People Stories

Beth & Peter

Beth & Peter  | Melbourne

Having recently returned from our third River Cruise in Europe with Avalon Waterways, we are still marvelling at our experience with this Company. Our first cruise seven years ago, was Monte Carlo – Arles to Paris on the River Rhone. This was followed two years later by Amsterdam to Budapest on the Maine, Rhine and Danube Rivers, and our recent cruise was Canals,Vineyards and Paris on the Rhine and Moselle Rivers leaving from Amsterdam to Luxembourg with fast train to Paris. What beauty we have seen. Due to the lack of rain in Germany this year, the Rhine River was down in volume and our ship was unable to negotiate the waters to Rudesheim.  But extremely good alternative arrangements were made immediately to make the trip to Rudesheim by coach and return to the ship later in the afternoon. On the Moselle River, the water level was normal for cruising.

 Additional tours by Avalon are worth doing. Three additional tours we thoroughly enjoyed in August this year were Vineyards,Villages and Views of the Moselle region, The Palace of Versailles, where priority is given for entering the Palace ahead of many hundreds of people queuing, and Paris Illumination tour, 10pm till midnight, to see the City of Lights as it is known.

 Our Cruise Director Joost, stepped us daily through the totally enjoyable program which was awaiting us.

 With our thanks to Meridian Travel and Avalon Waterways.

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Jane & Ian | Heidelberg

Rocky Mountaineer and Inside Passage Trip

In recent years we’ve seen friends travel across the Canadian Rockies and their photos had us salivating, add to that images of Alaska (glaciers, bears, whales etc.) and we just had to put the two on our bucket list. We’ve travelled quite extensively in the past in Europe and Asia and had always organised it ourselves without too many disasters. In fact the one time we did use a travel agent, in Turkey, it was a complete mess and we ended up reorganizing it on the run.

So it was with some trepidation that we decided to put this trip in the hands of an agent. After a good recommendation from a friend we approached Meridian Travel. We had a reasonably clear idea about the itinerary we were after, unfortunately this didn’t fit neatly into any of the packaged options. This was not a problem for our agent Kirsty (it might have been but we were never aware of it). Kirsty fitted our preferred itinerary together by picking sections out of a number of others so we ended up with exactly the route and destinations we’d asked for.

It’s one thing to see it all laid out on an itinerary but another thing to see it work smoothly when you get there. To our relief all the logistics went like clockwork, unfortunately the weather didn’t cooperate as well. Still we ended up with enough beautiful days to make it an almost perfect trip and we have the photos and memories to prove it.

As much as I enjoy planning our trips, this one was that much more enjoyable because I didn’t have the stress associated with it. I will have no hesitation in putting my trust in Meridian, and particularly, Kirsty for future trips.

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Bob & Doreen | Mitcham Vic

A quick message of thanks from Doreen and I on our trip to Viet Nam.

In short, it was one of the most momentous times of our life, we were overwhelmed by the people everywhere we went and the food, say no more.

Through the experience of having 2 wonderful guys from Buffalo Tours, Phi (Da Nang & Hoi An) & Phung (Hanoi) and the sharing of their country gave us a great insight to the culture from many aspects.

 On top of that the punctuality and the efforts they made to ensure connections were as smooth as you could ever get  was amazing plus we always had a nice vehicle to travel in and the drivers were great.

 Once again thank you for your efforts, everyone I know will be recommended to Meridian through yourself.

Giorgiana and Ian

Afternoon Jade

What can I say, our trip was AMAZING!!! Everything we wanted and so much more. Thank you for your expert advice and support throughout our planning process.  Your guidance certainly made our trip seamless!

The highlight was our accommodation was at Tenyu, Hakone.  Five star luxury is an understatement.  It is a boutique venue that offers such peace, relaxation, seclusion and rejuvenation.  If you ever have the opportunity to go, this is a must!!! Dinner was a degustation menu (Ian and I had our own private dinner room!!) and breakfast was brilliant too. This will be a venue to re-visit in our future, that’s for sure.

