Multi-Day Tour | Private

New Zealand & Australia Land, Sea, Sky (21 days)

Big Five Tours & Expeditions, Inc.

Queenstown, New Zealand To Sydney, Australia

Valid for Departures Now Through: 15 Dec 2018

Itinerary

DAY LOCATION(S) HOTEL MEALS DESCRIPTION
Day 1
Queenstown, New Zealand
Azur Lodge None

Arrive Queenstown on the shores of Lake Wakatipu and amid the towering peaks of the Southern Alps. Your driver welcomes you for your private transfer to your hotel, a distinctively contemporary luxury lodge located on a hilltop overlooking some of the most spectacular scenery in New Zealand. Its nine private villas were designed to let you absorb the incredible views in chic luxury and total privacy. Incorporating a lounge, dining area, a private sun deck with a choice of either a king or twin beds dressed in luxury linens. Soak up the spectacular unobstructed views from the bathtub, which has been set into a bay window to give you a feeling of being outdoors; or opt for a luxurious in-villa massage.

Day 2
Queenstown, New Zealand
Azur Lodge Breakfast

This morning you will be met at your accommodation and for a shared transfer to Queenstown Airport for an enjoyable helicopter excursion through the Alps, flying above rainforests, across frozen lakes to majestic Milford to touchdown on an ancient glacier. The views of the glaciers are simply stunning, with their crevasses and blue and green ice falls. Return to airport and then back to the city via shared transfer. Later, join in on another adventure as you board a shared transfer and follow the shoreline of Lake Wakatipu to the remote town of Glenorchy about 45 mins away. After a briefing, you journey by 4WD coach through a wilderness so untouched it has been declared a UNESCO World Heritage Area. Travel along the back roads to the upper reaches of the scenic Dart River, where you set out on a thrilling jet boat ride on the river, taking in pristine wild area, where some for the movies’ sequences from the Lord of the Rings trilogy were filmed. Return to your lodge in late afternoon. The evening is at leisure. Savor dinner at the lodge.

Day 3
Queenstown, New Zealand
Azur Lodge Breakfast

Today is left at leisure to explore on your own to pursue your own interests. Queenstown’s jewel of a setting provides the perfect location for a staggering menu of outdoor adventure activities – from kayaking pure rivers and lakes to mountain biking, to skydiving, to exploring old farm homesteads and historic gold mining villages. You can also opt to browse boutiques and art galleries of Queenstown. The area also has a rich Maori heritage. In Maori mythology, Lake Wakatipu itself was formed when the indentation left by a sleeping giant was flooded. Members of South Island tribes ventured into the Wakatipu Basin in search of food and New Zealand’s precious pounamu (jade) long before the first European settlers arrived. You can explore this heritage with dinner and a cultural show or with a visit to one of the shops selling pounamu. The natural beauty and the unique energy of this region create the perfect backdrop for adventure, discovery and rejuvenation.

Day 4
Queenstown, New Zealand
Azur Lodge Breakfast, Lunch

Depart Queenstown for a half-day private wine tour venturing through the rugged Kawarau Gorge to visit four of the area's finest vineyards in the Gibbston, Bannockburn and Cromwell regions. En route take in stunning scenery such as the Otago Goldfields, historic Old Cromwell and Lake Dunstan. Learn about the early pioneering history and stop at the historic Kawarau Bridge, site of the original AJ Hackett Bungy Jump. Hackett opened the world's first permanent commercial bungee jumping site at the Kawarau Gorge Suspension Bridge near Queenstown in in the South Island in the 1980s, inspired by, among other things, the Vanuatu ritual of land diving from tall poles. Lunch is included at the Carrick Winery. Transfer back to your hotel. The balance of the day is at leisure.

Day 5
Nelson, New Zealand
Te Koi - The Lodge at Bronte Breakfast

After breakfast, you begin your day with a private transfer to Queenstown airport to board your flight to Nelson on the northern tip of South Island. On arrival, you pick up your intermediate-size, automatic rental vehicle, which includes daily insurance, unlimited mileage, and GPS device, and drive to your accommodation. Nelson is a haven for artisans seeking a casual lifestyle amid a landscape of mountains, valleys, unspoiled shores and national parks. The idyllic climate offers the perfect compliments when exploring the winery and orchard trail that extends into the small byroads and valleys throughout the region. Your lodge is the Te Koi - The Lodge at Bronte, set on the headland of Nelson’s historic Bronte Peninsula, overlooking Waimea Estuary. Your suite overlooks the waters of the Waimea Estuary, and you are welcomed with furnishings that include art from the hotel’s private collection, fresh flowers and cool, superb quality linens. You can end the day on your own deck sipping a wine grown only a few hundred meters along the estuary, nibbling on a freshly made delicacy or two as you watch the sun go down.

