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This was my second Contiki trip--the first one I did (Ultimate European) was mind-blowingly amazing, so I went in with high expectations. I only had a week in New Zealand so I picked a short 3-day tour to Bay of Islands. Met at the hotel a bit early for the kick-start meeting as stated on the paperwork I had been mailed, however I was getting increasingly concerned as the meeting time came and went and I was the only person waiting in the hotel lobby. About a half hour later I found out that my tour actually wasn't independently starting that day as had been suggested, but I was really being picked up and added on the tail end of another tour that had been going on for two weeks already. I had to wait another hour and a half before getting on the bus and it was kind of awkward because everyone on the tour had already known each other and had all their inside jokes and whatnot so I felt a little "third wheel" if you will--everyone was very pleasant, I just wish I had known I was part of an add-on.
The tour guide, Barnaby, individually went over all the optional excursions with me in detail and I had chosen the option for the full-day trip to Cape Reinga while everyone else decided to do a dolphin-watching boat trip instead. Another bus picked me up in the morning (the company was AwesomeNZ) and that tour was awesome! Would definitely reccommend that excursion. We went to two Kauri Parks and a mini Kauri museum, a few beaches including 90 Mile Beach, of course Cape Reinga itself, and went pipi picking and sand surfing as well as stopped for two meals throughout the day (meals were at own expense but high-quality and affordable--under $10NZ).
Although the Contiki tour was techincally three days long, the first and third day were spent mostly in transit so really it was just the second day with the optional excursions that counted, and even then I was with an independent tour company from 7am-6pm so didn't really spend much time with anyone from Contiki at all pardon a couple hours at the bar at the end of the day.
I was not upset with the tour, but I think because I did go in with such high expectations from my last Contiki I was a tad bit disappointed. I would definitely reccommend Contiki, just probably not this particular tour--I felt that what I participated in whilst on it I could have booked independently. But all in all I highly enjoyed my time in NZ and definitely plan to go back!
Review written Mar 2012Read more reviews » Write a review