Jennifer Bowen, Madison Kean & Alexandria Kean, Tailored Coast to Coast Highlights, Travelled on 29th June 2017
The itinerary given to us on day 1 was extremely helpful for navigating from place to place. The countryside was so beautiful & something we will never forget. I would definitely recommend others to visit NZ & use New Zealand Self Drive.Read more
All 3 of us really enjoyed our NZ trip!
Bruce & Dorothy Ross, 14 Day New Zealand Grand Tour, Travelled on 27th May 2017
Hi Louise I would just like to say thank you for creating such a wonderful experience for us. As you can imagine, from our perspective, there is the opportunity to get information wrong and ideas confused, however you created the perfect trip.Read more
All the inclusions were spectacular.There was not a hiccup during the entire holiday, with everything where and when it was meant to be, and the choices of accommodation were well received by my wife. She says thank you. Once again, thank you for your great team effort. Regards Bruce Ross
Walt & Lori Gartner, Lord of the Rings Scenic Explorer, Travelled on 5th June 2017
We greatly enjoyed our Lord of the Rings Scenic Tour! All accommodations were excellent and there were no issues with any reservations (hotels and/or tours). Touring during the winter turned out to be great as crowds were never an issue.
On two occasions, we had private tours which allowed the tour guides to spend more time to talk about the surrounding areas (not just LOTR). One addition to our tour package that was the highlight of our trip was the whale watching in Kaikoura – we had three sightings, the weather was beautiful, and the ocean was calm. All in all, a trip we will remember the rest of our lives (in over 4000 pictures). Laura Davidson did a great job setting up the trip and even rerouted/rearranged our trip to account for the closure of Highway 1 due to earthquake damage. We highly recommend the LOTR self-driving tour for anyone who has seen LOTR and The Hobbit. You’ll quickly see why New Zealand was chosen as the location for Middle Earth plus you’ll get to see the country at your own pace. There’s no way you’ll see everything in two weeks but you will see enough to feel that you got your money’s worth. We highly recommend going with New Zealand Self Drive Tours – you will not regret going with them either.
Paul Eiseman, 15 Day Explorer Tour of New Zealand, Travelled on 18th May 2017
Hi Lauren, We 're back home, already reminiscing of our wonderful adventure. Everything went smoothly, with not one mishap. Even the weather fully cooperated. Thank you so much for your assistance in making our New Zealand trip one we shall fondly remember. We'll gladly recommend you and your company to any friends who want to experience your beautiful country. All the best, Paul and Fred
Tom, Kristen & Katherine Skipper, Custom 16 Day LOTR, Wine & Scenery Spectacular, Travelled on 12th May 2017
We recently enjoyed a wonderful two-week driving tour of New Zealand. Erynn did an excellent job with the arrangements and was extremely easy to work with, incorporating all of our requests for additions and changes in the schedule and contacting us quickly when we asked for more information. My wife and I travelled with our adult daughter, so we were concerned about appropriate accommodations. Erynn was able to book us into apartment hotels that had two bedrooms, which worked out great.Read more
All the apartments were nicely appointed and within walking distance to town centers. If you're thinking of going to New Zealand in the fall, don't hesitate. The weather is perfect: Autumn leaves and snow-capped mountains, warm days and cool nights, and no crowds. And while it can be rainy, we were lucky and only had two days with rain during our entire trip. The key to packing is to bring layers, as we often were in short sleeves during the day and adding sweaters and jackets by nightfall (especially at Mt. Cook and in Queenstown). We didn't want to do the entire LOTR tour, but were very glad we included a visit to Hobbiton in Matamata, The Hairy Feet Tour near Piopio, and the WETA studios tour in Wellington. We also did the half day LOTR location tour in Wellington, which was fun, but not essential. Because the main highway on the South Island was still under repair from damage caused by the 2016 earthquake, we spent a lot more time driving than we had anticipated. The trip from Blenheim to Kaikoura, which is usually a 90 minute drive, was a seven hour journey across the island and back. It was tiring, but the scenery is so beautiful, it's almost worth the extra time in the car. Almost. For us, every stop on our tour was well worth the time and effort. The only real disappointment for us was Christchurch. Even though it's been more than six years since the earthquake that devastated the city, the center remains a boarded up, fenced-off, under-construction mess. Reading the local papers, we understand discussion are still in place as to whether to restore the Cathedral or replace it with a more modern design has completely stymied the restoration effort. A real shame. We had one small snafu with a hotel booking, but Erynn fixed everything while we were having breakfast. Otherwise, the trip could not have been better. Having New Zealand Self Drive Tours take care of all the arrangements made for a stress-free vacation. Thanks, Erynn!
Leticia Benitez, Emily Wolf & Aniekan Udowana, A Customised Christchurch to Queenstown Holiday, Travelled on 7th May 2017
Christina did a fantastic job planning our holiday! We appreciated her suggestions for activities and agreed to almost all. The printed out itinerary, driving directions and map were incredibly helpful and we consulted the additional information for suggestions for additional activities or restaurants. We had a fantastic holiday and would highly recommend this travel company and Christina to anyone considering a South Island driving tour!Read more
Black water rafting just was not for us but we thoroughly enjoyed the cave tour. We also enjoyed the scenic train! Everything worked out smoothly during our trip. We were very pleased that every hotel or attraction we went to just needed our names to pull up the reservation, especially at the Greymouth rental car counter. All of our accommodations worked well and we would recommend them to others.
Steve Mckenna & Tim Tyson, Customised Auckland to Queenstown Southbound Explorer, Travelled on 29th June 2017
Great trip! In terms of lodging, Matakauri Lodge was of course was the best, but the others were all very good as well. The Wellington hotel's in room laundry facilities were a HUGE help mid trip. The Waters' self cook breakfast facilities were a distinct step below the other ones, and we were late arriving there because we thought the Waters would be closer to the ferry terminal than it was. In terms of the itinerary, it was great, though I think we could easily have spent another full day in the Rotorua area (the Waimangu Valley was terrific and took a full day for us, so we could have seen more there).
We would also recommend having a car on Waiheke Island (we got one there and used it a lot), and the cars on the South Island were smaller and less practical than the one on the North Island. Finally, the GPS in the car was out of date; we used Navigon on our phone and it worked much better. But the overall trip and holiday was STUNNING. This is just to indicate our minor points of comment. We had a superb time and thank you so much for all your help!
Claudia Hunter and Melanie Rausch, Customised Queenstown to Auckland 11 Day Highlights, Travelled on 27th April 2017
Our fabulous trip to NZ was such a success! We appreciate all the planning, details and super suggestions. We had such a fun time, did so much and loved every minute of your beautiful country! Our highlights were Mt Cook and the Glass bottom boat tour! The Coromandal Coast is magnificent! All the hotels were wonderful, friendly and so clean! Thank you again for all the brilliant work to make our trip seamless and exactly what we wanted. Melanie & Claudia from Cambridge, MA
Thierry Defrene, Customised Lakes, Mountains and Glaciers Self Drive Tour, Travelled on 23rd April 2017
Hi Lauren, Sorry for only getting back to you now. We have been delighted by our trip in NZ and organising it through your services couldn’t have been easier. Very straight forward to start with, you understood our needs perfectly and the content and itinerary were just perfect. I have already provided your company details to one of my colleagues who is thinking of visiting NZ as well. Only one regret, but you could have done nothing about it is that South Island is so amasing and beautiful that we wish we could have done a bit more and stayed in some places longer, sad we only had 8 days... Best regards, Thierry Defrène.
Kristie, Bill, Alanna & Joshua Miles, Bruce & Mercedes Drummond & Mercedes Silvan, A Customised Northern Explorer Family Adventure, Travelled on 10th April 2017
Our overall experience was pretty positive and we enjoyed our family holiday. Thank you Christina for your work with our trip, your itinerary was very easy to follow. Hobbiton was brilliant and definitely one the highlights for the kids. We loved Rotorua and Wellington.Read more
Our main disappointment was our accommodation in Auckland. they were not very inviting and the hotel was right next to the Auckland City Mission. It was very confronting for our young children and my elderly grandmother to continuously walk past the many homeless which surrounding the street of our hotel. They would approach us and ask for money and many were under the influence of drugs or alcohol. I would not recommend staying in this part of Auckland with a young family. Unfortunately due to the Cyclone we were quite restricted with what we could do, the weather was not kind to us as the start however we made the most of what we could.
Lee Lip Fong & Friends, Auckland to Christchurch 17 Day Highlights Tour, Travelled on 10th April 2017
Our group of 8 good friends went on the 17 days NZ tour in April arranged by New Zealand Self Drive Tours turned out to be a life time memory for all of us. I would give a thumbs up for their fantastic service, their excellent arrangement on the itinerary and accommodation were beyond our expectation.
We have no hiccough on the car pick up and return as well. I would strongly recommend any of my friends to contact you all should they think of going to NZ. Special thanks to Annelise Redford for your kind and prompt attention whenever we needed you! In my Malaysian language "Banyak terima kasih" for such a beautiful holiday for all of us! This has marked another new page in my life!! Xie Xie!
Sally & Brad Veach, A Customised South Island Adventure, Travelled on 8th April 2017
Where do I begin? First of all, let’s just say I am a bit of a planner, so I was reluctant to have someone else plan my 30th wedding anniversary itinerary for me. As I was researching online all the different tour groups, I kept coming back to New Zealand Self Drive Tours. Some of the top reasons I decided to go with NZSDT is because I could change up the itinerary and pick what days, how long, and where I wanted to go. I saw that other tour companies weren’t as flexible. Secondly, all their impressive reviews over the internet from people who had used them to book their tours.
Thirdly, it was a relief not to have to coordinate and search thru reviews to find 14 different places to stay throughout the South Island (all with their own cancellation fees, confirmations, availability and amenities) and also; knowing that if a problem came up, I wouldn’t have to have to figure it out on my own while on vacation. Lastly, I wouldn’t have to determine which car rental agency to choose and read all the fine print for hidden fees and insurance costs and on and on. NZSDT has it all covered. One fee covered all I needed including a GPS and auto insurance. Keeping all this in mind and knowing that in all my previous vacations, I have done all the planning on my own with no problems, I still took the step, released the control and went for it with Christina at New Zealand Self Drive Tours. I am so very thankful I did. From the first time I live chatted with Christina, I was very impressed by her helpfulness and willingness to listen to my needs. Since I am a planner, I asked a few hundred questions along the way and she never grew tired of me (well, at least not that I knew about!). Christina was patient, accommodating, kind, understanding, knowledgeable and professional. She was on top of whatever requests I had, whether it was through emails, phone calls or live chats. I loved the fact that I could live chat a quick question and they would immediately direct me to Christina, if she was available. When Christina was not available, anyone I dealt with was able to help me immediately. Even while we were on the trip, we had decided to try and stay an extra night at Mt. Cook and cancel a night in Dunedin. Christina was able to accommodate it smoothly in a matter of hours. I didn’t have to worry about a thing. I could just go on my way and enjoy our adventures. Another factor that impressed me about New Zealand Self Drive Tours was when I researched on my own and found some things to do Christina would welcome the opportunity to add new choices to their itineraries. The New Zealand Self Drive Tours website was extremely user friendly. I appreciated the different tabs in My Tour link, ie. Overview, Inclusions, Driving info, Costs & Pay, and Your Details. Clear and informative. No fine print. Upon arrival we received our packet, complete with a full bound itinerary, brochures and also a New Zealand Touring Atlas Book which was invaluable (even with our GPS). We spent 16 days on the South Island going all the way down to the Catlins. We chose the budget Motels itinerary and we were not disappointed in ANY of them. We were actually quite surprised at the quality of the places we stayed. Most of them had kitchenettes and an extra bedroom. They were just perfect for our needs. They were all very clean and the people were full of hospitality. Everything we saw and did was a 10+. We kayaked Okarito Lagoon thru Okarito Kayaks, glacier kayaked the Tasman Lake thru Southern Alps Guiding, took a smaller boat with Southern Discoveries on Milford Sound (no words to describe this place), went jet boat fishing on the Waiau River thru Fish Jet, and shot Class 5 rapids thru Rangitata Rafting. All past our expectations and all can be booked thru New Zealand Self Drive Tours. We fell in love with NZ and their people. We like to adventure out so we ended up going 1900 more kilometers than the itinerary of 2330 km! We got up early, headed out and ended up seeing everything we wanted rain or shine. EVERYWHERE we went we were not disappointed and EVERYTHING was a highlight for us. I am still going thru and cleaning up 9458 photo memories! In conclusion, I would be more than happy to connect with anyone who needs a recommendation for New Zealand Self Drive Tours. My heartfelt gratitude to Christina, for creating a dream of a lifetime trip for our 30th wedding anniversary. Sally & Brad
Gary & Denise McCarthy, 18 Day Taste of New Zealand, Travelled on 10th April 2017
Well it was a sensational holiday with everything going to plan. The pick up thru to the final drop off was so professional and hassle free. Our introduction to NZ was an eye opener and will definitely return and hopefully with some friends in tow. Once we left Auckland city the fields opened up and so did the welcome in Rotorua with all staff at various establishments happy and helpful. On to Napier after TC Cook blasted the east coast but life carried on and all where smiling.
Napier was a interesting place with retro themes along the foreshore. Big drive to Wellington and now we know why its called the windy city as it was blustery when we arrived, which didn't detract from the whole scheme of things. An early morning cruise across Cook St into Picton was relaxing but didn't venture much outside as temps where a tad cool. Pleasant winery tour and accommodation in Blenheim. Huge drive thru to Christchurch due to East Coast road closed but the 'lost' scenic route was great and arriving to a majestic hotel being OGB, fantastic accommodation. weather wasn't on our side but we ventured out and investigated a city rebuilding. onwards to Lake Tekapo, what a jewel this place is and the sun was out so it just made you feel awestruck. locals friendly and easy to chat about everyting and nothing. local bar/ tavern accommodated our refreshments and meals a real homely feel. the observatory above Lake Tekapo is a must do which gives you massive panoramic views of the surrounding country side. little driving adventures were undertaken and got to see where locals camp and trout fish, brilliant place to relax/ visit. a slow drive to the majestic giant, Mt Cook, what a sight as you travel towards the snow capped mountain and once again a sunny day blessed us all the way. accommodation was great as we opened the curtain, there looking at us was splendid views of Mt Cook. leaving the following a change of scenery on the way to Queenstown with the autumn colours starting to expose themselves. he days spent in Queenstown and the surrounding areas was awesome. Milford Sound is a must but the only negative is the very long bus ride, maybe we should of paid the extra and flew back to Q, it didn't detract from the Sound's natural wonder be it a tad cold but braving it was worth every moment. sadly we then left and headed to Franz Josef which was an interesting drive as the west coast changes to sub-tropical. FJ was an interesting place, small but busy and the walk up to (close) the glacier was invigorating but it was a shame to hear how much the glacier has retracted and we didn't have the opportunity to walk on it unless you hired a helicopter. never the less it is still a great memory. form here we arrived at Greymouth where the vehicle was returned and we caught the train across to Christchurch. this produced some amazing sights and photo opportunities as we meandered through the mountains and down onto the Canterbury Plains. picked up at the station and delivered to our favourite place the OGB (the Heritage). spent 2.5 days here and the sun blessed us to which we took advantage and visited the botanical gardens, museum, tram rides, city walks and frequented eateries and shops, this place hums even though it looks like a war zone and construction is going on all around you, well worth visiting. finally we departed after what felt like forever and any less a stay would not of achieved an understanding of this lovely country which is only 3hrs max flying time away. our self drive gave us a lot and with Jane at the helm and sorting out best options and with my investigations I think we achieved one of our best drive holidays yet. next time we are going to look at going north of Auckland to investigate what wonders are up there....very satisfied and recommend this to anybody. Thanks once again Jane top job. Cheers Gary and Denise Forresters Beach NSW
Stephen & Lynda Collinson, It Just Doesn't Get Any Better South Island Experience, Travelled on 9th April 2017
Amazing holiday in the South Island NZ, beautifully organised, didn't have to worry about a thing. We don't know NZ that well, but had a rough idea of what we wanted to do, so just gave our consultant Shelley Ryder our arrival and departure dates, explained accommodation preferences, activities and sights we would like, a rough price guide and she came back with the perfect itinerary.
No hitches, everything went smoothly with all bookings and connections, no worries at all. Fantastic B&B's booked everywhere, met some lovely people here, real NZ hospitality! A terrific holiday, and we will be back for the North Island, very soon!
Allan & Wendy Quadrio, Customised Return South Island Highlights, Travelled on 8th April 2017
The entire trip went according to the planned itinerary. The map book included in the initial package was very useful. All the accommodation was very good and more importantly clean with comfortable warm beds. The overnight stay of Doubtful Sound was most enjoyable, but you must advise people about the sandflies. Wanaka was beautiful and peaceful an well worth the couple of day stay over.
Wendy especially enjoyed the Zipline in Queenstown. Hopefully you have some influence with the national parks people. If there is a shortfall in the tourist spectrum it is in the public toilet facilities, especially at Fox and Franz Josef where they are too few, smelly and dirty. Shelley, thanks for your organization of our trip. It all went very smoothly without a single hitch in regards to the arrangements you made. A very enjoyable holiday. Regards Allan and Wendy Quadrio
Henrik, Maria, Matilda & Jacob Junkrans, Customised Auckland to Christchurch Splendour Family Adventure, Travelled on 1st April 2017
Really good concept to get the vacation planned via New Zealand Self Drive Tours. The accommodations were ok, and the activities exactly what we asked for. I did a lot of the research myself but it was great to get help with the bookings and detailed planning.
