Australia & New Zealand22 days
95.7% 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
Breakfast (in flight), Dinner
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 Carlton Gardens, a World Heritage Site that features outstanding Victorian landscaping. The area is also home to the Royal Exhibition Building and the Melbourne Museum. Continue along Lygon Street to Melbourne’s own Little Italy and Collins Street, the city’s upscale center. You’ll also visit the soaring St. Patrick’s Cathedral and enter the Shrine of Remembrance. 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 $149* 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 through the majestic Dandenong Ranges National Park.
Yarra Valley Winery via Steamtrain $189* 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 to enjoy an included lunch and wine tasting, followed by a visit to another local winery.
Alice Springs1 night - hotel info
Venture to Alice Springs, the heart of the Australian Outback
Royal Flying Doctor Service, School of Air
Today, fly to the Northern Territory to Alice Springs, where you’ll learn about many institutions dating back to Australia’s colonial days, including the Royal Flying Doctor Service and the School of Air.
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 Centre. Later this morning, journey by motor coach through the desert to the breathtaking Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park, where you’ll spend the night. This evening, enjoy a guided tour of Kata Tjuta, a stunning collection of 36 weathered rock domes also known as the Olgas.
Sunrise Ballooning $299* 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 magnificent 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 22,000 years, native Aboriginal tribes have worshiped this dramatic monolith (which they call Uluru). Hear their stories and visit the cultural center before boarding your 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. Enjoy an included lunch while out on the reef.
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 $199* 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 Harbor Dinner Cruise
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 Royal Botanic Garden. See Darling Harbor, the Rocks, the Gap in Watsons Bay and world-famous Bondi Beach. Then, step inside the iconic Opera House for a guided tour. In the evening, opt for a dinner cruise of Sydney Harbor.
Sydney Harbor Dinner Cruise $129* pp
Take a dinner cruise through Sydney Harbor, basking in views of the city’s famous bridge, opera house and twinkling cityscape at night. The MV Sydney 2000, one of Sydney's most prestigious cruise ships, features multiple decks and live entertainment. Your dinner will be served on the Sky Deck, offering 360-degree views of the city.
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 $159* 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 undergoes routine maintenance and is replaced by a launch boat for the return cruise. 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, around the shores of Lake Te Anau and into Fjordland National Park. After climbing to the Homer Saddle and driving through the Homer Tunnel, follow the beautiful Cleddau River into Milford Sound. You’ll cruise around the Sound, which was 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 for an afternoon sightseeing tour. Known as the City of Sails, Auclkand was 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 $749*
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 reentry. Additionally, U.S. and Canadian passport holders must obtain an individual visa in advance in order to enter Australia. Electronic visas can be purchased on the Australian government’s Electronic Travel Authority website. 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.
Airlines have varying weight restrictions on luggage. Some airlines may impose additional charges if you choose to check any baggage; be advised that you are responsible for any such costs. Contact your airline for detailed information regarding luggage size and weight restrictions for your flight, but please note that Go Ahead travelers are restricted to one checked bag per person due to storage limitations on motor coaches and other internal transfers, which may include train connections or flights. One carry-on bag is also permitted, provided that it does not exceed 45 total inches (length + width + height). Make sure you label your baggage and carry valuables, medication and documents in your carry-on bag.
Clothing & Packing Tips
In the tropics, lightweight clothing is suitable year-round. Farther south in Australia, a jacket is needed for the cooler evenings in the southern summer (December-February). During the southern winter (June–August), warmer clothing is advised, as is rainwear for the South Island of New Zealand. Sneakers, a sun hat and sunscreen are recommended 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 lamb 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 Metro (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 Southern Cross 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. 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 (and Fiji dollars on the tour extension). Better rates of exchange are found in those countries. We recommend taking a combination of ATM/bank cards and credit cards, 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.