Day 6
Nelson, New Zealand
Te Koi - The Lodge at Bronte Breakfast, Lunch

This morning, drive your rental car to Stephens Bay and check in for your day cruise in the Abel Tasman National Park with Abel Tasman Charters. The park is at the north end of New Zealand’s South Island; and was named after Abel Tasman, who became the first European explorer to sight New Zealand in 1642. Board the boat for your shared day trip, exploring the coastline. You will sail past landmarks such as Split Apple Rock, the gateway towns of Kaiteriteri and Marahau, Adele and Fisherman’s Islands and on to Tonga Island seal colony. The cruise itinerary is flexible so if there is something to see on your day trip, like dolphins riding the bow wave or New Zealand fur seals fishing, then you have the opportunity to take a look; or if there's a particular bay you want to visit or park feature you want to see, then please do let the skipper know and he'll try to accommodate you.

After a light lunch, you have the chance to swim, sea kayak, go ashore for a bush walk, or just relax on the boat. There is plenty of snorkeling equipment if you are keen to work up an appetite. The delicious platter-style lunch is made with fresh local ingredients, local beer and wine are also available. Return to Stephens Bay this afternoon and drive back to your hotel
Day 7
Napier, New Zealand
The Farm at Cape Kidnappers Breakfast, Dinner

Drive to Nelson airport and return your rental car before flying to Napier. On arrival, collect your intermediate-size, automatic rental vehicle, including daily insurance, unlimited mileage and GPS, and drive to your accommodation. The Hawke’s Bay region is known as one of New Zealand’s richest agricultural areas, and is a long-established wine region. The Farm at Cape Kidnappers is among the rich vineyards and pasturelands of Hawke’s Bay. This beacon of land was discovered by Captain James Cook in 1769. The lodge is set on a 6,000-acre sheep farm on some of the most dramatic coastline in New Zealand. The lodge is a cluster of buildings with 22 cottages plus the luxurious four-bedroom Owner’s Cottage. All are graciously scaled and awash in natural light with breathtaking views as they open to large porches overlooking a stunning Pacific Ocean panorama. Its par 71 Tom Doak-designed, links-style golf course was voted the 27th best golf course in the world by Golf Magazine. Cape Kidnappers offers golfers and non-golfers alike a luxurious base while exploring the wonders of Hawke’s Bay. Facilities include two dining rooms and a covered loggia featuring a gourmet a la carte menu with private dining and room service available on request. Other rooms include a lounge/living room, library, intimate sitting room, wine cellar tasting room and a computer room.

Day 8
Napier, New Zealand
The Farm at Cape Kidnappers Breakfast, Dinner

This morning, enjoy a round of golf at Cape Kidnappers Course. The course is a par 71 and measures 6,510 meters/7,119 yards, and will challenge golfers of all skill levels. Cape Kidnappers overlooking Hawke’s Bay was awarded Best New Golf Course developed anywhere in the world in 2004, by prestigious Travel and Leisure Golf Magazine, and rates as the 16th best course in the world. (Tee Time to be booked, greens fees to be paid directly to lodge). Please note, most tee times play as foursomes so you may be paired up with other players. The balance of the day is free. For non-golfers, there is a host of other activities from hikes across the farmland, to a visit to the gannet colony, to sheep herding shows.

Day 9
Kerikeri, New Zealand
Kauri Cliffs Breakfast, Dinner

Drive to Napier airport, return your rental car and board your flight to the far north and Keri Keri. On arrival, collect your intermediate-size, automatic rental vehicle, which includes daily insurance, unlimited mileage and GPS. and set out to Matauri Bay. In the Far North of New Zealand lies an unspoiled peninsula. High cliffs plunge to the sea and meet three private pristine beaches. Huge native trees interspersed with giant fern crowd the inland forests. The Lodge At Kauri Kliffs’ magnificent golf course meanders through the forests and lowlands, and is ranked 58th in the world by Golf Magazine. Set on 6,600 acres near Matauri Bay, the lodge affords spectacular 180-degree views of the Pacific Ocean and overlooks the championship golf course. The panoramic views encompass Cape Brett, the famous “hole in the rock” and the Cavalli Islands. This splendid plantation lodge hosts a spacious living room, two private day rooms, computer room, and a beautiful dining room with outdoor decks overlooking the Pacific. The outstanding cuisine reflects the abundant local produce combined with the very best food and wine available from around the world. Eleven outlying guest cottages, each with two guest suites, along with the opulent Owner’s Cottage, are superbly appointed and the designer decorated suites are the epitome of luxury and taste. The suites overlook the ocean and golf course while the spa facility is nestled on the edge of a native Totara forest, designed to offer the same stunning 180-degree vista as the main lodge.

