Fine Tours New Zealand
Call us FREE in New Zealand on 1855 277 3818
Call us FREE in New Zealand on 1855 277 3818
Tour Reviews (286)

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Tour Reviews

Tour review from Manni and Gordon Knight, CAN
Manni and Gordon Knight, Canada, 19 day self drive tour, North and South Islands, November 2009

“Good Morning David, We posted the mobile from Christchurch from the post office near the Heritage Hotel. There should be loads of time on the mobile because we did not use the phone very much, approximately more than $35.00. We had made prearrangements with our son to stay in touch via email and/or calls, he made using a prepaid cheapie phone card from Canada. The other reason for the loads of time was we wanted to ensure we had phone time available for any emergencies that might crop up. You were quite right about telecom costs as I saw a woman frantically feed the payphone with coinage at Greymouth and the posted hotel charges for local calls. Having a mobile at our disposal was a real blessing and comfort. I don’t know if you send out surveys to your clients for their customer experience but I am in the process of writing about the good and the few glitches that happened along the way that were either resolved by us or by you. Overall, David and Kerry, Fine Tours did a wonderful job of introducing their country to first time visitors. We were told a number of times by fellow travellers that we could have probably made our own arrangements for less expense, but they forgot to include value in terms of enjoyment vs. money out. We avoided having many of their frustrations i.e. hotel arrangements, getting lost (GPS and wonderful maps) and it was good to know we knew someone in NZ who we could contact in the event of an emergency. Fine Tours made our holiday an adventure of a lifetime and that is what we hoped for and experienced. Thank you. FYI - We were fortunate we did not get jet lag as we managed some sleep on the overnight flight sitting in the cheapie economy. The first activity we did upon our arrival in Auckland was tramp (yes walk) up to the top of Rangitito Island and back with our new “American friends” introduced to us by Gerry. What a strange way to spend your first day in Auckland, tramp up a dormant volcano after being in transit for 26 hours. But, as we were later to learn, this is a typical Kiwi – they are very physically active people and they always are on the move because it is so beautiful in New Zealand. We had 16 days of brilliant sunshine out 19 days and this included Milford Sound and Franz Josef. Go out and enjoy a few moments with your daughter. Merry Christmas from Manni and Gord Knight ”

—Manni and Gordon Knight, CAN

Tour review from Maureen and Tom McMullen, USA
Maureen and Tom McMullen, California, USA, 16 day Self Drive tour North and South Islands, October 2009

“As you know we got back yesterday from NZ though it was hard to leave & we hope to return in the not too distant future now that we have an idea of what it has to offer.  The views were magnificent & the people are wonderful & we had a great time.   We loved the Great Ponsonby & it was the perfect place to start our trip, Eliza's was wonderful & so friendly we would have loved to stay a few more days with Ann & Harold.  We are so glad we stayed in the Dock Bay as the views were amazing, actually the whole place is to die for & Dawn, Mark & Diane were such lovely people.  Westwood lodge was so modern & the helicopter trip we took there was amazing.  With your help & expertise we saw a lot & stayed in many wonderful places.  The exception was the Heritage on our last night/day in Auckland it was awful if it hadn't been so late & we hadn't been so tired we would not have stayed in that room.  The carpet was stained, the paintwork was shabby and needed touch-up, the armoire was so warped that the door wouldn't close & the room decor itself was depressing, it overlooked the restaurant & was obviously in the old part of the hotel.  We did tell the front desk when we were checking out, they didn't seem that bothered but we told them they should have a manager look at the room because it reflected very badly on their hotel.  When we checked in there was confusion about our booking & the late check out seemed to be one hour later but we did eventually get the room until late afternoon.  Had we stayed there on our first night instead of the Great Ponsonby it would not have been a good first impression of the country & I wish we had stayed with them on our last night too.Thanks for your help with everything the pick ups, voucher system worked really well & it was so nice to know we had places to stay along the way.  The help & advice from our hosts along the way was invaluable.You made our first trip to NZ a great experience; we've already recommended Fine Tours to others and will do so whenever we get a chance.Thanks again, Maureen & Tom”

—Maureen and Tom McMullen, USA

Tour review from Kathleen & Mitchell Cheeseman, USA
Kathleen and Mitchell Cheeseman, Virginia, USA, 27 day self drive tour, North and South Islands

“This is a belated, short thank you note and recommendation for FTNZ.   You may remember that I first contacted you in late 2007 for a trip my husband and I wanted to take in March/April of 2009.  Most folks think I’m nuts that I start planning that far out, but you were more than willing to start working with me.  We did some work – then it appeared I wouldn’t be able to take the trip.  I promised you that I would contact you when my financial situation changed and I was able to take the trip.   Sure enough situations do change, and when I recontacted you in around Sept of 2008, you were able to pick back up where we left off and put together a trip in roughly the same time period that was original envisioned that was amazingly suited to our interests, desires, and price range.    In particular, this insane planner, appreciated your superb logistical support which allowed me to focus on planning the sights we wanted to see and the time frames we wanted spend – while you dealt with the details of accommodations and various other reservations.   Even with 20-20 hindsight there are very few changes I’d recommend to someone else who had the same interests (lots of history and nature at a leisurely pace in nice B&Bs).   I have recommended you to others since I’ve been back and will continue to do so.  Thanks again”

