You wanted to know if I enjoyed Africa. YES YES YES
Loved loved loved Garonga Safari Camp!! Once I saw how everything was placed, no worries. The only thing was we had to make sure we zipped up the tent due to those cheeky monkeys who like to get into the tent if they see anything shiny as in medication tablets etc. We didn’t have an incident just that we were warned. Garonga Safari Camp is just amazing and all the staff are so friendly. We were up at 4:45am (not like me at all) then a cup of tea/coffee then off at 5:15am for our morning safari. This was just amazing. The drivers and Spotters that we had were so good and full of information. On our afternoon safari, the driver stopped in the middle of 2 lioness and a lion and they just walked around us. Phil did feel a little unsettled but it was great. There were about 4 couples on their honeymoon, one couple from Cronulla! We met an English couple who were about 35ish and struck up a friendship with them. The food was lovely. The Tents were fabulous. We saw the big 5 but I think we could have stayed another 2 nights. We met the English owner of the Camp who would come and visit all the guests whilst we were having our lunch and would join us for dinner which we had a BBQ one night and a lovely meal under the stars in the main dining area with pre dinner drinks and nibbles beforehand. Very professional and yet all the staff were not in your faces. perfect!
Victoria Falls Hotel is a really beautiful grand old building. I did feel a little uncomfortable going through the borders but that was all. Once again the room was good, the staff were good, the food was good. We did see the Falls although they are in a long drought and normally the falls would be spilling all the way along but it was in dribs and drabs and very hot. It was good whilst on our track you could feel the spray every now and again. We also went on a river cruise which was interesting. The time that we were at Victoria Falls, we were saying I wonder if they have seen …. animal? etc. Shows that it was the exciting part of the South African trip.
I think the highlight was definitely Garonga Safari Camp. I would go back there again!
APT River cruise was really lovely. It was so good to be able to unpack once. The Boat was well furnished, along with the rooms and I am glad we chose the room that we did. We did check out the bigger room but thought what we were in was suitable. Meals were great although we chose to have the buffet lunch up in the lounge most days and then go down to the restaurant. There was also the Chef’s Table which was down the other end of the boat and limited and you had to book. We did that twice. The trips off the boat were well organised into different ability groups. That worked well. The markets also were good but a lot of things you thought, “gee, I’m sure I have seen that back home in DJ’s or Myers” but it was just lovely walking around smelling the food and wine and seeing everyone in Christmas cheer. I am glad I have done the Christmas Market tour and could just imagine how all the places would have looked in Spring. It did snow for us which was a real treat. Phil’s only complaint was that he felt we did not have a lot of time on our free time and felt a little rushed. I agree too but didn’t feel rushed.
Testimonial – Chandra n Amjud
We‘ve had a fantastic holiday, hope you did as well. Snowed a lot on the land portion of the tour and everywhere beautifully decorated with picture perfect sceneries. Everything went well and had lots of fun with a wonderful group of New Zealanders and Aussies.
We were lucky to see the Aurora briefly in Tromsø, really wanted to see it when we stayed in the glass top igloo but unfortunately it was snowing that night!!
We thank you for all your hard work, support and reassurance trying to sort out our tour when Bentours went under voluntary administration. We wish you and family a very Merry Christmas and a safe and happy New Year.
Chandra n Amjud.
Testimonial – Margaret and Stan
Yes, we are back! Plus we had a glorious time experiencing the heavy snowfall, the igloo and the Gamme cabins not to mention the sledding rides drawn by the Huskies and Reindeer. On the whole Stan and myself enjoyed the land travel much more than the sea voyage due to my seasickness and I had to take Ondasetron tablets for it. We wish we had seen the Aurora Borealis at Saariselka while we were lying on the bed inside the heated igloo. However we have enjoyed every aspect of the trip: the magical scenes where even the simplest of houses were lit up with Christmas decorations and the whole countryside completely covered with knee high snow. If it wasn’t for my intolerance to the sea voyage (especially sailing in the Barents Sea, I would have enjoyed the view of snow capped mountains with trees heavily dusted with pure white snow.
