Alexandre Gisbert Ventura and Lluis Bosch Salud, City to Mountains - Auckland to Queenstown Tour, Travelled on 6 August 2018
Quick response from your agents. We fell in love with New Zealand and its people. We will be back.
Our guest testimonials and reviews are unedited and uncensored. Our company philosophy is to provide honest, accurate and relevant information with the aim to make your New Zealand touring experience the best it could ever be.
You can specify a specific subject to search for feedback by entering this into the search box. (For instance: enter 'Christchurch' to see what guests have to say about Christchurch elements of their Pure Journeys experience.)
Quick response from your agents. We fell in love with New Zealand and its people. We will be back.
My brother and I really loved this holiday. It was smooth going from the moment we arrived in Auckland right through to the end. Purejourneys had every single detail prepared and they were happy to work with us to change any details we wanted prior to heading off. It was very comforting to know that all accommodation, transfers, tours etc were all organised. The only thing I would suggest is that the bound itinerary in our travel pack needed to include the daily km for driving. This was detailed in our emailed itinerary but somehow missed in the travel pack itinerary. I would recommend Purejourney to my friends and family.
Erynn, Can you kindly share with us the refund details for both our plane ride from Milford Sound and the glacier hikes. Both were cancelled due to weather and we were assured that refund will be done.
This is my second time I had Shelley arrange a self-drive vacation for me and my family. Shelley did it again, she arranged everything from the meet and greet at Auckland Airport to hotel accommodations, included attractions and car rental. Last year (2017) my wife and I went through Shelley of Pure Journeys for a customized two week family vacation. This year (2018) Shelley again concentrated our two weeks on the North Island. Shelley started us off in Auckland and we traveled north to Waipoua Forest for a very informing guided twilight walk. We spent the night at the Copthorne resort. Our room was right on the beach. Wish we had more time to spend there but lots to do. Next we traveled to the Bay Of Islands, stopping at Labyrinth Woodworks and Puzzle Museum, then a coffee at the Boatshed Café. Arrived at the Blue Pacific Apartments in Paihia across the street from the beach for 3 nights. While in Paihia we took a not to miss day tour on a Dune Rider along the 90 mile beach and the northern most region of the island at Cape Reinga. The next day we took a day cruise to the Hole in the Rock with dolphins joining us. Don’t miss out on the Swiss Ice Cream in town. Next was the city of Rotorua for 3 nights at the Quest Hotel. One of the many highlights we took on was the Forest Canopy Zip Line Tour. The next stop took us to Napier, which I was looking forward to. My wife and I were there some 20 years ago and we loved the art deco city. My wife being a chocolate lover, her anticipation was the Silky Oak Chocolate Tour. Jeanette, the owner, took us on a a very informative tour of her chocolate museum. Shelly again came through, setting up this awesome tour, with a trip to the café for food and coffee. Topping that off we were given a box of chocolates. Leaving Napier, we drove to our final destination, City life Wellington Hotel, and our last scheduled attraction the Zealandia Sanctuary. We were able to do a little shopping on Cuba Street. My wife, daughter, granddaughter and I can’t express our appreciation enough for the amazing journey you set us on. Thank you for a memory not to be forgotten.
An expertly organised holiday. The excursions were well selected, varied and above all demonstrated the natural beauty of New Zealand. Mere words cannot describe it!
Our four week self drive covered the North and South Islands. We worked with our agent Shelley and with her knowledge and advice, we got to places we would never have found on our own.
We had a great trip in New Zealand. Our itinerary had a good mixture of scenic drives, walks, culture and fantastic food and wine (good job we did plenty of walking!)
Thank you Pure Journeys. We had one of the best holidays ... very well planned, very nice hotels and rooms and a very professional set up. You thought about it all.
What an amazing holiday. The highlight was the Doubtful Sound overnight boat and I enjoyed the heli tour at Franz Joseph Glacier. It was everything a holiday of a lifetime should be.
Lauren was responsive and came up with a final plan just what we wanted. The holiday went like clockwork, all pickups, bookings and tours worked seamlessly. Included tours at Te Anau, Mt Cook and Queenstown were great. We also did a sailing trip at Akaroa, the Dart River Adventure at Queenstown (fantastic!) and driving around the coast at Oamaru to see the seals and Moeraki boulders. Invercargill gardens were amazing. All accommodation was excellent - though are spa baths compulsory? We didn't need them. Hire car was very suitable size and performance. We were initially a bit apprehensive about all our eggs in one internet basket with NZFT, but would now have no hesitation in recommending you and your services. Thanks, Ken and Judy
Hello Laura, This is just a thank you note. 4 weeks ago today our NZ adventure commenced. We could not have asked for a better outcome. Everything arranged through you worked to perfection, even the weather was mostly on our side (the rain we had happened mostly whilst driving except at Milford Sound, but then that is Milford).Read more
We had a wonderful albeit busy time. Your country is as beautiful as I (Margit) remembered it from 1963 when I lived there, except - like Australia - it is getting too populated and there are too many tourists for my liking. Again, thanks to your and your company for arranging this trip for us. We can highly recommend you. With kind regards Karl and Margit
Excellent trip. Well planned. The venues arranged for us were top notch. Nothing but praise for the staff, especially Shelley, who helped to organize the trip, a self drive holiday. The cruise on the TSS Earnslaw at Queenstown was very relaxing and scenic. I can recommend the hot pools at Franz Josef; the 3 pools, 36, 38 and 40 degrees Centigrade; were very beneficial to remove the aches and pains and generally relax the whole body, excellent. Overall a thoroughly enjoyable trip.
We are having. Fabulous time! Everything has been perfect thus far! Thanks you so much! Amy Willis
Erynn Having been given the task of organising our New Zealand holiday I did a lot of research on the web coupled with my knowledge from two previous visits. I located Pure Journeys and while being hesitant at first the on-line reviews were all positive and hence I made the decision to use your services. From arrival in Auckland the service we received was exceptional.Read more
At all bookings we were expected but there was once exception – Budget had booked us out of the North Island on 11 March 2018 and when we advised this was not in keeping with our itinerary we asked them and they promised to rectify their records from 11 March to 09 March with arrival in Picton on that day. On arrival in Picton we were told that we were not due for another two days but to cut a long story short we were amicably able to resolve their error albeit we did not get the vehicle we had requested. While we appreciated your included “tourist spots” we did tend, based on a previous visit, to do our own thing. For example we detoured to Waitomo Glow Worm Caves and in Rotorua we spent a couple of relaxing hours at the hot thermal springs. We pretty much then stayed on course until Picton from where we spent a pleasant half day in the Marlborough wine area. In Dunedin we added the Taiera Gorge train journey to our itinerary and likewise the MV Earnslaw dinner cruise in Queenstown and the Milford Sound Cruise was excellent as was the weather that day. A visit to Arrowtown was also fitted in while in Queenstown. Overall we found that our itinerary was not too full on with plenty of time to have our daily happy hour (all NZ beer and wines of course). As regards accommodation this was spot on – all rooms being very roomy and more space that can be expected in a standard motel room. With the exception of Auckland we had rooms next to one another. Not to the detriment of any other accommodation I would particularly like to comment on a few. Wellington: We were upgraded to their “Ambassadors Apartment” – three bedrooms, washing machine, dryer and great use was made of the last two items. Kaikoura: Only just slowly recovering from their earthquake the motel owner is an “Aussie” and she made us her very newest best friends. A wealth of knowledge including all of her past history – a laugh a minute. Queenstown: The reception by the husband and wife managers was most welcoming and after two nights we were nearly part of the family. Dunedin: Here the proprietor went to a lot of trouble to get us two adjacent rooms – one with a patio (which we were able to use for “happy hour”) and the other with a balcony. This was much appreciated. Franz Josef: On arrival at the nominated accommodation we were told that we had been upgraded to the Te Waonui Forest Retreat – a five star resort which we made full use of – such decadence. The countryside was very picturesque and a warm welcome and excellent service was encountered everywhere we went. Erryn, I congratulate on your organising skills in arranging our itinerary/bookings and would only be too happy if the occasion arises to recommend the services provided by Pure Journeys coupled with the expertise you demonstrated. Keith & Gloria Green’s, Trevor & Margaret Collins’.
I wanted to send you an email o say a BIG THANKYOU for organising such an amazing trip to New Zealand for Ian and myself! Everything about the trip ran smoothly and easily. The airport pick up was good, the rental car was nice and GPS kept us on track ( still trying to sort out that mystery charge to my card I mentioned in previous email however), tour pre bookings were great and accommodation lovely.Read more
It was so nice to have everything pre organised like those tours and accommodation, each time we checked into something it went well and there was no confusion or delay. The standard of accommodation was very good, in particular the suite at Napier was fantastic ( we got upgraded to a 2 bedroom with hot tub in main bedroom). I didn't need to get a prepaid SIM as we very given free wifi vouchers at each accommodation, they offered these we didn't need to ask, and at majority it was unlimited. So I could keep in touch with family using Viber or facebook. Very glad we decided to go with Coromandel Coast as it was a stunning spot and some of the highlights of the trip were visiting hot water beach and the Cathedral Cove glass bottom boat tour. The geothermal wonderland at Wai-o-tapu was also spectacular and glad we spent the morning there on the way to Napier. We had a fantastic time in New Zealand, we were blown away with how beautiful it is and every drive was so scenic and photo worthy. We will definitely be back and are already thinking about where to go next, we are thinking bay of islands then South Island. We would definitely (and have already!) recommend Pure Journeys to others and would use this company again without hesitation. Attached are a couple of photos of the trip for your interest. Thanks again, Karlie Ralph and Ian Naulty Adelaide, South Australia
Thank you Pure Journeys....we have a lovely time. One of the best holidays....very well planned, very nice hotels and rooms and above all a very professional set up. Never had to worry about anything....you thought about it all. Definiitely will recommend others to use Pure Journey and so will I for my next holiday in New Zealand. Super job...thanks Alarna!
From our very first enquiry our contact Narissa Phillips helped us to plan our holiday, discussing with us our wishes and incorporating into the schedule our specific needs and requests. The holiday itself went like a dream from our arrival at Auckland to our departure three weeks later.Read more
The only incident was getting our car at Picton but a telephone call to the tour office saw the problem resolved swiftly and efficiently and we were soon on our way again (and we were offered a free meal for one of our evenings even though the problem was not the fault of the tour company). There was a fair amount of daily travel involved but we were keen to see as much as possible and there were plenty of two-night stops to make a break from driving. The accommodation (mostly two bedroom apartments) was clean and comfortable with staff who couldn’t be more helpful. We also appreciated the various tours that were arranged by the company for us. In all it was excellent value for money and if you want to get a taste of New Zealand and see some of the wonderful sights that the country has to offer then we can’t recommend this company highly enough. Derrick, London (travelled 12 February to 4 March 2018).
We had no problems over our 12 days in NZ. We loved every minute of our tour and we were very pleased with all our accommodation and the activities we had chosen to do in the north island. Our travel instructions we great and we would certainly recommend Prue Journeys to other people in Australia. Don and Elaine Stewart
An expertly organised holiday by Shelley at Pure Journeys. The trip was professionally tailored around our specific requirements of being in certain places at certain times to coincide with England cricket matches and visiting friends and relatives around the country, but primarily this was a touring holiday and Pure Journeys got it spot on. The excursions were well selected, varied and above all demonstrated the natural beauty of New Zealand.Read more
Our route took us from Queenstown to Mt Cook, Christchurch, Blenheim in the South before a totally amazing ferry crossing to Wellington. After a few days in Wellington we visited family on the Kapiti Coast before visiting Rotorua, Hamilton and Coromandel Peninsula, finally heading to Auckland area to stay with friends and explore the region. The standard of accommodation throughout the holiday either met or in many cases exceeded our expectations, with friendly hosts making us feel very welcome, particularly in the smaller style boutique hotels at Queenstown, Blenheim, Lake Rotorua and Whangamata. This was a breathtaking holiday from start to finish, with wonderful experiences occurring on a daily basis. One of many lasting memories will be the unspoilt beauty of Doubtful Sound, mere words cannot describe it !! Thanks to Pure Journeys for making this trip of a lifetime so special.
