Previous Image
Next Image

Days 1 & 2 – Depart from Home (Overnight Flight) 

Today board your overnight flight to the land down under! Sit back and relax, you are embarking on a trip of a lifetime! We’ll give up a calendar day as we cross the International Date Line during our flight. Your R&J Tour Director is there to assist you throughout your flight. 


Day 3 – Sydney 

This morning arrive in Sydney where we will be welcomed by that great Australian hospitality! Soak up Sydney’s gorgeous harbor and great natural beauty. Sydney is the first stop on many Australian itineraries, and for good reason. It’s an inviting blend of exhilarating and easygoing. You can find excitement in the city, but drive just a few kilometers and you’ll hit the golden sand of famous beaches like Bondi and Manly. Plus, with endless nature at its doorstep, Sydney is the starting point for day trips serving up the fresh air, unique flavors, and locals who know a thing or two about living life to the fullest. We will be given a short orientation tour of the city before we proceed to a local restaurant for lunch. Then we will get settled into our hotel for the next four nights, which is perfectly situated overlooking the gorgeous Sydney Harbour and Sydney Opera House! Tonight we dine together for a fabulous welcome dinner with a chance to finally get introduced to our fellow travelers. 

Hotel: Sydney Harbour Marriott Hotel at Circular Quay (4 Nights) 

Included Meals: Lunch, Dinner 


Day 4 – Sydney Sightseeing & Opera House 

Today we’ll receive a thorough introduction to Sydney and its neighbors as we tour downtown Sydney with our local guide. Tour through the historic Rocks area and take in views of the Hyde Park, St Mary’s Cathedral, Parliament House and the Art Gallery. Then we are treated to a guided tour of the famous Opera House to see inside the world’s most recognizable sails! We will run our hands over the world-famous shell tiles, take a seat in the elegant custom-made white birch timber chairs, and marvel at the vaulted ceilings of one of the largest pillar-free chambers in the world. Once we’ve visited areas off-limits to the general public and captured photographs from rare vantage points inside this majestic Opera House, we’ll realize that from the outside one is only getting half the story! We’ll learn what inspired Danish architect Jorn Utzon to base his revolutionary design on ships’ sails. How did he solve an engineering challenge considered one of the most difficult attempted anywhere in the world? Enjoy every aspect of the building’s 14-year creation and 58-year history. Afterwards, we’ll stop at Mrs. Macquarie’s Chair, a sandstone rock cut into the shape of a bench in 1810, for magnificent views of the Opera House and Harbour Bridge. We’ll also visit The Gap and enjoy stunning views before we proceed to the world-famous Bondi Beach and enjoy the spectacular scenery. Enjoy lunch on your own at one of the many restaurants that dot this famous beach. Time permitting, we will visit the National Opal Collection Museum & Showroom, that vividly tells the story of the opal gemstone. We will return to our hotel via Chinatown. Dinner and the evening are free to explore on your own. 

Included Meals: Breakfast 


Day 5 – Sydney & Blue Mountains 

Today we will take a full day to discover the spectacular Blue Mountains and see native wildlife whilst we explore World Heritage-listed Blue Mountains National Park along with our guide. This rugged and beautiful region forms part of the Great Dividing Range, linking tropical north to temperate south while dividing coastal cities from the vast Outback. Enjoy a lunch stop at Echo Point Lookout and see the famous Three Sisters rock formation. Next we arrive at Katoomba Scenic World and join the Blue Mountain rides – Scenic Railway, Cableway, or Skyway (entrance included). These rides are a great way to see the steep valleys, canyons, and Three Sisters rock formation. Depart for Featherdale Wildlife Park, which started as a poultry farm and has grown into one of the best privately owned wildlife parks in Australia. Is your camera ready to have your photo taken with a cuddly koala? We’ll see kangaroos, wombats, dingoes, and cute little fairy penguins. As we head back to Sydney, we will drive past Homebush Bay, the venue of the Sydney 2000 Olympic Games. Dinner is on your own this evening. 

