Contrasts of Downunder

18 Day • Visit Melbourne, Cairns, Sydney, Auckland, Rotorua, Queenstown, Lake Tekapo
Great Barrier Reef, Australia
melbourne laneways australia
Melbourne Laneways, Australia
melbourne laneways australia
Sydney, Australia

Koalas in Australia

New Zealand
Lake Tekapo, New Zealand
New Zealand
Milford Sound, Fiordland National Park, New Zealand
Sydney Opera House, Australia
Milford Sound, Fiordland National Park, New Zealand
Hobbiton Movie Set New Zealand
Hobbiton, New Zealand
Hobbiton Movie Set New Zealand

Contrasts of Downunder

18 Day Tour - Visit Melbourne, Cairns, Sydney, Auckland, Rotorua, Queenstown, Lake Tekapo

Explore the Highlights of Australia and New Zealand

This trip captures the contrasts of ‘downunder’ which includes everything from cities to beaches, countryside, mountains to national parks and World-Heritage listed natural areas all in the company locals.  This epic journey from Melbourne, Australia to Christchurch (New Zealand) is diverse and dynamic.

Traversing the East Coast of Australia, from Cairns and the Great Barrier Reef to Sydney and Melbourne.  This tour also uncovers both the north and south islands of New Zealand.

18 Day Tour Melbourne to Christchurch
per person, based on twin share occupancy
  • Departure Dates 2023:

Aug 31
Sep 14, 28

18 Day Tour Melbourne to Christchurch
per person, based on twin share occupancy
  • Departure Dates 2023:

Nov 9, 16, 23, 30
Dec 7, 14, 28

  • Departure Dates 2024:

Jan 4, 11, 18, 25
Feb 1, 8, 15, 22
Mar 7, 14


18 Day Tour Melbourne to Christchurch
per person, based on twin share occupancy
  • Departure Dates 2024:

Apr  11
May 9, 30
Jun 27
Aug 29
Sep 12, 26

18 Day Tour Melbourne to Christchurch
per person, based on twin share occupancy
  • Departure Dates 2024:

Nov 7, 14, 21, 28
Dec 5, 12, 26

  • Departure Dates 2025:

Jan 2, 9, 16, 23, 30
Feb 6, 13, 20
Mar 6, 13, 20

Trip Details

Included in your trip

Tour Guide
Hotel Accommodations
Some Meals


Travel Insurance
Travel Visa
Items of a Personal Nature


  • Melbourne
  • Cairns
  • The Great Barrier Reef
  • Daintree Rainforest
  • Sydney
  • Auckland
  • Rotorua
  • Hobbiton
  • Queenstown
  • Milford Sound
  • Lake Tekapo
  • UNESCO Dark Sky Reserve
  • Christchurch


Contrasts of Downunder

18 Day Adventure

Day 1: Arrive in Melbourne, Australia

Welcome to Australia. On arrival in Melbourne, you will be transferred to your hotel. This evening, join your Travel Director for a welcome reception and dinner at the South Wharf riverside pub, The General Assembly. It’s a great opportunity to get to know everyone.

Day 2: Melbourne Sightseeing

Join your Travel Director for a city sights tour that includes a private walk through Melbourne’s hidden laneways. You will discover the city’s eclectic little lanes, arcades, café society and street art. After your walking tour you will have time to explore the city on your own, enjoy an optional experience or simply relax and watch the world go by.

Day 3: Melbourne to Cairns

This morning you will be transferred to Melbourne Airport for your flight to Cairns, Queensland. On arrival, join a private wildlife journey at Hartley’s Crocodile Adventures including a boat cruise and encounter koalas, wallabies, birds, crocodiles and more! There will be time to partake in regenerating the rainforest particular to the Wangetti Valley which Hartley’s is located in. Feel free to join is as much or as little as you can with this tree planting project and be a part of keeping the World Heritage listed wet tropics alive! This evening is free for you to choose from the numerous restaurants that Cairns has to offer.