I do travel to many other countries before, but my trip in New Zealand was the best trip my family and I have ever had. Everything from initial trip planning to actual trip itself was seamless. Joanna, our trip agency from Pure Journeys had exhibited a wonderful service during the whole planning of our customized southern island explorer package.Read more
During the planning process, we were overwhelmed by many options and recommendations, and Joanna never hesitate to clear up the fog in the areas that we weren’t certain. She has demonstrated such versatility when we discussed about our itinerary. I do believe Jonna was delighted in helping her customer has given her best in everything. The trips were paced and planned as requested. Upon our arrival in each location, we were greeted by assigned travel company guide and we did not have to stress out about transportation after a tiring day of travelling. We felt so welcomed and well taken care of. The best thing, day trips were being thought of so well that we had the perfect amount of time in each place and did the right activities without the need to rush! Along the way, Joanna also checked on us and linked us with the activity centre at MacKenzie Horse Trekking as we were unable to find it in the map. That extra mile was not something we experienced very much with other agencies before. Her quick response shows that she has the customer interest at heart sincerely. All in all, Joanna really goes and above beyond customer service, overall our family would like to express our utmost gratitude for making this trip possible. Words could not describe how delighted my family on this well-planned December trip, Joanna. We definitely will contact you in a heartbeat should we plan the next trip back to New Zealand!
My wife and I just completed a 4 week self drive covering both the north and south islands. What a unique and fantastic experience! We worked with our agent Shelly to plan an itinerary that balanced outdoors and cultural activities with a mix of accommodations that fit into our planned budget. It was so nice to have all this planning done ahead of time and then especially great to have it all work like planned. Accommodations and activities were booked and worked seamlessly. We got to places with Shelley's knowledge and advice that we would have never found on our own.Read more
The "suggested activities" that we booked were all first rate with good reliable companies. The pace of our trip was very energetic averaging two night stays with a couple of three night stays in the far south which worked for us but didn't leave much time for just "hanging out". Rainy weather affected some of our planned activities so be prepared for that, and it's nice to have upgraded accommodations if possible. Our stay in Queenstown and activities in Te Anau and Bay of Islands were among our favorites. The variety of things to see and do is truly amazing so be prepared for not being able to see or do it all in one trip.
I am passionate traveler and I have been to many places, however I would like to emphasize that New Zealand trip was really something special. I would highly recommend Pure Journeys for organizing tour, for booking the most amazing accommodations, for preparing the welcome package with such thoughtful little details and to be available and helpful when needed. If you ever plan to visit New Zealand, please do, and please make it easier and more enjoyably with Pure Journeys! Special thanks for Sara who organized it, for Shelley and Dionne for backing up and solving problems quickly!
Thank you for a very well planned and detailed holiday. we had an awesome holiday and had loads of adventures in your beautiful country.
We had a fabulous trip and were very pleased with Shelley's suggestions and the accommodations she selected. She managed to weave us on and off the beaten track as we requested. Traveling in the shoulder season of late spring was perfect. We were able to experience some of the iconic destinations New Zealand has to offer and many of the spectacular and less well known places.Read more
Almost all of our accommodations had kitchens so we didn't have to eat out every night, which we prefer. We spent at least two nights at most locations and managed to work in lots of walks and hikes. I have traveled extensively and New Zealand is possibly the most beautiful place I have ever been. Kudos to Shelley and Pure Journey's for crafting a beautifully memorable experience.
Thanks Salli - the trip was unforgettable. The itinerary we built together had the right pacing for travel and allowed us to see sites across both islands. There were many highlights (too many to name) but a couple that stood out was the helicopter tour to White Island, Nile River cave tour/ glow worm cavern and the flight & ferry ride to Miford Sound. Kayaking, hiking and site tours were great as well.
We had a marvellous family trip to New Zealand. Many thanks to Joanna who was so helpful and accomodating to our last minute changes. Pure Journeys was really organized taking care of all the administrative aspect of the trip while we enjoyed our self drive holiday. The highlights of our trip were definitely River Dart Funyak and Milford Sound scenic cruise.
OUTSTANDING! AWESOME! SO MUCH FUN! All describe the Adventure Trip planned by Erynn Bell - our incredible travel agent! From start to finish, Erynn made the process easy and enjoyable AND more importantly, she was always available while we were on our trip to help!Read more
Erynn's local knowledge was outstanding. We wanted to do an action packed adventure in New Zealand and she provided exactly what we wanted. She recommended outstanding B&B's, GREAT Restaurants, excellent activities and even thought about where we could do laundry and take a down day or two to recover :-) We were incredibly please with the service and professionalism. Thank you, Thank you, Thank you - Bill & Debbie
We have just arrived home from our Southern Circle Self Drive Tour. All went to plan from the get go with our lovely greeting and assistance with our rental car and every booking prepared and ready for us. We had a fabulous trip, with all the suggested tours/activities being fantastic. Every hotel was up to our standard, my favourite being Merivale Manor in Christchurch, we were so well looked after. We got to see everything we hoped for, Milford Sound was spectacular both by sea and air. The Shotover Jet was amazing fun. Wonderful scenery on the chosen route. We couldn't have asked for an easier trip. Thank you Natalie, much appreciated.
It's been more than a week and we are still in the awe of our New Zealand trip, memories and experiences. Me and my family enjoyed every minute of it. For all this I would like to thank you for giving your input and planning just what we wanted. Taking care of every detail, so that while traveling with a child, we had nothing to worry about. Hope to come back to New Zealand again soon. Regards Nidhi
What a wonderful 10 days we had in New Zealand! Thank you so much Christina for organizing EVERYTHING for us! We were very happy with all the accommodation you chose and the itinerary allowed us to such contrasting places in New Zealand. We were very impressed how seamless our transfers from airport to hire-car, hire-car to train etc all were.Read more
We felt truly welcomed by your country to have smiling helpful people waiting to transfer us. Favourite place - really loved Queenstown and Franz Josef. We were unlucky to have bad weather at Mt Cook but did enjoy the spectacular drive there. The only section we were a little disappointed with was the train journey from Greymouth to Christchurch; very slow and scenery not as interesting as we had expected. We were very impressed with the speed with which you got back to any of our enquiries and your helpfulness. Thanks very much Christina.
We had an amazing honeymoon booked through Pure Journeys. Alarna was able to take all of our requests (on relatively short notice) and book our entire trip to fit everything in. It was so nice to be able to show up to each location and have everything taken care of.
In May of this year, we booked a trip to New Zealand under a Tahiti Nui Airlines promotion, which gave us nine unscripted days on our own in New Zealand, from Nov. 19 to 28. For various reasons, we didn't start to arrange an in-country itinerary until Oct. 31 and while we knew we wanted to tour only the south island, and my wife had done some preliminary looking activities, we still had not made any commitments on Nov 2, when a pop-up appeared on our screen, followed closely by a call from Emma Bradley, our savior. She discussed our wishes with my wife, then went to work (I guess). At any rate, she emailed us an itinerary on Nov. 6, only four days later!! (and over a weekend). After a short discussion with Monica, Emma made several minor changes, and we were in business!Read more
Now that our adventure is completed, I can say in all sincerity that Emma Bradley thought of everything, and arranged anything which could be arranged! We were met by a represntative at the airport in Queensland, our first landfall; he drove us to our hotel and presented us with a portfolio which contained a detailed NZ road atlas (We were driving most of the time), some general interest brochures, and an exquisite bound itinerary book which contained ALL the information we needed for our journey. Someone might have used some different activities, or routing, but I cannot conceive of a plan which would fit our desires more than this one did. And, she thought of EVERYTHING - however small and inconsequential it might seem! She also kept track of us and kept in touch along our route. For instance, when we couldn't make our helicopter flight to walk on the Franz Joseph Glacier because of weather, Monica called Emma but Emma already knew, had talked to the company, and insured that we were placed on standby for the next several flights. She also told Monica that I had left my wedding ring in our motel in Wanaka, but not to worry because it was being sent by courier to our hotel in Christ church. WE did get to walk on the glacier two days later.The most difficult thing we had to do for ourselves was to find our treehouse in Punakaiki, but we got there and that episode is now a part of the adventure! In summary, We have the absolute highest regard for, and give our highest recommendation to, Emma Bradley and Pure Journeys, of Auckland, NZ. You'd have to be crazy to not contact her if you're contemplating a visit to New Zealand.
Pure Journeys arranged everything from the personnel meet and greet at our arrival in Auckland airport. We were also handed a travel pack, which included Itinerary, maps and brochures. It would be wrong of me to highlight any one thing about the holiday. The 5000km drive, the venues and excursions were all fantastic. All the accommodation, the staff and food were first class. We both had the most enjoyable, awesome and fantastic holiday we could have. The 16 day holiday was a great taster to the 1st time visitor to New Zealand.Read more
Even allowing for a couple changes that had to be made due to weather. We were re-routed from Christchurch to the Ashley Hotel, Greymouth, with your help. This was because of an accident and snow that closed the Lewis Pass over night. The staff at the Ashley Hotel were professional and friendly and the food excellent. Also the Balloon ride was cancelled in Christchurch due to bad weather. A refund was given. We decided to arrange a Helicopter ride in Franz Joseph, but again the weather stopped that.It covered all the main centres and activities. In the past we have had great holidays in Iceland, Norway, Austria and Switzerland. New Zealand is all these places and more. However, we both want to return to New Zealand, to see more.