Included Meals: Breakfast, Lunch 


Day 6 – Sydney (Free Day) 

Today is at leisure, allowing you to choose how you would like to spend your time. Your hotel is perfectly located steps from botanical gardens, Circular Quay, the Sydney Opera House, Hyde Park, The Rocks, Darling Harbor, and the Chinese Gardens. This evening we board Captain Cook’s Dinner Cruise featuring its signature, premium à la carte dining experience, embodying everything that makes the city so special. We’ll savor quality Australian food during a four-course dinner, listen to wonderful live entertainment and enjoy the luxurious yet relaxed setting, all against the spectacular backdrop of Sydney’s skyline by night. 

Included Meals: Breakfast, Dinner 


Day 7 – Sydney to Alice Springs 

Today we fly to Alice Springs, its stunning landscapes, remote communities, and unique pioneering history create a diverse and exhilarating destination to explore. Our local driver/guide will first take us to the Telegraph Station, which presents the story of the connection of Australia to the rest of the world through Telegraph Communication in 1871. Visiting the original “Alice Spring,” we’ll learn about the origins of this historic town. Then we head to Alice Springs School of the Air, known as “The World’s Largest Classroom,” as it has provided an educational resource for isolated school children, servicing an area of over 1.3 million square kilometers! Our experience includes a film and guided presentations that reveal stories about the school and its students, sharing a distinctive history, insights into outback lifestyles, and showcases world-renowned innovations of this uniquely Australian school. Lastly, we’ll visit lovely Anzac Hill, a lookout that offers a panoramic view of Alice Springs and the beautiful surrounding ranges. After checking into our hotel featuring picturesque surroundings, dinner will be served. 

Hotel: Crowne Plaza Alice Springs Lasseters 

Included Meals: Breakfast, Dinner 


Day 8 – Alice Springs to Yulara/Ayers Rock 

After breakfast, our driver/guide will take us to the Royal Flying Doctor Service. Using the latest in aviation, medical and communications technology, the Royal Flying Doctor Service works to provide emergency medical and primary health care services to anyone who lives, works or travels in rural and remote Australia. Then we travel to Ayers Rock and check into our hotel. This evening we set out for an unforgettable experience. As darkness falls and Uluru is thrown into a silhouette, the Field of Light illuminates. As far as the eye can see gentle rhythms of color light up the desert with 50,000 spindles of light, the stems breathing and swaying through a sympathetic desert spectrum of ochre, deep violet, blue and gentle white. Here we are treated to a delicious Australian dinner, an engaging StarTalk, and walking through the illuminated Field of Lights! 

Hotel: Voyages Sails in the Desert (2 Nights) 

Included Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner 


Day 9 – Yulara/ Ayers Rock Area 

Awake early this morning and travel the short distance to the Talinguro Nyakunytjaku, the Uluru sunrise viewing platform. You have not experienced a sunrise like this before! You’ll be captivated by the view from the dunes as the sun rises over Uluru in the foreground and Kata Tjuta National Park in the distance. Take advantage of the breathtaking views as you listen to the incredible birdlife that welcomes the new day as you experience the tranquility of nature. Back to our hotel to freshen up and enjoy breakfast before we continue touring with a base tour at Uluru, aka Ayers Rock. We’ll take in views at the Mutitjulu Waterhole and learn about the ancient indigenous culture of the area. After lunch on your own, we’ll engage in an artistic Dot Painting Workshop. We will have the opportunity to learn this ancient Anangu traditional art under the direction of a native Anangu artist. You’ll have some free time in the area later this afternoon as well as dinner and the evening on your own. If you reserved your spot for an hour long camel ride at sunset, then tonight’s your night! What a beautiful way to experience the evening sunset. Be sure to sign up with R&J as soon as you can as camel ride spaces are limited. 

