Picture of the painted cliffs on Maria Island in Tasmania, Australia

Photograph by Holger Leue, Getty Images

By Margaret Loftus

Australia: Oz for Kids

Melbourne, Ayers Rock, Port Douglas, Sydney: This private tour hits the highlights with an eye toward engaging kids, with activities like sheep-shearing, eating traditional bush foods, catching mud crabs, and surf lessons at Bondi Beach. Elevate Destinations: “Australia: Family Planet,” 12 days; $7,500; www.elevatedestinations.com

Vanuatu: The Original Bungee Jumpers

The centerpiece of this caving/diving/kayaking/trekking excursion on six of the archipelago’s 80 islands is the naghol—a ritual on Pentecost Island in which men tie vines to their feet and dive off a tower to ensure a bountiful yam harvest. Aspiring Adventures: “The Naghol,” 14 days; $3,375; www.aspiringadventures.com

Australia: Tassie Romp

With nearly half of its landmass preserved as parks or reserves, Tasmania is an outdoor lover’s paradise. Explore the stunning coastal stretch from Launceston to Hobart on foot, bike, and kayak, with stops in Freycinet National Park and Maria Island, which still displays cellblocks from the country’s penal colony days. Tasmanian Expeditions: “Cycle, Kayak, and Walk Tasmania,” 6 days; $1,794; www.tasmanianexpeditions.com.au

Contributing editor Margaret Loftus has reported and written “Tours of a Lifetime” for the past eight years.


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