Shelley, My family and I had a great time with the itinerary you set up for us. We were quite impressed traveling from Auckland to Queenstown. The scenery throughout your country has many, many great sites to see. The prearranged attractions was a big plus for us.Read more
If our "Customized New Zealand Family Explorer" vacation were attached to this writing it would show the tremendous experiences we'll remember forever. As for my 6 and 9 year old I think they had as good time as the adults. Because this was such an outstanding trip I'll be contacting you again to set-up another trip for next year with my youngest daughter and grand-daughter. Thank you for everything, Mike
Hello Shelley Just had to write and tell you about our wonderful holiday. It was marvellous, you did a great job for us. All went very smoothly. Traudi may have already written. Alan and I upgraded our room in the Sofitel - Auckland to a corner room overlooking the marina. Gorgeous. A great spot for wandering around and finding food a bit further up town. Went over to Waiheke Island and did the Art Gallery. Boy is that an impressive building. Following all the rain everywhere was as green as Ireland. The scenery is stunningly beautiful and the weather perfect bar a couple of showers. The accommodation was just right. Brenton Lodge was excellent, people wonderful. The Springs was very good. Catherine couldn’t do enough for us…a lovely girl.Read more
The Chateau was interesting and quaint. Waitomo Boutique Lodge we were not so sure about with the share bathroom but they had no other guests so we had a choice of other rooms in the house. It’s a very strange bathroom configuration even so. Three separate rooms for bath, toilet and shower. We still had to share. People very nice and a lovely property. Bit of trouble at the Waitakere Estate as we coincided with a function that went till 1pm. They took over the lounge and dinning room. With a communication breakdown we ended up eating an entree in the lounge when the party were at dinner and then had to leave. That was ok except the noise in our room kept Alan awake till late. The management compensated with an apology and a discount. The stand out tours: Cathedral Rock after following a drive up the east coast up past Thames. From then on it was just more fabulous scenery. Mitai Maroi Village excellent performance well hosted. Food never great at these things but it was ok. Redwoods was amazing. Waterfalls fantastic. Footwhistle Glowworm cave tour brilliant. Ross our guide was charming and attentive. As he along with his son had done most of the work on their caves he was very informative. So glad we were not on the bigger Waitomo cave tour. Ross also guided us to a fantastic forest walk nearby which he had been part of creating when he was a ranger. The only one that was disappointing was the Five Tunnel tour. I’m not sure how much we paid for this tour but it was a much shortened version due to the time of year. We didn’t get the suggested plowman’s lunch. Just a cup of tea at the turn back point. Consequently we missed our lunch that day. The geyser at the park just out of Rotarua was very small and short lived…. disappointing for those expecting to see it like on the brochure (or even half as good). Small issues which by no means spoilt our holiday but may help you with future plans. Thank you so much for all the detail so beautifully presented. We’ll be in touch for our future trips. We loved the North Island and haven’t seen it all… and Alan and I haven’t done the South yet…..!! Kindest regards Janece Huntley
Natalie,We had a wonderful time and your logistical arrangements were excellent. We will certainly recommend your services, thanks for all your help. Mike. Specific details below:Read more
Car rentals - excellentTakatu lodge - great food, service and ambienceEagles Nest - great location, so so serviceGrand Millenium - good location, worked wellPeppers on the Point - fantastic (maybe the best place we stayed at),McHardy Lodge - so so. Inadequate heating, not a great location, not very friendlyWine tour in Napier - very goodTravel lodge - marginal, had to fight for a barely adequate roomPepper Tree - good, food was excellent, very friendlyWine Tour in Marlbourough - excellentLonely Bay lodge - good rooms, very friendlyCity Life - better than the grand millenniumNew Zealand Rugby organization- badly organized and communicated, amateur service provided by ill informed volunteers, shambolic ticket allocation, first Friday reception patheticThe rugby itself - great, Eden Park and WestPac stadiums were excellent and well organized. Good transport arrangements
Shelley from Pure Journeys helped us to arrange our honeymoon to New Zealand. Right from the start, Shelley tailored everything to our ideas and pre-booked flights. It was particularly helpful that we could book in phone consultations with Shelley despite being on the other side of the world! Once everything was booked, the online itinerary was brilliant, allowing us to check, change and add activities and accommodation as we needed to. Having the written itinerary in a booklet, with suggested activities, driving routes / times and suggested stops was invaluable and became our 'bible' on the trip! We also loved the nice touch of getting leaflets for each place we were visiting in a nice Pure Journeys bag.Read more
Despite needing to hire 3 different cars due to our awkward route, the bookings were seamless and saved us a lot of hassle. All of the accommodation was spot on, we particularly loved the Rainforest lodge in Franz Josef. There was free parking in most of the hotels, and in a couple of others the parking had been pre-paid as part of the package, which was useful. We were also grateful that we could use the online itinerary to book activities whilst we were away as well. I could go on, but in short, Pure Journeys (and Shelley!) made our New Zealand honeymoon better than we could have imagined and we are so grateful. We are recommending Pure Journeys to all of our family and friends! Thank you.
We had an awesome time - thank you for arranging it all so well! We loved: Hobbiton, Mt Cook, Weta Cave (long version apparently not that good value though we heard) Edoras (esp Hammond, our guide) Jetboats on Dart river and our Toyota! We enjoyed staying most at: Blue Peaks in Queenstown, Penthouse in Wellington, and Powder horn Chateau.Read more
We would avoid for future clients: Havelock motel (for reasons given) The Ship in Waitomo/Woodlyn Park (too smelly!) We would consider adding for future clients: Hamner Springs Blue Penguins and Steampunk museum Oamaru Mt John Observatory Luge run in Queenstown For future reference, we would allow at least 2 hours between getting off ferry in Picton and arriving in Havelock - it takes a while to get the car sorted and the drive is over an hour, so it was just as well the river was too high to go out that day! There was a lot of driving but it was all so spectacular we didn’t mind at all, plenty to see and do The only recurring complaint was the wifi was bad everywhere except Wellington but you can’t do much about that! We will be back to explore more - and I think 2 of our kids might come back for good when they’re older!! Very best wishes Sarah & Eric
Dear Erynn, We arrived home Sunday arvo after a wonderful trip that you arranged for us. We absolutely loved every minute of it and reckon you did a very good job with the activities you picked for us. The hotel at Auckland was very swish! Our room was right near reception on the ground floor. We found a bus stop near the hotel which we just hopped on and did a tour of the city suburbs - it was just a local bus. We had a good look around the harbour (beautiful place) to be sure where to go the next day for our harbour cruise - which was very enjoyable. Went on another bus which took us on all the touristy spots, and you could get on and off as you pleased (we stayed put!). Went up the Sky Tower and were gob-smacked! Picked up our car and after a quick lesson with the GPS took off for Rotorua.Read more
That was the only time I drove - John did the rest. I don’t think I would have been game to drive those alpine mountain roads - we would have never got anywhere, I would have gone so slow. Accommodation in Rotorua was very good as were the owners. Went to a Maori village there for a hungi and haki and thoroughly enjoyed that. The boiling pools were fascinating, as well as smelly. Wellington was a surprise with its very hilly terrain. This hotel was the only one that disappointed us with the bathroom. I rang your office to make sure that the hotel was told about John’s needs and then asked the hotel staff about it. The reply I got was that maybe someone with more needs than John got ‘the’ room. I am sure a hotel of that size has more than 1 disabled suite. But apart from that - all was good in Wellington. We had a lovely bus tour of the city highlights. The ferry trip over to the South Island was magic and the motel at Picton was very good. St Arnaud accommodation was wonderful - a wooden chalet, just like the Alps overseas (what I image would be like overseas!). Scenery was very spectacular to Hamner Springs and the motel there was very good as well. Lots of rivers, pretty Autumn coloured trees. The Melville Manor at Christchurch was the best ever - I love old places and this was magnificently restored. People there were exceptionally kind. The city tour we were taken on was very eye-opening - the guide lady showing us lots of very sad places where the earthquake had ruined many lives. The journey to Mt Cook was awesome with all those snow-capped mountains. Very cold there but our accommodation was good. A snow covered mountain just outside our back door (or it seemed so close). Dunedin surprised us with its size - and hills. The railway trip was very scenic and we enjoyed it very much. Motel was excellent with very helpful owners. We went through Larnach Castle but the stairs there got to John even though he managed 2 floors but not the third! Te Anau was very pretty and a very good motel with nice people. The drive itself up to Milford Sound was a bit scary but we left early so we didn’t have to rush. The cruise on Milford Sound was very enjoyable and we were very lucky with the weather - it was all blue skies and no rain. Very cold though! Queenstown - well, it was so busy and when I mentioned this to the receptionist at the motel (which was very good), she looked at me in surprise and answered that this was the quietest it ever is! We tried a couple of times to find a park anywhere so we could get a meal, but even with John’s disabled sticker for the parking we didn’t do any good. We ended up ordering home delivered food for the 2 nights we were there. The Safari tour was great, even though we haven’t seen any of the Lord of the Rings movies. The driver was obsessed and had a book with photos of the characters and the other passengers were very interested in his stories of where all the filming took place. Franz Joseph Glacier was very picturesque but the road to get there was very scary! We finally run out of luck with the weather there (we counted ourselves very lucky to have had the weather we did throughout the trip). We had booked to go up in a helicopter the next day, but first the morning flight was cancelled and then the afternoon one as well. We could see why!!! The drive up to Greymouth was very pretty and we loved that little coastal town of Hokitika - wondered how popular it would be in the summer time. Train ride was exceptional and enjoyed every minute of it. Your lady who picked us up from the train was very happy to stop at a bottle shop so I could get us a bottle of wine! Back to my favourite accommodation and the young lady there happily printed out our boarding passes for both our flights home. The lady who picked us up from the airport actually handled our luggage for us and took us into the airport terminal and found us a man to help us organise John’s wheelchair and take our bags before she left. Very enjoyable everywhere we went and we loved your country. Good wine - although we found it very expensive when out dining at a restaurant and buying a bottle. I ended up buying some from Countdown (which is our Woolworths over here), and Four Square stores. Can’t do that here - they are not licensed. Found the food very cheap, eating out at pubs and restaurants and very good. So, all in all, VERY well done Erynn and thank you so much. Sincerely, Jan West
What an amazing holiday, I can't thank you enough. I had a great time, walking, seeing the scenery, experiencing the different parts of both South and North Island. The highlight was the Doubtful Sound overnight boat - I was so pleased to do this rather than Milford Sound. The boat crew were fabulous -only 6 of us on board with excellent food and experiences - fishing, seeing dolphins and wonderful scenery - so much quieter than Milford Sound. I also enjoyed the heli tour at Franz Joseph Glacier - my first time wearing crampons - and the rainforest below.Read more
Watching the Westland petrels crash-land through the trees was remarkable - and an individual thing for me to do as a birdwatcher. In the North Island I booked a helicopter trip from Rotorua landing on White Island - volcanically active - this is a "must" for anyone with a geological interest. All-in-all a fabulous time, thank you so much Shelley - you gave me a perfect 5 weeks in a country I've always wanted to visit, it was everything a holiday of a lifetime should be. I've already posted on your Facebook page, but feel free to quote me.
Natalie thank you for organizing our wonderful holiday for us. We all thoroughly enjoyed the itinerary you put together. Loved the way our itinerary had been set out and the road map directions. NZ is a wonderful place. We have at least 6 friends who want to do the same in the near future and you have been highly recommended.
One suggestion picking up our car in Auckland was not easy we asked at front desk of hotel where budget was they gave us a road map. After 20 mins of walking Robyn on a walking cane and Garry with a knee injury a kind travel agency called us a taxi this still took 10 minutes to drive there. Maybe if there was a shortcut through shopping centre staff could be informed and tell other customers the quickest way to walk there. Thank you for everything Lyn,Garry and Robyn
Did the Auckland to Christchurch Essential Highlights tour during Easter 2017 with the family (6 pax, 3 adult (1 elderly) & 3 child). Thoroughly enjoyable. Pure Journey was great. Everything was well prepared, easy to follow. Next trip would be Queenstown and I would consider Pure Journey to arrange my itinerary again. Thanks Lauren for making my whole experience of NZ very positive.
All hotels and tours pre-booked with the exception of 1. Used the provided phone to call Pure Journey and they sorted it out with the operator. Hotels were comfortable. Scenery was spectacular. Only nightmare was the drive from Picton to Kaikoura, due to coastal road closures the drive took over 6 hrs, the road was terrible and dangerous especially the last 100 kms in pitch dark conditions. Avoid this long drive by changing your itinerary. You are warned. Other than that, the rest of the drive was enjoyable.
We had a really great holiday and everything went smoothly. Shelley arranged great hotels and incredible experiences. She made helpful suggestions with our itinerary so that we were able to fit the most into our 6 days..
We initially chose Pure Journeys as our tour specialist as they were very quick to respond to our initial email enquiry, when other companies either took up to 3 weeks to reply or didn't bother to reply at all. Christina at Pure Journeys created a truly wonderful & personalised 3 week itinerary covering the North & South Islands.
