which tour?

We have just returned from a Tauck river cruise and enjoyed unpacking our bags just once. We are now considering going to Australia and New Zealand with Tauck. They have both the land/air tour and now a tour that has most of the New Zealand travel by ship. We would miss the Alice Rock and Ayers portion of the Australian part of the tour, do some different things (and somewhat less) in NZ plus add a day in Tazmania and some "at sea" cruise days. If any past travelers have any thoughts on the two tours, I would love to hear them.


  • I have done the Spotlight on Australia tour, did that during their winter so not too hot for us. Arrived in Melbourne two days early and stayed extra two days in Sydney. Will be doing the New Zealand tour in their summer this January, too cold in winter their. Also means we can arrive and stay longer in NZ too. Just see a little more than the tours offer combined. Only advantage I see of a ship tour is not unpacking so much glad we did not miss Alice Springs or Uluru
  • Having taken the Grand Australia & New Zealand trip two year ago I would have to say that you are giving up quite a bit to avoid the packing/unpacking ritual when changing hotels. Uluru really shouldn't be missed and you will not get the stay at Port Douglas which was very nice. One of my favorite stops was in Queenstown, NZ which you also miss. We also saw some beautiful scenery while on the road and spent quality time exploring on our own around the city center hotels where we stayed. Other plus might be that you get to sample many, many different dining experiences on the land trip vs. being locked into the ships dining. At the end of the day there are trade offs either way but given the choice I would do the Grand Australia & New Zealand land tour.
  • I mainly suggest some of the tours done by the travelers every time. Every time, there are lots of people, who used to travel many places. I think, UK is the best place to visit.
  • I think this is highly dependent on individual travel styles. My husband and I travel with the thought that we may not come this way again, so we want to maximize our experience. One example would be a cruisetour of Alaska. Rather than going on the (included) short trip in Denali, we purchased tickets for an 8-hour budget-minded National Park tour. While most people on our cruisetour were content to see a few animals and return to the lodge for a nice dinner and the hot tub, we have the memories of spending a day in a school bus on dusty roads. And we were enthralled with observing many bears, caribou, moose, wolves and long-horned sheep. The dusty roads and bumpy ride with 35 strangers are part of the adventure!

    So, as we started to plan our Australia/New Zealand trip, we determined our priority lists first, then we started researching our tour options. As we considered the tour options presented to us by a couple of travel agents, nothing was really standing out, especially in New Zealand. At that point, one of the agents suggested Tauck for the New Zealand portion. We quickly decided that we would book the whole 20-day trip with Tauck.

    Like you, I really enjoy the 'unpack once' aspect of cruising, so we looked at the cruise options for this adventure (Tauack and others). For our priorities, we felt that the cruise option missed too many of our high priorities, so that option fell out of contention for us. Said another way, we decided that the negatives of the air travel and unpacking are outweighed by the benefits. We are traveling this fall so I will be finding out if we made the right choice soon.
  • Wow! Lots of responses and some good advice. My husband and I will really consider it. Tauck also has more land tour date choices so that is also a plus. Thanks everybody!
  • JKM has really given you some excellent advice. You truly need to determine your travel style, and then select your trip accordingly. Cruising is just not for us. We sometimes feel that it is a convenient way to check off a bucket list without really understanding the places one has visited! While the convenience of returning to your stateroom each evening with your clothes neatly hung in the closet is appealing, we feel the trade off is not worth it. We love being in a foreign location to have the opportunity to explore and learn about different cultures. We love eating in a restaurant with locals and experiencing all that an area has to offer. And, yes, getting lost has also given us much to laugh about. Our very best travel memories are experiences such as this. As far as this trip is concerned, we have been told that 85% of Australia is Outback. If you truly want to experience Australia, Uluru and Alice Springs are not to be missed! We did the Grand AZ/NZ in 2007, and it was the trip of a lifetime (until we went to the Galapagos...and then to Africa...).
  • Joyce has some excellent advise
  • Wow! Lots of responses and some good advice. My husband and I will really consider it. Tauck also has more land tour date choices so that is also a plus. Thanks everybody!

    We took the Highlights of Australia tour last April. We don't do cruises, one ocean is like any other ocean, you can see it from the beach. Its much more interesting for us to walk the cities, take the trams, trains, buses etc and see the countryside and get lost along the way sometimes too!

    We opted for the Australia without New Zealand experience altho' NZ was highly recommended because we wanted to spend the entire 2 weeks in Australia and get to hold koalas, see Uluru and snorkel on the great barrier reef in addition to the other experiences included on this trip, Even with that, we know that we left most of Australia unseen. With luck, maybe some day we will have the chance to visit NZ too.

    We have learned that packing/unpacking is a small price to pay for the multitude of good experiences that we have had land touring. Also, once you have mastered the trauma of deciding what to take (on your initial packing experience) the repack doesn't take that much effort. We have also found a convenient packing accessory (from Travelsmith I think) that is like a portable shelving system that accordion folds into your suitcase and can then be removed and hung onto your closet bars fully packed. It's perfect for those short stays when you don't want to fully unpack. We also have a hanging bag which is compartmentalized which is perfect for things like underwear, socks, T-shirts and can also be inserted and removed from your suitcase without packing/repacking.

    You will love the land tour if you do it, just consider the packing a small inconveinence
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