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Thursday 29 October, 2015

Choosing the Right New Zealand Coach Tour

Considering a New Zealand coach tour? Here is some sound, simple advice about what to look for to ensure you make the right choice.

Often we are asked whether holidaying in New Zealand is better by self driving a rental car or by joining an escorted coach tour.  Of course, there are pros and cons that need to be considered and it largely depends on the style of vacation that suits you best.

Guided New Zealand coach tours certainly offer relaxing days when you can ease back into your comfortable coach seat and enjoy New Zealand’s spectacular scenery through wide panoramic windows.  Being more elevated in the coach means you’ll see everything!

Having a professional driver, and often a tour director as well,  ensures all the daily logistics and details are taken care of.  You’ll depart each morning on time so that there is no rushing during the day.  Refreshment and photo stops are synchronised and any activities planned for the day are carefully scheduled.  It might sound a little “organised”, but it works, so you can relax and enjoy your holiday.  Each day will roll out beautifully.  Your luggage will be magically delivered to your room each night, you’ll always have preferential seating in the hotel restaurant for dining and you’ll always arrive at sightseeing and activities right on time.

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When selecting an escorted coach tour, take into account the number of days you have available for your New Zealand tour.  As a rule of thumb 14 days is the minimum you’ll need to cover the highlights of both the North Island and South Island.  If you have 18 days or more, even better!  If time is short, perhaps select a one island tour.  For the North Island 8 days is ideal and for the South Island, 10 days is perfect.

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Other considerations include the standard and style of accommodation you prefer and the meals & sightseeing included.  Some people prefer all meals to be included, others like to have more options to dine out independently.  For excellent value for your holiday dollar, low cost escorted tours that stay in good quality 3-3.5 star tourist hotels will be the way to go.  If you prefer a little more luxury with a premium guided tour, then look for tours staying at 4 star hotels and resorts.

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You’ll be travelling with other people and this can be a wonderful opportunity to socialise and make new friends from all around the world.  Typically the maximum coach capacity will be 48 people, travelling in comfort with onboard bathroom and dual doors for easy entry and exit.  Although the coach capacity might be 48, often some departures will have fewer people.   If you prefer a more intimate experience, a “small group” tour might be more suitable.  These tend to travel in smaller coaches, typically without onboard bathroom, and can visit gorgeous places just a little off the beaten track.  Some offer special features such as overnight cruising at Milford Sound.

Booking early and taking advantage of early-bird discounts can save you $100s – literally!  So start your planning well in advance, at least 6 months, so you get the best deals for your airfares as well as your New Zealand coach tour.  For New Zealand summer coach tours (October to March), early bird deadlines are usually late April but sometimes there can be special offers to watch out for.

If the choices seem a little mind-boggling, free free to contact us for some more good, sound advice on guided coach tours.

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What our clients say
We had a brilliant trip and can't thank you enough for all your excellent arrangements. The whole car hire was so good - easy pickup and drop off, good to take it over on the ferry and it was a lovely car - neither of us have automatics but we did appreciate it on all those twisty mountain roads. The motels were excellent, and fully met and even exceeded our needs and expectations. They were all spotless, comfortable and well equipped. We particularly liked the ones at Portobello, Clyde, Kaiteriteri, Whitianga and not forgetting Christchurch. The locations were spot on, convenient for access and often with lovely views. We loved staying at the Chateau in Tongariro. Such a beautiful hotel, with great food - we had a huge room, and a huge bathroom with a spa bath, which was much appreciated when we hobbled in after doing the Crossing! While on the subject, we had spa baths in a couple of other places too. We also really appreciated the location of the motel in Wellington as it was so easy to find on the highway (I must admit I had been a bit nervous about finding it in a strange city).
Thank you again for the refund on the motel at Kaiteriteri, much appreciated as it did cover the cost of the Greymouth motel.
People keep asking me what were the highlights of the trip, and it's very hard to say. I just loved the country, so beautiful, unpopulated, and with friendly people everywhere. We were challenged to our limits by the Tongariro Crossing, saw amazing wildlife - blue penguins, seals, Albatross, kiwis and enjoyed great food everywhere as the quality of your fish, lamb and steak is of the highest. We had the best fish and chips ever in the shop in Portobello!
The three places I would have loved to spend more time in were Portobello, Kaiteriteri (to walk the whole of the Abel Tasman which is so beautiful) and Whitianga as again, the Coromandel is an incredibly beautiful area. While we were there we had a wonderful afternoon at The Lost Spring, with fantastic massages - would definitely recommend that to everyone!
We enjoyed it all and I, at least, have been left wanting to see and do more, so who knows, might be back!
Thanks again for all your superb work on our behalf, which made it all so smooth and easy for us.
Hope all is well with you, Very best wishes,

J & C, UK - Feb 2018
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