We enjoyed every minute of our trip and were very impressed by how responsive the company (& Christina) was to any & all enquiries and requests for changes. There was so much attention to detail in our itinerary, the document pack we received on arrival was excellent and all of our transfers, pick-ups and transport went without a hitch. We can't wait to visit again. Thank you.
We had a great trip in New Zealand and especially enjoyed our time in Rotorua. Our itinerary prepared by Christina had a good mixture of scenic drives, walks, culture and fantastic food and wine (good job we did plenty of walking). A special mention to Quest Apartments in Rotorua who do things so well and to Robbie from Grape Escapes a wonderful tour from lovely Napier.
Due to unexpected visa process, I could only confirmed my trip very last minute. Christina was able to setup the itinerary based on my preferences and budget. Everything was great; rooms were spacious and comfortable, the rental car was nice, and the scenery was amazing. Apart for the weather, it was a perfect holiday. Will definitely be back for the Tongariro Crossing in better weather!
The tour was meticulously planned and we did not encounter any problems following the written instructions given to us prior to the visit. Almost everything was in line with what was promised to us, except that extra expenses for car hire were not communicated in advance (and had to be paid directly to the rental car company) and this created a bit of misunderstanding. Apart from the above, the accommodation in Queenstown (Blue Peaks Lodge) was really not that good and you should consider putting up your guests somewhere else. Overall, it was a memorable trip, made almost perfect by the great planning and execution by Kelly. Sameera and Aamer
Wonderful, wonderful holiday. Thank you so much.
My wife Carolyn and I thoroughly enjoyed this trip. All of the planning and reservations were well provided in the information package sent by Pure Journeys: itinerary, maps, reservation numbers, driving directions, phone numbers, addresses, excursions. The places we stayed at in Hammer Springs, Marahau, Picton, and Wellington were excellent and well located. The GPS in the rental car was a lifesaver when driving from place to place, especially since I was still getting used to driving on the left side of the road. I would use this service again.
Jane planned a 16 day family trip for us from Auckland to Christchurch. The boutique lodges she planned for us along the way were really amazing, and we are sure we would have never discovered many of them ourselves. Also, the pace was quite suitable for taking our time in driving and we had a nice route in the South Island even though some roads were closed due to construction. I definitely could not have planned a trip like this alone!
Shelley organizes a great trip for our family of four. The places we stayed were fabulous and the details were well thought out. Thank you Shelley for all your help! Kathy
Being unfamiliar with New Zealand we decided to work with a local company who was able to customise the proposed journey to suit our particular requirements. Contact with their representative ,Shelly Ryder, was totally uncomplicated and we always received speedy responses to our emails. Shortly before our travel we requested last minute changes to our itinerary, prompted by the advice from our agent who being in the country, was able to act according to developing local conditions. We were more than satisfied with the service provided as our whole tour went without a hitch from beginning to end, including the various pickups to and from airports undertaken by very competent partners. We were able to drop into the company offices in Wanaka and see for ourselves that this is a competent travel company which is professionally organised.
We cannot begin to say enough about the wonderful arrangements and support we had from you, Shelley. Our itinerary suited us so well. The only arrangement that you didn't perfect was preventing the November earthquake in Kaikoura! (And we don't really "fault" you for that.} We have passed along your name to many people already, including people in New Zealand. Thank you so much for being part of our memorable trip. Our top highlight (amongst many highlights) was the Doubtful Sound overnight cruise. The small ship suited us so well and provided amazing sights and memories. Should we be fortunate enough to travel to New Zealand again, you will be our first call. All the best to you. Fondly, Ruth and Michael
We agree that you did a superb job of anticipating our capabilities and interests and detailing an excellent tour for us. In fact, there were no negative aspects to the trip whatever, and we were able to complete out experience of New Zealand as a consequence, having toured the North Island in 1989. The housing you arranged graded from fully satisfactory to excellent, and our hosts were generally an excellent lot. At times, we had difficulty finding the living quarters once in town – our GPS was non-functional/no instruction manual, and a GPS chap was unable to make it work – but we met some pleasant folks as a consequence who guided us. In general, you hit the high points for us with driving distances gauged to our experience and age. A high point: The residents in towns and elsewhere were most kind! Even young people would exchange greetings on the streets, two of such were in Maori I took it. We would, thereby, wish you success in the future with your profession and willingly recommend your professional assistance to anyone who asked. Best wishes, Charles
Hello Shelley, Nigel and I just wanted to drop you an email to thank you for arranging our tour of the South Island. We got back on Saturday afternoon and from a holiday that has filled us with ever lasting memories and smiles. We cannot fault your organisation skills and especially your efforts in ensuring that we accomplished so much in such a short space of time, in seeing all that the South Island has to offer both in terms of scenery, people and experiences.
Car hire – again excellent. Air New Zealand flights – excellent and well timed. All motels – excellent (especially Kaikoura) Highlights for us all were undoubtedly Kaikoura and we are glad we made the extra effort to support the town and hopefully it won’t be long before they are thriving with tourism once again, as well as Wanaka – which I know Nigel fell in love with – it is a beautiful town. Thank you once again for your hard work and organisation. All the best for the future. Kind regards Kerry & Nigel
Hi Jane, thank you so much for organising our self drive family holiday to the South Island in 2017. The itinerary was well planned, allowing adequate time to explore and rest. We also appreciated the accommodation choices, which included self contained facilities that allowed us the flexibility of food preparation. Your in depth local knowledge of the South Island provided us with an enormous selection of sights and activities to explore.
Thankfully you provided us with full support and alternatives, after the cancellation of the TransApline train journey due to the fire. Your excellent service has contributed to the many wonderful memories that will remain with us. It was also good of you to take the time and catch up with us in Wanaka. Thank you so much for organising our fantastic holiday. Cheryl, Frank, Rebecca & Jordan Wee.
Hi Salli, Just wanted to let you know our trip to New Zealand was excellent. Everything that you and Jamie organised for us was spot on. The accommodation, flights, car hire and activities were perfect we had no problems with anything. Thank you so much for organising all this for us, It is the best holiday that we have had, we loved New Zealand and will definitely be back. Regards, Sue and Andrew⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
A big thank you to Salli Smith for a job well done. The trip was outstanding and most enjoyable. We could not have asked for a better time. The accommodation was outstanding the itinerary was precise, informative and easy to follow. For a 12 day trip it was as good as it could be. Every logistic task was taken care of from fights over to rental cars, accommodation, excursion bookings and ferry tickets. All we had to do was turn up. If you asked me what was my impression of paradise, New Zealand would be fighting for first place.
This country is unbelievable so different from Australia. It is a natural wonderland with scenery to die for. The highlight of the trip would have to be the Shotover jet boat ride with the Moari village excursion a very close second. Favorite destination would have to be Queenstown. We will be back sometime soon as there is soo much more to see. Once again a very big thank you to Salli for an outstanding job. Regards Andrew Buddle and Susanne Buikstra From Townsville, Queensland Australia.
The most amazing experience we have had so far. The journey was so easy as everything was pre-planned and booked. Salli our Pure Journeys agent was very helpful. She was very patient in helping us get the perfect itinerary organised beforehand and even during the trip she was accessible for any questions or issues we had. The road trip across the South Island was the most stunning views we had ever seen, especially the drive between Queenstown to Sir Franz Josef. Lake Pukaki is a 'must do' stop with breathtaking views and perfect for panorama shots. Coach to Milford Sound and the cruise on Milford Sound was great also. Over all an amazing experience tailored to exactly what we wanted thanks to Pure Journeys. Have recommended to all my friends.
Hi Christina, I wanted to write and tell you that other than the bad motel in Queenstown we had a great trip and thoroughly enjoyed the South Island of your fair country! Everything you provided for us was so well organized and helpful in getting us from place to place. Everything went very smoothly with all the motels and activities we had lined up so I thank you for that! I will say that the room we got for the first 2 nights in Queenstown at the Blue Peaks Lodge smelled awful and was in very rough condition. When we came back and got a different room it was better because it did not stink but I would still have to say that establishment needs some upgrading! Other than that we were quite happy with our accommodations. I hope the 2017 season is going well! Cheers, Susan
Hi Christina, thanks for everything. We have had a wonderful time in New Zealand. A part from the hiccup on the way from Picton to Christchurch. The GPS goes by the old road and we were to stop on the way to Kaikoura. Anyway, we manage to re-route our way to Christchurch and not to mention no breakfast at Fenton Motel. Apart from that, the Lee family has beautiful memories and an enjoyable time in NZ.
Hi Christina thanks for organising our tour - it was fantastic. We are finally back in Sydney and full of positive emotions about the trip, here are a few comments about the trip, maybe they will be useful for you and your other customers:
1) The quality of the first accommodation in The Towers on the Park was mediocre. Nothing bad, but nothing special. Probably should be a different, better, rooms. 2) Te Anau's Distinction Luxmore Hotel was a disaster. Awful room quality and service. Especially on the NY eve. Definitely no-go for anybody to stay there. 3) All other places were great, and definitely "must see/stay" for others. 4) The 6-hour Doubtful Sound Wilderness Cruise is a waste of time, because it's too long and the scenery all the same. I think driving to Milfond Sound and booking 1.5-2 hours tours from there directly is a better option. 4) The stay in Fox Glacier will need to be adjusted with glacier tours (one or another, doesn't matter). It wasn't offered initially, and we were lucky to get a spot at the last minute. There are hot pool/bath at the same area, and I think it could be a good offer to book guests to that pool immediately after the glacier visit. if no tours available, then worth explaining to customers that these places are self-guided and they won't miss much if they explore them themselves. However. the hot bath is a must-book, as they were booked for a week ahead. 5) Blue Pool scenery track is a must see for anybody passing by! That's it :)
Hello Christina, Here's some of our thoughts on our visit to your beautiful country and our itinerary. And of course we would definitely recommend you and Pure Journeys. Christina - you have always been prompt in any requests I made, very helpful and willing to work with us. We encountered no problems with hotels or activities booked by you - most didn't even need the reservation numbers. It all went smoothly. Car rental was also efficient, though so glad we had the bigger Hyundai Imax for more days, realized this upon getting the Toyota minivan.
