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Top Trip Memories

  • Touring Sydney and Melbourne, Australia, each urbanely beautiful but in different ways.
  • Sailing through French Polynesia -- Tahiti, Moorea, Bora Bora, the Marquesas -- on a small ship.
  • Hiking the Milford or Routeburn tracks in New Zealand, followed by a cruise on scenic Milford Sound.
  • Riding a raft made of logs and palm leaves down a river, then hiking to a remote cave in Fiji to view the last bastion of cannibalism there in the 1860s.
  • Encountering long rows of giant stone money on the island of Yap in Micronesia, so heavy that no one bothers to move the “coins” when they change hands.
  • Marveling at the moai -- lines of huge statues -- on Easter Island, and visiting the quarry where they were fashioned before being transported for miles by still unknown means.
  • Viewing Uhuru (Ayres Rock), sacred to native Australians in the center of the Outback, as it glows red at sunset.
  • Exploring the lesser-known wildernesses of Australia’s Tasmania or New Zealand’s Stewart Island.
  • Experiencing the exotic on Papua New Guinea, Vanuatu, or the Solomon Islands.
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Tour Tips

  • Australia and the Pacific is a huge region; each major island grouping deserves its own trip.
  • Though often combined, Australia and New Zealand  can each easily fill a tour of two weeks or more, so consider doing them separately.
  • Try to allow at least two or three weeks for a tour of the region if you are coming from the Americas or Europe, due to the long flights involved.
  • If you love scuba diving, try the islands of Yap and Palau in Micronesia, both for coral reefs and World War II undersea airplane wrecks.
  • Check with your tour operator to see if snorkeling equipment is included; pack your own if you’re difficult to fit.
  • Allow plenty of time to get your Australia visa  and check with your tour operator on visa requirements for other countries on your itinerary.
  • Keep in mind that it’s winter “Down Under” when it’s summer in the Northern Hemisphere, and yes, it does snow on New Zealand’s South Island and southern Australia at that time.
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Australia & the Pacific Travel Reviews & Ratings

4.8 out of 5

100%

recommend

703 Reviews

  • Excellent 532
  • Great 155
  • Average 1
  • Disappointing 0
  • Terrible 0

Rating Details

  • Value
    4.8
  • Guide
    4.8
  • Activities
    4.8
  • Lodging
    4.8
  • Transportation
    4.8
  • Meals
    4.8

Tour Reviews

Trails of New Zealand

Trails of New Zealand

5.0
March 2017
Exodus Travels
Recommend: Yes
We had promised ourselves this trip for some time and had high expectations. We were looking for a good mix of activities to see and experience the country.
Trails of New Zealand went way beyond our expectations. We thoroughly enjoyed the amazing places, the range of walks in different landscapes, the fun of jet-boating, sailing and cruising, and luging, and the unique birds and wildlife.
We had so many experiences which will stay with us: walking the stark volcanic landscape of the Tongariro Crossing; walking to and flying over Mount Cook and landing on pristine Fox glassier; sailing a catamaran; or travelling at 80mph up a braided river; the magnificent kauri and redwoods, and not forgetting the kiwis.
On our way to Milford Sound on the South Island it poured with rain and we were not expecting to see much. However, soon after we boarded the boat the skies cleared and the fiord was filled with magnificent waterfalls. It was magical as we explored Milford Sound in boats and kayaks, and our ship nosed its way past and into the silver cascading water against a backdrop of majestic snow covered peaks.

Josh and Haley were superb leaders. They were very organised and ensured that we knew all we needed to know. They provided supplements to our meals and provided a super spread when they catered for us. They were great at sharing additional information and encouragement to the slower and faster members of the group.
When they found that an unknown walker had had a serious fall they ensured that she returned down the mountain safely while continuing to look after our group. When the bus developed a technical fault it was dealt with quickly and efficiently.

Go!!!
It is a long way so pace and prepare yourself, but it will repay you many times over.
The country is very varied and so is the weather, so go prepared for everything - it was coldest and wettest at sea level and hottest in the mountains.

This trip is a good balance of activities. You should be reasonably fit and prepared for the unexpected. We were delayed for two hours when a giant kauri fell across the road, and there are no alternatives. So we had a great time chatting with everyone including the fire brigade and police. It is that sort of country.

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Trails of New Zealand

Trails of New Zealand

5.0
March 2017
Exodus Travels
Recommend: Yes
This was a wonderful walking holiday. We were fortunately blessed with extremely good weather, so the views were unforgettable.
Helicopter flight to the Fox glacier

The group leader was excellent - always keen to please, make excellent meal suggestions and slightly adjust the program to fit the group.

Make the most of this wonderful trip!

If there was one small suggestion I could make (and believe me, it is small and nit-picky), I would recommend cleaning the bus windows if it has become dusty; this could prevent a photoshoot stop on a few occasions. This idea came from a previous tour I made with a different company.

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Highlights of New Zealand

Trails of New Zealand

5.0
March 2017
Exodus Travels
Recommend: Yes
An excellent and varied itinerary through stunning scenery. Much travelling thoughtfully balanced by good walks. A good mix of group activities and free time.
Definitely the Tongariro Alpine Crossing - hard work and a long day but worth it.
The views round Lake Matheson.
The waterfalls in Milford Sound.
We clocked up a few first experiences: first time in a jet boat (great fun and something we would not have done otherwise), first helicopter flight, first time sailing a catamaran (yes, I took the helm), first time on the Luge ...

Hayley and Josh were calm, efficient, funny, informed, caring and very committed. They were great. They prepared us well for each day's activities.