95.7% of reviewers recommend this tourRead Reviews 
South Island magnificence
Overall the tour was very enjoyable. I originally thought Australia would be the highlight reel, and much was fascinating and interesting, but New Zealand's scenery and physical beauty knocked my socks off. I would have liked less "shopping" and more culture and arts such as museum visits and music/theater performances. There were plenty of photo ops and interesting sidelights, but much of what was conveyed was hard to comprehend because of the throat problem of the tour director, the accents needing getting used to and the road noise because we were in smaller conveyances with only 13 of us. Must sees: Melbourne Museum and botanical gardens, Penguin Parade, School of the Air, Uluru and the Olgas, Great Barrier Reef, rain forests (both tropical and temperate), sheep farm, Maori culture demonstrations, Rotorua hot springs, and Milford Sound, without exageration, the most spectacular scenery of the itinerary and one of the top sites I have ever witnessed! We were very fortunate the weather was great and May is a perfect time because it wasn't too hot in the desert nor too cold in southernmost latitudes. It would have been helpful if we were told the specific restraint (7 kilograms; ~15#) on carry-on baggage before we left the U.S. so one could plan better.
Down under !
My tour down under was all that I expected! Our director, Erica made the trip exciting, fun, and interesting. Our group was made to feel comfortable doing what we choose to do individually or as a group. We didn't miss a thing that was available. I took in everything and enjoyed being thrust into as much as I could handle. I would recommend this tour to others who are interested in seeing and doing it all, knowing you my never get another chance to return.
This trip exceeded our expectations by 200%. Our tour guide Erica was superb, from our first meeting in Melbourne to saying farewell in Auckland, she had Everything covered and much more. The trip was very fast paced, but we saw and did so much. Each day is a new adventure, from touring across the outback to a home hosted dinner in New Zealand ( which we found to be a highlight of the total adventure). The optional excursions were great and all the "fun stuff" was a probably even better. We met so many fellow travelers and we became a real team, I can't even begin to highlight just one area as the whole trip was just wonderful. We can't say enough about Erica and the bus drivers we had, they all were great. Very informative.One note: pack light as possible, laundry facilites are offered along the way Overall, a trip of our lifetime!! AUSSIE AUSSIE AUSSIE
Aussie New Zeal snd Fiji
My objectives for going on this trip were : to try new experiences , see as many new animals as possible, fill each day with tours to new parks , new cities , new country side. This 3-country vacation was wonderful, I learnt so much about these countries- the Tour Director was so informative and a very caring person. The tour was very busy with all sorts of travel by every type of transportation. New experiences included riding a camel , paragliding down a mountain, snorkeling in the Great Barrier Reef and taking under-water photographs of fish and coral, zoo visits - had a small python around my neck , and a koala on my lap. A dinner cruise around Sydney harbour under the bridge and past the famous Opera House was wonderful. Waterfalls, rainforest , famous NZ mountains , Ffords were some of the sites. Meeting aboriginal groups in every country was interesting to learn about their cultures.
We were very happy with our tour to Australia and New Zealand. Our tour director, Sladana, went above and beyond to give our group the best trip possible and make everything go very smooth at the airports. Each day we were given a "day sheet" telling us what we were going to do and what the weather would be like. She also planned extra side trips on her own that we could take if we liked which made the trip very enjoyable.
Best Tour Director
This trip was absolutely fantastic. We were on the move, guided by the best tour guide, and thus we saw and did a great many things. From penguins, to roos, to hot air balloons over the outback, a helicopter over the great barrier reef, holding a koala, the fiords in New Zealand, and mud baths on the North Island of NZ. Don't miss this trip to Down Under. I was not familiar with Go Ahead, but they offered what I wanted to see, and they did a great job of bringing it to life. Thank you Sladj (Our Tour Director) and thanks to Graham (our KNOWLEDGEABLE & COMICAL bus driver). Just perfect...Plus I did the three day "add on" to Fiji, another "don't miss."
