Covington travelers, Glenice and Dana loved their mother-daughter wildlife adventure in Australia. Vacation expert Jean custom-designed their tour so they experienced a broad assortment of activities and encounters with local people and animals.
The trip was absolutely wonderful!!! If I had a choice to go back to Hawaii or back to Australia, I would choose Australia. We loved it – best vacation ever!
Wildlife Adventure in Queensland, Australia
I loved the small-town atmosphere of Port Douglas and the Peninsula Boutique Hotel was my favorite. Our accommodations made us feel like we were staying in a bungalow. The staff was the friendliest and when we first went in, there was a gecko in our kitchenette which made Dana feel as though he was saying “Welcome to Australia.” He was our house guest throughout our stay there.
The Walkabout was awesome. Our Aboriginal guide was the best. We saw lots of exotic trees, plants, critters, beautiful waterfalls and learned a lot about the Aboriginals and living off the land. We had a delicious lunch while our guide entertained us by playing a genuine Didgeridoo.
The Pacific Hotel in Cairns was very nice – but nothing could compare to our Hotel in Port Douglas.
The Kuranda Scenic Railway & Skyrail was amazing. Those rides provided some of the most gorgeous views we’ve ever seen in our life. At Koala Gardens in Kuranda, we saw koalas up close, handfed the free-roaming kangaroos and wallabies, and saw other beautiful critters. We even had time to do some shopping. We bought all our boomerangs there since they were hand-made by the locals and were beautiful.
Reef snorkeling was another amazing experience. We saw so many colorful fish, clams and corals. Dana also saw a shark and got it on video, which made her day. We hit the casino at night and Dana had her first casino gambling experience. She must have had “beginner’s luck” because she left there with more money than she went in with. I was a loser.
Tangalooma Island Resort was like being in paradise! It was gorgeous in every way. Our room was very nice with a balcony and a lovely view. It was so much fun, I wish we could have had a couple more days there. We snorkeled a shipwreck using handheld sea scooters and saw lots of beautiful fish and coral. We attended the daily pelican feedings and daily Kookaburra feedings and also hand-fed the dolphins at dusk. Our dolphin’s name was Tinkerbell – she was very pregnant and a sweetie. We also took a 4-wheel bus into the desert where we climbed a 150-foot sand dune (which nearly killed me!). Then we rode a toboggan down the sand dune, which was awesome. I was still digging sand out my ears two days later. The sunsets were breath-taking!
Wildlife Adventure in Brisbane, Australia
On to Brisbane. The Australia Zoo was amazing! I would have never thought about having a tour guide there, but there’s no way we could have managed to do all the things we did without Kaitlyn. She was the best! She knew the layout of the zoo and managed our time to the tee, making sure we were on time for the shows. We attended the Croc Show and afterward they do a video tribute to Steve Irwin. Dana cried. Our guide also knew backstage secrets and took us to the back to watch the crocs being led back to their homes – a nice touch. We toured the animal hospital where we saw a sea turtle being operated on. And of course, we held a koala – a dream come true for both of us. The Zoo is first class in every way and takes wonderful care of lots of happy, beautiful critters.
At the Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary, we got to see the kitchen and food preparation in action for the animals. We saw the koala Operating Room and lots more koalas, including senior koalas. We got to mingle and hand-feed the roos and wallabies, as well as many other critters. The raptor show and sheepdog show were both very good. The pontoon boat ride over and back was delightful.
Our final rainforest tour was also awesome. Ken, our guide, was very knowledgeable as well as personable. A leisurely rainforest walk – about four hours total – took us to some of the most amazing views and waterfalls. We walked under and behind the waterfalls and even drank some of the water cascading down. We had lunch at a lovely roadside restaurant and got to talk with some of the locals which were such fun. It was a nice wind-down finish to a “busy-every-day” vacation.
We really needed that last day of rest. We did some last-minute souvenir shopping, relaxed at the pool and did an evening walk through the botanical gardens, which was directly across the street from our hotel. That evening we made another trip to the casino and both walked away losers, but we enjoyed it.
Every day – and the end of the day – Dana would say “Mom, this is the best day of my life”.
You did such a wonderful job putting this trip together for us. Everything was perfect from the activities, accommodations, pick-up arrangements, and private tour guides. We did not have one bad experience at all. We felt first class all the way!
I must say, I did not care for Australian food. It seemed everything was over salty, but their bread was always the best. If there is one thing I would do differently, it would be to stay about two weeks longer – which of course, means I’m gonna have to go back!
To plan your own wildlife adventure in Australia – or a cosmopolitan city-hopping, a vineyard tour, a cultural exploration, or a romantic getaway – get started with your Covington vacation expert.