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Top Australia & the Pacific Experiences

Exploring the busy city of Sydney

Snorkeling at the Great Barrier Reef

Finding adventure in Queenstown

Experiencing the coastal city of Melbourne

Marveling at the giant structures on Easter Island

Enjoying water activities in Fiji


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Top Australia & the Pacific Attractions

Sydney Harbor

Great Barrier Reef

Queenstown

Fiji

Papua New Guinea

Easter Island

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Australia & the Pacific Attractions And Landmarks Guide

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 ReefUluru (Ayers Rock), Sydney Opera House, Tahiti and Many More

Top Activities:   

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

364
Australia & the Pacific Tour Reviews - Summary
100% Recommend

4.8 out of 5
Excellent 1,310 Great 427 Average 17 Disappointing 7 Terrible 1
Value
4.8 Guide
4.8 Activities
4.8 Lodging
4.8 Transportation
4.8 Meals
4.8

B&CW

Recommends

Australia & New Zealand March 2016

5.0

Australia & New Zealand

We left LA on March 1, 2016. The only negative thing about the entire 3 weeks was the flight on Qantas from LA was 3 hours late leaving. We still made our flight from Sydney to Auckland, so it was not a big deal. We just waited 3 hours in LA instead of Sydney. Stevyn Polk was an awesome Tour Escort. He was friendly, efficient, organized, helpful and fun to be around. All of our hotels were excellent, our tours were wonderful, including the optional tours that we did. The Skyline dinner in Auckland was delicious and the views of the city and the Gondola Ride was great. The cruise on the TSSEnslow was fun, especially since we could see the working engine. The meal at Walter Peak Farm was excellent and the sheep dog and sheep shearing was fun. The Skipper's Canyon drive was beautiful and breathtaking at times. The Larnach Castle was interesting although the tour was a little rushed. The wildlife tour was great. We saw 4 different types of albatross on that afternoon cruise. The tour to see the Fairy Penguins was so much fun. We had special seats which gave us great viewing. The drive on the Great Ocean Road was wonderful. At our morning stop our bus driver set up a table, fixed us tea and set out treats. We saw two koalas on the way and lots of wallabies. The walks along the trails near the ocean were wonderful. Our day on the Great Barrier Reef was fantastic. We took the Michaelmas Cay upgrade and the trip out and back were wonderful. The ship was not crowded, they had all the details worked out for all the needs of the passengers. The trip to Kuranda was very informative. The aboriginal demonstrations were fun, the duck ride was great even in the rain. We would have liked even more time in Kuranda so we could walk the trail and have time to shop. The Skyrail ride was amazing. In Sydney we did the Harbour Story Cruise and the Sunset Dinner Cruise. The dinner cruise was great. Unfortunately it rained for our story cruise so we could not see much. We climbed the Sydney Harbour Bridge and I would encourage anyone to do it. It was a fabulous view and an exciting adventure. Of course, I also did the Bungee Jump over the Karawau River near Queenstown, NZ, and that was also an exciting adventure with some pure terror thrown in, but I am very glad I did it. Featherdale Wildlife Park was great but I wish we had more time there. There were so many animals to see and photograph that we felt a bit rushed. The Rocks Walking Tour was very informative and we enjoyed our guide's descriptions and stories. This was our 5th trip with smarTours and every time we have had an excellent experience. The choice of hotels is always good and in most cases way above what we would ever book on our own. Every guide that we have had has been absolutely awesome. We look forward to our next adventure with the company. (We don't have it booked yet but we know you will send us an e-mail about a trip to somewhere that we want to visit, with a price and itinerary that we just can not refuse. Read more

Operator SmarTours

B&CW

Recommends

Australia & New Zealand March 2016

5.0

Australia & New Zealand

We left LA on March 1, 2016. The only negative thing about the entire 3 weeks was the flight on Qantas from LA was 3 hours late leaving. We still made our flight from Sydney to Auckland, so it was not a big deal. We just waited 3 hours in LA instead of Sydney. Stevyn Polk was an awesome Tour Escort. He was friendly, efficient, organized, helpful and fun to be around. All of our hotels were excellent, our tours were wonderful, including the optional tours that we did. The Skyline dinner in Auckland was delicious and the views of the city and the Gondola Ride was great. The cruise on the TSSEnslow was fun, especially since we could see the working engine. The meal at Walter Peak Farm was excellent and the sheep dog and sheep shearing was fun. The Skipper's Canyon drive was beautiful and breathtaking at times. The Larnach Castle was interesting although the tour was a little rushed. The wildlife tour was great. We saw 4 different types of albatross on that afternoon cruise. The tour to see the Fairy Penguins was so much fun. We had special seats which gave us great viewing. The drive on the Great Ocean Road was wonderful. At our morning stop our bus driver set up a table, fixed us tea and set out treats. We saw two koalas on the way and lots of wallabies. The walks along the trails near the ocean were wonderful. Our day on the Great Barrier Reef was fantastic. We took the Michaelmas Cay upgrade and the trip out and back were wonderful. The ship was not crowded, they had all the details worked out for all the needs of the passengers. The trip to Kuranda was very informative. The aboriginal demonstrations were fun, the duck ride was great even in the rain. We would have liked even more time in Kuranda so we could walk the trail and have time to shop. The Skyrail ride was amazing. In Sydney we did the Harbour Story Cruise and the Sunset Dinner Cruise. The dinner cruise was great. Unfortunately it rained for our story cruise so we could not see much. We climbed the Sydney Harbour Bridge and I would encourage anyone to do it. It was a fabulous view and an exciting adventure. Of course, I also did the Bungee Jump over the Karawau River near Queenstown, NZ, and that was also an exciting adventure with some pure terror thrown in, but I am very glad I did it. Featherdale Wildlife Park was great but I wish we had more time there. There were so many animals to see and photograph that we felt a bit rushed. The Rocks Walking Tour was very informative and we enjoyed our guide's descriptions and stories. This was our 5th trip with smarTours and every time we have had an excellent experience. The choice of hotels is always good and in most cases way above what we would ever book on our own. Every guide that we have had has been absolutely awesome. We look forward to our next adventure with the company. (We don't have it booked yet but we know you will send us an e-mail about a trip to somewhere that we want to visit, with a price and itinerary that we just can not refuse. Read more

Operator SmarTours

BB

Recommends

Awesome Australia and Breathtaking New Zealand March 2016

5.0

Australia & New Zealand

If you are considering a tour to Australia and New Zealand Smartours can't be beat. I just returned from a trip of a lifetime and highly recommend this tour. Alex, our tour director, was outstanding! He knew the perfect mix of what we needed and when we wanted to explore on our own. From the beautiful lakes, mountains and waterfalls in New Zealand to the magnificent cities of Melbourne and Sydney each day was filled with wonders!! I also couldn't have had better tourmates on this trip!! Read more

Operator SmarTours

SM

Recommends

Australia/New Zealand March 2016

5.0

Australia & New Zealand

Betty Levin, our tour guide, was outstanding. The accommodations, excursions,& food was great. Could not have ask for a better trip.

Operator SmarTours

MS

Recommends

Great tour hit the highlights January 2016

5.0

Australia & New Zealand

Gail and I had a great trip thru New Zealand and Australia. The director was very good, the coach drivers were informative and very good. Loved the farm stay in New Zealand, Milford Sound and snorkeling on the Great Barrier Reef out of Cairns. Only downside was lack of free time and a chance to sleep-in more often. We took advantage of most side tours which were well done. Read more

Operator SmarTours

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