Need help in organzing Australia/New Zealand trip

Nov 3rd, 2007, 01:38 PM
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Need help in organzing Australia/New Zealand trip

Hi all,

First time on this board, but been a veteran over on the Europe board for years, also been on Latin America, Asia and Africa boards ( 1st trip to Africa is May 28th, 2008!)

In any event, we are now onto planning for 2009 ( we are very in advance planners, mostly due to FF miles and because we love to plan so much)

DH will most likely be retired by 2009, he's thinking summer 2008, but might go longer, we'll see. But we are pretty set on Australia/NZ for Feb 2009.

Here are our interests and here is what we are thinking. I'll do a whole lot more research on my own, I just like to always get the conversation going with Fodors first.

Interests: DH will be 69 by then, fit as a fiddle, can run circles around me and I'll be 48 by then. We are both fit and active.

Our interests are great dining and wine, we love city life mostly, we like the beauty of nature, but can become quite bored quickly. However, we LOVE resorts and beach life. It's just the real nature stuff ( don't kayak, hike, backpack, etc) that we don't care for. We love the theatre, nightlife and fabulous hotels( a must).

We will have a budget of about $15,000 for two ( but we can spend more or less)We are planning on a 2 week trip to Israel and Egypt later on that year as well, so we can't go completely crazy. We are usually high end travelers, so please no recommendations for 2 or 3 star lodging unless it is super duper special. We love glamour and chic places.

Here is what we are thinking. We will have FF miles for 1 ticket, we'll probably buy the other one ( we used up alot for Africa). We are AA clients.

We live in Northern VA, so we will fly from Dulles.

First stop: LA. We'll spend 2 days in LA with my stepkids, as it will be first leg of trip en route to Hawaii before we hit Australia.


2 days LA
Then we are thinking 7-8 nights Hawaii. Having been to all states except Hawaii, with the small amount of research I have done so far, we are thinking half the time on Oahu and half the time on Maui or Big Island. We will use Starwood points for lodging. Thinking about Moana Surfrider for Oahu and Westin Maui for Maui.
We'd like to use some of the thousands of Starwood points we have to save some of our budget since this will be a long trip.

Then we thought we'd fly from Hawaii to New Zealand. Here is where we are a bit stuck. I know there are those who love NZ more than Australia, but as I mentioned DH and I are not too much into nature and we never feel that we have to get away from it all on vacation; we prefer action. I am sure NZ has action, but from friends who have gone they are more taken with the scenery, which again we appreciate, but are not as much into.

However, we would like to spend some time in NZ and we thought we allocate 1 week to it. I know, I know, you will all say, not enough time, but perhaps you can convince me otherwise.

The next stop then will be Australia and we'd like to start with the GBR( thinking 3-4 nights), Sydney( 7 nights, as we know we are just going to love Sydney and want some time here). We might use some Hilton points for the Hilton Sydney. We won't have enough to cover the entire 7 night stay, but could pay for the rest. Or we could forgo the Hilton points in favor of paying for a hotel and spend the Hilton points elsewhere on the trip.

Next we are thinking of Melbourne ( 4 nights) and then finish with Tasmania for (3-4 nights)

The other idea is to sub out NZ for Fiji, a place I have always wanted to go to and this might be the right trip to do it. If we can make the $15,000 budget to cover Fiji and NZ, we'd consider both. But given our interests, perhaps you fine people could set a little direction for us.

Anyway, these are our very very very rough plans. Take a look and see what you think.

Thanks a mil.....
tripgirl is offline  
Nov 3rd, 2007, 01:38 PM
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tripgirl is offline  
Nov 3rd, 2007, 04:44 PM
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For the Aussie leg you should be checking out Hayman Island and the new Qualia resort on Hamilton Island as places to stay on the GBR. In Sydney the Hilton is a great hotel, but the Park Hyatt is in an absolute knockout position. In Melbourne The Langham is my choice with the Park Hyatt a close second.
Restaurants: In Sydney The Pier Restaurant Rose Bay, The Summit on the 47th level of Australia Square and Tetsuyas should all be considered while in Melbourne Vue de Monde, The Rockpool Bar & Grill at the Casino and Taxi ( Bill Clinton dined there while he was in town) in Federation Square are worth a look. Sounds like you will have a great trip but remember while we have fabulous hotels and restaurants, the natural beauty of the coastline and countryside the flora and fauna and of course the friendly people, are the things you won't forget. Ditto New Zealand.
DownUnder is offline  
Nov 3rd, 2007, 04:56 PM
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Hi tripgirl - welcome to the Australia/Pacific forum!

Your interests are the complete opposite of mine (except for the WINE!), but I'll give it a go.

I love the Big Island of Hawaii, and don't care for Oahu a bit, so you'll probably like Oahu - plenty of city life, nice hotels, upscale restaurants, whereas the BI is more laid back and seems to run at a slower pace. You'll no doubt like Maui too - I think of it as Oahu Jr.

I love the fact that you've been to all the US states except Hawaii. Wish I could say that!

Not many big cities in NZ - Auckland is the biggest of course and you could easily spend a week exporing Auckland and points north.

