Each destination was different and had its individual attractions. The planner's advice to visit Tasmania was excellent as we would not have considered it on our own as a destination. We loved the town of Hobart and enjoyed the beautiful scenery of the Tasman peninsula. We also loved our time on the Great Ocean Road outside of Melbourne and the planner’s guidance to stay overnight in Apollo Bay gave us a leisurely trip with time to enjoy the sights and towns. We interacted with a number of guides, all competent and pleasant, and particularly liked our guide in Melbourne and our driver who also drove us on the Great Ocean Road trip. The travel specialists in Hobart also should get a special mention. We ate well at all our stops and drank good wine. Our planner also made some excellent restaurant recommendations.
I read Fatal Shore by Robert Hughes before the trip and was particularly interested in the convict history and the fate of the aboriginal people. The Museum in Hobart was a good resource for learning more as well as the knowledge of the guides. The Gold Rush exhibit in Melbourne was also good at filling in questions about the development of Australia.
Australia, although not as “exotic” as many places we have visited were so welcoming with friendly people and they took much effort to make us feel at home. That, plus lovely weather, great scenery, some animals we had not seen before, unusual history, and good food and wine made for a great 2-week holiday.
We might add another destination beyond Sydney, Melbourne, Tasmania. The two-day trips from Sydney were pleasant and we saw beautiful scenery and enjoyed seeing the famous Sydney beaches but they were a bit repetitive. Because of the fires, it would have been difficult to go to the Blue Mountains but in better circumstances, we may have wanted to do that.
The hotels in Sydney (it was wonderful!) and Hobart and the guest house in Apollo Bay were welcoming and more than comfortable. I would not recommend the hotel in Melbourne. It’s well located but breakfast is mediocre and most of the rooms face walls.
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