Grand Australia and NZ questions

Like everyone else, our Tauck trip for this fall has been cancelled. It was the Tauck North and South Island trip. I am rebooking for next year, but am considering doing the Grand Australia and NZ trip instead. My husband did Australia while in the Navy, but I have not been to either. This trip begins in Melbourne and completes in Auckland. What things in Australia and NZ should I consider booking on either end? Thanks for your thoughts.


  • I did Australia and New Zealand so long ago (2003) that I couldn't address specifics relative to where the itinerary takes you, but I would recommend seeing both countries for as long a period as you can. My trip in 2003 was for most of the month of November. Left on October 31st and returned about the 21st or 22nd of November. Both countries have way more to see than you can possibly cover in one visit.

    New Zealand has spectacular beauty that is similar in a lot of ways to the Alps of Europe. They actual call their mountain range the Southern Alps. From jet boat rides, to bungy jumping, the adventures are endless.

    Australia has its own spectacular attractions from the Great Barrier Reef, to Uluru, to Krakadu Park with its jumping crocodiles, in addition to the splendor of Sydney and Melbourne.

  • I did Grand Australia and New Zealand in October 2018. It is my favorite Tauck trip. I spent 3 days in Tasmania before the tour began in Melbourne. I stayed in Hobart, did a couple of walking tours, went by boat to the Museum of Old and New Art (MONA) from downtown Hobart, and did a day trip to Port Arthur to see the old penal colony. I absolutely loved what I saw of Tasmania. I went to Melbourne a day early and took a day trip to the Great Ocean Road. The day that the tour began in the evening, I did a walking tour in Melbourne (some of which was repeated with Tauck) and just continued to walk around. We had most of an afternoon free in Melbourne, and I went to the Shrine of Remembrance, which was excellent. (You can probably tell that I like history.). At the end of the tour, I stayed 2 extra days at the hotel in Auckland. One day, I did a day trip to the Bay of Islands, and the other day, I did a day trip to Rotorua. (It seemed like there wasn't much to do in Auckland itself, since the tour went to the War Memorial and Mudbrick Island.). All of those day trips were Viator trips. I absolutely fell in love with New Zealand. As soon as I learned that Tauck was offering a new trip there, I signed up for it. (It was supposed to begin this Oct. 31, but has already been cancelled.). If you have the time, I would suggest that you take the Grand Australia and New Zealand trip before doing NZ, and definitely add on some time in Tasmania. It's a long way to go, and, despite your best intentions, you might not make it back there, so better to see some of both countries. You will get a good feel for NZ on the longer tour.

  • We did Australia/New Zealand in 2017 and absolutely loved the trip. Australia has iconic sites that we are very glad we experienced. New Zealand was beauty everywhere. I would also recommend you do both Australia and New Zealand if you have the time. We loved Melbourne - we arrived a few days early and did the Great Ocean Road tour before our Tauck tour officially started. Visiting Uluru and the Great Barrier Reef was incredible - we were in there desert one day and a rainforest the next. In New Zealand, we enjoyed the boat rides on Marlborough Sound and Milford Sound as well as the jet boat rides near Queenstown. We felt the trip was a great introduction to both countries. We have booked the Australia trip beginning in Adelaide for the fall of 2021 - there will be some overlap with what we saw in Melbourne and Sydney but this trip will take us to some different parts of Australia as well.

  • We did Grand Australia and New Zealand in December 2018. I agree with all that MCD stated. Although we did not go toTasmania, we did have an extra day in Melbourne and did a tour of the Great Ocean Road with The Private Tour Guide. We also would have done more on our free time in Melbourne had it not been for the fact that I discovered a former grammar school friend and neighbor was living in Melbourne, and we had not been in touch or see each other for about 45 years—and what a reunion it was! We would have liked more time in Sydney as there were things we could not do on our free time due to rain storms. It was a glorious trip, and each country has its unique charms. I agree that you should do as much as you can as long as you are going that far.

  • We took this wonderful trip in December 2019. We arrived in Melbourne a day early. We did the Echnida Safari Walkabout. Although it's a bit pricey is was definitely a favorite day. It's a nature preserve so koalas, kangeroos and emus are in their natural habitat. It is not a petting zoo like the Hartleys Crocodile Adventures. Our guide was very informative and prepared lunch in the preserve, including billy tea. If you are an animal and nature lover, you would not be disappointed.
    The sites in Australia are great, but there is something very enchanting about New Zealand.

  • I did the Aus/NZ tour in Oct 2016. At that time, Rotorua was part of the tour and I highly recommend visiting if you can. During free time in Sydney, I did a 1/2 day bike tour which went through the nooks and crannies of the harbor area and over the bridge, too. It was all flat, except the bridge part.

    This was an excellent tour and having a chartered plane for the group was the ultimate convenience, bypassing airport terminals and security at almost every stop.

  • I concur on the Rotorua comment. Hard to believe they wouldn't keep it on the itinerary. Here's a couple of pictures.

    In Sydney, I did a seaplane tour of the area. You get some great shots and perspectives.

  • CaraBeth - my husband and I took the GA/NZ tour last September and loved it. We arrived a day early and took a walking tour of Melbourne. There was some overlap with the Tauck tour, but it covered more ground and some different areas, and it was a nice way to get the lay of the land after the long flights (and to get a good recommendation for dinner). The next day, we went on a privately booked Great Ocean Road tour, and enjoyed it - we were lucky to have very nice weather. I wish we had stayed an extra day in Auckland - I would have liked to have gone to Hobbiton (which is of interest to Lord of the Rings fans). If you read through the GA/NZ forum, you will find many helpful suggestions from folks who have taken this tour.

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