~~Over all we had a great trip. All the tours were outstanding. The tour guides are some of the best I have ever had. Not only did they know about the tour we were on, but gave us history and geography lessons on the areas that we were visiting. We had booked fly-cruise-fly to Milford Sound. When we got to Queenstown, we went into the tour company's office to confirm for the following day and ask about weather. They had not flown the previous 3 days due to fog at the sound and weather for the next day was predicted to be worse. We changed the booking to bus-cruise-bus (5 hour tour turns in to 13 hours), but were told any refund of the difference would have to go back through the travel agent. It snowed in Queenstown the day of the trip. If we had not taken the bus we would never have seen the sound (For reference I was told at the airport when we left Queenstown that they only fly about 1/3 of the time to the sound, because the sound gets 7-9 meters of rain a year). I would highly recommend all but one of the hotels: The hotel in Auckland was as nice as any hotel I have stayed in; the Holiday in Rotorua was the best Holiday Inn ever---outstanding rooms and great service; our hotel in Queenstown had great views and service—when we checked in they ask if they could arrange or confirm any tours and since we checked out before breakfast service, and they packed us breakfast boxes with enough food for breakfast and lunch; the apartments in Port Douglas were beautiful- our reservation was for a two bedroom but they were not full so they put us in a three bedroom so we would have more space in the living room; the hotel in Sydney was a big letdown after Auckland; I should have stayed with our agent’s recommendation even if there was construction; the hotel is well located and our room was large, but as my wife said it was depressing i.e. needs updated and in addition we had trouble communicating with the staff at front desk (English was a recent second language).
Our travel agent must be very busy, since in our travels we met 4 other couples for whom she arranged their tours and all of them seemed to be happy with her service as we were.
Debbie and Dave
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