The rest of the accommodation in Japan was good three star hotels.  Each had its pro/cons.

The Swissotel in Singapore was also a fabulous five star hotel.  The upgraded rooms were awesome!!! You wouldn’t know the hotel was undergoing a renovation except for the occasional drilling noises.  Still a venue to recommend.

The food is Japan was fabulous, everywhere we ate was great and we found it to be really cheap!!  As the saying goes, if you head where the locals go, you can’t go wrong. The tours in Kyoto were great.  The groups weren’t too big and the guides were really knowledgeable and gave extra tips of what to do/where to go.

Thanks again for helping us plan an amazing holiday.

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Joseph & Penelope

We booked our Central America, North America and Caribbean adventure through Meridian Travel. Kirsty was exceptionally knowledgeable and crafted an itinerary to suit our young family of five. She took away all the hassles of planning and presented a cost effective holiday to die for. Suffice to say it was incredibly enjoyable. Save yourself the headache of planning and booking it all on your own. Leave it to the experts.

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Michelle & Brian

Hi Jade

We are just writing to thank you for your amazing organisation of our UK and European holiday. This was our first trip to UK/Europe and in the three months we were away we had no hiccups. All our flight and train travel was excellent. The tours and activities you recommended were fantastic giving us an insight into the culture and history of the places we visited. Our hotel accommodation, always clean and comfortable (and sometimes luxurious), was always situated close to local transport or walking distance from the cities attractions. Thank you so much for the care you put into our holiday. We gave you a ‘wish list’ and you turned it into the trip of a lifetime!! We will highly recommend you all our family and friends .

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Sandi , Melbourne, Victoria
My Husband and I have recently returned from a thirteen night tour around New Zealand. We asked Jodie from Meridian Travel for a suggestion and she recommended  New Zealand. Our experience was hassle free from beginning to end. All we had to do was pack, and Jodie did everything else! This meant we commenced our tour on the Dawn Princess already very relaxed.The boarding process took a little over an hour and we were very impressed with our spotlessly clean cabin. It featured every amenity we could possibly require. We were very lucky to have decided on a cabin with a balcony and it gave us a fabulous sense of space and it was nice to open the doors on the balmy nights.The entertainment, tours and activities were very well organised but guests were not pressured into participating. The food was of a high standard at the many eating venues. Without exception the staff were excellent. The docking into the six ports was punctual, interesting and very well coordinated.I have recommended both Meridian Travel and Dawn Princess to friends and to our adult children and their families, as I’m sure our grandchildren would love the ‘Kids Club’. I feel compelled to write, thank and recommend Jodie from Meridian Travel for ensuring we had a fabulous holiday. My husband and I believe it to be the most relaxing holiday we have experienced.

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David & Yvonne , Melbourne, Victoria
On my retirement in 2000 we needed to find a reliable travel agent to handle our long term plans for frequent travel within Australia and overseas. Meridian Travel was highly recommended by friends with very happy travel experiences with them. This has subsequently proved to be a very sound decision to use Meridian Travel as we are extremely happy with the relationship we have formed with the staff and our experiences since then.Over the years we have had land, sea and river Meridian Travel holidays.  They have been well planned and trouble free, making the many experiences very rewarding and special for us. Air travel, hotels, car hire and selected tours have been well planned to suit our needs so we travel with full confidence that all aspects have been covered. As we get older, being able to leave all areas of travel to the experts becomes very reassuring and important to us. Finding the “right” tour for us has always been a challenge for the staff but they always come up with a suitable tour to suit our needs at the time. We have had a fantastic relationship over the years and we always feel we are looked after in the best way possible. We look forward to many more years with Meridian Travel.

