The entire trip was superbly laid out. My elderly father and I visited two countries in a part of the world we had never visited before (Australia and New Zealand). Our travel agent listened to our requests and special needs and worked with us to plan itineraries and transportation and lodging. We had a great experience in that we saw a lot and were able to take advantage of the small group tours which kept the pressure off of my dad (who's 92) to "keep up". We had time to ask questions, take pictures, get closer to viewing areas and chat with the very knowledgeable and personable guides. We were met on time every time for airport and hotel transfers and never had to search for or wonder about how to get to the hotel from the airport and vice-versa. We had 8 flights scheduled in 18 days and it came off without a hitch. The arranged tours were scheduled to see a lot and still have personal time to shop or just relax. We had early starts but were back at the hotel by 16:30 or 1700hrs; time for a rest and dinner. Our travel agent also kept track of how we were doing by email and with an associated company that was "in-country". We always had backup if we needed it.
Because the planning was so organized, we had time to chat with "Aussies" and "Kiwis" and share interests. We also met a number of other travelers from several different countries. Most people we met were very kind and helpful(even getting us trollies for luggage at the airport and pointing the way to departure gates; we had advice on shopping, even in grocery stores and fruit markets).The locales we visited were so extraordinary, each in it's own way, that we tried to take it all in but that would take more trips. My father is unlikely to get to do this again but he had such a good sampling that he has much to share with his grand and great grand kids. We also enjoyed seeing the iconic animals like kangaroos and koala bears and kiwi birds. A big part of our wish list was to see the Aboriginal and Maori cultures and we had opportunity to see and hear much. Spending time in Rotorua with a Maori leader and walking around his village with him while he explained some of the spirituality of his beliefs along with stories of his ancestors' migration from Polynesia and the warrior aspects of his people was enlightening. We also had an all-day tour with a guide with a 4-wheel drive vehicle who took just the 2 of us all around the back and hill country around Queenstown, NZ. We went on some nailbiting roads with spectacular views including the bungee jumping bridge. He also treated us to tea and sticky buns in Arrowtown and answered what seemed like a gazillion questions.
I think that I would try to stay longer. Now that I have had an overview, I would like to spend more time in each place and do more walkabouts and talk to more people.
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