Malcolm & Adriana Smith
Having decided to visit New Zealand to celebrate my 60th, the next big decision was how do we go about planning it. We have never been ones for organised coach tours. I know some people enjoy touring in a group, but we much prefer the freedom and flexibility of going it alone. We needed a starting point, and after listening to our travel agent and reading many travel brochures we chose Silver Fern. After weeks of planning and seeking advice we eventually arrived at a workable itinerary. In short it consisted of a month to explore both islands. We were to fly into Auckland and tour the North Island for ten days first, then cross by ferry to the South Island for the remaining twenty, before finally flying home from Christchurch. We aimed for two and three day stopovers with just the odd one nighter where it could not be avoided. That equated to 15 hotels, and on paper, 3500km or 50 hours of driving. Everyone was saying what a wonderful itinerary we had. But as we got closer to the holiday we had doubts we might have bitten off more than we could chew! However these were soon dispelled after the first couple of days when we realised just how well everything had been organised. Everything just fell perfectly into place, including the weather (not pre ordered!). The further we got into the tour the more confident we got and the more we enjoyed it. We do however realise we were fortunate to be in the right place when it came to the Christchurch tragedy. We were in the Abel Tasman National Park at the time and quite isolated from it all. And when the rains washed away the Franz Josef Bridge we had already moved south towards Invercargill. Had the rains arrived a little earlier we would have been trapped on the west side of the island. Hard to believe watching on the news a bridge being washed away that we had so recently walked and driven across. It is difficult to pick out our best highlights as virtually everything was stunning. But for me, driving along the Ninety Mile beach, Ok, so it was in a tour coach, but it was still something special. And then, visiting a friend on her farm, who I had not seen for over thirty five years, now that was something really special. All the accommodation was good (I have to say that because we chose most of them!). If I had to pick out our favourites it would have to be the Regent Boutique Hotel in Rotorua, and the Kimi Ora Eco Resort at Kaiteriteri. Although the Sofitel hotel in Wellington took some beating when it came to quality. With hind sight we should have listened to Silver Fern’s recommendation to go for the smaller establishments. The larger hotels tended to attract large coach parties which made for noisy meal times in the restaurants. If we had a small gripe (and it was small), then it has to be directed towards Budget Car Hire. Somehow there was a mix up with the insurance which put us through a bit of grief at Picton. But apart from that we had a brilliant time, and definitely a holiday of a lifetime. Thank you Silver Fern. Malcolm & Adriana
1 year ago
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Silver Fern Holidays has a 4.90 average rating from 58 reviews

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