Unfortunately, the Toyota also had a pet smell that made a few members nauseous. The Apex office in Queenstown was not able to replace it but gave us a spray that helped. Overall it was a little too much driving and very tiring to be in the car that much. It was hard to judge beforehand how much that would be- would've been nice to have built in a day or two here and there with no driving and more relaxing. Perhaps an extra day in Queenstown or Wellington would have been nice. Accommodations: Almost all the hotels were excellent. Mercure Auckland wins hands down - great rooms, wonderful & helpful staff. Our least favourite was Kingsgate Autolodge - it was in need of upgrades & beds were uncomfortable, followed by Sudima Lake Rotorua where they put us in different buildings and the triple room bathroom needed updating. On hindsight I wish I had asked you to request adjoining or at least same floor rooms. Bayview Chateau Tongariro - Just lovely but food was very expensive. Bay Plaza Wellington - loved the central location and the staff were VERY helpful. Rooms were standard but we really loved having breakfast cooked for us. Hotel Franz Josef - very slow room service! Blue Peaks - spacious apartment but poor customer service. Not only did we have the breakfast fiasco mentioned to you before but their reception staff were unhelpful and curt not just that one time but next day too! Hermitage Chalets - lovely location but once at Mt. Cook area confusing to find - they have separate check ins for chalets & rooms so we had to do a little to and fro up the hill, so a little note in directions would have helped. Also in the itinerary you had listed them having free internet so we had left to do our research there but this was not the case. And lastly the beautiful Heartland Hotel Cotswold - had a great time, lovely courtyard buildings, spacious rooms and fantastic reception staff. Grateful to have ended our journey here. Activities: Beach and Bush tour- would have been nice to know to bring or wear swim suits just in case as the other group had been told and we were not ready to go into the water at the waterfall or beach. Bay of Islands - enjoyed seeing the dolphins and relaxing on the boat. Kids enjoyed parasailing. But our highlight here was the Waitangi Treaty Centre - they have done such a good job. So glad we checked it out. We preferred the drive back to Auckland via the Waipoua Forest instead of the highway - more picturesque. Here the highlight was the majestic Tane Mahuta - one of Kriya and Nita's favourite. One of my favourite was the Waitomo glow worm caves - so awe inspiring. As we are LOTR fans, Hobbiton was a must and weather wise it was a gorgeous sunny day but felt a little disappointed at the huge numbers per group whereby a). couldn't always hear tour guide and b). not enough time at a spot. It would have been better if they could have let us wander by ourselves. At Rotorua - volcanic valley walk was good but felt we could have done without the boat cruise. -Te Po Indigenous Evening Experience Combo- It says in the itinerary "You will get to visit the Kiwi House to see and learn about New Zealand's national flightless bird, there is a kiwi specialist on hand to answer all you questions. ... Te Puia is charged with keeping Maori traditions...is home to the New Zealand National Carving and Weaving Schools. You can watch these unique crafts-people as they share their skills with the next generation." We intentionally skipped going to the Otorohanga Kiwi House the day before because assumed we would get to see kiwi the next day. The kiwi house is flipped so they have the lights off during the day. Therefore when we arrived the kiwi house was already closed. It would have been nice to know this and we would have gone earlier to enter the grounds as we were done with our morning walk and boat combo by 1/2 pm. Seeing a kiwi was also a must for us. The meal was quite a spread with so many dishes even for vegetarians hence the feast especially being on Christmas day was very festive and enjoyable. The Maori performance was entertaining. Bonus - we got to see the geyser erupt. We had a fantastic time at Tongariro National Park. Did a lot of hiking, some of us even did the Tongariro crossing. We were happy to have hiked on some of the LOTR locations. Wellington - a good city break. Zealandia night tour was full - had we known this might happen we would have booked earlier. We still enjoyed day Zealandia and the Te Papa museum. Cable car was a waste of money and overhyped. The girls did a LOTR location & Weta workshop tour with Rover and would highly recommend it - it was organized well and lunch was scrumptious. Enjoyable wine tour at Blenheim. Shame because of the earthquake the long drive via Murchison was tiring. Franz Josef -It said in the itinerary to call 24 hours before to check conditions for the Franz Josef Glacier, but it didn't say that the flight could be canceled due to weather and so when we called the person just confirmed and gave us no heads up. If we had known it could be canceled due to weather when we woke up we would have called again to check when we woke up early (5 am) to rain. Instead we all got ready and then only because we asked the front desk about a slightly later check out time did they tell us to call to see if cancelled. We could have checked earlier and then slept in more. It was disappointing to not do the glacier tour but understand for safety reasons. To make matters worse the rain made driving conditions to Queenstown take much longer and we almost missed the TSS Earnslaw. If we had to do it again, we would opt to do Milford Sound instead of Doubtful sound as we thought it ate up our whole day mostly with the several coach & boat trips. Milford Sound would have given us more time to enjoy Queenstown and not be rushed. From Akhil - Bungy jump was totally worth it! I've never been so scared before (but in a good way)! Very convenient center near our hotel too. Mt Cook was impressive even the drive to it. We must have stopped so many times for photos because we just were awed by the scenic mountains and the blue lakes - out of this world pretty. Again we were out of luck as the Sky Stargazing was full - if only we had known there is a limit on the numbers we would have booked earlier. We hiked plenty and got rewarded with beautiful views. We would recommend the Hooker Valley Track even though we did it in rainy windy conditions. Since seeing a kiwi was a must, we were thankful we managed to fit in Willowbank wildlife reserve in Christchurch before catching our flight. And were overjoyed to see a couple of kiwis - another big highlight for us. One other suggestion I would make to the bound tour pack would be to put the driving directions after each place instead of separately at the back. New Zealand is a beautiful country, we thoroughly enjoyed visiting and touring the different regions - so wonderful to have all these landscapes. We enjoyed learning about the Maori traditions and culture. New Zealanders were friendly and we were impressed at how you conserve for the planet. We would recommend New Zealand holidays to family and friends and will be passing your contact information to anyone who is thinking of visiting. Sorry if this write up is too long. Thanks Christina for working with us on our itinerary. Regards, Pragna
An amazing experience. What a beautiful country New Zealand is. The scenery was stunning, the people friendly, and the beds comfy!! The itinerary planned for us was good and we had a good overview of the whole Country, but needed longer in some places to soak it up. If we did it again I would want to spend an extra day between Rotorua and Wellington - that was a long drive. I'm not sure if it's possible but some idea of where to find petrol stations on longer trips might be useful too. Thank you for all your expertise in arranging this trip.
First of all, we would like to thank you *so much* for all you did for us. We had an absolutely amazing time, and aside from a few issues I'll spell out below, everything went very smoothly. It was fantastic. You live in an incredible place. All of our lodging was great. Generally, we had rather nicer rooms than we really needed or were used to. We probably could have gone down a level and saved some money. But we were very glad we got the upgrade on the cars! We found hotel clerks to be much more helpful and friendly than American ones. Enough were so exceptional that I will comment on them individually.
Mercure Auckland. I told them we were celebrating our anniversary, and they brought us champagne and chocolates in the room. Very sweet. Tuscany Villas. I think this was my favorite place other than the Chateau Tongariro, mostly because of the in-room hot tub. But I didn't realize how hot the tap water would get in Rotorua, and I came out looking like a lobster! The desk clerk there, Donna, was the most helpful of all of our hotel staff. She was just great, incredibly helpful not just with check-in and breakfast but also when our pickup for the Mitai Maori Village (arranged at the last minute) failed, and she had to call them twice and then give us directions for driving there ourselves. The owners of the Tuscany Villas should hear about how much we appreciated Donna's assistance with everything. Chateau Tongariro. This was an amazing choice for our 25th anniversary celebration, and I'm glad you picked it! It was great even though we couldn't see the mountains the whole time we were there. I've since seen pictures of the dramatic setting we were in and couldn't see! The room was fabulous, with an in-room hot tub and fireplace. Since we didn't get to do the Tongariro Alpine Crossing, we had tea in the hotel. Both the tea and the food that came with it were excellent. It was better than the tea we had in London. Best food we had in NZ was tea at the Chateau Tongariro. Hotel Ibis Wellington. Perfectly serviceable, not remarkable. Very convenient location. Anchor Inn Motel. Lyn was also an extremely helpful desk clerk. Please pass on our good wishes for getting her place fixed up and keeping her business going. It must be devastating. I'm glad the government is helping. The room was great and the view was gorgeous. Rydges Latimer Christchurch. The desk clerk gave me free drink coupons for the bar because I cried when he asked me where I was from (on the day after the US elections) and he felt badly. It was sweet and cheered me up a very little bit. Mt. Cook Lodge. A unique and interesting room. Victoria Hotel Dunedin. Again, the hotel staff were very helpful here, and we appreciated them. Marakura Te Anau. We were confused here, because Marakura isn't in the name of the actual motel; it's just the wing we were in. The rooms and view were great. The first day, they gave us a whole suite! It was much more than we needed, and we had such a great time touring the Catlins that we arrived fairly late and hardly had a moment to enjoy it. But this is the one place where the hotel staff were not particularly helpful, and were actually more surly than Americans. Milford Sound Overnight Cruise. Room was bigger than I expected! The boat and food were just great. I appreciated the commentary and knowledge of Blair, the guide out on the deck. By the time we got to the boat (there's a whole story there, below under Problems), we were exhausted from our amazing dive trip with Descend Diving, and I was ready to sit in the bar with a post-diving beer and my computer to process some photos. But then we found out there were included activities! They didn't have a kayak that would fit Eric, but I set out on an amazing paddle and got a very close look at a Fiordland Crested Penguin with my binoculars. It was very exciting! Clearbrook Motel. The man was very nice. Due to an administrative error, he gave us a much nicer room than we had paid for. We had another in-room hot tub, a full kitchen with dishwasher and even an oven, and a washer and dryer! We had some extra time to enjoy our room that time, because our tramp up Iron Mountain took less time than we had planned. We ran into some Germans we had met first on our very wet hike to Taranaki Falls in Tongariro and then again at Zealandia in Wellington, and they tramped all the way up and down the mountain with us. They were incredibly patient with us, but we still felt obliged to go a little faster than our usual pokey pace. So, we got a hot roasted chicken from the Four Square and cooked some frozen vegetables in our room. Definitely enjoyed this place. Rainforest Retreat. As lovely as advertised. Staff were very friendly. The birds were loud! I told myself, if I were staying in a place called "Rainforest Retreat," I couldn't really complain about birds waking me up at 5:00. In general, we found that restaurant service in NZ did not live up to the standards to which we are accustomed in the US, and after a while, we gave up trying to get restaurant food and mostly went to the Countdown and the Four Square. The one exception was Monsoon restaurant at the Rainforest Retreat. The service there was great. Activities Hobbiton. It was cute and sweet. We ended up on tour with only eight people, and we were the biggest fans in it. We liked our tour guide, who was very engaged with the subject matter, and not just phoning it in. White Island. One of the most exciting tours we've been on in our lives, and we have done some really amazing things. This was superb! We got a five-sense experience of the volcano. Our guides were very helpful, knowledgeable, and safety-minded. It seems to be getting more popular, as we talked to many other tourists who had visited the island. There were a couple of Belgians, Guy and Anne, who were on a similar tour that I think was also organized by your company. They took a helicopter to White Island! They had aerial photos they had taken with a cell phone that were utterly amazing. Wish we had done the helicopter (but I know that I specified the boat)! Mitai Maori Village. This was really interesting. I'm glad we decided to go at the last minute. Some of it seemed kind of Disneyfied, but we still enjoyed it and learned quite a bit. A good experience. Waimangu. This was a great tour, and we saw so very many things. I particularly loved the extremely informative brochures they gave us, and wished I had similar brochures for everything. When we got there, they had rescheduled the boat, and told us to plan on two hours rather than an hour and a half for the walk. Even with more than two hours, I still had to *run* for the boat to hold it for Eric and Guy and Anne. It turned out when I reached it that it was further delayed for a group of Russians, so I hadn't needed to run. The Russians had a recording in Russian to listen to, so Eric and I and the aforementioned Belgians had a guide, Martin, all to ourselves. I could ask all the questions I wanted to (which, as you can imagine, were a lot!). Martin was great and very knowledgeable. We were still hoping to see a little bit of Wai-O-Tapu, but with all of the delays with the boat, we couldn't. I kept trying to ask other tourists if anyone had seen both to find out how they compared, but I didn't talk to anyone who had