Multi-Day Tour

Uncharted Australia (18 days)

Swain Destinations

USA to Sydney To Port Arthur & Richmond

Uncharted Australia (18 days)

Day 1

USA to Sydney

Day 2

Cross the International Date Line

Day 7

Behind the Scenes of Cape Mentelle

Day 8

Margaret River Discovery Tour

Day 9

Margaret River to Perth

Day 10

Pinnacles Desert 4WD Excursion

Day 15

Melbourne to Tasmania

Day 16

Schouten Island half-day

Day 17

-

Day 18

Bonorong Night Tour

Day 19

Port Arthur & Richmond

Itinerary

DAY LOCATION(S) HOTEL MEALS DESCRIPTION
Day 1
USA to Sydney
None None
Today you will begin your Swain Destinations customized itinerary. Please note, international air has not been included in this package price.
Day 2
Cross the International Date Line
None None
Cross the International Date Line, an imaginary line on the surface of the Earth that runs from the North to the South Pole - and defines one calendar day from the next. Crossing the International Date Line adds one day (24 hours) traveling west, and subtracts one day (24 hours) traveling east.
Day 3
Sydney, Australia
The Langham, Sydney None
Welcome to Sydney, Australia. On arrival, you will be met by your driver and transfer to your accommodations.

It is no surprise that when the British first arrived in Sydney they named the area Botany Bay. Even today, with a population of over 4 million people and a reputation for fun rather than flora, one is still surrounded by bush land in this bustling city. Native Waratah wind their way through the historic Rocks area, palm trees frame long stretches of pristine beach, and Eucalyptus embrace the endless and beckoning bays of Sydney Harbour.

It is Sydney's manmade wonders, however, that draw most visitors. The Sydney Opera House and the Sydney Harbour Bridge are the most photographed icons on the continent. Choose a Seaplane Safari experience and enjoy a bird's eye view of the Opera House's signature sails.
Day 4
Sydney, Australia
The Langham, Sydney Lunch
Depart your Sydney hotel to discover the fabulous city of Sydney. We begin the morning traveling through the business district and shopping areas. See Darling Harbour and the vibrant China Town, then drive along Oxford Street with its trendy terrace houses and boutique fashion shops. See Centennial Park, a 220 hectare urban parkland in Eastern Sydney. Reaching the coast we will see the beaches of Bronte, Tamarama and then on to explore the famous Bondi Beach, where we stop to spend 30 minutes to walk the promenade and enjoy a coffee overlooking the beach.

We then continue along the coastal drive past Macquarie Lighthouse to experience the spectacular views from the Southern Headland at the entrance to Sydney Harbour. We visit Watson's Bay before following the harbor foreshore back into Sydney, passing some of Australia's most exclusive waterfront suburbs where harbor mansions may be seen. Driving through Vaucluse, Double Bay and the colorful Kings Cross, we continue to Woolloomooloo and see the famous Harry's Caf� De Wheels. Visit Mrs Macquarie's Chair, and return to the CBD via Saint Mary's Cathedral, Historic Convict buildings, State Parliament House and the historical Rocks district. Next we cross the spectacular Sydney Harbour Bridge onto AQUA for lunch - two course with soup or salad then main course choice of steak, fish or vegetarian. A complimentary glass of wine or beer is included, with additional beverages available for purchase.
Day 5
Adelaide, Australia
The Langham, Sydney Lunch
A hotel pick up can be arranged from a CBD city hotel only, otherwise please make your own way to the Aquarium Pontoon at Darling Harbour Aquarium Wharf for a 10:00AM departure.

Depart Darling Harbour by luxury yacht, to cruise under the Sydney Harbour Bridge, viewing the Opera House, Circular Quay and the Rocks - a great spot for taking a few photographs! Continue past Farm Cove, Mrs. Macquaries Chair and Fort Denison. After hoisting the sails and turning off the engine, sail past the exclusive suburbs of Sydney viewing the spectacular private homes at Darling Point, Point Piper and Vaucluse as well as the national parks of Clarke and Shark Islands.

Cruise along Watsons Bay and the famous 'Doyles' beachside restaurant. Crossing the Harbour Heads we look out over the Pacific Ocean, then find a peaceful bay to drop anchor and relax, perhaps enjoy a drink while lunch is prepared. Dining on-board is a delicious lunch of sushi to start, chicken with sweet chili sauce, prawns & scallops on a bed of spinach, bread, soft drinks or Australian wines and beers, and dessert to follow. After lunch, head back towards the Harbour, returning to Darling Harbour Aquarium Wharf at approximately 3:00PM. Make your own way back to your hotel.
Day 6
Adelaide, Australia
Cape Lodge None
Today you will fly from Sydney to Perth, and then onwards to Margaret River, Western Australia. On arrival, you will be met by your driver and taken to your accommodations.

No trip to Western Australia is complete without a pit stop at Margaret River. Originally a chilled out surfie town, Margaret River has evolved into the ultimate smorgasbord of good food, fine wine and spectacular scenery - just a three-and-a-half hour drive south of Perth. There's a fine supply of world-class wineries, boutique breweries, and restaurants overlooking sweeping vineyards and surf breaks. The wine is definitely top notch - the region produces less than one per cent of Australian wine, but over 15 per cent of the country's premium wine. And with 60 plus wineries to choose from, you won't be stuck for choice.

