—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
—Fine Tours New Zealand was very responsive to our requests, questions, suggestions ...
“Fine Tours New Zealand made recommendations and reservations for lodging, car rental, and four tourist activities during our month-long visit to New Zealand. We used one of their “standard” tours as a baseline and, working with their agent, customized it to our schedule and preferences, ending up with a clockwise tour of both islands. Fine Tours New Zealand was very responsive to our requests, questions, suggestions for changes, and various adjustments until we agreed on the final itinerary. This was our first visit to that country. We arranged our own air transportation to and from Washington DC to Auckland, the details of our daily activities, and several tourist activities. We are relatively experienced, older, retired, and reasonably active travelers. We typically make our complete itineraries (flights, car rentals, hotel reservations, activities), enjoy cultural activities, and try to exercise (walk or brief hikes). We have used travel agencies or been with small tour groups for visits to Greece, Morocco, Peru, Turkey, and Egypt. We chose Fine Tours New Zealand based on recommendations from their web site and because we did not feel we had the time to investigate and make lodging arrangements. We enjoyed our visit VERY much and would recommend using FineTours for making hotel, car, and itinerary arrangements.OBSERVATIONS We liked visiting New Zealand and having almost a complete month for travel there. The weather in February/March was temperate and nearly perfect for tourists as we had only one cloudy day and barely a sprinkle on another. (An anomalous experience -- there is usually abundant rain in New Zealand; the country was experiencing a severe drought during our visit.) The people are very friendly; practically every town has its own iSite for tourist information as well as well-identified public toilets. The country is very clean. There is a plethora of printed tourist material everywhere -- maps, accommodation brochures, flyers for attractions. We were able to use our credit card for most payments. There are no charges to go to the national parks or reserves. The brochures, atlas, GPS device, detailed itinerary, and reservation coupons provided by Fine Tours New Zealand had mixed utility. As we had independently worked out, printed, and brought our own detailed itinerary based on theirs and a NZ Rough Guide, their detailed itinerary was of little additional use during the trip. The GPS (see below) and the itinerary’s directions were not helpful. For daily use, we followed local maps provided by the iSites for both Islands. The brochures were most helpful in providing maps for larger areas such as Wellington, Auckland, and Picton. As we traveled, we discarded ones for the places already visited. We provided the reservation coupons as required. Ultimately, we only returned home with the atlas. It was convenient to have the lodgings selected and paid for in advance. Had we known better, we would not have included the breakfasts at the hotels because the frequent buffets were usually much more substantial than we needed, and, in contrast, the occasional “continental” breakfasts in our rooms seemed meager. Local cafes and bake shops are everywhere, and going to them would have offered more choice and been a little more interesting. For the most part, the lodgings fell into the “3-4-star European standards” category we prefer. (Detailed comments for all but one lodging are on TripAdvisor under ERNTravels.) Two were really well below our standards and not recommended. Many of the rooms included kitchenettes and separate living area. Almost all the hotels have guest laundry facilities -- coin-operated, and sometimes "free" -- making it very easy to pack light and keep clothing washed. Most hotels charge for internet access, particularly in the rooms. The car rental arrangements through Europcar were easy to navigate. We had little trouble adjusting to driving on the left side of the road, helped in part by having automatic transmissions. We made sure that we bought fuel regularly as some drives were long with few service stations. It's hard to imagine seeing New Zealand without a car, which allowed us to stop for activities, hikes, wine tastings or sheep on the roads. While the distances are not always long, the 2-lane roads are VERY windy. Overall, traffic is very light. The Kruse (sic) GPS was primitive, at best, by comparison to European and American standards. On several occasions, the directions were incorrect or difficult – getting us on one lane, unpaved back roads in order to get us back to a main road, for example. The display did not show the names of the towns through which we were traveling and did not show nearby service stations or other businesses. The displayed distances showed the kilometers to the next intersection or turning point, not the distance to the final destination. Recorded commentary on the GPS about various sites as we drove through them, triggered by location, was variably interesting; the background music surrounding the commentaries was often annoying. We ultimately disconnected and did not use the GPS. The cell phone was useful on several occasions when we were running late to our B&Bs and for confirming tourist activities in advance, as required. Otherwise, we did not use the phone. We found food to be more expensive than expected and generally good. Most menus are fairly standard. The green-lipped mussels, lamb, and venison were very good. We usually had one small dinner in addition to the breakfasts. For examples, bread is an extra charge, and restaurant desserts seemed to cost between $10 - $16. On some evenings, we picnicked in our room with provisions from local grocery stores. New Zealanders like their coffee filtered and very strong. Sometimes tips are included, and sometimes no tip is expected. Wine tastings at vineyards are inexpensive, but wine itself is generally not. Sandflies are horrible pests, prevalent in rain-prone areas of the South Island. Milford Sound is notorious for them. They carry no diseases, but their painful bites cause nasty welts for days. A tourist must be prepared with insect repellent to cover any exposed areas. We hope you have as wonderful a visit as we did! ”
—Elizabeth & Michael Nigro, USA
—Will not hesitate to recommend your company to anyone.
