Jillian, of this New Zealand travel agency, was outstanding. She is extremely knowledgeable, an outstanding "listener" accommodating all questions and preferences, offered options when appropriate, showed excellent judgment in her choices (accommodations and tour companies), and respected our budget. Here's where she went WAY above and WAY beyond: four of our planned days needed to be altered due to the earthquake in Christchurch which occurred one day before our departure. Jillian quickly offered a number of attractive alternative itineraries for those days, was patient and helpful as we adjusted details, and promptly supplied new vouchers. We were remarkably fortunate we were to be working with her.
On this trip, which far exceeded our very high hopes and expectations, three days are particularly treasured: Our first full day was a full-day tour: Auckland to Rotorua, with a stop at the Waitomo Glow-Worm Caves. My husband and I were the only guests with a fabulously gifted conversationalist and native Kiwi. We discussed everything from New Zealand's geology to its government, culture to climate. It was an amazing welcome and an outstanding introduction to New Zealand. The following week, on the south island, we did a half-day glacier walk. Our guide was young, enthusiastic, good-humored, safe and knowledgeable. It was a once-in-a-lifetime experience that filled us with awe. Near the end of our trip we spent a night on Doubtful Sound. All of the transportation for this experience worked flawlessly (taxi-coach-boat-coach-boat). The afternoon, night and morning on the Sound were exquisite. The ship is absolutely perfect for its purpose: organization, facilities, dining room, decks and accommodations. It was an utterly mystical and magical experience, enhanced by the wonderful crew, enthusiastic naturalist and friendly fellow travelers.
I had initially invested considerable time and energy into planning the trip myself, forever hitting brick walls. Therefore, what I would do differently is go immediately to Jillian for planning--her knowledge, judgment, and professionalism made this a fabulous vacation!
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