Teamed with a thriving arts scene - there's just about an art or craft gallery on every corner - it's the perfect place to soak up some West Australian culture and pick up a souvenir or two. But don't let all that indulgence weigh you down - get set for some adventure. Explore networks of underground caves, a rugged coastline, squeaky-clean sandy beaches, turquoise water, towering forests and bush and coastal walk trails. Watching the locals take on awe-inspiring breakers at world-class surf break, Surfers Point, is gripping stuff. The more active can have a go at rock climbing, abseiling, canoeing, whale watching, or even throw in a line and try your luck catching some local snapper.
Day 7
Behind the Scenes of Cape Mentelle
Cape Lodge Breakfast, Lunch
The Best of the Best Wine Tour takes the classic wine tour to a whole new level, and is regarded as one of the best wine tour experiences in Australia. Discover how Cape Mentelle put Margaret River on the world wine map on a personal introduction to their oldest vineyard and working winery. The highlight of your day will be a degustation-style wine matching lunch, which is served inside the Cabernet Sauvignon barrel room.
Day 8
Margaret River Discovery Tour
Cape Lodge Breakfast
Our day begins with a paddle along the still waters of the Margaret River. Spot the magnificent Baudins Cockatoos in the towering eucalyptus trees before we make our way to a local waterfall to reveal Marron and freshwater mussels and absorb the Aboriginal significance of the region.

Our gourmet lunch of regional produce is served in the barrel room at the region's emerging superstar winery, Fraser Gallop Estate. Australian Winemaker of the Year, Clive Otto, is likely to drop by and tell us about their upcoming vintage. We finish the day with some 4WD action into the bush to discover the remote Willyabrup Cliffs and a short, guided walk on the famous Cape to Cape Track. High above the ocean, your efforts are often rewarded with views of breaching whales, dolphins and wild flowers (seasonal).

The day includes; Gourmet lunch of regional produce among the barrels at a working winery, 4WD adventure and short hike on the Cape Track (including the Wilyabrup Cliffs), Taste some of the finest Cabernet Sauvignon and Chardonnay in the region and canoeing on the tranquil Margaret River (optional, no extra cost and you won't get wet or dirty!)
Day 9
Margaret River to Perth
The Richardson Hotel & Spa None
Today you will fly from Margaret River to Perth. Upon arrival, you will be met by your driver and transferred to your accommodations.

Perth, the go-ahead capital of Western Australia, gives a feeling of space and light - set on the banks of the sparkling Swan River, a few miles from the magnificent beaches of the Indian Ocean. And a short way downstream is the vibrant, historic port city of Fremantle. Attractions include the Perth Mint where visitors can see how coins are made, located in the city center is the Art Gallery of Western Australia housing a collection of Aboriginal art, Australian and international paintings. The Scitech Discovery Centre is a unique hands-on minds-on science and technology center. Outdoor activities include picnics in Kings Park with its walking trails and a 12-hectare botanical garden, famous for its spring wildflower displays. The park is a pleasant walk from the center of Perth and is well served by public transport and the Perth Tram. Also visit some of the magnificent white-sand, Indian Ocean surfing beaches. The closest is City Beach, but Cottesloe, Floreat, Scarborough, and Sorrento are also popular. Fremantle, 18 kilometers south-west of Perth is a colorful, busy port at the mouth of the Swan River, easily accessible by bus, train, ferry and taxi. Attractions include the Fremantle Arts Centre, the Maritime Museum, the Round House, the market and the lively town center affectionately known as the cappuccino strip.
Day 10
Pinnacles Desert 4WD Excursion
The Richardson Hotel & Spa Breakfast
After stopping at Caversham Wildlife Park in the Swan Valley to view koalas and hand feed kangaroos, travel to the lobster fishing town of Cervantes for lunch. A stop is made at the Lobster Shack for an informative talk about the lobster industry, followed by a self-guided tour through the purpose built factory.

Then it's onwards to the mystical Pinnacles Desert for an easy paced walk through the fascinating landscape where you will be in awe at the sheer size and number of these spires. Afterwards enjoy a thrilling experience of sand boarding and 4-wheel driving over the vast sand dunes of Lancelin. Wildflower viewing stops are made in season (Sep-Nov). Return to Perth at approximately 7.30pm.
Day 11
Melbourne, Australia
Crown Towers None
Today you will fly from Perth to Melbourne, Victoria. Upon arrival, you will be met by your driver and transferred to your accommodations.

Melbourne is Australia's second largest city (after Sydney), but is second to none when it comes to fashion, festivals and sport. Set around the shores of Port Phillip Bay, the city itself is laid out in a large rectangle. She boasts a lively, cosmopolitan pulse, sitting on the northern banks of the Yarra River, about three miles from the bay. Visitors come for its shopping, restaurants and nightlife. Residents stay for its cultural diversity, passion for the arts and enviable sports calendar. Melbourne is renowned for playing host to a number of nationally and internationally recognized events each year including the Australian Open Tennis Grand Slam, the Australian Formula 1 Grand Prix and the ever impressive two mile horse race - the Melbourne Cup. A major event in Melbourne spreads an addictive buzz through the city streets and you can be sure that locals and visitors alike will embrace the energy surrounding it.

Explore the famous laneways and arcades of the city, catch a tram to trendy Southgate, rub shoulders with locals at the Queen Victoria Market or take in a show at the ornate Princess Theatre. For a break from the hustle and bustle, cruise along the Yarra River or head out to one of the many beautiful beaches just outside of the city. Go in search for the unique Australian animals like Koalas, Kangaroos and the Little Penguins, and see them in the wild just an hour or two outside Melbourne. Explore one of the premier wine regions in Australia exporting wines to the U.S. to find your blend in Yarra Valley. It is the closest wine region to any major Australian city, just an hour out of the city but world's away from the bustling streets of Melbourne.
Day 12
Melbourne, Australia
Crown Towers Lunch
Have you ever been to a city and wondered what all the fuss was about? Or wasted time trying to find that cool local caf� you were told of, then ended up missing everything? Melbourne's arcades and laneways hide many of these answers. Join this indulgent morning walk through Melbourne's beautiful back streets, and become orientated in the life of the city that locals love. Discover local designers and specialty retailers that often are only found in the city. Some of the quirkiest cafes, independent designers, street art, architecture, and historical tales are found in these walkways, there is something for everyone, locals and visitors alike. Morning tea is included as well as lunch with a glass of wine.
Day 13
Melbourne, Australia
Crown Towers Lunch
See Koalas and Kangaroos IN THE WILD! Walk with wild animals in their natural habitats on this full day, fully inclusive small group (maximum 10 people) eco-tour, led by an experienced Wildlife Guide.

