We had a wonderful trip primarily due to the efforts of our travel agent from Australia and New Zealand tour company. We also had exceptionally good weather that is something no one can pre-arrange.
I started working with our travel agent almost a year before we took our trip to New Zealand and Australia. I shared with her what we wanted to do, and she advised us on what we could accomplish in the time frame we had and in what order. We worked through 3 or 4 versions of the itinerary until we were satisfied. She arranged all the hotels, shuttle services, tours and some of the flights. Everything went like clockwork. All of the connections went perfectly and everything either met or exceeded our expectations. The tour companies selected were top notch. The shuttle services were reliable and on time. All the hotels were clean and comfortable, but a few were not as nice as we had hoped. Some of this was due to the price point we selected which was 3.5 - 4 star.
Since I found Zicasso on the internet, I thought it best to check out their credibility before sending them a large sum of money. I found reviews on Yelp that were all good and the Better Business Bureau had them on file with no complaints. I could not find them on Trip Advisor. I'd be willing to write a good review on that site, if I could find the place to do it.
We went to Auckland, Rotorura, and Queenstown New Zealand. Queenstown was by far the nicest spot. It is a charming little resort town on Lake Wakatipu. There is a gondola that will take you to the top of one of the mountains surrounding Queenstown. From there you can see beautiful views of Queenstown, watch the para-sailors leave from the mountain top, or the luge riders going down. There were lots of nice restaurants in town and at night the street performers come out by the lake side. We did white water rafting near Queenstown and took a day trip to Milford Sound.
In Australia we went to Melbourne, Port Douglas (near Cairns) and Sydney. We took a guided bicycle tour of Melbourne, went to see the Penguin Parade on Phillip's Island and a full day of visiting wineries in the Yara River Valley. When I realized the penguin trip was a 2-hour drive each way and that we would get back close to midnight I wasn't sure we made a good decision, however, when we saw those little guys waddle across the beach in small groups returning to their burrows at nightfall, it was an amazing sight. We are huge wine enthusiasts so the day visiting wineries was great for us. The wineries and the guide took good care of us. From Port Douglas we went snorkeling at the Great Barrier Reef. That also was a great experience. We were on our own in Sydney and were able to see a lot just walking around since our hotel was so conveniently located.
Because we wanted to do so many things while we were there, we didn't have much time to just look around. I would add at least one day in Melbourne, and one in Sydney.
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