—We had an excellent time, and really appreciated not having to worry about the accommodations, directions, plan, etc.
“Thanks for the follow up note. Overall the trip went very smoothly, and we were very happy with the plan and accommodations and most of the activities (more on that later). The Tiger Moths was probably the highlight of the trip (at least for me). Couldn’t have asked for a better day, and the whole feel of the “vintage” aspect was excellent. Auckland was exactly what I wanted – one night in a nice hotel, perfect weather, and got a nice feel for the town. The hotel staff was super friendly, and my wife says the king-size bed was the most comfortable of the whole trip. Christchurch – The hotel was very nice, large rooms, and great location…… pre-earthquake. The hotel still has no food/beverage service, and Downtown Christchurch is very depressing, lots of chain link fence, crumbling or torn down buildings, and not many things open (especially in the evening). The town has a long way to go for recovery. I would think that unless people need to fly out of the airport, you would guide them away from Christchurch especially if time was limited. We were disappointed that we had two nights there, rather than one night somewhere else (but also recognize there was nothing we could really do about it considering my flight plan). Mt Cook was fabulous – Hermitage had an awesome room with a great view. Activities were excellent, and food/beverage service was good. Mountaineering café was a great dinner choice. Queenstown was beautiful, and the Novotel was a great choice. Location was great, and the room was very nice with a balcony, and they had nice drink specials in the bar. Not sure why the other hotels rate higher in Tripadvisor, but we thought the Novotel was perfect – thanks for insisting!! Franz Josef was ok, but we only did the Glacier Hot Pools – which were kind of disappointing. They were not natural pools, but fancy concrete hot tubs set in a garden. Not exactly what we were expecting, and unfortunately we skipped walking to Lake Matheson because we didn’t think we had time to get to the Hot Pools before they closed. However, the Westwood Lodge was fantastic – just right for the glacier/mountain feel. The host (owner?), Kaz, was very engaging, and even though the lodge was full it felt like we were the only ones there. Rooms were huge! Dinner in FJ was also good (can’t think of the name of the restaurant right now), with free wifi (as it turns out we had plenty of wifi connectivity all week, and never had to pay). The train ride back was a nice end to the South Island tour. We had an excellent time, and really appreciated not having to worry about the accommodations, directions, plan, etc. The phone came in handy a few times, and the Kruse was a nice touch (but it could get annoying when it didn’t agree with the road itinerary). We even got a free upgrade from a Ford Focus to a brand new (and very nice) Ford Territory SUV !! Travel time between sites took longer than expected, which stressed me a little (and driving on the ‘wrong’ side of the road may have slowed us down also !). We found the New Zealanders to be extremely welcoming and friendly, and the food portions in all the restaurants was absolutely huge (although we are somewhat used to that in America, I have been living in China for two years, so really enjoyed the meals in NZ). I am working on Tripadvisor reports for the trip, and will gladly recommend New Zealand Fine Touring to anyone who asks! Thanks again. ”
—Peter & Ann Sharpe, USA
—Without exception, the accommodation you recommended was superb.
“ With hindsight we would have preferred just one night in Rotorua. We booked the Mitai Maori Village evening and thoroughly enjoyed it. The only other activity that was of interest was the thermal wonderland, which as your itinerary suggested we visited en route to Tarata Fishaway. We would have loved to have a second night here in preference to the 2nd night in Rotorua. It is a fantastic location, and the owner offers rafting trips and other exiting activities that we did not have time to sample. It really does not make sense to treat this as a one night stop over between Rotorua and Wellington. Without exception, the accommodation you recommended was superb. To ask for favorites is indeed difficult. Again with hindsight, two nights in Matakana Country Lodge, followed by two nights in White House would have helped us get the full benefit of all that Matakana Lodge has to offer. The diversion to Hanmer Springs gave us no time to really appreciate the town; and possibly a lodge on the direct route would have been better than the Heritage Hotel. Westwood Lodge was great, but Franz Josef has little to offer in continuous rain! Wanaka Springs Lodge has new owners, who were keeping up the traditions of the previous owners, and their wine and nibbles reception stands out in the memory. The Dairy is superb, but ought to be at the price! Fletcher Lodge is stunning. The premium plus room in the Hermitage gave us superb views of Mt Cook on the day of arrival, but disappeared overnight as yet more rain meant the cancellation of an independently booked flight over the Glaciers. The welcome at Elizas in Christchurch was delightful, and we were amazed to find it rebuilt to its original glory after the tragic earthquake. I certainly agree that the Restaurant Manager at the Hilton made hard work of the dinner reservation, particularly as it was not full on the night! It was a very nice buffet dinner which we both enjoyed. The car on North Island was a Ford Focus, which we liked better than the Corolla that was supplied on South Island. We also found a number of your estimated driving times to be very optimistic. The Kruse GPS was great, and after 24 days we know some of the Maori legends off by heart. Supplying us with a mobile phone was also a nice touch, which we used to make a few bookings. This is the second trip you have organized for me. I have enjoyed a long career in the travel business, and would have no hesitation in recommending Fine Tours to anyone intending to tour New Zealand by car. Kindest regards Ken Franklin and Mavis O’Nions. ”