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Cheryl & Robert, Melbourne, Victoria
Thank you Meridian Travel for organising our recent riverboat up the Irrawaddy River in Myanmarr. It was a memorable experience.This was the seventh Meridian Travel trip that we have booked through your agency, and once again the booking process was stress free. From recommending a great cabin that would maximise the riverbank scenery, to organising extra legroom seats on planes to cater for our long legs, you again made our holiday special.I remember that on our first Meridian Travel trip back in 2005 we booked directly with the Ship’s agent. We found this very frustrating. We continually experienced difficulty obtaining extra information and service due to the problem of speaking to a different person every time we phoned. Fortunately your travel agency was recommended to us the following year and we now enjoy your exceptional customer service.Visas, insurance, accommodation, flights, foreign currency and medical information are all organized for us. We are looking forward to our eighth Meridian Travel organized trip around Norway and the Arctic Circle in July of this year.

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Italy – Dennis & Anne

Leaving Melbourne in mid April to join APT’s 27 day ‘Italy & Magnificent Europe 2011 Tour’ we were sceptical about joining our first ‘organised tour’. Having previously travelled in the U.S.A. and Europe independently, and we might say happily, our experience had been to do it ourselves… ‘without the demands of luggage in the foyer at an early hour, after spending a short time exploring a city or location where we would love to spend more time’. Following this tour we are no longer sceptical  Group Travellers as APT provided a memorable experience for us. One that is likely to be repeated!

Having previously toured Europe in July and August at the height of the holiday season we decided that summer was not the best time to return and further explore the region. High summer temperatures and wall to wall  local holiday makers do not make for the most enjoyable touring regardless of being in a group or travelling independently. Our decision to travel in April and May provided us with cool to warm pleasant weather ideal for groups of tourists who do a lot of walking and exploring unique locations.

La Sainte-Chapelle is the only surviving building of the Capetian royal palace on the Île de la Cité in the heart of Paris, France.

We arrived in Rome via London, Paris and Lucerne travelling by train, which we have determined is the only way to experience these regions as long as you don’t have excessive luggage! To experience the panoramas of canola, sunflower, wheat and barley crops stretching as far as the eye can see along with the breathtaking views of the Alps winding through the Gothard Pass provides any tourist with wonderful memories. The TGV trains provide high speed comfort with the only drawback being somewhat limited luggage space unless you feel confident in lifting 20kg cases into overhead storage. If you have reservations arriving at stations 20 minutes prior to departure is all that is required in contrast to the security and time requirements when flying. In nearly all instances rail travel places you in the heart of most cities close to accommodation as was the case for us in Rome.

The APT Italy segment of our tour with 3 nights in Rome, Florence and Venice with 2 nights in Santa Margarita Ligure and Como enables all participants to enjoy the beauty, history and fabulous scenery of Tuscany and the Italian north coastal region bordering The Mediterranean Sea at a leisurely pace. The cruise on Lake Como and visit to the lakeside village of Bellagio for lunch was a totally unexpected highlight along with discovering the tiny fishing village of Portofino which was fascinating to say the least. Add to this a visit to ‘Cinque Terre’,  the 5 villages perched on the cliffs of The Mediterranean and you understand why people describe it as simply breathtaking.

Accommodation and meals were exceptional in 5 star hotels, organisation by  our Tour Director was meticulous and itinerary planning exceeded our expectations with broad categories of interest and history blended to provide a wonderful experience. Rome, Florence and Venice provided the history and unique character that everybody expects however the ‘side visits’ to places such as the walled  medieval cities of Sienna and Lucca were surprises that few in the group could have imagined.

Following the Italian segway the cruise on ‘The Amadagio from Budapest to Amsterdam provided wonderful insights into Cities, towns and medieval villages located on, or close to,The Danube, Main and Rhine Rivers. Cruising upstream on

The Danube to The Main Canal linking the two famous rivers, crossing The Continental Divide and finally downstream on The Rhine through The Rhine Gorge into the Netherlands provided us with fourteen days on a memorable tour. In all the cruise ship passes through some 64 Locks and visits tiny medieval villages, small and large towns along with cities such as Vienna, Cologne and Amsterdam.

