This trip was one of the most memorable, relaxing vacations that I've ever had. Karen from this Australia travel agency was absolutely stellar throughout all phases, from crafting a personalized itinerary to being very responsive when there was a hiccup with one of our tour guides. Everything was stress free while we were over there.
All of our experiences were private and intimate. We never felt like we were being herded like cattle. Our hotels in the city were very nice and centrally located. In Sydney we had a wonderful view of the Opera House and the included breakfast was very nice. In Melbourne, we were right in the middle of the city center, with views of Rod Laver Arena, the cricket ground, and the water and the breakfast was even nicer.
Pacing and variety of excursions were top concerns of mine. I hate jam packed vacations as it's hard to rest when your zipping around. We had a great mix of planned activities and free days interspersed with our travel days. In terms of variety we were very pleased. We went from Sydney to rain forest and reef, then to Melbourne and then country roads and wine country.
I wholeheartedly recommend this agency--you are in good hands with them. When we plan our NZ vacation in some years we will definitely go with Karen and this travel agency.
Two moments really stood out during my trip. The first was scuba diving at the great barrier reef (we went to Agincourt reef). No pictures will ever do it justice, 20 meters below the surface you feel like a visitor in a foreign world with all of the life and color down there. It felt like being in the middle of Time Square, where you got caught up in crowds of fish trying to get to places, and the coral was all of the neon signs.
The second was when we went to an Eco Lodge in Cape Otway. It was a clear night and we were many miles from any sort of light pollution. Not only were the stars incredibly bright (you could make out some of the milky way), but I didn't recognize any of the constellations. The next day we saw a ton of wildlife (including Koalas!)
Melbourne is a wonderful coffee city. I'm from Seattle and we have nothing on them!
I would have gone for longer! In all seriousness I would have loved to have had more time in Sydney because we were really taken for a spell with jet lag. Another day or two would have been amazing. This is really a function of the amount of time my partner and I had off more than anything.
Going out to the Great Barrier Reef I would have double downed on sea sickness medication. While I did take it, I was still very sick on the hour long boat ride out there. It's a very beautiful place to be sick, though.
Australia is a much bigger country than I imagined. I would have loved to see more of it.
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