Day 10
Kerikeri, New Zealand
Kauri Cliffs Breakfast, Dinner

This morning, enjoy a round of golf at Kauri Cliffs. The par 72 championship golf course measures 6,510 meters/7,119 yards, and offers five sets of tees to challenge every skill level. Fifteen holes view the Pacific Ocean, six of which are played alongside cliffs that plunge to the sea. Kauri Cliffs was designed and built by David Harman. (Tee Time to be booked, greens fees to be paid directly to lodge). Please note, most tee times play as foursomes so you may be paired up with other players. The balance of the day is free. Non-golfers can opt for quad-biking or tour the islands by helicopter. Note that Keri Keri is New Zealand’s earliest European settlement, and is often described as the Cradle of the Nation.

Day 11
Auckland, New Zealand
Sofitel Auckland Viaduct Harbour Breakfast

Today, you’ll savor a drive to Auckland, about a four-hour scenic drive to your hotel for the night.

Please note, we do not book any harbor-front located hotels as there are scheduled cruise ship arrivals that impact the room views.

Day 12
Barossa Valley, Australia
The Louise Barossa Valley Breakfast

This morning, drop off your rental car and board your flight to Australia. You will be met on arrival in Adelaide after completing customs and immigration formalities, by your Big Five representative and transferred to the Barossa Valley and to your hotel. There’s something very special about the Barossa. You can feel it in the land, the people, the food and the wine. It’s a region of villages, vineyards and farms dotting a patchwork landscape. Barossans are famous for their generous hospitality, their love of a shared table and their passion for local food and wine. Festivals, celebrations, markets and music thrive here. Barossa is life’s great pleasures, in one unique place. Your hotel offers spacious comfort, pure luxury and sophisticated contemporary design. A private courtyard presents an entrance to your intimate hideaway. Each suite is created to cocoon and pamper. Outdoor rain showers, generous bathrooms and spa tubs spoil the senses. Enjoy seasonal gourmet treats and delicious breakfasts in the tranquility of your suite. Secluded terraces enhance a sense of breathing space with glorious vistas of rolling vineyard landscapes in the heart of the stunning Barossa wine valley.

Day 13
Barossa Valley, Australia
The Louise Barossa Valley Breakfast, Lunch

Today you explore Australian wines with your private specialist wine guide and vehicle. Begin with morning tea at a local food icon that produces an exceptional range of gourmet products. Your specialist guide escorts you on this day of discovering the Barossa Valley wine country. The success of the wine industry has historically been celebrated every two years with a week-long Barossa Valley Vintage Festival, which draws visitors from all over the world, including a huge street parade, concerts and gourmet dining. The Barossa Valley is primarily known for its red wine, in particular Shiraz. Large proportions of Barossa Shiraz are used in Penfolds Grange, Australia's most famous wine. Other main grape varieties grown in the region include: Riesling; Semillon; Grenache and Cabernet Sauvignon. Fortified wines have been traditionally produced in the region as well.

Savor a delightful leisurely two-course lunch paired with local wines, which may include Bin 707, Yattarna, and the iconic Penfolds Grange. At the end of the day, you stop at Mengler’s Hill’s lookout on the Barossa Range for the most distinctive views before returning to your accommodation in late afternoon.
Day 14
Hamilton Island, Australia
qualia Breakfast

