An absolutely impressing tour - the only disadvantage: due to big distances sometimes simply to much driving. But all the visits on the tour: just grandious! Will go back to some places one time, that is for sure.
All the reservations, connections and transports worked.
The places visited were nice and very interesting.
There were two in my party, myself and my wife. In the past we have taken bus tours where you literally stay with the same vehicle for the tour duration. Your approach of using whatever transport was available at the time it was required was new to us, and we found it marvelous. It was a genuine attempt to maximize the use of your resources.
All of your drivers were great. They were respectful, incredibly knowledgeable, had a good sense of humour and were always on time. Perhaps one day, we will return to New Zealand and use your facilities again. Until then we will recommend you to any of our friends who are planning a New Zealand holiday.
Regards and thanks for a memorable trip,
Chris and Anita Taylor.
We had a great time. Everything worked exactly as it was supposed to. The itinerary was challenging but very enjoyable. We were able to see a lot of the best of the North Island over a limited duration. EXCELLENT EXPERIENCE.
V. Good if u dont have much time. We had a week in total for all NZ - flew to Auckland on Sun, had the evening, then next day, with this 5 day tour starting on Tues-Sat. It basically takes you around the northern half of the north isl. and covers it all pretty well. Day1- Leave city in a coach, drive over the bridge and begin journey to beautiful Paihia - see nice countryside on way with a cpl stops here and there. It is narrated and I enjoyed this trip. The cruise was very fun. We didn't get to see all sights due to weather, but we did see alot more that normally isn't included. We also didn't see dolphins, so they gave us a another trip for free with no expiry date. The choppy water made the cruise really fun - for me anyways. After the cruise, you get taken to your hotel room. We chose Superior accom, and the rooms were nice, although the hotels were a little away from main areas, then again not really that far though - we walked. I had nothing to complain of. Day2- Long bus drive to the northernmost tip of NZ, and when you get there not really too much to see/do. There's a little lighthouse, and U can see where 2 oceans meet. it was good, but then worth the drive?? The trip back was where it paid off - instead of the same route back, the bus actually takes you onto the 90 mile beach and drives through the water. On the way you get to stop at giant skysrcaper sized sand dunes and boogie board down them. Really fun and weird driving in a bus through water. Buffet lunch provided was not buffet - fish and chips. Day3- Really long drive back to Auckland, Really long drive to Rotorua. Full day. Enough said. Day4- Rotorua is awesome and my favorite place on this journey. So many things to do. Caves were incredible. Glowworms were cool. Afternoon off to wander the town was welcome. We skipped Maori dance. Day5 - Geysers fantastic, all shows fantastic, Hobbiton cool and lame - way too many people to enjoy it properly. Will be back to PaiHia and Rotorua for sure. Very fun!
Everything went very smoothly and according to schedule. The tour guides were very knowledgeable and fun. It was a dream come true to see Hobbiton and the tours were incredible. I definitely recommend going on this trip!
Everything went off without a hitch. Accommodation was very good.
The only disappointment was the accommodation in Rotorua (Ibis). Standard of hotel was very poor, would not recommend this hotel to anyone.
Excellent experience. Covered the beauty, history and people of New Zealand. Highly recommended.
Wonderful experience. Though I had to change coaches quite often but the arrangement was perfect.
Bear in mind that this is essentially two tour packages--one based from Paihia, the other based from Rotorua, that are stapled together by a day-long journey on the regular Intercity Bus. In other words, instead of being on a comfortable tour couch with an entertaining and knowledgeable driver who stops at scenic locales along the route, you waste one day of your vacation on crowded mass transit that stops in the least scenic part of every town, spending 9 hours on a journey that should only take 5.
With the exception of Day 3, all of the tour activities handled primarily by Great Sights New Zealand were quite enjoyable and professionally done. The drivers handled the logistics of luggage transport very well my bags were waiting in my hotel room when I arrived after the cruise on Day 1, although there were a couple of occasions where there wasn't enough time between activities to eat lunch is only provided on one day. Great Sights seems to hire guides with big personalities and long memories, so you end up learning a lot about NZ.
Of all the activities, the Bay of Islands boat tour was the most enjoyable and unexpected treat. The bay is beautiful and while we didn't see any dolphins, we did see orca, which I was assured is even better! The final day felt a bit rushed, with three tours around Rotorua in the morning and then the Hobbiton set in the afternoon. I would have happily skipped the sheep-shearing demonstration for more time to relax at the Green Dragon Inn in Hobbiton which features a very mellow cat asleep by the fireplace.
One last note: Rotorua STINKS. The volcanic activity responsible for its hotsprings also means the entire town, inside and out, smells of rotten eggs. I never got used to it, and spent most of my stay breathing through my mouth. If you go to the hot springs not included, be sure to wash your swimsuit before packing, or the smell will get on everything.