—Ruth, Ken, Paul & Moses Stickney, USA
—Shelley did a great job for us ... all the arrangements she made were perfect
“Shelley did a great job for us. We were only touring for a few days, after a long cruise, all the arrangements she made were perfect, and we had a very nice time. Many thanks, Lenita and Stanley Kersen”
—Lenita & Stanley Kersen, ISR
—We really feel we have seen and done all we could possibly do in the time we had
“Hello Jessica Happy New year. We have just returned to England after a fantastic time in New Zealand and would like to thank you for all you did for us and also give you some feedback. Firstly I left the Kruse system and the phone in the post bags ready to be returned with Camelot Motels who seemed more than happy to send them for us. Trips: The trips we booked were all extremely good especially the swimming with Dolphins, Heli Hike and the Doubtful Sound Trip. I was so overwhelmed by the amazing scenery at Doubtful sound and by the experience of swimming with wild dolphins that I actually cried!! I would definitely recommend everyone to do these trips! We also did a jet boat ride on the Buller Gorge (unplanned) and I can highly recommend anyone to do this too. I have the card if you would like details to recommend him to others, he was a highly skilled and very entertaining and pleasant man. Although it was mainly a fast jet boat ride with spins involved there was plenty of time to take in the beautiful scenery and slower moments where he pointed out interesting flora and fauna.Motels: All the Motels were of a very good standard with regards to cleanliness and location and friendly helpful staff although I we did have a couple of issues as below. We upgraded ourselves from the Motel at Mount Cook to the hotel, as the weather was really bad and it saved going back and forth in the car. We also upgraded ourselves at the Anchor Inn for a sea view for a small amount and this was definitely worth doing, The motels we were not happy with was the Red Tussock at Te anau as the room was near the main road which was noisy and also had noisy neighbors, we also thought we had been allocated an upstairs room but were given a downstairs one with no view at all. Also the St Claire's Hotel at Dunedin put us in one of the only rooms with a view of the hill full of houses rather than the sea, given the fact that we booked our holiday back in march this was extremely disappointing as we expected a good room here as it said executive suite. There were no other rooms available for that night but we asked to change the room the following night to all they had which was a standard room (much smaller with no bath) but it had a sea view. (not sure if you need to check the prices you are charged here for this one). Overall the whole trip though was very well planned and the only changes we would have made would have been more time in Mount Cook. We travelled along way to get there and back again but had no time to do any walks etc. in what was obviously a beautiful area. With the star gazing cancelled it was a real shame we couldn't do other activities whilst there. I hope the feedback is useful and once again thank you very much for your help to ensure our holiday was a wonderful experience. We really feel we have seen and done all we could possibly do in the time we had and without pre booking the various trips we would not have been able to achieve them all. Regards Sally and Terry ”
—Sally Austin & Terry Kinsley, GBR
—As a family of 4 (children of 14 and 12 years) there was a joint consensus that it was the best holiday ever!
“I would just like to say that we had an absolutely fantastic time in New Zealand, as a family of 4 (children of 14 and 12 years) there was a joint consensus that it was the best holiday ever! If we had to choose our top activities - they were the Franz Josef glacier and helicopter ride, whale watching, Mount Cook and the Hobbiton (near Rotorua) and Edoras tour (Mount Potts). But all of it was superb – especially the variety of scenery! We loved Queenstown – the old steamboat and farm visit were a delight, especially for my animal-loving daughter. The Maori cultural show was also very good in Rotorua.Despite the Trans Alpine Scenic Train being altered slightly, with a coach journey added due to track maintenance, it was still enjoyable. There were a couple of long driving days, but that was due to our time restrictions, as we wanted to see as much as possible in only 2 weeks. Driving was still pleasurable as the roads were not busy, particularly in the south island. The Milford Sound coach and boat trip (all day) from Queenstown – again it was stunning scenery, but the coach journey itself was too long for us as a family. Everything went very smoothly. The voucher system was so easy to use and all the trips were well organized with excellent tour guides. All the accommodation was very good – to a high standard, ideally situated and extremely comfortable. Having the Cruze system was a big plus too – a ‘A Sat Nav tour guide’, which gave us the option to decide if we wanted to stop off somewhere or not. We would love to go back again at some point - so if we get around to planning it, I’ll definitely be in touch. Thank you very much to Shelley and all at Fine Tours New Zealand for all your hard work to organize our trip. ”
—Rachel Lycett & Family, KOR
—Fantastic job for us advising according to the things we wanted to do and organising the details so it all ran very smoothly.