—Kathleen & Mitchell Cheeseman, USA

Tour review from Janice and Lew Watson, AUS
Jan and Lew Watson, Brisbane, Australia, 8 day self drive tour South Island, July 2009

“David,  Just a short note to say "thank you".  Our trip to NZ was the best and more than we could have hoped for.  Apparently the best snow for 5 years!!! what is this about global warming?  The reason we went was to see snow and that we did. It was absolutely beautiful and where there was no snow the scenery was awesome.  What a lovely country you have.  Why are you all over here? We have successfully introduced a monster into our family because the grandboys took to snowboarding like ducks to water.  They just have to finance it now!!! The kruse was a bonus, we enjoyed having it and was interested in the history of the places (very aggressive lot eh?). The phone we could probably done without as we didn't need to use it much. Anyway thanks again, we have already recommended you to others.”

—Janice and Lew Watson, AUS

Tour review from Joan & Richard Hannah, USA
Richard and Joan Hannah, Salem, MA, USA, 17 day self drive tour, North Island, April 2009

“We have been back to the United Sates for a little over a month--still basking in the afterglow of our wonderful visit to your country.  We had a wonderful trip--thanks to New Zealand Fine Tours.We arrived in Auckland at about 6:00 am after a very long series of flights from Boston, Massachusetts, USA.  Your charming representative met us, took us to the car rental counter, and sent us on our way with superb maps, books and Kruse.  These amenities were invaluable for our visit in New Zealand. We wish to  comment on the Bed and Breakfast stops that you set up for us: Spectacular!We headed off on a pleasant Sunday drive stopping for breakfast in Hamilton.  We found the tours at Waitomo Caves excellent.  Then on to Liz and Evan Cowan’s Kamahi Cottage--a magnificent bed and breakfast.  Liz prepared a wonderful dinner for us that she served at Kamahi Cottage. What a treat!  Liz and Evan came by later to visit with us on the porch of the cottage.  Breakfast the next morning at their spacious dining room was excellent and followed by fine advice for our upcoming travels.  They are gracious hosts indeed.Later on we spent two nights at the Clover Downs Estate.  Lynn and Lloyd were our hosts.  We were near Rotorua which is a fine place to visit and we thoroughly enjoyed the history and charm of the region.  Even so, we  continue to linger as we look at the pictures taken from the Clover Downs Estate farm tour.  Lloyd spent a lot of time with us as we toured his place and learned about New Zealand agriculture, forests, sheep, border collies, deer, cattle, ostriches and more.  Another high point!A bit later on we stopped at the Saltings, Maureen and Terry hosts. Gorgeous B & B and setting, another excellent  breakfast and delightful host and hostess.The itinerary, maps, Kruse and arrangements for our seventeen day visit to North Island contributed to a truly memorable vacation.Thanks for your kind attention to our particular requests for our visit to New Zealand.  A memorable seventeen days.”

—Joan & Richard Hannah, USA

Tour review from Richard  Jacqui Wood
Rick and Jacqui Wood, Australia, 23 day self drive tour North & South Islands, March 2009

“Both my wife Jacqui and myself wish to thank you for arranging out trip of New Zealand in February. I must say that everything flowed extremely well and the itinerary that you prepared was exceptional. I initially thought that to visit both the North & South Islands in 23 days was going to be tight however was surprised at what we were able to fit in and did not feel rushed at all. The accommodation although neat & tidy varied and I must compliment the Pebble Beach Motel in Napier – absolutely stunning and also Punga Grove in Franz Joseph. Next time we visit we may try a motor home experience and take a little longer exploring certain areas. We have already passed on your details to a number of our friends and would have no hesitation recommending your service to anyone contemplating a visit to your wonderful country. ”

—Richard Jacqui Wood

Tour review from Les & June Diamond and John & Maureen Harvey, GBR
Les and June Diamond, Hertfordshire, UK, 28 day self drive tour, North & South Islands, Feb - Mar 2009

“Firstly thank you for the prompt refund for the cancelled Mount Cook flight, due to poor weather. Fine Tours have been very helpful from the first tentative enquiry. The arrangements that you organised went without a hitch, we found the instructions and maps you supplied very easy to use.  The Bed & Breakfast stays were exceptional. Comfortable, spotlessly clean, and our hosts friendly and helpful beyond belief. Coupled with stunning scenery and friendly people; we are truly delighted with the tour that you arranged for us and we had a super holiday. We found the Kruse GPS commentary system very useful if repetitive at times.  I have several friends who have asked me for a copy of my itinerary, which I will let them have and recommend they use your services. I can guarantee that we will be back. ”