Walk through natural bush-land to meet wild koalas, then learn about each one's history and social life from your Wildlife Guide and Koala Researcher. Help create new koala habitat for future generations of baby koalas by participating in the 'Make a Home for Clancy' Koala project. Join wild mobs of Kangaroos on the plains and in open forests. Their natural instinct is to flee humans, but with care, you often get close enough to take photographs and observe their complex social life. The natural environments visited are also home to parrots, fairy-wrens, emus, honeyeaters, possums, wallabies and lizards. Your Wildlife Guide will help you find and understand them, and show you how to look for wildlife wherever you travel in Australia.
Day 14
Melbourne, Australia
Crown Towers Lunch
Embrace the day with a stunning scenic coastal drive south of Melbourne and prepare to be constantly inspired and delighted by this diverse, boot-shaped region. Marvel at the panoramic views of the city, bay and peninsula from Arthurs Seat lookout before embarking on the next part of your journey.

Meet our highly regarded local chef for a private, culinary expedition through the Peninsula. Your journey changes seasonally (and almost daily) but you may do some of the following: meet cheese makers at a private goat dairy to discuss processes and techniques, press olives and learn about olive oil production, pick berries, visit Harry's mussel farm and collect fresh seafood, experience a working bakery, discover the joys of juicy hydroponic tomatoes, select premium quality quinces, learn about chocolate making or get involved in a spice blending class.

It's now back to the kitchen with your produce for an afternoon of fun with an intimate, hands on cooking class. Learn more about using local, seasonal ingredients and then feast on your hard work made entirely from produce from the Peninsula. You will be returned to your accommodation.

Your day includes morning tea, lunch, food & wine tasting, cooking class and produce. Please wear suitable closed shoes, and remember a warm jacket in winter!
Day 15
Melbourne to Tasmania
Saffire Freycinet Dinner
Today you will fly from Melbourne to Tasmania. Upon arrival, you will be met and transferred to Saffire, via private transfer.

Saffire Freycinet is a luxury coastal sanctuary on Tasmania's East Coast offering premium, boutique accommodation that is truly in touch with the beauty and depth of nature. With just twenty suites, Saffire is distinct in its design, exclusive in its features and set apart by its approach to tailored, one-on-one experiences and service. Saffire is also dedicated to providing unforgettable experiences, indulgent and self-selected dining options, inspiring accommodation spaces and an overall sense of wellbeing and relaxation.

The Freycinet Peninsula extends south-eastwards from Tasmania's coastline and is a fully protected national park, including the internationally acclaimed Wineglass Bay. Saffire is located on the inside of the gentle curve of sandy coastline that joins the peninsula to mainland Tasmania.

Saffire overlooks the wide expanses of Great Oyster Bay, where migrating whales and dolphins come to play; calamari and squid in-season spawn in the rocky outcrops; local farms produce fresh, succulent oysters in some of the world's cleanest waters; and fishing boats and trawlers bring in their daily catch of crayfish, scallops and deep sea fish, dripping and salty-sweet straight from the ocean.
Day 16
Schouten Island half-day
Saffire Freycinet Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Step aboard the Saffire vessel to enjoy a portion of the Schouten Island Signature Experience - exclusive to guests of Saffire. Schouten Island's vast and abundant eco-system has played a part in early Aboriginal settlement, and farming, mining and fishing in the area. Now, it is part of the Freycinet National Park, a rarely explored, wild, unpredictable, delicate and unforgettable place both above and below the sea. Be engaged by close-up interactions with soaring sea birds, playful marine mammals and a diversity of life on Tasmania's temperate reefs. The adventure also includes a visit to culturally significant sites of past and present inhabitants. Behold the beauty of Freycinet Peninsula and discover Schouten Island on this memorable three-hour adventure. Morning tea is included and prepared by the team of chefs at Saffire. Bookings essential, and note that this excursion will only operate with a minimum of four people.
Day 17

Saffire Freycinet Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Included in your Saffire accommodation is a broad range of activities that will offer innovative options for all styles of travelers and moods. These activities last from one to three hours and are your opportunity to engage and connect with this stunning location. From adventure to romance, rejuvenation to exploration, Saffire's activities add greater depth and dimension to your stay.
Day 18
TBD
Henry Jones Art Hotel Breakfast
Bonorong Park was established in 1981 and specializes in education, rehabilitation and release for orphaned and injured Tasmanian wildlife. This personal Night Tour allows guests to get closer to the amazing wildlife during the time they are most relaxed and active. During the excursion, you will observe native wildlife during their natural waking hours. Perhaps hand feed and pat a number of incredible Tasmanian species including tawny frogmouths, potoroos, sugar gliders, wombats, golden possums, kangaroos and more.

Enjoy an extensive session on Tasmanian Devils where you meet them, learn their names, hear their individual stories and little known facts about this amazing, and endangered species. There are great up-close photo opportunities, while you see the native wildlife and learn about the perils they face.
Day 19
TBD
Henry Jones Art Hotel Breakfast, Lunch
After being collected from your accommodation this morning, we head east across the Tasman Bridge toward Australia's foremost historical site, Port Arthur. In the 19th century, Port Arthur was the British Empire's most dreaded and far flung penal settlement. We have morning tea, then take a guided walk through the site to learn its fascinating, if a little gruesome history. The tour includes a cruise around the Isle of the Dead where over 2000 free settlers and convicts are buried in a little over 2 acres. On our return ride, we stop at the blowhole, a unique geological formation along the Tasman Penninsula's spectacular coastline, and at the colonial village of Richmond with some time to wander through town at leisure. One of Australia's oldest towns, Richmond is known today for its high quality locally produced arts & crafts, the perfect place to pick up that gift for home.