And all the people we interfaced with were very helpful, in particular the Hanmer Springs quad biking. The whale watching in Kaikoura was the peak (we were lucky with the weather). We had 11 days packed with activities and they all worked out as planned. Best vacation ever!
Frederick Abels & Jerome Pleysier, 27 Day New Zealand Discoverer, Travelled on 1st April 2017
We had an awesome trip discovering NZ on our 27-day self drive tour, set up by Jane. She did an awesome job. The motel accommodations she chose for us were more than we expected. Even though we spent 27 days in NZ, we could have easily spent another two weeks to include some of the sights we didn't see. It's just such a beautiful country. This of course leaves room for a return trip! TRead more
here were only a few minor things I think could have been handled better. I was under the assumption our car would be delivered to us on our 2nd day. I did not realize we would need to find our own transfer back to the airport to pick up our car. I think we should have been given the option to set up a transfer to the airport when we booked our trip, or have the car delivered directly to us. Luckily, I managed to set up a transfer (at an additional cost) with the gentleman who transferred us from the airport to our motel upon our arrival into Christchurch. It was a miner snag, but could have been set up better. Confusion at the beginning of a trip is unwelcomed. At several motels we were asked upon check-in if we were with 'Fine Tours'. Being unaware that this was the name of the actual company, I said 'no'. This caused a little confusion. I was under the impression I booked with NZ Self Drive Tours. It might be wise to inform your travelers of the 'Fine Tours' name...which appears nowhere in any of our paperwork. Again, just a very minor hic-up, but worth mentioning. When we arrived in Kaikoura, we found the motel we were booked at to be closed due to the earthquake back in November. Somehow this was not communicated to Jane. I called Jane for help and we were set up in another property in a very short time. This snag was handled fast and in a very professional manner. Jane re-booked us at a super nice property. This was a bit of a larger incident, but it was handled very well and we were pleased with the outcome. Would I book with New Zealand Self Drive Tours (a.k.a. 'Fine Tours') again? Definitely! All in all Jane did a fantastic job and we LOVED our trip. A small snafu just adds to the adventure of traveling. Thanks Jane for all your help and giving us an experience we'll remember for the rest of our lifetime! It was SUPER!
Jenny Shao, Greg, Douglas, Kyle and Lucas Mitchell, Tailored Fiords, Glaciers and Mountains Self Drive Tour, Travelled on 31st March 2017
Thank you, Salli, for putting together our fantastic New Zealand holiday to the South Island! We appreciate your friendliness, professionalism and efficiency in putting together our 10-day self-drive tour itinerary. We had very little time (and knowledge) to research all the NZ destinations, activities and accommodations, so it was wonderful that you took on that task for us. All the accommodations you arranged were clean with all the amenities required (usually more than!) The motel proprietors were friendly and very helpful in providing local recommendations and tips.Read more
We particularly appreciate that you provided a suggested list of activities for each area that we visited but allowed us to pick and choose however much or little we wanted to do. You told us not to miss the Milford Sound cruise, and indeed, that was the absolute highlight of our trip! A couple of suggestion on things: 1. It would be nice to include distances with all the driving directions - for example, if a direction says "Head east on State Hwy 6" if would be nice to know how long we stay on Hwy 6 until the next instruction to "Turn left onto XYZ Road." 2. Some of the "driving distance and time" were underestimated. For example, Queenstown to Franz Josep Glacier (via Wanaka) took close to 6 hours instead of 4.4 hrs as listed (we didn't dilly dally and made only a quick lunch stop). Also, to drive comfortably and safely from Te Anau to Milford Sound really takes about 3 hours (would leave Te Anau *no later* than 7:30am for the 10:30am cruise). Aside from those few minor details, this was simply an amazing trip! You made the whole trip planning so effortless for us. And with everything pre-arranged by you, we were able to really focus on experiencing the beauty and the culture of New Zealand. Simply a fantastic trip with memories that will last a lifetime! Thank you, Salli!
Charles & Candace Black, 21 Day Discover New Zealand, Travelled on 30th March 2017
We had an amazing trip and we met so many wonderful and interesting people. Everything was so well planned out, all we needed to do was get in our rental car and go. New Zealand is so breathtakingly beautiful, pictures while wonderful, do not begin to capture the beauty. All I can say to anyone, if you can, go to New Zealand.
Suresh, Aparna, Megha & Kunal Narang, Customised Ultimate South Island Experience, Travelled on 28th March 2017
Had a good to great holiday. itinerary well organised. Most of the accommodations booked were of high standard. However, the accommodation at Punakaiki was average compared to accommodation at other places.
Distances and travel time mentioned in the book were occasionally off. Lastly, I wish more details had been provided about the cave tour near Punakaiki. It was mentioned that the total tour would be of 2 hours duration - however, that refers only to the duration from entrance to the cave. What was not mentioned is that it takes another couple of hours to get to and from the cave entrance. The to and from journey to the cave entrance is quite arduous for the not young people. In future, perhaps this aspect can be clarified to prospective participants in this adventure. The 4WD adventure near Queenstown was off the beaten track, and wonderful. Please convey our appreciation to Andy.
Mary & Geoffrey Lee and Angelo & Bernice Falconieri, Behind The Scenes in New Zealand, Travelled on 30th March 2017
Hi Shelley, Well, back to the real world now, work etc, We had a wonderful time, Uncle from Auckland could not do enough for us, a real gentleman. Our mystery night was organised by us girls, whilst we were at Lake Tepako, We stayed at a B and B called Dalry Country House run by a wonderful couple, we went to the local pub for dinner that night. The B and B was 9 ks out of Hastings but was worth the drive.
We changed the road trip a couple of times on the advice from the locals on what to see and where to go, found Paua ( abalone) at Invercargil, had to google how to cook it, was nice. We did a lot of touring at Wanaka, between wineries, War Birds, Puzzle House and also the Gypsie Caravans were there, quite colourful, we just ran non stop, our accommodation was lovely, including the ducks. the scenery was amazing, especially Arthurs Pass, found a lovely place for lunch, some how we escaped the bad weather, was ahead of it most of the time. we had to change vehicles at Christchurch because the hire company had us returning it on the 10th, that was a bummer as it took up some wasted time, wanted to see more of Christchurch. Queenstown was amazing, and so was our helicopter flight. Anyway, thankyou for organising such a wonderful experience for us, now to save up for our next holiday in two years time, South East Asia. Will recommend your company to our friends. Cheers Mary Lee
Sharon & Rod White, South to North 14 Day New Zealand Highlights, Travelled on 27th March 2017
We very much enjoyed our holiday in New Zealand. Highlights include: Milford Road coach trip and the plane ride back to Queenstown. The scenery on the South Island was spectacular, especially the Mount Cook National Park. Rotorua was an interesting place to see with the mud pools etc. The Maori Village was a bit touristy but they did a very good show and I learned about their culture. The Coromandel township was beautiful but we got caught on a road closure due to cyclone Debbie.
This required a detour on a somewhat perilous drive through the mountains on a gravel road. We would have appreciated someone from New Zealand Self Drive Tours giving us a heads up on this as we were following their itinerary. The drive from Christchurch to Blenheim was very long due to #1 closure but we loved the Marlborough B and B. Lovely country setting, just the right location to relax. Not sure why we were booked on the afternoon ferry to the North Island. We could have easily made the morning ferry and this would have given us some time in Wellington. We enjoyed our short time in Christchurch but were not prepared for the earthquake devastation that still affects this city. It was disturbing but we are glad to have seen this as we better understand their situation. We really enjoyed meeting Catherine who now runs The Springs in Rotorua. She was very helpful with restaurant advice, what to see and do in Rotorua and even helped with weather forecasts and road conditions. She provides a hand drawn map of Rotorua which I will keep as a souvenir. When we asked for B and B the Springs and Marlborough B and B were the best and what we think of when B and B comes to mind. We like to meet the owner have a chat with locals. We did meet the owner of the Dairy when first checking in but not after this. Very positive experience and we would recommend to others.
Tan Chun Ghee, 8 Day Christchurch to Queenstown Exclusive Highlights, Travelled on 25th March 2017
Lauren helped us customise an 8-day itinerary driving from Christchurch to Queenstown and was very responsive throughout the process. The website is also fast and easy to use. The suggested accommodation, driving route, and attractions were carefully chosen and helped us make the most of our short time in beautiful NZ. It was a wonderful experience and everything went very smoothly thanks to Lauren's planning. We highly recommend this company.
Lora Banicevic & Jake Luschwitz, Iconic South Island Tour, Travelled on 21st March 2017
Dear Shelley, Thank you for helping us plan our honeymoon around the South Island of New Zealand! We were so busy with planning the wedding and greatly appreciated how simple it was to organise our trip through your company! You made the whole process straight forward and we didn’t have to worry about a thing.
We thoroughly enjoyed our time in your beautiful country and were amazed by the scenery and some of the stunning accommodation available. Star gazing in the outdoor bathtubs at Tin Tub Luxury Lodge is a memory that Jake and I will treasure forever. We would not hesitate to recommend your company to anyone! Lora and Jake
Susanna & Bill Ross, 12 Day Northern Highlights, Travelled on 19th March 2017
We had a great holiday and everything was arranged just the way I envisioned it. So thanks! Couple of suggestions: 1. When I received my package in Wellington, most of the activities did not have vouchers and we did not have train tickets. I spoke with Shelley and she assured me they wouldn't be needed (and they weren't), but it would have been nice if the instructions had made that clear. 2. The hotel in Snells Beach was less than exciting. There wasn't anything exactly wrong with it, but it was easily the least interesting place we stayed. Loved the Waipoua Lodge! And all your suggestions about where to go and things to do were just perfect. I very much appreciated the road atlas--it was very helpful.
Shari & Howard Scher, New Zealand at a Glance, Travelled on 16th March 2017
Thank you Salli and everyone who helped make this a fabulous 'trip of a lifetime'. The B and B's and hotels were beyond terrific, the hospitality of all we met was perfection and the trip put together highlights that were just right. The only problem was our desire to spend more time in New Zealand. I guess we will simply have to return! I must add that Salli was amazing in terms of how fast she got back to us and how she was always patient, regardless of how many times we needed clarification. I highly recommend her services. Feel free to use the Schers for recommendations for others.
Jena Rueth and Linda Hanson, Auckland to Queenstown 14 Day Self Drive Tour, Travelled on 16th March 2017
We had a wonderful time! New Zealand is beautiful and the people very friendly. The cars for both islands were spacious and easy to drive. All of the hotels were excellent locations and several with spectacular views. We liked when we didn't have to pay to park or pay for internet. We especially feel that hotel guests shouldn't have to pay for internet. Our optional trips were all we hoped for and the pre-booked trips were more economical. My top 3 were Maori Village, Zealandia Wildlife Sanctuary Night Tour and Whale Watch Kaikoura. The Glowworm cave was also a wonderful experience. Thank you Lauren for your advice, help, and kindness.
Steve and Bev Swartz, A Customised Grand New Zealand Experience, Travelled on 12th March 2017
My wife Bev and I had a thoroughly enjoyable time during our 18-day drive-around of NZ. Christian Brockie did a superb job of making all the arrangements for accommodation, hire car and activities - there were no 'surprises' except for the astounding beauty of the country that we experienced, on both north and south islands. From the opening Mitai Village evening in Auckland to the final visit to the Antarctic Centre in Christchurh and everything in between (including visits to three glaciers), we had an unbelievable time and would do it again! Steve Swartz
Donald Baulderstone, Customised 25 Day Length & Breadth - North to South of New Zealand, Travelled on 13th March 2017
Thanks for your arrangements,only the one hiccup, the tour of Auckland. Do you intend refunding the amount to me? The accommodation was brilliant, except for Wellington, which was my fault as I requested to be nearer the airport. Dunedin, Mount Cook,Christchurch,and Paihia were our favorites.
Franz Josef, they gave us an older apartment,after we had unpacked, I complained to the Manager, and in fairness, he then offered an updated one, but we couldn't be bothered moving.He couldn't answer why we were not given the better one in the first place. We did call into your Wanaka office, but you were in Auckland. Once again thanks and I will certainly recommend you to any friends contemplating a NZ tour. Don Baulderstone.
Adrian & Julie Phillips, The Length & Breadth North to South, Travelled on 12th March 2017
Hi Laura, It's been a while since we came back but I'm finally getting round to sorting things out! I thought I'd send you some feedback: Firstly we had an absolutely amazing time, everything was wonderful and we have some lovely memories. I've just finished sorting through 7000 photos to make 2 photo books! We were very impressed with the quality of the accommodations considering this was your entry level property.Read more
However some stood out for various reasons. Host of the holiday was Robin at the Red Tussock Motel Te Anau, he was such a character and we had a lovely fruit bowl in our room. He also went in and put the lights and heating on before we got back from our trip to Milford, so thoughtful and kind. He had a bird table so we spent quite a while watching the birds. Other stand out properties were: Aoraki Court Motel, Mount Cook, fabulous views of the glacier and a spa bath! Ocean View Chalets, Abel Tasman, again a fabulous ocean view and great deck for watching the sea and stars, lovely eco approach and amenities. Least favourite were: Albatross Motel Napier. It was on a very noisy main road, although there was a lovely view of the nature reserve. The cooking facilities were also rather basic. Blue Peaks Motel Queenstown, also right on the main road and rather noisy although the other facilities were fine. Camelot Motor Lodge Christchurch, rather run down and in poor condition throughout, though of course we appreciate the issues around Christchurch. As I've already said we were very impressed with the overall quality so this is being very picky! As to locations, being Nature and country lovers we obviously preferred those locations to the cities. The standout experience has to be the Doubtful Sound Cruise, we were so lucky to have wonderful weather, a dolphin pod bow surfing for ages and the best best time in the side fiord, awesome views and a most wonderful experience. Milford was also great and that road is an experience in itself. In fact the whole Fiord area was fab. The nature experiences around Dunedin too were wonderful, just seeing a penguin on the beach at Moreaki and all the seals and sea lions, just great at Katiki Point. We did a tour with Elm Wildlife Tours, which was fantastic. Abel Tasman was just lovely, we were quite tired by the time we got there and it was lovely just to have a breather for a couple of days. We took the water taxi up the coast and back again, lovely. Aoraki Mount Cook was wonderful, it was awesome driving up through the clouds from Christchurch to Lake Tekapo, the church on the lake was stunning. Walking to the glaciers was wonderful too. The Geothermal area around Rotorua was really interesting, we went to Oraki Korako, a bit off the beaten track and seemed less touristy than the other locations. We also walked around the lake and to the Maori Village, amazing to see the thermal vents in the middle of the street! We also loved Coromanel, birdwatching at Miranda and visiting the Thames School of Mines. Hot water beach was an interesting experience too! Auckland was great too and we walked up Rangitoto which was a great experience. We did the Hangi at Waitangi which was really interesting, would love to have had time to visit in the day but instead we did the Hole in the Rock cruise. We also visited Russell which was very quaint. Waipoua was majestic and rather moving, being in the presence of those huge Kauri. Least favourite location was Napier, not quite sure why but just didn’t feel it. We did do a wine tasting tour with Prinsy and had a lovely view from Te Mata. We also found Wellington a bit overwhelming, but enjoyed Te Papa. That brings me to another point, travelling times. We had driving guidance and sat nav to help but still found it much longer than estimated to get from place to place. We were obviously driving cautiously but still needed at least an hour longer than estimated. This affected our estimated arrival times and reduced time available to visit places. We did enjoy the driving and some of the great detours satnav took us on! We had great weather, considering all the stuff going on during our stay until the very end so our experience of the West Coast was restricted by the Cyclone! It looked stunning though and definitely an incentive to come back! We had our helihike cancelled due to the weather so we ended up leaving Frank Josef a day early and driving up to Greymouth where we visited the Pancake rocks in the pouring rain! So all in all we were delighted with the itinerary and all the organisation you put into getting everything to run so smoothly, we had no difficulties at all as we travelled round. Many thanks for all you help and assistance. Best wishes Julie Phillips
Cliff & Mary VanCott and Linda & Steve Healy, Northbound Navigator Christchurch to Auckland, Travelled on 9th March 2017
Hi Shelley! We had a GREAT trip, enjoyed it all wonderfully. Your aid and suggestions were tremendously helpful in making this a fantastic trip-of-a-lifetime. You did a FANTASTIC job and we are all very grateful! If we ever return, I'll be sure to contact you! The Milford Track was great we had no rain at all. The downside was very limited waterfall pictures... but we all agreed that was a small price to pay for warm and dry hiking! White puffy clouds and blue sky... the perfect weather for walking with a big pack on our back!Read more
We had a great time on the Penguin Place tour, we all drove up to the Albatross Center (maybe ten minutes away). They were not doing tours because the weather had turned bad earlier... but when we arrived, the clouds were parting and we spent an hour photographing as many as a dozen albatrosses which flew overhead! Linda and Steven are big birders so this was a huge plus for the trip. (They also returned later for a Blue Penguin tour while Mary and I stayed at the lodging to catch up on laundry and relax some.) Penguin Place was a good location because it saved us the nearly hour-long drive back into Dunedin after all the tours... VERY convenient. Basic beds in rooms with shared bathrooms and kitchen... but location was everything (and laundry too!) We would stay there again in an instant. One pleasant surprise was that you provided TWO sets of all documentation, one for Mary and I, the second for Linda and Steven. That was unexpected and appreciated a lot. Both couples have these remarkably helpful guides to refer to at night and also as reminders after the trip. The maps and your daily turn-by-turn directions were very helpful. Those, along with the GPS in the car made it quite easy for us to focus on enjoying the scenery instead of being worried about being lost. (One improvement to your turn-by-turn directions would be to add the DISTANCE, in either kilometers or miles, before the next turn. Without that we needed to either do Google map searches or else just keep watching for signs that might come in 2 minutes or 200 kilometers later. Adding something like "... in 23 kilometers turn left on Pilsbury road..." would make it much easier for the navigator!) We found your directions to be really well thought out and useful, and followed them almost exclusively. We did stray on our route from Dunedin to Wanaka in that we traveled further north on the coast to see the Moravi (sp?) Rocks (a bit disapointing) and then inland to the Elephant Rocks (VERY cool! ...well worth the drive). This still got us into Wanaka early enough to play at the Puzzling World's labyrnth for hours (Highly recommended!) and walk the town at our leisure. I believe all of our lodging choices were spot-on... the right mix of convenience and cost. We typically made breakfast and dinner in our rooms, so the kitchenettes were perfect. Being able to walk to many of the city's attractions was a big plus... and the people we met running the places were, without exception, pleasant warm and helpful. I would share with you that the hostel at Mt Cook worked very well. It IS a hostel, but we were able to get a single (crowded) room with four beds all to ourselves. We still had the kitchen so cooking worked well for us... but the biggest plus was location. The only alternative was the Hermitage, which exceeded our budget... or else we would lose hours driving to/from the next closest lodging in Twizel. I mention this in case you have future clients torn with that same delema... If they understand the limits of a hostel (and this one was very clean, pleasant and well-run) then they may be able to make the visit AND stay on site. (We had signed up for the Stargazing Tour, which doesn't end until hours after sunset. Being faced with an hour+ drive to Twizel afterwards would have made for a much too long day!) As for the activities we did... I found the Hike on Milford Track to be a life's dream come true. My Grandfather visited New Zealand some forty years ago and he loved it. He planted in me a desire to visit your homeland, something that I finally was able to do. The hike was something I learned of later hand have been hoping to do for years. Beautiful, challenging, remarkable scenery and a very well-run system for hikers to visit a uniquely stunning area... I highly recommend it! The tour at Penquin Place was perhaps the ONLY way we would have seen yellow-eyed penguins, and certainly not so close or convenient than if we'd struck out on our own. It's only a few kilometers from the Albatros Center, so very convenient to do both... and they do a Blue Penguin tour also.) The Black Water Rafting was FANTASTIC!! Mary pretty much kept it to herself... but she was scared. But she faced the fear and did it anyway... and had a blast! I was quite pleased too... they do a good job. Drifting on the underground stream in the inky blackness with only glowworms twinkling overhead was a remarkable experience I am SO glad was a part of our trip. One other activity added was the Driving Creek Railroad. I'll admit that I first thought it a hokey touristy distraction (one I toyed with bypassing for perhaps more exciting stuff) ... but it was marvelous! Made me envious of the life he lived "playing with trains"! Keep including this whenever you can... and if anyone is thinking about ignoring it... think again! It was a blast! Our tour of Hobbiton was rainy and wet... and wonderful! We are big fans so it really didn't matter much. They do provide umbrellas, and there's a bus ride to/from the site. I'd do it again tomorrow, it was that good. (We had also visited the Weta Cave in a tour while in Wellington... that added a lot to the overall story and enriched our Hobbitton tour much.) For any prospective client who is concerned about the inter-island ferry... It really IS that easy. Drop off the car at the Picton terminal, walk up to the boat, and enjoy the 2-3 hour cruise. Get off at the other end and the new car is there at the Wellington terminal waiting for you. Easy peasy! One other thing I'll mention that we found adding a lot to the trip was the vast collection of Farmer's Markets, Artist's Markets and festivals. We especially liked the Dunedin Farmer's Market, the Wanaka Artist's Market and ... the CubaDupa Street Festival in Wellington. Turns out we were in Wellington for that annual street fair and we enjoyed it tremendously. A serendipitous addition to that city's visit which was a real hoot! So... I think you can see that we liked our visit a lot! ... I hope that you also know that YOU helped make that happen and we're really grateful. Tell your boss that you did REAL GOOD and these clients were wonderfully well served. Thank you! Cliff
Stephanie Brooks, Ron Henze & Brenda Horner and Nina Gill, Customised Length & Breadth 36 Days South to North, Travelled on 8th March 2017
Fantastic accommodation, really appreciated having laundry in suite at the perfect time. Also appreciated the kitchenettes and barbecues... it was great to be able to cook "at home" rather than eating out constantly. And we felt like we saw most of the country without being too rushed.
