Australia & New Zealand
Experience diverse terrain as you travel from the arid Outback to the lush rainforest. See wild kangaroos and koalas that call the vast Outback their home, and marvel at the beauty of the mysterious monolith Ayers Rock. Take an exciting ocean cruise and admire the beauty of the Great Barrier Reef, one of the seven wonders of the world. Feel like snorkeling or scuba diving? There is no better place to learn in the whole world! Journey through breathtaking scenery on the Kuranda Rail and glide over pristine rainforest in a Skyrail gondola, just inches above the forest canopy – truly unique! Discover Sydney on a harbor luncheon cruise, visit the world famous Sydney Opera House, and appreciate breathtaking views while dining on the top floor of the 88-story Sydney Tower. See the Blue Mountains, small towns and the countryside. Visit a grain farm in the heart of the Darling Downs, one of the most fertile areas in Australia. Taste Australia’s finest wine while touring a vineyard in the Hunter Valley and see some fo the most expensive race horses in the world. In New Zealand visit Christchurch, a very “English” city, which is still recovering from earthquake damage, and in Queenstown, cruise on the TSS Earnslaw across a picturesque Lake. Visit a sheep farm, where you watch a sheep shearing demonstration and a well-trained sheep dog gather a flock of sheep while lending a keen ear to his master. Enjoy the beautiful flowers of New Zealand, relish a lovely lunch at the home of a local farmer, and taste New Zealand’s fine wine. Travel the mountainous terrain past the magnificent snow-capped Mt. Cook, and enjoy Milford Sound’s dramatic scenery – deep blue sky, emerald green waters, dense green bush, and long ribbons of steep mountainsides.
- March 5 - 21, 2018
- March 12 - 28, 2018
Day 1: Depart USA
On the first day of your journey, meet your tour manager and board your International flight departing from LAX international airport in Los Angeles, for an unbelievable adventure in Australia. (In-flight meal service)
Day 2: En route
We cross the International Dateline and lose a day.
Day 3: Brisbane / Cairns
Arrive at the Brisbane International Airport. Once customs and immigration formalities are complete, we continue our flight to Cairns, arriving mid-day. You’ll love our hotel in Cairns, located one block from the pier and the busy Esplanade. The Esplanade’s beautiful surroundings make this a favorite place to stay. Tonight, enjoy a special welcome dinner. (D)
Day 4: Cairns / Great Barrier Reef
Today we experience a wonderful and exciting ocean cruise to one of the Marine Wonders of the World. It’s only a short walk from our hotel to the Marlin Jetty, where we board the Ocean Spirit, a luxury high-speed catamaran, and ride to one of Australia’s most significant and spectacular natural phenomena – the Great Barrier Reef. We sail out to Michaelma’s Cay, a picturesque coral sand island, where we are surrounded by waters of the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park, containing magical coral gardens teaming with incredibly diverse marine life. A marine biologist answers questions as we observe some of the world’s most colorful coral and fish through our glass bottom boat in the South Pacific’s crystal clear water. Have you ever thought about snorkeling or scuba diving? This is the time and place! The pristine water is about 90 degrees and unbelievably beautiful, an absolute haven for nature lovers. Michaelma’s Cay is also a seabird sanctuary, playing host to 27,000 birds. Lunch is served onboard our catamaran. We return to our resort hotel near the Esplanade – enjoy another evening in paradise! (B, L)
Day 5: Cairns / Kuranda Rail / Skyrail
After breakfast at the hotel we venture out to explore the World Heritage Rainforest north of Cairns. Our luxury motorcoach takes us to the Kuranda Rail Station where we anxiously await the “All Aboard” call for departure on the famous Kuranda Rail. While journeying through breathtaking scenery, our train climbs 328 meters above sea level, across awesome ravines and gorges, through exotic vegetation, and past hiding places of endangered rainforest creatures before arriving to the village of Kuranda. Time allows us to explore this picturesque town and to browse the wide variety of craft and souvenir shops. We regroup for a delicious lunch and then board the award-winning Skyrail, the world’s longest tram, and glide over the pristine rainforest in gondolas, just inches above the forest canopy – truly unique! Back in Cairns, we visit the Tjapukai Cultural Centre. Tjapukai (pronounced Jeb a kai) is the Aboriginal word for “People of the Rainforest.” Here we experience many facets of this ancient culture, including their original dance, didgeridoo music, and boomerang throwing. (B, L)