The AB was not sighted till we were in Tromso and then we found out that we really needed a good camera. One of the Kiwis in our group had a iPhone 11 that captured the very essence of the myriad of colours while I stood next to her and got a fairly faint one on my iPhone 8 through an App I downloaded earlier. Oh well, at least we got to see the AB. One of the Finnmarken officer told me that the best time to see the AB is in Jan to February where the weather is ‘more steady’. To me the downside would be seeing a countryside devoid of Christmas cheer.
All the accommodations were satisfactory in terms of cleanliness, staff courtesy/helpfulness and food provided. There’s also the cohesion evident among our tour group with our designated tour guide Tomislav.
By now Lisa would have filled you in with our drama of being advised by one Specialist of not going, then the advice overridden by Stan’s surgeon. Our compromise was to cut out our London phase. Lisa had kindly arranged for wheel chair assistance for me (I hurt my R knee ligament a week before departure) and that was very much appreciated. Please thank her for me.
In summary, the tour itinerary has met our needs, is value for money spent and I would not hesitate to encourage other friends and social contacts to experience it, especially the land phase.
Thank you Angela for taking the trouble to collect our feed backs, your help in making this trip possible. You have a wonderful team there at the Shire Travel. We are off to the Gold Coast today for a family Christmas gathering and won’t be back till 29/12. So our very best wishes to you, the staff at the Shire Travel and your respective families for a Merry Christmas and a very Happy New Year 2020!
Margaret and Stan.
Testimonial – Colin & Megan Nicholson
We are having the most AMAZING time on our trip. Every day is just wonderful and we are seeing all the things we hoped we would. We are at Kananaskis Mountain Lodge at the moment which received a lot of snow over the last few days so it’s a winter wonderland- great recommendation and a very easy drive from Banff. Helicopter ride today, Calgary tomorrow then NY on Sunday- it’s the trip that keeps on giving!!
Colin & Megan Nicholson
Testimonial – Kerry
Hi Lisa and Angela,
Thank you for making our holiday to Castaway so enjoyable , the Bure was perfectly positioned , the resort was lovely and the massages went down a treat , along with the alcohol and food!
Testimonial -Sohani Britton
Hi Joanne and Lisa,
Hope you are all well.
We just got back from another amazing trip thanks to Shire Travel, you girls are amazing the
Hotels and recommendations were spot on.
The only one little hiccup was the transfer from Luxe to the airport it was booked too late (7.30pm pickup and our flight was at 10.30pm)
We got to the airport only at 8.30pm due to traffic.
All good though we made it home on time, thanks again and we need to now start planning our next one- Morocco, Portugal and Spain June 2020!!
Thank you once again
Testimonial – Megan & Colin Nicholson
We are having the most AMAZING time on our trip. Every day is just wonderful and we are seeing all the things we hoped we would.
We are at Kananaskis Mountain Lodge at the moment which received a lot of snow over the last few days so it’s a winter wonderland- great recommendation and a very easy drive from Banff. Helicopter ride today, Calgary tomorrow then NY on Sunday- it’s the trip that keeps on giving!!
Megan & Colin Nicholson
Testimonial – Dianne & David Johnston
We are writing to thank you for the excellent job you did for us on our recent African trip. You understood exactly what we wanted & delivered.
What an amazing country, the Rwandan component with the Gorilla trek, wow! Fantastic. Only one minor comment, that one extra night at the lodge would have been great,(not so rushed ).
The great migration in Kenya & Tanzania was everything & more than we expected, with 5 crossings witnessed, which was so exciting. Our tented accommodation throughout was excellent, also all our drivers & Guides went above & Beyond for us, we can’t speak highly enough of them. The Cape Town part of the trip was great, with the V & A waterfront
A fabulous spot to stay. Sadly it’s all over, & we will have to content ourselves searching your travel brochures for the next exciting adventure, see you soon, & many thanks Angela & team.
