22 Day New Zealand Wide Guided Tour
The following letter and photos were sent to us by a recent client. Peggy and her husband Bill took an epic 22 day private guided tour around New Zealand with our guide Matt. We love getting feedback like this! Thank you so much to Peggy and Bill. It was a pleasure to show you our amazing country and we hope to see you back for more soon!
We’ve been wanting to come to New Zealand for 40 years, ever since my parents came to this country almost 50 years ago and claimed it was the most beautiful country they’ve ever visited.
We found the Road Trip by chance, and we are sure glad we did. It is always with trepidation when you send large sums of money to total strangers halfway around the world, but we have to say the Road Trip really was there all the way.
We were lucky to get Matt Hill as our guide. He met us at 6AM at the airport and handled everything on the trip with professionalism, punctuality, flexibility, and most important, humor. Matt is a good driver, and it was a pleasure not to have to worry where we were going or how to get there. It didn’t take us long to want to adopt him as our grandson.
I am a photographer, and had emailed Matt before the trip to explain that we were interested in seeing the natural and cultural side of the country, and not just the tourist attractions. Photographers can be a pain, we are always stopping to take photos, and we like to be ready for sunrises and sunsets. We are active hikers, kayakers, boaters and divers, so we were up for anything, weather permitting.
We did arrange with Chris to stay in B&B’s and farmstays, explaining anything with ‘luxury, gourmet or spa’ was not what we wanted. The B&B’s and farmstays are, in our opinion, the only way to see a country, meeting the families, talking to people, immersing ourselves in the country. The places and people were all wonderful, and more than met our expectations. Wherever we stayed, the owners told us how much they liked Matt and the Road Trip.
What can we say about the country except Wow! We went all around the North island, almost to the top, and experienced all the culture, the beauty and power of the thermal pools, Kauri trees, redwood forests, mountains, Glowworm caves, Bay of Islands, Maori culture, waterfalls and rivers, sheepfarms, Lake Taupo, and a couple of museums. Whew!
Then, taking the ferry across to the South Island, we spent almost two weeks going from one side to the other, covering the whole island. The natural beauty here is awe inspiring, from the fur seals playing in the surf and in a waterfall pool, to seeing Sperm Whales, to the snowcapped peaks and glacial rivers, interspersed with sheep and cattle. It had us stopping every few hundred meters. Even in the rain, Milford Sound was beautiful, with even more waterfalls, fur seals, Kea parrots and yellow crested penguins! More rainy weather cancelled our helicopter flights up to the top of the glaciers, but we hiked to the face of both Franz Josef and Fox Glaciers. We hit every major town and area on the island, hiking many of the local tracks. Loved the farmstays, since we have a farm, and they felt like home.
We even went all the way down to Stewart Island, where the Road Trip had arranged guided trips to find the elusive Kiwibird at night – we saw 3! Another trip to Ulva island for birdwatching and playing with the Weka bird on the beach was a real treat. (You can see the bird in the photo of all of us, near our feet.)
The B&B had KaKa parrots, Tui’s, big green parakeets, and others, all over the place. The view was the bush/jungle, and very alive and beautiful.
Now that we have seen a good overview, we plan on our next trip to spend more time in certain areas, and hopefully, the weather will allow us to participate in even more active activities that time wouldn’t allow on this trip.
Our thanks to Chris, Alex, (for their help in arranging the activities and accommodations), Janelle (for her help in getting us a car with a trunk/boot), and especially, Matt for making this a trip of a lifetime.