Jan 3rd, 2003, 06:23 AM
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I am a single, thirtysomething woman who plans on traveling to NZ extensively this summer. I am using frequent flier miles that allow me: on Qantas either 1 stop in NZ and up to 2 in OZ, or I can fly Air Tahiti and stop in Tahiti on the way to NZ. Since I have been to OZ I am intrigued about the idea of visiting Tahiti. However, as most of us know it is really expensive! Can anyone suggest some good tour operators with decent packages if I went to Tahiti? I could go through Fiji on Air Pacific, but I went there on my way to Oz last time and had an unfortunate travel experience (cruise cancellation) that makes me hesitant to go back there at this time. I also went to Hawaii last summer so stopping in Honolulu instead of Tahiti doesn't interest me as much either.

My other option if I pass on Tahiti is to go back to Oz. I was thinking that after NZ I could fly to Sydney and then possibly either Melbourne (which I missed on my last visit) or try somewhere like Hayman Island. On my last visit I went on a tour that covered the entire east side, so I am wondering whether there is anything else I am missing. I am not interested in the outback. I LOVED Sydney and would like to visit Melbourne, but can anyone suggest some different activities for these areas outside of the regular touristy things? I already did Bridge Climb, Manly, Bondi, etc. I would go back but I always like trying new things. Any ideas on how to spice up my options or suggest different ones would be greatly appreciated. Can't do what I really want to do-Cook Islands-b/c only way to get there is Air NZ and it's too expensive when I have frequent flier miles I can use. Thanks!
Jan 3rd, 2003, 06:24 AM
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OOPS-I meant ADVICE!!!
Jan 3rd, 2003, 10:24 AM
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I think that you should make a stop in Tahiti, because French Polynesia is a beautiful place. Having said that, and given that you are looking to save money, I think that you should spend your time on the adjacent island of Moorea, which is quieter, less commercialized, less crowded, and (in places) cheaper.

You don't need to take a tour. Take a taxi or 'Le Truck' from the airport to the ferry docks in downtown Papeete. Take any ferry (there are perhaps 6 choices, some slower/faster cheaper/nicer) to Vaiare, Moorea. From there, take a taxi or bus (or perhaps your hotel will pick you up) to a place to stay.

There are some backpacker-style places (Moorea Camping, Nelson's Camping) to stay in up near Haaru, on the NW side of Moorea. Nearby are relatively inexpensive motels (US $100-130 per night, for the Hibiscus, Les Tipaniers, or Moorea Village). We spent $90 per night last year to stay in Moorea Village, and it was wonderful. Right on a nice beach, and walking distance to several restaurants and shops.

We rented a car for a couple of days to tour around, and went on two tours. The 'Shark Tour' at Moorea Camping was inexpensive and fun, including snorkeling with Manta Rays and sharks, a picnic lunch on a motu, and a boat ride. The other tour was a walking tour into Belvedere, in the mountainous interior.
Jan 3rd, 2003, 08:12 PM
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Thanks, Alf! I have also been researching the possibility of going to Silky Oaks/Sebel Hotel for a few days if I went to Sydney instead of Tahiti. What can you tell me about those resorts? Expensive, hard to reach, activities, etc? I have read up but any insider tips always help. Also, is there a way to take a day trip to Bora Bora if I stayed on Moorea? Thanks for your help.
Jan 3rd, 2003, 10:03 PM
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Sorry, we've been to Mossman Gorge and Daintree, and know where Silky Oaks is, but have never actually been there. Once you've gotten to Cairns or Port Douglas, it isn't much further to get to Silky Oaks, which is near the entrance to Mossman.

The Daintree Rainforest is very interesting, and certainly worth a visit, but I guess I would still pick French Polynesia first.

From Moorea, you can take the Ono Ono high-speed catamaran ferry (via Papeete) or fly Air Tahiti to Bora Bora. It isn't far, but it will be somewhat expensive. If you are going to fly, check out Air Tahiti's various packages that could save you some money. I really like the Ono Ono, but I have a strong stomach - you should definitely avoid this trip if you are prone to seasickness.

I'm curious why the Cook Islands aren't also a potential destination, particularly as you will be heading there from NZ.

Have a wonderful time in NZ - I spent 6 months there with my family and it is one of our travel highlights!