Dianne & David Johnston
Testimonial – Chris Greenwood
Dropped in for some brochures today, was a great local shire business, super helpful and friendly.
You need travel arrangements talk to Jacqui, excellent service from her!! Cant fault her friendliness or her professionalism!
Testimonial – Heather & Neville
Just to say many thanks for your professional and kindly attention to our upcoming holiday
We have enjoyed working with you and appreciate your efforts to give us the best options and service
Heather and Neville
Testimonial -The Burns family
All I can say is “wow” south island NZ is just beautiful at every turn.
Thankyou for all your local advice we really did see the best of the south island. We loved Kaiteriteri and loved Queenstown its the best. We would have liked more time in Lake Wanaka just because it looked like such a fun place. Milford sound boat trip was just amazing. Loved the big old boat & the weather was glorious for us. Highly recommend the funkyaks on the dart river it was so much fun well worth the money and staff are lovely.
Thankyou again for making our NZ holiday unforgettable.
The Burns family
Testimonial – Ian
Just want to let you know that we thoroughly enjoyed our trip to Uluru last weekend. All went smoothly, the accommodation was good and you even turned on perfect weather for us. Our favourite was the Sounds of Silence dinner and the Segway was a good laugh, the light show was magnificent. Ernie and Bob managed to climb the rock which was their dream, both agree they can cross that off their bucket list now. We hired a car and went to the Olga’s and had a helicopter ride. Thank you for your organisation everything went to plan no hiccups which made for a wonderful 4 days.
Regards Patricia Briggs..
Testimonial – Robyn
We had a fabulous trip. Everything went well and our guides and drivers were amazing. We felt immersed in malayan culture, we ate street food, fresh, fresh fruit and shopped and talked with local people in markets. Everyone we met – the airline staff, hospitality staff, shopkeepers, people in the streets, even most other tourists we encountered (not many aussies, no americans) – were kind welcoming and helpful.
We saw so much wild wildlife! Orangutans, proboscis monkeys, macaques, langurs, lemurs, monitor lizards, snakes, crocodiles and to our great joy, even pygmy elephants!! We witnessed green turtles laying eggs and hundreds of hatched baby turtles being released to the sea. We experienced everything that was promised and so much more.
What days do you work? I’d love to show you some of our photos. I’d also like to get some contact details for the companies that supplied our terrific guides so that we can let their employers know how knowledgeable, interesting and helpful they were. We felt that they went way above and beyond for us.
I’d recommend the trip to everyone interested in wildlife, or getting out beyond the resorts, especially to pay the extra for the private guide experience. We felt that, especially compared to those we saw on bus trips, we received preferential treatment, extra consideration (our hotel rooms were upgraded and amazing, when we ate at restaurants we were given the best tables) and inside knowledge.
BTW – that lounge at Kuala Lumpur airport was a godsend for the 7 hour stop over. We got 5 hours for the price of 2, including a complimentary wine each and complimentary 15min back and neck massages at the airport spa. We were so refreshed and relaxed on the flight home.
Feeling a bit fuzzy still today. Its all so noisy and fast.
Testimonial – David
Good Morning Ian,
A big thank you for putting our EO annual Retreat together.
It was all simply perfect. All your recommendations were spot on. The 3 Penthouse were perfect, spacious, clean and fantastic location, great choice.
The restaurants Firstly Atmosphere (once in a lifetime dining experience) I have dine in many places around the world and I have been cooking for 34 years but OMG that was the top 10 in my life dining experience. They opened the restaurant for us, they cooked a 14 course meal, they took us through their dishes around Tasmania, the taste, the flavour and visually it was art on every plates, highly recommended.
We also went to Bill Lark and had an hour private session with himself again Magical, the story behind the men himself is mind-blowing.
