Rick is the best travel agent we have worked with. He very patiently and expertly helped us plan our 5 week trip to Australia in the smallest detail to ensure it proceeded smoothly and with the least stress. His having traveled to most of those areas gave us a personal perspective that was extremely valuable. His advice about time of year to visit certain areas and the direction of travel was right on. His recommendations about local tours were accurate and a great way to see the local area.
We were impressed that after a few months of email exchanges to plan the trip and after we had agreed on an itinerary, he spent over 2 hours going over it with us using GoogleEarth to make sure we understood the trip and were ok with all aspects. When we had an issue during travel, such as with a hotel in Sydney, contacting him was no problem and he helped us sort it out (the hotel misplaced our reservation but finally found it).
If we travel to the South Pacific in the future, we will use Rick!
We really enjoyed Tasmania including hiking in Cradle Mountain National Park. It's a scenic mountainous island with lots of wildlife...wombats, wallabies, kangaroos, fur seals, and many bird species. Getting around was easy with good roads and little traffic. Driving the Great Ocean Road from Melbourne to Adelaide with a few days on Kangaroo Island was fascinating. There were lots of lighthouses to explore and a beautiful rugged coastline. The train ride on The Ghan from Adelaide to Alice Springs gave us a chance to talk to many interesting and friendly native Australians while the wild South Australian landscape rolled by. The Aussies on holiday included a retired sheepherder with his half aborigine wife with many stories to tell us (and questions for us about the USA), and a truck-train driver who drove a truck tractor pulling 4 large trailers across the Northern Territory. Hiking and camping at Uluru/Ayers Rock, Kata Tjuta, and Kings Canyon with an international group of travelers was great fun. And one of the biggest treats for us was visiting and snorkeling at the Great Barrier Reef.
We would spend one day less at Kangaroo Island and one day more in Adelaide to explore that area, and perhaps spend more free days in the cities to explore on our own rather than on tours.
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