Day 6: Cairns / Ayers Rock
An early morning departure from Cairns takes us to Ayers Rock, deep in the Australian Outback. See the mysterious sandstone monolith bursting from the desert floor, named Uluru, better known around the world as Ayers Rock. Upon arrival, travel to the magnificent Ayers Rock and savor this once in a lifetime experience. Following our first visit, we’ll stop for coffee, tea or soft drinks and a midmorning lunch at the Ayers Rock museum. A guided tour and viewing of the rock around the base is provided after our light mid-morning lunch. We do not allow climbing Ayers Rock as it is considered a sacred place to the Aborigines as well as being dangerous. After our tour of the mysterious Ayers Rock, we check-in to our outback hotel. The balance of the afternoon is yours to relax or visit the small but interesting little village near the hotel resort. Tonight, get ready for another very special dinner. Our motor coach will pick us up at the hotel and transfer us to the outback - I am talking the middle of nowhere! Set the mood for your evening viewing of the Rock while enjoying a social hour including champagne, wine, beer or non-alcoholic beverages along with delicious canapés. Sit down to an elegant table in a rustic desert setting with great food and a continuous pour of your favorite wine. Enjoy this wonderful dinner and dessert, followed with a special presentation by an astronomer. See the Southern Cross star formation and the rest of the galaxy as our astronomer points them out with a special high powered laser. We overnight in Ayers Rock. (B, L, D)
Day 7: Ayers Rock / Sydney
This morning, sleep in and enjoy a late, hearty outback breakfast prior to checking out of your hotel. Say good-bye to the mysterious Ayers Rock, as we transfer a very short distance to the airport and fly to Sydney, arriving late afternoon. Upon arrival we will meet our local guide for a brief introduction to Sydney and check into our hotel in the middle of the city, within walking distance of the harbor. Tonight enjoy great food on the Sydney Harbor pier, a perfect place to relax after a day of travel. (B, D)
Day 8: Sydney
After a leisurely breakfast we visit the Sydney Opera House, one of the architectural wonders of the world. The Opera House is perhaps the best known building of the 20th century with its countless innovative design ideas and construction techniques. Explore the interior of this world-famous building with commentary from our opera house guide. Later we board a luxury catamaran for a magnificent Sydney Harbor luncheon cruise – a wonderful way to view this major Australian city. We sail beneath the Sydney Harbor Bridge, past homes of the rich and famous, and enjoy beautiful city views from a different perspective as we meander across the harbor. After the cruise, about 2:30 PM, enjoy a city tour of Sydney that includes Mrs. Macquarie’s Chair, a carved bench in an outcropping of sand stone rock on the harbor peninsula, and the Rocks, now an architectural delight in the heart of downtown Sydney near the harbor. You may want to stroll through the Queen Victoria Building, just steps from our hotel. This grand Victorian building is not only a gorgeous structure, it also houses the Great Australian Clock and many elegant shops that will satisfy the most discerning shopper. Even if you are not a shopper, it is worth a look! Now if you are a skeptic, our tour manager will point out a place for a guaranteed sighting of koalas and kangaroos. It is very close to our hotel and will give you something to do if you are not an explorer. By traveling into the rural region, we have had wonderful luck spotting koalas and kangaroos in the wild on past tours. It’s your decision, wildlife is unpredictable. We will overnight again in the beautiful Grace Hotel. (B, L)
Day 9: Sydney / Hunter Valley / Tamworth
Our journey begins with a trek northward across the Harbor Bridge, through Sydney’s suburbs, and on to picturesque Hunter Valley. Hunter Valley is referred to as Australia’s Horse Capital because of its renowned horse breeding and racing industry. We visit an incredible thoroughbred racehorse stud farm where we see standing sires, broodmares, and yearling foals. Hunter Valley is also recognized for the flavorful wines they produce. About 60% of their wine is exported around the world. While ambling through one of the vineyards, our guide explains how these luscious grapes are cultivated and grown, producing the sought-after wines that have become so popular. Enjoy a fantastic lunch at the vineyard with an opportunity to sample their vintage. Our day draws to a close in Tamworth, Australia’s country music capital. (B, L, D)