“We had a wonderful trip exploring much of New Zealand over 29 days. Shelley of Fine Tours New Zealand did a fantastic job for us advising according to the things we wanted to do and organising the details so it all ran very smoothly. The quality and locations of each accommodation was outstanding. New Zealand is a fabulous place to visit and we're sure to come back again. Allan & Helene”
—Allan & Helene Rees, CAN
—I enjoyed my trip to New Zealand considering the late change to my planned itinerary
“Hi - though in general I had a good time there were a couple of points that were irritating. The KRUSE was not compatible with the rental car (and the people at Europcar said it was nothing to do with them), so all I got from it was silent directions - thankfully I did not need to use it after the second day. The itinerary here still says car pick up at Auckland airport, and as I was not collecting emails I did not receive Jessica Faulkner's email till after the event - so went to Auckland Airport to collect the car! As I returned the car over 24 hours before 'required' I still fail to understand how there is no refund. Though all accommodation was fine they were extraordinarily different in type. I enjoyed my trip to New Zealand considering the late change to my planned itinerary (i.e. to holiday with my friends in Auckland) and the need to book something quickly because of the high season, but would think twice about using your services again without checking out the alternatives. Regards, Neil.”
—Neil Andrews, GBR
—Thank you for your efforts in making the arrangements very well and in a useful manner.
“Thank you very much for the tour arrangements. We had an exciting time and all of us enjoyed the trip very much. We particularly enjoyed the hotel at Queenstown (we upgraded to a Lakeview Suite) with the awesome view of the lake and the serene atmosphere. The outdoor activities were all great and very well managed by the providers. The rental car arrangements were indeed efficient and driving gave us the opportunity to enjoy the views and sceneries along the way. The Alpine Train journey was an excellent experience. We came back and are still feeling the “warmth” of New Zealand. Thank you for your efforts in making the arrangements very well and in a useful manner. Regards, Ravindran Raghavan”
—Ravindran Raghavan & Family, MYS
—Two holidays with Fine Tours New Zealand ... Both went without a hitch.
“We have been on two holidays with Fine Tours New Zealand, once to the South and once to the North Island. Both went without a hitch. The suggestions for the hotels and activities have been splendid, conforming to just what we wanted. All the bookings for pick-up, car hire, accommodation and activities were honored with no problems. New Zealand is a wonderful country, and we thoroughly recommend Fine Tours for their knowledge and reliability.”
—David Cumberland & Family, MYS
—I would highly recommend your group to anyone planning a trip to NZ.
“The trip you planned for us was terrific. All the arrangements for hotels, tours, pickup/drop off went with out a hitch. Information package was informative, and the vouchers were easy to use. Our hotels were quite good, and the staff very professional and helpful. The Millennuim in Taupo was perfect. we were on the second floor with a deck facing the lake. It was sunday and my husbands birthday. The bartender helped me out to find a grocery store to pick up some surprises for him, and really helpful in testing some wine to find the one that went best. We sat on the deck and watched the sunset, one of the better birthdays. The Bolton in Wellington was fantastic. The suite hugh and very well appointed. Right down town, but extremely easy to get to. The Kruise GPS worked well. The information it provided as we drove, was interesting, and worked like a private tour guide. The Matai Maori Village was good, but when we were picked up the driver waited 15 minutes for a couple to come, and then they told them they would get a cab. When it was time to leave we found out that the same couple decided to lave earlier, and our bus took them back to the hotel. we then waited almost 20 minutes to have another bus take us all back. I guess the Village was trying to make them happy, but forgot that the other 15 people were inconveinced. All in all, I would highly recommend your group to anyone planning a trip to NZ. will be adding these comments on Trip advisor. Thank you all for our fun trip”
—Alma & Ken Burke, CAN