Summing It All Up

Our flight home was uneventful, but long. We were flying on free miles so had three flights with two layovers. We were lucky enough to be upgraded to business class from Auckland to Sydney, but it was only a “teaser”. That flight is three hours and on the next (fourteen hours from Sydney to Los Angeles) we were at “the back of the bus”. All was well when we arrived home and we were happy to see our pup, Gabby, and our children and grandchildren the next day. We slept very well the first night; some jet lag the next two, waking up for a couple of hours in the middle of the night.

We are still reeling, remembering all that we did and saw in Australia and New Zealand. The things that stand out are the natural beauty of New Zealand; the splendor of Sydney; the vitality of Queenstown, Ellen and Neal, Sue and Bob, Pat and Ron and other wonderful friends that we made; our day with Megan and Glenn; the helicopter ride; incredible food and the heat and flies in Uluru.

There are not many things that I would change. The days were long and we had to be up by 6:00 a.m. or before many mornings. The reasons for the early starts were to enable us to get to sites before the crowds or to be at the airport for one of our many flights. It would have been nice to have been able to sleep in a little longer occasionally, but avoiding crowds was definitely a plus. I would recommend making the trip to Uluru (Ayres Rock) optional and also staying an extra night in Auckland, as we didn’t get to see much there. The last day’s winery trip could have been skipped, although the island was beautiful.

Our guide, Lisa, was wonderful and she and Tauck did a fabulous job of taking care of all of the details that need to be dealt with when traveling.

I had some excellent questions posted and I will try to answer them now:

Only about four men out of 38 wore sport coats at the opening and final dinners. They looked very nice, but were not a necessity. We went the the opera in Sydney and many people were dressed very casually, so, again, a coat is not necessary.

If I had an extra day in Auckland I would walk in the gardens and go to the museum. It is supposed to be outstanding. There is also a nice shopping area. We were driven past all, but didn’t have any time to visit.

About ten people took the hot air balloon ride and loved it. One said that it was the highlight of her trip. They had to get up at 3:30 0r 4:00 a.m.

A number also took the zipline and paragliding and loved them, too. The paragliders said that they felt a little nauseous afterwards.

We did not visit the Immigration Museum in Melbourne, but it sounded interesting. Both cities also had aquariums. I would recommend visiting one, as we did not see a whole lot of sea life at the Barrier Reef.

I did not write down all of the restaurants that we ate at. I do recommend Rockpool in Melbourne if you want a very nice and quite expensive meal. Two other good meals were at The Cow in Queenstown and Fishbone in Queenstown. Your guide will give you lots of suggestions.

I am sad to be ending my blog, but will be revisiting it often, as it is my trip diary. It was fun to have several folks who will be taking the trip next year following us and hearing from friends at home! Please post any additional questions that come up in the days and months ahead.

Good-bye for now!


About Susan Gutterman

I am an amateur photographer and occasional blogger, living in northern California. I also enjoy reading, walking, traveling, volunteering and spending time with my family and my yellow lab, Gabby.
This entry was posted in Australia/New Zealand, Post-trip and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

6 Responses to Summing It All Up

  1. Karla says:

    Your blog has convinced us. As of yesterday, we are booked for September. I do have a question about food issues and the provided meals. I am on a low-sodium diet with an intolerance for fish … and no real desire to subsist on salads for 21 days. Did anyone on your trip have to deal with food allergies, etc…. I have requested this info be put into our record and I will advise the tour director when we meet, but I was wondering what to expect. Should I set my expectations low?


    • gutsy4 says:

      How exciting that you booked the trip. We had one person with diabetes and he was very careful with his diet. There are lots of buffets with plenty to choose from. I am mostly vegetarian and did eat a lot of fish, but lamb and beef are big in these countries and always available. I think that the hotels and restaurants on the tour will be able to prepare low sodium dishes for you and our tour director was most anxious to accommodate our needs, so I’m sure he/she will help. Set your expectations high. If anything, there’s too much to eat.


  2. Yvonne says:

    Good summary. I have two questions.
    1. You mentioned the dress/jackets for men but didn’t say how the women were dressed. Were there the little black dresses, office type suiting and dresses or … The suggestion from Tauck seems to be leaning toward after-5 but not glittery.

    2. You suggest skipping Uluru. I noticed you hated the flies and couldn’t really eat or drink much due to the netting. Besides that was the view and talk (or whatever) worth the experience? Someone I know went in October and mentioned the flies but thought it was a nice experience (she was not on Tauck). Also had it been raining or overly hot causing more flies? WOW this is a long question. lol


    • gutsy4 says:

      Hi Yvonne,

      Most of the women were in nice “out to dinner” skirts or slacks and top. Definately not cocktail attire, but a step up from our touring clothes. As far as Ayers Rock, visiting the outback and seeing the rock was a great experience, but the flies are my over-riding memory. We had a local guide who kept us out in the heat for too long and came across as very condescending when he talked about the Aboriginal people, which disturbed me. I think that it had been raining before we arrived, and someone from the hotel did say that the flies were particularly bad that day, but, from what I understand, they are always present. The fact that our guide, Lisa, had the nets ready for us attests to that. I am glad that we visited the outback because it is so different than the cities and the tropics of Cairns.


      • Karla says:

        And another “what to wear” question. Jeans? I had crossed jeans off my packing list mostly because they don’t dry well. I only own a couple of pairs anyway since most of my wardrobe is geared toward work/church. I noticed your husband in jeans for the jetboat ride, so now I’m second-guessing that.


  3. gutsy4 says:

    We both brought one pair of jeans. I like to wear them on the plane, because they’re warm and comfortable. I also wore them a couple of times in New Zealand because it was cool. Many on the tour did them, so I would recommend bringing a pair.


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