Day 10: Tamworth / Cattle Station / Grain Farm / Mudgee
Today we continue traveling through the Liverpool Plains, one of the most fertile and productive areas of Australia, where irrigated and dry land grain is grown. Visit a cattle station and talk with the farmer about his herd, land, and other topics of interest. Later, we stop for a visit with another local farmer and enjoy his Aussie-style hospitality and commentary while touring his cotton and grain farm. We break for a great lunch on the Barbie and family conversation - what a treat this is. In the afternoon we continue on our journey in search of Kangaroos and Koalas. You will probably see Koalas in the wild and are almost certain to see kangaroos. Our journey continues through the outback toward the Blue Mountains, stopping at a historic little village near the “Black Stump”, a conversational mile stone that was the end of civilization as the Aussies knew it. Anything beyond the Black Stump was considered really out in the boondocks. The day comes to an end in the lovely country town of Mudgee, where we stay the night. (B, L, D)
Day 11: Mudgee / Blue Mountains / Sydney
Following breakfast we enjoy a ride through the beautiful scenery en route to the Blue Mountains. In the heart of the Blue Mountains is the Three Sisters, one of Australia’s most famous rock formations. It’s a strong focal point that is best viewed from Echo Point at Katoomba. The spires rise steeply from the floor of the Jamison Valley just south of town, and from a viewing platform you can enjoy a view of The Three Sisters and the awesome valley below. We make a lunch stop in the quaint little town of Luera, which you are sure to fall in love with. Our journey continues as we travel back to Sydney and conclude with an elegant dinner in the beautiful Sydney Tower Restaurant. The iconic Sydney Tower Restaurant is the highest revolving restaurant in the world, and at 1,014 ft, it offers striking panoramic views of the city. These views of the city and harbor provide a picturesque background for us as we savor the Australian cuisine. We overnight once again in the beautiful Grace Hotel in Sydney, Australia. (B, D)
Day 12: Sydney, Australia / Christchurch / Ashburton, New Zealand
This morning we bid farewell to Australia and fly east/southeast across the Tasman Sea to New Zealand. We arrive in Christchurch, the scenic South Island’s largest city, which is considered the most “English” city in New Zealand. After completing arrival formalities, we tour this beautiful garden city, strolling past beautiful homes and through picturesque gardens, stopping for photos and listening to the ripple of the clear cool streams that wind through the backyards. Later, our coach takes us through the fertile flat irrigated New Zealand farmland where you’ll see state-of-the-art dairies and center pivot irrigation watering crops like kale, alfalfa, turnips, corn, potatoes and pastures for dairy cattle. Our hotel tonight is in Ashburton, where we have dinner and overnight. (B, In-flight meal service, D)
Day 13: Ashburton / Oamaru
Our New Zealand welcome begins today with a visit to the home of Peter and Bev Macauley, a quaint countryside home with a lovely English garden owned by two great New Zealanders. Enjoy a visit to their home as well as a nice lunch served on their garden terrace. Following lunch we visit a corn, potato and wheat farmer and a local dairy farm located a few miles away. On this very unique dairy farm the cattle graze on rich green pastures and are fed a little grain during the milking period with state of the art equipment. Continuing our journey through New Zealand’s beautiful countryside, we cross the fertile farmlands and patchwork plains of Canterbury, making a brief stop at one of the harbors for a good look at the loading equipment and the beautiful South Pacific Ocean, arriving in picturesque Oamaru, where we spend the night. Following dinner at our hotel, you’ll view those lovable little creatures, the blue penguins, as they begin migrating from the ocean to their land side burrows around dusk. They travel nine to twelve miles each day, diving on average of one hundred feet while foraging for food. (B, L, D)
Day 14: Oamaru / Mt. Cook / Queenstown
