Australia and New Zealand
We went on a wonderful trip to Australia, Dec. 19, '02-Jan. 13, '03, with
Overseas Adventure Travel (Cambridge, MA), adding on their New Zealand extension.
Our tour leader, Colin Jones, was articulate and extremely knowledgeable about all aspects of life in both countries. We learned so much about the Aboriginal and Maori cultures as well as the general history, ecology, etc.
Our flights on Qantas were excellent, and we did quite a bit of flying in Australia as well as between countries. We took the 19-hour train trip from Adelaide to Alice Springs on the Ghan as well. Other places we visited were Sydney, Melbourne, Kangaroo Island, Tasmania, Ayers Rock, the Olga Mountains, the rainforest, the Great Barrier Reef and Cairns. In New Zealand we were on the South Island and visited Christchurch, Mt. Cook National Park and Queenstown (including a sheep station on the way there).
The trip was very well planned and well executed, considering all of our flights and varied experiences. We stayed in very good hotels and several times had suites.
Generally, I like to plan my own trips, but when I did some basic research in these areas I was happy to leave all the logistics to OAT. We enjoyed the people on our tour and liked the fact that OAT limits the trip to 16 people (we were only nine in New Zealand). I would have liked to have seen more of New Zealand, but, after all, it was only an extension.
OAT does well in giving you a taste of life in the different areas, with home visits, dinners, etc. You learn a lot in this way and it is so much fun. It is also a very good-value trip although not a cheap one. The cost was $4,140, including air from Los Angeles, for the 18-day Australia portion of the trip and $1,290 for the 7-day New Zealand extension. We paid an additional $200 for air taxes and surcharges and $350 for trip insurance.
--IRIS BING, Lawrenceville, NJ
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