Multi-Day Tour

Kiwi Culture (13 days)

Swain Destinations

Auckland, New Zealand To Queenstown, New Zealand

Itinerary

DAY LOCATION(S) HOTEL MEALS DESCRIPTION
Day 1
Auckland, New Zealand
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
Auckland, New Zealand
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
Auckland, New Zealand
Heritage Auckland None
On arrival into Auckland, collect your rental vehicle and drive to your accommodation.

Auckland, ‘City of Sails', located between two stunning harbors, enjoys a mild year-round climate Auckland is the country's most visited region and largest urban area, offering exciting activities and great shopping.

The city lies across a 7-mile wide volcanic isthmus separating two harbors. The Waitemata to the east opens into the Hauraki Gulf, and to the Pacific Ocean. The Manukau Harbour to the west offers many estuaries and surf beaches and opens to the Tasman Sea.
Day 4
Auckland, New Zealand
Heritage Auckland Lunch
Experience Auckland by exploring important historical sites and learning more about the fascinating Maori culture and history along the way. This luxury tour features Auckland's well known cityscapes with its numerous volcanoes.

See Auckland through the eyes of a passionate local guide, who can share their cultural knowledge and upbringing along with special aspects of the Maori culture. Take in magnificent views of several ancient volcanoes including Rangitoto Island in the Hauraki Gulf. At 600 years, it is the largest & youngest of all the volcanoes in Auckland. Explore Auckland Domain, Auckland's second largest volcano and home of the Auckland Museum & Wintergarden before driving through the boutique suburb of Parnell with its many colonial homes.

Travel through Tamaki Drive with sweeping views across the Waitemata Harbour toward Bastion Point & Mission Bay, Auckland city's most well-known beach, and then ride over the Auckland Harbour Bridge and see the beautiful marine village of Devonport.
Day 5
Rotorua, New Zealand
Regent Of Rotorua None

Commence the leisurely drive to Rotorua. Drive time is around 4 hours, but allow most of the day to take in the sights along the way. You have a couple of options with the road via Waitomo Caves and the Glow Worm Grotto being the most popular (if you want to see the caves), or alternatively take the road via the Coromandel Peninsula for some breathtaking scenery (this will take a little longer as you will want to make quite a few extra stops).

New Zealand, or Aotearoa, is a mythical land steeped in legend and mystery. The diverse landscape of Rotorua is where adventure abounds. There are great forest trails for mountain biking or hiking. Take your chance to spy from the sky by helicopter, biplane, or floatplane – and maybe land on a dormant volcano – or an active one!

Try tandem skydiving or tumble head over heels down a hillside in the revolutionary Zorb. Safaris through native forest and over rugged farmland on horseback or by farm-bike, jet boating and fishing are other activities that abound in the area.
Day 6
Rotorua, New Zealand
Copthorne Hotel Oriental Bay Dinner
Cultural Eco Thermal Full Day Tour
Depart from your Rotorua city accommodation for this small group tour of Rotorua's most natural and popular geothermal parks - Wai O Tapu and Waimangu Volcanic Valley. The two parks offer a variety of thermal activity. At Wai-o-tapu, the colorful hot springs are the key features along with the famous Lady Know Geyser. At Waimangu Volcanic Valley, the guide will explain the Mt Tarawera eruption which blew open this now spectacular, bush-covered, geothermal park. The local naturalist guide will explain the volcanic processes of Rotorua and New Zealand, while you have the opportunity to view the volcanoes, geysers, New Zealand's largest boiling mud pool, and hot springs.

Next, you will learn about Maori customs, traditions, history and protocols new and old, with a guided visit to Te Puia, Rotorua's premier cultural center. The guided tour through Te Puia includes a visit to the wood carving school, art and craft gallery , Rotowhio Marae, weaving display, kiwi house and finally Pohutu Geyser.

Marae Hangi & Concert - Journey of Ages
Experience the warmth of the Maori people during an evening of ceremonial rituals, powerful cultural performance, storytelling & hangi feasting.

