14 Nov 2015 - 02 Dec 2015
First thing I want to say is The Big Tiki was awesome! I enjoyed every minute of it and Contiki's catchphrase of "No Regrets" could not be truer!
Before I went on the tour, I was a little apprehensive as I am not a big partying person and I had heard about Contiki being "a party tour". This is true and it isn't. Contiki tours are what you make of it. On my tour there were people who would go back to the motel early in the night, there were people who went out every single night and didn't come home until 3am (to this day, I still have no idea how they did it.) and there were people like me; some nights I would go home after dinner, some nights I would stay out longer (the latest I was out was about 11 - as I said, I'm not a party person) and it was awesome! There were always people in the same frame of mind as yourself as to staying out late or not. So if you are worried about this, don't be!
This was my first time travelling abroad by myself, which is why I decided to do a tour. I was a little worried that everyone on the tour would be travelling with their friends and I would be all by myself, I needn't have worried! The majority of the people on the tour were travelling by themselves. I think there was only one group of friends and a few couples who intermingled with everyone else anyway.
I'm now realising I have talked a lot about the people on my tour and not much about the actual tour, trying to write a review for a tour that is almost three weeks long is not easy, there was just so much that we did that it would be impossible to mention everything! If you're still reading though, I will tell you a little bit.
The tour is so well organised that the tour managers have it all down to an art! Everything runs so smoothly, you don't have to worry about a thing, you don't even have to check in to the motel (which by the way every place we stayed at was great, clean and comfortable!) and your tour manager books all your extra activities for you!
Everything in New Zealand is beautiful! So many lakes and mountains, everything is so picture perfect you'll have to refrain from filling your camera's memory card on the first day.
The 4 days you spend in Queenstown are incredible! If you love adrenaline then this is the place for you! Every adrenaline inducing activity you can think of is right here! And if adrenaline is not your thing, there is still a lot of things you can do here. Two of the people in my tour hired a car and did their own thing for the time we were there. And the place you stay at in Queenstown has the most amazing view you could imagine!
I'm not going to tell you which activities are good and which ones aren't as your tour guide will tell you what you need to know, all I will say is they're right - listen to them.
If you're going to go to NZ, do this tour as it is the longest. A lot of people on the tour did the one that stopped at Auckland and didn't go up to Bay of Island, they missed out. It was the perfect way to wind down at the end of the trip.
Well this has been quite a long review, if you've stayed with me until the end, thanks! Enjoy your tour! And for staying with me all the way, here's a secret: the contiki busses have free wifi.
Have a great trip!
Review written Apr 2016event 0.3
13 Jan 2016 - 31 Jan 2016
This trip was amazing!!!! So worth the extra time and money to see both the North & South Island, you will not regret it. I thought I'd write a review on what to expect and do etc. However I recommend you DO EVERYTHING! Don't go home with any regrets or should've dones.
First up I went in the middle of January and it was f**king freezing!!! Most days were around 13 degrees, so make sure you pack warm clothes. Secondly NZ will only except passports for photo ID in regards to getting into clubs and purchasing alcohol. Don't bother bringing your drivers licenses because you'll never need to use them. When you jump off the plane at your destination grab a shuttle, cabs are soooooo expensive here!
I recommend getting into Christchurch about two days before the tour starts as it gives you enough time to get over jet-lag, get settled and time to look around (warning: there is next to nothing to see in Christchurch besides their botanical gardens, so don't waste your money by getting in a week early) and try and stay at least two days in Auckland (there is plenty to see and do here!). Incase you didn't know, no matter where you start (whether it be Christchurch or Auckland) you will not be given the opportunity to explore that city with Contiki!!! The moment you hop on that bus you set off to your next location (e.g. Lake Ohau. or Waitomo).
I would also HIGHLY RECOMMEND staying in the hotel where you will be meeting the next day. Although it can be pricey it is well worth it and you don't have to stress over catching a cab in time.