Wendy McDonald & Colin Devenish, Customised New Zealand Discoverer North to South Self Drive Tour, Travelled on 7th March 2017
Colin and I would like to thank you Shelley for putting an incredible trip together for us. The accommodation was extremely clean and comfortable and hotel staff were very helpful. The ease of checking in, picking up cars and embarking onto the ferry and the Trans Alpine train was so well organized so thank you. Our trip was great from arriving in New Zealand to departing without any problems what so ever. We will certainly recommend your company to friends and family. Shelley thank you again for all your assistance. Colin and Wendy
William (Bill) & Ruth Ann Parker, Adventure to Middle Earth, Travelled on 5th March 2017
Dear Louise, Just wanted to thank you for the wonderful trip we enjoyed while in New Zealand. All of our contacts were made and we thoroughly enjoyed the time you arranged for us. We had an interesting time getting to Hobbiton because the GPS wouldn't hook up and connect to the satellite but a couple of people gave us accurate instructions and we arrived on time. We stopped at a travel store along the way and got hooked up with Budget Rent a Car at the Hamilton Airport who replaced it for us and from that time on everything was lovely. Appreciate all you did and if any of our acquaintances plan a trip there we'll be happy to refer them to you. William and RuthAnn Parker.
Drew & Tracy (Margaret) Rasmussen, Making the most of Aotearoa, Travelled on 3rd March 2017
Thanks to Shelley Ryder and the rest of the New Zealand Self Drive Tours crew, our recent two month trip to New Zealand was extraordinary. Shelley shaped an extensive itinerary for us focusing on what we wanted to see and do and arranging it with enough flexibility that we were able to take advantage of countless unplanned experiences along the way. The few glitches we did have were immediately taken care of by New Zealand Self Drive Tours. Without Shelley's help we could have missed so much of her wonderful country. Thank you, Shelley, and we look forward to working with you on our next adventure to New Zealand.
Nancy Kimbrell & Mario Larouche, A Customised Outdoor North Island Holiday, Travelled on 1st March 2017
We have had a great time. I think you have done a fabulous job. We loved everything except for the dolphin swim. That was overbooked and not our thing. I thought they were cruel to the dolphins. I cannot un recommend it enough. They were very nice and let us off at an island where we hiked and got the ferry back to town. Loved kiwi Dundee we have loved the places we stayed. Weather made us cancel pee jay white island tour & the boat tour we were supposed to be on yesterday in Rotorua. Thank you for keeping tabs on us and doing such a wonderful job Cheers Dr. Nancy Kimbrell, DC
Tim & Tanya Powys, A Customised 24 Day Grand Explorer, Travelled on 28th February 2017
Hi Christina, Thanks for providing us with a great self drive holiday. Our accommodation was great and all the activities we chose enhanced our knowledge of New Zealand. I would also like to thank you for arranging a couple of additional trips while we were on the road. I would highly recommend this company. The only fault I could raise was the time it took to collect our hire car in Picton. Budget cars need to priorities pre booked rentals instead of leaving us to wait over an hour to get our vehicle.
Tom Symington & Gerry George, A Customised North to South Self Drive Holiday, Travelled on 1st March 2017
Hi Christine, We’re finally back on schedule. We were very pleased with the arrangements you made for us. “Uncle” picked us up at the airport and drove us to the hotel. “Early check-in request” - no luck with that. You might want to advise future clients that if they can’t check in and freshen up until later in the day, they would do well to take the “Hop-on, hop-off” bus tour that gave us an excellent overview of Auckland. The last stop was the Sky Tower, and we still had an hour to put in so we went up to the top and enjoyed that experience.
The Barclay Suites was very nice and met our needs. We took a taxi to Budget Rent-a-Car the next morning and Vivian was the lady who helped us out. She did an excellent job in preparing us for our venture out on the roads. We drove out of Auckland and headed for Pahia. It was nice to be able to head into a motel office and just give my name and receive confirmation that all was looked after. All of our accommodations were most acceptable. We very much enjoyed the tour to 90-Mile Beach that you arranged. Steve the driver from Keri-Keri was excellent, and the drive along the beach amazing – including the boogie board slide down the dune and the visit to the lighthouse at the northern tip of New Zealand. Another couple of days in Pahia would have been nice to really get to know the Bay of Islands would have been welcome, but our time constraints didn’t allow for that. The next day we drove to the Kauri forest and saw the large tree. The drive from Pahia was most interesting. Our GPS worked well, but it’s too bad that the indicators (names of streets et cetera) given in the itinerary didn’t mention any of the names of the towns we were passing through. The estuary before we turned south was spectacular. We had lunch in Dargaville, and then a long drive to Snell’s Beach. The drive the next day to Coramandel was very interesting. It wasn’t a problem getting through Auckland. We really enjoyed the tour to Driving Creek Pottery and the train ride up the mountain. It was a highlight for both of us. Once again, the accommodation was excellent. We never ran into a problem with the motels you booked. The drive the next day to Rotorua was quite long. We stopped at the hot water beach, but didn’t have a lot of time to enjoy it. (Our fault for not devoting more time to the North Island.) We found our motel quite easily. The tour to the Volcanic Valley (I forget the name) was most enjoyable, as was the boat ride. A worthwhile excursion. I tried booking a hingi dinner that evening, but managed to book the following evening. Fortunately the lady at the motel was able to call the people and arrange to have my VISA account refunded, as we had to head to Wellington the next day. That was a very long drive through the rain and Wellington was a little confusing for both the GPS and the two of us. We found the hotel, but the parking was not close by (but not that far away either). We had time for a walk along the harbour and a nice dinner at the Hummingbird Restaurant, but didn’t have time for the museum, your parliament building or other sightseeing. We were a little concerned about the car drop-off at Budget at the ferry dock the next morning. As it turned out, all of Budget’s parking stalls were full. An indication as to what to do in those circumstances would have been helpful. I.e. There is an overflow return location not too far away. The staff at the ferry terminal helped us with that, as the Budget counter isn’t open at that time of day. We kept the GPS, but should have kept the GPS holder as well. That should be specified to future clients. We picked up our car at Picton. The employee didn’t have time to check the car for any damage, so we carried on. We were able to see a wee bit of Blenheim that evening. Then the long drive down to Christchurch. We got there about 5:30 and Steve met us at six at the Budget counter to drive us to the Heartland Hotel. We had dinner in Marivale (sp?) at a Thai restaurant and a good evening before joining our Active Adventure Tour of the south island the next morning at the hotel. Thank you for everything Christine. As mentioned – no problems with any of the bookings you made for us. Tom
Laurie and David Pancoast, Customized New Zealand Driving Tour, Travelled on 1st March 2017
Hi Natalie, Well, we’re home – finally! Everything you arranged worked out perfectly. Our flights though went a bit sideways. We were delayed leaving Auckland so we missed our connection in Houston. Air New Zealand rerouted us through Detroit on Delta Airlines which also got delayed. The long and short of it is we didn’t arrive home until 3:00 AM our time! We had a wonderful trip and covered a lot of ground. We are so grateful to you for all the advice, coaching, suggestions and work you put into our adventure. And to top it all off, the weather in Milford Sound was awesome!
Same for our walk on the Milford Track. All blue skies and sunshine. The naturalist on the Milford Sound cruise started by pointing out some of the things most visitors never see – mountain tops and blue sky. If you want, feel free to claim credit for the unusually fine weather. J Renting the car instead of taking the TranzAlpine train worked out well. Thanks again for helping us have an incredible trip through New Zealand. It was a joy to meet you in person. If you are ever in our neck of the woods, you are more than welcome to visit. Sincerely, Dave and Laurie
Shiraz & Fareeda Satchu, A Customised North and South Island Highlights Tour, Travelled on 21st February 2017
We had an incredible trip through your beautiful country, New Zealand. We were often blown away by the sheer beauty of the country. It was a truly memorable trip and a very fitting celebration of our golden anniversary year. Christina (Brockie), you did an excellent job in organising the whole itinerary, making very suitable suggestions and making all the reservations. We are most grateful for all your help. A trip such as this would have been very difficult to plan and organise without your very capable professional help.
The only way to really appreciate the beauty of New Zealand is by road and self-driving is much, much better option than doing so by coach. We noticed this at every hotel with regimentation imposed on groups travelling by coach. We could come and go as we pleased, stop when we wanted to and have full control of our own schedule. We did all the activities you had booked for us. All the activities were definitely worth doing. The top three for us were Waitomo Glow Worms, the Tasman Glacier at Mt. Cook and Milford Sound cruise. However, the real joy of the whole trip was experiencing the beautiful country side, the lakes and the mountains as we drove along and stopping at lookout points. On a more mundane level, the availability of washrooms at the frequent rest stops was much appreciated!!!! Finally, the tour package. The documentation was very professional and we read the following days itinerary each evening. We referred to the atlas frequently. We will keep the whole package to remind us (together with photos) of the great trip we took down under. Thank you once again, Christina, and we will not hesitate to recommend you and New Zealand Self Drive Tours to our friends. Shiraz and Fareeda Satchu Toronto, Canada
Cornelis and Eveline Kolijn, North Island Explorer, Travelled on 20th February 2017
Kia Ora Hayley! Thank you so much for arranging this PERFECT Holiday! You were very responsive assembling our customized 21 - day North Island Adventure for Nature Lovers. Auckland was our start and end-point, a nice University city where we heard all tongues of the world, and also offering good restaurants. New Zealand deserves to be congratulated on its conservation efforts. Our Tongariro Northern Circuit was a delight and its wonders at the coast - The Kauri Forests, White Island (Active Volcano), Poor Night Islands (World Heritage - Snorkeling) and The Bay of Islands where we hiked across beautiful Urupukapuka Island - well worth the day we spent exploring it.
The tours to White Island (Pee Jay) and Poor Night Islands (Perfect Day Ocean Cruise) were very professionally run, with high quality and safety standards. We were very pleased with all Motel accommodation, and the car - the Corolla being ideal for the winding roads. The Lighthouse Lookout and Waipoua Lodge were delightful - our only regret not being able to stay longer. Importantly, during our trip you checked in with us to check if all was going smoothly. New Zealand is an island of tranquility in these anxious times. We found the people of New Zealand very friendly and hotel and restaurant staff and tour operators very responsive. Yes, we have already made many recommendations to our friends! Cheers! Cornelis and Eveline.
Lal Silva, A Taste of the South Self Drive Tour, Travelled on 20th February 2017
Thoughrally enjoyable and well planned tour. Everything worked like clockwork from the time we landed in Christchurch to the time we returned the car. The motels were all expecting our arrival and the rooms were ready. All the motels were clean and well maintained with good cooking facilities for those who want to make light meals.
The routes suggested in the itinerary were all scenic and covered some of the best sights in the South Island. The tours included in the price were very enjoyable too. I recommend this tour to anyone. Make sure you are a confident and competent driver. My next trip for will be a longer one with shorter drives between stops. Only downside was the cost of the tour which was considerably more than the advertised price and the considerable credit card charges did not help either
Marjorie Stearns, North Island Express, Travelled on 13th February 2017
Louise: We are now home in Milwaukee. We appreciate your assistance in planning a last minute visit to NZ for us! We enjoyed everything you planned for us. The suite at the Hamilton Novotel blew us away (not necessary--but enjoyed). Our ride to the airport came on time. We felt cared for! Loved the Eden Villa--wonderful welcoming experience. We kept our left over NZ currency to use on our next trip to NZ. We look forward to working with you on that itinerary! Many thanks! Marge and Jeff
Richard & Ginger de Neufville, Customised Wonders of the South Island, Travelled on 7th February 2017
Dear Shelley, my wife and I thank you for all the arrangements you made for our recent trip - no hitches at all. We also were lucky to enjoy a lot of good weather - essentially no rain to speak of - and absolutely clear views of Mt Cook and range. Some brief comments:
Queenstown - Garden Court. Physically great facilities. Being on the main road into town just between two turns, however, the traffic is intense. You could/should focus on places off that road. Milford Sound overnight - clearly a highlight! Te Anau - Marakura Motel - great facilities, location, but hard to find - no sign and hidden amidst a holiday camp. Mt Cook facilities - Hermitage chalets no longer part of Hermitage - they have been passed off to the Motel complex (but no signs yet up, very confusing) Speargrass in Arrowtown - really nice, we really enjoyed our stay there (and away from Queenstown) I will recommend your services. Best! Richard
Ross & Robyn Bate, A Customised New Zealand Self Drive Holiday, Travelled on 3rd February 2017
Thank you Christina and New Zealand Self Drive Tours. In all 21 stops we were greeted with enthusiasm and smiles. Christina assisted with numerous suggestions of places to consider around New Zealand and all those that we visited or involved ourselves in worked in with great pleasure and hassle free. To have all accommodation and ferry's etc. pre booked made the entire tour much more enjoyable and without worry or concern. We had to alter some of our itinerary at late notice but that was no problem for Christina. Thank you again Christina for making our tour of New Zealand an extremely complete one and leaves us with a feeling of enormous contentment. Ross and Robyn Bate - Australia
David & Shelia Beecroft, Customed 22 Day North Island Explorer Tour, Travelled on 16th February 2017
Hello to the team at NZ Fine Touring now that we have been home in the UK for a week and re-adjusted to ‘real’ life we wanted to thank-you for providing a superb service in arranging our holiday personal touring itinerary. Every aspect arranged by yourselves – car hire, accommodation and activity bookings went entirely to plan, making for a carefree and enjoyable holiday.
