From the world’s largest coral reef in the Great Barrier Reef, buzzing coastal cities and the vast deserts of Uluru in Australia, to the towering fjords, bubbling geysers, and volcanic moonscapes of New Zealand, the world ‘down under’ will strike you with its unique beauty. With Trafalgar, you can experience the best of Australia and New Zealand by not only visiting the sightseeing icons, but by delving deeper into the culture, connecting with locals and indulging in the unforgettable cuisine. We’ve put together the most iconic experiences to help you connect with these glorious lands.
1. Snorkel the Great Barrier Reef
Board a high-speed catamaran to discover the underwater wonderland that is the Great Barrier Reef. This unique UNESCO World Heritage site holds the world’s largest collection of coral reefs, with 400 types of coral, 1,500 species of fish and 4,000 types of mollusc. When you snorkel for up-close encounters with this natural wonder you might also be lucky to spot such species such as the dugong or ‘sea cow’ as well as large green turtles, which are threatened with extinction. You’ll also enjoy a tropical buffet lunch on board in the golden Australian sunshine paradise.
2. Discover the wonders of Wellington
The harbour city of Wellington is rich in natural beauty, but also offers world-leading café culture, great multicultural restaurants, contemporary art and live music. Take a guided walking tour to discover the city like a local and explore the stunning waterfront and hidden laneways in the bohemian area: the heritage Cuba Street precinct. Once dimly lit back alleys, these newly rejuvenated laneways are now home to some of the country’s funkiest bars, boutiques and breweries.
With Trafalgar, you can also experience premium batch peanut butter tasting from an artisan supplier, and a taste of the cities’ very own chocolate, coffee and craft beer culture. Step into the urban eco-sanctuary of Zealandia, admiring the extraordinary efforts of conservationists who have reintroduced 18 species of native wildlife that were absent from mainland New Zealand for over a century.
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3. Visit the National Kiwi Hatchery Aotearoa to see New Zealand’s national bird
Visit Rainbow Springs Nature Park for a guided tour with a Trafalgar ‘Local Specialist’ of the National Kiwi Hatchery Aotearoa, the national leader in kiwi husbandry. This unique and curious bird became an unofficial national emblem. It cannot fly, has loose, hair-like feathers, strong legs and no tail, and is simply the cutest little creature out there. 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.
4. Visit the oldest surf lifesaving club in Bondi Beach
Step on the golden sands of Bondi to ‘Connect with Locals’, when you’ll meet a local surf lifesaver who will share insights into the history of Bondi Beach and surf lifesaving during a ‘Be My Guest’ exclusive tour of the Members Only facility of Australia’s oldest surf lifesaving club, followed by lunch with panoramic views of the Pacific Ocean. Beyond the beachfront strip, Campbell Parade, there also lies a village of cafés, restaurants and designer shops just waiting to be explored. Locals often dedicate their entire weekend to the “Bondi Bubble”.
5. Explore Tjapukai Aboriginal Cultural Park in Queensland
When you travel to the Tjapukai Aboriginal Cultural Park with Trafalgar, you’ll hear stories of Dreamtime and witness a moving high impact performance by an indigenous dance group. You’ll be taught how to throw a boomerang and spear, plus learn about bush food and medicine, Aboriginal weapons and tools locals use to this day. Here you have a unique opportunity to enjoy a Regional Dinner accompanied by the sounds of the didgeridoo.
6. Immerse yourself in Maori culture
Journey to the volatile landscapes of Rotorua, where Maori culture takes centre stage. Embrace their gracious Hongi greeting and experience the heart-pounding wero challenge during the Powhiri, a ceremonial welcome. Watch your Maori hosts offer a feast of succulent meats and vegetables cooked in a Hangi, sharing your meal with your fellow travellers.
Explore the village of Whakarewarewa to delve into what life was like in New Zealand before European settlement. ‘Dive Into Culture’ to gain in-depth insights into the lives of the Maori people and the special bond they share with this ancient land.
7. Discover New Zealand’s jewel – Waiheke Island
Step aboard the ferry from Auckland to Waiheke Island to explore its pristine beaches, world class wines and fantastic cuisine. It’s not difficult to see why Waiheke Island is considered the jewel in the Hauraki Gulf’s crown. Here, you’ll feel like you’re a world away as we embrace the essence of Waiheke with Trafalgar ‘Local Specialist’, enjoying wine tasting at some of Waiheke’s award-winning vineyards.
8. Admire the stylish Victorian capital, Melbourne
Sample the cosmopolitan flavours of Melbourne, its coffee culture and farm-to-table food experiences at the bustling Queen Victoria Market. ‘Dive into Culture’ as you wander through the labyrinthine laneways, arcades and grand boulevards that reveal some of the world’s most edgy street art and well-preserved Victorian architecture. From Melbourne you can also follow one of the world’s most scenic coastal drives, the Great Ocean Road with its famous Twelve Apostles, or take a stroll along the Yarra River.
9. Journey to the heart of the Outback in Australia
On arrival in Alice Springs, a Trafalgar ‘Local Specialist’ will invite you for a visit to the School of the Air. Here you can learn how education is delivered to children living in remote areas. The historic Overland Telegraph Station, a place also worth visiting, incredibly connects Australia’s north and south with a single wire. You can ‘Connect With Locals’ at the Earth Sanctuary World Nature Centre, where you’ll meet the celebrated Outback Paramedic Falzon brothers for dinner and hear about the sustainable lifestyle they’ve established.
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10. Watch as the desert awakens in Uluru
Watch as the desert awakens here in Outback Australia – the rising sun lighting up Uluru in a spectacular golden hue. Rising dramatically from the Central Australian desert, the huge red rock of Uluru is one of Australia’s most iconic attractions. ‘Dive Into Culture’ as you gain insights into the culture, history, art and traditions of the Aboriginal caretakers of the land on a tour of the base of Uluru.
11. Head to the Sydney Opera House for a tour
When travelling through Australia with Trafalgar you are offered a private guided tour of this world-famous icon, the Sydney Opera House. Join your ‘Local Specialist’ for a ‘behind-the-scenes’ look at the building’s inner workings. Prime your sea legs next as you board a lunch cruise, sailing past parklands, waterfront homes and the iconic sights for which Sydney Harbour is so famous. Following this unforgettable experience, consider ascending the iconic Sydney Harbour Bridge to see the majestic Opera House and Sydney Harbour from above.
Excited to explore Australia and New Zealand for yourself? Check out Trafalgar’s ultimate Australia & New Zealand travel guide and start planning your adventure now, or let us know in the comments your favourite things to do in these stunning destinations.