Included Meals: Breakfast 


Day 10 – Yulara/Ayers Rock to Cairns 

Awake early again today and travel through the desert landscapes of Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park towards the mighty rock formations of Kata Tjuta. Revel in the early morning serenity as the sunrise colors change on Kata Tjuta and the desert comes alive. Absorb views from the best vantage point to see the 36 domes of this spiritual place. Walk between these conflomerate rock walls into Walpa Gorge as our driver/ guide explains the significance of this sacred ceremonial site and how the environment and geology has evolved over time. Return to our hotel to freshen up for the day and enjoy breakfast. You’ll have some free time to explore the galleries and shops. Grab some lunch if you’d like, before we catch our flight to Cairns. We’ll dine together tonight at or near our hotel. 

Hotel: Shangri-La Hotel the Marina (3 Nights) 

Included Meals: Breakfast, Dinner 


Day 11 – Cairns area 

Enjoy breakfast at our hotel before we walk to the Marina Reef Terminal for a spectacular full day Great Barrier Reef cruise. This is a day you will never forget! Set sail upon a 32 foot catamaran to experience Michaelmas Cay’s unique reef environment – pristine sand surrounded by fringing reef and a protected sanctuary for migratory seabirds. You can be as active as you care to be today. Snorkel in the cay’s protected shallow waters, cruise in the semi sub for a diver’s view of the reef, watch a fish feeding presentation and observe the island birds. If you prefer a more leisurely day, the ‘beach buggy shuttle’ provides transportation to and from the beach. While a wonderful buffet lunch is provided today, you’ll be on your own for dinner and the evening once we return to our hotel so you can enjoy Cairns and the Night Markets in the area. 

Included Meals: Breakfast, Lunch 


Day 12 – Cairns area 

Another exciting day awaits us today! We’ll explore the rainforest via Skyrail, an amphibious WWII Army duck, and a scenic train. We’ll be mesmerized by a Pamagirri Aboriginal Experience. What a fantastic way to see and learn about all that makes the rainforest the special attraction it is! As our day winds down, we’ll take one last look at the rainforest we’ve enjoyed before heading back to our hotel for some free time to explore the area and enjoy some dinner. 

Included Meals: Breakfast, Lunch 


Day 13 – Cairns to Melbourne 

This morning, following our last breakfast in Cairns, we’ll check out of our hotel and head to the Mossman Gorge Visitors Center to begin our Dreamtime Walk. The Mossman Gorge is the gateway to the world’s oldest rainforest, Daintree Rainforest, as well as the unique link to the lives, cultures, and stories of Australia’s indigenous people and their connection to the natural environment. Our Dreamwalk includes a guided walk conducted by the local indigenous people. We’ll witness a traditional “smoking” ceremony, meander at a leisurely stroll through stunning, lush rainforest, and learn about the ways of the indigenous people and culture in the Daintree Rainforest. Following this fabulous morning, we’ll fly to Melbourne to continue our tour. 

Hotel: Intercontinental Melbourne the Rialto (3 Nights) 

Included Meals: Breakfast 


Day 14 – Melbourne area 

This morning after a good night’s rest and breakfast, we begin our travels with a guided tour of the city. Visit the Shrine of Remembrance, Parliament House (outside view) and the botanical gardens. What a great way to see the city! After some free time to explore and lunch on your own, we’ll depart Melbourne for the rest of the day to Phillip Island. Phillip Island Nature Park is a natural home for koalas, seals, shearwaters and the Little Penquins. We’ll visit the Koala Conservatory which offers fantastic koala viewing in their natural habitat. Two elevated boardwalks bring us closer to the koalas as they go about their daily business of sleeping, eating, and sleeping some more. We’ll visit the Nobbies (an important site for Australia’s largest colony of fur seals.) The Nobbies Centre sits atop a cliff on the very Western tip of Phillip Island overlooking the wild waters of the Bass Strait. The state-of-art centre boasts the latest technology in eco-tourism and wildlife displays. A further highlight of a visit to the Nobbies Centre is the boardwalk that winds its way around the cliff face, giving us spectacular views of the rugged coastline and the famous Blowhole. We’ll enjoy a wonderful dinner together and then the grand entrance at Summerland Beach at dusk for the Penquin Parade. Take a waddle on the wild side and see the world-famous parade. What a way to end our day! Then back to our hotel for a much earned rest. 