On today’s journey we experience dramatic changes in the countryside with each passing mile. The terrain transforms from wide plains and swift rivers to mountains, glacial lakes and deep river gorges – all within a few hours. Mackenzie Country, named after a legendary sheep-stealer, is the home of hardy Merino sheep, which were bred to withstand the rigors of the central South Island’s rough winter. Cross the Kawarau River and Lindis Pass before we catch a much anticipated view of the magnificent snow-capped peak of Mount Cook, New Zealand’s highest mountain, and the surrounding Southern Alps mirroring in the crystal clear glacial waters beneath. We continue south into Central Otago and the Southern Lakes district – the “Champagne Scenery” of the region. New Zealand’s best known and most photographed tourist destinations are Milford Sound, Queenstown, Lake Wakatipu, Lake Wanaka, and Lake Te Anau. Unforgettable scenery is found in the combination of these mountains, lakes, rivers, forests and fjords. En route to Queenstown, we visit the famed bridge where the first ever bungee jump was held. Queenstown, a scenic alpine resort, is our home for the next three nights. (B)
Day 15: Queenstown / Milford Sound / Queenstown
Lovely Lake Wakatipu stays in view for miles as we drive to Kingston, a peaceful village nestled at the southern end of the lake. From here we pass Five Rivers and Mossburn to arrive in Te Anau, the gateway to Fordland National Park, home of Milford Sound. En route to our final destination, we stop for visits to mirror lake and the incredible chasm, a natural wonder portraying the work of thousands of years of water erosion on rock formations. To enjoy Milford Sound’s dramatic scenery in style, we board a modern, spacious vessel that offers excellent views of deep blue sky, emerald green water, dense green bush and long ribbons of steep mountainsides. A buffet lunch is served onboard this beautiful mid-day cruise. In the afternoon, we retrace this picturesque route viewing deer farms and the most southern vineyards in the world as we make our way back to Queenstown. (B, L)
Day 16: Queenstown
This morning we transfer to the Steamer Wharf to board one of the world’s few operating coal-fired vintage steam ships, the TSS Earnslaw. This charming old ship lumbers forward while crew members shovel coal to produce steam that powers “the Lady” as she sails across beautiful Lake Wakatipu. Explore TSS Earnslaw’s bridge and decks, view the engine room, see historic displays in the Fo’c’sle Gallery and join a sing-along with the ship’s pianist. The captain provides informative commentary while we admire spectacular views of Walter and Cecil Peaks. Upon arrival, enjoy a Walter Peak freshly prepared barbecue. Fresh salads and crusty bread perfectly compliment the food sizzling on the grill. You’ll also enjoy a special sheep shearing and sheep dog demonstration with time for a walk around the farm. This evening we board the Skyline Gondola cable car and glide to the top of Queenstown Hill. Atop the mountain, we dine at the Skyline Restaurant where we enjoy a spectacular 220° panoramic view of Queenstown, the mountains, and Lake Wakatipu. (B, L, D)
Day 17: Return to USA
Sleep in this morning and prepare for our departure back to the USA. Crossing the International Dateline, we regain the day lost on our way over and arrive about the same time we departed. (B, In-flight meal service)
Rupiper Tours reserves the right to make minor adjustments to the itinerary if necessary.
International Airfare from Los Angeles/LAX
Intra-Australia and New Zealand Airfare
All Taxes and Fuel Surcharge
Transfers by Deluxe Motor Coach, First class hotels
Meals as per itinerary B: Breakfast, L: Lunch, D: Dinner
Admission to events, special sights, and activities listed
Visas are required and provided at no additional charge
Special Events and Sights
Great Barrier Reef • Semi-Submersible Ship
Snorkeling/Scuba • Catamaran Ocean Ride
Michaelmas Cay • Kuranda Rail Train Ride
Resort Hotel on the Esplanade in Cairns
Sydney Opera House Tour
Sydney Harbour Luncheon Boat Cruise
Skyrail Gondola over Rain Forest
Hunter Valley Winery & Wine Tasting
Thoroughbred Horse Farm Tour
Muswellbrook Country Tour
Corn, Cotton & Milho Farm • Cattle Station
Sydney Tower Restaurant
Three Sisters Blue Mountains (Echo Point)
Country Music Capital of Australia
Ayers Rock (Uluru) & Tour in the Outback
Sound of Silence Dinner in the Outback
Stargazing Demonstration - Southern Cross
Tjapukai Aboriginal Cultural Center
Queenstown • Oamaru • Mt. Cook
Christchurch Earthquake Damage & Memorials
Skyline Gondola ride to Queenstown Hill
Dinner at the Skyline Restaurant
Fjordland National Park Christchurch
Milford Sound Cruise Christchurch
Blue Penguins in the Wild
Cruise on vintage Coal-fired TSS Earnslaw
Walter Peak Farm with BBQ Lunch
Sheep Shearing & Sheepdog Demonstration
Corn & Sugar Beet Farm • Commercial Dairy
Testimonials from 2017 Australia & New Zealand Tour Participants
"Our guides were very well informed of where and what we were doing. We learned so much history and facts about both countries that we never dreamed possible. Brent is one of a kind, very seldom will a person find a better tour manager. I really enjoyed all of the Farm and Ranch tours. They were excellent."
