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 Dave & Nona Church

Hi Karen,

We wanted to send you a note to bring you up to date on the progress of our trip. We arrived in Hobart this morning (Sat., Feb. 9) and had the good fortune of this being the town’s Market Day with lots of activities in the town center. It is also the occasion of the World Wooden Ship Festival in Hobart Harbor (3 days every two years).

We received your wonderful fruit basket upon our arrival in Sydney after our cruises to New Zealand and New Caledonia Islands. We have enjoyed some of the fruit each day. Your thoughtfulness is most appreciated.   (Our tour guide) Suzanne was a most delightful, informative and personable guide on our tours of the environs of Sydney and the Ku-Ring-Gai Chase National Park north of Sydney. She sends you her greetings.

Each link of our trip has flowed perfectly, thanks to your planning and arrangements. An unexpected delight has been the friendliness and helpfulness of strangers asking if there is anything they can do to help us when we look confused or lost.

We really appreciate having the Grace Hotel as our center of operations in Sydney. This Hotel is first class in every way….great staff people, available laundry, wonderful breakfasts, luxurious atmosphere, walking distance to places of interest. We really enjoyed our tours of the Sydney Opera House yesterday morning and attending the Verdi opera last night.

We look forward to our 3 day walk on Maria Island beginning tomorrow, and the experiences waiting for us at Port Arthur and Adelaide. We are grateful for this adventure you have organized for us.

Best regards,

Dave & Nona Church

Australia’s Capital Cities

ADELAIDE

The wine and festival capital of Australia, Adelaide in South Australia is one of the most vibrant, stylish and innovative cities you’ll ever visit. With rolling hills, pristine beaches, a lively nightlife, galleries, cafes, pubs, bookshops, fashion houses, antique stores, cellar doors and National Parks (all within Adelaide’s boundaries!), it’s a city you’ll want to come back to time and time again…

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