After breakfast, you enjoy a private transfer back to Adelaide airport for your flight to Hamilton Island via a connection in Brisbane. On arrival at Hamilton Island, resort staff will welcome you and transfer you to your hotel, a world-class luxury resort in the Whitsundays situated on the secluded northern-most tip of Hamilton Island surrounded by all the splendor of the Great Barrier Reef. With a relaxed aspect and mesmerizing calmness, time seems to stretch forever. Distinctively Australian and international in understated style and luxury, qualia’s elegant private pavilions capture the beauty of a blue horizon edged with islands. Its exquisitely designed pavilions promise privacy and luxury. Each of the 60 light-filled pavilions faces the water, surrounded by lush tropical bushland within the resort. All pavilions boast the spectacular tropical bushland or stunning postcard views of the Whitsundays. Natural tones of timber, stone and glass reflect the serenity of the locale, subtly framing the seafront setting and providing sweeping views from every room. Each includes lounge area, stone en-suite bathroom with bath and separate shower, gourmet mini bar, Broadband internet access, DVD player (by request), flat-screen TV with complimentary movies on demand, and use of electric golf buggy. You are surrounded by pristine white beaches and a kaleidoscope of coral and marine life. Hamilton Island is a perfect base for exploring the Great Barrier Reef. Please note that qualia is exclusively for guests aged 16 or over.

Day 15
Hamilton Island, Australia
qualia Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Spend your time here exploring this stunning luxury resort with culinary classes and tastings hosted by the executive dining team. Enjoy personal beach drop-offs complete with a picnic lunch. Go snorkeling in the pristine waters of North and West Henning Island. Savor a round of golf at the Hamilton Island Golf Club, designed by five-time British Open winner Peter Thomson, which is located on neighboring Dent Island. Spoil yourself at Spa qualia with one of their signature treatments. Escape to a world of relaxation.

Day 16
Hamilton Island, Australia
qualia Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Explore the legendary Great Barrier Reef, both above and below the surface. Scuba charters, sunset and snorkeling cruises, sea kayaking, catamaran sailing in one of two 16-foot Hobie catamarans, which you can use to explore the local area. Enjoy self-guided and guided walks of the island allows you to explore the unique tropical flora, fauna and aesthetics of the resort and the area.

Day 17
Hamilton Island, Australia
Azur Lodge Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Enjoy a final day of activities on this island paradise with a spa treatment, or continue to discover the legendary Great Barrier Reef, take a sunset and snorkeling cruise, sea kayaking, self-guided or guided walks of the island allows you to explore the unique tropical flora and fauna. Or simply relax and rejuvenate at the the resort.

Day 18
Sydney, Australia
Intercontinental Breakfast

This morning, you transfer to Hamilton Island airport for your flight to Sydney. On arrival, you are met and privately transferred to your hotel, Intercontinental. This central Sydney hotel is the epitome of modern elegance. Once the city's Treasury Building, a soaring atrium now leads to stylish rooms, where you can watch white-sailed boats, ferries, yachts, jetboats and harbor cruises crisscross Sydney Harbour. You can sample imaginative Pacific-rim cuisine in our superb restaurant 117 dining, head to our wrap-around rooftop terrace for a spectacular sundowner, or host a high-style wedding or event. Circular Quay wharf, where ferries depart for Sydney’s best beaches, is a few steps away.

The sparkling waters of the bay are framed by the world famous white sails of the Opera House and the distinctive coat hanger-like Harbour Bridge. The colonial sandstone warehouses of the lively and historic Rocks District nestle at the foot of tall glass towers and contrast with the modernity of Darling Harbour.
Day 19
Sydney, Australia
Intercontinental Breakfast, Lunch

This morning you will be met at your accommodation by your local host and vehicle for a private day tour that takes you off the beaten track to see Sydney through local eyes. Please note: Walking is conducted at a relaxed pace, covering approximately 7.5km/4.7mi in total. A moderate level of fitness and comfortable walking shoes are required. First, enjoy a private guided tour of the Sydney Opera House. Step inside the most famous building of the late 20th Century to discover the stories behind Danish architect Jørn Utzon’s remarkable achievement. What inspired him to base his revolutionary design on ships’ sails? How did he solve an engineering challenge, considered one of the most difficult attempted anywhere in the world? You’ll find out on this very special one-hour private guided tour into the intricate workings of a living, breathing Opera House. Experience its daily operation as you are guided into the different theaters, given a fascinating account of the history and introduced to the excitement of the performing arts in Australia. Take in Sydney’s Northern Beaches and spectacular views of the harbor before you walk along the harbor shore, part of a national park as your local guide shares his knowledge of the native fauna and flora, local Aboriginal culture and overall history. This morning’s walk takes in stunning harbor vantage points, a unique community of hermit huts and one of Sydney’s secluded harbor beaches where you can enjoy a quick swim. Savor a relaxed lunch and genuine Australian hospitality at a private home in one of Sydney’s prettiest harbor-side suburbs. At picturesque Shelley Beach, you may be tempted to enjoy a quick swim in the Marine Park that is home to an impressive variety of subtropical fish or just relax and enjoy a cool drink and the views. A short walk brings you to the busy beachside suburb of Manly, where you can visit a local pub for a cold beer before returning to your accommodation.

