Sept. 29 Grand Australia and New Zealand

Hello! My sister and I are leaving Sept. 26 for the Sept 29 Australia and New Zealand trip. We are very excited although a little worried about the long flights. We do have one extra day in Melbourne to recuperate. We have taken Tauck trips to SE Asia and Africa and know they do a first rate job. Our East coast to LA flights are on American and the long haul on Quantas. If anyone has information about the flights, packing or the tour we would love to hear from you

Comments

  • cwf,

    We did the trip in Dec 2008. It is a great trip. Reply with your specific questions. General information follows:
    1) FYI, You have 7 or 8 flights in side Australia and NZ when you arrive so you want your packing to be organized. We use Eagle Creek's Pack-It folders which you can order on the web or buy at Container Store if your city has one.
    2) Laundry - When you receive your itinerary from Tauck, check out the hotels that you will be staying at on the web to see if any of the hotels have self-laundry machines. On our trip, couple hotels in NZ had self-laundry. If you plan to do laundry take some travel Woolite packages or laundry soap. The hotels did not have laundry soap to sell you. Also, in Sydney there was a reasonably laundry service that was a block or two from the hotel.
    3) Seasons are opposite of USA. The weather was hot in Australia. NZ was a cool enough that we could wear pants in a couple of areas. Double check the weather on weather.com for the 10 day forecat the week before you leave. On our Eastern Eroupe trip,this came in handy because the learn the tempatures were running warmer than normal.
    4) Since you and sister are traveling together, Tauck recommends for your trip over and flights w/in Aus and NZ that you split your clothes between each other's suitcase. If your suitcase is lost or delayed, you will have clothes in your sister's suitcase and vise versa.
    5) We did not need or take formal clothes. Most activities were causal wear. We did take nice slacks and shirt for the welcome and farwell dinners.
    6) When we pack, we pick a single color scheme for slacks,dockers,skirt (females) and shorts such as black, gray or beige. This allows you to take fewer shoes and you have max fexibility to wear your shirts/tops/polos with the bottom half of your clothes.
    Gary and Ina
  • edited August 2011
    Hello, I will also be on the September 29 trip in Australia. We are from VA. & MD. Have the same travel concerns. Thank you Gary H for the tips. Looking forward to meeting the sisters!
  • edited August 2011
    We did the trip in March 2011. We went on Qantas, premium economy going out and economy coming back. Going over we stayed overnight in LA and then left the next evening for Melbourne. The flight really wasn't that bad. It was the one thing we dreaded for a few years and that is what kept us from doing the trip before. Coming home we departed from Auckland because we never went down to Christchurch because of the earthquakes. We went from Auckland to LA to Michigan. It still wasn't that bad and I never slept all the way home.

    I never thought I would make it with 1 suitcase for about 25 days. We went in early to Melbourne. I did buy a new suitcase that weighed 6 lbs so that helped and I also stayed within the size guidelines which was a smaller suitcase than I normally take. I brought undies I could wash at night and would dry by morning. Same with my tops. Most of them were ones I could wash in the sink and hang and dry. A number of the places had access to washers and dryers and people did use them but I was determined to not do any laundry on this trip. In March we needed shorts, sleeveless tops, short sleeve tops, capris, and I did bring a pair of jeans and dress slacks. I also brought a lite weight hoodie and rain slicker and used both. Good thing is for the most part if you need something you can buy it. I bought a curling iron in Melbourne. There was a drug store we went to and I got one for under $20. I can't remember the name but the woman who checked us in at the hotel told me about it.

    If you are going in early to Melbourne, or even on your free time, if you want something to eat there is a excellent food court right around from the hotel. You walk out the front door of the hotel and go to the right and around the corner and then before you go across the bridge go right again. There are stores and a food court. If you have time, and are in Melbourne on the weekend, go to the Victoria Market. We loved it. It is HUGE and there is all kinds of stuff. We purchased our Aboriginal artwork there, the dotted prints. It was the cheapest we found anywhere on the entire trip and you will see the exact same thing for sale many places for more money. We just rolled them up around a newspaper (which we covered with plastic so the ink would not run) and covered them with plastic and they survived the whole trip.

    The hottest place was the outback and the most tropical weather we had was in Port Douglas. It was like walking into a wall of humidity. We loved the town but it looks like you are staying somewhere else.

    You will thank God for the person who invented fly nets while you are in the outback. We saw wild camels in the outback too.

    Queenstown is wonderful. It was one of my favorite places. Just something about it made me want to stay forever.

    It is a shame all the old posts are gone as there was a ton of information to be had. If you have any specific questions please ask and I will do my best to supply an answer.
  • edited August 2011
    Hi I'm Hooked,

    We're going on this tour in December (we have another thread in this topic..) and wondered if you could help with some specific questions:

    - Is there a real need for any formal clothes or can we just just wear smart-casual (resort wear) for the evenings and also for the welcome/farewell dinners?

