Australia & New Zealand 22 days
96.1% of reviewers recommend this tourRead Reviews 
About This Experience
Australia and New Zealand are a world away—but what a world it is. From the Great Barrier Reef to the rugged Australian Outback, from the sheep-dotted New Zealand plains to the cliff-lined fjords, the land Down Under features a nonstop lineup of dramatic landscapes. In between outdoor adventures, you’ll discover surprisingly sophisticated, multicultural cities and an irresistible, carefree, carpe-diem spirit.
Your Tour Includes
Round-trip airfare & transfers
19 nights in handpicked hotels
Breakfast daily, 1 lunch, 5 three-course dinners with beer or wine
Multilingual Tour Director
Private deluxe motor coach
Select entrance fees
Why You'll Love It
The underwater world of the Great Barrier Reef
Melbourne and Sydney’s sparkle & sophistication
Intriguing Aboriginal & Maori culture
Iconic Ayers Rock
New Zealand’s fabulous fjords & mighty mountains
Australian Shiraz & New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc
Overnight Flight2 nights
Melbourne3 nights - hotel info
Say hello to Melbourne
A Go Ahead representative greets you at the airport and escorts you to your hotel. You’re free to spend the remainder of the day as you wish, whether you want to catch up on your sleep or begin your own explorations of this diverse and exciting city. At an included dinner, meet your fellow travelers.
Stroll through diverse neighborhoods and eclectic architecture
Optional Excursion - Fairy Penguin Parade
Pronounced something like “Melbuhn” by Aussies, Melbourne is home to a beautiful collection of 19th-century architecture, trams, sprawling parks and charming suburbs. On today’s guided tour of the city, you’ll see Flinders Street Station (a meeting point for Melburnians), South Bank, the Tudor-influenced Cooks’ Cottage in Fitzroy Gardens (residence of Captain Cook’s parents before it was moved here from Yorkshire), St. Paul’s Cathedral, Town Hall, the Melbourne Cricket Ground and Melbourne Park, the setting of the annual Australian Open tennis tournament. This evening, travel to nearby Phillip Island for a memorable optional excursion—the nightly “Penguin Parade” on Summerland Beach, when thousands of tiny penguins waddle up from the sea to nest.
Fairy Penguin Parade $139* pp
Every night, the tiny Fairy Penguins of Phillip Island waddle ashore in an adorable parade. On this excursion, you'll journey to Summerland Beach to see the penguins come home after a long day of fishing. They're returning to feed their babies, and you'll watch as the penguins arrive for dinner on the beach. Please note: This excursion is weather dependent.
Taste Melbourne’s international cooking and up-and-coming wines
Optional Excursion - Yarra Valley Winery via Steamtrain
Today is free to embark on your own exploration of Melbourne. You might wish to browse the stalls of the Queen Victoria Market or shop along South Bank, which houses the massive Crown Casino complex. Don’t miss venturing out to Melbourne’s eclectic suburbs—Carlton, Fitzroy, Richmond, South Yarra and St. Kilda. You’ll be rewarded with an international cuisine, unique architecture and a true small-town feel. Alternatively, join an optional Yarra Valley Winery via Steamtrain excursion to the Yarra Valley to taste the wines of the region. Also included in this optional excursion is a ride on the historic “Puffing Billy” steam train past the resplendent Emerald Lake.
Yarra Valley Winery via Steamtrain $179* pp
Embark on a journey to the Dandenong Ranges rainforest. Upon arrival you’ll have the opportunity to feed some of the wild birds native to the area, including colorful parrots and cockatoos. Next, board the authentic “Puffing Billy” steam-powered train en route to Menzies Creek. Along the way, admire the mountain’s eucalyptus forest and fern gullies. After the scenic train ride, you’ll travel to a regional vineyard and enjoy a sumptuous three-course lunch and tasting, followed by a visit to another local winery.
Alice Springs1 night - hotel info
Venture to Alice Springs, the heart of the Australian Outback
Today, fly to the Northern Territory for a comprehensive tour of Alice Springs, the heart of central Australia. You’ll see many buildings dating back to Australia’s colonial days, including the Stuart Town Gaol and the Old Telegraph Station.
