Our trip to Australia and the south island of New Zealand was absolutely fabulous. We worked with this travel agent, and she was great! One reason we chose this company was the initial catalogue they provided. It had multiple options (hotels, day trips, price levels) for all the places we wanted to visit. Two of the places we stayed were intimate, elegant, and had excellent views and service. Our land tours were subcontracted to local companies. There, our guides were as knowledgeable as they were flexible. They made an effort to get to know us and designed our days around what we wanted to do and see.
This company has an office in New York, which made real time communication a snap. Having said that, our agent was always extremely prompt in responding to queries and concerns. We have already recommended her to friends who are planning a return visit next year.
We previously went to China for two weeks with a group. After a few days, it became clear who we wanted to vote off the island. With our travel agent's gentle guidance and the superb resources of this travel company, we will probably never go the group route again.
This is a tough question. In Australia, we were blown away by the beauty and solitude of Uluru. Our guides were excellent and explained the history of the people and places in a way that truly deepened our appreciation of why this place was so special. Knowing that we were in an area that existed 65 million years ago gave new meaning to the word, "Awesome!"
Similarly, when we visited the jungles and temperate rain forests of the south island of New Zealand, we were standing in places that looked exactly the way they did when the dinosaurs roamed. It was humbling, existential, and exhilarating -- all at once! Everyone we consulted about our trip told us how beautiful New Zealand was, but we found it even more so.
Probably add another week, if we could. We were busy almost every day and could have used a bit more down time. I would also have consulted detailed maps more closely and in advance. It would have been helpful to keep a journal. We will remember to do that next time.
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