Benjamin & Brenda Gooden, Return to the South Island Wildlife Discovery Tour, travelled on 01 November 2018
—What was our favorite part? All of it, absolutely all of it!
We had the most amazing trip with Duncan. What was our favorite part? All of it, absolutely all of it. We wouldn't change a thing.
Highlights that stand out for me (Brenda): the wildlife from the Fiordland Crested Penguins, Little Blues, and Yellow-eyed Penguins, to the 7 Kiwis we saw in the wild and everything in between. I also loved the scenery. All the many walks were unique and beautiful. The waterfalls were awe-inspiring. The jet boat rides were great. I loved the star-gazing in Queenstown and the behind the scenes tour in Franz Josef, seeing the recently hatched Kiwi Chicks. All of the accommodations were very nice. Some of the beds were a little smaller than our United States version of a queen size. Our meals were really good and we really enjoyed eating at the pub with the locals watching our 1st rugby match (New Zealand won). One of the favorite places we stayed was Ratanui Lodge and the Kowhai Lodge on Stewart Island. And of course, the Wilderness Lodge. But as I said, all the accommodations were really good and many with amazing views. The weather was beautiful for us 95% of the time and the rain never slowed us down.
Ben's highlights include: the Ngarua Marble Cave (great tour), the Ship Creek Walk was just beautiful with our guide supplied by Wilderness Lodge (I think his name was John), the Eco World Aquarium, Pancake Rocks, and especially the Grove Scenic Reserve at Clifton with its giant boulders and beautiful grove of Nikau Palms and other plants (gorgeous). We were glad that we repeated the White Heron Sanctuary.
Also we felt that the Charleston Cave was more of an adventure hike than a scenic cave hike. It was a lot of stooping over to get through the passages with very little time to appreciate the few formations (especially when compared to Ngarua Cave).
All in all, this was by far the best trip to New Zealand that we have done. Thank you, Shelley, and New Zealand Fine Touring for putting this together for us. And we never want to visit New Zealand without Duncan - He is the BEST!