Day 4: The Great Barrier Reef

Get ready for an experience of a lifetime – board a high-speed catamaran and cruise out to the Great Barrier Reef. You can snorkel and view this natural living wonder up close (equipment provided) or stay dry and explore the stunning reef from the comfort of a semi-submersible craft, just one metre underwater. Enjoy a tropical buffet lunch before you return to Cairns.

Day 5: Cairns

Today is a free day to do as you choose. A great option is the Skyrail Rainforest Cableway to Kuranda, be amazed as you travel over and through World Heritage rainforest, explore quaint Kuranda village and later board the Kuranda Scenic Rail for this historic rail journey. If you’d prefer to spend the day relaxing by your hotel pool or sitting back at a local café you can do that too!

Day 6: Cairns to Sydney

Following a leisurely start to the morning, it’s time to switch the tropical vibes back to city highlights as you fly to Sydney. What a way to kick off your arrival to Sydney with a dinner cruise enjoying the famous Sydney Harbour! You will pass under the famous Harbour Bridge, cruise past the Sydney Opera House and see many magnificent waterfront homes, beaches and parklands.

Day 7: Sydney Sightseeing

Discover the highlights of beautiful Sydney with a driving city tour. If there was ever a place that slipped from the pages of a fairytale, Wendy’s Secret Garden at Lavender Bay is it. Overlooking Sydney Harbour, this pocket of floral paradise is explained by a local volunteer – it was once unused wasteland. Explore Sydney’s inner west and enjoy a lunch with the locals at the pub. Then drive through Newtown to Batch Brewery where you will take part in a masterclass and learn how they combine creatively inspired limited release batches with sustainable practices.

Day 8: Sydney

Today is free time to explore more of Sydney at your leisure or book one of our optional extra sightseeing activities available. Dinner tonight is beside Sydney Harbour.

Day 9: Sydney to Auckland, New Zealand

Farewell Australia this morning and fly to New Zealand! This evening, meet your Travel Director for a welcome reception and dinner at your hotel in Auckland.

Day 10: Auckland Sightseeing

Embark on an Auckland city sightseeing tour this morning. Travel around the waterfront from central city to Mission Bay. Prepare your camera for the stop at Bastion Point and the Michael Joseph Savage Memorial, as you will get stunning shots of Auckland, the North Shore and the Waitemata Harbour. This afternoon is at your leisure.

Day 11: Auckland to Rotorua

Departing Auckland, today you venture south through Waikato region passing through Cambridge known as ‘The Town of Trees and Champions’ on your way to Rotorua.

On arrival embark on an orientation of the area before visiting Rainbow Springs Nature Park for a guided tour of the National Kiwi Hatchery Aotearoa, the national leader in kiwi husbandry. Learn about the work being done to save New Zealand’s national bird, see kiwi eggs being incubated, the hatching process and newly hatched kiwi chicks. This evening enjoys a traditional Hangi Highlight Dinner and cultural performance at the Tamaki Maori Village.

Day 12: Rotorua to Queenstown

Your day starts with breakfast at Hobbiton, experience the iconic rolling hills and green pastures of the Hobbiton Movie Set as seen in The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit trilogies before continuing to Auckland to board your flight to Queenstown.

Day 13: Milford Sound & Fiordland National Park

Journey along the shores of Lake Wakatipu, over  Devil’s Staircase and along to Te Anau and the largest lake in the South Island.  Experience magnificent scenery as you continue along this alpine highway to Fiordland National Park. Enjoy numerous photo opportunities afforded by the Mirror Lakes, Knobs Flat, Hollyford Valley lookout (Pop’s view), Cleddau Valley and the Chasm, drive through the hand-hewn Homer Tunnel towards the iconic Mitre Peak and the Bowen Falls before reaching Milford Sound. Enjoy lunch and a cruise on this wonder of nature. Later, return to Queenstown for the evening.

Day 14: Queenstown

Today you may choose from a range of optional sightseeing experiences. You could ride the world famous’ Shotover Jet or enjoy a cruise across Lake Wakatipu aboard the TSS Earnslaw to Walter Peak High Country Farm for a gourmet barbecue lunch at the Colonel’s Homestead.