Tour Features

Experience(s)

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Description

Embrace your explorer as your travel to the far reaches of Australia, uncovering the rugged outback of Western Australia, the pristine natural setting of Tasmania, and the vibrant city of Melbourne. Immerse yourself in the Aussie experience as you see three unique sides of this diverse country. Blend these engaging experiences with the unique and luxurious accommodations nestled away in these off-the-beaten-path destinations.

About Us

For over 30 years, Swain Destinations has been providing fully-customized travel experiences to Australia, New Zealand, the South Pacific Islands, Africa, Asia and India. The destination specialists at Swain Destinations provide you and your clients with a special combination of expertise and local insight in itinerary planning. We offer flexibility in accommodating a wide spectrum of personal tastes, travel needs and budgets from the ultimate in luxury and private touring to more moderate arrangements. Swain Destinations has been nominated for 9 consecutive years as one of the top 5 FIT companies within the Virtuoso network

Insider Tip

Contact your Virtuoso Travel Advisor for insider knowledge to help enhance your experience.

Terms & Conditions

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The trademarks VIRTUOSO, the Globe Swirl Logo and SPECIALISTS IN THE ART OF TRAVEL are registered trademarks of Virtuoso, Ltd. Virtuoso, Ltd. has a U.S. copyright registration for the Globe Swirl Logo, ©2000. All rights reserved. Virtuoso CST#2069091-50. California CST# 2069091; TA# 808 - Registered Iowa Travel Agency; Washington UBI # 601 554 183. Registration as a seller of travel does not constitute approval by the State of California.

Reviews and Recommendations for Swain Destinations

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Not Recommended

Fair

By: Not provided


Reviewed on: 20 Nov 2013

I suspect that there are better travel guides in China. We prefer guides with a more professorial/academic approach. Also, we do not like being taken to tourist sites (as in a tea house to sell us tea items) or a bad tourist restaurant.
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Not Recommended

By: Not provided


Reviewed on: 21 Nov 2013

the arranged transport at sydney airport a debacle, hotel in auckland did not have rooms ready - a room rate of $300/night steep when check in is 3 pm you don't get in until 4 pm and check out is 9 or 10 am - steep hourly rate. hotel shuttle service was substandard . arrangement for a rail pass poorly done confirmation numbers provided did not match those for the rail provider

Australia adventure

By: stanford GSB Grad


Reviewed on: 24 Nov 2013

The trip was wonderful. Every accommodation was excellent except for the hotel in Cairns. The public areas were very nice and the food was good but the room left a lot to be desired. All in all though the trip was well worth it.

Highly Recommended

By: Not provided


Reviewed on: 21 Jan 2014

Swain provided a very helpful booklet of our itinerary, vouchers & connections, including where to be at what time and what call-in confirmations to make in advance. Everything went off without a hitch.
Travel Advisor:  Kathy Moran

Highly Recommend

By: KJ


Reviewed on: 21 Apr 2014

We continue to be amazed at the complexity of our flight and transfer arrangements made by our Swain's representative.  Our travel was seamlessly enjoyable, and our hotels perfect.  24 days in Australia and New Zealand without a glitch, amazing!!  We definitely are Swain believers.
Travel Advisor:  Carol Asivido

Honeymoon

By: Ro


Reviewed on: 10 Jun 2014

Were easy to get a hold of and helpful in providing us knowledge in a foreign land.
Travel Advisor:  Kathy Moran

By: Joanne K.


Reviewed on: 27 May 2014

Michelle at Swain travel put together a great package for our Australia and New Zealand vacation.
Travel Advisor:  Carol Asivido

Fabulous trip with help from Swain

By: Onespud


Reviewed on: 06 Jul 2014

Swain did an excellent job of taking care of us.  All drivers were on time and delivered impeccable service.  Arranged tours could not have been better.  Our hotel locations were so close to restaurants and shopping.  Could not have been better.
Travel Advisor:  Theresa Quintarelli

Great Trip

By: Kim849


Reviewed on: 12 Oct 2014

Swain planned all of our transportation, hotels and activities and did a wonderful job! Made our vacation very relaxing.
Travel Advisor:  Julie Raines

Swain was great

By: Jill


Reviewed on: 17 Feb 2015

Every detail was perfectly handled. Trip exceeded my expectations.
Travel Advisor:  Sigrid Braeckeveldt

Great trip.

By: Kathy51


Reviewed on: 06 Mar 2015

Trip well planned given the time frame we were traveling in. Out of 23 days, only one poorly planned day. Terrific knowledge of all areas visited with fantastic recommendations on tours, hotels, etc. Helped resolve one problem.
Travel Advisor:  Lydia Ganz

Great operator

By: Mikeshy


Reviewed on: 24 Mar 2015

My wife and I just completed an 11 week trip in Australia and New Zealand hat had two cruises and two fly/drive segments. Swain provided ; all transfers between the airports and the cruise ships, three car rentals, lodging in 16 different cities as well as small group tours in most cities that we visited. We only experienced a couple of "hiccups" which is amazing considering the number of arrangements that were made on our behalf. When I did have a problem, it was resolved quickly after making 1 phone call. We had requested that our lodging accommodations would be in high end, small boutique hotels or B&B's. The quality of our accommodations was excellent. Between Jodi Fox, our travel advisor and Swain, they "nailed it!". With only one exception, we loved our accommodations. We had many, many small group tours that ended up being a private tour. The quality of the vehicles and the professionalism of the drivers/tour guides was also excellent. They did a great job.
Travel Advisor:  Jodi Fox