Day 20
Sydney, Australia
Intercontinental Breakfast

This morning you are met by your private car and driver and transferred to Rose Bay where you will board a shared sea plane for a spectacular scenic flight. Departing Sydney Harbor, your seaplane flight tracks north past Sydney’s spectacular northern beaches before touching down in the expansive waterway of Pittwater. Jonah’s courtesy vehicle meets you at the dock and transfers you a short distance to the restaurant where you enjoy a leisurely three-course lunch (beverages additional). Jonah’s offers modern Australian cuisine under the direction of award-winning chef Peter Ridland. Reflecting Jonah’s unique seaside location, the seasonal menu showcases exceptional Australian and international produce. Enjoy the food as well as the 180-degree views of the Pacific Ocean. Take the scenic seaplane ride back to Rose Bay. Upon arrival, you are met by your water taxi and transferred to your accommodation. Later, you make your way independently to Sydney Harbour Bridge Climb office in The Rocks to begin an exhilarating shared climb of the iconic bridge. You must wear suitable enclosed, rubber-soled shoes such as runners, track or hiking shoes. You will need to pass a breath test (for a blood alcohol limit of 0.05% or less) before being allowed to climb. During this small group adventure you will climb stairs and catwalks and wind your way through a tangle of hatchways and steel girders suspended above the traffic. You access walkways that until recently were used exclusively by maintenance teams. Climb between arches to the summit, 440 feet above the water, and see all of Sydney before you. Along the way, learn about the rich history of the bridge while you absorb 360-degree panoramas of Sydney. The twilight climb departs just before sundown and allows you to experience the best of both day and night views. Take in a spectacular sunset and watch the moon and stars appear during your climb. Upon conclusion of the tour, make your way independently to your accommodation.

Day 21
Sydney, Australia
None Breakfast

Today you have a private transfer to Sydney airport for your flight home.

Tour Features

Experience(s)

Experiences have not been selected at this time

Description

This journey features Australia's Whitsundays along with some of the prettiest parts of New Zealand including the top golf courses on both islands. Take a helicopter flight through the Alps to Milford;, and go on a thrilling jet boat ride on the pristine Dart River. Kayak pure rivers and lakes, and explore historic gold mining villages or Maori heritage. Set out on your own with a rental car to discover some of the most stunning locations including Nelson, a haven for artisans amid a landscape of mountains and valleys; Napier in stunning Hawke’s Bay; and Keri Ker. Enjoy rounds of golf at award-winning courses along the way. Discover the wines of both New Zealand and Australia, including Australia’s Barossa Valley with your private specialist wine guide and vehicle. Savor a remarkable four-night island retreat on Hamilton Island at a world-class luxury resort in the Whitsundays surrounded by all the splendor of the Great Barrier Reef. Conclude this stellar adventure in Sydney with a climb up the famed Sydney Harbour Bridge at sunset you climb between the arches to the summit, 440 feet above the water, and see all of Sydney laid out before you. This is the Australia and New Zealand that reaches past the rock, the reef and commercialism.

About Us

Since 1973, Big Five has created life-affirming journeys to some 44 destinations worldwide. Our Destination Specialists, award-winning adventures and premier 24-hour White Glove Service® guest assistance combine to present the journey of a lifetime to individuals, families and small groups. Sustainable travel is at the heart of Big Five. We have seen how the power of travel can change the world for the better. Sustainability benefits both the traveler and the places visited. Whether the focus is cultural, wildlife or adventure, we tailor each journey to the interests of guests traveling in Africa, Asia, Latin America and South Pacific.

Insider Tip

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

Terms & Conditions

Varies. Please inquire.

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 Big Five Tours & Expeditions, Inc.

