We enjoyed Kangaroo Island for the amazing scenery and the access to unique animals (Sea lions, fur seals, wallabies, kangaroos. echidnas, birds, etc.) The B & B we stayed at, was lovely and the owners are terrific. The guides cooked us an amazing lunch on the "Barbie", one day, and set up a nice lunch on a picturesque point, the other day. One of guide's wife, had written a book of poems, about funny things that happened on the island, and he gave it to us as a parting gift--it is very funny!
Hamilton Island was amazing! Besides for how gorgeous it was, the level of service and the food was second to none. Any place you wanted to go, they would drive you or pick you up. And you could take out any of the available water toys, at no extra charge, for as long as you wanted. We went to Long Pavillion, in Qualia, and had their degustation menu-- very scenic and the food was incredibly well done. We also went to the Yacht Club, to their restaurant Bommie, which was exceptional. The chef gave us one complimentary appetizer and 2 complimentary desserts. Loved their Aesop brand toiletries and the candle they gave us as a parting gift, although I would say they might want to think about something that isn't as weighty--23k just doesn't go that far, when you are away for a month.
The trip to Whitsunday Island would have been better if there was some where to sit in the shade. I would have paid to rent a sand or beach chair and umbrella, because at 65, it still isn't easy or pretty to try to lay on a towel, and it is too long a day to be out there with little or no protection from the sun. We probably should have taken the shorter day trip, but I don't recall being given an explanation or choice. The beach was amazing, and the snorkeling was great, but just a bit too much sun and no place to sit, but the sand.
Tours in general were good. However, they could have been better with a little more information. For instance, no one told us to bring a blanket or warm jacket, when we went to Phillip Island to see the Fairie Penguins, which was really terrific. Because we were freezing, it wasn't as much fun as it would have been, if we had been prepared. Also, no one suggested bug netting for the Outback, and the flies really made it unpleasant to be outside
The trip to Cairns was really unique--we got to see tree kangaroos, platypus, and many different trees that we were unfamiliar with and that we probably won't see anywhere else. The cities we visited were very nice too. Our guide in Sydney, took us to the Fish Market, which was interesting, and then to some of the outlying areas of the city, which probably is not on the typical city tour. He dropped us off at the Botanical Gardens, which we enjoyed--They have a new exhibit space called the Calyx, and the exhibition was about Chocolate--which was right up my alley, including samples!! Yum! The Harbor cruise and dinner was very upscale, and the food was surprisingly good
I would have eliminated Ayers Rock-- it was not anyone's fault that the night we went for Dining under the Stars, it was cloudy and there were no stars. It was about to rain, so we were rushed out of there. The next morning, we got up at 3:30 am, dressed and went to the lobby for our sunrise camel ride, only to be greeted by someone who told us it was cancelled due to the overnight rain. The ride could not be rescheduled, as they were already booked the rest of the day. Also, the food was barely edible, and they are really limited, with restaurants. Probably part of the problem, was that the dining facility at our hotel was closed for renovations and we had to go over to the town center to eat. I couldn't figure out why so many people went to the grocery store, but in hindsight, we might have done better snacking from the room, which is not the way we generally like to travel.
The hotels were all to our liking, although the hotel in Cairns could probably have used a bit of renovation--I actually inquired, if it had always been that brand of hotel and was told, that in fact, it had been another brand. We stayed at this brand of hotels recently in China, and they were much nicer. However, the view over looking the marina was very pleasant.
In general, Uluru was not to our liking. The aborigine people have control of the park, and charge a park admission of $25 per person, which I find excessive. Then you get in the park, and are told by the guide that you can't take pictures of the rock, but for 2 places, you can't visit Kata Tjuta, and that they can only take you to 2 sots to show you anything. (P.S. We have a Sr. pass for the U.S. National Parks, that is good for the rest of your life, and costs $10, so you can understand why I felt it was expensive.) Thus our tours on consecutive days, were basically the same tour (same places, same stories and same visit to the Cultural Center) , with the exception of one including a sunrise breakfast. To be honest, I did not find anything overly beautiful about sunrise or sunset in this area.
TRAVEL COMPANY COMMENTS:
We are so pleased that the clients enjoyed the majority of their 3+ week adventure in Australia and Fiji! Unfortunately the weather in Ayers Rock didn’t cooperate. One of the reasons that people travel to Ayers Rock is for the amazing star gazing but our clients experienced a rare period of overcast skies and rain in the desert. As anyone who has traveled and experienced inclement weather knows, rain can certainly put a damper on an otherwise wonderful vacation. We will certainly look into the food options and renovations notes made.
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