Awesome day out. It really was far out. Good, skillful, helpful crew. I missed my breakfast and told them I was hungry and they went and found me something to eat. Good knowledge on the island and I learned a lot about this type of volcano. Better still I was well inside an active volcano and that is pretty far out.
Highly recommend!! Our tour was fantastic and an excellent value for the price. Marie was very helpful in helping us add on an additional stop on our self-driving tour, and gave us suggestions on when to leave to get to where we needed to be on time. She was also helpful in allowing us to book the rental car for a few days longer as our flight out was not actually at the end of our tour. The hotels were excellent and breakfasts at each place were wonderful (especially Princes Gate in Rotorua!). We ended up needing to rearrange a few things as we spent way to much time in one place to go to the third activity that day. It was very simple to call each place and rearrange our bookings a bit so everything worked out well. There was a small snafu getting the tour package from the rental car company but the company was very helpful and overnighted it to us in Rotorua and we had no issues along the way not having it. Driving through the North Island was a dream and much simpler than expected. Already thinking about when we can go back and what lovely trip Relaxing Journeys can help us with! Many thank yous!
We rejigged this tour a bit to add some activities: we included a drive to Paihia for the day to visit the "Hole in the Rock", and a segway tour in Christchurch. The accommodation was a bit uneven...better in Auckland and Queenstown (but it wasn't bad anywhere.)
Overall, although more expensive than an Asian type holiday, it was a good experience!
We definitely enjoy our trip with Relaxing Journeys. They provided a detailed itinerary for our trip. As long long as we read thru it, generally it will be a smooth sailing. We will definitely recommend Relaxing Journey to friends.
An amazing tour a must do! Friendly staff, food was great. Even though the bunk beds were small it was neat and tidy. Overall one of the highlights of our trip!!! We had perfect weather but the staff and other travellers who came back a second time told us if it rains it is more spectacular so we cant wait to come back again! Thanks for an amazing experience. Will highly recommend this cruise to family and friends.
The trip went very smoothly, thanks to Relaxing Journeys who made all the arrangements. I had multiple transfers starting from Auckland to Rotorua to Taupo then Wellington, all pick-ups & transfers were on time, also the hotels arranged by Relaxing Journeys were v good & comfortable esp the Bolton Hotel in Wellington which had a kitchen & living room, plus 2 large double beds. I highly recommend using Relaxing Journeys when planning for NZ trip.
Sky City accommodation 7/10. a bit tired, but the location 10/10. All other accommodation 10/10. Our only suggestion for improvement would to be accommodated near to the airport when leaving early the next morning. We commend Salt Air who offered us a 45min helecopter ride over the Bay of Islands instead of the Cape Reinga tour which was cancelled due to bad weather. Mani hopefully the South Island next year.
First, it was wonderful to be able to do a wine tour of the Marlborough region from Wellington - there and back in one day. The Interislander is worth doing anyway - why not add a half day tour as well? The schedule meant that I didn't have time for lunch once I arrived in Picton, but ducked into the supermarket for snacks. So I would advise people to have a bite to eat on the ferry. The email contact was very good - everything went like clockwork, and I appreciated that. Re the tour - the driver, Don, was lovely. It was a very small group, so it was quite friendly. He is a local and very knowledgeable, and has the NZ sense of humour. There was PLENTY of wine to try (even gin) in fact I had to say no a couple of times as it was getting a bit much. There was water in all places, plus plain crackers in a few places. Next time I will take some cheese - just as a palate cleanser/wine soaker! I ended up buying some wine as the quality was really good. We finished up at a chocolate shop - yummy! I would highly recommend this tour as it was fantastic value for money.
A very interesting tour, reasonably paced most of the time but a long day form Rotorua to Masterton - may have been better to stop in Napier for the night. Coach driver was excellent (both driving and commentary) and tour guide adequate.
Had a trip to White Island. The boat was very comfortable the crew really friendly and helpful. The tour of the Island amazing the guides very informative. Lovely lunch on the way back. All crew members very friendly and full of local information. We had a wonderful day & recommend it.
Although I was a bit anxious after booking online because I didn't get confirmation until after 24hrs, the whole experience was really amazing. Getting the tour at a discounted price and getting the same quality when you pay on site is such a bonus! Will definitely recommend this to friends!
We had such an wonderful time on our trip. Thank you, Relaxing Journeys, for making it possible. We are returning customers. This is our second tour with Relaxing Journeys, both times on Independent Coach tours and we loved every bit of it. Everything was so easy and smooth-going, and arranged right down to airport transfers. All we had to do was to show up on time to be picked up, and off we went for another great tour. I would definitely recommend Relaxing Journeys for you next trip to New Zealand. Their tour consultants (in our case it was Toni, for our earlier trip Marie, for this later trip) were always responsive, patient and helpful. Thanks, guys.
Small group and Ultimate Coach, the only way to travel. The tour beyond our expectations and our driver/guide/"nanny", Davis Underwood was the very best with a wealth of knowledge, wonderful sense of humor and an excellent driver to boot. Both islands are stunning and we were very happy with the selected optional tours.
