My wife and I had agreed to go to New Zealand with another couple who are old friends. We each wanted to also spend some time in Australia. Our friends asked that I take the lead on planning the trip. I did two things: 1) gather itinerary ideas from experienced traveler friends who had been there and 2) search for a travel specialist knowledgeable about both New Zealand and Australia. I was lucky to find Dianne Hall’s Company, Gowalkabout Travel, on the Internet.
Dianne and her in-country teams took my rough ideas for a three-week trip and the two slightly different schedule priorities of the two couples and created two overlapping itineraries that had my wife and I in New Zealand for two weeks and then in Sydney, Australia for nearly a week. Our friends had a tighter schedule and were only to be in New Zealand for 10 days and in Sydney, Australia for one week. Our itineraries were designed to overlap for 13 days, mostly in New Zealand.
Dianne and her team did much more than help us plan two overlapping fun filled itineraries. They also supported us on a real-time basis to help manage the challenges we encountered. The largest one of these challenges was created by landing in Auckland as Cyclone Gabrielle was hitting the area. This historically severe storm impacted our flights, hotel arrangements and itineraries. Faced with this extreme situation, Dianne and her team provided both couples with the critical support we needed to get our travel plans back on track as quickly as possible.
Not only did the two traveling couples deal with a severe storm, but we also met other challenges that Dianne and her team helped us manage. We were among the first wave of tourists to enter New Zealand after its reopening after being closed due to Covid and we were going to be in Sydney during World Pride which was expected to attract over 500,000 attendees. Even after overcoming the Gabrielle challenges, we would have not been able to successfully manage the well-planned overlapping itineraries without the real time support we received from Dianne and her team.
We consider ourselves seasoned travelers that seek to enjoy the experiences of traveling. As a photographer, I also seek to capture some of the beauty of those locations. Dianne and her team helped me achieve both of those goals on this trip of a lifetime with friends and for that I am forever grateful.