Australia & New Zealand Adventure (Summer) | EF Ultimate Break

Australia & New Zealand Adventure

21 Days  •  9 Cities //@ts-ignore//@ts-ignore 39

Why Go?

Chill out on the world’s best beaches before amping up the adrenaline in action sports heaven. Snorkel through shipwrecks, lounge on ship decks and feel the salt-spray and sun rays as you splash through waves. Big cities promise nightlife as wild as the outback, and outdoor adventures are even more extreme with Middle Earth as the backdrop. Whether you want to live it up or lounge in style, there’s something for everyone Down Under.

What are the top highlights?

  • Snorkel with sea turtles and over 1,500 species of fish in the Great Barrier Reef
  • Pet a koala and hop with a kangaroo at Sydney’s Wildlife World
  • Learn to surf at Manly Beach
  • Get the best view of Sydney from above at the Sydney Observation Deck
  • Summit Bob’s Peak for epic views of New Zealand’s pristine landscape
  • Take advantage of the adventurous side of Queenstown
  • Step into The Shire and visit other Lord of the Rings filming locations

Your trip includes

  • Round-trip flights & airport transfers
  • Multilingual Tour Director & local guides
  • Private deluxe motorcoach
  • 18 nights in hand-picked accommodations
  • Welcome Mixer with appetizers & drinks
  • Daily breakfast & three-course Farewell Dinner
  • Entrance to Sydney Tower, Bob's Peak & other select attractions

Accommodations

You’ll stay at accommodations hand-picked by our team of local experts, in rooms only for EF Ultimate Break travelers. Each property is located in a safe, convenient area. You’ll receive your exact accommodations 30 days before your trip departs.

Click **here **for examples of where you'll stay.

Flights

Admit it, booking flights is the worst. Here's why you should let us do it for you:

  • Flight costs are included in your monthly payment plan, so you can pay over time
  • Airport transfers are included, so we’ll be waiting, sign in hand
  • Flights are booked with major airlines
  • 24/7 support no matter what time zone you’re in
  • One checked bag included on most flights
  • Option to make changes to your trip up to 99 days before departure

Booking with a friend? Let us know and we’ll do our best to make sure you’re on the same flight. Still want to book your own flights? That’s cool, simply select ‘No flights included’ instead of your departure city in the ‘Flights from’ dropdown.

Itinerary

Day 1-2: Overnight Flight

Board your overnight flight, bound for a country that’s also a continent—Australia. Get stoked to meet some of the quirkiest people and coolest wildlife. Just don’t touch the bugs—not that you would.

Australia requires a visa for U.S. citizens. Learn more

Day 3: Introduction to Melbourne

Welcome to Melbourne! Your first destination is Australia’s second largest city, and one of the best places in the world to get lost. Seriously. It seems every alleyway and side street has a hidden bar, hot new restaurant indebted to the city’s flourishing Vietnamese and Chinese populations, or a graffiti mural just waiting for you.

Today's Highlights:

  • Meet an EF representative at the airport.
  • Transfer to your accommodation and check in.
  • Receive the latest schedule from your Tour Director.
  • Meet your fellow travelers as they arrive.
  • Get acquainted with Melbourne on a brief walk around the city with your Tour Director.

In the evening, it’s time for your Welcome Mixer. Enjoy appetizers and drinks with fellow travelers at an authentic local spot. Afterwards, take the party out on the town.

Day 4: Sightseeing in Melbourne & Optional Penguin Parade

Start your morning by declaring “don’t talk to me until I’ve had my flat white,” Australia’s favorite way to get heavily caffeinated was supposedly invented in Melbourne before being co-opted by Starbucks. Now it’s time to take a deep dive with your Tour Director into quirky Melbourne, which, for the love of meat pies, you should pronounce as “Melb’n” like the locals do.

Today's Highlights:

  • Smell the flowers in Carlton Gardens: 94-acres of succulents, cacti, and other uniquely Aussie ecosystems.
  • Perfect your milk mustache with a flat white in one of Lygon Street’s charming Italian cafes.
  • Remind yourself to go back to school for architecture as you stroll Collins Street where glossy new skyscrapers mingle with ornate Victorian shopfronts.
  • If all your teeth are sweet-teeth, grab a jam donut at the largest open-air market south of the border (read: equator): Queen Victoria Market.