Great Teamwork and Travel Materials

By: rpw128


Reviewed on: 26 Mar 2015

Having done most of our work through Cindy Goldberger she did most of the interaction with Swain in the beginning. They provided valuable LOCAL feedback which proved critical to the enjoyment of our trip. They had activities that I could not believe that we would ever get to try, it was such a unique itinerary. Once we had everything the way we wanted it Swain sent over the travel documents which great and organized, just the way I was so I combined my documents with theirs and didn't miss a beat. Upon arrival they had a car service ready for us and our honeymoon began. It was such an easy experience after everything was booked we didn't have to worry which increased the enjoyment 100 times!
Travel Advisor:  Cindy Goldberger

Hands On

By: Lainey


Reviewed on: 21 Oct 2015

Trip of a lifetime!
Travel Advisor:  Jane Rosenkrantz

Australia

By: Daniel


Reviewed on: 30 Oct 2015

Swain, in coordination with Alicia, have planned a wonderful trip so far.
Travel Advisor:  Valerie Ann Wilson

Expert friendly service from Swain

By: Lynne55


Reviewed on: 11 Nov 2015

Every tour that was arranged by Swain was met with friendly smiles and professional service! We always were amazed at the knowledge and attention to our needs at every moment of our tour. They would go out of their way to accommodate us and told stories about the destinations that were not only fascinating but always intertwined with humor. This was an A+ tour company and would highly recommend them to any traveler!
Travel Advisor:  Wayne Muhlstein

Honeymoon In Australia

By: Richard


Reviewed on: 17 Nov 2015

Everyone at Swain Destinations did a great job in helping us plan our Honeymoon! We loved the little details like the Champagne bottles and desserts they had for us at each hotel we stayed. At the airports they would pick us up with a sign with our names and Swain destinations so we felt special. All the tours we went to in Australia were awesome and we could not have asked for a better Honeymoon. My wife Erika and I highly recommend using Swain Destinations for your next vacation.
Travel Advisor:  Sarah Lee

documents very complete and helpful

By: Bill67


Reviewed on: 04 Mar 2016

The documents provided were very helpful during the trip.
Travel Advisor:  Becky Hayes

Great Trip!

By: EdLaura


Reviewed on: 21 Mar 2016

Our Swain trip was a great view of New Zealand and Australia. We felt like we got to see everything we wanted in a relatively short amount of time. Our tour guides were outstanding and the group was very congenial. Thanks for a great trip!
Travel Advisor:  Marian Blessing

great trip

By: Craig


Reviewed on: 29 May 2016

All arrangements went off without a hitch, from the car rentals to transfers to pickup of cars at a new location, the cars were always waiting and the pickups and drop offs were fast. The hotels/B&B's were all outstanding, Swain always picked the best places to stay, the coupons for the stays worked well with no issues. The tours/trips were all outstanding, the coupons worked well with no issues. All airline flights also went off without a hitch. Our only issue, its a small one, would be that we never saw or met a Swain representative, we though we were supposed to meet a rep when we arrived. The way the arrangements were a rep was not necessary, but it would have been nice to have someone there to meet us and just say hi and make sure we knew what to do initially and make sure there were know issues.
Travel Advisor:  Jesse Taylor

Great trip

By: Rachel


Reviewed on: 14 Sep 2016

We had a wonderful time with everything planned well. We only had a few very minor complaints with White Sands Tours in Mauritius but otherwise was exceptional
Travel Advisor:  David Mellon

A good trip package and value.

By: Jack


Reviewed on: 08 Nov 2016

It was a good package, everything was delivered as promised.
Travel Advisor:  Becky Lukovic

Don

By: Don


Reviewed on: 10 Mar 2018

Helpful when needed and responsive.

Swain

By: CAR


Reviewed on: 14 Apr 2018

They took care of everything. We never had one issue
Travel Advisor:  Nancy Macleod

Helpful service

By: kerful1


Reviewed on: 26 Nov 2016

The Swain folks were my local contacts for any issues or changes to my itinerary. I requested a change in my itinerary in New Zealand, moving sailing in Auckland to a different day so that I could add a day trip to Hobbiton, and they took care of everything. It was great to have a local phone number and email to contact in case I needed anything with any part of my itinerary.
Travel Advisor:  Peg Aikman

When I go to New Zealand again, it will be with Swain

By: Tina Lou


Reviewed on: 08 Dec 2016

The materials that they gave me for my trip to New Zealand was the right information, organized so I could find it quickly. Less stress, all I had to do was read it the day before my next adventure to be there to experience it.

Experts on South Africa and Zimbabwe

By: GeoStone1


Reviewed on: 20 Dec 2016

Swain Destinations coordinated the South Africa and Zimbabwe portions of our once-in-a-lifetime trip to Africa. Swain's representative met us in Cape Town at our hotel to discuss how well our trip was going and to check with us to see if any changes were needed. Ditto in Victoria Falls. What special service! Swain has the knowledge and expertise that resulted in our stay at 1st class accommodations throughout our trip, coordinate our ride on the luxury train between Pretoria and Cape Town, and our flights within South Africa and to Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe. A total success! We highly recommend Swain Destinations!
Travel Advisor:  Wayne Muhlstein

Private Wildlife Trip

By: Khalid


Reviewed on: 03 Jan 2017

It was a fantastic trip. The guides were professional, knowledgeable and enthusiastic. I got more out of the trip than expected. I had lost my cell phone twice but the problem was resolved quickly by the company. That was a big relief.
Travel Advisor:  Cindy Moore

austraia

By: op


Reviewed on: 04 Feb 2017

Excellent service
Travel Advisor:  Julie Boulanger Taylor

Blue Mountain Day Tour

By: Kathy Siefken


Reviewed on: 03 Feb 2017

Wonderful day with Swain Tours. We loved the tour and while it was a 100 degree day in Australia, we enjoyed our time on the tour and exploring the Blue Mountains.
Travel Advisor:  Jessica Griscavage