- Wayne & Susan S. (Oregon)
"Fantastic! Trip of a lifetime! Great friendships & memories! Brent (tour manager) was very helpful, friendly and knowledgeable. The guides were super, and we really enjoyed the farms. All great!"
- Anonymous (Illinois)
"It was one of those "trips of a lifetime!" So glad we did it. Met a lot of nice folks on the trip. Really enjoyed the dvd of the trip - shared it with our kids. Thanks so much for doing that! Glad to get the name & addresses. Want to visit & correspond with some! All the guides were really good. Brent did an excellent job - he was very knowledgeable & professional & friendly. There weren't any hiccups on his part. Enjoyed his company. My favorite parts were seeing the kangaroos in the wild and holding a koala!"
- Jim & Joyce S. (Iowa)
"This trip was well organized, fun, informative, and introduced us to another culture. All of the fellow tourists were wonderful traveling companions. It was delightful getting to know each other, sharing stories, and laughing together. Brent did an excellent job working with us curious, eager travelers. He was well organized, planned ahead, and was able to adapt when unexpected things happened. he had a great personality, shared his knowledge, and was patient! Our tour guide in New Zealand was very informative sharing historical information and personal experiences. He interacted nicely with us. We would highly recommend going on this tour. The DVD was fun to watch reviewing the beauty of the trip."
- Ken & Sharon B. (Indiana)
"Brent did a great job. We enjoyed everything on the trip. Very enjoyable."
- Jerry & Sue L. (Kansas)
"The Australia tour guide was so informative and also very friendly to travel with. The bus driver totally amazed us in Sydney. We were so pleased with Larry and would travel with him anytime. So friendly, patient, and always concerned with people. We truly loved every day and wouldn't have changed a thing. The dinner under the stars in the Outback was unbelievable. Such a treat. We loved the hotel locations in Queenstown and Sydney - perfect for our free time and so close to everything! We loved having the daily booklet. It was nice to read a little about what we were doing the next day and we liked to jot down notes. We saw and did so many things on this trip. Everyday was so different and if we did this trip on our own, we would never have gone on the excursions. We loved every day and so appreciate not having to plan anything. What a great video you made. Thank you, Thank you."
- Garth & Sandi T. (North Dakota)
Testimonials from 2016 Australia & New Zealand Tour Participants
"I learned so much more than I would ever have dreamed of seeing. That night-time dinner and tour at Ayers Rock was really fun. I know what it takes to plan a trip and Rupiper Tours did a fantastic job! Thank you. I was very impressed by Brent and the way he worked with such a varying group of personalities. It can't be easy, but he made it appear flawless. I would love to travel with him again. Great group - Great guides!"
- Valeri P. (California)
"We truly loved every day and wouldn't have changed a thing. The Sounds of Silence experience was unbelievable. Such a treat. We loved having the daily booklet. It was nice to read a little about what we were doing the next day, and we liked to jot down notes. We saw and did so many things on this trip. Everyday was so different and if we did this trip on our own, we would never have found all of these places. We loved every day and so appreciative not having to plan anything. You have this trip perfected!!! What a great video you made. Thank you, Thank you."
Garth & Sandi T. (North Dakota)
"What can we say, we had the very best! We wouldn't change a single thing! We loved every minute. Loved interacting with the locals. Great experience. Larry you rock!"
- Lonnie & Jean B. (Kansas)
"It was really Fun. Enjoyed working with Rupiper Tours and Larry! We were Happy with the whole trip!"