—Les & June Diamond and John & Maureen Harvey, GBR

Tour review from Ann & Joe Kasparek, USA
Ann and Joe Kasparek, Texas USA, 21 day self drive South Island tour January 2009

“ A much belated "thank you" for arranging such a perfect driving tour for Joe and me.   Each South Island destination was exactly as advertised and well-suited to our traveling expectations. You also balanced our itinerary between rigorous sight-seeing adventures and much-needed "down time." We're still trying to determine our "favorite" experience.  We have fond  memories of every place we visited.  Without hesitation, we agree that The Kruse System was the single most surprising and enjoyable feature of the trip.   We looked forward to every tidbit of info that suddenly sounded forth through the radio.   Now we're spoiled and will miss Prof. Kruse on future trips.Below are several reminiscences of the different places we visited: We loved Christ Church, especially the highly informative and manageable museum.   We were also awed by the enormous and exotic trees and flora in the botanical gardens.   The George Hotel was very comfortable and the service first-rate.   FYI, we do think we might have been housed in a lesser room than you had booked.   When we were working with you in planning our accommodations, we requested balconies or terraces to facilitate Joe's afternoon cigar.   We did not have either at The George, though they were available.   At all other lodgings, we did have a "smoking area." Enroute to The Hermitage, we felt like we were adventuring into the wild, so seeing such a historic hotel at the base of Mt Cook  was a pleasure.   We definitely recommend the dining room of the hotel.  Our evening meal was one of the best on the trip.  And, of course, the helicopter ride with landing on the glacier was a first-time experience for both of us. I don't think we fully appreciated Wanaka after our fabulous, but really tiring, fly-fishing week.   We leisurely strolled through the town, but spent most of our time napping.   Just know that the room at The Stone House was very cozy and the young couple were excellent hosts. Teanu turned out to be one of our favorite little towns.   The atmosphere was relaxed and friendly and each restaurant meal was delicious. We enjoyed the Milford hike and - of course - the cruise on Doubtful Sound.  But since we also had boat trips in Akarora and enroute to the Milford, I think an overnight was probably more boat time than we needed.   We discovered that we prefer hiking through the spectacular scenery rather than sailing by it. Without question, Sails Away was the most beautiful B&B on the entire trip and Iris and Peter impeccable hosts.  We did decide Stewart Island was a one-day, not a two-day  destination.   After we went on Peter's informative bird walk (more flora than birds) and strolled around the village, we were out of exploring ideas.   If the weather had been warmer, we might have enjoyed sea kayaking or hiking farther from town.  But, you saved one of the best for last.   Our three days at the Wildlife Film Lodge were delightful.   We thoroughly enjoyed Rob and Christina's hospitality and Rob was an extraordinary guide.   We'll always remember our two days hiking across beaches and hills in search of that perfect animal photo.  What would we do differently???   Not much.  Perhaps by-pass Wanaka and spend a full 24-hours in both Queenstown and in Dunedin.   A 2-hour stroll in each of those vibrant cities just wasn't enough. We loved the Southern Coast highway drive from Bluff to Dunedin and were so glad you suggested it.   Every valley was like a picture postcard. Our memories - and photographs - go on and on.  Thanks again for all of your help.   When we tell our New Zealand adventure story, I sing your praises. In appreciation, Ann & Joe Kasparek ”

—Ann & Joe Kasparek, USA

Tour review from Janet & Leslie Yates, GBR
Janet and Leslie Yates, England, 23 day self drive North and South Islands February 2009

“Many thanks for a wonderful trouble free holiday .New Zealand is a spectacular  country.Your selection of accommodation gave us a chance to meet some very friendly helpful people and rest our heads in some beautiful and comfortable settings.For all our accommodation, car hire and tours your vouchers were all we needed to have us installed or on our way.The Kruse system was an informative and a helpful addition to your route maps. Providing a mobile phone was a useful and reassuring extra.Once again we would like to say THANK YOU for helping us have a very happy memorable holiday in New Zealand.”

—Janet & Leslie Yates, GBR

Tour review from Claire And Alistair Neilson, GBR
Claire and Alistair Neilson, England 10 day South Island self drive tour March 2009

“I just wanted to thank you so much for arranging our trip around the South Island.  We had the most fantastic time and it all went very smoothly.   The hotels/studios/b&b were all great, with the possible exception of the one at the glacier which was 'okay'.   It was most helpful having the Kruze system although unfortunately there was obviously no reception in the Milford Sound area which was sad. We will certainly recommend you if we hear of anyone visiting NZ and will hope to return ourselves before TOO long!   You even provided wonderful weather, again with the slight exception of the Glacier where it was wet and cloudy but I guess we can't blame you for that!! Many thanks and best wishes Claire Neilson”

—Claire And Alistair Neilson, GBR