It was an excellent trip. The itinerary and logistics worked very well. The perfect combination of actives and down time. It was clear that our desires and preferences were listened to and taken into account. Selection of tour companies was very good. We had wonderful guides throughout. Shuttle service to and from the airport was like clockwork. We rarely had to sit and wait. Hotel selection was great: always well-located and comfortable. Communication was great. We had one issue at the beginning of the trip when an airline delay caused us to miss a day in Sydney. Our trip planner from this tour company responded immediately to our request to shuffle things around a bit, so we didn't miss any of our original plan.
That's hard to say because it was all phenomenal. It was a good mix of being with small tours and being on our own. We loved the trip to Milford Sound--both the coach ride with amazing stops on the way and the overnight boat experience (glad we were on the smaller boat). Sunrise breakfast and sunset with the Field of Lights at Uluru were both special (we didn't know about the bush flies during the super hot time of day, however-that would have helped if we had known about those). The hotel at Palm Cove was a special, relaxing place (the waterfront porch was wonderful). Having a car to explore the Abel Tasman area and the day tour on the boat were wonderful. We drove to Takaka and the Golden Bay and loved it. When we were in Queenstown, NZ, we took an unplanned 4 wheel drive trip with a local tour company to Skipper's Canyon, which was phenomenal with an amazing guide. The Te Papa Museum in Wellington was extraordinary. One day there was perfect. We loved the geothermal tour and the Maori village at Rotorua. Our experience at Coromandel was great--loved the B&B, the hike to Cathedral Rock and digging our own hot tub at Hot Water Beach. The America's Cup match racing experience was a special way to end the trip.
We would have a private driver take us to the airport at the end (we were picked up at 3:15 a.m. for a 6:20 flight and could have slept a bit longer with a driver). Being met at the beginning after a long flight was nice. We should have thought to repeat that on the end.We loved the first cave we visited in Waitomo (Rurakuri). Felt the glow worm caves were cool but wouldn't have been worth the 2+ hour drive we made from Rotorua without the other cave experience, which really made that trip worthwhile. We would have signed up for the kayak tour to Cathedral Cove in Hahei. The hike was beautiful, however. We would have done both had we known ahead of time.We didn't love the restaurant experience at Ayers Rock at our hotel. Maybe some recommendations would be helpful. We understand that there are not many options there. We would have taken advantage of barbecuing our own dinner, but it was over 100 degrees F when it was dinnertime. Understand these are just MINOR things!
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