i am just planning a solo trip to nz and have 4 weeks there in early march.
i want to join a tour with a few other people but not really after the whole party style thing. ive seen quite a few posts and like the look of flying kiwi as i want to do plenty of active stuff but would love to get other ideas or feedback on these trips
hope you can help
I wouldn't go with Flying Kiwi. They used to astroturf these forums (someone working for them pretended to be a happy customer and kept bringing them up). Any company which is that dishonest in marketing is not a company you should give your money.
To help recommend something, why is it that you want to travel with a tour? (As in, what exactly are you looking to get from a tour specifically? New Zealand has perfect infrastructure for making your way around independently, and you'll meet plenty of people in hostels that you could travel together with for a short bit, so most people don't bother with tours.)
Purely for being active, you might want to look into Hiking New Zealand and Active Earth. I have no experience with either, and personally would just do what they do by myself, but I like the concept all the same.
Im currently using the Magic Bus to get around New Zealand. It isnt in your face partying but it can be if you want or dont want. The bus takes you to scenic spots and optional activities and then drops you at you selected hostel so really if you wanna party or not its up to you.
Kiwi experience has the rep of being full of 10 years olds so may stear clear of them.
I have met people on the flying kiwi and it has good reputation.
I just got back from NZ for four and a half months travelled mostly in four weeks and lived in welly and sucklan...er...Auckland for the rest of the time.
I did kiwi experience for the four weeks. It sucked. not because of the people. but because of the guides, they stop at every meat pie place imaginable just to get more money out of you. and they talk and talk and talk on the buses. it's really frustrating sometimes you meet people on the bus and you want to talk to them but forget it. cause you got this idiot with a microphone yapping away for 4 hours at a time.
I really can't recommend any of these guided tours I heard the same things about all of them. I say go with intercity or nakedbus.com before any of the guided buses. but rent a car if you have money.
I'll give you a great itinerary so you can skip the crap not worth seeing:
auckland for 2 days- do a free day tour with stray or kiwi to get a taste of the guided tours.
paihia- bay of islands
waitomo- I hear the caving thing is worth it. but I didn't make it out there
Raglan- for surfing
piha beach- is meant to be good but I didn't make it there either
coromandel peninsula/tauranga- my favorite part of NZ
rotorua-for some geotherrmal stuff
taupo-for a few activities and the tongariro crossing
river valley - for some rafting
wellington- great city- and to get on the ferry.
South Island- I did kiwi experience for the whole of the south island and it took 3 weeks without a whole lot of partying (I went out twice in queenstown). If I had to do it over again I would rent a car with the money I spent on the pass and drive myself and skip 75% of the places...like greymouth, westport, invercargill...some of these places they bring you there just so you can go to the bar or meat pie shop and feed the economy.
Franz Joseph for a few days- Glacier hike, and there is a great 4 hour hike there for free as well.
Central otago-It's stunning. I mean jaw-dropping. go between Lake Wanaka and Lake hawea...most beautiful place on earth
Queenstown- activity central
Wanaka- laid back version of queenstown
milford sound- must do
go north to christchurch for a day or two. take in the scenery along the way
then go to Kaikoura- a small town but it has a ton of marine life tours- swim with hundreds of dolphins, swim with seals, whale watching. deep sea fishing. I didn't do any but regret it as everyone else on the bus did one of the activites and was completely blown away.
oh yeah the pancake rocks was a cool day trip as well.
i work for flying kiwi and thought we should post a response just to clear the air with regards to our product and listing. We were contacted about some posts that were placed referring to flying kiwi a few years back on travellerspoint but were unable to track the source - it appears posts were certainly singing our praises with little other content. There does not appear to have been any recent listings of this nature and we have not heard any such reports from any other sources.
it did make us very aware of the dangers of web forums and the potential to be exploited and we have since signed up to all forums relating to nz and carefully monitor and respond to any queries etc relating to the company. We are upfront and you will find our listings posted under the name flyingkiwi or similar (a few have word limits!).
We have been operating for 20 years with an impeccable satisfaction record and won numerous tourism and business awards and are only more than happy to look into any queries/issues regarding posts and can even cross reference them with past travellers where it helps.
back the main question and trip though, the suggested itineraries sound good adn there are cerainly plenty of options there. for more information check out www.newzealand.com where all recognised and registered companies are listed and a number of itineraries are also posted - its probably the nearest thing to a neutral site.
Happy travels whoever you end up choosing and dont worry - you cant go far wrong in such a beautiful country.