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Highly recommend

By: Jsquared


Reviewed on: 15 Oct 2013

In Chengdu our guide, Amanda, went above and beyond her responsibilities and made our stay there the highlight of the tour. We did not go through the locks on the Three Gorges Dam. Apparently the locks were shut down because of wind. However, when we reached the locks there was not even a breath of wind. We will be obliged if you could confirm the reason for the locks being closed,and in future pick a cruise ship that goes through the locks in daylight.
Travel Advisor:  Jodi Fox
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highly recommend

By: Sandy Z


Reviewed on: 02 Nov 2013

We used them for our most recent trip. The arrangements they made were very good. We had a few problems with flight time changes, but each time I emailed them and they were able to confirm the changes and reassure me that we would be picked up at the appropriate time at the other end. THey made good choices for hotels, and the cruise boat down the Amazon was fabulous!!
Travel Advisor:  Birgit Navarre
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Hardworking and experienced tour group

By: Not provided


Reviewed on: 20 Nov 2013

We've used Big Five Tours twice. The first experience had one or two bumps in the outcome but they corrected what could be done at the time and were attentive. We had doubts about their competency and experience but spent time going over the issues with them after the trip. After detailed discussions, we found them to be truly interested and they took our comments seriously. We decided to give them a 2nd chance with another large trip and they did a fabulous job!
Travel Advisor:  Sharon Cooper
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Very Accommodating

By: TGC and MJC


Reviewed on: 24 Nov 2013

Our trip to the the Galapagos Islands and Machi Picchu was fine tuned to our personal needs and time restrictions. The local tour companies in Ecuador (Klein Tours) and Peru (Fiesta Tours) were outstanding. Their staff and guides could not have been better. It was a trip of a lifetime.

Recommend

By: jpriest


Reviewed on: 25 Jun 2014

Travel Advisor:  Patty Calvert

Professional and timely

By: pelisons3


Reviewed on: 12 May 2015

Big Five provided a professional and individualized travel experience for us. Our guides were timely and informative and really seemed to want us to have a hassle free vacation while enjoying the beauty and culture of their country.
Travel Advisor:  Michele Vogel

Ditto previous comments

By: Jim


Reviewed on: 03 Nov 2015

See my other review that contains the same information -- altogether excellent!
Travel Advisor:  Honey Mistry

Thailand Myanmar

By: Been There


Reviewed on: 13 Mar 2016

Had a thoroughly enjoyable 17 day excursion to Bangkok, Amphawa, Chiang Mai, Yangon, Mandalay, Bagan, and Inle Lake areas. Travel connections were made without complication. Transportation (buses, vans) were comfortable, drivers and assistants were up to the task, Guides were knowledgeable, helpful, flexible, personable and communicated effectively. Accommodations for the most part were in keeping with what we expected. The restaurant in the Baan Amphawa Resort accommodation should not have served us supper as their kitchen was closing. The breakfast meals were good and set one up for the day. The accommodation in the Inle Lake accommodation (Inle Princess Hotel) has very weak internet connection for those needing to receive email. A travel companion had her US dollar cash reserve eliminated as the internet failed and she could not pay by credit card. Their water system pulses and surges giving uneven pressure when washing/showering. Had restful sleep in all hotels.
Travel Advisor:  Nancy Ferragine
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Comprehensive trip planners

By: Pamela


Reviewed on: 19 Jul 2016

This was our second trip with Big Five. We also travelled with them in Peru, where we had one guide for 10 days who was one of the most remarkable people we've ever met. This trip included safari, Victoria Falls, and a few days in Cape Town. Our trip had many logistical elements (we are a family of 5) and it went off pretty much without a hitch. We had multiple guides and drivers, all competent and timely, some more expert or personable than others. The safari camps chosen exceeded our needs and expectations. We would do the trip again in a heartbeat.
Travel Advisor:  Ken Neibaur
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Great tours

By: Jax


Reviewed on: 13 Aug 2016

Our vacation to Tanzania, Africa was fantastic. Big Five Tours did not disappoint. We did not know what to expect and they did a great job in every way. The tented camps were more than anyone could have imagined. The guides were extremely knowledgeable and friendly.
Travel Advisor:  Bill Beckett
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Amazing Company

By: Monica B


Reviewed on: 17 Aug 2016

Working with Ashish and Big Five Tours was a great experience. Every aspect our our tour was outstanding and we would not have changed anything with our itinerary. Ashish took the time to get to know what we wanted and expected and was bang on with everything on our trip.
Travel Advisor:  Sue Pechtel
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Great Tour Company!

