"New Zealand is the best place in the world."
As the daughter of an expatriate father and a cabin crew mother, travel is definitely in my blood and throughout my life I’ve been lucky enough to travel the world over. I specialise in New Zealand, Australia and the South Pacific but have travelled through most of Asia and Australasia, loving every step. New Zealand is definitely my favourite place in the world and it’s also like a second home to me – I’m enormously passionate about this incredible country, with its wild, wonderful landscapes, vibrant Māori culture, warm, Kiwi hospitality and incredible experiences around every corner.
Coming in close second place is Australia, but I love anywhere with adventures to be had or horses to be ridden. I’m not brilliant at lying on a beach, and love getting off the beaten track and making new discoveries, from deserted beaches and dense forests to rugged outback and remote mountains in some of the most beautiful corners of the world.
Favourite places I’ve been
New Zealand: awe inspiring, pure, adventurous, friendly, vivid green
Australia: wild, colourful, rugged, inspiring, outback
Fiji: laid back, turquoise seas, smiles, hermit crab racing!
Indonesia: spiritual, lush, surf-mecca, volcanic, diverse
Cambodia: temples, sunsets, charming, colonial, markets
Vietnam: cultural, frenzied, eclectic, historic, delicious food
Argentina: Gauchos, steak, pampas, tango, polo
Brazil: outrageous, vibrant, amazing beaches, incredible wildlife, vast
Peru: tribal, festivals, mesmerizing, historic, ruins
Chile: earthy, mountainous, bohemian, unexpected, lapis lazuli
Malaysia: cultural melee, unique wildlife, lush jungles, golden beaches
01. Self-driving in New Zealand is definitely the best way to see the amazing landscapes. Travel at your own pace, roll the windows down and turn up the music! I highly recommend some home-grown Kiwi tunes, try anything by Fat Freddy’s Drop or some classic Crowded House.
02. Western Australia is really up and coming, with some incredible properties such as Sal Salis and El Questro getting you off the beaten track and up close with the amazing landscapes, flora and fauna. Head south to Margaret River for the best beaches in the country!
03. Head to Kaikoura in New Zealand to get up close and personal with some incredible marine life. On my first visit, I swam with a pod of hundreds of wild dusky dolphins, one of the most magical experiences I have ever had. Second time round, 3 massive Sperm Whales came to say hi!
04. Spend longer in Sydney than you think, there is so much to see! Great restaurants and bars (we can tell you some great secret spots), fantastic beaches, and an amazing laid back atmosphere always make me desperate to stay a little bit longer!
05. Try some weird and wonderful Kiwi cuisine. My top tips include hokey pokey ice cream, pavlova, green-lipped mussels, crayfish, kumara (a native sweet potato), a traditional Maori ‘Hangi’, where food is prepared in an underground oven and native horopito pepper (one of my personal faves – I have it with everything!). If you’re feeling brave, try some mutton bird (strong and fishy) and the perennial kiwi favourite, the feijoa fruit - I think they taste like shampoo!
My hot picks
01. Sal Salis (Ningaloo Reef, Western Australia). This remote and eco-friendly tented camp is my favourite place in the world Wild, rugged landscapes with wallabies and kangaroos hopping between the tents and stunning ocean just metres from your tent, with humpback whales, turtles, manta rays and at the right time of year, majestic whale sharks cruising through the sparkling blue waters. The stars are the most vivid you will ever see. It takes a bit of getting to, but trust me when I say it is worth it!
02. Wharekauhau (Wairarapa, New Zealand). An amazing luxury lodge standing amidst acres of rolling, clip-top farmland on Palliser Bay. Gallop through the surf on the rugged beach and then curl up in a cosy corner with a cup of tea and delicious homemade treats!
03. Amanwana (Moyo Island, Indonesia). This luxury tented camp on a tiny emerald island is absolutely stunning. I was completely spoilt with a candlelit lobster BBQ on the beach followed by a movie at the ‘cinema under the stars’.
04. Southern Ocean Lodge (Kangaroo Island, South Australia) This incredible little island is described as a “zoo without fences”, so abundant is the indigenous wildlife. I urge any visitor to Australia to stop by for a few days and the place to stay is Southern Ocean Lodge. Perched on a cliff top overlooking the pounding Southern Ocean, this incredibly chic, stunningly designed property spares no luxury and the floor-to-ceiling windows show off the breath-taking views.
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What my guests have said
"We have been so impressed with everything that you have done for us, it's been so exciting to talk to you about our ideas and you have been so helpful, thank you Olivia!"
"Olivia has been truly excellent. Her super quick response to our initial enquiry coupled with real knowledge of New Zealand and what would be appropriate for us travelling with a baby is really what secured our booking with Scott Dunn. Her attention to us before booking and while we were away was invaluable to us and we have had an amazing holiday as a result."
"I have always had very good service from all the Scott Dunn consultants I have dealt with & this time was no exception. Olivia was very patient & helpful with our last minute change of mind as to where we wanted to go which can't have been easy!"
"Olivia was absolutely brilliant in organising our honeymoon. She answered all of my questions and helped to make decisions to tailor make our honeymoon. She was unfailing enthusiastic and helpful and everything was very well organised indeed. We are enormously grateful to her for arranging such a special honeymoon."
"Thank you again for your fantastic client care - you were incredibly helpful and knowledgeable in advising on which hotel to choose. It gave me huge confidence to know that you had visited the hotel and therefore knew exactly what you were offering and I can now say that from my rather open brief you got it spot on. I thought you provided a very personal service, which was highlighted by your lovely card on arrival - thank you very much. Hopefully I'll be in contact again soon with another holiday request!"
"From one initial phone call with Olivia saying "we have 5 weeks to play with but we will be with a baby" we were given a mind-blowingly exciting itinerary and from that point we had great support from everyone we came in contact with."
"Olivia Cryer was outstanding - in her advice, consideration and patience. She was even able to help us completely change the dates of the trip. And she gave up her own time to meet us prior to the holiday."
"Thanks so much Olivia for all your help. I will be recommending Scott Dunn - and you! - to anyone who will listen. Firstly in terms of Scott Dunn and all your input - it's unparalleled. I think that you have been, without doubt, the most delightful and helpful travel agent I have ever worked with. I know that my budget is at the lower end of your offering, but you never made me feel this was the case and I know you worked hard to find a solution that worked for me and my budget. You matched my brief perfectly and have been so responsive and considerate in all your communications. I am also very impressed by the emergency team who I spoke to a couple of times in relation to the snow and cancelled Heathrow flights on the Sunday I flew. They were also really responsive, helpful and reassuring."
"We thought the Scott Dunn service was really excellent and would definitely recommend to someone else. Olivia Cryer gave us brilliant advice and made our experience a really outstanding one through her organisation of the holiday. The two hotels were sensational, and each was slightly different from the other, so the package was very well thought through."