We know that our advisor Michelle has moved on but her help, advice and efficiency in getting everything arranged and booked was excellent. We will most certainly recommend your services to all friends and family thinking of visiting your wonderful country and, should we be lucky enough to make a third visit in the future, then we will certainly be back in touch. Many thanks once more and best regards, David & Sheila Beecroft - Colchester, UK
Laurie, Allison & Andrew Boutilier & Janet Murphy, A Customised Discover New Zealand Holiday, Travelled on 16th February 2017
Christina Brockie organized our month long trip around New Zealand (Feb/Mar 2017) with our two kids. Using Self Drive Tours & Christina was the BEST idea for our vacation. We can't say enough good things about the service and support we received. Every place we stayed at was perfect and the attention to detail to make sure that we knew where we had to be made every day relaxing.
Both my husband and I knew that this was going to be a trip of a lifetime with our kids but we were both blown away with how relaxed we were ourselves the whole time. We have travelled long distance for 1/2 the time and felt stressed about details and timelines and Christina just took all that off our shoulders. She kept us informed of changes and made adjustments to our plans on the fly as we decided on different locations or attractions. If you plan to go to NZ for ANY length of time, I can't say enough about the quality of service you will get with Christina and Self Drive Tours. If only they were all over the world. ;)
Walter & Mary Sheffield, The Winterless North, Travelled on 1st February 2017
Putting this tour together on such short notice was great. The document pack was well prepared and helpful. Lauren was great in following up once the trip was booked, making sure that we were able to get the document pack on short notice. Great customer service.
A few notes - The Copthorn did not have a sea facing room. I am not sure if the rate is different, but if you were charged for a sea facing room, they did not have any left. Also, the owners of the Lochiel Estate Vineyard Bed and Breakfast have the property for sale. They are retiring. Although our stay there was nice, I am not sure they are as "dedicated" to running the business as they are planing on retiring. No real complaint, except I was expecting that to be a bit more fun... no offer for a tasting or anything, just a place to stay. The facility is nice so no complaints in that regard. The remainder of the places we stayed were really enjoyable. Overall, a great trip, just too short, but that was our decision due to time constraints. We will return so we can see more of your beautiful country. Thank you, Walter and Mary
James & Vivienne Armstrong, 8 Day Northern Highlights, Travelled on 28th January 2017
We are just home from our 8 day North Island tour. What can we say everything was organised to the finest detail. Your second choice accommodation in Paihia was great. We had a room at the front with magnificent views of the bay. All our accommodation was first class and we had plenty of time to take in all the sights along the way. We have been singing your praises to anyone prepared to listen.
Thank you, thank you, thank you
Jim and Vivienne Armstrong
David & Bonnie Pascoe, 16 Day Northbound Scenic Explorer, Travelled on 10th February 2017
Jane, we wanted to thank you the advice, arrangements and execution were flawless. It did rain every single day we were there but will not hold you accountable for that ;)) Only negative observation is that Budget would not provide GPS at either location without $10/day charge! Hope you had not paid for that! All the accommodations met or exceeded our expectations and the people were charming. Ti Kouka was both funky and particularly beautiful.
At Home Wellington has no parking. If had been a week day it would have been a major issue! If I had know there was an Intercontinental I would have grabbed it. The Hilton Auckland was perfect at the end and saved a lot of hassle and driving in town. We would not hesitate to use your services again and would recommend them to anyone. David and Bonnie
Don and Jan Jones, Customised Southern Highlights Tour, Travelled on 24th January 2017
My husband and I send a sincere thank you to our wonderful tour consultant, Shelley Ryder. She put together a package for us that could not have been more pleasant. Every step of the way was laid out for us, and the details made traveling in a foreign country effortless and friendly. We enjoy the independence of driving ourselves and being on our own, but having the details of motels, transfers, and car rentals taken care of saved me a lot of time and energy in the planning stage, and all of our accommodations were perfect.
We only had six days on the South Island, we feel as if we were able to maximize our time seeing as much as possible without being rushed. We flew into Queenstown, toured Doubtful Sound, then drove over to the Southern Alps and the West Coast. From there we explored the area (including the glaciers) up to Greymouth where we caught the relaxing Trans Alpine train to Christchurch. We picked up another car to drive back down to Queenstown with several enchanting stops along the way including a most delightful farm stay at Glen Dene Station. My husband was able to fish on Lake Hawea and our hosts smoked one fish for an appetizer that evening. We thoroughly enjoyed our travel experience on the South Island and plan to come back (with Shelley's help) and do the same on the North Island. GPS, a wonderful atlas and pamphlets kept us informed and on track. Thank you again to Shelley and the NZ Self Drive Tours for a wonderfully planned trip. It would not have been the same without your excellent guidance and very personal touch!
Louise and Matthew Bennett, The Length & Breadth North to South, Travelled on 23rd January 2017
We had a really wonderful holiday and thought that the service we had from New Zealand Self Drive Tours and from Natalie in particular was excellent. The judgements about where to go, how long to stay in individual locations, where to stay, what we might be interested in doing and the information pack provided were all spot on.
We appreciated the fact that you could adapt the standard 30 day tour to suit our specific needs and that you got in touch with us to calmly sort out an alternative when a fire meant we could no longer return to Christchurch on the train form Greymouth. We have been recommending the company to friends and acquaintances currently interested in a New Zealand holiday.
Richard Woerner & Deirdre Waarich, Tailored 23 Day Discover New Zealand, Travelled on 20th January 2017
We had a wonderful trip made easy by Laura and New Zealand Self Drive Tours. We did the B&B option and were delighted with all of our arrangements. We felt like we saw the entire country on our 23 day tour - the pace was perfect and the routing and tour guidance made it a fun and stress-free adventure. We did have a couple of changes to our itinerary due to an earthquake and a brush fire but Laura was on top of the situation and we adjusted seamlessly. Thanks for a wonderful experience.
Patricia and Mark Gidley, Northbound Navigator Christchurch to Auckland, Travelled on 16th January 2017
Thank You Hayley for giving us a fabulous tour of your beautiful homeland. You provided us with great maps and documentation to find our way with no worries. Our accommodations were great. I felt so blessed after the November earthquake that I didn't need to contact our 26 days of accommodation to find out if they were still operating. You provided the alternate route and accommodation since we couldn't visit Kaikoura.Read more
You kept us posted when the train was shut down while we were traveling because of the landslide. The additional tours you suggested were excellent and completed the story for each area. We will continue to highly recommend you for anyone visiting NZ. Sincere thanks and we wish you continued success.
John Huang & Michael McDonald, Customised South Island Explorer, Travelled on 9th January 2017
We spent a lovely 13 days in the south island of New Zealand through New Zealand Self Drive Tours, and would highly recommend this company to other travellers to New Zealand -- particularly those visiting for the first time. Starting from the planning stages, our consultant Shelley was so very helpful in figuring out how to best fit the highlights we were hoping to see, with a local's knowledge about realistic driving times, the quality of accommodations, etc.
While we were in New Zealand, bad weather unfortunately cancelled some of our plans, but the company was efficient with refunds for activities that were cancelled, and Shelley was able to guide us through navigating past road closures that occurred due to unexpected storm damages. Now that we've been once, we know where we would probably like to stay and what we'd like to see in future trips to the South Island. However, having help to plan our first trip was truly invaluable, and again, I would highly recommend it!
Megan Ng, John, Christian and Megan Rei Tan, Customised Northern Explorer Family Adventure, Travelled on 31st December 2016
Planning a family trip to a country you've never visited before is no easy task. However, with the help of Ms Salli Smith, our holiday to New Zealand at the start of 2017 played out wonderfully and smoothly. Ms Smith was both very patient and helpful during the planning process and on top of that, friendly and prompt.Read more
Even when we ran into some problems on our end, she was understanding and we eventually worked out the slight hitch in our plans. It really was a pleasure working with her. The accommodations she sorted out for us were satisfactory - and some even more than just satisfactory - but still within our budget. Also, the tour booklet containing our itinerary, maps and driving routes proved to be useful during the trip. As such, with the assistance of Ms Smith, we were able to have a pleasant and unforgettable holiday to New Zealand. Thanks Megan
Karyn Whitlum and Greg Glenn, 25 Day Discover New Zealand, Travelled on 3rd January 2017
We had an absolutely marvellous time in New Zealand. We have already recommended New Zealand Self Drive Tours and our consultant Natalie DeCaro to friends. Natalie designed a perfect tour for us, meeting and often surpassing the goals we set for her.
At one point we had thought we would have to cancel the tour due to a grave illness in our family. Natalie was most understanding and explained how she could maintain our tour even if we had to leave up to a year later. Our relief was overwhelming. As it turned out we were able to make the original schedule. Weather resulted in having to change 2 planned events but a phone call or 2 from Natalie corrected things most efficiently. We are delighted to meet Natalie when we passed through Wanaka. We are already thinking about a return visit to do some fly fishing and will definitely plan the tour with Natalie. Greg and Karyn
Sylvie Bretelle and Franck Picard, Auckland to Queenstown Self Drive Tour, Travelled on 23rd December 2016
Really enjoyable trip. We liked the accommodations the sites were absolutely awesome. Maybe, some smalls changes could have been made about the time spent at some locations.
If we could make just a small remark, we were in Christchurch for new years eve. Just near our accommodation there was a French restaurant, however, booking was needed. If you have just said before, we could have booked. But it's really a small thing. There is to many things to do in NZ for those that like nature, hiking and so on. We also just missed the earthquake which occurred in Wellington just after our departure to the South Island. In conclusion really nice trip. And we have had almost a perfect weather. I'd like to apologise if my English is not perfect. Franck Picard
Kaarlo & Jen Hinkkala, Customised Auckland to Queenstown 14 Day Self Drive Tour, Travelled on 22nd December 2016
We had a nice trip to New Zealand. The trip booked by Salli was very seamless and well organised. We appreciated that she took care of our logistics for us and that she was also very responsive with communication with very prompt responses to any inquiries. It was also nice that Salli automatically took care of issues related to the earthquake that we would have had no idea what we needed to do differently as we didn't even know what was and wasn't open.
Appreciate the help. Kaarlo and Jen
Deanne, Gary & Courtney Baxter, The Essential North Island Tour, Travelled on 23rd December 2016
We had the most amazing holiday in New Zealand organised by NZ Self Drive Tours. As it was a first time visit for us, it was great having the booking and planning done for us. We found both Dan and Salli very responsive with communication and we had very prompt responses to any inquiries.
We especially loved the suggestions of what extras to do. We especially loved the Bay Hole in the Rock Cruise and the Bus Tour to Cape Reinga (even though we mislaid 2 of our tourists !!) The float plane trip by Volcanic Air Safaris was spectacular as was the Rotorua Forest Canopy Tour. Make sure that you get vouchers from NZ Self Drive tours; as this was sometimes problematic with the tour operators. Unfortunately some of the accommodation was not great, and it would be a good idea to get some feedback/reviews of the places booked. But otherwise an awesome holiday and we loved that the New Zealand people are so passionate about their country. We would definitely recommend using NZ Self Drive tours to plan your holiday. Thank You
Harrie and Bianca Muhren-Vroegop, Customised 20 Day New Zealand Explorer, Travelled on 19th December 2016
Great service, excellent support with a personal touch. Superb hotel and activity recommendations (except for one but that was of no fault to NZ Self Drive Tours). We really like your concept and it beats sorting it all out by our-self's (competitive rates). Already recommend you to several of our colleagues and friends here on Sakhalin Island, Russia.
Sharon and Stephen Thorne, South Island Tour, Travelled on 9th January 2017
Thank you Natalie DeCaro, for your patience with us as we planned our trip to South Island, all the way from South Africa. We had to trust that all the arrangements would happen as planned, and we were not disappointed. At every stop along our route, we received a good reception, and we were very pleased with the extra activities that we included in the week long tour. I would definitely recommend you to friends/family who may be travelling in New Zealand in the future. Thank you. regards Sharon and Steve Thorne
Yuk Kam Wong, Kien Kwok Tommy Wong & Wilbur Hou Yiu Wong, Customised 14 Day New Zealand Grand Tour, Travelled on 24th December 2016
Thank you NZ Self Drive especially our consultant Shelley Ryder. She had given us a memorable trip. Both itinerary & accommodations she arranged was excellent. She not only arranged us a scenic drive, but also some activities to enjoy. The activities she suggested were fun. Shelley always responded to my enquiries/request very promptly. I highly recommend her to my friends or anyone who needs assistance planning their NZ trip. Thank you Shelly once again for your excellent services.
Gian Mario Enrigo & Elisa Vargiu, Taste of the South, Travelled on 18th December 2016
I would like to thank our tour consultant Jane Zwerrenz not only for putting together a great South Island tour, but also for how prompt and flexible she proved to be when we had to make last minute modifications along the way! Wonderful tour recommended to everybody! Gian Mario Enrigo & Elisa Vargiu
Johann Julius, Reinette, Laetitia, Johann Bernhard, Friedrich Rudolf Luttich, Belinda Mare & Alizma van Molendorff, Auckland to Queenstown 14 Day Wonders of New Zealand, Travelled on 23rd December 2016
Dear Shelley, Happy new year to you. I apologise that I took so long to get this email to you, but we only arrived back from our trip this morning and I'm finally able to sit down and get to all the admin. I would just like to say an absolutely huge THANK YOU to you for organising this trip and everything that you did for us! The trip was absolutely spectacular and ticked all the boxes with everyone. We had so many laughs and the activities were fantastic!
My dad wasn't very fond of the canopy tours in Rotorua, because he hates heights, but even he completed it and smiled in the end. Everything that we did was loved by everyone, some more than others. I particularly loved the Mitai maori village, but everything was awesome. NZ definitely kept a piece of my heart and I want to return again. Our apartments were in top condition and clean and we had everything that we needed for self catering and my dad was particularly impressed with the BBQ (or braai as we call it in SA) facilities at some of the places. The accommodation staff were so helpful and friendly and were always eager to help when we asked. We also loved the fact that everything was so well organised in the file with all the ref numbers etc - that was such a huge help to us and the maps also helped a lot (my mom still believes that a paper map is better than a GPS so she sat with the atlas on her lap everyday). The distances we covered when we drove between places were adequate and we managed well (luckily there were lots of coffee stops next to the road for the family). The one thing we weren't really impressed with was Europcar. We didn't find them very helpful both in Auckland and Picton. In Auckland the GPS they gave us didn't work and it took them more than a hour to sort that out and give us another GPS. The lady that helped us even told us at some point that she doesn't know how they work anyway. After a hour we told them to rather just give us a Garmin, which they did, but it didn't have the holder that you can stick it in the window with so we had to improvise. Unfortunately we then missed the Driving Creek Railway train in Coromandel which we really wanted to do. In Picton we stood in a queue with many other boat passengers for more than 2 hours, only to hear they don't have a car for us, luckily after another 30 minutes they managed to get one for us. We didn't have any activities planned for the day, but the weather was cloudy and rainy so it became dark early and we couldn't stop along so many places as we hoped we could. However, the trip in general was absolutely fantastic and I would highly recommend you and your company to anyone that ever wants to go to NZ and when I do return one day (which I really believe I will) I will send you another email to plan something spectacular again. I can't thank you enough for this trip and tears were rolling down my cheek when our plane left the ground at Queenstown. I feel that words on this email don't do justice to how much we enjoyed every minute of every day in your country. You have such a beautiful country and your nature is phenomenal! We couldn't get enough of all the hikes and loved the fact that we could just stop at a place and take a quick 30 or 45 minute walk through the forest. The fact that there aren't any dangerous animals is definitely a plus and made the walking so much better. The colours of your nature are so vibrant and rich, you just want to take a trillion photos. Thank you again for everything x infinity and all the best for what's to come! Kind Regards Laetitia
Kevin Quigley and Susan and Fiona Flaherty, South Island Scenic Explorer, Travelled on 23rd December 2016
Hi Jane, Thanks. We had a blast on the bridge walk (it was indeed a Walk, with the Syndey Harbour bridge being more of a climb). We arrived in Aukland two hours early, no traffic on Saturday morning, so had two hours to kill. We just walked around the waterfront and had breakfast, very pleasant. After the walk, we were still at the airport by 12:30, again no traffic. The whole trip went like clockwork, never a reservation mix up anyplace. Very nice. And we had incredibly fine weather, total contrast to our last trip where we were mightily doused daily.