Included Meals: Breakfast, Dinner 


Day 15 – Melbourne Area 

Today our guide takes us through the Yarra Valley, the lush region surrounding Victoria, Australia. Outside of Melbourne, the Yarra Valley represented a very significant segment in both the history and economic development of the State of Victoria. The Yarra Valley’s mix of fine food, excellent wines, and pristine nature is intoxicating. The region is considered one of Australia’s premium wine-producing areas, and arguably its top-rated visitor activity. Fruit orchards grow in abundance here. We’ll have an opportunity to visit both a fruit orchard and a vineyard today before dining together and then elevating our senses at the Southern Hemisphere’s highest observation deck: the Melbourne Sky Deck. Beautiful way to end our day! 

Included Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner 


Day 16 – Melbourne to Christchurch, NZ 

Today is a travel day as we fly from Australia to New Zealand. 

Hotel: Crowne Plaza Christchurch 

Included Meals: Breakfast 


Day 17 – Christchurch to Franz Josef 

This morning after breakfast we’ll check out of our hotel and transfer to the Tranz Alpine train where we’ll take in South Island’s stunning mountains and the vast Canterbury Plains. Cross the fertile farmlands of the Canterbury Plains and enjoy thrilling vistas over deep gorges as we travel alongside the ice-fed Waimakariri River. Traverse the mighty Southern Alps, where spectacular views of the chiseled alpine landscape will take your breath away at every turn. Descend through thick stands of native beech forest to our destination, Greymouth, just in time for lunch. Greymouth lies at the mouth of the Grey River and the wide avenues are strewn with galleries specializing in pounamu, New Zealand jade. After a nice lunch and a little exploring, we’ll board our coach for the ride to Franz Josef and our hotel. Franz Josef is a quaint west coast town of a few hundred permanent residents, but the numbers swell during the holidays to nearly 2000. 

Hotel: Scenic Hotel Franz Josef Glacier 

Included Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner 


Day 18 – Franz Josef to Queenstown 

This morning we’ll take a long, beautiful drive to Queenstown, on the shores of South Island’s Lake Wakatipu. The city is set against the dramatic Southern Alps and is the base for exploring the region’s vineyards and historic mining towns. But before we arrive in Queenstown, we have moody mountain ranges, thick native rainforest and wild rocky shores to see along the way. Once we arrive and get checked into our hotel, you’ll have the rest of the evening free to explore on your own. 

Hotel: Hotel Novotel Queenstown Lakeside (3 Nights) 

Included Meals: Breakfast 


Day 19 – Queenstown 

Today is yours to do as you wish! A relaxing walk, a sightseeing tour, or a number of optional adventure excursions your tour director can recommend. Later this afternoon we take in spectacular views and stunning scenery as we ride the Skyline Gondola on the tallest cable car lift in the Southern Hemisphere. Our destination, dinner above Queenstown and Lake Wakatipu at the Stratosfare Restaurant. Best views in the area! 

Included Meals: Breakfast, Dinner 


Day 20 – Queenstown 

This morning we travel to Milford Sound, New Zealand’s most well-known tourist destination. It is not really a sound at all, but a fjord as it was created by a succession of glaciers which carved through the rocks. We’ll take in scenic stops enroute at Eglington Valley, Mirror Lakes, Homer Tunnel, and the Chasm. This afternoon we take a Milford Sound cruise surrounded by stunning sheer cliffs, the inky blackness of the water, and the frosty alpine peaks looming over it all, including the much-photographed and iconic Mitre Peak that rises more than a kilometer straight out of the sea. Waterfalls cascade into the fjord and luxuriant rainforest clings to the sheer rock faces in this exceptional place. We’ve even scheduled a 40 minutes scenic flight from Milford Sound to Queenstown if the weather cooperates! The beauty of the afternoon will long be remembered after we return to Queenstown tonight. What a fantastic day to remember! 