Free Time Suggestions
Pray to the shopping gods: Chapel Street is a shopping Mecca. Peruse the length of it, stopping often, as it transforms from vintage and bohemian to upscale boutiques.
Call me Banksy: Get all the likes by posing in front of one of Melbourne’s endless murals on Hosier Lane (no, not named after the “Take Me to Church” guy). You now have photographic proof that you’re hip and artsy.

Penguin Parade: Phillip Island Nature Park(extra cost)

That’s right, there are penguins in Melbourne. Take a guided tour of Phillip Island, and end the day at Summerlands Beach where you get to watch 4,000 tiny furballs scurry home at sunset full from a long day of fishing. It’s the March of the Penguins, minus Morgan Freeman’s voice and the freezing temperatures.

Why wait? Save money by booking this optional excursion before your trip departs.

Day 5: Free Day in Melbourne

Melbourne is so colorful and cosmopolitan and now it’s your playground for a day. Hop on over to the local Outback Steakhouse and chow down on an authentic Bloomin’ Onion. Kidding. Melbourne is the Great Australian Melting Pot and today’s your chance to take a bite of local culture.

Today's Highlights:

  • Boomerang your way through the bustling laneways and arcades of Oz’s cultural capital—you’re free to move about Melbourne.
  • Fuel up on exotic food like Sri Lankan roti or Malaysian beef kebabs as you zigzag from neighborhood to neighborhood.
  • Reach your peak on a rooftop with a cold drink and some good company. The CBD has plenty of the above, and great views of the Yarra River to boot.
  • Dance through the streets to the tune of Melbourne’s many busking musicians. Quality guaranteed: buskers have to pass an audition to get permission to perform. Be sure to tip ‘em!

Free Time Suggestions
The Tragically Hip: Hipsters? They have those there too? Yep. Grab your skinny jeans and head to the uber-trendy Fitzroy neighborhood for a mason jar cocktail.
Bring your floaties: St. Kilda is like a bohemian beach town within a beach city within a beach country. The “Inception” of beach towns. Get your tan on at St. Kilda Beach, Melbourne’s most famous strip of sand. The neighborhood is also home to a small penguin enclave, and the world’s oldest continually operating rollercoaster.

Day 6: Morning Flight to Cairns

G’day mate, hop your morning flight (sorry we couldn’t arrange for enough kangaroo pouches to carry everyone) to Cairns. Maybe there’s something to be said about how this is the northernmost point of your trip to the Southern hemisphere. Or maybe you’re about to be way too floored by the beauty of snorkeling on the Great Barrier Reef to care about geography.

Today's Highlights:

  • Board your flight from Melbourne to Cairns, and break out your biggest, floppiest hat, you’re going from big city to resort town.
  • Look in the mirror and practice another whacky city name pronunciation, Cairns is pronounced “Cans.”
  • Take a walking tour of the city center, lush esplanade, and boardwalk and start to feel blissed out by Cairns laidback vibe.
  • Get a taste of fresh seafood, strong espresso, or any number of other local stalls at Rusty’s Markets, if you’re lucky enough to be in Cairns on the weekend.

Free Time Suggestions
Lagoon-a matata: The Esplanade Lagoon is built into the boardwalk. The water is clear, and admission is free and open to the public. Perfect for a day of lounging, getting your laps in, or just playing a little footy on the lawn nearby.
Gilligan's: A Cairns backpacking institution. This hostel-turned party hut/pool/bar throws legendary ragers well into the night. Please swim responsibly.

Marine Biologist Snorkel Upgrade(extra cost)

Got questions about how all of this relates to “Finding Nemo”? Enhance your snorkeling excursion and spend the day with a real marine biologist who spends their time studying the reef and the colorful characters who make up life there. They’ll take you to a special area reserved for research (and the world’s biggest clam) and teach you the ways of the reef.

Why wait? Save money by booking this optional excursion before your trip departs.