By: Holly


Reviewed on: 06 Feb 2017

Everyone was on time and where they said they would be in our itinerary. We had amazing guides and drivers who took such great care of us. I would highly recommend Big Five to my friends and family!
Travel Advisor:  Courtney Regan
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Five

By: Jimbo


Reviewed on: 24 Feb 2017

Very good. Almost everything went off as planned. When there was a problem, a call took care of it. The guide was great: pleasant, knowledgeable and punctual. I would definitely recommend Big Five Tours.
Travel Advisor:  Steve Kuriga
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Uruguay

By: Liz


Reviewed on: 06 Mar 2017

This is our second time using Big Five. We were faced with an emergency situation of coming up with a 10 day itinerary for Uruguay with 2 weeks notice. They came through with a great program at a price point we were comfortable with. The planning and fine tuning was done quickly and efficiently. A great company for a good travel experience.
Travel Advisor:  Natasha Rhodes
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A boundary pushing vacation

By: Jann DH


Reviewed on: 27 Mar 2017

Having never been to Central America, it was important for our family to work with an experienced operator with trusted connections. Our amazing travel advisor Sheila Gallant-Halloran recommended Big Five, and together, we experienced our best vacation ever. Our accommodations were fantastic. While living in the jungle without electricity, waking up to the sound of howler monkeys and rappelling down 100ft waterfalls definitely pushed our personal comfort zones, it was always done within the parameters of safety, fun and new experiences (in addition to push comfort!). Having Gisele and Asheesh thoroughly explain the uniqueness of our vacation choices only added to the excitement upon arriving. The finely-detailed itinerary made for no surprises. Logistically, it was great to have people waiting for to take us to our next destination. Their local contacts Jose and Jannie checked in with us throughout our vacation, making sure all was well. Top marks for another great family vacation.
Travel Advisor:  Sheila Gallant-Halloran
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Good

By: Jimbo


Reviewed on: 30 Mar 2017

Most of our experience with Big Five was good. A couple of times drivers were not there but they recovered quickly. Guide was great. Trip through the canal went very well. Hi light of the trip.
Travel Advisor:  Steve Kuriga

Peru 2017

By: Mark B


Reviewed on: 10 Jun 2017

Another great trip with Big Five - every detail attended to, wonderful guides and destinantions.
Travel Advisor:  Ken Neibaur
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South America

By: Jay


Reviewed on: 03 Jun 2017

We could not fault the Big Five. We travelled to amazing places in Peru and Ecuador over 3 1/2 weeks and were looked after very well all the way. we had good accommodation, excellant guides and very good drivers with comfortable cars which all made for a good holiday.
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Extremely professional and knowledgeable

By: ConstantlyCurious


Reviewed on: 22 Jun 2017

While I still get a bit confused about the role of Big Five vs. the local agencies in Peru (not to mention my personal agent), our overall trip was extremely well managed. The guides were all incredibly knowledgeable, to the point where they could have been professors! Everything was extremely efficient. We always felt like someone was watching out for us - which was important to us in a country where we don't speak the language. And most importantly, we were able to experience some truly amazing things. Thanks for a great trip!
Travel Advisor:  Tisha Neufville

Big Five Tours

By: Neal


Reviewed on: 29 Jun 2017

Excellent.....most impressive was the Tour Guides we experienced throughout the five different Camps we visited. The Camps were well managed and efficient.
Travel Advisor:  Toni Lanfrank
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Great tour provider

By: Neets


Reviewed on: 19 Sep 2017

Big Five made sure our experience was exceptional. Our first experience in Africa was made memorable by Big Five. We were met at the bush plane by Michael our guide and from the minute we left the airstrip we felt safe and secure in his presence. Over the next several days he demonstrated his knowledge of the wildlife and their habits and made our experience a true adventure. He is more than a guide, he is an ambassador for Tanzania and a dedicated conservator of the wildlife resource. We saw and photographed so many different animals and had so much fun with Michael as he has a very developed sense of humour. The rest of our tour with Big Five was to the Ngorongoro Conservation area and was also memorable. Words cannot truly express the experiences provided us by Big Five you have to go there yourself. Big Five live up to their name and reputation and are the professionals they say they are.
Travel Advisor:  Geordie McDonald
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A Little Bit of Heaven

By: bus driver


Reviewed on: 08 Aug 2017

We couldn't have asked for a better experience. We were looked after right off from the start. During the whole trip we felt safe. The staff couldn't have been more accommodating,friendly caring people. The bus driver and myself highly recommend the Big Five to all who want a trip of a lifetime. try them you will never go to another.
Travel Advisor:  Bill Beckett
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Asia

