Thank you from Mary Jo Drew

Hi Karen,

My entire foodie trip in the Lands Down Under went off with nary a hitch. The business class flights were the best splurge I’ve given myself in years!

MEL - Downtown from Mary Jo Drew

Photo Credit to Mary Jo Drew

The Hotel Lindrum in Melbourne was well positioned with easy access to shopping and attractions.  The Lanes and Arcades tour is an absolute must for anyone visiting Melbourne for the first time. As our guide pointed out, by not knowing to look down the city’s narrow alleyways many Americans would walk right past them and miss out on so much vibrant local culture.

There is so much colorful history in Melbourne.  At our guide’s advice, I even stopped in and had a drink upstairs with the famous Chloe in her namesake bar across from Flinders Railway Station!  The Yarra Valley winery tour was great fun. I really enjoyed seeing the Chandon Estate and didn’t realize Chandon had a vineyard in Australia!

Hobart in Tasmania was a really nice respite after the hustle and bustle of Melbourne.  The Old Woolstore Hotel was so close to the downtown area and harbor that I was able to walk virtually the entire downtown during my stay.  My private tour and lunch at the Morilla Estate was fantastic though the artwork at MONA came as a bit of a shock!   The trip to Bruny Island was great.  The weather started out very rainy but by noon everything cleared out and I had a lovely day.

ZQN view from Mary Jo Drew

Photo Credit to Mary Jo Drew

And then came Queenstown in beautiful New Zealand. The Dairy may have been my favorite accommodation – had I not stopped at The Manse later!  The view, room, breakfasts and staff service were all superlative.  I also enjoyed the hot tub on the back deck – a great place to sip wine while enjoying the view!  Although the weather was on again, off again, I had mostly great weather for my wanderings about town, the public garden, and the narrow streets.  I also enjoyed great meals at a couple of unique tapas bars on Lake Wakatipu.  The Doubtful Sound trip was quite majestic, but as The Sound is so remote it was a very long day. The winery tour to Otago was great and the charcuterie lunch was quite good.

NPE - The Manse view from Mary Jo Drew

Photo Credit to Mary Jo Drew

Lastly came Hawkes Bay. I knew I was in for a treat when I saw the plane I’d be flying on the leg from Christchurch to Napier – a regional aircraft not unlike some I have been on in the Pacific Northwest!  After staying at The Manse and being totally spoiled by the fantastic accommodation, the pool, the drinks before dinner, Gary’s sumptuous meals, and his and Dietske’s hospitality, I can only say that I wish I had had spent more time there!  My guide on the winery tour had spent years in the business himself, and it showed in his insights into the various wineries and producers.  My tour of Napier with Gary on the last day of my trip certainly cemented my wish to spend more time in stunning Hawkes Bay.

The trip was spectacular and I will have great memories to share for years to come.  Thanks for all your help in making this happen!

Best wishes,

Mary Jo

Thank you from Marlies and Helmut Kraemer

Hi Karen,

The “Down-Under Travelers” of 2012 have now enjoyed a second trip with Australia 2000 Travel – this time to New Zealand! How can we really thank you for putting together another amazing journey for the Kraemers? The answer became apparent these past few weeks. We spent 5 incredible weeks in New Zealand (February 1 – March 8, 2014) and while the experience was a once in a lifetime, the retelling to friends is a special way of reliving the trip. And that is how we can really thank you. It is an ongoing experience with us every time we get the iPad out and share pictures and memories. And we see the looks on our friends’ faces…..first a bit of envy, then joy, and then….the question….who did you use for this amazing trip? Then we can return the favor and say, well of course, Karen at Australia 2000 Travel! It was also interesting that during our New Zealand travels we met other guests during our stops who upon hearing our itinerary asked that same famous question…..who was your agent? Again, the joy when we could share your information with them!

Kraemer #3 NZ Trip 2014

Our 5 week journey took us from Auckland to Queenstown with our overnights at some of the most beautiful places one can imagine. Though each were wonderful, Helmut and I had some favorites: EdenHouse in the Nelson region, Otahuna Lodge outside of Christchurch, Huka Lodge in the Taupo area, and both the Farm at Cape Kidnappers in Hawke’s Bay and Matakuri Lodge in Queenstown. And we should not forget Mollies in Auckland and Hapuku Lodge in Kaikoura! But a trip is not about lodges, it is about what one learns. We met such wonderful “Kiwis”, hospitable, kind, and fun-loving. We learned so much about New Zealand, its history, culture, and its life today both economically and politically. I have told so many friends that we attended the “University of New Zealand” for 5 weeks!

Kraemer #2 NZ Trip 2014

I must confess that I was a bit hesitant to travel to New Zealand because I am not a “sports” person and rather risk adverse to things that the locals find just plain fun-like jet boat rides and bungee jumping! But one need no athleticism to eat and drink one’s way through New Zealand….only stamina!! With an agro/aquaculture based economy one certainly has access to the best foods in the world. The concept of paddock to table is everywhere and we were in good food withdrawal for days upon our return! The wines…..shall we say most of the good wines remain “home” in New Zealand!

Kraemer NZ Trip 2014

Finally, the natural beauty of New Zealand, alone, is worth a trip. I have likened New Zealand to California on steroids…..ocean, mountains, desert, rainforests, volcanoes, tectonic plates…..you name it, it is there! And the animals….for all my days I will remember my “baby”…..Vortex, the kiwi bird, who has been so fortunate to be in a sanctuary at Cape Kidnappers and be able to grow up in safety in his natural habitat.

In a nutshell, New Zealand touched each one of our senses: our eyes took in the magnificent scenery, our ears heard the calls of native birds and the wind, our noses smelled the beautiful flowers and sheep, our taste buds burst with the amazing flavors of the foods we ate, and our hands touched and felt so much of the texture of this incredible world. All perfection…and because you helped to bring all of that into our lives by paying attention to every detail of our journey. That brings smiles of joy to our faces!

The three pictures say so much…….we enjoyed and we thank you, your US team, and the New Zealand team that made it all a beautiful reality for us!

Fondly…..Marlies and Helmut Kraemer

 

19 Day Elegant New Zealand Discovery Tour

Day 1 Arrive in Auckland. Fly to Waiheke Island
Day 2 Private discovery tour on Waiheke Island
Day 3 Fly to Taupo
Day 4 Private touring in Taupo
Day 5 Private transfer to Napier
Day 6 Private touring in Hawkes Bay
Day 7 Private guided touring to Palliser Bay
Day 8 At leisure in Palliser Bay
Day 9 Private transfer to Wellington
Day 10 Gourmet walking tour. Touring on private Maori marae
Day 11 Fly to Nelson
Day 12 Helicopter tour to Farewell Spit
Day 13 At leisure in Nelson
Day 14 Full day private touring in Nelson Region
Day 15 Fly to Queenstown
Day 16 Helicopter Milford Sound & Jetboat Dart River Tour
Day 17 Fly fishing or spa treatment
Day 18 Fly to Auckland. Private City Tour
Day 19 Depart New Zealand

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