On the driving times, we found them to be very low estimates. Even when we accounted for stops, we just never made the distances in the time stated. It seems like you would have had to drive at the speed limit of faster for every minute, which was never possible. This was no problem, as we were not in a hurry. Early on we kept seeing those billboards "New Zealand Roads Are Different" and "Allow More Time", and we did and it was all good. You might want to consider adding at least 30 minutes to most of these estimates. Also, we would have loved directions that show the distance to the next turn. We loved all the walks listed in our itinerary and did many of them, usually one or two a day of the shorter ones. We felt like with the driving times, we never would have had time for the longer walks. New Zealand was much as we remembered it from 1988. As soon as we retired, we plan to spend a lot more time there. So this was a wonderful trip and reaffirmation of how much we enjoyed NZ. Thanks for all the help. You all did a good job for us. Thanks again. We gave your contact info to a couple named Saudek, hope they call you. We actually went thru Wanaka twice, and it wasn't until after we left the second time that I remembered that, so we are sorry we did not stop to say hello. But of course our first pass was on Christmas Day (we took a slightly different route to get to the ultimate destination)( and I went swimming!) and you all would have been out for the holiday. We passed through the second time as stated in the itinerary, but just didn't think of it. Best, Susan
Philippe, Terilyn & Jaden Limondin and Kyle Suther, Auckland to Christchurch 11 Day Highlights Tour, Travelled on 23rd December 2016
Hi Salli, just wanted to follow-up with a personal thank you for helping coordinate our trip to New Zealand over the Xmas holiday period. We had a fantastic time, and really enjoyed each and every stay. The hotels/motels were excellent, and we really appreciate the small personal feel from several of them. The owners were great, and all costs were taken care of ahead of time. We especially enjoyed the rooms in Rotorua and Christchurch.Read more
One follow-up question, and one comment. The roundabout drive to Christchurch from Blenheim was absolutely grueling. Pretty, but grueling. Hopefully the direct route opens up soon, but we found it a very long day. Not sure if the feedback helps, but maybe finding a way to break that up or stay halfway rather than at Blenheim would help after the ferry. Anyways, we rate the trip 10/10 we really enjoyed the experience, and would certainly recommend you to any of our friends. Regards, Philippe & Terilyn Limondin
Richard Miller and Rosalyn Bayly, Your Customised New Zealand Tour, Travelled on 12th December 2016
Happy New Year Natalie, Wishing you the very best of health and happy days in 2017. It was super meeting you too; and being in your lovely town. Our visit to Rippon Winery was very productive albeit a knock in the pocket :-) We had a fabulous time again on the South Island thanks to your guidance and great planning. We certainly have a better understanding of distance, travel time, road conditions and many other facets of touring in New Zealand.Read more
There are so many place we just loved and would return in a hurry. Some places, very few indeed, that we did not take to but that could be bad timing or the fact that you spoiled us so much with the beautiful locations you selected for us in comparison. Many high lights: helicopter flight and glacier trek was awesome! Mount Cook, magnificent! West Coast roads, Arthur’s Pass, the ferry crossings - wow too many to mention. Although we list the bad here, we must reiterate that by far we had a fabulous time, so please take these as constructive criticism and not any reflection on the planning. We covered 3,400km by car; a bit too much in the time we allocated. We took thousands of photographs with many stops along the country roads adding much travel time, but it was worth it. The hotel in Christchurch (Heartland Hotel Cotswold) was a disappointment but nothing compared to that in Taupo (Suncourt Hotel.) The room was shoddy and more akin to a motel (has a feel of a truckers stop.) The room had fused light bulbs and was dingy. Although you organised a full breakfast we were refused orange juice (and all the other usual options like cereal!) The waiter said that it was not included when we questioned her admonishment of us. We felt very uncomfortable and decided not to spend the last night there, forgoing the cost (it was worth it.) On checkout I lodged my complaints with the duty manager, who failed to enquire as to the reason for our early departure. He gave only a cursory apology and then we had a very rude interjection from the restaurant manager where we had breakfast and dinner the previous evening. So a sour end to a glorious holiday! OK - enough of that. Next year, oops this year or even early 2018. We are thinking of a fjord boat trip (we saw one advertised on our previous trip that spends five to eight days cruising the South Island fjords) combined with a few nights in one location before moving on rather than a single night at each stop/location. A star rating - nah - you’ll be off the scale - top marks Natalie! Thank you! Blessings for 2017 and safe passage to Canada on your break. Kind regards, Richard & Rozz
Stephen & Bryn Gibbons and Bernadette Condren, A Customised 50th Birthday Celebration, Travelled on 4th December 2016
Hi Christina, As you know we are a media company looking at how we can make something positive business wise out of what is a very personal 50th birthday experience. Meeting at airport seamless despite late arrival. Service airport to hotel impeccable. Our room at the Sebel Viaduct Harbour was adequate, but deluxe one bedroom marina view turned out to be a quarter marina view from the sitting room, a slightly better view from the balcony, but no view from the bedroom other than the block opposite. Room was 211. There are lots of rooms directly facing the marina over several floors so I’m not sure what level of deluxe they must be.Read more
Your recommended visit to the sky tower was spot on and we had dinner booked independently which was superb. Sebel hotel position is excellent and we were delighted with all the externally-available facilities/restaurants etc. Hire car Rav4 from budget rent a car promised GPS on your schedule but the vehicle offered came without GPS, confirmed by the person behind the counter. As we were running slightly against time for heading south, I didn’t argue. I just wonder if GPS has been costed in when we didn’t get it (ended up using Google maps on iPhone). Your booking for us at Hobbiton movie set was seamless and we had a great time. It’s a genuine attraction and the staff were first-class. Princes Gate in Rotorua is very ordinary. First offering was an upper floor room without air con or ceiling fans, but standing fans available from the cupboards. Way too warm for comfort given there is a warning about flies if windows are left open. Business has just changed hands so there was work underway next to the lobby. Request for an air con room after realising first room was relatively airless was met with little resistance, but carpet in 42 was stained, shower curtain seams mouldy, bathroom furniture shabby and phone didn’t work. No way 4-star, though we got the heritage ambience. Saving grace was the on-site restaurant which served us with great food (service ditto) at dinner and breakfast. Restaurant staff wonderful. Polynesian spa recommendation spot on: we loved it. Teenager and I then did the Waimangu Volcanic Valley self-guided walk. Can highly recommend; not as busy as some of the other hugely popular attractions so could be a plus. And so to Queenstown. Flight arrangements from Rotorua superb and seamless; car hire in Queenstown ditto, but no GPS. This is not too much grief because as mentioned I use Google maps, but again has it been costed? Blue Peaks apartment 613 is just superb. Couldn’t be better. Great view (thank you). Helpful staff and, importantly, within easy reach of services etc. Can highly recommend, even after one night. OK. The resort was fabulous and the staff so professional and welcoming. I have seen a couple of negatives on Trip Advisor about the Maori welcome, but we loved it - it's all about going with the flow. I guess we were in such a wonderful frame of mind because of the drive from Queenstown (and a superb stay there at Blue Peaks - we'd go there again without hesitation) in excellent weather. We made a note to selves to stay in Wanaka for a spell next time - what a glorious spot. It was relatively early morning and the lake was shimmering in the sunlight. We parked up on the lake shore. Beautiful. Lunch at Haast, a coffee from a coffee cart parked next to a windswept stretch of beach close to Fox (and such a friendly person!) and then on to Franz Josef. Again blessed by the weather and the accommodation (thank you). The degustation dinners were superb both nights with a little preference from us for the second over the first. Our 13 year old even had a go and loved it. He and I did the glacier valley walk and then did the Fox walk later in the day while Bern made the most of a spa birthday present at the resort. She loved it. So did the Boy and I. What amazing scenery. We had the chance of a chopper trip but decided to save it until next time. On to Greymouth, and your travel estimates (admittedly good weather) were spot on. The Budget staff were superb and welcoming. What a train trip. The seats were great, the commentary first-class and hugely informative, the scenery stunning again. It made me want to do the Auckland-Wellington train trip next time. Christchurch. Greeting seamless, Rydges Latimer staff excellent and the accommodation spot on. The city? Wow! What spirit. Still so much to demolish/rebuild but there is such a defiant, winning confidence about the place. We walked the CBD and the gardens, saw the cardboard cathedral, wandered through the new mall etc etc. Such friendly people. We were a tad apprehensive because of recent (and less recent) events, but felt humbled to be part of the vibe. Pick up from hotel seamless again. The airport is good. And home. Thanks again, Christina. You made it what it was, which was just superb. I wouldn't hesitate to come back to you and your company - and best of all you have inspired us to see more of NZ. You have a magic country. You are blessed. We loved it. All the best for Christmas and 2017.
Ian & Lorraine Bates, The Southern Circle Self Drive Tour, Travelled on 1st December 2016
This was a most wonderful tour. Everything ran like clockwork - accommodation was excellent and we were expected at every place. We were picked up by chauffeur (even at 1 am) from the airport after our delayed flight, and every pickup by tour operators was on time. We had plenty of time to explore in our hire car between towns.Read more
The tours we had booked just got better as we went. The highlight was our overnight trip into Doubtful Sound - a magical place. The jet-boat trip was such fun, too. A thousand thank-you's, Laura, for your brilliant management of our bookings and for your help in compensating us for our missed glacier flight (due to weather). This was a holiday to remember, especially as it was our 50th wedding anniversary treat.
Peter & Carol Glynn, Southern Highlights 9 Day Tour, Travelled on 29th November 2016
As mentioned before trip was great. Weather was ideal, accommodation was excellent and hire car was good. Itinerary undertaken was great for our needs. In Christchurch we visited the Antartic centre close to the airport which was good. Mt Cook was beautiful as was Lake Tekapo and Lake Pukaki. Very much enjoyed Edmund Hillary Alpine centre. Loved the documentary on Everest.
Milford Sound cruise good except it rained and sand flies were very annoying. Queenstown truly beautiful. Gondola ride and Earnshaw cruise was excellent. Drive to Franz Josef was spectacular but disappointed the glacier trip was cancelled. Enjoyed train from Greymouth to Christchurch and enjoyed tram ride through Christchurch. In summary an excellent holiday.
Eric Chan & Christine Lim & Family, North to South 19 Day Highlights, Travelled on 25th November 2016
Hi Michelle, Our Self Drive Holiday in New Zealand was absolutely fantastic! The accommodations arranged for the family were spot on! I am so envious of you folks in NZ. You do have God's Backyard in your country. Its so scenic everywhere we went. We had to pinch ourselves a few times to make sure we were sober. Thanks a Million for your help in arranging such a wondrous itinerary. We will definitely be coming back again. Regards, Eric
Sree & Sukee Alavattam, New Zealand's Southern Secrets, Travelled on 22nd November 2016
Hi Jane, the trip was AMAZING and thank you for all your reservation help along the way. The hotels were nice but the bed & breakfast were the best. Sorry we could not stop over at Wanaka during our trip. At this point we are back in the US, a little tired from with our trip and working on the gazillion photos that I took. The natural beauty of New Zealand is unparalleled. People there are amazing and so is the landscape. Thanks for making it extra special for us. Cheers Sree and Sukee
Riffi and Rick OBrien, Auckland to Christchurch Highlights of New Zealand, Travelled on 7th November 2016
Kia Ora, Hayley.
We have been back for a month and still remember our trip to NZ with huge fondness. We are so happy that we used NZ Fine Touring for our arrangements. I could tell you and your associates are quite experienced, as you handled our “high maintenance” situations with calm and grace. And, we are very appreciative that you rearranged our tour after the earthquake. We love NZ - it truly is the most beautiful place I’ve ever visited. Thank you for your excellent service. If anyone asks, we would give you and NZ Fine Touring an A+. Thanks, again. Riffi OBrien
Clare Mckay and Ross Mandin, 9 Day North Island Explorer, Travelled on 26th November 2016
Ross and myself would like to send you the biggest thank you! to you and everyone at NZ self drive tours. As you know I wanted to surprise Ross with a "secret holiday" and I had some ideas where I wanted to be, I have always planned all my holidays personally because I felt that travel agents gave a generic experience at an inflated cost and thus was a little sceptical about the whole idea of using a touring company. Your team won me over from the start, the level of service and care taken was AMAZING. The support did not stop when I booked, I really felt cared for during the time between booking and leaving for NZ.
From the time we arrived to left everything went off without a hitch. The gentleman who picked us up really set the mood, he was friendly, professional and just made us feel like we were on cloud 9. All the accommodation was fantastic (location and quality) and the car choice was fantastic (we named her Jade). All in all this holiday has been one of the best we have been on. A few suggestions * Craters on the moon Lake Taupo, was a fantastic little find we made, along with the Huka Honey Hive. I totally recommend these to anyone stopping over in Lake Taupo.
They are both very close the Huka fall jet boat. *The only time we got "lost" was on the day of the Hobbit movie set tour. We went to the I-site not the Shire Rest, and while the instruction did state the address of shire rest the blurb stated that the tours left from the i site and thus thought we had to be at the i-site to be driven up to the set (similar to the canopy tours, where you went to the main office before heading to the forest as a group). Maybe it was just us, but I would recommend a blurb explaining that you can hop on the bus at the i-site or shire rest. *There is free parking at the Auckland bridge climb and bungy main office (105 Curran St, Westhaven, Auckland 1010, New Zealand), I suggest writing this into the blurb to give people options. Once again, thank you so much! Clare & Ross
Chung Han, Chiew Yen, Pei Xuan Lorraine & Zheng Yang Justin Lai, Customised 8 Day Northern Highlights, Travelled on 21st November 2016
Hi Salli, Thank you for the great help in planning our family holiday to NZ. Very much appreciated your responsiveness, including booking our Hobbiton tickets at short notice and at a discounted rate. We had a great time and would warmly recommend others to consider New Zealand Self Drive Tours. Warm regards, Chung Han
Martin and Charmain Rickerd, Queenstown to Auckland 14 Day, Travelled on 21st November 2016
Hi Jane, We're back in England now, with many happy memories of our time in New Zealand. I want to thank you most warmly for your help in reorganising part of our itinerary during what must have been a very busy time for you. All the arrangements for the trip went very smoothly and the range of accommodation was great (the only unwelcome surprise was at the Hotel Ibis in Wellington, where parking is only available if pre-booked). So thank you, NZFT - we will recommend you. With best wishes, Martin and Charmain Rickerd
Mohd Kassim Mohd Hussain, Yasmin Abd Rahman & Mohamad Haris Roslan, A Customised South Island Holiday, Travelled on 22nd November 2016
Hi Christine, Thank you very much for the great arrangement and planning, the tour was fantastic. Accommodation very nice, especially the stay at Blue Peak Apartments in Queenstown. The tour itself was nicely planed, car rental, pick-ups at the Airports, Train station and Airport drops, Not a single hiccup or problem. I have to thank you for your advise, your patience , and your friendly and professional service. Best Regards, from us Kassim, Yasmin and Harris.
Peter & Wendy Hunter, 14 Day Christchurch to Auckland Must Do Tour, Travelled on 19th November 2016
Well we are finally home after an exhausting but exhilarating holiday. The hotels were all wonderful and everyone was friendly and helpful. Organisation was fabulous, and although we were often asked if we had vouchers from our travel company, the mention of our surname resulted in a “Hi Peter and Wendy,” and we had no problems anywhere.
Obviously situations beyond our control meant that there were disappointments along the way and we were wondering about refunds for missed trips.
The largest disappointment was of course the whale-watching trip from Kaikoura, but we also missed out on the Milford Sound fly-cruise-fly trip and the Mount Cook glacier trip.
Our TranzAlpine train trip on day one was delayed by 2-3 hours due to problems with the electrics. This involved waiting on board for an electrician to arrive, and during the course of the trip, an announcement was made, apologising for the problems and assuring us that everyone would be reimbursed 25% of the cost.
The drive to Nelson was a bit of a marathon but worth it in the end, and The Sails hotel was excellent. I gather you had probably not used them before, but they were friendly, helpful and the place was spotless and very luxurious and definitely to be recommended.
We loved the Canopy experience in Rotarua, and for Peter, who is very wobbly at heights but determined to “have a go” it was a very positive morning. The guys were excellent and very supportive. For a 70 year old I felt extremely proud of myself, even managing to fly the final Zipwire upside down, to cheers and support from the others so all in all, a great experience; As was the River Dart trip earlier in the holiday.
The weather was appalling with heavy mist and rain, and visibility very poor, but we had a blast! So all in all – Well done you! We enjoyed a brief “respite” with relatives in Auckland and from leaving them to drive to the airport, to walking in our front door, the journey was 40hours! A trip of a lifetime, and hopefully we may return to experience the things we missed. Thank you again for your efforts, we shall recommend you to anyone who might want to come to NZ.
Have a good Christmas and New Year, and we look forward to hearing from you in due course.
Kind regards and best wishes Wendy and Peter Hunter
Grant Raelene Bolton, Northbound 31 Day Adventure, Travelled on 14th November 2016
New Zealand Self Drive Tours provided us with a very memorable experience. The staff are great to deal with and we even had the opportunity to meet with them in person. We chose the 31 Northbound adventure which gave us the opportunity to have a great cultural experience,great hikes, unbelievable scenery. Accommodation and vehicle hire were awesome. We selected just about every tour option which kept us fully occupied .
After the earthquake in November 2016 NZ Self Drive had to change our itinerary at very short notice, We were diverted from the coastal route via Kaikoura to the inland route via Hanmer Springs and Lewis Pass and we loved it. We will certainly be booking with NZ Self Drive when we return next year. We rate NZ Self Drive Five Star Grant and Raelene Bolton Perth WA
Deidre & Carl Briesch and Tienie & Rosa De Bruyn, Milford Sound Highlights Tour, Travelled on 14th November 2016
Hi Jane, We had a fabulous holiday thanks to your thoughtful arrangements on our behalf. We were very happy with the accommodation and it was lovely not to have to worry about any aspect of the trip, including the transfers from the train station and to the airport. Your itinerary took us to stunning parts of the country that we will treasure in our memories for years to come. In fact we decided to return to Queenstown and the West Coast as often as we are able in the future. Thank you for a most enjoyable and comfortable holiday. Deidre Briesch
Paul Clough & Fiona Burger, Customised Auckland to Queenstown 13 Day Ultimate Highlights, Travelled on 15th November 2016
Firstly, we would like to thank Shelley for putting together and seeing us through our holiday. The process was smooth and worry free, particularly given the fact that we landed in Auckland the day following the earthquake with part of our itinerary up in the air. Our holiday was absolutely wonderful, and even the cancellation of a few activities due to poor weather / natural disasters did not reduce our enjoyment one little bit. Your company offers a wonderful service and executes it professionally.