Now as to the ME Time optionals, here is what I recommend and what I don't etc.:
- Air Safaris: wasn't available due to weather. But apparently it was really worth it!!
- Speight's Ale House Dinner: SO WORTH IT.....unlimited alcohol for an hour!!!!
- Death Rattle Ghost Walk: wasn't available due to time of year, however we heard it was pretty average.
- Kawarau Bridge Bungy: ABSOLUTELY EPIC!!! The sight of the first ever bungy jump. A MUST DO!!!
- Group Photograph: don't bother, someone in the group will get it and post it on your facebook page.
- Skydiving Queenstown: I didn't do it as I have skydived before, apparently it is really good but the one in Lake Taupo is better. If you are going to do it, do 15000ft.
- Milford Sound: Soooo worth the 5 hour trip to get there and back!!!! A MUST DO!!!!
- Bungy Thrillogy: I believe this is really worth it (I did this one!), you can do a small bungy and then an even bigger one, as well as a swing.
- Nevis Bungy: This was scary as hell, you free fall for 8 seconds!!! So worth it.
- Kawarau or Shotover Rafting: don't bother, you get an included shotover jet ride while in Queenstown.
Heliraft - I didn't do this as I had to many other activities I was doing at the time but apparently it was a really good time.
- Walter Peak Horse Riding: I didn't do this as I do not like horses, however we were told it is a pretty average horse ride.
- Minus 5 Ice Bar: this is awesome!!! Do it!!!
- Funyaks: i didn't do this, but apparently this is super epic!!!
- Skyline Restaurant: MUST DO NO EXCEPTIONS!!!! Views are 100/10
- Canyon Swing: awesome thing to do, recommend it if you aren't doing the Nevis swing
- Franz Josef: when here the best one to do is the Ice Explorer (the weather was bad so we weren't able to do it), if you can't do it pay $75 and do a hike to the base of the glacier.
I didn't do the following because they were either not available or were not worth doing: Glacier Country Kayaks, Kapiti Quad Bikes, Across Country Quad Bikes, Seal Coast Safaris, Wairarapa Wine Escape, Rock'n Ropes Adventure Course, Nomad Safaris: Safari of the Scenes, ziptrek encounters
- Lord of the Rings Tour(s): I didn't do this but wished I had!!!!
- Dinner / Party Cruise: THIS IS A MUST DO NO EXCEPTIONS!!!! p.s. bring your bathers!!!
- Hukafalls Jet: i didn't do this but apparently its really good
- Ogo: THIS IS A MUST DO NO EXCEPTIONS!!!
- Skyline Gondola and Luge Rides: this is pretty average (the one in Queenstown is better) but for the price I had a really good time.
- Hobbiton: MUST DO NO EXCEPTIONS!!!!!
- Whakarewarewa Thermal Village: don't bother, your days in Rotorua are jam packed of better optionals.
- Te Puia (Maori Arts & Crafts Institute): we were made to this and to be honest it wasn't for me, I like culture and histroy, but this was really boring.
Kaitiaki Rafting - I didn't do this
Skydiving Lake Taupo: thsi was the best skydiving in NZ!!! If you are going to do it you must do 15000ft.
- Rotorua Canopy Tours: I didn't do this
- Mt. Tarawera Trek: THIS WAS EPIC! Full on, but had the most amazing panoramic views. Make sure you wear hiking gear though.
- Waitomo Caves Tour: if you want to do a dry tour this is the one.
- Black Water Rafting: THIS IS A MUST DO!!!
- Ruakuri Caves Tour: don't bother!!! The Waitomo caves tour is way better.
- Kiwi Parasail: This is epic and you should do it if you have the money!
- Carino Day Sailing: while in paihai, there is only two day optionals you should do, this is one of them, The rest are crap!
- Cape Reinga: while in paihai, there is only two day optionals you should do, this is one of them, The rest are crap!
Review written Mar 2016event 0.3