Juan Santamarina, USA, 9 day self drive tour, South Island, December 2008-January 2009
Again, many thanks for setting up our New Zealand trip and also for putting me in touch with Daria in Australia. Everything worked perfectly and the trip was wonderful.
It was great knowing that you were available at all times to organize things (like the change from airplane to helicopter at Franz Joseph).
The Kruse system was actually quite fun to have! We turned it on and listened to it the entire time we were driving. Nice stories, commentary, etc.
Having the NZ phone was great. You could easily get in touch with us and vice versa.
We loved Queenstown and especially the Remarkables Lodge--fantastic rooms, setting, hosts, and food! It was clearly a highlight for us. And having the helicopter fetch us at the Lodge made that piece even better.
The helicopter from from Remarkables to Milford was fantastic...and the pilot was exceptional. By that I mean that he was not only a good and safe pilot but a wonderful and very friendly person.
The Westwood Lodge, while less upscale than Remarkables or Grasmere was very nice. The breakfasts were REALLY OUTSTANDING and the hosts were very, very nice. The man (I forget his name) was especially nice and outgoing.
The Quad bikes were very fun and our guide was great. First rate operation.
The Grasmere rooms we had with the living room/fireplace in between were SUPERB! The food there, host Tom, etc. were fabulous. It was clearly a highlight of the trip as well. I wish we could have spent even more time there.
The only disappointing part of the trip was the helicopter at Franz Joseph. As our friend Dave put it, it was kind of a "fast food" approach to things--we were just flight number 30 of the day... Not a great value I thought but we were there and since the plane wasn't going it was the best option. For the future, I would use the helicopter and pilot that the Westwood man recommended to us. It's a local and smaller operation, the heli can fetch you at the hotel, and I'm sure all that would make all the difference in the world.
Anyway, it was great. I've passed your name around to friends already so I'm sure you'll be getting some new business in the future.
—Juan, Ann, Andrew and Dave
26 December 2008