It’s vast and most of it is free from human influence, yet it has modern cities and great beaches too. Given the time it takes to reach from most countries, Australia is becoming an increasingly favoured destination for travellers taking lengthy breaks. And while there is much to do and see in the country, New Zealand offers a completely different kind of natural diversity, which was brought to the attention of many people through the Lord of the Rings films, but which spans back millennia.
While it can be fun to rent a car and just go, fully escorted tours are another popular option, either to explore one country, or both New Zealand and Australia’s highlights in a combined trip. With so much to do and see there is understandably a wide variety of tours available, which also span different requirements in terms of comfort and focus. As such we have filtered through them to bring you the best five tours of Australia and New Zealand in terms of price, duration, itinerary and, where available, the reviews of past travellers.
From: $8,697/per person
Comprehensive, experience-packed and covering a lot of ground, this 34-day tour is a beast, starting off in Melbourne and ending in Queenstown. Start off by experiencing the coastal scenery of Mornington Peninsula then head west to Grampians National Park. Among the many highlights of this tour is a trip to Uluru, a sailing trip in the Whitsunday Islands including snorkelling at the Great Barrier Reef. Meanwhile over in New Zealand there is a cruise of Doubtful Sound before heading to Queenstown where many an adrenaline sport is available from bungee jumping to skydiving.
From $4,270/ per person
Similar in nature to the previous tour’s itinerary, minus New Zealand, is the Australia Encompassed trip. Aimed more at travellers between the ages of 18 and 39, accommodation is provided in hostels, camping and sleeper trains. Active pursuits include surfing on Byron Bay, a 4×4 tour of Fraser Island, and hiking in the red landscape of Watarrka National Park. There is also the chance around here to learn more about Aboriginal culture. The tour starts in Sydney and finishes in Melbourne. Guides, some meals, and experiences are also included in the price.
From $2,575/ per person
For travellers who want to focus all their energy on exploring New Zealand, the Big Tiki tour is a 17-day immersive experience that starts in Auckland on the North Island and ends in Queenstown on the South Island. This tour is marketed towards travellers aged 18 to 35 who are looking to meet other travellers and have an active trip. Highlights include parasailing in Paihia, kiwi spotting (the national bird) in Rainbow Springs Nature Park, glacier hiking at Franz Josef, and extreme sports in Queenstown. Some of the optional activities are not included in the price, however the accommodation, guide, some meals and transport all are.
From $1,608/ per person
One of the more concise Australia tours available aims to focus all the attention on the country’s East Coast between Sydney and Cairns. Over the course of 14 days you will walk to waterfalls at Blue Mountains National Park, receive expert surfing tuition at a surf camp, cycle around Byron Bay, look for wild koalas near Noosa Heads, and take a 48-hour sailing trip to the Whitsundays for sunbathing and snorkelling. The final stretch of the tour is between Airlie Beach and Cairns, giving you chance to visit the Great Barrier Reef, with optional extras like skydiving.
From $9,738/ per person
One of the most in-depth tours of the Oceania continent available takes place over 30 days between Melbourne and Nadi, in Fiji. This tour includes a trip to Tasmania, where you can go looking for the renowned Tasmanian devil. Other wildlife spotting opportunities will present themselves near Adelaide in Flinders Chase National Park, with kangaroos, wallabies and koalas common to the area. This tour also takes the Ghan train to Uluru (Ayers Rock), then further north to Darwin and the remote Kakadu National Park. In New Zealand, visit Mount Cook National Park, experience Maori culture in Rotorua, and visit the Waitomo Glowworm Caves. The final few days takes you to Fiji, where you can explore the Garden of the Sleeping Giant and potentially carry on your travels to the islands beyond.