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Most Romantic 25th Anniversary: Australia or New Zealand or Fiji or Tahiti?!

Most Romantic 25th Anniversary: Australia or New Zealand or Fiji or Tahiti?!

Aug 8th, 2006, 05:11 PM
  #21  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 1,283
Melissa5,

I see everyone on the board is leaning towards New Zealand, and I'd have to agree with them...until I went back and read the top part of your post and saw your timeframe.

Even at 10 days, flying direct from LAX-AKL you end up with EIGHT days of vacation time. That's a long way to go for such a short time (and I fear you'll be on that whirlwind trip again and most of NZ will just whiz by!)

As you've already been to Maui, why not concentrate on a different island. Kauai is MUCH more laid back than Maui, very lush and there's no shortage of lovely, romantic resorts.

Or, you could even split your time and maybe do Kauai + the Big Island for a contrast -- lush rainforest, green against volcanic.

Hope this is helpful!

Melodie
Certified Kiwi (and Hawaii) Specialist
wlzmatilida is offline  
Aug 9th, 2006, 01:17 AM
  #22  
 
Join Date: Jul 2006
Posts: 11
Given your husbands interest in botany a place worth a look at is Cradle Mountain Lodge in Tasmania.Their web site is www.cradlemountainlodge.com.au and it has a lot of detail. Haven't been there yet but will be in February 2007. Friends say the King Billy Suites are the ones to go for.They cost about US$435/night including a full buffet breakfast.
could have a few days there and a couple in Hobart (Capital of Tasmania ) as it too is a beautiful city and January is a great time to visit.
Congratulations for your 25th.
Keira is offline  
Aug 9th, 2006, 01:20 AM
  #23  
 
Join Date: Jul 2006
Posts: 11
OOps - sorry he is a biologist, not a botanist - still my recommendation is well worth a look at.
Keira is offline  
Aug 9th, 2006, 04:01 PM
  #24  
 
Join Date: Aug 2006
Posts: 213
I find New Zealand a wonderful place to visit and will be going there for two months next January. That will be our fourth trip.

However, for a romantic retreat, I would suggest that you look at the Cook Islands. We have been there twice on our way to New Zealand and think it would be just right.

You can snorkle in very clear water. There are trails to walk and there are a lot of very good restaurants.

The island is small so a short visit of one or two weeks will still let you visit all the interesting places.

It would be very difficult to get lost on the main island. One road goes around the whole place [Rarotonga] in about 45 minutes. Rentl cars with air conditioning are used as well as scooters and of course, The Bus.

The people are very friendly and welcome visitors to their island with a lot of self pride. Rarotonga has good climate, safe water to drink although our habit is to drink bottled water. This place is not as commercial as many other spots.

The currency used is the New Zealand dollar which makes for a good exchange from North American currency, Canadian and US both.

You would do yourself a favor by searching Fodors and the web and certainly finding the Cook Island pages. Here you can view accommodation and get current prices.

We visited Fiji one time and found it to be dirty and we were constantly gyped on a very small scale. The food was not very imaginative and also lacked quality. Nothing that would put us in the poor house, but the petty theft was irritating and left us with a bad taste. We found the Fijian people less desireable than the Cooks. Lots of pestering at the markets.

Western Samoa was also a good visit but not as good as Rarotonga. Western Samoa drivers use the right side of the road like north America while the Cooks drive on the left like New Zealand. With a very simple road system, that should not be a difficulty.

Last winter we sepnt 9 weeks travelling Chile from Punta Arenas to Santiago and then across to Mendoza Argentina, San Juan Argentina and finally to Buenos Aires for 4 weeks there before heading home. South America was very enjoyable but not particularly romantic. Great beef, leather and prices right now in Buenos Aires.

The warm island nights in the Cooks still comes up best in my mind. The music, flowers, the native dancing, the friendly and innocent atmosphere, the beaches, the local market and the good food all were wonderful, but only for a short visit due to the small size of this paradise.

Because the island is a small place, a cottage out of the main center of town would be a very good choice. Renting a vehicle is easy but you will have to buy a Cook Island driver's license. Driving only a short way lets you have quiet when you want it and activity when you want that.

The sun is very strong. Take a good high power sun screen.

What ever your choice, I want to wish you a happy vacation with lots of good memories from it.