By: Liz


Reviewed on: 11 Nov 2017

Very good. Have used Big Five on three different occasions and they provide an excellent service and itinerary leading to a very satisfying experience.
Travel Advisor:  Natasha Rhodes
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South America

By: big blue


Reviewed on: 04 Dec 2017

Wonderful experience with Big Five. The guides were uniformly excellent, both knowledgeable and very friendly. I would recommend them to anyone thinking of going to South America.
Travel Advisor:  Beth Jenkins
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Patagonia

By: OMM


Reviewed on: 21 Jan 2018

The guides provided by the tour operator were amicable, yet professional. They were there for us all of the time from arrival to departure. Alvin was the best in Santiago. Joaquin was the best en El Cajon del Maipo. Remota Hotel provided great facilities with great guides. We thoroughly enjoyed our experience.
Travel Advisor:  Misty Jones
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Thank you Big Five

By: Frequent Travelers


Reviewed on: 14 Apr 2018

Big Five was awesome! They kept our family busy in Costa Rica with hiking, fishing, zip lining, horseback riding and more. Big Five seemed to have the insight on where to go with the time we had. The tour services booked were wonderful with very kind and knowledgable guides. The accommodations chosen were top notch and our family would love to return one day with Big Five as our event coordinator once again! Thanks Big Five
Travel Advisor:  Jeannie Sauleau
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Excellent Tour Operator

By: Bill


Reviewed on: 02 Jun 2018

Big Five Tours is a great agency to work with in providing on the ground travel experiences. As part of our cruise, we did a pre-cruise to Hong Kong and India and post cruise to Egypt. Via our travel advisor, Clare Isquist, Big Five made it happen. The hotels and guides and the itinerary in country were excellent. No complaints. Their in country representatives were always available to assist if needed and were a great help with plane reservations and airport formalities. Without Big Five we do not think our trip would have been the experience of a lifetime that it was.
Travel Advisor:  Clare Isquith
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Great tour guides and drivers

By: Trendy Traveler


Reviewed on: 18 Jun 2018

We used Big Five for our trip to Peru the end of May 2018. Each of the drivers and guides were so accommodating and knowledgable. Freddie and Erika, our guides in the Urubamba Sacred Valley really bent over backwards for us. Freddie even came all the way back to the train station to deliver my husband's reading glasses that he had left in the car. We had so much fun with them that we got a group picture with them at the end to put in our photo book. I would use Big Five again, but my only complaint is that we had a small issue come up and when we tried to use the "White Glove Service", they did not respond to us. The problem resolved itself, but if it had been a big deal, this would have been very upsetting because we were paying for the service. Otherwise, all was taken care of and we had a great time.
Travel Advisor:  Carol Brant
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Very good... in line with expectations

By: Steve


Reviewed on: 03 Jul 2018

we didn't really have much contact with them... they seemed to help on the itinerary... had a problem with a bag in Arusha and their ground operator Tandela helped with that
Travel Advisor:  Ken Neibaur
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Wow!

By: Happy Hamster


Reviewed on: 09 Aug 2018

I was nervous about going on a photo safari, but we were in very good hands with Big Five. We were met at each stop along the way by courteous and professional representatives even when our flight was 5 hours late on arrival. Our lodging at Kings Camp was the absolute lap of luxury and the guides, trackers and hotel staff were wonderful. We were also pleased with other arrangements at Victoria Falls and Chobe. We saw all of the 'big five' and so much more - birds of every color, animals small and large. I would definitely use them again.
Travel Advisor:  Joan Smith

Flawless

By: Tom


Reviewed on: 09 Aug 2018

We have done two trips to South/Central America planned by Big Five. Both have been filled with activities and multiple destinations. Big Five provides a detailed itinerary which is flawlessly executed. Representatives are on hand and on time when promised. Reservations are in place and we are welcomed upon arrival. Transportation from jeeps, to rafts, to small planes are in place and on time. Everything comes together perfectly. I'm confident there is a lot of behind the scenes calling and confirming going on during the trip but we just experience the wonder of the locations with no logistical responsibilities or problems. Oh, and the trips themselves have been amazing, activity-filled vacations delivering what we requested and more than we expected!
Travel Advisor:  Mary Jean Thompson

Great trip

By: sai


Reviewed on: 09 Aug 2018

This was our first time traveling with Big Five. They were very responsive from the planning stage to during the trip. Could not have been better!
Travel Advisor:  Jane Rosenkrantz