~~I retired and my wife and I decided it was time to take the trip to New Zealand and Australia that we had been talking about for quite some time. I discovered Zicasso while doing my initial research for the trip and decided to give it a try, in addition to the many standard tours we were looking into. I had many different firms provide proposals and after doing my due diligence I settled on this firm.
Our agent listened and consistently provided options and insights that resulted in a month long itinerary that promised to deliver the experiences we were looking for. She was a pleasure to deal with.
We spent two weeks in New Zealand beginning in Auckland, moving south through Hobbiton and Rotorua where we gained a deep appreciation for the Maori people and their culture. Then on to Wellington the capital. The ferry to Picton and the train to Christchurch were inspiring. Then we drove from Christchurch to Mt. Cook and then on to Queenstown. The night we spent on Doubtful Sound was the all-around highlight of the trip. All throughout the tour guides, drivers and accommodations exceeded expectations. Then we were on to Australia where our first stop was Sydney. Alongside the Opera House and the Harbor Bridge a highlight was a half day guided tour of the city in a 1964 Holden. Then we were on to Cairns and Port Douglas where the Great Barrier Reef and the Daintree Rainforest awaited. Our day on the Reef was extraordinary. Snorkeling off the beach at Low Isle was an experience to remember. Our day on the Daintree River and in the rainforest was unforgettable. While driving we stopped as a male cassowary and four chicks crossed the road and disappeared into to the bush. Now we were on to Ayers Rock where the magic of Uluru awaited. The Sounds of Silence dinner in the desert as the sun set with Uluru in the distance and didgeridoo in the background was magical. As our time was growing short we were off to Melbourne where we joined a tour on the Great Ocean Road. Wow, the Twelve Apostles and the coast exceeded our expectations. What a great place. Only matched, maybe outdone by the hosts of the B&B’s we stayed at. We’re not big B&B folks, but the Lock Ard and Little River B&Bs were perfect and we will try more in the future.
Our agent had truly delivered a trip of a lifetime.
~~New Zealand was amazing. I am a huge Tolkien fan so our visit to Hobbiton is definitely high on the list. It is an even more amazing place to experience that I had imagined. Rotorua with the lake, the museum and the culture of the Maori people. The resilience of the people Christchurch as they work to recover from the 2011 quake was impressive. Mt. Cook and the southern alps of New Zealand were awe inspiring. Fiordland in its entirety and Doubtful Sound in particular provided a spiritual experience that was second to none. In Australia each stop had its high point but I would have to call out the Great Barrier Reef, Uluru and the Great Ocean Road.
The only thing I would change would be to add more time to the trip.
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