Fine Tours New Zealand
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Tour Reviews (299)

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Tour Reviews

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

Tour review from Sergio Conti and Alessandra Collucci, BRA
Sergio Conti and Alessandra Collucci, Brazil, 15 day South Island self drive tour February 2009

“I am writing this email to thank you both for the amazing effort you have made to make Alessandra's and my vacation in New Zealand a fantastic experience. We are already recommending Fine Tours for everyone here in Brazil! We have enjoyed every minute of our journey, with highlights to Christchurch (Ann from Eliza's Manor on Bealey was very friendly & kind and her B&B hotel was superb), Mount Cook (the motel was great, David) and Queenstown (including our trekking in Milford Sound + Nevis 120m swing jump!). Thanks again. Regards Sergio.”

—Sergio Conti and Alessandra Collucci, BRA

Tour review from Rosalind Godwin & friends, GBR
Rosalind Godwin and friends, England 21 day self drive tour, North and South Islands, February 2009

“We have been back from New Zealand for a couple of weeks now and I have some feedback for you regarding our trip. I have asked my friends to let me have their comments and our collective comments are below. Our overall comments are all on the very positive. We all had an absolutely wonderful time and the organisation managed by you and your team had an awful lot to do with our enjoyment. All the accommodation was very adequate for what we needed but there were 3 outstanding spots that we would recommend. One was the Punga Grove at Franz Joseph, one was at Punakaiki and the other was Paku Lodge at Tairua. The locations were beautiful and the accommodation lovely. We all thoroughly enjoyed the Tranz Alpine train and we purchased the DVD for the ‘birds eye’ view of the journey. We had a fabulous Heli-hike even though it was very overcast. We were lucky to have our cancelled morning trip rearranged for the afternoon and it was beautiful and well worth waiting for. The hire van was great although we had to swap the one given to us at Wellington for another van as the first one had a very annoying noise. We also had a lovely Dolphins boat trip at the gorgeous Bay of Islands, even though we were unable to actually swim with the dolphins as they all had babies with them. We were lucky to see 2 small groups of dolphins and then one very large group of about 50 dolphins who performed a range of jumps and dives for us. All really great to see. Anyway, I and the rest of the group, would have no hesitation in recommending your company to anyone else travelling to New Zealand who would like a smooth and relaxed holiday organised with your help. Thank you so much for helping us to enjoy superb New Zealand at its best. Very best regards Rosalind Godwin and friends.”

—Rosalind Godwin & friends, GBR

Tour review from Eberhard & Christina Pauck, SWE
Eberhard & Christina Pauck, Sweden, 30 day self drive tour, North and South Islands, February 2009

“Home again after a wonderful trip through New Zealand we will thank you for the excellent arrangements you prepared for us. A wonderful travel plan led us through the North and South Island. Every think functioned very well in all details and over our expectations. The hotel mixture was very good and so was all travel documentation with your tour description. The Kruse Audio Guide gave all background information even if the music repetition after all weeks was somewhat tiring. A silent key for listing without music would be a solution. Also a repetition key for the last message can be helpful for listeners from other countries than English spoken. Over all the Kruse was very helpful. The cell phone was nice to have under the trip and we have got some calls from home and did some reservations. Once again thank you for the professional job you did that gave us an unforgettable journey through your wonderful country. Best greetings”

—Eberhard & Christina Pauck, SWE

Tour review from Steve and Cecelia Ridlington, SGP
Steve & Cecilia Ridlington, 10 day self drive tour, North & South Islands, March 2009

“I have been meaning to write to you since our return from New Zealand to say thanks for organizing such a great trip. We really enjoyed the holiday and a large part is down to your team. From the time we had to shift the trip a few days until we returned to Singaporeit felt that no issue was too small to be dealt with and no problem to big to solve. Thanks very much indeed! I had only a few suggestions you might like to consider: - the drive from Rotorua to Wellington was very long - is there anywhere to stop over night in between? - we got into a bit of a panic in finding the Picton ferry terminal in Wellington. This was mainly because we did not know there was more than one ferry company, so the hotel staff directed us to the wrong one. I think it would be helpful to specifcally say in your notes that there is more than one company, so if asking for directions, be specific about the name. - the hotel in Blenheim was really not up to the standard of all the others. Our room was small, very hot, and no aircon. The location was not the best either. If there are other 4-star hotels in the area you might like to investigate. - finally and as you know, the car hire company seriously misled us about how much luggage the car could hold. However, you fixed that very well (thank-you) and I have no doubt at some cost to you. Thanks again for making the trip so great.”

