Quite simply, this was the most amazing, incredible, perfect-in-every-way vacation my wife and I have ever taken. The travel team had absolutely every detail exactly right - there were no problems with any part of our itinerary. And the destinations, tours, and accommodations they chose for us were absolutely perfect - an ideal variety of experiences, plus just the right amount of unplanned/free time, with a nice balance of guided tours and self-driving flexibility. Every place we stayed was amazing, every tour a joy and a discovery. It was the trip of a lifetime, honestly.
I was amazed by the volcanic/thermal wonderland surrounding Rotorua, as well as the Maori cultural performance we saw in Christchurch and the overnight cruise on Doubtful Sound (oh my gosh - the views!) My wife was most enchanted by the glow worms of Waitomo and the wildlife of the Otara peninsula near Dunedin. As huge fans of the Lord of the Rings, we both were pretty giddy about our tour of the Hobbiton movie set.
I think we would plan a longer trip - every time we moved on to another destination, we wished we'd had a little more time at our current one. But we knew going in that trying to do New Zealand in just two weeks was going to be fast-paced, and the travel team really optimized our time beautifully. Also, in retrospect we would have spent a little less on hotel rooms with breathtaking views, because ultimately we mostly just slept in them - but this wasn't something that the travel team could even theoretically have read our minds about, because we didn't know it ourselves until after the trip. (And, to tell the truth...it was worth it this time. Those views were spectacular.)
The one tiny thing that we wish the travel team had done differently was: some of our tours provided meals, and not all of them knew that my wife is a vegetarian. However, we provided this info to the travel team very late in the game, and they did inform our airline - and in the future, we know to simply call our tour companies in advance to let them know. (She was fine - this isn't our first rodeo, and we always bring enough food ourselves to keep her fed and happy.)
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