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Judy Dec 23rd, 2002 05:47 PM

Can anyone reccoment a good tour group for a 3-4 week tour of Australia and New Zealand?<BR>I have taken smarTours to Viet Nam/Cambodia/Bangkok and was very pleased with them. Also, what would be the best time of year to tour in this part of the world?

Vic Dec 24th, 2002 01:58 AM

As a Kiwi living in London, I ony really know the backpacker versions of travel, like and the kiwiexperience. Looking at your smartours website, I wouldn't bother with their NZ trip, as its barely covers anything at all. Realistically, you need two weeks in NZ and two weeks in Australia, depending on the kind of sight-seeing you want to do. Best time of the year is the Southern Hemisphere summer/autumn - from March through to June. School holidays in Jan/Feb will make places busy. July-September is winter, and although not freezing cold, it can be a bit wet and windy....<BR><BR>Have a look at<BR><BR>Vic

ALF Dec 24th, 2002 09:37 AM

I have not used AAT Kings ( myself, but several friends have. They felt that they got good value and a good itinerary. AAT Kings has a 3-week whirlwind Oz/NZ tour that certainly covers a lot of ground!

Kelly Jan 2nd, 2003 08:19 AM

Hi Judy~ I agree with Vic. I would pick either country but not both. There is so much to see and do in both countries. Also, a lot of the main tours only go to the tourist spots and miss many of the most important places.

liz Jan 2nd, 2003 11:54 AM

Just to clear one point made about the timing of a trip to Australia /New Zealand. Whilst it may be correct about the times to go to NZ that Vic made Australia is a very different kettle of fish. The best time in Australia is March/April/May/ ( June/July/August/Sept for the North and in particular the Great Barrier Reef) October/November - the worst time of year is the really hot months of January and February when the school holidays are in force but the rest of the time is brilliant. We don't get much of a winter to speak of and even then in the summer Tasmania is lovely so there are not many times that it is not good. We don't get wet times in July - Sept either so take Vic's advice as being only for NZ and not for Australia. <BR>As for a tour of Australia - there are many but you would have to narrow it down to specific areas - also 2 weeks in Australia and you would not have scratched the surface of one state let alone anything else unless you were flying in and out of areas and then you would only see a very small part of anything. <BR>I would not take a tour per se in Australia unless it was a safari in the Northern Territory. You can DO Australia much better just about any other way I can think of. <BR>As you see I am not speaking for NZ - these are two very different countries in all ways and cannot be lumped together. HTH

Judy Jan 7th, 2003 01:30 PM

Thanks everyone for your input!<BR>Since I will probably be taking a tour is there anyone else who can suggest A good tour company to contact. Does anyone have one to avoid?

liz Jan 8th, 2003 11:57 AM

Judy: <BR>Australia is slightly larger than the USA and so it does not have - or should not have - any tour that *does it* because that is an impossibility. For us to help you, you will have to narrow your destination within Australia down to some part or state even and then perhaps we can help. <BR>You could fit Vietnam, Cambodia and Bangkok into one of our smaller states.

Jane Jan 9th, 2003 02:50 PM

Have you considered doing part of the trip with a tour and part of the time independently? As a solo traveler, I have done that many times and it works out well. The tour gives you an overview, and flying in early (before the tour starts)or staying on after the tour ends allows you to personalize the trip to your taste. You can book day tours through your hotel or simply explore on your own.<BR><BR>In general, I recommend choosing a tour company that specializes in a particular region, e.g, Perillo for Italy, China Focus for Asia, etc. However, I took a Cosmos (budget) tour of Australia, New Zealand and Fiji and had a great time. It wouldn't hurt to check them out, or Globus, which is their higher-priced arm. <BR><BR>While it is true that 2 weeks in Australia or New Zealand will only begin to scratch the surface, I suggest that you try to hit both countries. True, you may only hit the main tourist spots, but hey--you're a tourist! I only spent 8 days in New Zealand, but I went bungee jumping, hot air ballooning, jet boating, luge riding, as well as hit the main tourist spots. Of course, your taste may be totally different, but you should still be able to get a flavor for the country in two weeks. My time In NZ was short, but I am glad I combined it with Australia and Fiji. I really enjoyed all three. <BR><BR>Of course, you can do the entire thing on your own without a tour group, but independent travel isn't for everybody. Do what feels right for you. In addition to the tour group suggestions on this website, I suggest you check out the website for the Australian Tourist Commission, It is a good general information website.<BR><BR>There are many options available and you should be able to find a tour that suits your interests and budget.

1st time visitor Jan 13th, 2003 12:23 PM

Judy, I know many experienced travelers try to talk you out of taking tours, but for my first trip to Australia I did a little of both. I had a few days on my own in Sydney, then took a 13 day AATKings tour, then had almost a week on my own after the tour. <BR><BR>It worked out GREAT! I loved the tour, everything was organized well, I got to meet people from 10 different countries in and age range from 22 - 82. I also got to hang out with many local Australians and listen and learn from them.<BR><BR>Some of the best parts of my trip were discussions with locals and dinners with my tour-mates. Travelling, hotels, day tours are all taken care of for you and you can just relax, soak it all up and LEARN about the places you see. I came to learn and during the times on my own, it was much harder to do so.<BR><BR>Enjoy your trip and consider AATKings, they were great for us (we toured in November).

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