Contrasts of Downunder

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

Koalas in Australia

New Zealand
Lake Tekapo, New Zealand
New Zealand
Milford Sound, Fiordland National Park, New Zealand
Milford Sound, New Zealand
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, Christchurch

Explore the Highlights of Australia and New Zealand

This trip captures the contrasts of ‘down under’ 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. This includes the East Coast of Australia from Cairns and the Great Barrier Reef to Sydney and Melbourne as well as both the north and south islands of New Zealand.

Contrasts of Downunder Tour
per person, based on twin share occupancy
  • Tour includes:
  • 17 nights accommodation in centrally located premium hotels, Travel Director and Driver Guide, Local Specialist Guides
  • Departure Dates:
  • 2024: 11 Apr  9, 30  May  27 Jun  29 Aug  12, 26 Sep  10 Oct  7, 14, 21, 28 Nov  5, 12 Dec
    2025:  9, 16, 23, 30 Jan  6, 13, 20 Feb  6, 13, 20, 27 Mar, 10 Apr  8, 26 Jun  28 Aug  25 Sep  9 Oct  6, 20, 27 Nov  4, 11 Dec
    2026:  8, 15, 22, 29 Jan  5, 12, 19 Feb  5, 12, 19 Mar
  • Meals: 16 Breakfasts, 4 lunches, 9 Dinners
  • Price is based on highest season rate per person, based on double occupancy. Contact us for Single Traveller Rates, special offers and best available tour prices based on your preferred departure date.

Trip Details

Included in your trip

Tour Guide
Hotel Accommodations
Some Meals


International Flights/Airfare
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
  • Christchurch


Contrasts of Downunder Tour - Melbourne (Australia) to Christchurch (New Zealand)

18 Day Adventure

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
  • Visit with a gardener at Wendy’s Secret Garden

Touring Highlights New Zealand

  • Rainbow Springs and Kiwi Hatchery
  • Traditional Maori Hangi style Dinner
  • Hobbiton tour and breakfast
  • Milford Sound Nature Cruise
  • Postmasters dinner in Arrowtown, Queenstown
  • Dark Sky Project

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 a city sights walking tour through Melbourne’s hidden laneways. You will discover the city’s eclectic laneways, arcades, café society and street art. Your afternoon is free to explore the city on your own..

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 their Rainforest Restoration project.

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, one of the most biodiverse marine environments in the world. 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.

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 at a local pub. Then stop at a brewery where you will take part in a masterclass and learn how they combine creatively inspired limited release batches of beer with sustainable practices.

Day 8: Sydney

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

Day 9: Sydney (Australia) to Auckland (New Zealand)

Farewell Australia this morning and fly to New Zealand! Auckland is set between two harbours, hence why it is often called the ‘city of sails’.

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 to Rotorua. On arrival, go behind the scenes at a kiwi nursery and hatchery to and learn about their work 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’ style dinner and introduction to Maori culture.

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 (additional expense). 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, 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, venjoy lunch with local farmers before travelling 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! This evening, join your Travel Director and Driver, and your new-found friends for a farewell dinner.

Day 18: Farewell Christchurch, New Zealand

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 (flights not included in price).


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. Please be aware there are specific flights required to be booked to take this tour, ask our team for details and to book these for you (additional cost).



about Contrasts of Downunder

Trip Code: ANZ2401

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