The tour from start to finish was excellent. The staff at Real Journeys were professional, knowledgeable, and extremely helpful. It was a great value for the money. I definitely will not hesitate to book another excursion with Real Journeys.
Enjoyed most of it, especially Rotorua. Fabulous countryside. Vale and Monica were great - love that NZ dry sense of humour! Hotels were mainly great (Travelodge Wellington room was minuscule, but fine for one).
Milford Sound is incredible and Relaxing Journeys provided an informative and enjoyable tour. Our cabin was located on the lower level and we did not sleep much during the night due to constant noise (sounded like cables rubbing against the boat?) - other passengers we spoke to had similar problems. The food was great with a wide variety, alcohol prices were ridiculously expensive.
Hi Toni. The trip went exactly as planned, thank you. The rooms were all great, we particularly loved the 'apartments' at Edgewater in Wanaka, what a beautiful location! We hiked in to Rob Roy Glacier, what a spectacular spot, and managed to witness an icefall from the front of the glacier while we were there - stunning! I would highly recommend the walk (providing you have a suitable car to get to the start) it was a definite highlight for us. The car (Toyota Highlander)was ideal for 4 Adults and the GPS worked well, although it seemed to get a bit confused at times, but the commentary was helpful in deciding how best to use our time. Perhaps a diesel option might have been better just for the fuel prices. We had near perfect weather in all locations, even some rain before arriving at Milford Sound, then clearing on the boat trip to see all the waterfalls in full flow - amazing place. Missed out on the flight back due to the conditions, but a great day nonetheless. I think this time of year is a great time to travel with the Autumn colours and mild weather. The itinerary was great, we could have spent more time in any of the locations, but given the time we had available it was a great way to see the amazing sights and contrasts of the South Island. Thank you for your attention to detail and thorough organisation - great work! I would be more than happy to recommend you and this holiday to anyone.
Outstanding tour. Saw NZ from top to bottom. Paul an excellent driver and guide. Meals and hotels quite good overall. Lots of driving involved but the elegant coach made it quite comfortable. With only 20 people, everyone became pretty friendly during trip.
My tour was organised and there were no problems with any of the bookings. Out of the 11 motels there were only 2 that I wouldn't stay at again, majority were excellent places. Changes to the tour were made with no issues or problems and in a very timely and friendly manner.
I'm not a big fan of bus tours, have had some bad experiences in the past. I was not very convinced about this but me and my wife decided to take a tour over the South Island for a couple of reasons, one the time we had and two, we drive on a different side. What a nice surprise it turn out to be. The hotels they choose for us were nice and relaxing, the bus drivers were friendly and very informative and knowledgeable of every stop we were heading to. They were always right on time. The place we visited were amazing, Queensland, Christchurch, Milford Sounds were just breath taking. We which we had more time in New Zealand, but with the amount of day we had we are sure we took advantage of all that these places had to offer.
It was a little more bus time than I originally expected. Wished there was a bit more time in Franz Josef. All in all it was a great trip though. Really enjoyed the train. Mt. Cook and accommodations were excellent.
Tour was extremely well organised - launch and bus transfer to ship. The ship itself was very well designed and suitable for the experience. Our cabin was ideal and well appointed. The crew were extremely able, helpful, happy and eager to help. I have marine engineering background and Glen (skipper) was very happy to engage my interests in the ship. The food via Philip was high quality and generously prepared. Carol, the naturalist, was a charming lady and very knowledgeable. We thoroughly enjoyed the cruise, all experiences and meeting the other passengers. We cannot recommend this cruise highly enough.
We did a lot of travel, met really nice people, saw lots of beautiful scenery and sampled some fantastic NZ wines (and food). The 40th wedding anniversary surprise was also very nice. There were only two minor set backs. 1) We couldn't get to Milford Sound because the road was closed due to snow. 2) The Monarch Wildlife cruise was difficult to find using Google and also with the GPS that I had brought, so we went to the address on the coupon where we found the office was open but unattended. We called them on their contact number and the boat was a further 20 minutes up the road. At this stage a huge storm had moved in. It was very windy and the sea was becoming extremely choppy. The weather looked like it was getting worse so, because of my wife's lack of sea legs, we called Monarch again and cancelled the cruise. They were very nice about it and offered a cruise for next day but we couldn't accept as we had to leave next morning. Other than these two hiccups, you have provided us with a wonderful experience. One that we shall always treasure and certainly recommend to others. Thank you Relaxing Journeys.
The booking process is quite smooth, especially with the help of Toni Harris. There were 12 of us traveling as a group with different arrival and departure times from various part of the world. Toni worked with me to get everything organized. There was no "bad" surprises throughout the 14 days. All the arrangements are well through out and hotel accommodations met our expectations.