Australia and New Zealand

By: Mary Nell


Reviewed on: 06 Feb 2017

Swain is the very best tour operator for Australia and New Zealand. We had heard that before we took our trip and then we heard it during our trip and certainly experienced it to be a very true statement! The coordination of all the details for 3 weeks was amazing. Swain had drivers planned for our entire trip and without a doubt, they were all prompt, courteous, informative, safe and fun, plus they all had new beautiful cars!! I would highly recommend Swain to anyone that is planning a trip and wants to be assured that every detail will be handled. Australia was our 7th Continent to travel and explore and Swain made it a great journey. Wonderful memories!!
Travel Advisor:  Tina Aikman

Australian trip

By: Geri


Reviewed on: 10 Feb 2017

All contacts through Swain were prompt, courteous and informative. Our only glitch was our initial flight with Quantas but everything afterwards was uneventful.
Travel Advisor:  Deborah Bush

Australia tour

By: Betty & Allen


Reviewed on: 07 Feb 2017

What can I say. Everything worked out perfect. Our drivers met us on time and our guides were excellent. Everyone's expectations were met and exceded. It was a wonderful tour and I would recommend Swain to all who are seeking adventure and don't want to do the legwork.
Travel Advisor:  Deborah Bush

Wonderful Experience

By: Poppy


Reviewed on: 11 Feb 2017

All the arrangements, transfers and tours packaged for us by Swain staff were reliable and the services generally very good. The ability to customize our itinerary (even in country) was a new and wonderful experience. Most hotels and guides were exceptional, a few less so. Overall our extensive travels in Australia and NZ a fantastic adventure. The grand finale 3 nights at Matakari Lodge beyond 5⭐️
Travel Advisor:  Corinne Levine

Au

By: Hutch


Reviewed on: 05 Mar 2017

The trip went off without a hitch. Every plane was met, drivers were personable, guides were tremendous and we had complete confidence that our needs would be met.
Travel Advisor:  Cathy Dorton

australia new zealand

By: betty


Reviewed on: 02 Mar 2017

they were very professional
Travel Advisor:  Ingeborg Sanders

swain

By: Lisa


Reviewed on: 10 Mar 2017

Perfect- thanks to Wayne. We recommend him to our friends.
Travel Advisor:  Wayne Muhlstein

Australia - Feb 2017

By: J


Reviewed on: 13 Mar 2017

Except for 9:45pm event, followed by 4:30am event, everything went off very well.
Travel Advisor:  Christine Collins Bolus

New Zealand

By: Meagan


Reviewed on: 21 Mar 2017

Swain's knowledge of the local area helped us to find activities and sites to see what I had on my list, even if it wasn't the exact place. Their recommendations for local company's or sites to use/see while there or while driving from one place to another was very helpful. I know that they also worked with Deborah to help reschedule some things so I am very thankful for that.
Travel Advisor:  Deborah Barth

Great job!

By: NurseL


Reviewed on: 12 Apr 2017

Swain Destinations did a great job with our itinerary! The excursions were exactly what I wanted in my bucket list vacation! We had to call George from Swain Destinations while in Australia to make some last minute changes to our plans and he was able to make the requested changes without any problems. I also want to recommend the drivers we had to and from each airport to our hotels. They were all very friendly and super knowledgeable about the area. We felt comfortable asking them for recommendations for things to do while in each city. Great experience!
Travel Advisor:  Theresa Quintarelli

Bucket list New Zealand

By: Steve Strake


Reviewed on: 07 Apr 2017

Fantastic vacation. This company know how to create a fun trip.
Travel Advisor:  Sandra Ortiz
Not Recommended

12 days in Japan

By: Charlie


Reviewed on: 17 Apr 2017

We did not work directly with Swain but the results of their efforts bring into question their dedication to good service and flawless execution. Our experience reduced our opinion of their abilities to meet customer expectations.
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Not Recommended

Trip to Japan

By: Joe


Reviewed on: 18 Apr 2017

Our trip to Japan had some rough edges. The initial arrangements in our proposed itinerary were incomplete regarding a number of important details (e.g., who would meet us, what type of transport would be used), subsequently clarified. The descriptions used for events and services in our itinerary were sometimes unclear, ambiguous or incomplete, also subsequently clarified but with difficulty. Once in Japan, the private guide arranged in Kyoto for 1-1/2 days was less than satisfactory in terms of her job skills. Finally, the Ritz-Carolton Kyoto provided some of the poorest dining room service we've encountered in a long time - very young staff, not well trained, although well-intended. We were left with the impression that both in terms of office organization in the US and on-the-ground experience in Japan that our group was not well served by Swain, relative to the prices we were paying.
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Excellent Itinerary

By: brea2942


Reviewed on: 09 May 2017

We had an excellent trip arranged by Swain Destinations for our land portion of an Australian/New Zealand vacation. Swain arranged our internal flights, tours and lodging. We gave them specific input as to where we wanted to go and many of the things we wanted to do and they put together an itinerary that was very good for us. We had no problems with any of the transfers (everyone arrived on time or ahead of time to transfer us from hotel to airport to cruise ship, etc.) and the lodging they chose for us was excellent. Overall, this was a stellar vacation itinerary!
Travel Advisor:  Marsha Dolbow

China

By: jalousie


Reviewed on: 03 Jun 2017

We had a flawless/seamless trip through Swain. Guides were wonderful and so helpful. The accommodations were first-rate
Travel Advisor:  Deborah Bush