—Steve and Cecelia Ridlington, SGP

Tour review from Mike Banks & Family, GBR
Mike, Fiona, Joseph, James, Kevin and Sai, UK and New Zealand, 6 day Self Drive Tours, South Island, February 2009

“We all had a wonderful holiday and would like to thank you. You took all the hassle out of organising a trip like this.The Kruse audio guide was great and really added to the driving parts of the holiday. We were all taken by the stories and legends that were on there, especially the boys. I just wish we had had more time for this part of our New Zealand journey. We did eventually hit some rain but it did not affect our enjoyment it may even have added to it as we were in a RAIN forest! My brother in law has been in NZ for 20 years and this is the first time he has been to the South Island - now he is a "convert" and will no doubt be back soon.”

—Mike Banks & Family, GBR

Tour review from Laura Watson, Dee Ann Johnson and Sharon Cripps, CAN
Laura Watson, Dee Ann Johnson and Sharon Cripps, Canada, 19 day self drive tour North and South Islands, January 2009

“ I would like to thank you for the excellent advice David, and looking after us so well while we were visiting New Zealand.  From accommodation choices, to   suggested activities, to maps and driving distances that were manageable - you were excellent.  From the time we arrived in Auckland on an early flight, Fine Tours was there for us.  "Uncle" was awesome - he made sure we had transport, and our travel material right away.  It was our fault that we didn't have the flight info corrected, so I really appreciate your assistance and ability to change plans "on a dime" to help us out.   The Abyss, Black Water Rafting in Waitomo was a highlight, and our 'day in the sky' in Queenstown.  From para-sailing, to para-gliding, to sky diving - all in the day we had to experience Queenstown - awesome!  Your accommodation choices for 3 singles travelling together were perfect!  Thank you for the pre-arrangements you made for extra beds at each of our stops.  It worked out so well.  And the Doubtful Sound overnight was amazing!  What a special, unique country you have, and it was our pleasure to spend a couple of weeks exploring.    We were disappointed we didn't get on the Heli-Hike at Franz Joseph, but that was our only cancellation,  and given some of the weather in the neighbourhood, that was pretty good.  The only 'glitch' we had, the Kruse thought we were done on our first stop at Christchurch, and never came back on.  We had enjoyed listening to the stories and history of the areas we were travelling in while it lasted.   I would highly recommend Fine Tours to anyone.  The self-drive for 3 Canadian women used to driving on the 'other' side of the car and the road, was no problem!  We were pleasantly surprised at how easy it was to get around, and everyone we met was so helpful and nice.  I can't wait to come back.  Thanks David - it was the trip of a lifetime for us, and we enjoyed every moment without any worries.  ”

—Laura Watson, Dee Ann Johnson and Sharon Cripps, CAN

Tour review from Lee, Mal, Connor & Angus Hawkins, AUS
Lee and Mal Hawkins & family, Australia, 13 day Self Drive tour, South Island, January 2009

“Just wanted to send you a quick email to thank you for the wonderful arrangements you made on our behalf - it made our trip go so well - and we fitted so much in (perhaps a little too much in retrospect). However, wonderful holiday and I will certainly be recommending your service to others. Just one thing I wanted to mention - the only accommodation which we were not happy with - was Queenstown - very very very noisy and the rooms were very hot. We barely slept the whole time we were there - which put a bit of a damper on the was well appointed but the location next to the busiest road in town - made it terribly noisy - particularly at night. Just thought you may like to know for future bookings with families.”

—Lee, Mal, Connor & Angus Hawkins, AUS