Overall, our trip was wonderful. Kangaroo Island was fabulous. I would do that again in a heartbeat. Can’t say that John or I enjoyed the Ghan so much. It was such a long trip over not much of nothing and the cabin was really tiny. We spoke to some passengers in the Gold compartment as well. They weren’t that thrilled with their accommodations or the food. What we were eating for dinner one night they said looked much more appetizing then their meal. They came back to the lounge a few times during the trip (to the red lounge). I would not do that again. We did do two whistle stop tours: Alice Springs: Desert Park and Katherine: Katherine Gorge boat cruise. The desert park was not that thrilling after seeing Kangaroo Island. It was a lot of flowers and bird aviaries. Katherine Gorge was very nice. That boat cruise was certainly worth it. The person who met us at the airport in Australia was very friendly and all the people were very helpful.
If I would have to pick our favorite spot in Australia that we visited it definitely would be Kangaroo Island….exceptional tours was fabulous and our tour guide was very sweet (Mary). The food on the island was okay. Belle’s Italian restaurant had great pizza. We also liked the tour of Litchfield Park. The termite mounds were impressive and the waterfalls and pools were very refreshing. It was also worth the trip. Darwin was a nice little city. It was very organized and everything we wanted to do was within walking distance.
New Zealand was much more to our liking overall. The person who met us at the airport was fabulous. He had us follow him to our first hotel so John could get used to the driving and because it was very dark. It sure was helpful. We got to the hotel in a timely fashion and John found it really nice to not have to navigate new roads and a new way of driving when it was dark. Hobbiton and all of the other tours were excellent. I certainly would recommend all of the tours we went on to anyone who is a Lord of the Rings fan. Even if you are not a Lord of the Rings fan, the scenery was absolutely breath taking. John was a little nervous about driving in New Zealand but he adjusted just fine. He liked the way intersections were designed as a round about. It was very helpful with going the right direction and limited a lot of wait time which occur with stop lights. We saw so much in New Zealand, yet we feel there is so much more to see. If we had the chance, we would have stayed another month or two. One draw back though, food and pop was really expensive. Especially pop was way more expensive there then it is at home. John and I bought an 8 pack of Diet Coke that cost us $10NZ. On the Ghan, pop was $2.60 a can and in most restaurants, pop was at least $3.00 a glass with no refills. Certainly different than the United States.
Advice to future travelers: (1) use tours as much as possible, easier to see what you want to see (2) budget for food, it will easily cost you at least three times as much as it would cost in the United States (3) enjoy yourself, it is a vacation after all.
–John & Marybeth
Suggested similar trip: Australia New Zealand Luxury Honeymoon Adventure