You have asked for any thoughts / suggestions, but we only have a few that may not be highly useful, but we thought we had best put them down while we can think of them:
1) When we attended our heli-hike at Mt Cook the tour operator had a few issues confirming our payment. This was partly due to a communication issue on their part with their head office (it was sorted quickly following a few phone calls), however, perhaps including copies of the emails / voucher in the booklet that can be ripped out and handed over to the service provider could be helpful. A number of the places we visited needed to photocopy the booklet you put together as proof of our booking, etc. We had one voucher for the Queenstown gondola/luge event, but that was the only one.
2) The Quest serviced apartments in Wellington were fine, but their lack of parking facilities was a nuisance. We realise this is not unusual in a major city, but $30 for a park in a parking station several blocks away from the accommodation, and one where you could only enter and exit them once, was a little annoying. It was actually a better option to just pay the parking station directly given we stayed on a weekend and they offer better rates than the so-called "discount" Quest was offering. Perhaps putting a warning in the booklet about sorting out your parking ahead of time (the reception closes at 5pm so you can't organise the parking after that) would be really helpful. The location itself was great and very convenient for the ferry and Zealandia (the night tour was amazing by the way).
3) Not that this really is important for you, but the 4WD tour of Edoras (Lord of the Rings) tour from Christchurch was pretty poor. Even though they said we would be picked up from our hotel at 9am and returned by 5pm, we were not back until 7pm. The lunch was atrocious (and was not provided until after 3pm), no water was provided on the tour (and we were wedged in their vehicle for hours on end) and frankly we couldn't wait until the tour was over. If you ever encounter customers with medical conditions such as diabetes, etc. I would highly recommend that they avoid this tour. We have provided feedback to the tour operator, and your customers choose what they want to do, but this tour should be attended with caution.
Other random feedback about your service: - Tour booklet (physical copy): awesome and extremely handy - Customer service: excellent. Every enquiry put through to your team either via email or phone was dealt with quickly and kindly. Our change in itinerary due to the Kaikoura disaster led us to Hanmer Springs, and the motel your team organised was brilliant! At no stage were we stressed about any changes as we felt confident your team was all over it. Your service meant our holiday was stress-free, even in the face of events beyond anyone's control.
Uncle, our greeter at Auckland airport when we arrived was excellent. What a lovely gentleman and that simple service guiding us to the hire car desk and handing over the tour package was lovely. Thank you once again for organising our self-drive holiday; it was wonderful. We will highly recommend your service to anyone we meet thinking of a driving tour of New Zealand. This package provided the perfect holiday for us given it was our very first visit to New Zealand. We honestly feel like we had a holiday, not a whirlwind visit, and that is a testament to how well constructed the tour itinerary was. We hope your business is not slowed by the recent earthquake event, and wish your company all the best in the future. Kind regards, Paul and Fiona.
Beth Van Zant, Peter Keith & Craig Hunter, Fiords, Glaciers and Mountains Self Drive Tour, Travelled on 17th November 2016
From start to finish, our 10-day tour of the south island was amazing! The motels used were perfect for what we needed. Jane did a fantastic job in setting everything up. She went above and beyond by scheduling a north island tour for us that we inevitably had to cancel. I would use this service again in a heartbeat.
Jeff Hockley & Christopher Bryg, Customised Taste of the South, Travelled on 15th November 2016
Thanks for your excellent tour arrangements – we had a great time – we both agreed that there was too much to do in the time but it was after all a 'taster' so now we know where to go to for a longer stay next time.
Some notes: Our pick-up driver at Christchurch airport was excellent – he even took us on a 30 minute tour of the city on the way to the hotel so we could orient ourselves, and see some of the awful devastation caused by the earthquake. He was very informative, and efficient – as he also was when he picked us up on the next morning for the train trip.
Bella Vista Christchurch was quite nice – we had to wait over an hour or more to check in as there were police and special personnel trying to find accommodation for those affected by the big earthquake and landslides of the day before. We understood – some were distressed, so we just went for a walk and came back later.
Trans Alpine – good seats, tickets waiting for us. Sunny to start, miserable fog and rain in the middle, sunny at the end. Perfect.
Car hire efficient: we changed models from the one allocated. No problem with that.
Aspen Court Franz Joseph superb –we were upgraded to a two-bedroom unit with spa. Heaven.
Franz Josef to Queenstown via Wanaka – we took so long doing walks and sightseeing that we didn’t get to Wanaka until nearly 7 pm – no chance of a catch-up with you. Phoned ahead to Queenstown to say we would be late arriving – they left a key for us under the mat. No problem there.
Highview Apartments in Queenstown – really poor, and this was disappointing as it was the most expensive. Very tiny room, minimal facilities, and having to wash dishes in a bucket in the bath was a bit third world. And no parking. But we loved Queenstown and enjoyed our stay there.
Queenstown to Te Anau: lovely sunny day, superb scenery (you really have too much of it!), a bus trip to Milford (rain, rain, rain but that’s normal).
Bella Vista Te Anau really nice – comfy.
Te Anau to Dunedin – sunny, Cable Court Motel was good too – a long walk to the city centre, but that was OK with us.
Dunedin to Mt Cook – even better scenery if that was possible – brilliant sunny day –arrived late as usual.
Mt Cook Lodge unit was lovely with a view of the mountains outside the door. They misinformed us about meal times, so we almost missed out on dinner: had to plea to the manager to get some food. Worked, though!
Best day of all – superb sunny weather, long walk to Mt Cook – all the touristy stuff, which meant we arrived late as usual in Christchurch but we phoned ahead again, and they left a key for us.
Car return at the airport was efficient and quick. Please inform future clients that there is no petrol within 5 km of the airport – we thought we were in good time for our flight but had to go back into the city again to get petrol which was time we couldn't spare. Home again!
All your brochures, maps, contacts were excellent. We didn't really need a GPS in the car as signposting is very good. Needed it for Christchurch but it was really inefficient as it kept asking us to go down one-way streets the wrong way, or into streets which didn't exist. We coped.
Longer stays in places as there is so much to do. Everything you said would happen, did happen – such a load off our minds. And you have way, way, way too much scenery. We would have made all our arrivals earlier if we didn't have to stop so much to admire the views. Thanks again - Jeff and Chris
Michael Lasher & Linda Wilhelm, Auckland to Christchurch 11 Day Splendour, Travelled on 13th November 2016
Hello Laura, I wanted to post a comment on your company’s website but didn’t see an option to do so. I also wanted to say thank you for the quick refund! We just wanted to say thank you for the most enjoyable trip we have ever had. All our accommodations and tours were nothing less than First Class. Although we were unable to go to Kaikoura because of the earthquake, our re-route to Hanmer Springs was wonderful. And we couldn’t have asked for a better person (Laura Davidson) to help us get through that hiccup in our trip. We absolutely loved the drive that started in Auckland and ended in Christchurch. This was definitely a great way to see the country and meet many wonderful Kiwis along the way. We are already talking about a return trip to New Zealand! Thank you again for everything! Linda Wilhelm and Mike Lasher
Joan & Gary Whitaker, Auckland to Christchurch 15 Day Explorer, Travelled on 4th November 2016
I can't thank you enough for planning and executing a flawless trip of the North and South islands. When I say everything was perfect, I mean it was spot on. If someone was to meet us at the airport or train station or pick us up from our hotel, they were right there every time. No question at all. The hotels you selected for us were perfect. Each had such lovely rooms for us. Sometimes they were so nice we didn't want to leave. The activities and tours you recommended were all wonderful.
In addition, the trip was well paced. Even on days with a four hour or more drive was so enjoyable because the scenery is so beautiful. Regarding your staff, on the two occasions that we had questions and called your office, your staff was so kind and helpful. This was especially appreciated the day after the earthquake in Kaikoura. Since our return to the USA, we have told everyone that they should go to New Zealand AND they should contact New Zealand Self Drive Tours to organise it for them. You guys are rock stars. Thanks again for making this the trip of a lifetime. Joan & Gary Whitaker
Peter Leafman and Margaret McDaniel, 22 Day Discover New Zealand, Travelled on 3rd November 2016
Margaret and I are back in the states, slowly recovering from a day and a half of travel to get here. Was all that time in a metal tube travelling at 36,000 feet worth it? Without a doubt! We both want to thank you for the excellent trip you arranged for us in New Zealand - it far exceeded our expectations. Your attention to detail and organisational skills exponentially added to the wonders and beauty of New Zealand. Plus your ability and willingness to make last minute changes made for an excellent ending to our journey; the extra day at Franz Josef along with a full day in Christchurch worked out perfectly.
We were so happy to be able to meet you face to face, albeit under circumstances that we wish not to repeat (hopefully never to leave an item on an airplane again), it was just so good to put a face with a voice.
In our 22 day itinerary we both would have just two things we would do differently, one of which we discussed; 1) the Albatross Hotel, while nice, was not a great location, and 2) we both felt the nighttime tour of Zealandia was overrated - while our tour guide was very knowledgeable and enthusiastic there was really very little to see. A day time tour would most likely yield better viewing. Could have been the wet night we were there but not sure.
Regardless, we thoroughly enjoyed all the other excursions and glad we did the Queenstown TSS Earnslaw cruise and BBQ dinner which occurred on my birthday. While it was touristy, the boat ride was fun and the BBQ was excellent with the added bonus of the farm tour and sheep shearing demo - made for a great evening. Continued happiness in your life in Wanaka, and on the off chance Margaret can recover from the trauma of the earthquake (what's a trip to NZ without an earthquake?) maybe we'll see you sometime in the future. Happy holidays. Peter & Margaret
Ted & Marlene Coulis, South Island Adventure, Travelled on 20th October 2016
We were so lucky to find New Zealand Self Drive Tours as a resource for planning our once in a lifetime trip. Salli Smith was incredibly informative, knowledge and flexible creating an itinerary that specifically addressed our wish list. She made quick adjustments and offered many helpful suggestions of activities, routes and highlights in each city. As we learned more and did other research, Salli was incredibly responsive to our every request and question. She was also there for us during the trip when we had a few questions. The trip was outstanding and I wish New Zealand Self Drive Tours could plan all of our other trips! We would highly recommend them as a resource and if you're lucky enough to work with Salli, you'll be in great hands!
Sharifah Farah Alsree, Nur Afiqah Adulrahman Adil and Siti Raudhah Matasir, A Customised South Island Holiday, Travelled on 30th October 2016
Thank you for everything ! I must say it has been an amazing experience for us here in New Zealand. We went for the Christchurch gondola and took the tram on our last day here. In any case, I want to say that all the activities arranged and the motels booked for us was superb and beyond our expectation! Comfortable and close to places of interest and eateries. I must say that we loved Queenstown, Wanaka and Tekapo the most :) Thanks much for all the assistance Christina! You've been a great help and we really enjoyed this trip! Regards, Farah
Patricia & Kim Kasdorf, Customised 22 Days North to South Self Drive Tour, Travelled on 27th October 2016
My husband and I just returned from a fantastic 22-day self-drive vacation in New Zealand. Many thanks to Michelle and the New Zealand Self Drive team for helping us plan our trip. This was our first time in New Zealand and they gave wonderful recommendations on places to go and things to do and also made reservations for lodging, cars, ferries and activities.
We were impressed that there was not a single glitch our entire trip except for the GPS dying about 3 days before trip end. We called the NZ Self-Drive office and they arranged for us to pick up a replacement at the nearest car rental office. We practically were met at the door with the new GPS and were in and out in 5 minutes.
We were asked many times on the trip what we had most enjoyed so far. It was impossible to say because we enjoyed everything we did ... seeing the magnificent Kauri trees in Waipoua Forest, taking tours of Hobbiton and several Lord of the Rings filming sites, visiting the thermal pools in Rotorua, International Antarctic Centre in Christchurch, the Tasman glacier boat ride at Mt. Cook, overnight cruise on Milford Sound and much more!
But maybe best of all was driving at our own pace, soaking up the beauty of the country and meeting friendly, helpful people along the way. We heard many compliments about NZ Self Drive Tours from the various business people they worked with to make our arrangements. We agree and will definitely call again to help plan our next trip to New Zealand.
Derek & Nancy Parker, Tailored New Zealand Tour, Travelled on 17th October 2016
Our trip went without a hitch, thanks to Laura Davidson, despite a major earthquake while we were in New Zealand. Fortunately, we were on the west coast when the quake occurred on the east coast. Although there was some concern about whether or not the train from Greymouth to Christchurch would be running, it turned out to be okay.
Although all of our accommodations were good to great, I would say that our favorite stay was at the Fiordland Lodge at Te Anau. We spent three wonderful nights there. It's a spectacular building and the meals were outstanding, served by personable and more than competent staff. While there, we took the Milford Sound cruise on a beautiful sunny day and hiked through a beech forest on the Kepler Track on another day. Our time in New Zealand exceeded expectations, and we are reliving our memories as we share them with family and friends.
Wayne & Holly Lillico, Customised Cape to Capital Self Drive Tour, Travelled on 20th October 2016
We had a wonderful time on our trip & all the arrangements went smoothly Thanks for all your work. Hotels were good with cooking facilities in almost all. Only problem was the number of times we ended up in a handicap room (guess they thought it would help the old folks) Best lodging was in Whitianga & Wellington. Weakest was Christchurch for future planning. All in all excellent organising on your part next time we will choose a drier time of year.
Gary & Patricia Nederveld, New Zealand Discoverer North to South Self Drive Tour, Travelled on 21st October 2016
Pat and I had a marvellous 22 day tour from Auckland south to Queenstown, thanks to Michelle who suggested activities and made arrangements to our preferences. We anticipated a terrific trip and learned to love New Zealand... people were very friendly, we learned a lot, and the seascapes and landscapes...breathtaking.
Gordon & Janet Kellett, A Customised Ultimate New Zealand Self Drive Tour, Travelled on 25th October 2016
Our excursion in New Zealand was marvellous. From our welcome greeter at Auckland airport to our 5:30 AM transporter to the Christchurch airport, we found the people of New Zealand to be warm, open, friendly, helpful and kind. Every motel owner was welcoming and charming. Our favorite accommodation was Quest Central in Rotorua. Another favorite was Omau Settlers Landing at Cape Foulwind, which would be very nice in summer. We were there in the rain after being detoured by the earthquake. All other motels/hotels were very good. Our experiences varied, but each were rewarding to 70 year old tourists.
Given my limitations of an arthritic knee, we did short hikes to see gardens, waterfalls, glaciers, and Mt. Cook. We strongly recommend the gondolas at Christchurch and Queesntown. My favorite excursion was Cape Kidnappers Gannet Beach Adventure. My wife's favorite was the Doubtful Sound trip, as we experienced a full rainbow over Lake Manapouri. We visited Auckland Museum which gave us a good introduction to Maori history and culture as well as Natural History of New Zealand. Later we toured TePapa, which is the best showplace of New Zealand museums. Unfortunately for us the Maori Marae was closed that day. We visited other small museums and found them informative: Waipu, Arrowtown, Kauri were the best. Your guide book on the self-drive tour with accompanying pamphlets was terrific. Each evening we would scout out the driving route for the next day and select the activities we wanted to do. We missed out on some of them due to need for a long or arduous hike (i.e. Cathedral Cove) or we felt were too expensive (i.e. Jet Boat ride). But, overall we felt we missed out on little. One additive piece you might consider adding: Today's major event at (city name) is .........! We found streets blocked and detours up at Oamaru due to the Victorian Festival. We also ran into a Marathon at Auckland and Napier causing traffic changes. In regard to your "Tour Driving Directions," we used the included New Zealand Touring Atlas as backup. It was very helpful. A few times we went off grid thinking we could take a shortcut. But, we found your guide directions to be the best routing with the least traffic. Unfortunately, your turn by turn directions do not give approximate distances between turns. They would vary between 1 block and 65 km. Occasional warning mileage would help the navigator. Lastly, we drove from Nelson to Havelock over Queen Charlotte Drive in the rain. On our return trip to Blenheim, at Havelock we chose to stay on State Highway 6. I had no desire to do the Queen Charlotte Drive a second time. The earthquake experience was memorable. We were glad to be in Blenheim and not Kaikoura. One day later and we would have been. For us the detour to Cape Foulwind and Arthur's Pass was a pleasant trip. Then finding out that you do keep tabs on us when Camelot Inn reported us missing. That was reassuring. Weather was detrimental on only three occasions. First, we did not see Abel Tasmen due to rain, wind and rough seas. Second, although we did get our tour of Ulva Island with Peter Tait (accomplished on arrival; was instructional and rewarding), the next day torrential rain fell. Third, we had a rainy day in Christchurch, but we were able to see the Botanical Garden and Tannery Mall. On arrival the afternoon before, we went to Willowbank Wildlife Reserve where we enjoyed seeing Kiwi and Kea. There are so many spectacular vistas to see. We started monitoring the atlas for marked lookouts to anticipate pulling off the highway. For us the very best drive was from Queenstown to Glenorchy/Paradise. Next best was a tie between the approach the Mt. Cook or the approach to Queenstown from the south. For a panoramic view we especially enjoyed going up atop of Mt. John near Lake Tekapo. But, just as mystically lovely was the Red Tussock Conservation area on Mossburn Five Rivers road with the tussocks waving in the wind. The rental car was perfect. It was seamless getting the car in Auckland, dropping off the car at the Interisland Ferry, picking up the car in Picton, and dropping the car off in Greymouth. Every EuropCar Rental agent was cheerful and helpful.
Lastly, we want to give Kudos to the Balmoral Lodge Motel receptionist for there gracious handling of the booking mistake. With your help, they were able to redirect us to the Tower Inn nearby. They went beyond expectations making sure we were taken care of.