Service, planning and detail was again exceptional on the cruise ship ‘Amadagio’ providing all participants with a wonderful voyage to see the features, landmarks and highlights of Hungary, Slovakia, Austria, Germany, Bavaria and The Netherlands

The advantage of an Autumn departure from Australia touring into Springtime in Europe enabled us to take in the spectacular vistas of the diminishing snow capped mountains of the alpine regions with pleasant warm spring weather. This provided us with an additional ‘bonus’ that we hadn’t expected.

Our conclusion is that given an itinerary similar to that offered by APT  ‘group travel’ is definitely appealing in our future travel planning.

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Paris – Chris & Charlie

Bonjour Jodie,

Just want to let you know that our Globus tour and final week in Paris was a huge success.

The Globus guide was a definite A Plus and his unruffled organisational skills certainly deserved the tip.  Driver, tour route and optional tours were also excellent.

We found the Cardinal Rive Gauche Hotel was very well situated for transport, restaurants/cafes, food and walking distance to lots of sites.  It was very clean and breakfast was good, too.

All-in-all, I don’t think we could have wished for more.

Thank you for making it so easy, Jodie.  The hard part will be going back to work in the hope we can save for another holiday.

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Peter & Beth In Europe

Peter and Beth  recently returned from a holiday to Europe including a River Cruise in France, beginning in Arles and ending in Paris, where they visited towns included Avignon, Viviers and Lyon.

After their river cruise they enjoyed some time in Bellagio, Italy and then a stopover in Dubai on the way home.

Avignon: Peter and Beth enjoyed a 3 hour walking tour of the Old Town which included visiting the Place of the Popes – the medieval placement of the Roman Catholic Popes prior to Rome.

‘It is a beautiful city, so very chic and a very envious way of life of dining and socialising in the middle of the day’. – Beth

Viviers: An enjoyable walking tour today of this very steep town, where at the end of the tour Peter and Beth enjoyed an organ recital by a very well-renowned organist.

‘I will remember this town as the one that stood still! It is so old and so very French’. – Beth

Bellagio: Peter and Beth enjoyed several days in Bellagio, staying at the beautiful Metropole. They took a ferry ride across the river to Verenna for coffee and chocolate croissant and enjoyed browsing the market under the huge trees.

‘Bellagio – and what a place it was. The sheer beauty of the blue water and the view from our hotel window was unimaginable and we never tired of it’. – Beth Griffith

 If you would like to book a River Cruise in France or enjoy some time in beautiful Northern Italy then please contact us and we will be more then happy to assist you in creating an itinerary to suit.

Lonergan Family visit to France

We just wanted to touch base with you and thank you and your team for organising our holiday and trying to help us out with the Qantas debacle. We had a fabulous time the kids loved every minute of it, we have adventures and stories to tell and talk about for a life time.

The accommodation was fantastic across the board for both location and comfort.

The kids are now asking where are we going next!! So when we have saved up for our next adventure we will be sure to contact you and your team again.

Thanks again for being beyond the call of duty.

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Barnes in Italy

Thank you so much for your card!!!

Janet, Carol and myself had a wonderful time, how could you not!!

Everything went very smoothly, weather was very kind (only 1 & 1/2 days of rain – Venice and Bellagio), and I have even received items I bought, and sent home via courier.  Would loved to have stayed in Verona more that 2 nights, lots to see and do, and place has a lovely feel about it. I was amazed at the crowds, even with it being October, and it confirmed in my mind for the future, NOT to go in the middle of the year. Each place we stayed has special memories, but favorites are Bellagio, Verona, Cinque Terre, and the Tuscan countryside.

I can’t thank you enough for arranging this trip.  You advice, co-ordination, bookings, prompt replies/service, help, made the whole event a pleasure from beginning to end. And last but not least, it is always a pleasure dealing with you and your staff. THANK YOU!