seen both. Tongariro Alpine Crossing. This was the one huge disappointment of the trip -- and, of course, it was nobody’s fault but the weather. We are so sad to have missed this. We enjoyed a tramp on our own to Taranaki Falls, but it was very, very wet! Zealandia. This was an absolutely incredible place, and should be highly recommended to anyone interested in wildlife. We did not get to see the kiwi, but we did hear it. Our guide, Johannes, taught us so much about New Zealand and its ecology. There are lessons here that would be valuable all over the world. What these people are doing should definitely be supported. However, the tour is an hour longer than what your information indicated! We really had to rush off to get to the ferry the next morning. This one was your suggestion, and I'm very glad we did it. Interislander Ferry. This was *so easy* compared to dealing with any sort of American transport! The on-board cafeteria also exceeded expectations. Mmm... scones! Whale Watch Kaikoura. I was so impressed with their operation, their ability to find whales, and their consciousness about the uniqueness of their environment. There were several guides, and they were all very good about identifying birds as well as knowing about the whales. I feel so lucky, knowing what I know now, that we were able to do this. Three days later and it would have been much more of a problem! Also, the day we went on this tour was the first day they had seen a Sperm Whale for several weeks. They told us at the desk that we would probably only see Pilot Whales, but we did see the Sperm Whale, and the crew were so excited about finding one. I remember all the joy they felt that day, and I'm sure the earthquake must be very hard on them. I read that the sea floor in Kaikoura rose several meters, so that they are now able to send boats out only around high tide until the boat launch is redesigned. I see the business is Maori-run, which explains our guide's elaborate greeting in Maori. We wish them all the best and hope they can get back to their regular business as soon as possible. Dolphin Encounter. This was amazing! We were really impressed with the work of our guides here. They were particularly great at helping out with equipment and getting us onto and off of the boat several times. We particularly enjoyed speaking with Marina from Sao Paolo, Brazil, because Eric and I have been trying to learn Portuguese. I asked Marina about a bird, and she told me some very interesting things about it (in English). But I didn't write its name down properly, and so after we left Kaikoura, I e-mailed Dolphin Encounter to ask if they knew which bird it had been, and they were able to identify it for me. I really appreciate this sort of service. But I tell you, I am used to cold water, and it was cold! I was so glad I had brought my own extra-warm and well-fitting wetsuit! I was able to stay out with the dolphins longer than any of the other women, and I was much older than any of them were. Again, please pass on our well-wishes for getting their business back in order after the earthquake. Glacial Explorers Mt. Cook. Absolutely one of the highlights of the trip. Stunning beauty. It was rained out for the time it was scheduled, but they were fortunately able to fit us in the next morning. We are so glad we got to do it. And, on the trip, we got a tiny peek at Aoraki/Mt. Cook itself. A great time. Big Sky Stargazing. We didn't get to see the stars; it was snowing. At least the snow made for pretty views the next day. The Big Sky Stargazing people were very nice, they showed us the planetarium show, and we learned some things. They gave us a Southern Hemisphere star chart and told us we would receive a partial refund. We were never able to use the star chart, because, by the time it finally stopped raining, the days were so long that we were asleep whenever it was dark. But of my six forays outside of North America (assuming we count Hawai'i as part of North America, which it really isn't), four of my trips have been to the Southern Hemisphere. I definitely hope to be back south of the equator and able to use the star chart! Otago Peninsula Wildlife Tour. This was incredible. We were very excited about the things we saw, and we did much more than I expected. The tour really did go all day! They brought us back at 19:00. I would recommend this one mostly for people who are seriously interested in nature. It might bore some others. For us, it was great, and I'm glad we signed up for it. Catlins. We were so glad you encouraged us to visit. It was beautiful, and we were so caught up in Nugget Point, Curio Bay, and Slope Point that we didn't get to go down to Omaui and Bluff to see the lighthouse. A Curio Bay, we stepped out of the car and saw a Yellow-eyed Penguin right there on the beach! Diving Milford Sound. This was absolutely superb. They had three crew for five divers, two dive leaders and one support person on the boat. That is a very good ratio! We were well fed, and I was kept nice and warm on the boat! They were lots of fun and we really enjoyed diving with them. Milford Mariner Overnight Cruise. This was great; I wrote about it above under Lodging. Te Anau Glow Worm Caves. Being in the caves was an incredible experience, but we had the distinct impression that this tour was a little too popular. The object seemed to be to get as many people in and out of the caves as possible. The parts of the cave outside the Glow Worm Grotto were really fascinating, and I would have appreciated some more time to explore, and to have been able to take pictures where there weren't any Glow Worms. Our guide was excellent and informative. Wanaka. As I've said elsewhere, we really enjoyed the tramp up Iron Mountain! Franz Josef Glacier Guides. Once again, we had the impression that the object of the company owner was to get as many people on and off of the glacier as quickly as possible. When we arrived, right on time at 14:00, we were told that our tour had been moved up half an hour, and we were rushed through the getting-ready process. This was supremely annoying, and I didn't really have time to think through what I needed to bring with me. It turned out that a couple of things I didn't bring, chapstick and water, were in the "goodie bag" they gave us, but I hadn't had time to inspect it. We also found out belatedly that we could have left some of our things at the helicopter pad site rather than at the check-in site, and that would have been very helpful to have known, because it would have given me the van shuttle ride over to think about what I really needed to bring. That said, the rank-and-file workers at Franz Josef Glacier Guides were excellent within the constraints imposed on them by their employer. In the brief time allotted, the staff in town got us properly outfitted and briefed. When one of them saw me putting my phone into the bag with the crampons, he gave me a mitten to put it in to prevent scratching of the screen. Very thoughtful. Cody, our glacier guide, was truly incredible. On our glacier hike in Alaska, we had one guide just for the two of us. We had to pay a little extra for that, but normally they send one guide for four tourists. In Iceland, we had two guides for ten tourists, some of whom spoke limited English and had to have the others translate for them. But here was Cody, all by himself, with twelve tourists, again in the situation where some of them spoke limited English. He was absolutely amazing at keeping all of us safe and comfortable while still showing us the incredible features of the glacier. We did have to spend a fair amount of time standing around while he helped other people individually, but we were in an utterly beautiful environment, so standing around wasn't bad. He was very knowledgeable, and his explanations were very clear. Cody really should be commended, and he should have fewer people per tour! Problems There were three places where we could have used more help, and I'll mention them here so that you can give more advice to future tourists. Car pickup in Auckland. We were scheduled to have a driver pick us up and bring us to the Europcar office at 9:30, and then check in for Hobbiton at 11:30. There was no way this timetable was realistic. There was a long line at Europcar, and we didn't get on the road until 10:30. I had to call and have one of your staff reschedule our time for Hobbiton, but we had to have it rescheduled again when we got there, because we were still too late. It worked out, but Eric would have been extremely disappointed if we had missed Hobbiton. I think I foresaw this potential problem several months ago, and asked if we could get the car earlier, but you said it didn't work. We guess the limitation must have been the driver, because the Europcar office opened at 8:00. Had we known how close it was to the Mercure, we could just have walked and arrived at 8:00. But even if we'd gotten to Europcar right when it opened at 8:00, the 11:30 check-in time would still have been difficult to meet unless the car pickup were much more efficient than usual. I think you should tell future tourists that they could walk and pick up their cars earlier if they wanted to, and even so, leave more time to get to Hobbiton. Descend Diving/Milford Mariner. We arrived in Milford Sound at 8:40, 20 minutes prior to our 9:00 scheduled time to meet Descend Diving, but we didn't know where to go. We really needed very clear instructions from you that we weren't to go to the main marina; it was an alternate site. What we did was park, and then walk 15 minutes to the main boat launch, only to find out that this was the wrong place. The Real Journeys staff were very helpful in this regard. We had no phone signal or wi-fi, and I had left my information booklet from you back in the car, but fortunately I was able to retrieve the name of the dive group from the cached e-mail on my phone. Real Journeys looked up Descend Diving on their wired internet, and got Descend Diving on the phone, so we got directions to another wharf. Real Journeys' staff offered to hold our luggage for us, but we were already going to be late, so we didn't have time to walk back to the car and then bring back the luggage. So, we got a late start with Descend Diving. And everything we saw was so amazing, we were quite drawn in even to wildlife on the surface, Bottlenose Dolphins and Fiordland Crested Penguins. Lance raced the boat back to the harbor (this was really fun!), but it was still 16:05 when we got there, and we needed to check in for the Milford Mariner at 16:30. We grabbed our clothes, and I literally ran in just my underwear and coat. I was at least able to put my shoes on while Eric drove back to the main marina. He dropped me off with the luggage and drove the car back to the parking lot. When I got to the check-in desk, the Real Journeys staff told me that, after 16:00, it was OK to park in the bus lot right next to the terminal. But it was too late to tell Eric this, and we of course had no cell signal. They apparently don't tell anyone this until 16:00, even though we had stood there right in front of them in the morning talking about how difficult it was going to be for us to make the transfer with an unexpected 15-minute walk from the parking lot. So, I didn't really feel badly that we kept 58 other passengers waiting, me still in just underwear under my coat, while Eric walked back from the other parking lot. You, however, can tell future SCUBA divers that it's OK for them to park in the bus lot after 16:00, and that they can save a lot of time and make the transfer much more easily that way! Petrol stations around Christchurch airport. It appears that many of the petrol stations in Christchurch were closed after the 2010 earthquake. However, the extremely old model of GPS Europcar gave us did not know this, and kept trying to direct us to one closed station after another. Worse, the one station closest to the airport would not take our American credit cards, and had no staff to take cash. It thus took an extra half an hour to fill the car's tank before returning it. Fortunately, we had planned on extra time. Please tell people where they can actually fill their cars' tanks before returning the cars to the airport in Christchurch. Size of booklet. I really loved the booklet you gave me with all the pretty pictures. It was very complete and informative in all but the three situations mentioned above, and it is a great souvenir of the trip. However, I noticed that our Belgian friends, whom I think also used Pure Journeys or one of your affiliates, had a book printed on half-sized paper. Yes, this would have made the book twice as thick, but I would have been able to fit it in my bag and carry it around with me. Time and again, I was asked for vouchers that I didn't have, and had to go back out to the car to look at the booklet and get the relevant confirmation number. Eventually, I started programming confirmation numbers into the Google calendar so that I could pull them out of my phone when I needed them. Particularly when trying to find Descend Diving, but in so many other instances, having a half-sized paper book that I could have carried in my bag would have made a big difference. That's it, Hayley! Just a few suggestions for how to help future tourists, but other than those, all of your arrangements went very smoothly. You did a great job, and we had a great trip! You can read more about our adventures and our New Zealand experiences at www.zuckershack.org/travel/nz . I'm not quite done with that home page, but all of the linked pages are complete. Other than the first five photos in this album (which are from elsewhere), on this Flickr page are the best photos I took in NZ and hope to exhibit in our county fair art show next year: https://www.flickr.com/photos/7388553@N07/albums/72157666509419223/with/31245646206/ Thanks again, Beth
Louise helped us plan an unforgettable trip to NZ. We toured both the North and South Islands in 12 days and the trip was tailor made for us. We were lucky to get nearly perfect weather but that is out of our control. Mt Cook, Queenstown, Punakaiki, Rotorua were our highlights. Will be recommending Pure Journeys to all my friends. Kia Ora NZ. We will be back!
Thank you to Jane who was extremely helpful and efficient in arranging my Holiday! She catered for everything I required and was available throughout my trip when I had to rearrange plans due to weather and had questions about the current road conditions (she was even able to call me on a Sunday when I had emailed a query!). I was travelling alone so I felt much safer knowing that there was someone local I could ask for assistance at any time. Everything went so well and I really got to enjoy the beautiful South Island 100%. I can't wait to come back to NZ! Thank you so much Jane! - Eloise
Hi Christina, well back home now and into old routine. We had a very good trip and saw some interesting and spectacular scenery . Experienced some wet and windy and fine and cold weather. (all in the one day) Accommodation was excellent (except for the one problem encountered) and can not be faulted with some a bit better than others.