Day 7: Snorkel the Great Barrier Reef

Sure, Australia is filled with natural beauty, the likes of which you’ve never seen before. But even after a few days down under, nothing will prepare you for the unparalleled experience of snorkeling through Earth’s largest living creature. Don’t worry, it doesn’t mind you visiting. Dance with dugongs (AKA Australian sea cows) and clown around with, well, clownfish.

Today's Highlights:

  • Organize an a capella version of “I’m on a Boat” as you board a vessel from Cairns to the Great Barrier Reef.
  • Swim, snorkel, and sun tan as you get acquainted with one of the natural wonders of the world.
  • Hop in an underwater observatory built into the reef to watch the fish up close.
  • Discover the secrets of the reef on an optional adventure with a marine biologist.

Marine Biologist Snorkel Upgrade(extra cost)

Got questions about how all of this relates to “Finding Nemo”? Enhance your snorkeling excursion and spend the day with a real marine biologist who spends their time studying the reef and the colorful characters who make up life there. They’ll take you to a special area reserved for research (and the world’s biggest clam) and teach you the ways of the reef.

Why wait? Save money by booking this optional excursion before your trip departs.

Day 8: Day Trip to Mossman Gorge & Port Douglas

Think of a rainforest. You call that a rainforest? No, THIS is a rainforest. Experience this Australian national park through the eyes of the aboriginal population: the Kuku Yulanji tribe.

Today's Highlights:

  • Pass the pipe with your aboriginal hosts, it’s polite to accept their offer of a smoking ceremony #wheninrome.
  • Gawk at the natural beauty of the gorge, remember that you’re not in Kansas anymore.
  • Follow your guide on a walk through the rainforest and ask questions about which toads you can and can't lick.
  • Head into the seaside village of Port Douglas and make a beeline for Four Mile Beach.
  • Take some time on your own to visit the Port Douglas Wildlife Habitat (for an extra cost) in order to capture all the koala selfies, learn what exactly a wallaby is, feed some ‘roos and enjoy the zoo.

Day 9: Travel to Townsville

Wave goodbye to the wallabies, and hop your bus to Townsville. Just a few hours down the coast from Cairns, this misleadingly named oasis (really more of a city than a town or ville TBH) combines the surf town vibes of Cairns with the big city amenities of Melbourne.

Today's Highlights:

  • Put didgeridoo practice on pause to marvel on your bus ride from Cairns as the outback transforms from tropical to savannah right before your eyes.
  • Arrive in Townsville and drop everything but your hiking boots and sense of adventure.
  • Feel the attraction as Magnetic Island calls your name, so much so that you take a ferry out to it.
  • Hike the coastal trails, catching a glimpse of koalas living their best life in the Eucalyptus.
  • Set your sights on the wreck of the SS City of Adelaide, which ran aground off the coast of Magnetic Island in 1916, and at low tide is fully visible, with mangrove trees growing out of its rotted deck.

Free Time Suggestions
Pretty in pink: Move mountains and bushwhack to the top of bright pink Castle Hill for amazing panoramic views of Townsville, Cleveland Bay, and Magnetic Island.
Don't just strand there: Still not sick of the sun? The Strand beach in Townsville is one of Australia’s premiere beaches, not to mention beachside bars.

Day 10: Travel to Airlie Beach

Now’s your chance to be bold at breakfast and try vegemite on toast, because you’re off again for bluer pastures in the afternoon. Head to Airlie Beach by bus and see if you can spot any dingoes out the window. Actually, start by asking your Tour Director exactly what a dingo is, and why you can’t pet one. After a quick regroup upon arrival, it’s off to the lagoon for a little R&R with your new BFFs. Beach volleyball, anyone?

Today's Highlights:

  • Soak up the final rays Townsville has to offer, but don’t be sad, you’re going from one beach town to another.
  • See if you can finish a rousing rendition of “99 Bottles of Beer on the Wall” in the time it takes your bus to make the picturesque trek to Airlie Beach.
  • Arrive in Airlie Beach and re-re-reapply the SPF 100. The Australian sun doesn’t go on holiday.
  • Take some time in Airlie Beach to figure out which lagoon-side bar is your favorite. This may take some hands-on research.