Ayers Rock1 night - hotel info
Motor through Australia’s bleak, beautiful “red center”
Optional Excursion - Sunrise Ballooning
Begin the day with an optional sunrise flight (and champagne breakfast) via hot air balloon over the “Red Center.” This morning, journey by motor coach through the desert to the breathtaking Uluru National Park, where you’ll spend the night. Upon arrival, a guided sightseeing tour introduces you to the Olgas, a cluster of towering rock domes.
Sunrise Ballooning $275* pp
Sail through the morning sky high above Alice Springs on this breathtaking excursion. Watch as kangaroos and wallabies greet another day in the Outback. Your balloon ride lasts 30 minutes, and upon landing, you'll enjoy breakfast accompanied by champagne. Please note: This excursion is weather dependent.
Cairns3 nights - hotel info
Soak up the sacred Uluru spirit
Visit Ayers Rock, located nearly 900 miles from the nearest city, in the heart of the Australian outback and close to the Tropic of Capricorn. On a guided sightseeing tour, you’ll learn about the rock’s history. For 20,000 years, native Aboriginal tribes have worshipped this dramatic monolith (which they call Uluru), whose red hues shift with the changing light. Following your visit, board a flight to Cairns.
Swim alongside a kaleidoscope of creatures and coral
One of the highlights of your stay in Cairns is this morning’s boat ride to the Great Barrier Reef, the world’s largest coral bed. You may choose to view the coral’s brilliant colors from the underwater observatory, or get even closer with a snorkel.
Ride the rails through the scenery and greenery of Kuranda Rainforest
Optional Excursion - Kuranda Village Aboriginal Park & Rainforest
Spend the day at your leisure. Choose to go out on your own, discovering the cafes and shops of the wharf district or strolling along the harbor-side esplanade. You may also opt for a full-day guided tour of the village of Kuranda, set deep in the rainforest on the cusp of the Atherton Tablelands.
Kuranda Village Aboriginal Park & Rainforest $179* pp
At the Tjapukai Aboriginal Cultural Park, meet your guide who will accompany you through the park. Along the way, you’ll learn how to make and play a didgeridoo, how to throw a spear and watch performances that celebrate the culture of the rainforest’s indigenous people. Next, you’ll take a scenic ride on the historic Kuranda Train before a leisurely lunch break. Take some free time to explore the Kuranda Village—discover treasures at the markets, visit an Aboriginal art gallery or hop on a river cruise. Before the end of your trip, take a ride on the Skyrail cable car, soaring high over the canopy of the forest. The cable car will stop along the way, giving you the chance to walk along a boardwalk through the rainforest floor.
Sydney3 nights - hotel info
Take in Sydney’s iconic sights, from the Opera House to Bondi Beach
Optional Excursion - Sydney's Northern Beaches & Dinner
Sydney Opera House
Sydney’s laid-back outdoor lifestyle and natural allure make it one of the world’s most pleasant cities. On your guided sightseeing tour, learn about the country’s first European settlers: convicted criminals who arrived in the late 18th century. Pass by Chinatown and the grand public buildings on Macquarie Street. See Darling Harbor, the Rocks and world-famous Bondi Beach. Then, step inside the iconic Opera House for a guided tour. In the evening, opt to take a ferry across the bay for dinner on Manly Harbor, a suburb known for its beautiful beaches and seaside location.
Sydney's Northern Beaches & Dinner $125* pp
Kick off your evening with a tranquil ride on the Sydney Harbor Ferry. Your destination is just across the bay at Manly Harbor, a suburb known for its relaxed atmosphere, world-class beaches, stunning coastal walks and buzzing cafe and bar scene. Take a stroll around town before sitting down to dinner at a local restaurant. After your meal, relax and enjoy the ride back to Sydney.
Trek through the azure landscapes of the Blue Mountains
Optional Excursion - The Blue Mountains
Spend the day enjoying Sydney at your own pace. Alternatively, opt for an excursion to the Blue Mountains and the famous Three Sisters rock formation.
