Thank you from Rick Kaufman

Hi Karen,

As Camilla and I wait to board our plane from New Zealand for a long journey home, we write to thank you for putting together a most wonderful six week adventure in Australia and New Zealand. It’s difficult to choose a favorite spot. I have been to a lot of spectacularly beautiful places in the world but none surpass Lord Howe Island off the coast of New South Wales.

When flying from Sydney to New Zealand we thought nothing could possibly top our initial three weeks in Australia.  We left with such a love for your country and an appreciation for every single excellent accommodation you provided us.   Now as we discuss it, we cannot choose between the two countries. Apples and oranges but equally sweet. We leave New Zealand with so much appreciation for this place . . . the beauty just never ends.

Rick Kaufman photo

Photo Credit to Rick Kaufman

Although we were initially worried about all the strenuous activities you had scheduled for us we are extremely glad we missed none of them.   Each hike turned out to be truly memorable – especially the three days on the Routeburn Track that was simply spectacular.  Every kayak experience was stunning.  We were apprehensive about the seven hour caving and rock climbing adventure in Waitomo but loved it.  We had never done anything like that before.  It was exhilarating, thrilling and we were captivated by the beautiful glow worms.  It was like looking at the Galaxy on a beautiful clear night.

BHE - Bay of Many Coves (from Rick Kaufman)

Bay of Many Coves ~ Photo Credit to Rick Kaufman

This photo is a view from our fabulous cottage at Bay of Many Coves. Another winner. I’ve traveled a lot and this adventure is up there with my best.

You did a great job!

Rick

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 Sandy

Good day Karen,

It was lovely meeting with you and sharing our adventures ‘down under’.  My brilliant stories are the result of experiencing a brilliant trip.

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Walking Maria Island was a highlight in our trip, only outdone, by our experience on the “Tongariro Crossing”.

Sandy Wormser OZ & NZ JAN 2014

Tongariro to you.

Sandy

Thank you from Alexis P.

Alexis Pone OZ 2014Planning a trip to Australia had been a goal of mine for quite some time, but the task seemed daunting and I was unsure where to even begin. Karen and her team took the time to understand my goals for the trip, the types of activities I was interested in, and the types of flights and accommodations I was looking for to meet my budget. In the end, they planned a wonderful Australian adventure for me and I cannot wait to go back again! This trip may not have happened without their help, and I am incredibly grateful.

Alexis P.

 

Thank you from return travelers Christine Riggle & Faith Gaudaen

Faith and I LOVED our trip. New Zealand was everything we remembered and more.

The Cottage on Waiheke Island was great. Gary and Katy were super nice. So nice they even gave us one of the fish that Gary was smoking when we arrived. We really enjoyed the catamaran charter with Phil and Maire. There wasn’t any air in the morning, but we island hopped until the air picked up and we had a nice sail back to Waiheke.

Christine Riggle & Faith Gaudaen Return Kiwi Adventure 2013 Tim and Janet of Baywicks were as nice as we remembered. Even though it was surprisingly cold during our cruise in Abel Tasman, the captain Rod Stewart still made the trip interesting and fun. We’d like to give a special shot out for Noel Kennedy, our guide in Golden Bay. He and Golden Bay, we think, were the highlight of the trip. We’re so glad you included it in the itinerary. It’s definitely an area we would like to go back to, if we have the chance.

Christine Riggle & Faith Gaudaen Return Kiwi Adventure image 2 2013Although we really enjoyed both of the B&Bs, finishing the trip at the Rees Hotel in Queenstown was very nice and relaxing. The unit even had a fireplace which we made liberal use of on another cold day. The changes at the Rees were a pleasant surprise–expansion of their concierge service and the shuttles to town. The dinner at True North was truly exceptional. Thank you so much for booking it. I’m not sure if we would have gone otherwise.

So we can’t say it enough how much we loved the trip and the people we met (and saw again). Thanks again for arranging another wonderful trip to NZ!

Cheers,

Christine and Faith

Thank you from Mike & Jess Wiley

Mike and I had such an amazing trip to New Zealand that we didn’t want to come home!

Mike & Jessica Wiley

Everything from the airport pickup to Queenstown was beyond words. The stay on Waiheke Island was absolutely breathtaking and it was the PERFECT way to start our trip. Our accommodations were very nice and our hostess was very sweet! We loved the Lord of the Rings movie set and the various scenery that we saw across these beautiful islands. Nelson and the Able Tasman National Park was exquisite. We were really impressed at the conditions of the national park trails and how organized everything was. Christmas in Nelson and dinner at the Boat Shed Restaurant was fabulous. That was one of the best dinners we have ever had! The seafood was beyond perfection and I am very picky about seafood!!!! The drives to the Franz Josef Glacier and then to Queenstown were beautiful. Our pictures hardly capture the magnificence of the places we saw. The glacier hike was so much fun!!! We felt very safe with our guide and it was such a unique experience. Thank you for getting us a GPS with our car rentals! It was VERY helpful!

Our most favorite adventure was in Queenstown when we went to Glenorchy for the jet boat safari on the Dart River. We wanted to do it more than once. Even the bus ride to Glenorchy was breathtaking.

The food was great and the atmosphere everywhere we went was so hospitable and inviting! Everyone was very nice and gave us well wishes on our recent marriage. We would definitely go back and see some of the things that we didn’t get this time.

I have attached a couple of pictures from our trip. Thanks again for organizing this trip for us. It will truly be something we will never forget. We hope you all had a great start to the year and have continued blessings throughout the year.

Sincerely,

Jess Wiley

Thank you from Barry and David

Hi Karen,

As you know, we just returned from our amazing trip to Australia. It was good to talk with you yesterday.

Some more about our experiences:

The harbor views from the Grand Quay Suites were wonderful. We had a picnic dinner on the terrace one night, enjoying the views of the city and the Harbour Bridge at dusk. Sailer’s Thai was great, as was Hugo’s Pizza in Kings Cross. The service was wonderful at the GQS: one morning our breakfast was particularly slow to arrive, so they comp’ed our meal. Our guide on the Rocks Tour pointed out that another advantage of staying at the GQS is that when you are in your room, you don’t have to SEE the GQS (and the other towers that have been allowed to be built along the eastside of Circular Quay), which are an over-development eyesore on the harbor. There are also a large number of great restaurants strung along the quay.

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