- Ron & Lori K. (Iowa)
"We really enjoyed the other tour travelers, it is so great for the men, they are always visiting. None of our group was needy. We really enjoyed the DVD (I really liked the music.) Our company has enjoyed the DVD too. We really liked New Zealand. Seeing all the farms, animals, the manicured windbreaks, rainforests, mountains, smaller cities and looking out the bus windows. It is always enjoyable eating at the farms. We liked Brent and found him to be friendly and always smiling."
- Ron & Miriam E. (Minnesota)
"All of the people we talked to at the office were very helpful. Everything was very well organized. It went very smoothly - Brent was great. We really liked the penguins!"
Randell & Ruthie B. (Oklahoma)
"Excellent tour, tour guide, travel companions, hotels, attractions, etc. Well done. No complaints whatsoever. Thanks for the photo DVD. Really enjoyed it."
Darrell & Donna R. (Iowa)
"Thank you so much for a wonderful tour of Australia & New Zealand! It was the trip of a lifetime for us, & you & your staff made it very special with wonderful accommodations, great meals & sights. Just the right amount of time everywhere. Really enjoyed the blue penguins. Our air connections were good & you helped us get through the airports & customs. The video and listing of our fellow travelers were a great touch to an amazing trip! We would definitely recommend Rupiper Tours! Thanks again!
- Eldon & Sonja H. (Oregon)
"Each trip with Rupipers - China & Australia - have been great experiences. Brent was the best!! His humor and fun manner was just what we needed each day. He treated us with respect. The trip was a very special memory."
- Larry B. (Missouri)
"Larry is very professional and organized. The guide is a real story teller with the Australian accent I love to listen to. Whether explaining lyrics to a local song or sharing a typical recipe, she is a boat-load of warmth and knowledge. Receiving the DVD this week and sharing our daily activities with friends was as joyful as doing the tour over. To be a part of such a congenial group with a wide variety of ages makes me happy to have shared miles and humanity."
- Suzanne H. (Michigan)
"We really enjoyed everything. We enjoyed visiting with the other participants and learning their agricultural backgrounds. The tour manager was friendly toward everyone and the guide was well informed and gave us a lot of interesting info."
- Marcia & Allan R. (Nebraska)
"Enjoyed visiting the countries' sites. Larry always has interesting spots to visit. He was always available if issues arose. He gave us suggestions and many options. Made everyone a part of the trip."
- Joyce & Wayland M. (Nebraska)
Testimonials from 2015 Australia & New Zealand Tour Participants
“It was the best of the best tours. We both have always wanted to go and it was everything and more! Thank you so much for the DVD. We loved it. Again thank you so much!! We look forward to doing another trip with you sometime in the future.”
- Lyell & Nancy A. (Illinois)
“The Australia tour driver was friendly and organized, and the guide was very knowledgeable and answered all my questions. Enjoyed her information about Australian life, customs, wildlife, etc. The tour manager was always available and could answer any questions, suggest eating places, etc. Our 3 trips with Rupiper Tours have been top notch and we are looking forward to more!”
- Devon & Dayle M. (Missouri)
“Loved the Sounds of Silence dinner in the Outback. Everyone got along so well, no bickering, just a lot of fun. We would definitely book another trip with you!”
- Ed & Miki W. (Idaho)
“It was a great group of people – you could sit with any of them and immediately start a conversation. We have traveled all over the world, and this trip was the best. Look forward to info on Brazil trip for next year. Truly a trip of a lifetime.”
- Don & Joyce S. (Missouri)
“This trip exceeded all of our expectations. We would not hesitate to book another trip with Rupiper or refer your agency to others. We thank you kindly, and the DVD is a delightful bonus.”
- Jon & Dorothy L. (Michigan)
“All the guides and drivers were great. The Australian guide at Ayers Rock showed a love and passion for his country – he was exceptional. The people traveling with us were all very friendly and fun. A great social experience! Well organized and very enjoyable. JOB WELL DONE!”
- Tony & Grace V. (Ontario, Canada)
“Thank you for the good job you did. We realize a lot of work went into planning. You showed us a great time. Loved New Zealand. Beautiful! Thank you so much!”
- Denny & Judy B. (Minnesota)
"Totally enjoyed the trip!! We wouldn't do anything differently. The staff were very friendly, knowledgeable, and helpful. We thought the tour manager did an excellent job on everything!!
- Bruce & Kathy B. (North Dakota)