The Blue Mountains $145* pp
On a clear day, the Blue Mountains are imbued with an exquisite blue hue, the result of sunlight striking drops of eucalyptus oil hanging in the air. On this excursion, you'll pass by the Sydney Olympic Park, stop to feed kangaroos and wallabies at a wildlife park, enjoy an included lunch at Echo Point in the shadow of the famed Three Sisters and browse through the shops in the quaint village of Leura. Please note: This excursion is weather dependent.
Christchurch Region1 night - hotel info
Queenstown4 nights - hotel info
Traverse sheep-dotted plains, turquoise lakes and rambling rivers
Travel through some of New Zealand’s most captivating landscapes today. Pass through the Canterbury Plains and the sheep-farming region around Ashburton. Then, travel through Burton’s Pass into the high Mackenzie Country. After passing beautiful Lake Tekapo, follow the Kawarau River into Queenstown.
Feel the adrenaline on a gondola ride up Bob’s Peak
Optional Excursion - Walter Peak
Gondola Aerial Cable
After a free morning in Queenstown, take the Gondola Aerial Cableway 1,500 feet up Bob’s Peak, which overlooks beautiful lakes and mountain scenery. This evening, take an optional steamship ride across Lake Wakatipu to visit the Walter Peak Sheep and Cattle Station and dine on local fare at the Homestead Restaurant (seasonal).
Walter Peak $99* pp
Board the steam-powered TSS Earnslaw in Queenstown for a cruise across Lake Wakatipu. Your destination is Walter Peak, one of New Zealand’s most famous sheep and cattle stations. There, you'll enjoy a four-course dinner at the Colonel’s Homestead Restaurant and watch a sheep-shearing demonstration and sheep dog show before embarking on another scenic cruise back to Queenstown. Please note: In June and July, the TSS Earnslaw will be undergoing routine maintenance. During these months, travelers will travel on a launch boat and dinner will be included at a Queenstown restaurant. Additionally, a wind-and-waterproof jacket and comfortable shoes are recommended.
Cruise through the waterfall-laden fjord of Milford Sound
Depart early this morning to see the breathtaking scenery of Milford Sound. The journey takes you through the Five Rivers farming region and around the shores of Te Anau Lake and into fjord country. After climbing to the Homer Saddle and driving through the Homer Tunnel, follow the beautiful Cleddau River into Milford Sound. On arrival, board a boat for a cruise around the Sound. Created during the Ice Age, the fjord knifes out into the sea, between native forests and sheer cliff faces. This is some of the most memorable scenery in the world, and the view of the mile-high Mitre Peak is truly unforgettable.
Get your thrills in Queenstown, whether winetasting or bungee-jumping
Spend the morning as you’d like before embarking on a sightseeing tour of the Queenstown region. You’ll visit the Gibbston Valley vineyard for an included tasting in this famed wine region. Continue on to historic Arrowtown, a small settlement that was once the center of New Zealand’s gold rush days. Finally, you’ll witness the rushing Kawarau River from the Kawarau Bridge, the birthplace of bungy jumping.
Rotorua1 night - hotel info
Auckland2 nights - hotel info
Explore Auckland from the Tasman Sea to the Pacific Ocean
Travel to the city of Auckland, where you’ll join a local guide for an afternoon sightseeing tour of the City of Sails, built upon two natural harbors, the Waitemata and the Manukau. You’ll have the opportunity to behold the cityscape from atop the harbor bridge.
Cruise to the island of “descending waters” in Hauraki Gulf
Optional Excursion - Waiheke Island
Take advantage of a free day to see more of Auckland, or opt to join an excursion to Waiheke Island. Take a scenic ferry ride to the island, where a local guide will share insight on the history, flora and fauna of island. Sample the local wine and olive oil before stopping at one of the island’s beaches. Tonight, join your travel companions for a farewell dinner.
