I used Zicasso to find a travel agent for a trip to Australia and New Zealand after reading about the company in Travel & Leisure magazine. Only two travel agents responded to my request, and one sent a rote itinerary that showed little thought or imagination. The second agency was great! Karen, the agent, sent an email and asked when it would be convenient to talk; we later spent 45 minutes on the phone going over our interests, places we had read about, etc. She put together a fabulous itinerary, we tweaked it a bit, and that was that. She is based in New Zealand and had personally visited most of the places she recommended. My only (slightly) negative comment is that our rooms were generally not on the best floor, etc. I think she did this to save money, but there were times we would have chosen a different room if left to our own devices. That said, everything worked beautifully. All the details were flawless - we were met at the various airports as planned, no reservations were lost, etc. I would (and already have) highly recommend this travel company and Karen in particular, for a trip to Australia and New Zealand!
We loved Kangaroo Island, and the Southern Ocean Lodge - it was probably the best place we have ever stayed.
In New Zealand, we enjoyed all the activities, from fly fishing to hiking to golf at Cape Kidnappers to a helicopter ride over Doubtful and Dusky Sounds - truly wonderful. Loved taking a small boat around Abel Tasman Park also. Did the Harbour Bridge climb in Sydney - fantastic!
I would probably skip Melbourne. It's a nice city, but nothing special, and there's more to do in Australia than spend time in a city. In New Zealand, I would skip staying at Lake Taupo and spend the extra day in Nelson. I didn't think we saw enough of that area.
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