Traveled about a year ago and now can reflect on the tour with nostalgia. A wonderful long trip that didn't seem that long even though it lasted about a month. A wonderful mix of culture, history, information, and most important to me...the natural world. So many special moments from Uluru, to feeding rock Wallabies, snorkeling the Barrier Reef, which was indeed Great! Lovely hotels in good locations. Most of all I appreciated that our truly excellent tour guide, Luke had the perfect combination of providing information, leading us, and then giving us freedom to explore ourselves. He was calm, friendly, organized, knowledgeable, and professional. He seemed unflappable, even in the face of the occasional "hot messes" that are part of almost any group travel experience. Kudos to him! Luke also gave us freedom with a little advice, to venture out on our own as we wanted to go off the program itinerary for a day. While the rest of the group explored an old New Zealand town, we went on our own to a cave with glow worms (Te'Anu). So cool and definitely a highlight as well. I'm grateful Luke didn't fret or restrict us because it was one of the most amazing things I've ever seen. Didn't really like Fiji, but that is just a preference for disliking humid weather in a place where the military has taken over and political forces conspire to get native and immigrants factions to scapegoat each other. However, in our slice of resort Fiji, you'd never guess that was happening and it was totally safe and free from that reality. Thanks for a lovely trip!
What an experience!
We can't say enough about our Australia and New Zealand tour. Our tour director Erica was amazing -- her organizational skills, knowledge, and fun nature really made it for us. She constantly educated us about what we were going to see and do, and also gave us "down time" on the bus. When covering so much territory, you necessarily take several short-to-medium length flights, and spend quite a bit of time on a bus. But we enjoyed the bus rides, as seeing the countryside is important to experiencing the area. We had some great bus drivers also, especially Graeme in the Outback. The diversity of the country/continent of Australia is amazing, and we felt like we got to see quite a bit of it. New Zealand is beautiful, and we thoroughly enjoyed our time there also. Queenstown and the surrounding area are delightful. We took all the optional excursions, and were only disappointed by the Walter Peak excursion. It was a huge crowded banquet hall, and there were so many people, we skipped the sheep-shearing and sheep dog show, as there wasn't enough room for everyone to sit. We took the Fiji extension and are glad that we got to see Fiji. The Sofitel hotel was a very nice resort on Denarau Island, but travelers to Fiji need to expect to see areas of poverty immediately outside of the resort properties. [Note to self: Do not go to Australia during Chinese New Year - The crowds are bad!]
Too much in too short a time. No time to relax and do things on our on. Most Hotels did not have pools. Tour Guide deviated from Tour by stopping off at shops that sell things. Went to Fiji and the guide there had no idea we were showing up on that day. Spent 2 hours in airport and could not check in into the hotel because they had no idea we were arriving. Took almost 2-3 hours to get checked in in Fiji.
Trip of a lifetime!
Our "bucket list" trip was more than we could have dreamed of! Absolutely amazing! Our tour guide, Erica, was so knowledgeable, friendly and cared deeply that we all enjoyed ourselves immensely. In Australia, our highlights included seeing the penguins come ashore at dusk on Phillips Island, touring various wineries and the tastings that were included, Darling Harbor in Melbourne, Uluru (Ayers Rock) and the hot air balloon ride in the Outback, Alice Springs, snorkeling on the Great Barrier Reef, holding a live koala bear in the rainforest in Cairns, all the great seafood ("bugs" or small lobsters), touring the Sydney Opera house and more. All of the hotels were outstanding and we loved the incredible buffet breakfast every morning. In New Zealand, Queenstown is situated in the most picturesque setting. Take the gondola ride to the top, ride the luge part way down, visit Birdlife and see the Kiwi birds, go on the Walter Peak optional tour to experience an amazing BBQ and witness a sheep shearing, definitely take the Milford Sound optional tour as well. The jet boat ride on the Shotover River is the most exciting thing we have done in years! And for the truly daring folks, do the bunge off the original bridge where it all began. And, on the north island, do the volcanic mud bath followed by a massage-incredible! And the Waikeke optional tour was a blast. We would recommend the optional stopover in Fiji to finally have a chance to relax. The Sofitel Hotel is world class with a beautiful large pool. My wife took a cooking class while I attempted to reduce the local wine supply. We also took a helicopter ride out over the reef and islands and back over Sleeping Giant mountain. That is how you see Fiji. All in all, it was simply a great trip. Hardly any glitches at all during the entire 25 days and nothing but good memories. We would highly recommend this tour to anyone wanting to visit this part of the world. You should also sign up for every single optional tour. They were all worth it.