Waiheke Island $115* pp
Board a ferry and settle in for a scenic cruise across the Auckland Harbor to Waiheke Island. Upon arrival at the wharf, a local guide will provide full commentary regarding the history of the island, the native flora and fauna, and tales of the region. Make your way to a local boutique vineyard for a wine tasting before continuing to a bustling olive oil mill. With the beach close at hand, take some time after the tastings to explore the coast and soak in the spectacular views. Before boarding the ferry back to Auckland, you’ll have free time for lunch at a local cafe or restaurant.
Extend Your Stay
Add Fiji City Stay $689*
Conjure up your fantasy of paradise on earth: you’re probably imagining Fiji. Gorgeous palm-fringed beaches, crystal-clear lagoons, colorful coral reefs, lush tropical rainforests and majestic mountains—that’s what makes this island nation in the South Pacific one of the most enticing places on Earth. Paradise, aside, perhaps the true allure of Fiji lies with the warmth of the people and the fascinating blend of cultures that has endured for centuries.
Fiji3 nights - hotel info
Sample the culture, crafts and cuisine of Old Fiji
On your last day in Fiji, you may choose to see the beautiful frescoes of the Church of St. Xavier in the town of Navuibutu, visit the sugar plantations in Ba or stroll through the marketplaces in Tabua. The Mamanuca Islands off the west coast of Viti Levu offer some excellent diving and beautiful scenery. This evening, join your fellow travelers for a seafood dinner.
Passport & Visa Requirements
In order to enter Australia and New Zealand (as well as the Republic of Fiji on the tour extension), U.S. and Canadian citizens need a valid passport with an expiration date extending at least six months beyond the date of your return home. A visa is also required for U.S. and Canadian passport holders to enter Australia. You can obtain an individual visa through our recommended provider VisaCentral (www.visacentral.com/goaheadtours) or by visiting www.eta.immi.gov.au. When entering Fiji, U.S. and Canadian citizens are automatically issued a visa upon arrival. If you are not a U.S. or Canadian citizen, you must contact each country’s consulate for your specific entry requirements.
Airport & Departure Taxes
All airport and departure taxes for this tour are included in the total trip cost printed on your invoice, except for those noted here. All visitors departing New Zealand must pay an airport departure tax directly to the airport. At press time, this tax was $25 New Zealand dollars (about $18USD) and is subject to change without notice. In addition, those taking the extension to Fiji must pay an airport departure tax. At press time, this tax was 30 Fijian dollars (about $16USD), and is subject to change without notice.
Airlines have varying weight restrictions on luggage. Some airlines may impose additional charges if you choose to check any baggage. Please contact your airline or refer to its website for detailed information regarding your airline’s checked baggage policies. Bear in mind that your luggage will probably weigh more on your return trip due to souvenir shopping. We allow only one suitcase per person. One carry-on bag is also permitted, provided that it does not exceed 45 inches (length + width + height). There may be times when you will have to handle your own bags, and you’ll find that lightweight luggage provides a distinct advantage. Make sure you label your baggage and carry valuables, medication and documents in your carry-on luggage.
Clothing & Packing Tips
In the tropics, lightweight clothing is suitable yearround. Farther south in Australia, although the days are often warm during the southern summer (December–February), a jacket is needed for the evenings. During the southern winter (June–August), warm clothing is advised, as is rainwear for the South Island of New Zealand. Sneakers are advised for exploring reefs and beaches, as are a sun hat and sunscreen. There will rarely be an occasion for formal attire.
There are no health risks associated with traveling to Australia and New Zealand. Travelers should take particular care of sun exposure and drink plenty of liquids. If you choose to go swimming, be careful of powerful surf. Make sure to obey signs and lifeguard orders, and always swim between the well-marked flags. Be sure to check with your healthcare provider for the latest health updates and overseas travel requirements.
Australia’s culinary traditions show a British influence, tending to be hearty and filling. The emphasis is on high-quality steaks and lamb chops, which are often barbecued. Meat pies, made in a variety of flavors, are also popular. Local specialties include shellfish, such as Sydney rock oysters and crabs, and the fish and chips often rival those in the United Kingdom. The national beverage is beer, and a visit to an Aussie pub is a popular pastime. Wines (especially from South Australia and Victoria) are superb. In New Zealand, there are many good local varieties of fish and seafood, excellent venison and fresh fruits, including kiwi and passion fruits. For lunch, tea rooms serve savory meat pies, quiche and desserts.