    - Are there good laundry facilities along the way?

    - Is finding free wi-fi a challenge.

    - How are internal flights organised. Do TAUCK use commercial flights while moving around in OZ, or are they private charters?

    - What's the revised schedule now that Christchurch is to be avoided and what time does the flight back into Auckland arrive on the last full day? [We have had this confirmed by TAUCK as a 10:30am departure from Queensland on their own charter aircraft, arriving at Auckland at 12:35pm and transfer to The Langham ready for a 2pm check-in]

    Hope you may be able to throw some light.

    Regards
    Andy & Maggie
  • Hi Andy and Maggie,

    We are taking the same tour in April and had the same concerns.

    After your trip we would appreciate any feedback and recommendations you might have for us future travelers.

    Thanks,

    Bob N
  • cwfcwf
    edited September 2011
    Hi Gary-thank you for your reply
    Hi Karen
    You are from MD and VA? I am from MA but my sister is from VA and we grew up in silver spring!
    We will look forward to meeting you
    We took economy plus on our outward bound as we are a little worried about the long flight. We have done longer but are also older!
    We will be spending the additional night in Melbourne. Will you go a day early? We are actually leaving on the 26th and meeting in LA.
    We arrive in Melbourne at 6 am or something obscene like that.
    Any ideas f what o do with the day
    in MELBOURNE.? I liked the food court idea. We may be tired but need to keep going
    We are worried about packing in one suitcase yet still having enough clothes to feel 'okay' in our three weeks. I don't want to spend time doing laundry
    Also we are wondering What to do in Sydney iin our free day. Any ideas? I just need to do some research
    Looking so forward to the trip and thank you to responding to my facebook/email
    Carol
    Ps excuse the errors on this. I can't seem to get Tauck on my apple and so am using my iPad which I will bring with me
  • Hey Carol,

    As an FYI, another person has stressed the need of a hat with netting due to the flys on one segment of the trip.

    As for plans for Melbourne, my mother has researched a Foodies walking tour and an Ocean Road tour. You may want to check into those. I haven't looked at other options for Sidney but the tour guide usually has some great ideas.

    Looking forward to meeting you!


    Dear I'M Hooked,

    thank you for all your great recommendations and advice. They will be used I am sure!!

    Karen

  • edited September 2011
    To: I'm Hooked,

    You mentioned the need for fly nets. Did you purchase these in Australia? We are on the Oct. 17 trip and thank you for your info.
    Terry
  • Hey Everyone -

    I'm going on this trip on Oct. 31st and just rec'd my documents yesterday in the mail. I was wondering about the Australian Visa, though. Have those of you travelling this month rec'd yours yet? I'm not sure when or how we get the Visa.

    Thank you!!

    Kathy
  • Kathy - see this site from Australian embassy for information on visa.
  • Thanks for the link OlySue, but I sent the Visa Application to Tauck who handles it for us. I just wondered how we go about getting them, if Tauck gives it to us and if so when.

  • Tauck emails to VISA's to you. They handle all of that.
  • Hi Sisters and Karen

    My husband and I are also on the September 29 tour but we are only doing the Australia portion. Looking forward to meeting you all I'm sure we will all have a great time I am getting very excited.... Thanks to Gary for all the helpful information.
    Katrina
  • Hi Katrina,

    It will be great to meet you. This is fun having a head start on names.

    Karen

    Does anyone have any suggestions on taking cash? Is it better to convert there or ahead of time? Is there a good bank to use in Melbourne? Just curious.
  • Hi I'm Hooked,

    We're going on this tour in December (we have another thread in this topic..) and wondered if you could help with some specific questions:

    - Is there a real need for any formal clothes or can we just just wear smart-casual (resort wear) for the evenings and also for the welcome/farewell dinners? You definately do not need formal wear. Resort casual will be fine. Some men did wear jackets for the welcome and farewell dinner but not everyone.

    - Are there good laundry facilities along the way? There were laundry facilities along the way. The best place in my opinion was a local woman in Sydney. We took our laundry there when we arrived and we picked it up the end of the next day. I don't know if I have the name written down but I will look for it. Your tour director may be away of it. I believe there are 3 doors to the hotel. (Intercontinental Sydney) One will be where you enter and exit for the bus, one is by the front desk (which we never used) and then the other one which is right on the corner. We walked out that door and walked across the street toward the left. Go down that street and you come to an alley/street on your left. Go down the alley/street and then turn right at the next alley/street and she will be on your left. It is a VERY small store front. It is less then 5 minutes from the hotel. The price was VERY fair and well worth not spending your time doing laundry on the trip. Also it is half way through the trip so it's a great time to do it. There are other laundry opportunities. I believe the Duxton also had laundry facilities. When people arrived they signed up an a list in the laundry room. I also tried to pack a number of things that I could wash in the sink and would dry by the morning.
    - Is finding free wi-fi a challenge. Can't help you there but if you go to the hotel websites they will have that info. I know people had computers with them.
    - How are internal flights organised. Do TAUCK use commercial flights while moving around in OZ, or are they private charters? The flights inside Australia were on commercial flights. Our tour director took care of seat assignments. I will tell you when you fly out from the outback you better pack some clothes and a swimsuit in your carry on as well as medications because there is NO guarantee your other bags will make it to the next hotel with you. I read about this from previous travelers and did not pay attention to the warning. The weather was hot and the runway was too hot for the plane to take off with the passengers and all the luggage. Not only was our plane delayed (because the incoming flight never came) but our luggage showed up during the night. Some people did not get their luggage until our second day at Peppers Beach Club. In New Zealand we had a private plane with open seating. We had wonderful views out the windows.