Al Friedman
(formerly of NY/NJ - 20 years in Seattle now)
Jan 4th, 2003, 03:23 PM
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Alf-thanks so much for your help. The Cook Islands, interestingly enough, were my first choice of where else to go before or after NZ. However, the catch is that the only way to get there is on Air NZ, and my American frequent flier miles do not apply to Air NZ! A major glitch that has prompted me to turn elsewhere. I could pay for the flight, but I'd rather not as it is very expensive and use my miles. I spoke with a travel agent today who advised me NOT to go to Tahiti because it will be entirely couples and honeymooners. I agree with her-not up my alley since I'll be traveling alone. Any other advice on what to see/do in Sydney and perhaps Melbourne instead? Already been to Sydney and did everything but perhaps I missed something. Also, do you know of any tour operators/travel agents who might be able to get me a good deal to Hayman? Again, thanks again for your input.
Jan 4th, 2003, 03:32 PM
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Hi Abby
Try for deals to Hayman Island or the Whitsundays itself. Also check out for their holiday section.
What about Tasmania via Melbourne? You could spend some time in and around Melbourne and then take the boat/ferry over to Tasmania. A stint at Cradle Mountain may be right you your alley and something different - depending on the time of year.
Hayman is a lovely Island and the area around there is wonderful for just about anything you want to do. You don't have to stay on Hayman Island but can stay on the mainland and visit to different islands ( not sure Hayman allows day visitors though) but there are many islands around and the accommodation on the mainland is many and varied too. Again you can check the websites that I gave you for specials.
Have fun and good luck
Jan 5th, 2003, 04:29 PM
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We returned a few weeks ago from a way too short (2week) trip to French Polynesia (Moorea) andthe North Island of NZ.If I were you I'd rethink going to Moorea from Tahiti. Yes, it was mostly couples but you shouldn't let that stop you from experiencing Moorea.We went on a few tours and each had single women on them. It was the most beautiful place I have ever been. If you enjoy water actvities on tranquil uncrowded beaches,scenic beauty and incredible people than you really shouldn't miss visiting this part of the world. NZ was amazing but quite a different experience. Since you'll be flying right past Tahiti I recommend you stop on Moorea for at least a few days. Also as far as being expensive, it doesn't have to be. Just do some research a good place to start is the forum. If you have all you airfare taken care of it shouldn't be difficult to book everything else on you own.We used Sunspots International for our trip and have only positive things to say about them. Wish I could join you. You'll never want to leave NZ...
Jan 6th, 2003, 03:32 AM
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Thanks, Mim. I am torn between what to do! I'd like to go back to Sydney and see Melbourne, I'd like to try Tahiti, and I'd also love to go to Hayman or somewhere like Silky Oaks! I am now wondering if I am crazy for wanting to do so much. Do you think I should just spend more time in NZ? Are there any great places to stay like a Silky Oaks where I can relax and enjoy some luxury accommodation? Are there certain resorts I just shouldn't miss? I have about 6 weeks to travel so there is plenty of time. I am really worried that I will be the only single person in Tahiti! Thanks for your help.
Jan 6th, 2003, 11:43 AM
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Your summer is this areas winter Abby and so NZ will be as cold as...... It is not known as the land of the long white cloud for nothing either. If you are looking at lazing around in the sun. More like sitting around hoping the place has adequate heating! The south island is even more cold than the north and makes for a winter holiday in the snow and mountains.
In fact in the middle of summer this year - on Christmas day in fact it was so cold in Wellington that we were sitting around in track suits, with the fire on getting cabin fever.
Just remember that NZ is a cold country in the main and your summer will be freezing there.
Jan 6th, 2003, 01:19 PM
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I know, it will be freezing! However, I work in a school so I"m going over my summer holiday. I have no choice but to go during the NZ winter. Fortunately I like to ski and I will take advantage of the opportunity to ski a lot while I"m in NZ.

I think now I"m leaning toward NZ and then on to Sydney and Melbourne. Does anyone have any great ideas of things to do, esp. in Melbourne? I've already done Sydney but if there are special things, like theater or sights, that I should not miss please let me know. Thanks!
Jan 11th, 2003, 09:15 AM
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I think I am now going to Melbourne and Sydney instead of Tahiti..can anyone recommend good tour companies for day trips in and out of those cities? Thanks.
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