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

September Newsletter

A Look at our September Newsletter.  To Subscribe, use the form in the right-hand column at the bottom.
Australia 2000 Travel Newsletter

G’day Mates!

Having just returned from the GLORIOUS South Pacific, I feel revitalized! How marvelous to have spent time with many old friends and to have made a number of new ones. Great to have found new means of exploring some of my favorite destinations and to have stayed in a variety of new and WONDERFUL accommodations! Such a joy and what a gift to be able to bring THE best accommodation and touring options to you, our clients. It is an extraordinary privilege to be given to opportunity to build and maintain personal relationships with the teams at our hand selected accommodations and with our tour guides throughout Australia, New Zealand, Tahiti & Fiji.

Such an opportunity occurred while staying at the EXQUISITE, recently opened Hilton Hotel in Queenstown on the shores of beautiful Lake Wakatipu. During a site inspection with sales manager, Kristie Macaulay, I was surprised by an unexpected tap on the shoulder and a friendly greeting from Bradley Moody, the Director of Sales for Hilton Hotels Australasia region who was visiting from Sydney, Australia. As true Aussies we lamented our lack of time to share a glass of good (in THIS instance) Kiwi wine and to wax lyrical about all things South Pacific. We agreed to remedy that on my next trip to Sydney destined for this coming December. A great recognition of the years spent building relationships with executives from our finest, handpicked accommodations.

Not to lose focus, Kristie and I resumed our site inspection of the Hilton’s grounds, hotel rooms, restaurants and glorious spa. Set by the tranquil shores of Lake Wakatipu, and in the heart of Kawarau Village, featuring a majestic mountain backdrop, The Hilton provides the perfect base to explore the area’s natural attractions. Located five minutes from Queenstown Airport and a fifteen minutes drive or ten minute water taxi ride from the center of Queenstown we agreed that the Hilton is the ideal accommodation to access to all that Queenstown has to offer.

While staying at the Hilton the choice of restaurants abounds. Guests can enjoy the hotel’s signature restaurant, Wakatipu Grill that reflects the best of New Zealand’s culinary heritage. Expertly helmed by renowned Chef Peter Thornley, the cuisine is inspiring, with provocative takes on New Zealand flavors. Vast windows, an open kitchen and rotisserie, along with two circular slate fireplaces, lend even more drama to this magnificent space. From the bar visitors are tempted by yet another captivating perspective of the lake, or an exceptional vintage, the 1000-strong wine cellar has a keen focus on Otago’s best winemakers. Perhaps linger on the generous terrace where the elements combine to spectacular effect: the lake’s indigo depths, the clear air and a decadent outdoor fire pit.

After a hard days adventuring guests often gather in the flamboyant and ever-changing Kawarau Hotel Lobby Bar. While mingling at the bar they enjoy expertly mixed cocktails, a selection of cold beers and a variety of premium spirits, or sink into a comfy booth with friends, to share a tantalizing snack platter and enjoy an occasional live DJ set.

For me the site inspection concluded with THE MOST rejuvenating massage therapy where the masseuse used a variety of aboriginal oils and herbs to create a relaxing hour of blissful indulgence. One that set me on track for the next adventure…zip trekking and The Doubtful Sound…


From the Blog
This month we have been blogging New Zealand.  Here is a look at what we have been covering:

As always, I thank you for supporting Australia 2000 Travel and look forward to sharing more of my recent adventures with you in the coming months.

Thank you so much for your support! It is referrals from clients like you that help us keep doing what we so love to do.

Karen Hardy Hodgson
Toll Free Phone within USA: 1 800 875 4530
Phone: ++1 248 647 4530
Personal service and attention to every travel detail!

Occasionally one hears of an unusual and unique business where the relationship is harmonious from the beginning. Where quality is the only measure of success. Where everyone emerges from the experience fully satisfied with the end result. Australia 2000 Travel Ltd., in Birmingham Michigan, is such a business.

Matakauri Lodge, New Zealand, Selected for Conde Nast Hot List

Matakauri Lodge, a luxury lodge, located on the South Island of New Zealand, has been honored on the Conde Nast Hot List of accommodation for 2011.

Having wowed discerning guests with their two outstanding North Island properties, The Lodge at Kauri Cliffs and The Farm at Cape Kidnappers, Julian Robertson and family have opened their third luxury lodge on the shores of sparkling Lake Wakatipu on the South Island. Just minutes from Queenstown, Matakauri Lodge is wonderfully positioned on a knoll flanked by a pine forest, overlooking the glacial lake.  read entire article

Offering luxurious accommodation, fine dining, superb service and stunning panoramic views, Matakauri Lodge, nestled in native bush overlooking Lake Wakatipu is one of the world’s most private and serene vacation retreats. Located only a short distance from Queenstown, the alpine wonderland of New Zealand, Matakauri lodge is the perfect jumping off point for adventurous travelers or those simply seeking luxurious rejuvenation.