Finally, we will strongly recommend your agency to all our friends interested in visiting New Zealand. As I daily posted on Facebook, several of my friends showed early interest in your company. I will be telling them about the many reasons to use you. If you have any specific questions, please don't hesitate to email your inquiries. I would be happy to answer them. Thank you for a splendid trip. Sincerely yours, Gordon Kellett
Rich Osiecki, Customised 27 Day South Island Encounter, Travelled on 24th October 2016
The lodgings throughout the trip were great - perhaps at a level a bit higher than I usually use but I’m not complaining. Peter and Iris were great hosts on Stewart Island, and I lucked out by having Peter one-on-one during the Ulva Island visit (where we did see a real, live, in-the-wild Kiwi.
One down point is that The Quality Suites motel in Kaikoura suffered significantly from the quake (just based on my observations - I’m sure there will be an official assessment). Also enjoyed the 4WD Safari in Wanaka (pass the word on to them that George Scott was a proper host and good driver). We were in Kaikoura during the earthquake and enjoyed the warmth and efforts of NZers for what they provided for travellers stranded in Kaikoura and during the subsequent boat ride to Christchurch, as well as having a place to stay plus meals to enjoy upon arrival in Christchurch. The emergency services which became active after the quake were very effective, keeping a potentially bad situation very civilised and safe.
Kent Chen and Ooi Ling Leong, Auckland to Christchurch Highlights Tour, Travelled on 6th October 2016
6 Oct - 23 Oct 2016 (Awesome 18-day trip - North & South Island of NZ) First of all, we have to admit that we were so lucky and happy to have found this website when we first started to do some research on the road trip in NZ. As this was our honey moon trip after we got married in October 2016, we really hope this would be the best of the best travelling experience for both of us.
Eventually, it turned out to be way awesome than what we expected. Jamiee was the personnel who we engaged when we started to enquire on the road trip and etc... She was really helpful and whenever we posted questions to her, she would respond to us promptly and patiently. The coolest thing was we could totally customise our tour and with the first scratch of draft tour/route that we sent to her, she did not change much and she tried her very best to accommodate all our requests pursuant to our budget and on top of that she would also recommend/propose which place to stay, which car rental agency to pick for, what else should we go etc..... We felt so relieved as this was our first time stepping in to NZ and we wouldn't want all these uncertainty to ruin our trip, worry not, she modified our draft while maintaining the tourist-must-go spots to save us all the hassles (by booking all the hotels/car rental/entrances to some tourist spots/transport etc...). Thereafter, upon finalising the itinerary, Salli came into the picture in which she was super nice and passionate in answering all our queries including the payment method. She also gave extra tips on how was the traffic condition, weather etc.... No regrets, we love our entire trip without any complaint and hesitation. The hotels they booked for us were way higher than our expectation (most of them were studio apartment/unit which come with a fully equipped pantry/kitchen) and the car (while being budgeted) was comfy and we were able to travel safely with 2 huge luggage. Simply because we made the right choice by engaging NZ Self Drive Tours (Don't get me wrong, when I said this, I didn't get any commission by promoting them, they were really helpful, in all ways). Eventually, I fell in love with NZ, every place, every scene and all the friendly people there. Though the price of the food was on the high side (perhaps only the tourist spots), the rest were awesome, unforgettable and awe-inspiring. Once again, thanks so much for the assistance which save us all the hassle. We enjoyed every piece of the journey and we will definitely come back to NZ again.
Doug, Ross, Bev & Donna Emek, Customised Auckland to Queenstown 21 Day Self Drive Tour, Travelled on 12th October 2016
We just got home today after a wonderful trip to Hawaii and New Zealand. We wanted to thank you for all that you did to arrange our driving tour. Everything was perfect, from the pick-ups at the airport and train station, our accommodation, the trains and the activities we chose. Not a single hiccup or problem!Read more
Anyway, thanks again for everything. It was a great trip.
Best wishes, Doug & Bev Emek Ross & Donna Emek
Johann Schuster, 28 Day Discover New Zealand Tour, Travelled on 4th October 2016
Thank you very much for your concern. The tour was fantastic. Accommodation very, very nice, real Gems, all the Heritage houses. The tour itself was nicely planed, car rental was well organised, and all the other bookings like Doubtful Sound etc properly booked. And what should I say about you? Although you destroyed us terribly in the last game (Rugby), I have to thank you for your advise, your patience , and your friendly and professional service.
Best Regards and Kia Ora Hans
Benoit Soucy and Dunja Schelper, Iconic North Island Tour, Travelled on 29th October 2016
We greatly enjoyed the entire trip. Everything was superbly organised and everybody was exceptionally nice. The accommodations were all luxurious and the breakfast options plentiful and very tasty. We particularly liked the Kamahi Cottage and its owner Elisabeth Cowan. She is a delightful and stimulating host with a great degree of knowledge.
Unfortunately the quality lessened at our last stop, the Puka Park Resort. The breakfast buffet was clearly inferior and they demanded an unacceptable credit card surcharge. The most luxurious accommodation we had on our trip, namely the exceptional "Peppers on the Point" suite hotel we had in Rotorua. We had a spacious very modern, romantic suite with fireplace, all the amenities and a perfect outlook directly on Lake Rotorua, complete with outdoor Jacuzzi. The staff also was extremely nice. All was super and we were very pleased. Thank you very much for an unforgettable experience!
Coral, Phil & Tim Musgrave, Custom Family Tour for the Musgraves, Travelled on 10th October 2016
From the moment I contacted you to organise a complicated itinerary I knew I had chosen the right company. 4 weeks, 2 islands, trains, planes and automobiles. I provided dates and a list of things we wanted to do and you guys put it together. I could never had done this myself and I am used to booking independent travel.
When we arrived at our first motel the package containing our itinerary, maps, vouchers and leaflets was waiting for us and it was so useful to have it all planned out for us, with estimated travel time and suggestions where to stop off en route. The cars provided were of a high spec and really comfortable, important when driving for along time and we are all tall.
The accommodation booked was without exception clean and comfortable. Hosts at all motels were helpful and friendly. Waipoua Lodge was amazing and really worth the treat. My only regret? We only had one night there.
The two train journeys with Kiwi Rail on the south island were awesome and the level of service from the staff at the station and on the train was second to none. Just so sorry that one is out of action post earthquake for a while. All pre booked activities were excellent, the Wilderness Jet Boat Safari will be the outstanding memory.
I am so glad we chose to use Real Journeys to visit Milford Sound as it is a long drive - rather than self drive. This way the designated driver got a rest and to see the awesome scenery. And Milford Sound is wow just wow even if it was a very long day trip.
Hobbiton was brilliant and top tip here, book the last day tour as you get the place to yourself unless you can get the evening banquet tour of course. I would not hesitate to recommend this New Zealand Self Drive Tours to anyone planning to self drive New Zealand
Ken O'Neill, South Island 23 Day Self Drive Tour, Travelled on 9th October 2016
Thanks to Hayley and all the staff at NZ Self Drive Tours for a wonderful 3 week holiday in the South Island. The car rental, accommodation and the optional tours were all ready for me when I arrived. A very well organised trip. Brilliant! Ken O'Neill
Tapan, Anubha, Susmit Bhowmik, Sylvia Zhang, Southern Lakes and Tranz Alpine 6 Day Circuit, Travelled on 9th October 2016
It was certainly an amazing trip. I do recommend everyone. Especially Shelley was wonderful. She did take care of all of our tantrums. Thank you for everything.
Katharin and Guy Kuhn, Northern Highlights, Travelled on 2nd October 2016
We had a good trip and enjoyed the well plan schedule provided. The only disappointment was not getting the HOBBIT Inn which we were much expect. But it was not caused by New Zealand Self Drive Tours. We recommend everyone to take a planned vacation as we did.
Randy & Pamela Lansing, Tailored Auckland to Queenstown Highlights, Travelled on 12th October 2016
Our trip to New Zealand was truly amazing. Laura Davidson did a great job in helping us plan our trip. The only thing I would recommend is that the driving instructions be a bit more thorough. You should give the distance between turns. Our GPS was outdated and had us literally going down farm paths. However, the wonderful atlas saved the day. It was truly the best holiday we have ever had and we would definitely recommend New Zealand self drive tours. Thank you!
William & Sharon Cattie, Customised Length & Breadth 35 Days North to South Tour, Travelled on 6th October 2016
Thanks for taking time on your day off to meet with us near the end of our trip. As we mentioned then, everything had gone smoothly for the first 4 weeks of our trip and that continued for the final week. Before you set our itinerary, we discussed the types of hotels we preferred and all of your choices were of that kind of accommodation and very convenient locations. Everything went smoothly with all of the transportation-airport pickup/drop off, car pickup/drop off and TranzAlpine train.
Scheduling the latter from Greymouth to Christchurch was a more interesting direction and something we would not have known by ourselves. We also enjoyed the intimacy of the Footwhistle Glowworm cave after seeing the large car parks for the larger venues. Also, suggesting we take an early cruise on Milford Sound avoided the crowds waiting to board in the afternoon. We feel like you helped us see much more of New Zealand than we would have if we planned the trip on our own as we usually do when travelling.
Anne and Stephen Little, Discover New Zealand Tour , Travelled on 22nd September 2016
Firstly, a huge thank you to Hayley for organising the trip, very prompt in responding, and had some great suggestions for activities. We were so impressed by how well things worked, from the initial greeting at Auckland, the accommodation, the selected tours and the ongoing support through the trip. The detailed itinerary was fantastic, just walked into the hotel reception or tour booking office with "the book" and never had any hassle - it all just worked. We had an awesome holiday, some great trips and sightseeing tours - many exceeded my expectations, saw a lot of wildlife, did a lot of walking, enjoyed seeing the natural beauty of NZ. I have passed on your details to friends who have expressed interest in touring NZ, and would not hesitate to contact you when we visit NZ next time. Thank you, Anne.
David & Esther Newcombe, Christichurch to Queenstown 16 Day Self Drive Tour, Travelled on 30th September 2016
We want to thank Michelle Chave for arranging the most amazing time for us in New Zealand’s South island. The rep was there to meet us with our tour package when we arrived in Christchurch. All the accommodations she recommended were perfect for us. We were greeted at each one and had no problems checking in. A highlight of the trip was Ulva Island. Peter Tait provided a superb 4 hour tour and was quite entertaining. His knowledge of the island made it quite fascinating.
Doubtful Sound was another highlight. We saw a sea lion colony and a pod of dolphins. But the best part were all the cascades and waterfalls due to the rainy weather. It’s one place where you appreciate the rain! And of course the food and crew of the Fiordland Navigator were superb. Our last 4 days at the Millbrook Resort were a treat. It actually snowed the day after we arrived, making the mountains even more spectacular. Queenstown and Arrowtown were both fun. The day trip along Lake Wakatipu to Glenorchy was spectacular. We highly recommend it. Our meal atop Queenstown’s Skyline Gondola was memorable. I’ve never seen such a buffet selection. And you can’t beat the view! The Rav 4 was an ideal vehicle for the South Island. It was comfortable and we never worried about dirt roads. The South Island is a truly beautiful place wherever you go. Thanks again Michell for helping us to have a carefree adventure. We would highly recommend you and New Zealand Fine Touring to anyone considering a visit to New Zealand. Cheers! Dave & Gina Newcombe
David & Craig Harrich, A Taste of the South Self Drive Tour, Travelled on 22nd October 2016
We finished our trip and overall we where very please with the accommodation. The only snag was on the first day. We were greeted at the airport and brought to our accommodation. But the next day we had to make our way back to the airport to pick up the car. It would have made much more sense to get the car on day 1. The only other issue was a one way car return charge. We picked up the car at Christchurch and returned the car at Greymouth. The care rental company tried to hit us for the $50.00 charge. I called NZSDT and they cleared up the discrepancy. All other aspects of the trip were wonderful and I would use this service again.
Linda and Cameron Lyon, Customised Southern Coast and Stewart Island Nature Tour, Travelled on 26th September 2016
Everything was very well executed in terms of the arrangements. The hotels were good and very comfortable and close to restaurants etc. the tours worked well. We especially liked the Stewart Island Lodge - it is very comfy and both hostesses were really warm and helpful. Wendy particularly went out of her way to make sure that we could leave the island which was problematic because of the fog! We both enjoyed our holiday very much. A big thank you to Salli for organising it. Linda Lyon
Erich Papai and Family, Ultimate New Zealand Self Drive Family Holiday, Travelled on 21st September 2016
Hi Hayley, We have spent the last 4 months travelling around the world, and the 42 days we have spent in New Zealand were just amazing. Everything from the first contact with you, planning our tailored made self drive tour until our flight back home worked perfectly. We enjoyed also very much the possibility of the "last minute" changes in our tour, where our second daughter joined us during her school holidays on her study exchange program. This was really a great time and we had so much fun that we will never forget. Thank you for the opportunity to get to know your beautiful country and for all the new experiences. It really was a once in life time holiday and except one day, we were lucky with the weather as well. Even though we have spent almost 1.5 months travelling around New Zealand, we will for sure come back, because there are so many places that just need more time to explore. One more time a big thank you. Erich, Daniela, Alexandra and Barbora
Kerri Hutchison and Alyssa Hutchison-Mitchell, Southern Explorer Christchurch to Queenstown, Travelled on 23rd September 2016
My 12 year old daughter and I had an amazing time. All the accommodation and pre booked tours were perfect. Every thing went to plan thanks to our consultant Shelley. The extensive literary made for an exciting, enjoyable and hassle fee holiday.
Bryce and Cassie Jensen, A Customised New Zealand Tour, Travelled on 13th September 2016
First of all Christina, thank you so much for organising all of our trip details. You were amazing and very quick to respond. Our trip was definitely the trip of a lifetime! We got all of our activities in without any weather interruptions! We really enjoyed all the scenery, other than the scary, sharp, curvy roads on the "wrong" side of the road throughout New Zealand! We were able to enjoy 3/8 of the great walks: Tongariro Alpine Crossing, The Kepler Track, and the Routeburn Track. We loved all three. We really didn't need a guide on the Routeburn since the trail was clearly defined, but it was great getting to meet another couples and learning a lot from our guide.
The water is so clear and blue! It's so beautiful! I think our favorite areas were Mt. Cook, Milford Sound and Queenstown. In Mt. Cook, we hiked to the Hooker Valley Lake which was breathtaking! We didn't quite get enough after that so we hiked 2200 steps up to the Red Tarns for a magnificent view of the mountains and valleys! Milford Sound was stunning! We got lucky and had a beautiful sunny day! We are so glad we made the long trek! And we just loved the vibe of Queenstown! We would love to explore there a little more next time! We also really enjoyed hiking on the Franz Josef glacier. That was a cool experience! We can't wait to come back next time and take more time exploring the south island! Thanks again for the hard work!
Frances & Denis McFaul, 18 Day Cape to Capital New Zealand Tour, Travelled on 8th September 2016
Cape to Capital 18-day Tour. Our thanks to Jane whose meticulous planning ensured our trip went smoothly. Jane always promptly replied to our queries and double checked our plans with us. Having everything pre-booked made our travels so much easier. We didn’t have to worry about taking time out looking for accommodation or finding things to do. It was also really useful to be able to pay our trip in installments on line. It was lovely to have been met at the airport by “Uncle” who gave us a few tips for our stay in Auckland. Another surprise was a car upgrade from a Corolla to a diesel Ford Territory. This made for comfy and economical travel.
We had no problems with any of our accommodation or tour bookings. We enjoyed all the planned day tours which included Auckland Harbour Cruise, Discover the Bay Hole in the Rock Cruise and our scenic flight to Cape Reinga, Waitangi Treaty Grounds, Driving Creek Railway and Potteries and Mitai Maori Village experience. The City Highlights Inspiration Half Day tour was also exceptional as we had our own guide for the morning tour. Unfortunately, the flight to Cape Reinga could not land due to wet ground. We weren’t surprised about this given the time of year (Sept) that we travelled. Overall the accommodation was excellent. The motel room in Tairua was considerably smaller than the other places we stayed. If staying longer than one night, we would suggest booking a larger room. In hindsight, as we are not very much into wines, we would have only stayed one night in Martinborough and had another night in Wellington. Our attempt to visit Cape Palliser from Martinborough was hampered by wet weather and washed out roads. It may be worth considering a winter and summer option for this leg of the journey. We appreciated the tour book containing detailed instructions of our itinerary and bookings. We didn’t really use the driving directions given. On a couple of occasions these seemed a little confusing. For example, when travelling to Snells Beach and Rotorua. The road atlas was our preferred map and was much used. We thoroughly enjoyed our trip and would highly recommend your company to others. Frances and Denis McFaul
Jon & Lori Jacobs, Natural Highlights and Walks of New Zealand, Travelled on 15th September 2016
Thank you Shelley! We ventured from Port Angeles, WA, USA to celebrate our 40th wedding anniversary exploring New Zealand on this self-drive road trip. We told her our desire to hike, be outdoors and stay in rustic accommodations. She set us up with an itinerary that was extremely memorable. We travelled through the major parts of both islands. Each destination was completely different and a surprise since we chose not to research the next location. We found our favorite eating experience. The "Mussel Pot" in Havelock. We would highly recommend booking this type of adventure. Shelley, many thanks! Jon & Lori Jacobs
Bruce & Sandra Estrin, 23 Day Discover New Zealand, Travelled on 1st September 2016
Thank you for a great time. Everything was set up beautifully. We really wish we were still there! Natalie did an excellent job for us in setting up accommodations, itineraries and assisting us in getting from one place to another.