Australia, the perfect destination

By: Davonia


Reviewed on: 23 Jun 2017

Deborah Barth of Brownell Travel sought the help of Swain Destinations for the Australian portion of my recent trip. From drivers to lodging to tour guides our trip was perfect. The drivers were outstanding, always on time and in wonderful vehicles. Lodging was exceptional. Tour guides were great. Deborah worked closely with Tanya at Swain to be sure the Australian portion of our trip met our needs. Everything worked beautifully. Leave the details to the professionals!
Travel Advisor:  Deborah Barth

Great touring experience with Swain

By: Michael Yu


Reviewed on: 11 Jul 2017

All the details were taken care of from hotel reservations, to air and train bookings, to great daily itineraries. No miscues on the ground through the whole trip except for the rainy weather in Hakone (delayed one boat tour and hid Mt Fuji). Professional bilingual guides (had 2 different guides, 3 days each). Private van transportation made the touring very efficient and less taxing on the body and feet. Seemless pickups and drop offs made for worry free travel which is what you want when you are on vacation. Great private origami lesson for the family made for great bonding. No complaints, good value for the wrap around service.
Travel Advisor:  Marsha Dolbow

Tour arrangements

By: Bud


Reviewed on: 19 Jul 2017

Mary Lou Yeager worked with Swain to arrange private tours and transportation in Dubai, the Winelands and Cape Town. All the arrangements worked perfectly. The tour guides were knowledgeable and quite accommodating. We had a wonderful time!
Travel Advisor:  Mary Lou Yeager

Excellent

By: Allie


Reviewed on: 18 Aug 2017

Absolutely fantastic.
Travel Advisor:  Jessica Battista

Awesome Tour Operator

By: Chris


Reviewed on: 11 Sep 2017

Swain has coordinated our trips to Australia/New Zealand and to South Africa, and each trip was fabulous. We highly recommend them. We spent our time enjoying our trip and experience and no time on worrying about rides, hotels and activities. They took care of everything!
Travel Advisor:  Valerie Anderson

Honeymoon - South Africa

By: Kmiq


Reviewed on: 02 Nov 2017

Swain was top notch. Every employee we came in contact with was personable and pleasant. In particular, our driver/tour guide, Gary, for the half day tour of Cape Town and the day drive to the Cape of Good Hope was fantastic. His knowledge of the plant/animal life, geography, and history of the City / Country was immense. There was no question Gary couldn't answer, and he always had interesting facts/trivia to share. Gary even made us a romantic lunch reservation on the bay so we could enjoy some alone time and whale watch. Would recommend to anyone traveling to South Africa!
Travel Advisor:  Jessica Griscavage

Australia

By: PR


Reviewed on: 02 Oct 2017

The trip was perfect in every aspect
Travel Advisor:  Roz Gibel

Australia Trip - October 2017

By: MK


Reviewed on: 05 Nov 2017

Swain Destinations provided documentation, travel vouchers, etc. for our trip. The documentation was very professionally presented and organized, which made for easy reference during travels. Phone numbers were provided for questions before and during our trip for added peace of mind. Overall they did a great job of preparing us for the trip!
Travel Advisor:  Deborah Trevino

Japan

By: Leighsa


Reviewed on: 27 Nov 2017

Outstanding. A fantastic collection of places to visit and things to do. Will definitely use Swain Destinations again.
Travel Advisor:  Arlene Humble

NZ/Australia Trip

By: Linde


Reviewed on: 19 Nov 2017

The trip details indicate Swain's thorough knowledge of trip locales.
Travel Advisor:  Deborah Trevino

New Zealand and Australia

By: Nat


Reviewed on: 04 Dec 2017

Our experience with Swain Destinations was phenomenal. They were incredibly receptive to all of our requests. They helped to put together a 17 day itinerary for our travels to New Zealand and Australia. There were certain things we requested to do on our trip but we also let them use their judgement to suggest excursions and places to stay. All of our excursions were amazing and the accommodations were delightful in every city we stayed in. We wouldn't have changed a single thing about our trip, it was all wonderful!
Travel Advisor:  Michelle Ellis

Our First Try

By: newbies


Reviewed on: 13 Dec 2017

Swain recommended, and then booked, excellent accommodations and travel arrangements. It was a seamless part of our trip.
Travel Advisor:  Amy Paderewski

No problems experienced

By: Patch


Reviewed on: 12 Dec 2017

Swain made sure that every aspect of our vacation was taken care of. We never had any worries. I loved knowing that our escorts and tour guides had all the answers and so I could relax. All tours and drivers were professional and expert.
Travel Advisor:  Tish Kelly
Not Recommended

The Bad

By: Grumpy


Reviewed on: 11 Jan 2018

The night before we left on our trip they called for a medical release, very unprofessional.
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Australia

By: Brad


Reviewed on: 06 Jan 2018

Loved the intinerary put together by swain. We had a great trip and loved everything planned!
Travel Advisor:  Laura Epstein

New Zealand Excursions

By: Shelley


Reviewed on: 16 Jan 2018

We had booked our excursions through Swain. We were overall very pleased with the guides and tours we took as we were booking several. Some tours were better experiences than others so once Swain has given the information on the tour company it would be worth a quick glance at their website to make sure your expectations meet the experiences. We had a little bit of time miscommunication with one of our tours (one-on-one guided fishing) and that was discouraging. So my only feedback is to double and triple check the confirmed times at least 2 days before directly with the tour operator.
Travel Advisor:  Laura Bassett

Great!

