda, visit the Australian Butterfly Sanctuary and admire the 1,500 resident tropical butterflies that dance around freely. You’ll enjoy an included lunch, as well as some free time to do your own exploring. Kuranda was first settled in 1885, and is today a bohemian retreat known for its markets, arts and crafts galleries, and street performances.

Next, you’ll board the 4.6-mile Skyrail Rainforest Cableway and glide across the rainforest canopy, stopping en route to walk through the rainforest and take in jaw-dropping views of Barron Falls. Your excursion ends at Caravonica Lakes, where you’ll be taken back to your hotel. Tonight, enjoy dinner on your own.

Included Feature:

  • Full-day tour of Kuranda and its surrounding rainforest

Included meals:

Breakfast  & lunch

DAY 11:

Travel to Sydney, one of the world’s most iconic cities

After breakfast, we have the morning at leisure. Then we fly to Sydney, Australia’s free-wheeling and cosmopolitan capital of New South Wales. Upon arrival, we transfer to our Deluxe hotel near the harbor and the soaring "sails" of the Sydney Opera House.

You'll have a free afternoon to explore your new neighborhood before meeting back at the hotel for dinner.

Included meals:

Breakfast & dinner

DAY 12:

Discover Sydney’s charms

Get acquainted with beautiful Sydney on our morning excursion. We begin at the Altmann + Cherny showroom to learn about opal, Australia’s national gemstone, before heading to the world-famous Sydney Opera House for a guided tour of this breathtaking UNESCO World Heritage Site. Next, a tour of the city’s highlights takes you to the peninsula of Mrs. Macquarie’s Point, where a chair carved for the first governor’s wife overlooks the harbor. Continue to the mid-19th-century Garrison Church, Dawes Point, Darling Harbor, and Chinatown. You’ll also visit Bondi Beach and see for yourself why this stretch of sand and surf ranks among the most spectacular beaches in the world. The rest of the afternoon is free, with lunch on your own. This evening, enjoy dinner at a local restaurant in bustling Circular Quay.

Included Feature:
  • Panoramic tour of Sydney
Cultural Discovery:
  • Opal demonstration

Included meals:

Breakfast & dinner

DAY 13:

Explore the ancient, majestic Blue Mountains

The Blue Mountains, bordering metropolitan Sydney, were formed about a million years ago and are so named for the blue haze that tinges the mountains and valleys along the range. Today, the entire area has been designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and you’ll explore its highlights on a full-day tour.

Your day begins with a drive to Featherdale Wildlife Park, where you’ll meet cuddly koalas, spry kangaroos, and other Australian native wildlife. En route to the town of Katoomba in the Blue Mountains, savor an included lunch before boarding the Scenic Railway — the steepest passenger railway in the world! — down into the Jamison Valley for a walk through the forest, surrounded by the enchanting calls of bell miners, lyrebirds, and more. The Scenic Skyway, suspended 886 feet above the ravines, then bestows you with 360-degree views of the Three Sisters, Jamison Valley, and other iconic landmarks. Back in Sydney, enjoy dinner on your own.

Included Feature:

  • Full-day Blue Mountains tour, including Featherdale Wildlife Park

Included meals:

Breakfast  & lunch

DAY 14:

Cruise Sydney Harbor and explore The Rocks

This morning will be an invigorating one, as you enjoy a sightseeing cruise on Sydney Harbor! This is your opportunity to view the gorgeous homes and capture fabulous shots of the Opera House and Harbor Bridge. Following the cruise, our Adventure Leader guides a walk of The Rocks and the Sydney Harbor area, pointing out some little-known sites and sharing local stories and lore. You’ll enjoy lunch at a local restaurant, then have the rest of the day to explore the city on your own. Dinner is at your leisure this evening.