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Sue in Hawaii

Just to let you know that we had a fantastic time. The accommodation was excellent and great position for access to the beach and shopping ,restaurants etc. We arrived at the busiest time of the APEC conference and despite the fact that security was everywhere we had no problems. The Russian and Chinese presidents were next door at the Sheraton and the Australians diagonally opposite so you can imagine. We went on a helicopter tour with Blue Hawaiian tours which was great, snorkelling at Hanauma Bay which was amazing, toured Pearl Harbour and climbed to the top of the Diamond Head crater-stunning views and of course lots of shopping – cosmetics were especially cheap. If you have any clients with coeliac disease (wheat allergy) understanding and availability of gluten free diet was limited but quite “do-able”.

Thanks for organising it for us -we can’t wait to go back. Will catch up with you shortly to organise Europe!

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Carol & Barrie visit Duplessis – Norfolk Island

Thanks so much for organizing our unforgettable holiday.

It was what we expected  ~ plus some. Arrived home from Norfolk Island yesterday.

Such a fascinating place to visit. Top speed limit is 50 & cows have right of way! Scenery is unbelievable & breathtaking. We didn’t want to come home.

Everyone is so laid back & friendly & it is so easy to relax.

Once again many thanks

Rhonda & John Return from Europe

Just wanted to say thank you so much for all the arrangement you made for our fabulous holiday, all planes, trains and automobiles worked out perfectly.

Avalon Vista was beautiful, cruise director Nico De Nooyer, outstanding at his job. Thoroughly recommend the river cruise. All the hotels that you chose were great. Italy was too hot 38 – 41c all week that we were there. All the same we enjoyed our time there. Then back to UK for two weeks with family, which was all to short.

So now saving for our next river cruise.

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Jan & Richard – Norway & Germany

Just a short note to let you all known just how much we enjoyed our recent trip/adventure.

We had a wonderful time with just a few senior moments but, lots of laughs, good times and breath taking scenery. Our GLOBUS tour through Norway was an unbelievable experience and we would recommend this to everyone who travels to Scandinavia.

Jan found her family origins in the old town of Rostock in Germany which was quite a thrill.

We were both a bit apprehensive when we first looked at our itinerary but, as our previous overseas trips with Meridian most things just fall into place without to much stress and you enjoy the experience.

Many thanks again for your personal guidance and we look forward to planning our next adventure with Meridian.

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Melissa’s Tahiti Holiday

A big thank-you for the great job you did putting together our French Polynesian trip! It was everything we had hoped for and more! Apart from some small glitches in check-ins at both hotels, the holiday was beautiful, relaxing and exceeded our expectations!

The RADISSON TAHITI was a really pretty resort with great views and our jacuzzi Ocean-view room was fantastic.  The room was spacious and well fitted out with a really great veranda overlooking the resort and beach. The infinity pool overlooking the ocean was fantastic! The black sand beach was different but still lovely to look at and the water was crystal clear, even though black underneath. This place was just lacking in food offerings as there was only one restaurant and one bar which had limited opening times.  That’s the only criticism. It was only about 20mins from the airport.  The Intercontinental was right next to the airport so if you had to be in a hurry I would recommend that one, and the local tourist operators told us that the Intercontinental is Tahiti’s best hotel.  (We were happy however to save some money by staying at the Radisson!)

As for MOOREA, where to start. Not much to say really because it was exactly like you see in pictures and even better.  People we met who had been to Hilton Bora Bora said that Hilton Moorea was better as it is set on a lagoon and is sheltered from weather more than Bora Bora.  It was simple to get to with the ferry which was very nice. All transfers were seamless and people very helpful and friendly.  Staff at the resort were also very nice.

