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A great day
The bus was on time,the train trip was great. And the packed lunch was very fresh and tasty
From the time we were picked up for our Taieri Gorge Railway journey it was an enjoyable experience. The views along the way were magnificent and one that you would always remember.
great way to see the area
The whole day was perfecttly organised by Chris, owner of Back to Nature Tours. He collected us in good time for the comfortable 'vintage' train from Dunedin's beautiful railway station and was there to collect us from the platform when we got back early afternoon. The train had a dining car, so we went through spectacular scenery on the way out with coffee and biscuits, and back sitting on the opposite side this might not be possible with a full train unless you negotiate with passengers across the way with a NZ minced beef pie and glass of NZ Chardonnay. There was a 'live' commentary, i.e. by a man on the train with us it was interesting and appropriate but not as detailed as the optional recorded commentary on KiwiRail trains. There were a few stops where we could climb literally down from the train and take photos. In the afternoon Chris took us on a tour of the Otago Peninsula, on some roads that wouldn't have been possible with our own transport. He was very knowledgeable indeed about wildlife, and pointed out interesting views, buildings, birds etc that we would have driven straight past if on our own. We had the tour to ourselves because bad weather had prevented a cruise ship from coming into Dunedin - we felt very fortunate to have Chris's exclusive expertise, but it would still be excellent if the minibus had been full. Chris was also enjoyable to talk to about general NZ topics - and provided super experiences the following day because he recommended the fantastic Toitu Museum and a brilliant fish restaurant, The Reef.
Pick up and drop off at the cruise ship terminal was very smooth and on time. Bus driver/tour guide was very informative. The train ride through the Taieri Gorge was wonderful, scenery was amazing.
Great views but the volume on the speaker system needs to be turned up, train staff very polite and friendly.
The train trip was great but, even better was the tour given by the local tour company. They were very informative and took us to places you normally don't get to see on normal tours. The vehicle was clean and comfortable and the driver, owner was great!!!
Our local guide Chris was great and took us around the key areas of Dunedin and was very knowledgeable of the whole area. My husband and I were the only ones on the tour which was great because he tailored the trip to our interests. The train ride was beautiful and would highly recommend getting the lunch packs as they were great value for money. Overall a really great day trip.
An excellent experience. Just wish I had more time to stay overnight in one of the stops. Got lots of video and a few digital photos on the train.
The tour outside Dunedin with Chris was superb. I was his only tourist so we, indeed, had a relaxing time.
Heartily recommend this adventure.
We had a wonderful, wonderful time on this trip. It was rainy, windy, and a little snowy ! in downtown Dunedin the day we were supposed to leave. Les, our tour guide, came to our hotel about an hour before and asked if we wanted to opt out. Like the idiots abroad my wife and I were, we said Ah, it's only a little chilly, the snow is melting as soon as it hits the ground, we'll be fine! Haha, don't make this similar mistake, people! The trip takes you out to some high high places, where the snow that is melting outside your hotel suddenly packs, and out on the peninsula you'll get the full force of the cold southerly oceanic winds. So, with the attitude of the customer is always right Les agreed to wing it and away we went for 7 hours. There were some things which just weren't accesible - we couldn't get all the way up Signal Hill, a winding, winding road which was packed with slippery snow. We couldn't get to the castle as the storm had felled 3 trees along the path though poor beleagured Les tried TWICE, once early in the day and once later in the day to see if the path cleared. What we DID get was an awesome, awesome tour guide who loved Dunedin, knew all about the history, was happy to field any and all questions no matter how weird. It is OBVIOUS Les loves Dunedin and loves to share it with people. And lemme tell you, even in good weather those narrow roads are pretty terrifying, driving up hills so high your ears pop a few times during the trip, and I'm sure some people look at a map from their home in the States and think Gosh we could rent a car and do this ourselves... Well, I don't recommend that at all!! Get someone who has driven those roads before. What did we LOVE? We loved the albatross area with the beautiful ocean views. We loved seeing Dunedin from all sides of the city, looking down. We REALLY loved the beaches. What we really loved was getting a good Dunedin 101 course from Les as we drove. This is an essential trip!
Doing what: Dunedin and the Otago Peninsula Wildlife Tour
Tour guide, Chris, was excellent for day trip. Rail trip certainly revealed the rugged terrain of New Zealand and how difficult it must have been for early settlers to make a living in such a beautiful but challenging land.
We really enjoyed this tour as it included a nice mixture of sites in Dunedin, a visit to the gardens of Larnach Castle, an excellent visit of the fascinating yellow penguin reserve on the Otago peninsula and a brief stop to see the albatross at Taiaroa Head. And in between the guide made several stops for us to admire the breath-taking scenery, e.g. views from on top of Signal Hill in Dunedin of the city, the surrounding hills and the ocean. We also made a number of brief stops on the Otago peninsula - everywhere we looked the scenery was beautiful! The pace of the tour was just right - kept us busy and engaged for a nicely filled day. The only negative was the lunch at Larnach Castle. The site was lovely but we found that the food was pretty poor. Lunch was at our expense but we were disappointed with the quality of the food. Nonetheless, this tour was wonderful and we highly recommend it.
Doing what: Dunedin and the Otago Peninsula Wildlife Tour
This tour was amazing!
Great weather and very accommodating and knowledgable guide made it a memorable trip
The tour was fantastic. I ended up being the only person on the tour that day as it was during Christmas and consequently the guide tailored the tour specifically for me.
One of the main things to do in Dunedin. Lengthy tour. Some good pictures along the way but would not do it again. Would have preferred to stay longer in Queenstown instead.
Taieri Gorge trip: meals on the train were snack-sized and overpriced. Scenery beautiful.
Otago Peninsula day trip from Dunedin: Our driver Chris was charming and interesting. His love for and knowledge of the area was enjoyable.
Chris Roberts was the epitome of what every Tour Guide should aspire to. His attention to detail was meticulous and his PR skills first class. He started as a Tour Guide and finished as a friend. A most enjoyable experience.
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