I initially was a bit hesitant in not using a local Australian travel agent, but after all my dealings with Relaxing Journeys and their rep Toni, I can now say that after the trip is over I can't praise the organising of it highly enough. Toni was extremely easy to deal with about a few changes to the initial itinerary as listed on the website. One thing to keep in mind when doing a driving holiday is that even though the trip should take "x" hours per day it was not unusual in our case to add 3 hours to this for the sightseeing and meals. I would also suggest that you have at least a two night stay in one place per week of travel to allow a bit of r&r. And don't forget that it is supposed to be a holiday so no need to get up at the crack of dawn and hit the road.
We really enjoyed the tour. Our tour director, Phil, was excellent. He was a walking encyclopedia about New Zealand, very kind and helpful. The only suggestion I have is to get some different name tags. The little safety pin was very hard to put on and it was always crooked. A lanyard would be much better.
The location is fantastic and the Milford Mariner is an excellent way to see it. The team went out of their way to make the tour memorable. An excellent choice of buffet dishes for the evening meal. Our itinerary did not make it clear what time we needed to be at the wharf and where to park which resulted in us wasting about 4 hours. The tour checks in at 4pm and you can drive your car to the actual wharf at 4pm and park in the allocated bus bays.
Tour was very good and we enjoyed the included activities. Distances were quite reasonable and total driving time reasonable except day one where we scored large amounts of roadwork. All the B&Bs were good with great breakfasts and excellent informative hosts. Not sure about the Kruse. The commentary was great but GPS one of worst I have used and maps out of date with it not knowing where we were on several occasions including twice on SH1. Often reverted to Google Maps on phone.
Loved the tour. Would recommend it. Everything was taken care of with no worries for us. Only complaint would be the audio system on the coach. The driver was hard to understand. Also would like to see shades that pull down from the top of the window to block the sun in the early morning and late afternoon or if that's not possible some window tinting at the top. Not crazy about the three buffets. The food was excellent in the hotels with the exception of the Distinction in Dunedin. The hotel itself in Dunedin was superior but the food did not live up to the rest of the hotel. The tours were all handled very well. We felt very welcome in the country. Again, we loved the tour and would highly recommend it.
Our driver and tour guide was very cheerful, funny and interesting. The route was good and actually helpful to gain your settings for later walks around the city. I would like to add the the seats of the minibus were a bit cramped considering most of the tourists onboard were retirees and not athletic types. Overall it was very good.
Relaxing Journeys itself warrants the best possible rating for this tour. The number of connections for lodging, transportation, tours, etc. came off without a single missed, or even delayed, connection. So the planning and logistics were, in our view, flawless. Two factors contribute to an overall rating of less than excellent for the tour: (1) weather had a significant impact on the last four days of our tour and resulted in the cancellation of two of the most anticipated events: the helicopter ride at Franz Josef Glacier and the train ride over the Southern Alps; (2) The Air New Zealand folks in Auckland were impossibly unhelpful. Because of TSA computer issues with the US DHS, check-in was delayed even though we had arrived 3 hours early. A general announcement was made of an indefinite delay for the flight, but there was absolutely no communication about what was happening or going to happen from Air New Zealand. It took us the full three hours to check in, get boarding passes and then check luggage. Then, without warning, boarding for the flight was "closed". We had to rush through endless high end retail to get to the gate as they were closing the doors. Auckland airport's layout is a mess, and Air New Zealand's reputation in our eyes will be severely tarnished! I would never hesitate to use Relaxing Journeys in the future, though our travel "bucket list" has many other destinations before we return to New Zealand. I have, however, already recommended Relaxing Journeys to several prospective New Zealand visitors, one of whom is actively planning a Christmas 2018 tour.
Excellent value. Service by our travel agent, tour guide and driver were great. All inclusive excursions/dinners were wonderful. Food was excellent. 3 Hotels/Motels rooms did not have air conditioning, although they did provide fans, it would have been way too hot if we had come at a different time of year. Twizel accommodations really need upgraded. Either that or chose a different town to stay in.
Good day out. 12hr day but didn't seem like it! A great variety of things to see and do. Our guide Robin was very good, gave just the right amount of information and was always willing to answer questions.
Marie did an excellent job with her suggestions and planning for our trip to New Zealand. The accommodations were very good and the route was excellent. We arrived in Auckland and for three weeks we traveled down to Queenstown experiencing the culture, wine, and beauty New Zealand had to offer. The Kruze GPS was a wonderful tool that was very informative and enjoyable with the Maori history. We had one glitch with the GPS freezing but Kruze was very prompt with helping us correct the problem. Depending on what time of year you are going you might want to forgo Mt. Cook because the weather is very "iffy". The trip was everything we expected and I would highly recommend using Relaxing Journeys to plan your trip to New Zealand!
I found the 5-day north island tour very good. Although alot was packed in, I got a very good overview of the best bits and I will definitely be back to see more. The activities you can do are excellent. I found the Maori Cultural evening excellent and a must for any traveller. Mani was very helpful and even added on my trip to Hobbiton with a couple days notice. I would highly recommend this self-drive tour as you see alot of the fantastic scenery and the option of Kruse GPS was helpful as gave good local history to areas you drive through. Thank you for all your work into making my trip such a fantastic one that has left me wanting to return and discover more that New Zealand has to offer.