Day 11: Free Day in Airlie Beach & Optional Whitsunday Cruise

Don’t you just hate waking up in paradise? Yeah, us too. Airlie Beach boasts the most stunning beach scenes this side of Bob Ross’s paintings, and you get a front row seat to its endlessly serene beauty all day.

Today's Highlights:

  • Pinch yourself, make sure this isn’t a dream. Time to go hit the beach.
  • Though the bay is chock full of jellyfish, the public lagoon is a resort-level beach bunny’s dream, complete with sandy beach, grassy lawns, and plenty of space to turn up or chill out.
  • When life gives you an optional cruise to Whitehaven Beach, make lemonade and also take the cruise. A catamaran will whisk you to what may be the world’s greatest beaches, where you can have your day in the Sun.

Free Time Suggestions
Beaches: Not the landform, the bar. Spend the day with a cold beverage in an open-air beer garden right by the Airlie Beach Lagoon. Contrary to what the fat cats in advertising want you to believe, no one drinks Foster’s in Australia. Sample something local!
Crikey!: Would it really be an Australian vacation if you didn’t get to see some crocodiles? No. No, it would not. Channel your inner Steve Irwin and take an eco-friendly tour of the Proserpine River Wetlands and get debatably too close for comfort to some saltwater crocs.

Whitsunday Island Cruise(extra cost)

Don’t be alarmed, but if you take this cruise out to Whitsunday Island and Whitehaven Beach, you WILL encounter some of the world’s whitest sand and most pristine water. We don’t make the rules, that’s just how it is. Take a catamaran out to this tropical oasis, and while we understand if you want to stay forever, there’s plenty more paradise where that came from.

Why wait? Save money by booking this optional excursion before your trip departs.

Day 12: Travel to Sydney

Today you’re off to the biggest city on the Great Southern Island: Sydney. Get all the 42 Wallaby Way jokes out of your system on the plane over, we have it on good authority that the address is made up.

Today's Highlights:

  • Make like a kookaburra and fly—to Sydney. Your last stop in the outback.
  • Turn your attention to your Tour Director (who by now you should be referring to as Crocodile TD), you’re going for a harbor cruise tour of Sydney Harbor.
  • Set your sights on the uber-famous Sydney Opera House, where, if you listen carefully, you can almost hear the fat lady singing.
  • Float past iconic Sydney landmarks such as The Rocks, Mrs. Macquarrie’s Chair, and Bondi Beach—all of which you’ll have plenty of time to experience up close tomorrow.

Free Time Suggestions
Manly Beach: Looking for tickets to the gun show? The cost of admission to Manly Beach is one dumbbell curl. Just kidding, it’s free. Catch a quick ferry-ride from Sydney out to the preferred beach of the locals. No testosterone needed.
The perfect night to dress like hipsters: Newtown is Sydney’s coolest neighborhood for those in search of their eclectic side. Go thrifting and see if you can snag a pair of Russell Crowe’s discarded jeans.

Day 13: Free Day in Sydney & Optional Hike Up the Blue Mountains

It’s easy to forget Sydney was founded as a prison colony. But today’s your day to make out like a bandit in some of the Southern Hemisphere’s premiere shopping districts, make a break for the pub, or get your bad self some outdoors time in the Blue Mountains.

Today's Highlights:

  • Have a glass of culture, on The Rocks—one of the original convict neighborhoods of Sydney is right on the harbor, and chock full of history.
  • It wouldn’t be a vacation if you didn’t come back with at least one full checked bag of mementos, right? We recommend a regal stroll through King Street.
  • Grab a meal outside your comfort zone—Sydney is home to thriving Chinese, Thai, Sri Lankan, Dutch, and Lebanese enclaves, among so many others. Head to Chinatown or hip Surry Hills and expand your palette.
  • Get out of town for the day with an optional day hike in the Blue Mountains. Balance out the constant endorphin-high of traveling with the peaks and troughs of the Jamison Valley.

