(1) Trip Managers (we had two) were good. Trip Driver was excellent and super helpful.
(2) However, for the first 9 days the trip was over crowded as there was 51 on the bus, which made being in the bus highly unpleasant.
(3) Next, there was far too much emphasis on drinking, partying, and hooking up - from my observations of the other travellers, this is highly irresponsible as many of them were clearly alcoholics.
(4) Additionally, there were activities we were forced to do (e.g. watch people do bungee jumping at the bungee HQ or do the Ogo), which are scheduled to be before the activities that I wanted to do (e.g. visit the brewery and visiting the kiwi sanctuary).
(5) Furthermore, the quality of the accomodation varied greatly from good (Jucy Snooze in Queenstown, BreakFree in Christchurch) to alright (Abel Tasman Mercure in Wellington, Lake Ohau Lodge, Kings Hotel in Ohakune, Lakeland Resort in Taupo) to awful (The Village Inn in Te Anau, which had windows that would not close properly and despite reporting it was not fixed; Rain Forest Retreat in Franz Josef, which had a leaky toilet plus mould and despite reporting it was not fixed; Sudima Hotel, which had a leak in the roof and despite reporting it was not fixed but a bucket was place to catch the gross water coming through the roof).
(6) Despite mentioning that the trip was part of a special occasion (honeymoon), there was no acknowledgement of it or anything special done. In fact, we were made to feel like we were antisocial because we did not want to go to the "optional" dinners with the group.
(7) The music pumped through the audio system was ridiculously loud for no good reason other than to make people deaf.
(8) Included breakfasts were pretty much as expected, but the dinners were disappointing especially in Franz Josef (frozen vegetables and store bought frozen cheesecake).
I did a Contiki in 2006 and I decided after that trip that I would never do Contiki again. It was only after a friend of mine asked me about it a few years ago and I told her she should not do it. She and her husband went despite my recommendation and said that it wasn't that bad because of the hotel accommodations and a fairly chill crowd. That is why, in 2018 I looked up Contiki and decided to try the Kiwiana Panorama and convinced my husband to do it (he was very hesitant about it).
My reasons for travelling are about seeing the places and wildlife and experiencing the culture and food, not doing stupidly overpriced thril-seeking activities and drinking/partying, which are cheaper to do at home. I found this NZ trip to be a great disappointment. NZ is a beautiful country, but Contiki just focuses on cheap (well, expensive) thrills, drinking and hooking up.
After the trip, I am firmly of the opinion of never recommending Contiki to anyone. Contiki would not be able to pay me enough to go on any of its trips ever again.