Woodie with my own very fond memories of the Cooks.
woodie is offline  
Aug 9th, 2006, 11:30 PM
  #25  
 
Join Date: Jun 2004
Posts: 107
My husband and I are going to New Zealand for our 4th trip together this October to celebrate our 25th anniversary. Our time is short due to work commitments so we have 4 nights in Wanaka (in a house with views) and 4 nights in Queenstown (in an apartment with views). We don't see the point in going to a beautiful area and not being able to enjoy the scenery! One of the places I looked at going to was the Cook Islands, and now having read your post Woodie, I am thinking that maybe our 26th anniversary could be spent there! It sounds wonderful. Anyway, while in New Zealand we will be jetboating on the Dart River, doing the Siberia Experience and hopefully heli-sightseeing. A lot of time will be spent on our balcony with a bottle of New Zealand's finest!
ishki is offline  
Aug 10th, 2006, 12:39 AM
  #26  
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Melodie and Keira, thanks for the suggestions on Hawaii and Tasmania. Although Hawaii is beautiful and romantic, we have been once to Maui and once to Kaui, and so probably won't choose Hawaii this time, especially as the Maui trip was within the last 2 years. Tasmania is definitely of interest to my husband, especially if we head for southern Australia, which is one of our ideas.

New Zealand is still my top choice, and my husband says he may be able to take a little more time off work, which would give us 2 weeks possibly.

Woodie:
What a lot of good information you have given me, many thanks! It helps that you have travelled to all of those places. I did browse in the bookstore and the Cook Islands look very good...but I have a great fear of travelling during stormy seasons, however unlikely they might be...I have decided to head for the Cook islands another time when we can go in September, as January can be cyclone season in the Cooks...Same problem with storms for Tahiti and Fiji in January. I know some of you will laugh at me, but I used to be afraid of travel at all so I stayed home for years! Now I am making up for all that lost time. But I do have to work around some fears and it reassures me to know that I am travelling during the most likely mild-weather seasons for a particular region.

Woodie, did you happen to see Torres del Paine in your travels to Chile? We read about that in a National Geographic article and have wanted to see it ever since. I have learned however that it isn't easy to get to and might be a bit rugged for me.

We are looking at September 2007 for our yearly family trip, so the Cook islands would be a possibility for that one! (Since my "kids" are now all over 19 years, it might be just my husband and I on the "family" trip next year! Not sure if the "kids" will want to come.)

Anyway my husband and I haven't yet come to an agreement, as usual, about where to go for this anniversary trip, February 2007. I am leaning towards New Zealand, and hoping he can indeed get those extra days off so we can take 2 weeks. He is still hoping to talk me into someplace like Torres del Paine, Chile, although New Zealand also interests him.

Now I have probably confused everyone, talking about 2 trips at once. February 2007 is the 25th anniversary trip...September 2007 will be the "family" trip.

ishki, enjoy your anniversary in beautiful New Zealand!

Thanks everybody for your suggestions.

Melissa5 is offline  
Aug 10th, 2006, 10:09 AM
  #27  
 
Join Date: Aug 2006
Posts: 1
If you fancy swimming with dolphins in NZ, then you could go to Akaroa - about 2 hours from Christchurch. Because it is in a bay, the water is considerably warmer and calmer than Kaikoura. The dolphins in Akaroa are Hector dolphins - the smallest in the world.
seansmojo is offline  
Aug 10th, 2006, 03:30 PM
  #28  
 
Join Date: Aug 2006
Posts: 213
Torres del Paine

Yes we had a few nights stop over there.

Our travel agent [who is in Buenos Aires] booked us into Rio Serrano which is a very good hotel. I can not tell you the cost as we booked 9 weeks all with this one agent.

I can tell you that it was first class.

You may have already guessed that food is important to me. Breakfast was included with all of the hotels we stayed in on our travel in Chile and Argentina. Dinner at the Serrano was always very good. Excellent preparation, very good servers and a pleasant room in general.

We had come from the south, starting our travel in Punta Arenas going north. We did this as we wanted the northern temperatures to cool as we travelled.

For most of the area south of Torres del Paine we had a lot of sea food. All very good. When we got to Torres del Paine I was in the mood for a good steak so I ordered a filet mignon. It was excellent if not the best I had on the whole trip and remember, Argentinans know how to cut meat, cook and serve it so beef competition is stiff.

Our accommodation at Rio Serrano was very roomy, quiet other than the hall ways near the bar. Lots of places around the hotel to relax and wonderful views of the Andes from our room and most places at the hotel.

Local tour information should be on the web so you can look for those items of interest to you and your family.

The transfer taking us to Torres del Paine got it wrong and dropped us off at a back packer's place that looked like skid row would be a notch up.

The proprietor there looked at our voucher and said, "We have no deluxe rooms!" By now our ride was gone. This gentleman called the correct place who then came for us in a half ton truck. the driver took our luggage [would not let me handle it] and delivered us to the proper hotel where he worked. He would not let me bring our bags in and refused to take a tip. Many children do not treat their own parents that well.

Most of south America treat older people kindly and with respect. I am 75 so I get treated very well.

From the prices we paid for our whole trip, I believe that our agent in Buenos Aires got us much better prices than had we booked ourselves. she recommended a minimum of 4 star accommodation and I was very pleased to have booked through her.