The tour at Mona again was perfect, the Lunch at Source outstanding (having lunch while Paul Kelly is warming up for his concert…As you do). Pick up and drop off as well just on time and going above and beyond expectation.
Kim Dudson from Tasmania Tours was simply the star of the trip, she is a wealth of Knowledge and fantastic energy!!!!!
Ian, we drove you crazy with dates, numbers, times, $$$$ and you made it work.
Thank you, Thank you & Thank you.
David Bitton – https://www.bittongourmet.com.au/
Testimonial – Colin
Megan loves your Virtuous Life magazine so please keep sending this to her.
We will get our ideas together and then come and see you for some advice. Your previous advice to us has been great and, for example, we have never forgotten you saying that we must stay at the Four Seasons in Istanbul. This was something that we will never forget, and there were so many unforgettable times on the trip that you organised for us. We look forward to meeting with you to plan our next amazing trip!
Testimonial – Rebecca
We had an amazing time with the recent trip and would go back again.
The accommodation was perfect, great location and very friendly clean motel.
I put a review through on tripadvisor of our stay you can check it out on the below link.
I have to praise you for the amazing organising, patients and help that you gave myself and my family. I really appreciate everything that you did to help organise an amazing family holiday we would highly recommend you to everyone and will defiantly use your company again the future.
Thank you again
Testimonial – David
Good Morning Penny,
Hope this email find you and your family well.
As you may or not know we just came back from our trip overseas organised by Lisa and her team.
This email is to tell you how impress we were with our itinerary.
Lisa put something together that was a trip in a lifetime. All our hotels, all our pick up, all our Flights (and we did over 9 flights and 3 TGV) all was faultless. The private cooking tour/class in Greece, the Tour guide in Dubrovnik, the choice of Hotel in Mykonos (One of the best I ever stayed) everything Penny was brilliant and kind of scary to see how Lisa knew what we like and what we could afford I was blown away. Every single pick up were ALL ON TIME (again that was special).
Lastly we even wanted to change a flight last minute from Split to Paris and your afterhours made it happen OMG .Just magic.
We are already planning our next trip.
Penny you have an incredible reputation and your team is simply exceptional.
Thank you, you have here a very happy family.
Testimonial – Katie
Everything was fabulous!!!
Thank you so so so much!
Can’t wait to book the next trip with you!!
Thanks for all your hard work!
Testimonial – Brad
Just wanted to say a big Thank You for the Champers that welcomed us on our arrival at Tokoriki today. We have been upgraded to a Villa and I said to Kylie that I don’t think the island staff will see us except for ‘feeding time’ (the room is that good!!).
We are looking forward to 3 very relaxing days.
Testimonial – Mandy
Apologies for taking so long to respond.
The cruise was fantastic. The service was amazing , the food delicious and the music was awesome.
I suppose the only thing was figuring out the credit card and what conversion was best and the fact that we could have used AUD on all the islands.
Definitely do this cruise again. John Farnham still has it, as do the rest.
A drink package is definitely the way to go.
Thank you for taking care of everything and for being so available every time we reached out to you.
Testimonial – Kimmarrie
Hi Ian .
Thank you so much for all your help. I had the best time . The staff were amazing every box was ticked . The memory’s and the friends I have made are for life. I can’t wait to book my next Cruise. I just need too make more money first:). You will be hearing from me .
Testimonial – Silas and Asanja
“We were always very sceptical when it comes to Travel Agencies because we had some bad experienced prior.
Why go to a travel agent when you can simply go online and book it yourself right?
HOWEVER- Shire Travel has been fantastic and actually got us a DEAL that was way below anything we could find online. The service is impecable, communication is personal and prompt and we loved our experience with Jacqueline Byrne every step of the way. We can’t wait for our Maldives trip- Thank you SHIRE TRAVEL!!!!-
Silas and Asanja (23 & 25)
Testimonial – Lyndall
Hi Jaclyn Townsend,
Thanks so much for helping me so quickly. What a predicament.