Included Meals: Breakfast, Lunch 


Day 21 – Queenstown to Mount Cook Village 

Today is another day in nature. This morning we travel to the tallest mountain in New Zealand, Mt Cook, in the Aoraki Mount Cook National Park. Aoraki is home to the highest mountains and the longest glaciers. It is alpine in the purest sense – skyscraping peaks, glaciers, and permanent snowfields. This afternoon we’ll get checked into our hotel in Mount Cook Village and have the rest of the afternoon at leisure. Mount Cook Village (also known as Aoraki) is located near the west coast of the South Island of New Zealand. This retreat – lying within the Aoraki Mount Cook National Park – is a must for nature lovers and outdoor enthusiasts, offering an outstanding wilderness experience. In addition to hiking trails to suit all fitness levels, the area also offers boat tours along Terminal Lake (the end of the Tasman Glacier), 4×4 adventures, and world-renowned stargazing opportunities, while the Sir Edmund Hillary Alpine Centre boasts a 3D theatre and a planetarium. We’ll dine together tonight at the hotel. 

Hotel: Hermitage Mount Cook 

Included Meals: Breakfast, Dinner 


Day 22 – Mount Cook Village to Christchurch 

This morning we depart Mt Cook for Christchurch with lunch along the way. We’ll take a sightseeing tour of the city once we arrive. Christchurch, known for its English heritage, is on the east coast of New Zealand’s South Island and is the largest city on the island. Dubbed the ‘Garden City,’ it is known for its many lush green spaces and possesses a multicultural charm with an added dash of Victorian flair. Flat-bottomed punts glide on the Avon River which meanders through the city. On its banks are cycling paths, the green expanse of Hagley Park, and Christchurch Botanical Gardens. We’ll take in a wonderful, relaxing punt on the Avon River as we admire the changing face of the city, while being expertly guided gently along the river. We’ll then get checked into our hotel, have some free time to explore on your own (you might take a tram city tour on your own), and then gather together for a wonderful dinner. 

Hotel: Crowne Plaza Christchurch 

Included Meals: Breakfast, Dinner 


Day 23 – Christchurch to Rotorua 

This morning we’ll board a flight from Christchurch to Rotorua, on the North Island of New Zealand. Once we arrive, we’ll enjoy a short city tour with our driver/guide before enjoying lunch on your own at a local café. This afternoon we’ll see conservation in action at one of the largest and most successful kiwi hatcheries in the world! An educational, thought-provoking, and truly unique experience! We’ll visit the Ohinemutu Village and Government Gardens before we get checked into our hotel and rest up a bit before we embark on an exciting cultural late afternoon and evening together! First we explore the Te Puia Thermal Reserve for a guided tour at the Whakarewarewa Park. Then we journey back to a time of proud warriors and ancient traditions with the Tamaki Maori Village Evening Experience. Set in the 200 year old ancient Tawa Forest, we are invited to participate in and learn the poi, the haka, and enjoy displays of art. What the village delivers is more than just a performance, but a riveting spirited way of life. 