Free Time Suggestions
The most fun you can have underwater: Strap on a snorkel and follow along the Gordon’s Bay underwater nature trail, complete with submerged steel plaques describing the history and wildlife in the bay.
Enjoy the great outdoors: Need more nature? Just south of the city is Royal National Park: the oldest national park in the world after Yellowstone. Check out the bonkers beauty of untouched Australia.
Garden party: Pack a lunch (Tim Tams are a MUST) and hit the Royal Botanical Gardens that you saw from the harbor cruise on your first day here. Get a whiff of the roses and pretend you’re in “The Bachelor,” then pop a squat at Mrs. Macquarrie’s Chair for a scenic view of the waterfront.

Hike the Blue Mountains(extra cost)

The mountains are calling and you must go. For those of you who thought Australia was all beaches and bushland, you’ll be shocked to see the grandeur of the Blue Mountains. Pay your respects to the Three Sisters, walk a giant cliffside staircase, and say Katoomba Falls over and over until it isn’t funny anymore. Top the day off with a ride back on the world’s steepest train. Bonus points if you make friends with a platypus.

Why wait? Save money by booking this optional excursion before your trip departs.

Day 14: Day at Bondi Beach

This is it: the beach to make all other beaches blush. This quintessential strip of sand is the emerald oasis of Sydney’s sunbathing masses, and the future spot of your next sunburn. Perfect your doggie paddle in the breakers, or take the infinitely-‘Grammable Bondi to Bronte coastwalk and snap some doggie pictures with the furry locals.

Today's Highlights:

  • Make sure someone gets your back (and your ears) as you follow your Tour Director down to beautiful Bondi Beach.
  • Spend your last day in Australia swimming, sunbathing, or taking a long walk exploring the sandstone cliffs nearby.
  • Take an optional surfing lesson from a local pro and learn to read the waves in real-time.

Surf Like a Big Kahuna(extra cost)

Time to get like, totally radical, dudes and dudettes! Lend your ear to a local surfer, who will help take you from beginner to “slightly better than” beginner. Lesson one: Bend your knees, keep your eyes open, and do everything in your power not to fall off the board. The rest will come with some practice, and you’ll be riding those gnarly waves before you know it. Cowabunga!

Why wait? Save money by booking this optional excursion before your trip departs.

Day 15: Fly to Queenstown + Explore Bob’s Peaks

Wave goodbye to Oz, you’re headed to New Zealand: Australia’s outdoorsy crunchy-granola cousin. Upon arrival in Queenstown, the resort capital of the southern island, take a minute to get acquainted with your accommodations. Then grab a handful of trail mix and head for the hills on Bob’s Peaks.

Today's Highlights:

  • Board a plane and fly from Sydney to Queenstown.
  • Gaze out the window of the plane and watch as some of New Zealand’s 39 million sheep organize themselves to spell out “Welcome, friend” for you—just kidding.
  • Travel by cable car and gondola to the top of Ben’s Peaks—part of the so-called Southern Alps.
  • Enjoy an afternoon of luge carts, ziplining, and hiking overlooking Queenstown.

Day 16: Explore Milford Sound

You’re in the South Island of New Zealand, where one of the country’s most popular sights can be found: the fiords. Don’t know what that word means? Never fear, definitions are here! A fiord is a narrow waterway surrounded by commanding, sometimes snowcapped, cliffs AKA a breathtaking part of Mother Nature. New Zealand’s got lots of them, and today, you get to explore one by boat.

Today's Highlights:

  • Say “I’m on a boat” as you float away on a ferry into the Milford Sound.
  • Snap pics from every angle—the fjords don’t have a “bad side.”
  • Enjoy an included lunch, with included spectacular views.
  • Warm up your dominant pointing finger—seals, penguins, dolphins, and whales can be seen swimming in these waters, and people need to know.

Day 17: Free Day in Queenstown

Queenstown is a city many call the ‘adventure capital of the world,’ due to the popularity of high-adrenaline activities. So if you’re into the whole heart beating faster than normal thing, you’re in the right place. And if you want something a little more mellow, this city’s got that, too.