“Have just returned from a wonderful trip that was so well planned in all details. From lodging to car rental, cellphone and GPS. Will not hesitate to recommend your company to anyone. Thank you so much.”
—Karin Rosenstrom & Jeanine Shea, USA
—Did an excellent job of putting us in ... great spots for bird and wildlife watching
“We had a wonderful time touring as much of New Zealand as we could pack into 18 days. We were very pleased with all of our accommodations and other tour arrangements. I love maps so I was pleasantly surprised at the very nice atlas we were provided as well as all of the day by day directions and detail maps. With the atlas in hand and the GPS we were able to explore all sorts of places we may have passed by otherwise. My wife and I also really enjoyed the Cruse GPS as we were able to learn all sorts of things we would not have otherwise discovered. We told Nicky during the planning stage that what we really wanted to experience was the natural beauty of New Zealand as well as do some birding and other wildlife watching. Our itinerary did an excellent job of putting us in some really great spots for bird and wildlife watching with the highlights being the albatrosses, penguins, parrots, and kiwi. (We did cheat a little on the kiwi as we saw them at the Mount Bruce wildlife center.) The natural beauty on the other hand just seemed to be everywhere! One thing that we really enjoyed that you can't get from pictures or even from the tour book is how wonderful the people in New Zealand are - everyone we met was just happy, obviously proud of their country, out of their way helpful, and above all just really interesting to talk to. Our accommodations were all exceptional so I hesitate to single one out as better than the rest, but I will mention two that we really didn't want to leave - the Lambton Heights B&B in Wellington and the Kaimata Lodge near Dunedin. We really hope to return sometime for more adventures!”
—John & Katherine Gordon, USA
—We got only the best impressions from the trip.
“Trip to New Zealand from 04.01.2012. – 31.01.2012. Trip from north to south island, self-drive Vita, Aivars – Latvia, Europe First of all, we’d like to thank David and Cary, and Angela for planning our trip. Our first trip to New Zealand - North Island was in year 2008 for five days. At the time we got know David, Cary and the company "Fine Tour New Zealand”. Then they made such a nice trip for us, that we choose them and "Fine Tour New Zealand” once again. This time we wanted a longer trip - travel to the North and South island and Stuart Island too. We got only the best impressions from the trip. First time in our lives we drove a car, which wheel was in the right side. We didn`t have any problems, only the first day – we tried to switch on the turn signal, but got window washers instead! Ha ha ha! That was funny. We have traveled a lot in Europe and hotels in New Zealand were surprise for us. If in Europe there are breakfast and simple apartment for two people, then in New Zealand apartments are more like flats with all utilities: lux kitchens, washer, coffee and tee automat etc. At the first we didn’t like that there isn’t any breakfast in the mornings, but at the end of our trip we changed our mind and we liked it very much. We could buy our own food and make breakfast whenever we wanted and sometimes even eat in bed. That was really nice. Traveling we made an opinion, that New Zealand contains characteristics from the entire world. There are tropical places: palms, nice beaches like at the Mediterranean Sea. There are mountains like in the Alps and volcanoes like other places in the world. There are steppes like in Russia. There are glaciers like in the Alps and other mountains. There are fjords like in Norway. There are very big plains and a lot of other things. Ou.. and many, many sheep, we liked them so much! Another surprise was traffic. There were so few cars on the road. We drove protractedly and met just a few cars. That was unusual if we compare with traffic in Europe. In internet forums we have read that New Zealand and rain is the same. We prepared for rainy time, but mostly we had a sun. That was lucky. We couth the sun both Milford Sound, and Stewart Island, and Franz Josef Glacier, and Mt. Cook. All these day we had luck with the sun. We were happy about that. The only day, when we had a rain, was a day when we went to distal north point, to Cape Reinga. We were in all furthest points in New Zealand, except the east. In New Zealand are very beautiful and interesting flora and fauna. Two birds we liked very much – Veka, which is very similar our chicken only without wings and always has a good appetite, and Kakapo, which is more like parrot and liked nuts. We were upset, when saw a Christchurch center. It was completely damaged and confined area. Most of all we liked National Park of Abel Tasman and Chalets, where we lived. Bays and sun, beaches, amazing nature and hike to one lounge where we had a really delicious meal and had one of the most delicious wine in New Zealand. Once more we want say thank you very much to „Fine Tour New Zealand” and David un his wife Cary and Angela. We advise them to all travelers.”
—Aivars Valainis & Vita Berzkalne, LVA