Hotel: Millennium Hotel Rotorua 

Included Meals: Breakfast, Dinner 


Day 24 – Rotorua to Auckland 

This morning following another wonderful breakfast, we check out of our hotel and head towards Auckland, with several stops along the way. Our first stop will be the enchanting village of HOBBITON™ Movie Set. We’ll enjoy a guided walking tour of this wonderful set featured in the Lord of the Rings and the Hobbit trilogies. Fall in love with the Alexander family sheep farm, just as acclaimed director Sir Peter Jackson did, as we journey through the unequivocal beauty of the land, with the mighty Kaimai Ranges towering in the distance. Our guide will then escort us around the set, showing the intricate detailing, pointing out the most famous locations, and explaining how the movie magic was made. After the tour, we depart for Otorohanga for lunch. Next, magic awaits during our Waitomo Glowworm Caves tour. Known as one of New Zealand’s best natural attractions, take a boat ride through the starry wonderland of the Glowworm Grotto, marvel at thousands of magical glowworms, and become part of over 130 years of cultural and natural history. Experience the serene ambiance as we enter this galaxy of tiny living lights. The glowworm (Arachnocampa Luminosa) is unique to New Zealand, making it an absolute must-do. See thousands of these tiny creatures as they radiate their unmistakable luminescent light in a subterranean world. Once we arrive in Auckland and check into our final hotel of our tour, we’ll gather for our farewell dinner in the iconic sky tower, far above the Auckland skyline for wonderful views, fantastic food and a chance to reminisce about our once in a lifetime tour of Australia and New Zealand. 

Hotel: SkyCity Hotel 

Included Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner 


Day 25 – Auckland to Home 

Today we board our flight back to the United States. What a remarkable Australia & New Zealand journey we have shared! 

Included Meals: Breakfast 


NECESSARY TRAVEL DOCUMENTS: PASSPORT must be valid thru October 2023. Your passport name must match the name on your tour reservation & airline ticket or you may be denied boarding. *Australia also requires a Visa.* 

*VISA – As a courtesy to our Australia & New Zealand guests, R&J will facilitate the visa process. We will mail the application for an Electronic Travel Authority (ETA) Visa to you prior to departure. The Visa process will be at NO extra cost to you!*

CANCELLATION FEES (without Travel Protection): Cancel 100 or more prior to departure, receive full refund; 99-66 days prior, deposit non-refundable; 65-46 days prior, 50% of tour cost non-refundable; 45 days prior or less, 100% non-refundable. 

Flyaway Per Person Pricing Information

Double: $14,499
Single: $17,499

Flyaway Travel Protection Per Person

Double: $1,112
Single: $1,340

Travel Bucks

$75 Travel Bucks per person earned with this tour

Deposit Due

$500 deposit per person due at time of reservation. Full payment due 100 days prior to depart.

Passport Needed


Tour Pace

Moderate to Extensive Walking

Price Includes

Roundtrip airfare from MSP including all taxes & surcharges and all internal flights, driver/step-on guide tips, 44 Meals, all activities as stated in brochure, Expert Local Guides, Hotels, Visa Process & Charges

Flyaway Departure Date:
Flyaway Return Date:

Make a Reservation Online

Tour Map

Tour Highlights

4 nights in Sydney, including a guided tour of the Sydney Opera House and a wonderful dinner cruise against the spectacular backdrop of Sydney’s skyline by night
Visit the Royal Flying Doctor Service & School of Air in Alice Springs
Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park, including Field of Lights Dinner, Ayers Rock sunrise viewing and an Uluru Dot Painting Workshop
3 nights in Cairns, including a full day cruise through the Great Barrier Reef
Journey to Kuranda, the famous “Village in the Rainforest,” via the Skyrail Rainforest Cableway
Experience the Pamagirri Aboriginal Dance Performance and the Dreamtime Walk as well as an Army Duck Rainforest Tour
3 nights in Melbourne, including Phillip Island, Koala Conservatory, the Nobbies, the Penguin Parade and Yarra Valley
Ride the Tranz Alpine Express Train, the Southern hemisphere’s most scenic railway journey
Visit the Franz Josef Glacier Region
3 nights in Queenstown, including Fjordland National Park & Milford Sound Nature Cruise, plus a free day in Queenstown to explore on your own
Mount Cook National Park
Punting on the Avon River in Christchurch
Kiwi Hatchery tour
Ohinemutu Village & Gardens
Hobbiton™ movie set tour
Waitomo Glowworm Caves tour

Dedicated to presenting the greatness of God through the beauty of His Creation.