Today's Highlights:

  • Wander the streets of Queenstown and follow the locals into cafes and stores—just not in a creepy way.
  • Get your adrenaline pumping with any of the heart-pounding activities offered in the city.
  • Spin around and point to any mountain—then go there. (Your Instagram will thank you.)

Free Time Suggestions
Burger Madness: Yes, you’re in New Zealand, so you should be trying local food. But Fergburger sells burgers that some people claim are the best in the world. So make an exception, and stop in for a life-changing culinary experience.
Secret Garden: Slow down your pace at Queenstown Gardens, where you’ll find plenty of green things to sit on and look at. And if you feel like being more active, try your hand at frisbee golf or tennis.

Day 18: Travel to Rotorua

Say “sayonara” to the South Island and head north. Rotorua is known for its geothermal geysers and very appetizing sounding hot bubbling mud pools. Later, after a day of travel, satisfy your ravenous cravings with a traditional Maori feast.

Today's Highlights:

  • Island hop from Queenstown to Rotorua via airplane (or, aeroplane, if you will).
  • Explore the sights, sounds, and strange smells of the quirky natural phenomena at Waka Geothermal Area.
  • Enjoy a panoramic view of Rotorua from the Skyline gondola.
  • Sip authentic New Zealand wine and pretend to notice hints of “elderberry” and “pomegranate.”
  • Get a little culture with your dinner, and learn about Maori culture between mouthfuls of a traditionally prepared Hangi feast.

Day 19: Polynesian Spa + Travel to Auckland

Let out a great big “ahhh” as you ease yourself into a sacred geothermal pool at the Polynesian Spa. Legend has it it can cure anything: arthritis, stress, even a hangov— um… common cold. Afterwards, you’re off to Auckland: New Zealand’s largest city.

Today's Highlights:

  • Let serenity encompass you in the healing waters of the Polynesian Spa.
  • Realign your chakras, if you’re into that kind of thing, as you unwind from a long few weeks of traveling the globe.
  • Board your bus and head north to your final destination: Auckland.
  • Get re-accustomed to big city life, then spend the rest of the day taking advantage of those amenities as you see fit.

Day 20: Auckland + Optional Waiheke Island Excursion

Auckland is New Zealand’s sleek, cosmopolitan capital, so you know what that means: eat all the food, take all the pictures, and try to wrap your mind around the fact that despite Auckland being a major city, only 5% of New Zealand’s population is human. The rest are animals. Whoa. Once you’ve got that, take a tour of the city and Waiheke Island with your Tour Director.

Today's Highlights:

  • Whisk your way around town on your tour of the city’s highlights.
  • Crane your neck at the 600-foot Sky Tower.
  • Take a ferry out to Waiheke Island for a tour of the coastal villas and a winetasting.
  • Return to mainland Auckland for some heavy-duty reminiscing and a three-course farewell dinner.

Farewell Dinner
Share some last laughs (and maybe shed a few tears) at an included farewell dinner with the group.

Waiheke Island & Wine Tasting(extra cost)

See the most talked about island in New Zealand. Take a tour of the immaculate beaches and coastal villas, and check out the island’s big guns (leftover WWII fortifications intended to protect Auckland). New Zealand’s “wine island” is home to over 25 vineyards producing some of the best Bordeaux, Chardonnay, and Sauvignon Blanc this side of Sonoma. It’s wine o’clock, and your taste buds are invited to sample the goods.

Why wait? Save money by booking this optional excursion before your trip departs.

Day 21: Fly Home

Goodbye, friends!
Your next destination awaits—home. Before you head to the airport, enjoy your last few moments together. Take one more group photo. Grab that final drink. (Fine, maybe a couple of drinks.) But this isn’t goodbye. It’s “See you later.” The only question is, where?

–OR–

EXTEND YOUR TRIP 2 WAYS

1. Double the fun
A lot of our trips line up back to back! Give us a call—we can help you add another and save big while you're at it.

2. Go ahead or stay behind
Extending your trip is easy! During checkout, you'll have the option to fly to (or from) the gateway of your choice for an additional fee. We'll adjust your flights accordingly, but you'll be responsible to take care of your transportation, hotels, and other logistics outside of tour.

Note: Depending on your desired gateways, additional fees may apply.

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