By: Jan


Reviewed on: 24 Jan 2018

We lined up a lot of activities over our 3-week vacation that Swain helped put together. Everything went very smoothly except for a glitch with our car rentals, and one call to Swain helped sort it out. Very pleased.
Travel Advisor:  Tisha Neufville

Great Choices and Knowledgable

By: JeannieM


Reviewed on: 08 Feb 2018

Our agent primarily worked with Swain, but our experiences were all positive. They made excellent selections in accommodations and day trips in an effort to meet (and exceed) our desired activity goals. The companies utilized were professional and fun. The 1 transportation confusion was addressed swiftly, pleasantly and effectively. Swain was knowledgable and knew the best choices in New Zealand - I wouldn't hesitate to use them again!
Travel Advisor:  Candy Overland Davis

Tour of Australia and New Zealand

By: Roweana


Reviewed on: 14 Feb 2018

Our experience with Swain Destinations was highly recommendable.
Travel Advisor:  Valerie Anderson

Swain knows Australia

By: Andrew


Reviewed on: 15 Feb 2018

My California based travel agent contacted Swain for their local knowledge and contacts for arranging multiple trips within Australia. There was a small mix up while I was in Australia and they quickly cleared it up and acted on my behalf. They were very professional and helpful during the entire process
Travel Advisor:  Theresa Quintarelli

Trip of a lifetime

By: Simpson


Reviewed on: 27 Feb 2018

Everything was first class from start to finish...
Travel Advisor:  Vivian Paesano

swain

By: Australia


Reviewed on: 11 Mar 2018

Good the drivers were well informed. One excursion was not as described we complained and were refunded 1/2 of our money.
Travel Advisor:  Kathy Grant

Swain does it right

By: Aussie traveler


Reviewed on: 08 Mar 2018

Excellent. They have great options. Everything set up very well based upon our input and came off without a hitch. All of the guides were very personable, very professional and very informative. Airport transfers went smoothly. Drivers and guides arrived on time for all activities
Travel Advisor:  Mary Porter

Australia and New Zealand

By: Susan


Reviewed on: 03 Apr 2018

The places we stayed were amazing! Wharekauhau was over the top wonderful. The service here was amazing. Nicholas, Grant, Matt and Shannon were especially memorable. We felt very pampered here. Treetops was also amazing. Another place with impeccable service. We loved everything about this place. Cape Kidnappers was also amazing and we had a great day of golf. Blanket Bay was unbelievably beautiful and especially memorable. And of course Southern Ocean Lodge in Kangaroo Island made me feel like I was in a James Bond Movie. Over the top wonderful. These are truly my 5 favorite places I have ever been in the world. I loved having pre dinner drinks and dinner included and it was fun getting to know others at the pre dinner drinks. The food was amazing everywhere. The service was the best at all of the places. Better than anywhere else we have stayed anywhere in the world. I would recommend the same trip to anyone.
Travel Advisor:  Michelle Jaykus Peck

Australia and Fiji

By: Cydney


Reviewed on: 11 Apr 2018

Excellent! The hotels were fabulous as were the many, many adventures and excursions they planned for us!
Travel Advisor:  Arlene Humble

New Zealand

By: Fran


Reviewed on: 21 Apr 2018

Our trip was seamless due to the employees of Swain. They were friendly and prompt always. We had a great trip.
Travel Advisor:  Gloria Welles
Not Recommended

Cookbook

By: Newbee


Reviewed on: 28 Apr 2018

I felt like this personalized tour was created like every other tour with the same stops and excursions as every tour I read online. Did not feel any thought went into it as an individual
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So-So

By: alice1


Reviewed on: 07 May 2018

Swain is usually above reproach. However the arrangements in Perth did not go as planned. However, Georgia spoke with them and they refunded me a portion of my money.
Travel Advisor:  Georgia Schley Ritchie
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Very good

By: Luis


Reviewed on: 17 May 2018

Very knowledgeable and very friendly.
Travel Advisor:  Peter Rubin

Overall trip to New Zealand and Australia

By: Mary


Reviewed on: 28 May 2018

Overall, very good. Only one thing we'd rather have gone on the Hobbit Tour instead of the Glow Worm Cave. Other than that, tour was great.
Travel Advisor:  Theresa Quintarelli

Not all promises were delivered

By: Carolyn


Reviewed on: 07 Jun 2018

Their overall proposal for our trip was adhered to in broad strokes, but important details were changed without our permission & to our disappointment. When we contacted them directly, during the trip, they responded promptly. We felt like we were promised, & paid for, one description of our trip & we received a lesser version - leaving us wondering about what happened to the money we paid, when we received less. As there were no itemized expenses ever presented, it was easy for them to "shortchange" us. Their site recommendations were, in general, wonderful, but one or two of their guides were not up to the Virtuoso level (& one was beyond awesome!), nor were some of the "experiences" they booked. They dropped the ball on a fairly routine train trip, causing an unnecessary interruption, requiring additional ticket purchase & on two occasions asked their guides to handle issues that were strictly administrative (causing confusion for guide & traveler). Wish there'd been fewer snags
Travel Advisor:  Carol Brant

Perfect Trip!

By: AGW


Reviewed on: 14 Jun 2018

Swain developed a wonderful itinerary for my first trip to New Zealand! Loved it all and they were easy to work with and very responsive. I would definitely use them again!
Travel Advisor:  Linda Terrill

Great Company!

By: Lissa


Reviewed on: 05 Jul 2018

They did a wonderful job planning our trip in Australia! They were very helpful, especially taking care of some changes! All of the tours were perfect! And the drivers and guides exceptional! I would definitely use them again!
Travel Advisor:  Michelle Boyles

Quick Trip to India

By: mj


Reviewed on: 29 Jul 2018

This is the second time I've used Swain Destinations and they did not disappoint. The first time was for a trip to Australia, and it was spectacular. This trip to India lived up to those expectations. The Swain recommended accommodations were flawless, the drivers were punctual and helpful and the guides were fantastic.
Travel Advisor:  Deborah Trevino