The final night was good in Christchurch although we only had a short stay as the Trans Alpine train was quite late getting in because of track work and we were gone again at 6 am. All in all we must say that we can thoroughly recommend Pure Journeys and the time and effort you put in getting everything together. Our GPS took us on some roundabout routes until after the third day it was only used for in town navigation. The supplied atlas was very handy as was all the other supplied material and detailed itinerary. Thanks for the service in regard to our one problem and we finish by having good memories of our NZ holiday Regards Brian and Karen Nicholson
Well done to Shelley and team for making our recent holiday on the North Island so very pleasant. Your arrangements worked like clockwork and allowed us to simply enjoy your wonderful country. We unreservedly recommend your company to anyone planning a trip to NZ.
Thank you Pure Journeys and the team for great travel & accommodation arrangement in NZ during 16 – 24 October 2016. Efficient Pure Journeys website made communication very convenient. Dedicated team are always happy to provide useful advice to design & customise self-drive programme. Endorsed Qualmark certainly reassures the customers receive quality services in all aspects. Truly appreciated your services. Regards, SAIKAEW Family Bangkok, Thailand
Charlie was very helpful in organising our tour. The itinerary was well put together to enable us to explore the South Island. The travel documentation pack contained all the information we need. Only one hotel did not meet our expectation. Otherwise we had an enjoyable introduction to New Zealand mountains, lakes, glaciers, waterfalls, and lush rainforest.
What an incredible honeymoon! We seriously had a fantastic time and would definitely recommend Pure Journeys, and Hayley specifically, to anyone heading over to New Zealand. It was awesome to have such a detailed itinerary and information pack which left us with clear instructions but enough wiggle room to take things at our own pace and pick and choose what we wanted to experience. While the itinerary was really impressive, easy to follow and made sure that we got to stay in the perfect locations in cities and towns around NZ, the real stand-out feature of this package for me was the support.
When the weather ruined our chances of crossing the straight via ferry, Hayley was on top of things by giving us plenty of notice, and booking in replacement flights over the phone with no hassle what so ever. What would've been a disaster if I was in charge (I wouldn't even have known to check if the ferry was still sailing) was instead a seamless adjustment that actually sped us up. Similarly, when weather cancelled our glacier heli-hike experience, Hayley was all over it making sure we had the best possible chance of getting up there. In the end, the weather never gave us that chance, but Hayley's management of the whole situation was appreciated none the less, and we were able to make up for it elsewhere. To give some specific feedback about the accommodation... We LOVED Browns Boutique Hotel in Queenstown, I asked Hayley to recommend one place to splurge on and Browns was indeed a perfect choice. The location, the service and most of all the breakfast was really something to write home about. Big shout out also goes to Quest Rotorua which aside from being a beautiful, spacious room in a perfect location, provided some of the best service we've seen. They were extremely helpful! Mount Cook Lodge & Motels is another standout for us, waking up to that beautiful view of Mt Cook was incredible and the room was just perfect, nailed it. On the not so honourable list were... Glacier View Motel which wasn't anything super special but was certainly acceptable, however left a sour taste in our mouth when no one was at the desk an hour after check-in time. To her credit however, the manager did arrive later and was extremely pleasant & helpful, just would've been nice if she could've at least left a note with a number. For the record, Hayley was all over this and got things sorted for us quickly. Kingsgate Hotel Dunedin was another one that wasn't awesome, certainly a great location and a decent but not fantastic room. What killed it for us though was the paper-thin walls and a chatty neighbour that insisted on long, early morning calls. For the record however, even our least favourite places were well picked, fitted within the budget we'd given Hayley and left us central to the action. Really, these are minor blemishes on an otherwise epic holiday. Thanks again Hayley, Pure Journeys and New Zealand in general for a truly awesome celebration of our marriage!
We had been in contact with Christina going back to Dec 2015 for our July 2016 holiday. I had been in touch with other tour companies, but found Christina to be most obliging and helpful with our personalized itinerary and in a timely manner. We appreciated that only a minimum deposit required and had the time prior to holiday to pay it off and having the online portal most easy to use. We had great accommodation and always had easy walking access to the towns. We had plenty of travel time allowed and between our activities. Could not thanks Christina and Pure journeys enough for a well planned holiday that all we really had to do was turn up. Highly recommended to family and friends.
Hi Michelle We just returned home from our amazing trip to New Zealand! Actually amazing doesn't do it justice. There really aren't enough superlatives to express how great our time there was. We were so pleased with the service of Pure Journeys, everything was so well organized we had absolutely no issues. The packet of information and planned out itinerary were fantastic. All the excursions were great. We loved staying at the B&B's and getting to know some lovely Kiwi hosts. Even the weather was terrific, we only had one day of rain and fittingly that was on the west coast in the rain forest. The only sad part was leaving. We really did not want to get on the plane. Any chance you can help us immigrate to NZ? Thanks again for your all the work you did putting together this unforgettable trip for us. Brian & Lori Fulghum
Hi Laura, I wanted to shoot you a quick note. The four of us had a fantastic vacation, thanks, in no small part, to you! Our itinerary was great, the lodging was great, and we had perfect weather throughout (OK, maybe you couldn't control that). We will be recommending you and your firm to all of our friends and family who wish to visit New Zealand. Cheers! Andre Bilodeau
Some feedback I have for you that, of course, applies only to my feelings are the following: The rental car on the North Island was a Toyota Corolla small SUV or station wagon. When I returned it at the Auckland airport, I told them this car did not have enough power on the hills or enough acceleration for passing....this could be dangerous. The rental cars on the South Island were wonderful powerful SUV's. My two North Island city stays I would have preferred the option to upgrade hotel types. In both Wellington and Auckland, the CityLife hotels did not offer valet or help with luggage (Wellington a young man on the desk did help me when I checked out). The parking garages were separate for both these hotels, requiring a one block walk or so with luggage. So you may want to consider offering that upgrade to future clients.
While I thoroughly enjoyed all the excursions, I found that for me, I needed a day off now and then. When I changed my itinerary so as not to go up to Abel Tasman National Park, those 2 days off in Picton were delightful. I just walked around the High Street, met and talked with the locals, and generally relaxed. Not sure what the balance is between doing as much as possible during a vacation in NZ and taking it easy....again for someone my age of 64. All the excursions you booked me into were wonderful, the guides or moderators knowledgeable and funny! I also highly recommend the Lord of the Rings Glenorchy tour. That is what I went on in place of the Dart River tour. This LOTR tour was a half day with picnic tea, and about an hour into the countryside from Queenstown. Driver/guide was knowledgeable about the movie, film locations, filming stories etc. Had some costumes for roleplaying in the woods, and a very nice "tea"with coffee, sandwiches, pastry etc. We stopped by a stream in the national park....wonderful. If you want their contact info, I can send it to you. I chose them over the "4 wheel drive LOTR tour" as I wanted a more sedate experience. Last but not least, meals on I think Good Friday and either EAster Sunday night or maybe Monday night were challenging. Very few places open, those that were not able to get in. For your future clients perhaps a note about that. Luckily i don't mind Fish & Chip takeaway, and also had soup and crackers I had stocked up on from the grocery! Obviously I too learned from this overall wonderful experience and will incorporate my takeaways into my next selfdrive trip. If I did not have an extended family here in the US, I would already be making plans to move to NZ! Thanks, Pam
Natalie DeCaro did a FANTASTIC job for us, planning a 3 week trip for a family of four, with less than one week notice, during high season! She was responsive, patient, flexible, and absolutely amazing. It's rare for someone to listen and respond so well to our (sometimes unique) needs. We booked our own international flights and initial hotel, and she arranged for two car rentals, the ferry from the North to South Island, a train, and various activities. In addition, she booked the remainder of our hotels exactly the way we asked--mixing some unusual (e.g. tree house) luxury accommodations with some unusual and quirky (e.g. train car) accommodations, and even the best location in Queenstown (Novotel) when nearly everything I searched for was sold out. She also provided some great recommendations of activities to pursue on our own, restaurant ideas, and even helped rearrange our itinerary when our son fell ill and needed medical care. I can't say enough positive things about her!
Hi Laura A quick note to say thank you very much for organising our holiday in the South Island. Your arrangements worked perfectly and all connections, etc happened as planned. We were pleased with the accommodation standard and handy locations! It was such a boon for us not to have to organise all of these successive arrangements ourselves. Apart from that we appreciated the tour and walk tour tips you added in. Yes we fully endorse your recommendation to take the Kaikoura coast train - what an interesting stretch of railway and coastline. The hospitality we encountered was terrific everywhere we went.
The other comment that we are pleased to make : New Zealand knows how to do tourism really well! Everything seems so well done and well set-up for the tourist wherever you go! e.g. how well-done is the Pancake Rocks walkway that allows a significant number of people to view a tricky bit of coastline - but in comfort and minimal fuss and not inflicting too much damage on something that is weathering away at its own pace. How well done is the viewing carriage in the train! On top of all of this NZ Fine Touring and Pure Journeys also doing a great job too. One could not rate any one place against another as each had its own style. Highlights for us were probably Mt Cook and Punakaiki for their special ambience and the glaciers for their magnificence. Anything else came a close second. Also great to see Christchurch finding itself again. Kind Regards Don and Sybille
Hi Shelley Just a quick note to say thank you for all your work in organising our holiday. It went very well and we had a great time, even the weather co-operated! We would certainly contact you if we choose to holiday in New Zealand again, Best wishes for a happy Easter Kind regards Sue Bowra
Shelley, I want to say thank you so much for the places we have seen and stayed at. It has been a terrific. Thank you for all the work you put in to making our trip to New Zealand wonderful. Barbara Glidden
Dear Michelle Just a note to say that we are now safely home and happily reminiscing about our lovely time in New Zealand. Thank you so much for arranging it so well (except for the weather in Abel Tasman, Franz Joseph and Milford Sound!) Everything you had arranged was in place and we were fully expected at all times. It made our time on the Islands so easy. Sorry we were not able to call in on you but I think you were on leave anyway. With thanks again and best wishes Tony and Sarah Herdman
Planning this holiday couldn't have been easier. The web page is easy to navigate and I LOVED the hassle free payment system. The whole thing was organised and tailored just as we requested. The only effort I put in was telling Jane what I wanted, and she did the rest. Perfect! Everything went exactly as planned, the accommodation was beautiful, the car turned up on time and the whole holiday was fuss and bother free. That's my idea of a holiday and why I will definitely use Pure Journeys for our return trips. My only complaint (and advice to those planning their trip) is we should have stayed longer at each place. It takes longer to drive around New Zealand than what we are use to (we live in a desert) so we will factor that into our next trips. Not that it was a huge issue, the scenery is gob-smacking, especially to us-of-the-never-never. Enjoyed the whole thing.
Hi Jane Many thanks for helping to organise our trip from the UK. It was great to visit New Zealand after spending Christmas with our daughter in Sydney. After our first night in Christchurch we had a wonderful Trans alpine train journey across the island and then picked up the car at Greymouth We had a great week driving round some other parts of the South Island. Thanks for suggesting the extra activities and for managing to book the flight back from Milford sound . So pleased you managed to get that booked as it was great to do the coach journey and then see the scenery from the air( and it only took 45 mins!) Beautiful scenery and very friendly people all over the island. All the motels we stayed at were spotless and all staff very helpful. Shame we couldn't stay longer but will just have to come back soon. Best wishes Tony and Michelle Edwards,West Sussex,UK.