Share in the Powhiri - an ancient ceremony of welcome before you are invited into the Pre-European Maori village nestled within the native Tawa forest. Enter the living village, as it comes alive with the sights, sounds and activity of days gone by, including facial tattooing, weaving, carving and demonstrations on how food was cooked and preserved many years ago. Witness the earth being scraped carefully away from the hangi pit by your selected Chiefs, to reveal baskets laden with your sumptuous feast, which has been cooked beneath the ground on hot stones.

The sharing of food is an important part of Maori custom - join in the traditional hangi buffet feast, followed by New Zealand dessert. The evening draws to an end with the Poroporoaki - the official closing ceremony.
Day 7
Wellington, New Zealand
Qt Museum Hotel None
At your leisure for this 5-6 hour drive through the center of the North Island. The main features of the area are the farmlands, the active volcano area of Tongariro National Park and Lake Taupo and the Ruahine Forest Park.

The Wellington region of the lower North Island, which includes Wellington City (New Zealand's capital), the Wairarapa, Hutt valley, Porirua and the Kapiti Coast, is a vibrant new visitor destination. It is a gateway to New Zealand's culture, both urban and rural.
Day 8
Wellington, New Zealand
Qt Museum Hotel Breakfast
Capital Tastes Walking Tour
Discover fresh tastes in New Zealand's caf� capital, as Zest Tours introduce you to the city, its local tastes, products and people on this popular excursion. Stroll behind the scenes at some favorite Wellington food places with a personal guide, to taste hidden culinary treasures and meet some of the people behind some of the city's best food.

Te Papa - Maori Highlights Tour
Te Papa Tongarewa means 'container of treasures'. At Te Papa, you'll discover the treasures of New Zealand's land and people, and the stories told with authority and passion. The museum is built on a unique bi-cultural partnership that recognizes and celebrates Maori as tangata whenua - the original people of this land.
Day 9
Blenheim, New Zealand
Hotel D'urville Breakfast
Interislander - Wellington to Picton
The 58-mile journey between Wellington and Picton takes just 3 hours and 10 minutes, yet it's one of the world's great scenic cruises. When you cruise across on The Interislander, you'll find a wonderful combination of entertainment and services that will make your Cook Strait crossing even more memorable.

Drive Picton to Blenheim
At your leisure, drive a short 30 minutes south on State Highway 1 to the beautiful wine district of Blenheim. The distance from Picton to Blenheim is about 18 miles.

Day 10
Blenheim, New Zealand
Hotel D'urville Breakfast
Today, your tour guide will show you through the fabulous Marlborough wine region stopping to enjoy two fine wine experiences including Marlborough's Iconic winery, Cloudy Bay. After the winery visits, you will depart the wine region through to the small seaport town of Havelock. Havelock is the gateway to the Pelorus and Kenepuru Sounds, and has the official title of Greenshell Mussel Capital of the World. Enjoy a view of the waterfront , after which we depart Havelock on the Marlborough Travel launch for the Greenshell Mussel Cruise through the Marlborough Sounds.

Take in the natural beauty of the native bush and the tranquility of the Sounds. Learn from your experienced Skipper the history of the Marlborough Sounds and the history of the pioneering families who have settled in the Sounds over 6 generations. Visit a Greenshell Mussel farm and learn why this delicacy grows so well in the Marlborough Sounds. Taste a local favorite - freshly steamed Mussels matched perfectly to a complimentary glass of Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc.
Day 11
Christchurch, New Zealand
The Classic Villa Breakfast
Allow 4 hours drive time for this 195-mile drive south on State Highway 1. On the way stop at Lake Grassmere Saltworks to see a network of settling ponds that in late summer turn coral pink, and perhaps pause for a cappuccino at Kekerengu. Vantage points along the Highway allow a close-up view of seals basking on the rocks.

