Make Your Next Trip Extraordinary

My husband and I, along with another couple, went on a 3-week trip to New Zealand to celebrate my 60th birthday in 2024. Wendy recommended we use Sarah Farag. This arrangement is new to my husband and me, but our friend had a wonderful experience with Wendy on another trip. We started our planning with Sarah’s office about 9 months before our trip to New Zealand. We had several meetings and made changes along the way; the team was superb with every detail! The final itinerary, the accommodations, the dinner reservations, the transportation were all beyond our expectations. We felt so relaxed because everything was taken care of.

We had one issue with a tour cancellation due to weather; Sarah’s office was easily reachable and helped with coordination and speedy refund of the cancelled tour. Some of our favorite accommodations included Hulbert House in Queenstown, Pihopa Retreat in Nelson and The Marlborough in Blenheim. All these places were special and exactly the type of boutique accommodation with lots of personal touches that we requested. We are planning our next trip to Europe, and plan on leaving it in the hands of Wendy and her trusted experts again!

Sara & Sarah helped us organize a great trip to NZ. We were there in April of this year and just returned. While we had lovely stays on Waiheke (The Boatshed) and at Taupo (Acacia Cliffs)—both wonderful lodges—we really fell in love with the South Island. Our time at Cabot Lodge in Manapouri was a highlight, as well as an overnight boat trip on Doubtful Sound. The Fjordlands area is special. We finished our NZ time in Queenstown. We were glad to be there in the fall when crowds were a bit less, cool evenings and colors beginning to change. NZ people are lovely, very easy trip for Americans once you get past the long plane ride. Great memories.

Just back from New Zealand and what an amazing trip! Sarah Farag and colleague Sara Devenie were our travel experts. Loved how they worked with us in the planning sessions to ensure our trip met our likes and travel goals. It was so valuable to us to have experienced, proven, on-the-ground travel experts who knew the area, could design an amazing trip, and most importantly provide support 24/7 when unexpected problems arose. And we unfortunately had 3 unexpected problems, so we can attest first-hand how important it is to have proven travel experts on the ground.

The first unexpected problem was a flight cancellation from Canada to New Zealand and the fact that our new available flight added 3 more days to our trip. Sara and Sarah worked their magic and were able to extend our stay at the Auckland Hyatt, add activities, adjust our itinerary, and coordinate all logistics making everything seamless. Then when we were in Queenstown we needed their help again. The night before we were to check out of our hotel, I got the flu and was so sick I had to cancel our 5-day Milford trek hike. We then had no place to stay, no plans and I was sick. Fortunately, Sarah/Sara had booked us into the Hubert House, a fabulous family-feel boutique hotel with amazing staff who Sarah & Sara knew well. Clearly one of our favorites. The night manager of the Hubert House learned I was sick and called Sara. Together the manager and Sara’s team worked on finding us lodging. Sara contacted me in the morning to check on how I was doing and later let me know Hubert House had a last-minute cancellation and we could stay right where we were. Hallelujah! Sara also put together some ideas of things we might do in Queenstown and the surrounding area when I felt better.

Which brings me to the third problem we faced and needed assistance. From the list we decided we should go on the Milford sound cruise before the weather changed. This was a popular activity. The cruise had room, but all the flights to get there were booked. I called Sara for help. No problem, Will, Sara’s colleague, was on it! He and the airlines worked hard and finally were able to find two different planes each with one hopper seat left. We were in! Thank you, Will! The Milford Sound Cruise and flight were definitely a highlight of our trip!

With all the activities we selected from Sarah/Sara’s suggestions, the great hotels and the amazing support, it really was the perfect trip. Highlights in Auckland included spa on arrival, Waiheke Island trip, Auckland bridge walk, sky tower, outdoor art walk at Brick Bay, and wine and foodie experiences and fabulous private drivers. Such a beautiful, fun city and a great starting point for our trip. After our friends arrived, we drove on our own to Rotorua. Everything was well planned, transport to rental car place and all activities on the way to Rotorua. We enjoyed Waitomo glow worm caves & thermals around Rotorua and loved our accommodations at Solitaire Lodge. Especially enjoyed the hike to Wai-O-Taupu (Sacred Waters) quick boat ride from our hotel. That was a wow! Great hike, amazing waterfalls, diverse vegetation, good workout. Loved it. Beautiful accommodations.

Oh and then there was Queenstown, a super fun adventure place—loved our E-Bike ride around Jack’s Point, Shootover boat ride, Milford Sound flight and cruise, Arrowhead museum, hanging out with the locals in Arrowhead and lunch at Ayrburn winery. We ended the trip with a drive up the west coast with friends stopping at fun beach towns on the way to Franz Joseph Glacier. We loved the Franz Joesph helicopter ride and getting off onto the glacier was exciting—weather changed so no hiking but still fabulous.

In Nelson stayed at the Pihopa retreat, another of our favorites—great food, ambiance was top-notch and the town so cute and fun, boating with dolphins in Abel Tasman National Park was also awesome. Then on to Marlborough wine country. Loved the Marlborough hotel, the beautiful area and the bike wine tour was a hoot. Thank you to Sara and Sarah for arranging a most magical trip for us. We couldn’t have been more pleased.

My husband and I just returned from an amazing 3-week trip to New Zealand, thanks in large part to the tireless help of Sara and Sarah. They listened closely to the way we like to travel, our interests, and what we were hoping for on this special trip to celebrate our 50th wedding anniversary, and curated an itinerary that ended up exceeding all of our expectations. Highlights included a private half-day tour with a Maori family in Rotorua, sharing stories, traditions, and a hangi meal prepared for us in their home and shared with other family members (something that we could never have arranged on our own), touring Connells Bay Sculpture Park on Waiheke Island (unexpected and remarkable), E-bike riding on the Great Taste Trail and beyond in Nelson, boating with dolphins in Abel Tasman National Park, hiking the Hooker Valley Track and heli-hiking on the Mt. Cook/Tasman Glacier, staying at the Wilderness Lodge in the Southern Alps and enjoying all the activities — from sheep shearing to nature hikes with Jonathan — that they offered each day, and finally, in Queenstown, the awe-inspiring airplane ride from Queenstown to Milford Sound and the boat excursion through the fiord, and the Dart River boat adventure. And these were just the highlights…there was so much more we enjoyed. We were very pleased with all the accommodations that were recommended by Sarah’s team, especially the Pihopa Retreat in Nelson — a very special place run by an incredible hostess, Sarah, and her wonderful staff. It’s a place not to be missed.

It is clear to us, as we reflect back on our trip, what a benefit it was to use a travel agency that was actually located in New Zealand. Sara and Sarah were very easy to work with, and always responsive to emails, questions, and changes. And it turns out they also keep track of how everything is going while you are on your trip, checking with drivers and accommodations to make sure everything is perfect. Thank you once again, Sara and Sarah!

The WOW List: Best Local Travel Fixers Worldwide

by Wendy Perrin | January 30, 2024

How to Get an Extraordinary Trip: Wendy’s WOW Approach

by Wendy Perrin | January 1, 2023

Wendy Wants To Amp Up Your Trip!

by | January 1, 2023

Where and When to Travel in 2024

by | January 31, 2024

How to Get More For Your Miles and Points in 2023

by | January 31, 2023

10 Top Dream Trips for 2023

by Brook Wilkinson | February 1, 2023

Our Latest Newsletters