Round-trip flights arrive in Melbourne and leave from Auckland (or Nadi on the extension). Flights are also included from Melbourne to Alice Springs, Ayers Rock to Cairns, Cairns to Sydney, Sydney to Christchurch and Queenstown to Rotorua. All other transfers are serviced by private motor coach. In your free time, you may wish to explore the locations via public transport. In Melbourne, the Met (M) transportation system covers tram, train and bus travel. The tram is an easy way to see the city. You can purchase tickets in singles or in bulk at shop vendors, Flinders Street Station and Melbourne Central Station. In Sydney, buses run frequently. One of the best ways to see Sydney is by ferry, which you can board at Circular Quay near the Opera House. Sydney also features a monorail that runs from the city center to Darling Harbor. Christchurch is easily accessed by bus and is also ideal for cycling. In Auckland, ferry, rail and bus lines are now connected by the new Britomart Interchange, completed in 2003.
Australia operates on 220 and 240 volts, and New Zealand and Fiji operate on 240 volts.
Australia has three separate time zones. On your tour, you’ll encounter Australian Eastern Standard (15 hours ahead of U.S. Eastern Standard) and Australian Central Standard (14.5 hours ahead of U.S. Eastern Standard). During the summer daylight-saving period, things get more complicated: The state of Queensland is then one hour behind that of New South Wales and Victoria. New Zealand is 17 hours ahead of U.S. Eastern Standard.
The units of currency you’ll be using on your tour are the Australian and New Zealand dollars. Better rates of exchange are found in those countries. We recommend taking a combination of ATM/bank cards, credit cards and travelers checks, which can be exchanged for local currency as needed. All are widely accepted. We suggest that you inform your bank and credit card company of your travel plans, so that they won’t confuse your international purchases for fraudulent charges.
At the conclusion of your tour, it’s customary to offer your Tour Director and driver a gratuity. We recommend tipping in your tour country’s currency, the equivalency of $3USD/CAD per person per day for your driver and $6USD/CAD to $9USD/CAD per person per day for your Tour Director. If applicable, we also recommend the equivalency of $2USD/CAD per local guide. Tips can only be paid in cash. Please keep current local currency exchange rates in mind when tipping.
96.1% of reviewers recommend this tourRead Reviews 
The tour provided some truly great experiences that can only be had traveling to these countries. The animal life and terrain are as diverse as any place one can visit. The people are friendly and helpful in both countries. Our tour Director was outstanding in her organization and enthusiasm while leading us through this tour. The sights are beautiful and exciting. This is a trip I will remember as high point for as long as I live.
To Many People!
Go Ahead just kept adding spaces on this tour. 41 people was way to many for such a long tour! Australia portion of tour we had a one door bus with many oversized people. The tour director never suggested we rotate seats so the same people sat in the front with him the entire trip and while they had personalized treatment the rest of us had no information and no tour guidance. Those of us in the middle or back of the bus were basically on our own, no information about stops or meal requests or meeting places. I would not recommend Go Ahead to anyone and I am not alone in canceling my future trip. Absolutely the last Go Ahead tour I waste my money on!
An amazing array of wonderful experiences.
We enjoyed our trip to much. It was beautifully planned and everything went on a a good pace without being too hectic. Our tour guide, Luke, was wonderful.
Best Tour Director
Our tour director was the best of all the tours we have had. Her personality, her wit, and her care of us was wonderful. We could not have been more pleased.
Entire tour was fantastic. Looking at taking another tour soon.
fantastic experience "down under"
Loved every day of this trip! Saw everything on my bucket list and never felt rushed or hectic. Easygoing and knowledgable tour guide (Luke) made each day a breeze to prepare for and enjoy. Only suggestion would be including more time in Cairns for learning about the Aboriginal culture at their village site near Kuranda. Also offering the Te Anau glow worm caves near Queenstown is highly recommended versus the day in Arrowtown/visiting the winery. Great tour overall for the time and value!