By the way, tourists do not pay the VAT tax in Chilean hotels. One [other] hotel on this trip asked us if we wanted to pay our tab in US$ and if so, the VAT was not charged then either. VAT is a value added tax that the locals must pay.

I hope this is not taken as advertising, rather it is a recommendation. Those agents who are good deserve recognition and those that are bad deserve to be recognized a well so the traveller can be protected as much as possible. We booked through Argentina Escapes in Buenos Aires and were served by Mercedes. We checked them out in advance as we had to pay for our whole trip before leaving home. The search turned out good and the company did not disappoint us.

If you contact Mercedes, tell her that the beared Canadian sent you. She might or might not recognize me. She does not know me as "Woodie".

Hope this was of some help for you.

And by the way, for any concerns you have about the Cooks and stormy weather, I would say that you should follow your feelings. No point in going to paradise and worrying all the time you are there. That would not be much fun.

Have a good one.
woodie is offline  
Aug 10th, 2006, 11:20 PM
  #29  
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Woodie, thanks for sharing your stories about Torres del Paine and Chile. I am going to print this out and put it in my Chile file. (I have files for the places I want to go.) I hope I am as adventurous as you when I am 75. I would have fainted if I'd been accidentally dropped off at the wrong hotel which looked like skid row! Ahhh! But it sounds like they all took very good care of you. Do you have a whole trip report on fodors on that trip to Chile? If so I would like to print that out.

I think Chile isn't quite the right place for this 25th anniversary but I know my husband will be thrilled if we go there sometime in the next few years. He went to Ireland for me so I will do that for him.

This weekend I am dragging my husband to the bookstore so we can look at the travel book section together and try to reach a decision.

Seansmojo, I don't really need to swim with the dolphins...but can I take one home and keep him in my bathtub? Have you swam with the dolphins? We have some dolphins in San Diego which occasionally can be seen from shore.

Thanks everyone!
Melissa5 is offline  
Aug 11th, 2006, 12:51 PM
  #30  
 
Join Date: Aug 2006
Posts: 213
Hello Melissa5:

I have not put any report on the web but am considering doing so.

I meant to tell you regarding the Cook Islands. All of polynesia have dance competition some times in June or July - not sure exactly when. The competition location changes year by year but some research on the web should provide the information. If not, I am sure that any of the island tourist sites where you can get an e-mail address will be glad to answer your specific questions.

I would certainly go but I like being at home in our summer and being elsewhere in our winter so that would not work out for me.

I got some great Cook island pictures unfortunatly that was in my pre digital era so I can not send any by e-mail.

If you are interested in the South Pacific for a future trip, the above might be of interest for you.

At age 75, there is nothing that can happen to me that will not happen soon enough in any case. I do not worry about stormy weather, or srange places. I guess I am pretty strange myself.

I usually describe a life span by holding my hands apart just like describing the fish that got away. Today my hands are much closer and I must think of reserving some of that future time for the rocking chair when I will drool down my chin. Therefore all I have is NOW and I sure want to get the most out of that.

Don't you be afraid either or life will pass you by too quickly. Of course, don't take chances unless the pay off is worth while.

Have fun while you can, my philosophy.

Woodie
woodie is offline  
Aug 15th, 2006, 01:44 AM
  #31  
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Join Date: Dec 2004
Posts: 3,254
Woodie, have fun while you can and don't save any time for the rocking chair...unless the rocking chair is on the porch of your room at the Iguana Lodge in Arenal, Costa Rica, and you are watching the Arenal Volcano blowing red-hot lava into the night sky, surrounded by the exotic sounds of tropical frogs! (Yeah, we did that in Costa Rica, summer 2005.)

Nice chatting with you and thanks for the travel and life advice!
Melissa5 is offline  
Aug 23rd, 2006, 12:06 PM
  #32  
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Join Date: Dec 2004
Posts: 3,254
Thanks so much everybody for your input! My husband promised we would decide TODAY and he says he is leaning towards my choice of New Zealand for our 25th anniversary...leaving in February instead of January as the airfare goes down a bit.

Meanwhile, we have also decided to go to the Cook Islands and Greece in September (naturally in different years!) I am very excited about that as well!

And Chile is still a special place my husband the biologist wants to explore, and I promised I would go with him, just not for our 25th anniversary...

Well that gives us a lot to dream about!

Drum-roll please...the destination for the 25th anniversary trip is.....
Melissa5 is offline  
Aug 23rd, 2006, 11:52 PM
  #33  
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Join Date: Dec 2004
Posts: 3,254
The decision is 2 weeks in New Zealand for our 25th anniversary! Woo-hoo! Yipee! What a great husband I have!

And BOY are we glad that we will have 2 weeks ALONE...as our 3 young adult "kids" are currently living at home this summer...Never a dull moment around here... Why should they be the only ones who are having any fun? (At least they now all have full-time jobs this summer!)
Melissa5 is offline  
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