Included Feature:
  • Sydney Harbor cruise
Cultural Discovery:
  • Orientation walk of The Rocks and Sydney Harbor

Included meals:

Breakfast  & lunch

DAY 15:

Fly to the Adventure Capital of the World: Queenstown

Following breakfast this morning, we transfer to the airport for our flight to Queenstown. This city, nicknamed the "Adventure Capital of the World," is set along picturesque Lake Wakatipu and against the backdrop of the mountain range aptly named the Remarkables, besides being one of the South Island’s most impressive cities. Your evening is at leisure, with dinner included at the hotel.

Included meals:

Breakfast & dinner

DAY 16:

What a day: Views from Bob’s Peak, Arrowtown, and a winery tour

The South Island is starkly different than its northern neighbor, and we’ll experience its unique brand of beauty today. We’ll set off on a half-day tour that will take us soaring over the city on a gondola to Bob’s Peak, where we’ll be rewarded with remarkable views of Queenstown. The mountain draws adventure lovers to its zip line, bungee jumping, and hiking and biking trails. So, along with breathtaking vistas, we get a true sense of the Kiwi love of the outdoors. We’ll also visit the former mining hub of Arrowtown, preserved as the heart of the 19th-century Otago Gold Rush. New Zealand is renowned for its wines, and you’ll get the chance to visit a local wine producer: the Gibbston Valley Winery, home of New Zealand’s largest wine cave and today’s lunch spot.

Included Features:

  • Half-day tour with gondola ride to Bob’s Peak
  • Visit Arrowtown
  • Wine tour and lunch at Gibbston Valley Winery
Cultural Discovery:
  • Taste New Zealand wine at Gibbston Valley Winery

Included meals:

Breakfast  & lunch

DAY 17:

Experience the idyllic beauty of UNESCO-listed Milford Sound

Today, we visit one of the world’s greatest natural wonders. We set out on a full-day excursion to spectacular Milford Sound, the Southern Hemisphere’s longest fjord and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Our long transfer to the far reaches of Fiordland National Park is rewarded with a luncheon cruise through astonishing vistas of rocky peaks, glassy waters, and silvery waterfalls cascading from great heights into the sound. Dinner back in Queenstown is on your own.

Included Feature:

  • Full-day excursion to Milford Sound

Included meals:

Breakfast  & lunch

DAY 18:

Free time in the mountain-fringed town of Queenstown

Today is free for you to explore more of Queenstown at your leisure. Perhaps you’ll join in the adventurous spirit of the locals and arrange a mountain biking or bungee-jumping expedition. If a walk in the woods is more your speed, then you might hit some nearby trails to go “tramping,” the local term for hiking. This evening, we’re welcomed by locals as we visit their family for a home-hosted meal.

Cultural Discovery:

  • Home-hosted meal with a local family

Included meals:

Breakfast & dinner

DAY 19:

Fly to Auckland, the “City of Sails”

We’ll arrive in Auckland, on New Zealand’s North Island today. Check into your hotel upon arrival, then gather later for dinner at the hotel with your fellow travelers.

Included meals:

Breakfast & dinner

DAY 20:

Explore Auckland on a panoramic tour

We begin our Auckland explorations with a panoramic excursion that takes in the best of the city. At Bastion Point, overlooking the blue waters of Waitemata Harbor, we pay a visit to the site of the Maori protests of the 1970s. We continue to the Auckland War Memorial Museum, a beautiful neoclassical building, and one of the nation’s most important historical and natural history repositories. During our visit, we glimpse a bit of Maori tradition and custom as we attend a lively Maori concert. This afternoon and evening, take the opportunity to see Auckland’s landmarks at your own pace and seek out a spot for lunch at your leisure. Your Adventure Leader will have plenty of recommendations! Dinner will be at a local restaurant.

