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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

1,649 Reviews

  • Excellent 1,249
  • Great 399
  • 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
April 2017
Exodus Travels
Recommend: Yes
A perfectly balanced blend of touristy sightseeing activities, incredibly beautiful, varied walks and exciting, unforgettable experiences. We were blessed with fantastic weather, too!
Standing under the 80m high Fairy Falls on the bow of the Milford Wanderer, water pummelling down on our heads, totally surprised, completely exhilarated and utterly happy.
I have to add first seeing Red Crater on the Tongariro Crossing, jetboating, catamaran sailing on the Tasman Sea, walking through Tiritiri Matangi Island’s gorgeous native woodland ringing with exotic bird calls and cicadas, the joy of seeing the glorious colour of Huka Falls. The trouble is that every day had moments like these, so how do you choose!?

Hayley and Josh are an extraordinary young couple, calm, cheerful, incredibly hard working and competent. If everyone drove like Josh, the roads would be safer places. Every suggestion regarding where to eat or shop or what to do in our free time turned out to be good. In his review, Martin mentioned the lady stranger who had a fall, but not that Hayley actually carried her most of the way down a steep mountain after giving first aid! There were, inevitably, some long drives, but Hayley and Josh arranged an enjoyable short walk or other activity at least every two hours. I think I’d trust these two in almost any situation.

Don’t scratch your Blackfly bites! They really are the scourge of South Island, but DEET does deter them so use it. I kept leaving it too late. Bites I managed to resist scratching settled down quickly, those I took the tops off had scabs for weeks and have left scars.
Be prepared for the jet lag - it took us a week to get over it after coming home.
Take lots of notes as well as taking photos -see below!

It has been five weeks since the end of our holiday. It has taken this long to go through all my photos and notes, remembering more and more things that we did, to do research on the internet and to write a journal. Only now do I feel able to take an overall view and write this review. This holiday is a full-on three weeks of new experiences and it is almost impossible to take it all in at the time. For us and, I imagine most people, this was a holiday of a lifetime and I really do recommend making a photographic journal to fix those memories. It is a lot of work, but rather like having the holiday again!

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It was a great time because of the CEO, but I felt like the pace of the tour was too fast because I spent half of the time on this tour on a bus or train

East Coast Encompassed–Sydney to Cairns

4.0
April 2017
G Adventures
Recommend: Yes
It was a great time because of the CEO, but I felt like the pace of the tour was too fast because I spent half of the time on this tour on a bus or train. I got to see a lot of different places, but I don't really feel like I got enough time to enjoy any of them. I think that the ground covered on this tour should take at least 25-30 days to do properly. Activities in Cairns and Sailing in the whitsundays were definitely the highlight of this trip. Air conditioned vehicles and accommodation are essential to keeping morale up, and I feel like everyone would have had a much better time and a lot more energy if we had A/C the whole way through (especially at the end) I learned a lot about the east coast of Australia on this trip, so I will definitely be returning next year to airlie
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Overall I had an incredible time on the trip

East Coast Encompassed–Sydney to Cairns

5.0
April 2017
G Adventures
Recommend: Yes
Overall I had an incredible time on the trip. I met people I would have never got to meet otherwise and made friendships that I'm sure will last a long time to come. The large range of activities and opportunities for us on the trip was probably the best bit. We managed to do everything from sheep sheering and horse riding to scuba diving and zip wiring in only 18 days. It was just that little bit more special as the tour took our busines to local companies and people allowing the local community to benifit from our tourism where it could. I loved the fast pace of the tour - there was never a dull moment. In addition, I felt like the tour had made a great effort to show us the 'true' Australia, taking us places I would have never gone myself. It allowed us to meet many people from all walks of life and get a taste for their worlds. I would defintely recommend to anyone who wants to travel in Aus.
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Trekking in New Zealand

Trekking in New Zealand

5.0
April 2017
Exodus Travels
Recommend: Yes
A truly brilliant 3 week trip highlighting the best of North and South Island
Too many to choose one. Highlights for me included the beautiful coast paths and beaches of Abel Tasman, helicopter to Siberia hut. The challenge of hiking to lake Crucible. Fantastic cruise on Milford Sound seeing dolphins swimming around the boat. The amazing Mount Cook National Park and everything in between

Kath on North Island is an experienced, professional guide with an easygoing style. She was ably assisted by Anne who was an intern.
Chai on South Island is younger with a very different leadership style. To begin with felt he was at a slight disadvantage as we had all bonded well as a group and he had to get to know us. I definitely warmed to Chai as time went by. He is extremely passionate about New Zealand, its history and flora and fauna. Especially enjoyed his stories and his legendary "Hakka"

As previously documented this is a full on trip and you have to be organised with packing. Using several sizes of dry bags within your luggage helps. Get yourself fit as possible, preferably with plenty of hill climbing and descending practice. Breaking the outward journey in Dubai and extra night in Auckland helped with jet lag.

A fantastic trip with so much packed into 3 weeks. Go for it, you won't regret it

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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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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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