Hi Charlie, We returned safe to the UK on 25th February. Not sure that we actually wanted to board the plane from Auckland as we still had 5 months on our visa but needs must. We just wanted to thank you again for the fantastic way you arranged our trip. It was good to meet you in the office and put a face to a name. As you know from our meeting the trip went so well with the support and organization that Pure Journeys put in to the planning. The venues were great.
You know that the Hamner Springs Hotel had a few problems with generally looking tired inside and the buffet breakfast. The Oasis hotel in Franz Josef was more like a motel and was in the process of being sold. It was clean and modern but not up to the standard of the other places we stayed. I know it was not your first choice and it was acceptable but I would not use it again If I were you. By contrast the Akaroa Beaufort House was stunning with great hosts. We were lucky as there were no cruise ships visiting but the quiet French fishing village can get crowded as the ships stop there rather than Christchurch we were told. However, for us it was just a perfect end to a trip of a lifetime which you and your colleagues created for us. We wish you all well and many thanks.
HI Laura, That’s us back in UK after a fabulous holiday. We had eleven days in Australia after leaving New Zealand. Roberta and I cannot thank you enough for organising such a wonderful trip for us. So many amazing places to visit and excellent accommodation. All your arrangements went so smoothly and the weather was kind to us. Also it was good that we managed to meet you. We are already wondering when we can come back so you may hear from us again. Thanks again so much Scott & Roberta
Shelley, Here is a rough summary: 1. The best Lord of the Rings Tour was Hobbiton, closely followed by the Weta Workshop in Wellington. These were far superior to the other tours, as there were no remaining set components in the other locations. 2. Abel Tasman National Park offered the most fun outdoor experience. The Kayaking and Hiking at the park was outstanding. 3. Wellington and Queenstown were the most enjoyable Cities to visit. Wellington’s Castro Street, Museum, and Tram were top notch, and the location within the city was very pleasant for walking around.
Queenstown is extremely beautiful, and there were a ton of things to do. We went Mountain Biking in Queenstown as well as luging and speedboating. 4. Best eating experiences (of many) were Pedro’s House of Lamb, Fergberger, and the Restaurant at the Mt. Cook Resort. 5. Ho hum locations were Christchurch (it is at least 2 years from being rebuilt) and Edoras, which was a long day for not much to see. While these were the best of our experiences, it is not to say that the other locations were not enjoyable and interesting. The drive itself across the country offered many opportunities to discover secret things. If there were one thing that I would have liked to add, it is Rotarura. In hind site, I’d have added it, and some sort of Maorian Cultural tour, and perhaps dropped Christchurch. I have no complaints whatsoever. I think that the plan that you provided was exactly what we were looking for. A Lord of the Rings adventure with plenty of outdoor site seeing and experiences. Kind regards, Lionel Jellins
Hi Jane, Well we are home again and we all just wanted to say a GREAT BIG THANK YOU. Our trip was perfect, and all went without a hitch. Would love to know how you also managed the perfect weather forecast every day as well. Very much appreciated!!! Our families are telling us how well we look and the memories we have, (not to mention the few thousand photos that Debbie & Rob took between them) will stay with us forever. Not sure when our return visit will be or our North Island trip but we will definitely contact you – as well as recommend you to family and friends. We have included a little feedback on accommodation for you – see below Also wanted to say the tours you selected for us were great and ll went without a hitch Thank you once again, Regards, Debbie, Charles, Rob & Robyn
Hi Jane, Just a touchbase, as my family left last Sat. We had such a great time together that we are planning another trip soon. But we all agreed that this trip was so amazing in so many different ways, that it would be hard to beat!!! :-)) Thank you for all the work and expertise you put into this- it made the trip much easier for me! We had terrific cars from Europcar that worked really well on the roads we travelled and they performed well and we were comfortable. Just two things to mention:Read more
1. When we were in Taupo, I decided that we should challenge ourselves and do something we had never done before…so we found a fishing charter boat, booked for 2 hr minimum $140 per hr boat hire (not per person) with Lakefun- I can recommend them- Dan Bosse. They have all the gear, set it up and show you what to do. In one hr, we caught 3 fish (threw one undersized one back) and did some scenic cruising, to Maori Rock Carving. We took the 3 kg Rainbow Trout to a local restaurant, who cooked it beautifully for our dinner that night, and Dan exchanged the smaller one for some fillets he already had smoked, since we had to leave early the next morning and couldn’t wait for our own fish to be smoked. It was amazing experience and we enjoyed that so much! So you might think about including that in your suggestions to your clients. By the way, your other suggestions were very good and we tried to do as many as we could! 2. On our way back to Auckland from Waitomo Caves (which was also an awesome experience, thanks for clearing up the booking which was lost via their computer changeover), we were coming up the SH1 past Papakura and before Manukau. It was uphill and we were in the far right lane, passing two large double-load freight haulers, one behind the other. Just as we were almost up to the cab of the truck behind, he decided to pass the truck in front. He started moving into our lane while we were in it! My brother-in-law called out “Look out!” and I saw the huge wheels of this truck right near the passenger side!! Instinctively, I braked and pulled over to the right as far as I could to avoid collision- and there was only about 1.5 M of gravel and grass before the concrete divider. I am really grateful for that Toyota Rav 4, because it was able to hold steady with the left wheels on asphalt and the right wheels on grass. It seemed an eternity for him to pass us, but when he did, I was able to regain the road and resume speed. I think the cars following had moved into other lanes to avoid what could have been carnage!!! As you can tell, we escaped unharmed and are here to tell the tale. We got the registration number of the truck and I submitted a Dangerous Driving report to the NZ Police website. Now that is something I hope we will never experience again!!! And I am ever grateful for having a good car that could handle that situation! Jane, thank you for all your help and I am happy to recommend your company. Best regards, Bonni Yee
We had a absolutely wonderful time, it was all organised extremely well and I would definitely recommend Pure Journeys to anyone. Wish I could do it all again!
Taupo was wonderful. We did a cruise up the Waikato river to the Huka Falls. Cost was only $37, and well worth it. The captain was a very good tour guide and I would recommend this to anyone. -
Dear Laura Just to say thank you for all the organising you did for our holiday, we had a superb time enjoying the accommodation and excursions we booked ! Thanks Carol and Brian hector :-)
We arrived back from our wonderful journey yesterday morning and we couldn't be happier with it. Your help leading up to it was amazing and I couldn't speak highly enough about how easy and stress free the trip could be. Everything was so organised and there was not a single issue throughout. It really allowed us to enjoy our holiday with the peace of mind that everything was ready for us. The places we stayed were also great, particularly the place we stayed at Queenstown. The itinerary also provided some great insights. All in all a wonderful trip made all that more better by this package. Thanks again!
Kia Ora Tom. Thanks for your help :) I have recommended few of my friends for Pure Journeys and specially you. You have been a great help before and during the trip. Please feel free to pass this response to your team.
Bye, bye South Island until next time! We loved you. Our first overseas holiday in 20 years and it was a great success, we can't wait until it's time to take off for our next one. I think we have caught the travel bug. Pure Journeys, 'for travellers not tourists' organised our 19 day South Island Tiki Tour beginning and ending in Christchurch. Tom was fantastic helping us every step of the way. Highly recommend Pure Journeys to any of my friends or family if you want to explore everything New Zealand has to offer.
We have just return from our wonderful trip to New Zealand. Thank you so much for your kind assistance and helping us book the most amazing trip! All the information that you gave us from recommended cafes, restaurants and places of interest were extremely helpful and we used the document extensively whenever we arrived at our destination. The tours that you put together was fantastic and we thoroughly enjoyed every single one of them. We were disappointed that Cafe Verde did not have any of the muffins the day we stopped for lunch! We were prepared to run the whole day for those muffins! Although it did not stop us from pigging out with a ginger and chocolate brownie :P You have such a beautiful country and I certainly envy you but rest assured we shall be returning! We are now planning a North Island tour.
Even before you had to change some of our itinerary because of the weather, I was very pleased with the service. Was very appreciative of the time you took to make recommendations for bookings that weren't even being made through Pure Journeys. Thank you so much for a wonderful trip! We'll definitely be booking through Pure Journeys next time we go to New Zealand. Best experience with a travel agent I have ever had!
We are home now. We had an amazing time! What a beautiful country you have. I want to thank you for all the great suggestions. We followed many of them and they were great! Fleurs was amazing, when we finally found it! And Fleur herself was amazing and wonderful! We even bought her book. Everything went smoothly. thank you for setting it up so well.
We had such a good time, saw so many awesome sights, and met some of the most interesting, welcoming people while we were in New Zealand! Pure Journeys couldn't have been nicer and more helpful than they were! They were prompt, efficient, and there when we needed them. They came through with flying
colors on every question or problem we threw at them. It was obvious they were interested in making our trip the best it could be for us, and not just doing a job! You can't go wrong using them to plan/book your trip!
Thank you for all the effort you put in organising our holiday package. We returned to Australia two weeks ago and are so pleased with our "Pure Journey". We had an amazing holiday! We took all the extra information with us and it was very handy, all the tips and suggestions on it were very helpful. We have travelled a bit but was the first time we organised a trip by internet and have to deal with a voucherless company, so we were a bit scared, but all our bookings were correct and the hotels were nice. We felt like we were travelling in a tour with a lot of freedom so we could stop where we liked. We are surprised that not many people know about Pure Journey in Western Australia so we are telling our friends about your reliable company and will keep advertising. So please keep up with the good service. Once more, thanks a lot.
Mate we had the best time! We have been here for 12 days and have had so much fun, thanks for your help as we could not have done it with out you. All the extra stuff about places to see and things to do have been so helpful. Ann wants to come back and do the whole of the Fox Glacier; we have been told that you can fly to the top by helicopter and spend the night there and then walk down the next day.
Our stay at the B&B in Hokitika was very good. Although we are not really B&B people, Brent and Grace were so lovely and gave us so much local information that really made the rest of the trip for us. Their home is lovely with the most breathtaking views. I can thoroughly recommend staying there. Brent is also an artist and does amazing work, we ended up buying two of his paintings!
The accommodation you had booked us is was great, but my favourite was the motel in Richmond, the Arthur Wakefield Motel. The owner/reception guy was really lovely and welcoming, so even if it was not the most glamorous, it felt the most “homely”.
Yes, we will certainly be coming back to New Zealand! Depending on the time of year we might also go back to Coromandel, it really did impress us. I'll be happy to use you to organise the trip.
My wife and I are back in Sydney now after a terrific holiday in New Zealand. The itinerary and services you put together for us were uniformly excellent. I would especially acknowledge the accommodation you selected for us in Hahei and Rotorua. They were both fantastic and can be recommended to your other clients without reservation. We made quite extensive use of your travel notes as well. They were very helpful.
Thanks a lot. You have made this whole process a breeze for us. We highly recommend you guys to anyone travelling to New Zealand. Thanks for all your help.
Hi Tom. I have just returned from an absolutely wonderful, amazing trip that you organised for my husband and I for his 30th birthday. Firstly I want to thank you and your company because we had such a truly beautiful, wonderful trip that you organised and booked for us and everything was spot on! We only had 4 days but we felt like we got to see so much and experience some of the the most stunning countryside that NZ has to offer. We will not hesitate to recommend you to any of our friends and family and we will be using you again in the future. Thank you for helping us to experience your beautiful country we really cannot wait to return.
We have only positive feedback to give regarding Pure Journeys, we will recommend it to others and hopefully we can travel with you again in the nearest future.