I have confirmed the details are correct.
I am copying in my colleagues who do bookings for our very small team here so they can use you in the future.
You were bright and cheery and made everything so simple.
Testimonial – David and Marie
Just arrived back in Sydney after a great Holiday although high winds stopped us visiting Dunedin and Fiordland.
What a surprise we got when we opened one of the drawers in our cabin to find a voucher for a free bottle of wine and a cover charge voucher courtesy of Shire Travel. Thank you very much for your kind thoughts.
David and Marie Frost
Testimonial – Jacqui
On behalf of my daughter and I, we would like to thank you for our wonderful holiday experience in Fiji. From the moment we arrived everything ran smoothly, with transport connections, check ins and our champagne at the Outrigger and a lovely bottle of red at Castaway. My sister, Sharon and her daughter, Olivia also thoroughly enjoyed the relaxing stay and wish to pass on their thanks also.
Although my husband and son were unable to come, we still had a lovely time holidaying with other family members and I appreciate all the work involved at the last minute to change details to make it happen. We would thoroughly recommend a family holiday to Fiji through Shire Travel to others and in future we would love to book our next holiday through you.
Thank you once again.
Testimonial – Barbara Higgs
Dear Lisa and Lisa
Thank you both for your help when I was in London. I know I could have handled rebooking Etihad on my own but, already stressed from my fall, I didnt need it. it was a great relief to hand the whole thing over to Shire Travel and know you would do the best.
I’d had the most fabulous trip- on the Queen Elizabeth and then a week in London- pity it was marred in the last 36 hours- then again something similar might have happened in the first 36 hours of my holiday.
Until my next trip
Testimonial – Grahame Drew
I thought I would just take the opportunity to thank you again for the trouble free trips that both Carol and I had during our respective trips to the USA, as usual ALL Air Travel / Hotel Accommodation and Transfers went smoothly.
It continues to amaze us both why people bother with internet travel bookings, especially when one hears some of the nightmares incurred.
Again thanks to Shire Travel, yourself and the staff, we look forward to many more successful National and International bookings with you in the coming years as has been the case for the last 10 years.
Testimonial – Allyn
“We wouldn’t have stayed with Ian and Shire Travel, if it wasn’t for their superior service, attention to detail and specialty, knowing and remembering each of our ‘personal individual preferences’.
There are ‘many’ competing travel agencies out there, however, whilst we continue to enjoy the level of personalised service that Ian has provided over many year, we will continue to support this great local business.”
Director – A.H.Beard
Testimonial – Giselle
Just checked into Four Seasons Maui.
Greeted and Welcomed like a princess. They upgraded us to an Exec Suite. It’s just incredible. I shed some tears!
A special thanks to you. I will never forget this special birthday.
Testimonial – Danielle
I was going to email you to thank you for all of your assistance with putting together a fantastic holiday and providing such professional service. Everything went really well and we were so impressed with how you organised our travel documents.
We will be in touch when we are looking to book our next holiday and wouldn’t hesitate to recommend you to colleagues, friends and family.
Testimonial – Jane Gillard
We got back on Anzac Day.
Vomo is absolutely amazing, I didn’t think you could have that kind of holiday with kids in tow – think of splurging honeymoon style but with the family and everyone stays happy.
The garden room was incredibly spacious, Kate kept rolling out of her bed so we put her mattress on the floor – and it wasn’t in the way!
If we ever feel we can afford Vomo again the beachfront room would be nicer purely because of beach proximity but it is an extra $350 a day.
The food is exquisite – better than 5 star, I almost felt like I had a personal chef.
Breakfast starts with a buffet of cereals, yoghurts, pastries & fresh fruit followed by an a la carte hot menu , with the best eggs benedict I’ve ever tasted and selection of freshly squeezed juices in their own little bottle. When you order a child’s portion of the meal that’s exactly what you get, just enough for a child without the fancy stuff kids don’t eat.