Australia/New Zealand has been on my "bucket list" for many years. I had high expectations for this trip and Go Ahead and our tour director, Luke, made these dreams all come true. Each destination brought fascinating aspects to light. I loved the small group.......it made it easy to get places and stay in a easy time-frame. I will highly recommend this tour to my friends and family.
Australia and New Zeeland
The tour director, Luke made the trip an experience of a life time. My travel mates were excellent, the scenery outstanding, and the food better than expected.
Australia and New Zealand tour
Overall I thought it was a fabulous trip. We saw so many interesting places and and shared so many adventures with our fellow travellers. I thought the tour was well organized and our tour director, Simon, was amazing. He has a wealth of information which he passed onto us. He has incredible patience and did his very best to accomodate us in every way. He was always on hand to answer all the questions, even though he had heard them all before. He had a printed sheet of all the events, times etc for the ensuing 3 days - very helpful. I loved seeing the outback and Ayers Rock, such a different expernience. The champagne sunset was terrific- so much fun. Most of the accomodations were very good - some better than others. I like the hotels in Melbourne and Sydney and enjoyed both cities. I was able to have dinner with my first cousin in Melbourne( had not seen him in 10 years) In sydney we met up with the daughter of fellow travellers. She and her family had just moved there for business. Sydney is a great city. Love the fact you can travel by bus, ferry all over the city. Opera house is beautiful. I enjoyed the host dinner in Ashburton. We had a terrific meal and our hosts were warm and friendly. It was a shame we chould not see Christchurch. However an old friend of my husbands drove from Christchurch to Ashburton to see him. I enjoyed Queenstown - trip to Milford Sound. Glad we did the Walter peak dinner and cruise ( an add on) I didnot like the place in Rotorua(good thng we were not there very long) I didnot like the sulphur smell. However I did enjoy the Maori Hangi Feast. We didnot see much of Auckland as we were only there one night and had to be up very early the next day for trip to Figi. The resort in Figi was beautiful. It was great to just relax for a couple of days and enjoy the breakfasts. We had a nice room but some people had better and newer rooms and better rooms. Equal pay - rooms should all be the same. All in all i have very few complaints. I was accomodated with a bulk head seat with Air New Zealand on the way over because of a medical condition.( they were great) However, even though Simon tried on the way back - no such luck - didnot like asia pacific - very crowded - food dreadful- 3 hour delay in fiji - going back through LA - a nightmare - 2-3 hours in immigration - send Canadians thru Vancouver - We had 13 flights in all and most ran very smoothly - just the last one - Air Canada - a disappointment - everyone else serves something and ear phones - in the 5 hour flight - only a drink - you have to pay for earphones - You did a great job and i would reccommend you to others .. Some people on our tour have done many tours with you - I think we got great value for our Money. Judy Borgatti
Down Under Overview
This tour was an amazing snapshot of the lands down-under. We were able to see Cairns and the Great Barrier Reef, Alice Springs, Uluru, Melbourne and the Yarra Valley, as well as Sydney in Australia. In New Zealand, we were able to do a Kiwi home dinner with a local family in Ashburton before going to Queenstown for four days including a day-trip to Milford Sound, Rotorua, and then Auckland. We also did the add-on to Fiji. Overall, I would recommend this tour. It was fun and the sights were amazing. There is clearly too much to see in a short period of time, but this is a great tour to get a taste of both Australia and New Zealand. Also, our tour guide Luke was knowledgeable and organized and there were no glitches with our group of 24. The only negatives I can think of was that one day in Queenstown seemed to be wasted with a short three-hour tour of the area including one winery stop, but no other activities. That day might have been better used as a transfer day to Auckland because our time in Auckland was too short and we were unable to tour the city to any degree. I wouldn't recommend the add-on to Fiji. Just too much at the end of a long tour. Wish I had just come on home.