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Should not be missed! Beautiful views, comfortable train ride and great hiking after we were off the train with the group. Out tour guide, George, was terrific and knowledgable, taking us to a number of interesting places including the amazing Castle Hill.
Peter our tour guide did a fantastic job planning the trip and arranging everything. Due to the recent cyclone we had to take a different inland route rather then driving along the ocean front. This made for a great time viewing the inland sights on our first trip to the South Island. The vehicle was very new and comfortable. Peter did the best running commentary of the four tours we did with a history of the areas and got into how the geography was created over time.
The crew on the whale watching boat was great. We were able to see four sperm whales, porpoises, fur seals and many different sea birds.
Overall it was the best tour we did while on the South Island.
My best photo of the whales submerging watches the photo in the advert for the whale watching.
Akaroa is a very beautiful, charming visit. Situated on the banks of an old volcano which has since filled with turquoise colored water. The cruise is very beautiful and gives you great views of the amazing cliffs and dolphins. We also had lunch there overlooking the water. Wonderful day...
Great tour guide - Train to pass was crowded, but commentary very educational with great views and vistas. Met our tour guide for a van trip into Arthur's Pass, walk through a forest area, that was a little more difficult than I anticipated. Tour guide was helpful in helping me complete the trail, which had several steps throughout both down and up with no handrails for support. She rewarded us with brownies, tea or coffee, which was nice Another stop for lunch and scenic views - Good lunch, though slow service. One more stop on way back to Christchurch. Overall a good experience with an interesting small group of 6 and our guide.
Awesome trip!! I was traveling alone so it ended up being worth the money for me in terms of having a group to travel with. If you're already with a group already however it would way cheaper to just do the itinerary on your own if you are able. If you like comfort and convenience then this is definitely the way to go. You get to just sit back relax and enjoy while someone else handles all the logistics, which in and of itself it super valuable. The trip itself is just amazing, the natural beauty in NZ is astounding. Again, you could see all of it on your own with booking this tour, but it does have it's perks. I think it just depends on your circumstances. If you have the money and like convenience, it could be a good fit for you.
Started at 7.15 am with the prompt arrival of Peter our guide for the day.
He drove us to the Tranzalpine train station and organized our tickets and off we went on a 3 hour train ride in quiet comfort across the Canterbury Plains then ascending the mountains, pictures do not do justice to how spectacular and beautiful this area is. Upon arriving at Arthur's Pass. Peter met us and proceeded to take us around the area making a number of stops to take in stunning vistas, short walks and waterfalls. All the time imparting his knowledge and obvious passion and pride for the area. This was interspersed with picnic hamper morning tea/ coffee and delicious Choc brownie. Then on to a late lunch caught up in roadworks at the Bealey Hotel great food and large portions. Not to mention and another great view of the area. From here we went on to Pearson Lake, tranquility plus..... and last and by no means least a stop and walk at Kura Tawhiti, to see huge limestone boulders...
Thanks Peter you made an awesome day so much more interesting, informative and fun....
Good trip w/congenial small group in a van. Gorgeous scenery on the Banks Peninsula! My cafe lunch was good and sufficient portions for another meal. My only suggestion is that mid-morning tea break w/good brownies would be better taken earlier and not a half hour before lunch. Driver/Guide Peter, friendly and helpful, probably wanted a table to use such as the one outside at the Cheese place Not a real tasting event there just small samples of their products offered at the inside counter, and he was running late due to morning traffic in the city, but there must be someplace else that would work for an earlier stop. I'd vote for roadside looking down upon Lyttleton Harbour, where we didn't get to stop because Akaroa Harbour is even more beautiful. Two beautiful harbours are not too much to stop, see, and sip. Not many porpoises t'other day because the captain didn't want to take the boat out too far too many pax earlier in the day had been seasick. We did see several though. This cruise was much better value than the one in Dunedin off the Otago Peninsula days earlier. That one was v. short, and we saw more albatrosses from the Hide on the headlands.
Great Experience - beautiful scenery from the train going there, while there and while headed back. John was a great guide and a great host and company for the small group!
The walks were intensive but uncomplicated and the scenery quite breathtaking.
Great trip and the driver marina was so nice and experience light up the trip
My tour leader: Chris Platt is very nice person. he is friendly and helpful.
I like the national park, amazing..
Nice train ride and great to have small group. Our driver/guide did a great job of taking care of us.
This did not live up to our expectations. We had expected four short walks up at Arthur's Pass and all we got was a drive through Otari which I would not show to anyone, two photo stops with no walks, and one walk on the way back at Castle Hill. Lunch was good and the guide/driver very pleasant. However there was no delicious morning or afternoon tea and no several short bush walks as youre guided along riverside paths in the forest.
We had expected to get out and enjoy the fresh air, but simply sat in a train and then in a van. The road trip back was in some ways more scenic than the rail trip but the weather had brightened up at that stage.
This trip was far too expensive for what it delivered and I would not recommend it.