On the east coast of New Zealand's South Island, the seaside settlement of Kaikoura is overlooked by majestic mountains that are snow capped for many months of the year. The township is located on a rocky peninsula, protruding from lush farmland beneath the mountains. In the waters off this peninsula, a complex marine system provides an abundantly rich habitat for marine mammals and seabirds, making it an ideal place for getting "close to nature."
Day 12
Christchurch, New Zealand
The Classic Villa Breakfast, Lunch
Explore the garden city and the surrounding areas of Christchurch with a small group of guests in a deluxe mini coach. Departing from your hotel, the tour heads through Christchurch and by the city's center where you can assess the progress of the rebuild following the 2010/2011 earthquakes. Your driver/guide will discuss the reasons for the event, its impact and the exciting plans for the future. Next, the tour heads towards the Port Hills which overlook Christchurch, and offer stunning views of the city, Canterbury Plains, Lyttleton Harbour and the distant Southern Alps. After dropping into Lyttleton Harbour you will have time explore a private garden which has been growing since 1865 and includes a variety of exotic trees, shrub rhododendrons, camellias and a good variety of New Zealand native plants. Head over the crater rim to another private garden that is 15 years old, the garden has a strong New Zealand theme and a largely formal layout. Within the evergreen structure of totara hedges, there are many native New Zealand plants and hybrids of exotic varieties raised in this country.

The tour then heads back towards Christchurch city stopping for a relaxing lunch, then a visit to the Botanical gardens. Here you will see exotic trees that are some of the largest, the tallest or the oldest of their kind in New Zealand. You will see spectacular color, intriguing sculptures, and memorial plantings that celebrate local and international history. If time permits, a stop will be made at another public garden that is rich in history, color and tranquility.
Day 13
Queenstown, New Zealand
Browns Boutique Hotel Breakfast
The drive today is around 7-8 hours, but there are many interesting diversions along the way as you pass through the Canterbury Plains into the Southern Alps and finally onto Queenstown. Stop at Lake Tekapo and take a scenic flight over Mt. Cook if you have time.

Nestled beside the deep blue waters of Lake Wakatipu, at the foot of the Remarkables Mountain Range, Queenstown is a year round resort, where you can be as active as you want, or just leisurely enjoy the magnificent scenery.
Day 14
Queenstown, New Zealand
Browns Boutique Hotel Breakfast, Lunch
An indulgent and varied full-day tour seeing local sights, enjoying fresh cuisine and tasting a selection of fine wines, cheeses and handcrafted chocolates. Taste wines at four vineyards over two Central Otago wine regions. Included is the Gibbston Valley wine cave tour, a splendid cheese and wine presentation and a divine wine barrel-cooked lunch matched with wines. Visit the historic precinct of Cromwell and return to Queenstown via the must-see Arrowtown, with time to take a stroll and sample locally made chocolates at one's pleasure.
Day 15
Queenstown, New Zealand
Browns Boutique Hotel Breakfast
At your leisure to explore the adventure capital of New Zealand. Set between the towering Remarkable Ranges and the bottomless Lake Wakitipu, Queenstown has it all - bungee jumping, jet boating, rafting, amazing scenic helicopter flights. You may wish to visit Milford or Doubtful Sound or the old gold mining town of Arrowtown. Explore the surrounding area on your own or on one of our additional day excursions.

Tour Features

Experience(s)

  • Adventure
  • Family Vacations
  • Wildlife & Nature

Description

Become enlightened in Maori history and modern culture through this expansive Kiwi Culture tour. Drive yourself around the North and South islands to experience New Zealand first hand. Get outside and do as the Kiwis do; hike, bike and enjoy the great outdoors. Take to the sea and cruise the Milford Sound. If you’re feeling gutsy, get high with a bungee jump or take to the sky and see New Zealand from above. The opportunities are endless as you chauffer yourself to quaint towns, through beautiful mountains and across scenic valleys.

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

Terms and conditions are posted on our website - click here for details.



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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recommend


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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

Reps Knowledge

By: Brenda


Reviewed on: 19 Aug 2018

Contact at Swain was helpful in knowing specific answers to several questions I had regarding Australia to help me make my final decisions.
Travel Advisor:  Debbie Kellogg

Trip to Australia

By: Kristi


Reviewed on: 23 Sep 2018

Our trip to Australia was perfectly planned and executed- we had a stress-free amazing vacation!
Travel Advisor:  Catherine Parkin