Included Feature:

  • Panoramic tour of Auckland and museum visit
Cultural Discovery:
  • Attend a Maori concert at the Auckland War Memorial Museum

Included meals:

Breakfast & dinner

DAY 21:

Head to Waiheke Island to visit a winery and an olive oil estate

Join a Waiheke Island tour today. We’ll explore this island just a short ferry ride from Auckland, delving into the local culture, built around art, food, and wine. We’ll savor a delicious lunch as well as a wine tasting and tour at Stonyridge Vineyard, one of the island’s oldest and most well-respected winemakers. From there, we venture to Rangihoua (meaning “Day of the Renewal” in Maori), home of award-winning olive oils that we’ll get to sample. We then hop on the ferry back to Auckland.

It’s easy to see how this cultural capital, flanked by two magnificent harbors, earned the nickname “City of Sails.” About 135,000 yachts and launches are registered here. Perhaps you’ll check out the America’s Cup yachts, formal gardens, and statues in Albert Park. Or browse the shops along Queen Street, the city’s trendy commercial district. Tonight, gather with your fellow travelers for the group’s Farewell Dinner.

Included Feature:

  • Full-day tour of Waiheke Island

Included meals:

Breakfast, lunch & dinner

DAY 22:

Depart for home

Transfer to the Auckland airport and begin your journey home.

Included meals:

Breakfast

Post-Trip Extension

Nadi, Fiji

FROM: $1999 PER PERSON | 4 DAYS | $500 PER DAY

Please Note: The above day-by-day itineraries  and hotels are preliminary and therefore subject to change. If changes occur while on tour, you will be notified by your Vantage Adventure Leader or regional expert. Although we contract our hotels a year in advance, unforeseen situations do occasionally occur. Should it be necessary to change a hotel, one of equal quality and value will be substituted. You will receive verified hotel information with your final itinerary. That hotel ratings are based on the Hotel and a leading travel industry authority on hotels throughout the world.

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CALL 1-800-322-6677

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Vantage Leading Competitor Vantage Advantage
Journey Australia & New Zealand: From Ayers Rock to the Great Barrier Reef & Beyond Australia & New Zealand: The Lands Down Under Greatest value and most comprehensive features compared to our competitors!
 Departure Comparison Jun 30 to Sep 11
Per Diem $477 $1,000
Included Tours and Special Features 23 included features and Cultural Discoveries - a value of $1,600

4 UNESCO World Heritage Sites: Sydney Opera House, Great Barrier Reef, Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park and Milford Sound

Complimentary services of a Vantage worldwide Concierge to assist with all your personal requests


-Luxurious stay a five-star tented eco-camp
- Swim and snorkel on the Great Barrier Reef
-Sydney Harbour on a private cruise, and then privately explore Sydney Opera House
-Privately guided visit to Wildlife Habitat Port Douglas
- Privately visit the Oaks Kitchen & Garden on an A&K-exclusive experience hosted by the owners
-Cruise New Zealand’s Milford Sound amid soaring, glacier-carved mountain peaks that reflect in its pristine waters
-Discover life in Queenstown as you visit the private home and gallery of a world-renowned local artist and savor a private wine tasting in New Zealand’s largest wine cave

- Customize the itinerary to your interests
More included tours and cultural experiences offered!
Accommodations in hotels  On each journey that we offer with Vantage, your hotel accommodations will be included in the total price of your cruise.    We choose all of our partner hotels with comfort and luxury in mind, and will let you know ahead of time which hotel you’ll be staying in at each port. 
Cruise-Only Price* $10,499 $16,995  Greatest value and most comprehensive features compared to our competitors!
# of Days 22 17
Meals 38 meals: 19 breakfasts, 8 lunches, and 11 dinners, including a home-hosted meal in Queenstown
Full Breakfast Daily; Select Lunches and Dinners The MOST included meals
Single Travelers FREE Solo Space on every departure
Single Supplement $7,495 The leader in solo travel — best value in the industry.
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Nadi, Fiji 4 days from $1999
Tasmania 4 days from $3,295 per person Extend your journey and get more value for your dollar.
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