George and Jill Phillips, 15 Day South Island Spectacular, Travelled on 3rd September 2016
Hi Charlie, Well we made it home safe and well. Thank you for putting together such a wonderful package, both my wife and I thoroughly enjoyed every minute. I don't believe there was any element that we did not like but we were disappointed in not enjoying any of the helicopter adventures because of unsuitable weather conditions. We did make up the time with other activities which were enjoyable as well. The whole part of the South island that we saw had us in awe of your beautiful island and we will certainly be returning some time in the future. Once again Charlie a Big Thank You George & Jill Phillips
Hewetson Family, 15 Day Family Highlights Tour, Travelled on 13th July 2016
We had a fantastic holiday - we loved New Zealand and all the arrangements worked without a hitch. We're looking forward to coming back sometime!
Lori Zucchino, Mark Maier and Dana and Evan Maier-Zucchino, Customised Self Drive Tour, Travelled on 3rd July 2016
Hi Charlie! I've been looking forward to writing this feedback to you about our trip because I LOVE reliving all the wonderful sites and experiences. I'll start with accommodations. We liked ALL of the accommodations that you booked for us! They were all spacious, clean and well-located. Unlike properties in the USA where website photos often exaggerate features, I found that the photos on the websites didn't do justice to the rooms. I was always positively surprised. Some specifics: We especially liked Punga Grove in Franz Josef. The location is lovely and the patio at the back of the apartment with lush rain forest growth was beautiful. We could look out our loft bedroom in the morning and see the snow-capped peaks! Another notable property was the Quest in Wellington. The building is charming and historic. The rooms have high ceilings and huge windows.
The family-owned Fenton Court was the least "fashionable" of the properties but it was very clean and spacious. Also, the family (husband and wife) who own and operate the property were exceptionally service-oriented. They went out of their way on a few occasions to be of service. Almost all of the properties had very good to excellent service. The one exception to this was Blue Peaks in Queenstown. It wasn't just that they wouldn't give us a late checkout, in general they were rather disinterested in us and any inquiries we made. Also, they did not let us know that our hot water was limited to the internal tank. We ran laundry and showered on our first morning and Dana, the last person in the shower, had a freezing cold experience. It would have helped to know in advance. However, that is an excellent location with beautiful views of the surrounding snow-covered peaks. One final item. It's not necessary, but I really do enjoy coming back at the end of a long day of sight-seeing to a newly tidy room. Of course the motels, Fenton Court and Punga Grove did provide this service. I understand that being apartments, some of the properties do not offer this as part of their regular service. However, the Quest Apartments (Wellington & Christchurch) did provide the daily room refresh. The Waldorf in Auckland and Blue Peaks did not. At Blue Peaks we were required to take our trash to the dumpster on the morning we checked out. (That's OK, we take out the trash at home!) I hope this is a helpful review. Please don't focus on the few negative comments. The accommodations were great and definitely exceeded my expectations! A few words about our transportation services. Uncle, who picked us up at the Auckland Airport was great! Warm, friendly and accommodating. He patiently waited when we picked up Evan at his apartment. We went to see the rooms Evan lived in for 4 and a half months and took some pictures. Uncle was gracious and understanding. Karen, who picked us up at the airport in Christchurch and took us to the Trans Alpine train a couple days later was lovely, timely and helpful. Our coach drivers were safety-oriented, courteous and informative. They stopped for photo-taking, rest rooms and refreshments, often pointing out sites and describing features of the scenery and wildlife. Franz Josef to Queenstown was Chris & Ayoto. To and from Milford Sound was Simon. All went smoothly with the rental car. Convenient location to Waldorf Apartments. in Auckland and our agent, Viviane was helpful with advice and directions. Activities - WOW! We had so much fun and saw so many AMAZING sites! Day 1, Auckland: Evan showed us "his" sites, Campus, Albert Park, The Domain (lovely), Queen St. (busy & chaotic), view from Skytower was spectacular. Day 2, Auckland: Ferry to Rangitoto. Panoramic views of the city and surrounding waterways from the top! Lava caves were cool. Hike was reasonable. Day 3, Auckland: Walked through charming Parnell District and visited the museum in the Domain. Most interesting exhibits were the Maori and volcano displays. Day 4, Drive to Waitomo, Matamata & Rotorua: The Waitomo Glow Worm Caves were extraordinary! This was a highlight! Hobbiton was also super! The tour was excellent and tour guides knowledgeable and accommodating. We took lots of photos. The Feast after touring was incredible! Delicious and plentiful food served family style in the warm, beautifully appointed Green Dragon Inn. This was one of our very favorite days. Day 5, Rotorua: Wow, it smells like sulphur! Visited Hellsgate geothermal reserve and then got into the mud baths. We loved this too! It was fascinating and fun! Day 6, Rotorua: Walked along Rotorua lakeside and past the Bathhouse Museum; Gondola Ride with beautiful views from the top and fun luge ride. Later, boys tumbled around in an OGO "bubble!" Mark and I watched and laughed. Day 7, Drive from Rotorua to Taupo, lunch in Taupo then drive to Wellington: We stopped at Huka Falls to marvel at the massive amount of water and enjoyed lunch in the charming town of Taupo. Beautiful scenery through the countryside and along the lake. I drove on the left side for the first time! Day 8, Wellington: Lively city and we visited a friend living nearby in Hataitai. In the afternoon, we took the ferry around the harbor getting off at Days Bay to walk on the beach. Day 9, Wellington: Visited Weta Cave in the morning for an interesting, informative tour. In the afternoon, we drove up Mt. Victoria. Fabulous views of city, harbor and ocean! Finished the day with a walk through the Botanic Gardens. More views of the city, lovely greenery, sculptures, and fragrant flowers. Day 10, Wellington to Christchurch: After flight and settling into our new apartment, we went for lunch at the Restart Mall. It was great! Food booths with all types of food and shipping container stores. We loved this creative place! We took the tram tour and marvelled at the earthquake destruction and the amount of reconstruction currently underway. Day 11, Christchurch: We went for High Tea at the Casino. Yes, the Casino has an excellent High Tea! I was skeptical but it was highly recommended. It was in a lovely room and I think I had the best scone of my life. Also, High Tea was only $20 NZD! We would have paid twice that amount in the states. After tea, we explored the Avon River Walk & visited the Transitional Cathedral. The Cardboard Cathedral and the White Chair exhibit honoring those who died in the earthquake were very moving. Day 12, Tranz Alpine Train to Greymouth; Coach to Franz Josef: We had a bit of rain during the train ride -- good timing for rain. Spectacular scenery on both the train and the bus. It was a lot of travelling, but the scenery kept it fresh and rewarding. Day 13, Franz Josef Glacier: This was an AMAZING day! We had an epic thunder, lightning, and rain storm in the night. It poured, dropping more snow on the spectacular peaks surrounding us. The morning cleared and the sun came out for our guided hike. Ellie was a great guide and the hike to the glacier was another highlight for all of us. In the late afternoon we visited the Glacier Hot Pools. Lovely setting and relaxing, warm baths. It was a great way to end the day! Day 14, Coach to Queenstown: Another big travel day, but the sun came out to shine on the endless gorgeous scenery. We saw snow-covered Mt. Cook in the brilliant sunshine! Day 15, Queenstown: In the morning, we walked through the downtown shops while it drizzled on us. In the afternoon, we took the Nomad Safaris LOTR tour. Jenny, our tour guide explained that the weather was looking bad to see the sights and there is an alternate tour she can lead if the weather doesn't clear. As if on cue, the weather clears and we have an exceptional tour of all the surrounding LOTR sites with Jenny! This was another highlight for us fans of LOTR! Day 16, Queenstown to Milford Sound: Just when we think it can't get any better -- we go to Milford Sound. What can I say? A boat cruise down that spectacular fjord in the bright sunshine with snow-covered peaks and rushing waterfalls. Then, to top it off, a pod of dolphins play next to our boat. It doesn't get any better than this! Yes, it's a long, long drive. But, we slept on the coach ride home. Day 17, Queenstown: In the morning, we took the steamboat to Walter Peaks Farms. We actually had some rain during the sheep-shearing show, but happily we were under cover. Then we had tea and treats in the lovely farmhouse and the weather cleared, again(!). Feeding the animals after our tea time was another treat. I'd been wanting to get up close and personal with some sheep! We opted for the tea instead of the barbecue because the boys have decided to go bungy jumping for their last day in New Zealand! I'm brave enough to go and watch. We take the Gondola up and they jump from The Ledge. Wow, that was something to behold! I'm glad it's over and we do a few luge trips to unwind. Day 18, Queenstown to home: Happy to be going home, sad to be leaving. This is probably more than you wanted, but once I get started, I can't stop! It was such a great journey for all of us! I am very grateful that you followed up with me online by asking if you could give me a call. I know our trip was so much better because of your advice, guidance and preparations. You were always friendly, professional and easy to work with. THANK YOU! In a few years, I'm hoping we'll do a trip like this to Italy. If you switch jobs to Europe/Italy, please let me know. Or, maybe you have a friend there? I'm attaching a selection of photos of us that you could use in your promo materials. We have many beautiful landscape photos, but I know you can take those on your own, so this selection includes our smiling faces. best to you with gratitude, Lori
Margie, Jim & Jillian Kuntz, 15 Day Natural Encounter of New Zealand, Travelled on 2nd July 2016
Dear Shelley, many thanks for a fantastic trip! We were so impressed with the spectacular scenery of both islands. New Zealand is so clean and it is clear that your government puts tax dollars back into infrastructure, i.e. nice level roads, well maintained parks, good signage, etc. We were impressed! You somehow managed to fit all of our requests into a well thought out itinerary. We had time to rest, but were able to explore so much of the country! Our rental car was new and we never had a problem.
Driving was easy on the well maintained roads. The GPS gave us trouble so we stopped using it and relied on the map you supplied! We loved our apartment in Queenstown, perfect location to town! The hike on Routeburn track was fabulous! It would be difficult to choose a favorite as everything we did was fantastic! We were surprised to have enjoyed Hobbiton as much as we did! We typically like to spend our time in nature, but it was a lot of fun, with excellent tour guides. Of course, we cannot say enough about Milford Sound and Franz Josef Glacier. I particularly loved our hike along Marian Creek to the falls! Abel Tasman area was breathtaking and we loved our accommodation as well. It was lovely to meet you and the staff in Wanaka. Your town was also a favorite, what a beautiful place to live! Thank you again for all of your efforts putting together this trip for us Shelley. By the way, could you send the photo of us in your office? Thanks Margie, Jim and Jillian Kuntz
Paul & Kerri Vico, The Southern Circuit Luxury Self Drive Tour, Travelled on 11th June 2016
Well we are back home and our holiday is now at an end. We had an amazing time and I must thank you for your faultless planning and organisation of our trip. Everything flowed brilliantly and all our bookings and tours were in place when we arrived at each destination. The car we received was brand new with only 20km on the clock...can't get much better than that, and all tours and pickups ran right on time. The staff at each place were really friendly and looked after us well. Of course Azur at Queenstown was amazing and I must admit we didn't want to leave and if we had to pick the best place, this would certainly be it. One thing you couldn't do for us was control the weather. We had some bad luck in Franz Joseph and they cancelled all helicopters. So you could contact Helicopter Line for us to arrange a refund it would be much appreciated. We've come home a little larger than when we left, compliments of some beautiful wine and food and brought home with us some amazing memories. Thank you once again, Regards Paul and Kerri Vico
Angelina Low and Hock Chye Tay, Customised 21 Day South Island Encounter, Travelled on 31st May 2016
Dear Natalie, So sorry to take so long to give our feedback. Have been really busy catching up with huge pile of work after being away for so long. Anyway, my husband and I wish to express our deepest thanks and appreciation for arranging such a wonderful holiday for us. As I mentioned before, this is the first time I did not have to do any arrangement and it's such a breeze to be able to leave everything to you. The pick-up at the airport was so nice. It warms our hearts to be met at the airport of a country we were visiting for the first time, especially after almost 10 hours in the plane. The hotels were great! especially Peppers Clearwater. We pampered ourselves silly. The Lakeview Suite was lovely. It was like a huge welcome hug on our first day in NZ. And to end the trip at this same hotel was unbelievably wonderful.
Quay Room was so warm and romantic! But we wanted a kitchen. So, we upgraded ourselves to the Lakeside suite with a full kitchen. This is the best accommodation of all the holidays we've been. We got what we asked for - clean and comfortable and great view. And we got that and even better view. Thank you very, very much! Also, the vehicle we got was great! And to have it sent to us at the hotel - WOW! The itinerary was relaxed and just right for us. Oh, just a note on the time taken to travel from one place to another: The estimated time you gave was based on driving by locals I think. We took much longer. This was due to the winding roads, and unfamiliarity with the surroundings. At some points we were driving below 20km/hour, even though the speed limit was 35 or 45. But no worries, we had the GPS to guide us on the distance travelled. Oh the scenery was awesome! NZ has really, really lovely scenery. And of course that slowed us down further. Can you believe that we took 5 to 6 hours to travel the estimated 3 hours? We visited the Observatory at Lake Tekapo twice, to drink in the 360 degree view from the highland. The drive up and down gave us good practice for the upcoming winding mountain roads. Queenstown was OK for us. I did not know that it is such a busy place. Then driving along the highest roads in NZ was plain heaven! Wanaka - my favourite place of all. We wish we had arranged to stay there 5 nights, instead of 3. That's our kind of place to rest and relax. We walked from The Moorings to Edgewater Resort twice for lunch. Edgewater is a really great place to stay, too. The restaurant has delicious food. Oh, The Moorings has the most compact kitchen of all. I love that place, too. Franz Josef was another sweet surprise! Such a variety of food in such a little village. The walk to the glacier took us 2 hours, but the view was definitely worth it. Arthur's Pass was easier to drive than the other mountain roads. The Alpine Resort was small but surprisingly comfortable. We almost wanted to spend another night there. Well, all too quickly the holiday ended. We're back to reality. Well, we will definitely recommend New Zealand Self Drive Tours to anyone who is looking for help and advice for a self drive tour in NZ. The tour pack that you prepared for us and the customised itinerary was fantastic! It was really helpful and we depended on it all the way. Thank you so much once again. We look forward to another holiday in NZ and will contact you when we do.
Angela Suen & Karen Wong, A Customised South Island Wine Adventure, Travelled on 4th May 2016
We had a fantastic time in NZ and found that the itinerary was very well organised. Accommodation was great- we particularly enjoyed the view from our room at the hotel in Mt Cook. Argo tour was good fun as well. The pick up service was really helpful and drivers were very pleasant and professional. Milford sound cruise and the bus trip to and from would have to be the highlight of the trip- fantastic photo opportunities and wonderful guides. I really want to point out that your service was fantastic, Christina- with the limited time I have to organise our trip and lack of time to spend on the phone, it was really good to be able to organise things with you via email- your prompt replies and organisations skills were much appreciated so thank you very much for making it so easy for us! We look forward to returning to NZ again in the future- maybe check out north island and go back to south for the glaciers! Regards, Angela Suen
Jason Chan & Lynnett Ng, Customised Southern Highlights 10 Day Tour, Travelled on 25th March 2016
Hi Jane, it was a great trip! The car rental was handled seamlessly, the accommodations were great and spacious. We were suspicious of Motels, having only been introduced to them via shows like CSI. The only damper was that due to inclement weather, we were unable to go for the fox glacier helicopter ride. Will save that for the next time we visit!
Sarah Hogarth & Steven Trpenov, Queenstown to Auckland 13 Day Highlights, Travelled on 20th April 2016
AMAZING! I could not recommend it high enough. Everything ran seamlessly, the accommodation was beautiful, all the recommendations we did were great. It was such a relaxed and easy holiday. Michelle, our rep, did a fantastic job. Thank you so much! I've travelled a lot but this was the best holiday I've ever been on.
David Huffman & Karyn Newstead, Auckland to Queenstown Self Drive Tour, Travelled on 3rd April 2016
Our trip was very well organised and the atlas was beneficial, but we would have liked to have had our path highlighted. We should have bypassed Christchurch because it has not recovered from the 2011 earthquake and it was sad to see so much destruction. The hotels and in particular their views were wonderful. We were pleased with the side excursions we chose. Perfect time of year to go because the Fall colors were delightful. The car rental hand off went well and we were pleased with the cars. The GPS was very beneficial and could not have done without it. It was a comfortable way to travel - having an agent set up the trip and handle the details, but be on our own. Thank you Laura for your help to make this a wonderful vacation experience.
Martin and Kathy Smith, South Island 24 Day Self Drive Tour, Travelled on 22nd March 2016
Hi Michelle, Thank you for your email. We were both very impressed with all the organising of our tour, everything went like clockwork, the weather was a bit up and down but we did experience some beautiful days. We liked all our accommodation, it was great to be within walking distance of attractions and shops if we needed anything. Our favourite place was the Abel Tasman National Park, it is so beautiful, unspoiled , quiet and perfect for walking and boating, we had two lovely days there and our accommodation was lovely too. We had one sunny day on the Doubtful Sound cruise which was really nice but it was a miserable day on Milford Sound. Never mind, we enjoyed seeing it anyway. We were a bit disappointed to miss our whale watching cruise at Kaikori but the weather was not good and it was cancelled, we did wait to see if it improved later in the day but no luck. All in all, we thoroughly enjoyed our whole trip. An added bonus was meeting my cousin and his wife for the first time in Dunedin. I thought Dunedin was a lovely city, full of many reminders of my homeland, Scotland. Thank you and all involved with the organisation and transport providers for our trip, it was amazing, great job. Regards, Martin and Kathy Smith