This evening, join your Travel Director for dinner at the Postmasters Café. This historic cottage from the 1860’s was once home to the town’s postmaster and oozes old-world charm, complete with horse-hitching post, picket fence and beautiful gardens making it one of Arrowtown’s most photographed buildings.

Day 15: Queenstown to Lake Tekapo

Today you will leave the alpine wonderland of Queenstown behind, travelling through Central Otago to the Mackenzie region with time along the way to stop in Cromwell, situated next to the pristine Lake Dunstan.  Continue over the dramatic Lindis Pass before reaching the Starlight Highway and Tekapo’s world renowned UNESCO Aoraki McKenzie International Dark Sky Reserve.

This afternoon enjoys the views of Mt Cook before heading to the iconic Church of the Good Shephard.  This evening, see amazing constellations that can only be seen in the southern hemisphere, including the Southern Cross, to the Magellanic Clouds and the Milky Way.  Your local specialist  astronomy guide will enhance your knowledge and understanding of the southern skies through powerful optical telescopes.

Day 16: Lake Tekapo to Christchurch

Enjoy a relaxed start before heading north through South Canterbury, visit the charming boutique village of Geraldine as you travel through to Christchurch.

Day 17: Christchurch

This morning see how Christchurch is rebuilding after the devastating earthquakes of 2010 and 2011, pop into the Transitional Cathedral in Latimer Square, the temporary home of the Christchurch Cathedral. It is the world’s only cathedral made substantially of cardboard! After a Christchurch city sights tour, you’re invited to ‘morning tea’ at the home of the owners of Britten Stables, formerly horse stables for nearby Mona Vale Gardens.  This is also the birthplace of the world-record-setting Britten V1000 motorcycle designed and built in the garage by Isabelle’s late father, John Britten.

This evening, join your AAT Kings Travel Director and Driver, and your new-found friends for a farewell dinner.

Day 18: Farewell Christchurch

Your AAT Kings New Zealand holiday concludes this morning after breakfast. Your flights can depart any time today, and you will be transferred to Christchurch Airport.


Touring Highlights Australia

  • Melbourne Laneways Walking Tour
  • Hartleys Boat Cruise Great Barrier Reef Cruise
  • Sydney Harbour Cruise
  • Be My Guest Experience exploring the Sydney’s vibrant Inner West

Touring Highlights New Zealand

  • Visit with a volunteer gardener at Wendy’s Secret Garden
  • Rainbow Springs and Kiwi Hatchery
  • Tamaki Maori Village, Cultural Performance & Dinner
  • Hobbiton tour and breakfast
  • Milford Sound Nature Cruise
  • Postmasters dinner in Arrowtown, Queenstown
  • Dark Sky Project – Crater Experience Britten Stables (BMG)

Guided Tour Inclusions

  • Specialist team of two highly experienced travel enthusiasts – Travel Director and Driver Guide
  • Local Specialist Guides
  • Centrally located premium hotels
  • Many meals: 17 Breakfasts, 3 lunches, 9 Dinners

Important flight booking information for your tour:

Note: All flights referred to in the itinerary are not included in the tour price.  Please ask your Destination Specialist if you would like us to add your flights.

Flight numbers and times may vary due to airline schedule changes and seasonality. Airline schedules may change at short notice. Please consider possible flight disruption when booking your flights. Below is a list of flights you are required to book for information:

  • Day 1: Flights need to arrive prior to 12:00pm into Melbourne Airport
  • Day 3: Melbourne to Cairns VA1291
  • Day 6: Cairns to Sydney VA1418 (*Required Internal Flights)
  • Day 9: Sydney to Auckland QF143 (*Required Internal Flights)
  • Day 12: Auckland to Queenstown NZ623 (*Required Internal Flights)
  • Day 18: Flights can depart anytime from Christchurch Airport



about Contrasts of Downunder

Trip Code: ANZ2301

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