To begin, I would like to say this is probably one of the most laid back tours I know of. It's not fast paced at all, which makes it totally easier to enjoy your time in an unknown area. I love being able to explore on my own just as much as touring with my group and learning with others, and that's exactly what I got from this experience. There is so much to learn while on this adventure. From the Maori tribe in New Zealand, to the wild dingos on Fraser Island, petting a kangaroo at an animal sanctuary, and even experiencing the Sydney Opera House; there is too many things to name that is worth seeing and doing while on this trip of a lifetime. If I had to name at least one down-side to this trip, it's the time change.. Other than that, I loved it all! This phenomenonal experiance has me definitely wanting to go back and explore more on my own.
/ Student traveler Ponchatoula, Louisiana / Posted on June 21, 2016
Great trip, need more time
This is a wonderful trip! New Zealand is beautiful and has a wonderfully rich culture. Being exposed to the Mauri people was interesting and it was fun to see how it permeates the modern society on the island. Our guide made it possible for us to visit Hobbiton and walk the set of the Lord of the Rings...an amazing experience!
Australia is equally enchanting! Fraser Island is the first stop and in beautiful! The beaches are inviting, the animals are abundant, and the McKenzie lake is unbelievable! As you travel down the coast you get to see/stay in Surfer's Paradise (fantastic beach, shopping, and food), Coffs Harbor, Byron Bay (hippie capital of Aussie...lots of organic food and tie-dye), the Currumbin WIldlife Santuarly (amazing! you can pet kangaroos and hold a koala!) and of course Sydney!
Sydney is rich in culture and things to see! We went to a play at the Sydney Opera House (arranged by our guide) and were blown away by the production. We walked to the hotel at night and never felt threatened at all. The people are friendly and the neighborhoods feel safe. You can watch the fruit bats in Hyde Park in the trees at night and tour the harbor by day. Although we were getting tired, it I would have liked another day or two in the city.
Now here's the real skinny...the stuff you're looking for in a review!
-Food is expensive in the South Pacific! A 16 oz soda is usually $4.50! A McDonalds 10 piece nugget meal is $11. Breakfast is always included...most other meals aren't.
-Shopping isn't much better. Lots of $15 t-shirts or stuffed animals. I found in many shops prices were negotiable. I bought 6 boomerangs that were listed at $8 each, I paid $5. It doesn't hurt to ask. Also, if you see something you love in a shop, you'll see the same thing in another shop and prices vary shop to shop.
-There is a LOT of seat time on this trip. It takes a long time to fly to the other side of the globe, and once you get there you'll spend lots of time on a coach driving. Our trip into Sydney was a 7 hour drive. But especially in NZ you should put away the book and phone and look out the window. The landscapes are wonderful!
Fraser Island is more focused on the creation of the island, natural features of the island, a shipwreck, and lake McKenzie. This one is more for the science minded individual, but it would be a shame to miss out on the lake and shipwreck. Lunch is a buffet at a resort and is included with the trip.
-Surfer's Paradise Rainforest tour was a hit with everyone that went. You learn to throw boomerangs, have a fantastic lunch (everyone raved about the steak they had), and see some wildlife (our group saw wild koalas and roos).
Turonga Zoo and Sydney Opera House was a good tour too! The zoo part is a little misleading. We went to the zoo to take part in an aboriginal culture talk in the zoo, but we didn't have much time to check out the zoo animals before we had to catch the next ferry to lunch. Lunch was traditional fish and chips on the beach...delicious! Then a tour of the Opera House. The tour offers lots of information about the history, design, and usage of the facility, it was fascinating for the engineering nerds and the arts lovers in the group!
Now for the non-excursions : our guide not only offered to take us to Hobbiton, but we could go to a show at the Opera House, get surfing lessons, and go to a footy game (Australian Rules Football...crazy sport). Each was a welcomed opportunity and those who went had fun.