    - What's the revised schedule now that Christchurch is to be avoided and what time does the flight back into Auckland arrive on the last full day? [We have had this confirmed by TAUCK as a 10:30am departure from Queensland on their own charter aircraft, arriving at Auckland at 12:35pm and transfer to The Langham ready for a 2pm check-in] I'm not sure what yours will be. We were only scheduled for 1 night in Queenstown and we were supposed to go to Christchurch for 1 night. With the change we stayed another night in Queenstown and then went back to Auckland with our farewell dinner the evening we arrived back in Auckland. A side note...If you want great pizza in Queenstown go to Winnies.

    Hope you may be able to throw some light.

    Regards
    Andy & Maggie


    I hope you have an EXCELLENT trip. I would do it again in a heartbeat.
  • T. Miller wrote:
    To: I'm Hooked,

    You mentioned the need for fly nets. Did you purchase these in Australia? We are on the Oct. 17 trip and thank you for your info.
    Terry


    Our tour director gave each of us nets. They were also available for purchase at a few places you will stop before you reach the outback. We had lunch and did a tour at something called Doctors with Planes or something like that. They had a small tourist shop and had them there. They also had them at the Painted Desert and there are shops within walking distance of the Painted Desert and they had them there. I would guess your tour director will provide them for you. Enjoy!!!
  • Hi Katrina,

    It will be great to meet you. This is fun having a head start on names.

    Karen

    Does anyone have any suggestions on taking cash? Is it better to convert there or ahead of time? Is there a good bank to use in Melbourne? Just curious.

    We purchased Australian and New Zealand money ahead of time but many people like to use ATM's when they arrive or exchange money at the airport or in town. I did not pay any attention to where the banks were in reference to the hotel in Melbourne or Auckland.
  • Hello Karen and Katrina
    Looking forward to seeing people that we have communicated with prior to our tour.
    We arrive something like 7 am from LAX on the 28th so we kind of think we have two free days.. We think we will do a 1 pm walking tour that day just to get us up off our tired butts.

    We have booked a epicurean wine and food trip the next day that picks up at 9 am at the hotel and returns us about 5 pm. I think it is called epicureantours.com.au
    if you want to investigate that also
    Our preference would be for the grand ocean road tours but we know ourselves and it is just too long for us. We want to make the meet and greet dinner also

    As for our free day in Sydney.,...we are investigating a seaplane trip to the cottage Inn which would encompass by air all the sights of Sydney and then deposit us for a nice lunch and return. Any other ideas are appreciated. Otherwise we will take a walking tour and then shop, eat and sit by that beautiful pool. I would like to say we would spend the time in the gym but-forget it, thats not happening.

    Best to all and speed your ideas to us-Carol
  • Are we right in thinking the daytime temps will be in the 60s and 70s? Cooler in NZ in the south island. Hotter in Alice Springs?
  • Hi Carol,
    We are also going early we leave this Friday and are doing a week on our own. I'm pretty sure we are going to miss the arrival dinner because I want to do the great ocean road tour and a helicopter tour over the 12 apostles and the only day we have to do it is the day of the welcome dinner and the tour gets back at 730pm.
    In Sydney which is our last day we are climbing the Bridge I really wanted to do this hope I can make it. Looking forward to a great trip with everyone should be a lot of fun.
    Katrina
  • Hello I'm Hooked,
    Thank you so much for all your info.
    One question concerning electricity. Do we need to bring a converter and, if so, what type do we need or are they available at the hotels we stay at? I appreciate all the help you have given those of us leaving soon for Australia.
    Terry
  • Katrina-what wonderful choices you have made!
    We will see you in Melbourne in two weeks and look forward to it all with great anticipation!
  • T. Miller wrote:
    Hello I'm Hooked,
    Thank you so much for all your info.
    One question concerning electricity. Do we need to bring a converter and, if so, what type do we need or are they available at the hotels we stay at? I appreciate all the help you have given those of us leaving soon for Australia.
    Terry

    Don't know if this is too late now but yes you do need a converter. We were going to bring one and then the only thing I really needed was a curling iron so I just bought one while I was there.
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