June & Jim Tilton, USA - 17 day self drive tour, North & South Islands, November 2008
"Hi Kerry: Well we made it home and everything was perfect from start to finish. All the drivers showed up on time and were very helpful with all there information. We really liked having the cell phone and the Kruse navigation was really helpful. We always stopped at the points along the way that they talked about. It was helpful knowing what we were looking at. All the folklore added to the ambience.The only motels that we didn't like were the ones in Queenstown and Christchurch. The one in Queenstown really was bad. The unit was nice but the smell was so foul we kept looking under the bed to see if there was a poopy diaper lying there. We asked to change our room but the next room they showed us was equally as bad. They tried to convince us it was from peoples cooking but everytime we left and came back it really hit you. We had to go by so room freshener just to survive the stay. Unfortunately all the places we stayed one day were perfect and the two day ones were less appealing. The Camelot in Christchurch was clean and the owners quite friendly and helpful but the place is quite old and very dark and dingy. And a bit of a walk to town. My favorite part of the trip ended up being the hiking. If I knew what I was doing I would have preferred to stay another day in TeAnu and hike the Milford Sound or go to Doubtful sound or stay another day in Franz Joseph and hike up to the glaciers. The area is soooooo beautiful. We got really bad weather for the milford sound trip. Pouring rain but we got to see some fabulous waterfalls. It would have been nice to hike the next day there and then try to go to Doubtful Sound the third day and then maybe we could have at least one day with better weather. You never know these things. I was glad we decided to hike. The golf was fun at the beginning of our trip but I didn't need to golf the second week. There are so many beautiful places that it seemed silly to be playing golf. We really liked Kelvin Heights. It really has a great setting. Our flight home was uneventful except for the flight from Christchurch to Auckland. I didn't realize they considered that flight an international flight. I thought it was a domestic flight and then an international flight. They made us check in internationally so we really were pressed for time. We only got there 45mins before our flight. The plane had some electrical problems and so we taxied out of the gate only to return again and wait another hour. We did make our connecting flight and all our luggage arrived at home with us. We were really surprised due to the late check in. Anyway. I'm rambling. So I' ve enclosed a picture of us on our Routeburn Hike. I hope you get the attachment as my computer skills are a little suspect when it comes to attachments. Thanks again for everything."
—June & Jim Tilton, USA
8 November 2008