Our Overwater Panoramic bungalow was absolutely amazing – beautifully set out and furnished, very modern and stylish whilst still looking “Islandish”. It had everything you could want and the views from it fantastic.  The deck was large with two reclining lounges, table and chairs – perfect for sunbaking, or having dinner watching the sunset! All we did most days was swim and snorkel (equipment all provided free) from our bungalow platform or lounge on the beach with cocktails (good bar service!) or take out paddle boards/ canoes from the beach.  Not much else to do there but that’s what we wanted.  There were lots of day trips you could do from there however.  The island is very beautiful and mountainous and there were a variety of 4 x 4 tours you could do and things like whale watching, fishing, swim with sharks and rays (no thanks!), visit pineapple plantations, pearl farming etc. Also interesting to note is that while Hilton Moorea is not close to any shops or town, there are really good restaurants about ten minutes drive away that will provide a free shuttle service to and from your hotel for you to eat dinner there! We did this and while it was expensive, the food was fantastic and views to-die-for!

Food and drinks in the resort were expensive, as expected, but good quality.  Buffet breakfast  was fantastic so we did without lunch and had light dinners- three restaurants in the hotel to choose from and room service.

If I had to pick on anything about the resort it would be that the pool was a bit small given size of resort, but it didn’t bother us as we preferred the beach and lagoon. Everything closed by 9.30- 10pm so you couldn’t get late drinks/snacks and no bar open for music etc. We went to a cultural dance show night with buffet which was great, well worth it and everything else was fabulous!

If anyone has dreamed of staying in an overwater bungalow like I had, I would highly recommend this place!


Vivien’s Fijian Holiday

Just to let you know we had a wonderful holiday in Fiji and all went smoothly. A  Rosie holidays representative met us at airport and they had all our travel documents ready for us and organised our transfer to the island. They were very efficient and all went to plan. The Lomani resort was an excellent choice and would highly recommend it to anyone looking for a relaxing holiday. The accommodation was excellent, clean and very comfortable. All our meals were complimentary as they promised and very good. There was a good range of daily activities all at no extra cost. The snorkelling trip was fantastic!  But i think what makes this place truly special are the staff. Very attentive, obliging and truly lovely people. Thank you again for organising such an enjoyable holiday for us.


Gary & Robyn – Indian Ocean Cruising

Gary & Robyn recently returned from a stunning cruise through the Indian Ocean, touching on the Seychelles, Madagascar, Reunion Island & Mauritius. Their cruise aboard Noble Caledonia was a unique voyage that travelled through some remote islands and Atolls of the world. They encountered some amazing wildlife and sea life and have returned with some very fond memories.

We flew to Mahe, Seychelles to board the Island Sky joining approximate 100 guests for a exhibition tour through the Seychelles to Madagascar and onto Mauritius. For the first 7 days in the Seychelles we visited 5 island atolls, Alphonse, Desroches and Farquhar enjoying trips ashore by the zodiacs with wet landings on the beaches. The highlight was the 2 days spent anchored off Aldabra, known as the “last wilderness”, comprising 4 islands around a large lagoon only accessible at high tide. While landing green necked turtles passed by and birds were seen everywhere. The island is home to the giant tortoises, numbering 100,000 or 5 times the number in the Galapagos.

After leaving the Seychelles we proceeded to the top Madagascar to the Amber Mountain National Park and saw many types of lizards .

Due to our boat following the edge of a cyclone, when we left Madagascar we were unable to go to Reunion but continued onto Mauritius where after 12 days on the boat we finished our voyage.

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Jeanette’s Views of Africa

From Kenya to the Delta and each waterhole. The sounds and the smells and tastes and the sights. From its people, its wildlife and its big sky at night.

I’ll remember it fondly when safe back in Oz, the dust and the bumps, lots of tales, but few mozz.

Good friends that we made, the shared laughter and wine, the variety of meals upon which we all dined.

But mostly my mind will be full to the dose, of seeing great beasts in the wild and up close.

The elephants, leopards and cheetahs were great, buffalo, lions and watching ostriches mate.

I said “Hi” to hyena, baboon and some rhino, wildebeest and zebra all walking in line – oh !

The crocs and the oryx, impala and boks, three kinds of giraffe – some wearing long socks !

The trip to the Delta was WOW such a rippo, I even got close to an angry big hippo.

The visits to villages – well they were just great, it really made you appreciate, that living in Oz just how lucky are