Lunch & dinner are 3 courses both start with a selection of tiny homemade bread rolls, dinner you also gets an ‘amuse’ to start. At the first meal we thought the portions were a bit small – but we soon worked out that this way you actually have room for dessert at every meal. There is a good selection of meats & seafoods, curries etc. The island has its own ‘kitchen garden’ so the vegies are all fresh & perfect.
The kids menu was also really varied, high quality with healthier options and good portion sizes.
We put the kids into kids club about half of the time and every night. Kids eat at 6, adult dinner starts at 7, giving you an hour for cocktails at the Rocks bar to watch the sunset. The cocktails aren’t free but reasonably priced and the nibblies (chicken or beef marinated skewers) that come out are a nice touch.
The kids village is air conditioned, has a big movie / down time area, separate play/dress up area. Outside is a small jungle gym, a large lawn & a cubby house. Because it was school holidays there were about 12 girls aged 4-8 plus our girls – so lots of fun for the girls.
Mostly however the staff were just lovely. Ilai (pronounced Ee lie) was the best guest relations person I have ever come across –worldwide. My girls were in love with him, he made them feel so special. All the staff are really friendly they all introduce themselves, most shake your hand and then they remember your name (and the kids names) for the rest of your stay. When you arrive they welcome you by saying “Welcome home”
The ocean, beaches and coral are stunning and half the time we would be the only people you could see in the ocean, the rest of the time there might be one other family. We took both kids snorkelling off the beach first and then on the daily boat ride out to the outer ridge of the reef.
I must say coming back to Raddison Blu on Denarau, was a bit of a shock. Mainly from the sudden increase in people, we also didn’t get the best reception.
We were told the directions to our room (not escorted),when I asked which restaurant to take the kids to (it was just after 6pm) the lady on reception just listed the restaurants in the resort with no description of any of them. We then waited for 45 minutes and our bags still hadn’t arrived to our room so we went to the buffet restaurant (with now quite hungry grumpy kids, one still in swimmers) to find the kids club had just been through so there was no kids food left. It wasn’t long before it was replaced but …
Any of these things alone and I wouldn’t have even noticed but together, it made quite a bad impression. I believe they were at 95% capacity so obviously the staff were stretched.
From then on things greatly improved, the kids did love the water slide, but I suppose the friendliness of the staff we experienced in Vomo was just missing, once we made the first effort at friendliness they were great but really we could have been on the Gold Coast.
Give me a ring if you want to get any more details about Vomo, I’d love to tell you more about it!
Thanks for another absolutely fantastic holiday.
Testimonial – Bitton Gourmet
Hi my gorgeous friend Lisa,
I just wanted to say a big thank you for organising an amazing weekend for us at Wolgan Valley.
I have to say that it was a once in a lifetime experience, we were treated like royalty from the time we
entered the resort until we left. The GM, restaurant manager, exec chef all knew everything about David and our company- it was extraordinary.
Thank you once again, love you heaps xxx
Testimonial – John Mangila
Hope your are well.
I Just wanted to give you some feedback re our trip to Bali.
lataliana was amazing!
it was so much more beautiful than the website; exceeded our expectations.
the villas were outstanding, the service was impeccable.
I had my birthday dinner, as planned, which I was most happy about.
lataliana even gave me a cake! Its the little details!
It really made our trip one to remember for a very long time.
Testimonial – Avanti Singh
Hi Lisa ,
I have been meaning to THANK YOU so much! The holiday was great and your booking etc was faultless-you are amazing, not b/c you are my sisters friend but you are skilled!!!!
Testimonial – Peter Baker
Good selection! You are our favourite travel agent ! Had a most relaxing time , just what was needed. The resort was very good with no fuss or hassles . Found some unbelievable restaurants along the beach named Vaima and Waterline. Check my trip advisor reviews on same. Thanks Lisa you got it very right for us. Will go again and probably out to Atitarki for a few days.