Take a daysac as well as your 40 litre rucksack, if you can. Pack layers - it can be very hot and very cold. Don't forget sunhat, suncream and insect repellant. Poles can be hired for the Tongariro crossing.

This trip doesn't cover Auckland and Northland up to Cape Reinga, the Coromandel peninsula, the deep south or Kaikoura so you might want to try to fit them in before and/or after the trip. After all, it is a long way to go back again!

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The most incredible experience

New Zealand Encompassed

5.0
January 2017
G Adventures
Recommend: Yes
G Adventures took me all around New Zealand over the course of a month, and it was the best decision I ever made. To read more, visit the blog I wrote whilst out there at https://struttonontour.wordpress.com/category/new-zealand-tour/

Fabulous trip

Trails of New Zealand

5.0
January 2017
Exodus Travels
Recommend: Yes
A tour of both North and South Islands with numerous short walks included which aren't listed on the trip notes. The scenery is just breathtaking (sometimes literally with some of the hills we walked up....) and just needs to be seen.
Seeing into the Red Crater at the top of the Tongarairo Crossing. The photographs just do not do it justice at all. Plus, you then get to run down the scree which is a lot of fun....

Excellent knowledge of the flora and fauna, I know more about NZ wildlife that that in the UK.... He also took us on numerous little walks to break up the long coach trips, many weren't listed on the trip notes but he knew them any way.

Even in summer, weather is variable. Actually, you are guaranteed rain in Westland... I used my light down jacket more than I thought.
You need DEET On the south island, sandflies are evil

Go on this trip.
Consider doing your own add on to go to the Bay of Islands or the Coromandel Peninsula while you are there.

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Top Tour Operators and Travel Companies


Australia & the Pacific Trips & Tour Advice

All the way from Australia east to Easter Island, which lies off the west coast of South America, the Pacific islands possess a mystique like few others in the world. Tahiti, Bora Bora and other Pacific paradises are almost synonymous with “escape.”  The painter Paul Gauguin, who spent years in French Polynesia and is buried in the Marquesas islands, certainly thought so, as did the writers Herman Melville and Robert Louis Stevenson, among others.

Australia and New Zealand

Australia, the island continent, and its neighbor, New Zealand, are on a good many bucket lists, and deservedly so.

Australia is amazingly diverse -- from its well-populated east and southeastern coasts, with world-class cities like Sydney and Melbourne beckoning, to its arid outback (which constitutes much of the country), from its northeastern rainforests to its southeastern mountains, from its trendy vineyards to its frontier-style cattle ranches, from its icons (urban and rural) like the Sydney Opera House and Uluru (also known as Ayres Rock), to its often-overlooked far-western and far northern cities like Perth and Darwin.

And of course there is its wildlife -- bounding kangaroos, shy koalas, and the impossible-to-make-up duck-billed platypus, which scientists once thought must be a hoax -- as well as its colorful history as a repository for English criminals, from whom many modern-day Australians are descended. Native aborigines, much in evidence in some parts of the country, add further to the Australians’ reputation as a yet-untamed, fiercely independent people.

Much of New Zealand is flat-out gorgeous,.with tropical beaches in the north and glacier-cut valleys in the south, mountain ranges and rainforest, fjords and caves lit by glow worms. The South and North islands are like two different worlds, and little Stewart Island to the far south adds a third. This is a place for nature lovers, for hikers who want to conquer some of the world’s most famous trekking trails (called “tracks”), and anyone who wants to enjoy the type of dramatic scenery filmed in The Lord of the Rings series.

Micronesia and Melanesia

The stars of Micronesia in the far west Pacific are the islands of Palau and Yap. Palau is known for its Rock Islands, hundreds of little forested islands with beautiful beaches and some of the world’s best diving spots. Little Yap to the north is equally prized for its diving spots among World War II wrecks. Palau is where men from Yap once quarried the stone used in their unique stone money; the more men who died in the treacherous canoe trips back to Yap, the more value the heavy rounded stones became.

Fiji, the centerpiece of Melanesia, is a lush island where beach resorts exist side by side with plenty of opportunities for adventurous hikes, canoe rides, waterfall swims, snorkeling, diving, and small-ship trips to some of the hundreds of out islands. About half the population is East Indian, having come here in the 19th century to work the fields.

Polynesia

Polynesians have populated much of the south and eastern Pacific over the centuries, ofren setting off in rafts and navigating by the stars to discover new islands, ranging from Tahiti to Easter Island and north to Hawaii. French Polynesia is the land of Bali Hai and bungalow resorts built on poles over the warm turquoise waters of Bora Bora and Moorea. Tahiti remains beautiful, if heavily populated in the Papete area.

The best way to explore the islands -- and those of the remote Marquesas, also part of French Polynesia -- is by small ship. Both luxury ships and semi-cargo vessels ply these waters.

Easter Island is the farthest east, and its prime attraction are the moia -- the huge, multi-ton stone statues of ancestors that were somehow transported from the central quarry to outlying areas around the island. Some tours of Chile, to which Easter Island belongs, include a stop here, several hundred miles out into the Pacific. It’s one of the ultimate bucket-list experiences.

Related Guides

Countries:

Australia, New Zealand, Pacific Islands, Papua New Guinea

Attractions:

Fiji Island; Great Barrier Reef, Australia; Uluru Ayers Rock, Australia; Sydney Opera House, Australia; Tahiti and Many More

Top Activities:   

Scuba diving & Snorkeling, Wildlife viewing,  Nature Viewing & Relaxing Retreat

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