If it's the South Island you're after though, you'll probably want to concentrate on Christchurch or Queenstown. Both are surrounded by excellent wineries, both offer excellent accommodation and restaurants, and both offer plenty to see and do.

Most first time visitors to NZ try to fit in a visit to Milford Sound - does this interest you at all? It's a long day trip from QT, but many people do it. Milford is probably the #1 "must see" for visitors to the SI.

With only a week, you'll probably want to pick a spot and make day trips from there. From CHC you can easily visit Kaikoura (whale watching), Hanmer Springs (thermal pools) Banks Peninsula (dolphins, Akaroa) and the Waipara Valley wine region.

From QT you can visit Te Anau, Milford Sound, Glenorchy (Dart River Safari trips), Wanaka (beautiful lake), and Cromwell (excellent wineries). Queenstown itself has a lot to offer such as bungy jumping, rafting trips, pubs, restaurants, two casinos, nice lodging, etc.

Plenty to keep you busy in either spot for a week without having to delve into nature too much (!)

Now for Tassie, 3-4 days isn't a lot, but given that much of Tassie's land is national park/ reserve, 3-4 days might be perfect for you. You'll probably want to base yourself in Hobart. It's a small city, but you'll find plenty to do in the area - you might want take a day trip to the Huon Valley, drive to the top of Mt Wellington, visit the penal settlement of Port Arthur - AND Tassie has loads of wineries and beutiful wine.

Don't know if this helps at all, but gives you some ideas of things to see and do anyway.

Good luck with your planning.
Melnq8 is online now  
Nov 3rd, 2007, 05:10 PM
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To be honest, it doesn't sound like NZ is a good fit for you. There are some very high end resorts, but they tend to be lodges for fishermen, golfers, etc. rather than the type where someone brings you a drink with an umbrella. Kiwis (the human sort) are relatively modest people and you might find nightlife limited to Auckland, Wellington, and Queenstown. Wine and food is very good around Wellington and Queenstown. You could browse to see if anything strikes your fancy especially in those regions.
mlgb is offline  
Nov 3rd, 2007, 07:00 PM
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this is excellent; thanks for coming through.. it will help my research tremendously.

Do you think my day allocations are good? Any spot you stay more in/less in?

Is the order correct?

Do you think we can do this for $15,000

Could we add in Fiji and still stay within budget somewhat?

Keep it coming...

Thanks a mil...
tripgirl is offline  
Nov 3rd, 2007, 07:25 PM
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Here's a list of the best hotels in NZ:

Sorry for the long link, don't have the patience this morning to fiddle with tiny URL.

Since fabulous hotels are "a must", you might want to start with the hotels first.

Melnq8 is online now  
Nov 3rd, 2007, 07:55 PM
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If you want to stay at the 5 star resorts etc. $15,000 is going to be tight. The Aussie dollar is almost on a par with the U.S. ( 92 cents today) and should be on a par by Christmas. The word is that it is likely to stay close to par for the next 4 years! NZ is big on scenery as is Tassie so if you are not into that, give them careful thought. Not many luxury hotels in Tassie, the best probably being the Islington in Hobart. IMO I would opt for 3 days in Auckland before Tassie as you have Rotorua etc. to visit. I would try and include Fiji as it is the South Pacific and has some fantastic resorts. Otherwise I think your day splits downunder are about right. From Sydney day trips to the Blue Mountains and the Hunter Valley wine region are musts, while in Melbourne include the Yarra Valley and Mornington Peninsula for great food and wine.
DownUnder is offline  
Nov 3rd, 2007, 10:54 PM
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DownUnder -

For completely selfish reasons, I hope you're wrong about the AU dollar staying high for the next four years!
Melnq8 is online now  
Nov 5th, 2007, 02:28 PM
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Perhaps a new American President that actually cares about the value of the dollar both at home and abroad will help.
oliverandharry is offline  
Nov 5th, 2007, 05:59 PM
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Perhaps Tasmania is not awash with 5 star hotels but it does have some excellant and unique accommodation thoughout the state. The Henry Jones Art Hotel in Hobart is excellant, chic and well situated.
As of today Fiji is again on the " only go if you have to list" from the Government again due to either a coup, or expected coup in that country.
If tripgirl has seen all of the US States then I would think that Rotorua would not be that interesting after say, Yellowstone National Park which is much more impressive and extensive compared to Rotorua I think.
I am sorry that you feel bad about your $$ Oliverandharry because we are extremely happy about the exchange rate and, after all, its our turn to have a good rate again the US$ because its been good from your end for a long time now and fair is fair!
LizzyF is offline  
Nov 5th, 2007, 07:17 PM
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I don't want to depress our American friends, but one tipster has gone out on a limb and forecast an exchange rate of US$1.00 = AU$0.88, or to put it another way AU$1.00 = US$1.14 (by when I'm not sure though). But I agree with Lizzy - it's about our turn.

One straw in the wind, BTW, is that the expected trend in US interest rates is down, while AU rates are on the way up - probably another 0.5% by Christmas.

Neil_Oz is offline  
Nov 5th, 2007, 07:37 PM
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I agree, and lets not forget the UK pound, and Euro (which I am presently buying for the next trip in 2008/09)....keep going little Aussie bleeder or should shining star.
tropo is offline  
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