Drawbacks: We wanted more time at the Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary and the Turonga Zoo. It was a shame to have all of those cool animals and not get to see them all. Prepare for expensive food and shopping. Be ready to sit on a bus for a while.
I hope this helps! Remember the seasons are opposite, so if you're going in the summer months at home take some warm clothes for the trip. We went over spring break and the temperatures were ideal.
Good on ya mates! This is a great trip!
Mystery / Adult traveler Vail Arizona / Posted on March 30, 2016
Lacked Educational Value
As much as my students and I loved the opportunity to travel to such a beautiful place, I saw a lot of flaws with the educational value. There were far too many days spent at the beach and too much free time for teenagers. I spent a lot of the time trying to figure out how to make "structured" free time. In New Zealand we started out with a few packed days that were full of learning and experiences but as we got to Australia more time was spent at the beach and shopping...There needs to be more details spent on educational experiences for the students in Australia. Some money could have been saved on our hotel accommodations and spent learning.
Aussie / Group leader Madison, NY / Posted on February 22, 2016
Australia is and will continue to be where my heart is. This was my third visit and I love it each and every time. The entire country is such a vibrant and beautiful place.
New Zealand was a bit pricey and too cold for my taste in June.
The Hawaii extension was very nice, but by that time, my students and I were running out of gas.
DrBob / Group leader Tampa, FL / Posted on January 14, 2016
Australia was An amazing experience. Our tour director in Australia was a wonderful and gave us amazing insight and truly showed us Australia. Hawaii needs a little more attention, the tour director there was not as concerned for our tour group or the plans. Mainly I wish the EF sample itinerary was updated. Many many things have been changed in all places and while most were for the better, when the group goes expecting to see and do certain things it is hard to explain the changes which occur while on tour.
Nmutters / Group leader Apopka, Florida / Posted on July 29, 2015
The overall areas and places that were covered by the tour was amazing. Since I went with my spouse hotel check in was mostly a problem to the point that they wanted us as a couple to stay with others in a two bedroom apartment. We found that our tour leader changed the rooms to her favorite people. We found that out from the front desk on changing room as we ate dinner before getting the keys. We also had problem with plane seat arrangement. Again, as a couple, we were separated on two flights and I could not change them online due to EF booking the flight; I could not even upgrade my seats if I wanted. However, our tour guide/director, Tiggy was absolutely an amazing guide giving everyone choices and working with each individual person. She was very informative as we went from one place to another. She went out of her way to please everyone and alway got consensus on decisions. We will use EF again but not with the same local tour leader.
Traveler1A / Adult traveler Fort Lauderdale, Florida / Posted on July 27, 2015
Trip of a lifetime!
This trip was great. We did and saw many unexpected places. The tour director was one of the best I been involved with on a tour. The counties were a breath of fresh air to my travels to date!
/ Adult traveler Miramar, Florida / Posted on July 26, 2015
Trip of a Lifetime
I had an amazing time while on tour and am glad to have made some new friends along the way. Without this trip I would never had made those friends. I also would never had been able to create the memories I now have from the trip.
Ben58 / Student traveler Ashland, MO / Posted on July 08, 2015
The New Zealand and Australia tour was simply amazing. Everyday was filled with excitement. The excursions were unique; they allowed you to see different aspects of the countries. You'll learn about the cultures, historical monuments, the languages, various wildlife and much, much more. The value is great, especially considering the length of the tour. If you have an opportunity to take this tour, do it. It is simply amazing.
Torjon3 / Group leader Clinton, MD / Posted on July 08, 2015
The trip started with a bad experience with United Airlines. I would never use them again.
Our tour guide was great and very informative and fun in Australia and New Zealand. The hotels ranged from really nice to adequate, but all were clean and well located.
Hawaii was really nice and our time there was pretty short but packed full of activities!
All in all, I would, and have recommended this trip to all I have spoken with since returning!
Tkonthego1 / Adult traveler Atlanta, GA / Posted on July 07, 2015