What Our Clients Say
Please find below a selection of our client testimonials, reviews and endorsements.
Dear John and Kaye
Thanks for your latest newsletter featuring the "Great Railway Journeys of New Zealand". It brings back wonderful memories for me of the day I spent on the TranzAlpine, while staying with my cousin in Christchurch (and I took 124 photos of the fantastic scenery!). I also took the Coastal-Pacific from Christchurch to Picton and ferry to Wellington, but I didn't travel on the Northern Explorer as I was visiting friends in Palmerston North and Napier, using buses.
All-in-all it was a great trip, along with my many weeks visiting friends in Australia, so thanks again for organising the flights - everything went very smoothly and I'm so glad it was two years ago, before the bush fires and pandemic put a stop to so much travel in Oz and NZ, as I hear in emails from friends there. However, I'm glad the railways are still operating as they really are among the world's best journeys (another one is the shorter but spectacular Kuranda Railway from Cairns, on which Tina and I travelled back in 1986).
I do hope Allways Travel is managing to keep operating in this very hard economic climate, as you provide a valuable service which I may want to use again one day!
It was an amazing trip of meeting so many former students and colleagues from our years in PNG and I don't think I could better it.
It also gave me very important "closure" after my first two years of bereavement, being able to share our memories of Tina with so many people who knew her - and especially spending so much time in Sydney, her favourite city, revisiting all the places we loved to go together - like the magic of returning on the ferry from Manly to see a glorious sunset behind that iconic view of the Opera House and Bridge! I've since done a painting of it, but as seen from the Botanic Gardens - see attached
Best wishes for 2021,Roger MundyHigh Wycombe, BucksFebruary 2021
Good Morning Kaye
Gratitude is often considered to be a response before an event. Well, we had the most wonderful time on our adventure you so expertly put together
There was not one hitch or wobble. Absolutely perfect from start to finish. All accommodation was good, and all very different. We met some interesting people out in the middle of nowhere. Kangaroo Island was a triumph. We were the only people on the tour that day so received special treatment from our guide, a retired farmer who had been born and raised on the Island. As our itinerary had been changed he took us through the by ways that would normally have been missed on a standard tour. We think that the Island should be promoted and people encouraged to continue visiting.
Singapore scratched an itch for Sue.
The Tasmanian landscape was stunning.
We will give you a more detailed debrief about each stay as far as accommodation is concerned to give you an idea for future reference.
Today, we send you our grateful thanks for a beautifully crafted itinerary.
Best WishesPhilip & Sue GeeThrussington, LeicesterThe Gee Adventure: March 2020
A fantastic holiday in New Zealand,
with Craig giving such a helping hand.
From organising the coach seating,
to all the good places for eating.
Interesting stories and history information
always given without hesitation.
From gold mining to volcanoes,
farming and milk fat to car number plates,
occupations, rivers, mountains and populations,
always there to see us off on optionals.
Directions at loo stops for who goes where,
counting heads to make sure all were there.
Non natives cannot be forgotten,
top of the list has to be the possum.
Craig could not have done more,
which made the best holiday for sure.Sue & Philip BracherBlandford Forum, DorsetMagic Of New Zealand, January 2020
We wanted to arrange a trip to Australia, incorporating a cruise around NZ and were looking for a reliable travel agent who could deal with all our requirements, I found All Ways Tailormade Travel on the internet. With so much potential risk attached to making travel arrangements online, we were confident that All Ways were safe in terms of ABTA and ATOL membership. From Kaye's quick response to my initial enquiry, I was assured immediately of her efficiency and knew we had struck gold! Despite being abroad herself, within 24 hrs she not only answered all our questions but booked flights for us, with no obligation and without us having paid any deposit. The flights were perfect! Kaye proved to be extremely knowledgeable about all aspects of travel downunder but was never at all 'pushy'. Her hotel recommendations were excellent and everything worked like clockwork - as well as flights, she organised transfers, hotels, the cruise and even our Australian visas. If we are fortunate enough to be able to return downunder, we will definitely be contacting Kaye! Thank you for your brilliant service.
Once again, many many thanks for your fantastic organisation, which was second to none.Eileen RunkelUxbridge, MiddlesexJanuary 2020
Comments on questionnaire:
All locations were wonderful, but the absolute highlight was the Southern Alps/Fiordland region. Glacier Explorer, Doubtful Sound, Milford Sound, jet boat trip and flight from Franz Josef spectacular adventures. Special mention of gloworm caves tour which was magical.
North Island (especially sand dunes in 4X4 tour) was especially enjoyable even though our “highlights” were in the South Island
Special mention for Craig who was an outstanding tour guide and driver. His knowledgeable, attention to detail, planning, patience and general demeanour were superb.
All hotels were excellent in all respects
Kaikoura was an especially enjoyable stopover, excellent hotel, best pub food at “The Whaler” and best breakfast.
We undertook far more optional tours than the many in the group and feel they “missed out” as a result
In summary a wonderful holiday in a wonderful country – keep up the good work. We will not hesitate to recommend both New Zealand and All Ways.David & Judy JonesSt Neots, CambridgeshireMagic of New Zealand, October 2019
Guide, advisor and skillful driver,
Encyclopaedic knowledge and info provider
From viewpoints to toilets and the best little shop
His helpful tips never stop
He entertains us all with his facts and his tales
His sense of humour never fails
The myths and folklore all unravel
As we eat up the miles on the roads we travel
Cheerful, charming as friendly as can be
Just as you’d expect – as he is a kiwi
All joking aside it’s been a pleasure to spend
This time on our trip from beginning to end
So whether you’re a husband partner or wife
everyone needs a Craig in their life!Tessa & Philip LoatHavant, HampshireMagic of New Zealand, November 2019
After our time in Tahiti and French Polynesia unfortunately ended, we wanted to tell you how much fun we had and to thank you so much.
The honeymoon you’ve arranged for us was perfect! Everything was very well organized, thought of and we didn’t have even a single problem. It really was better than we ever could have possibly imagined.
Thanks again, and we really hope to have another trip planned by you ASAP ????
Kind regardsArbel and Gil TutnauerTe Aviv, IsraelAugust 2019
Well what a trip it was, the things we saw, the things we did and the moments we shared, Julia and I thoroughly enjoyed it, hectic yes but we wouldn’t have missed any of it. Relaxing now in between the Fijian storms without a notepad beside the bed reminding me what “bags out”, “breakfast” and “departure time” is, bliss !
We consider ourselves fortunate to have been amongst such a friendly and humorous group, I always think the test of a “good” touring group is one when your happy to sit next to anyone at dinner, ours was that group.
And what about that star turn, Craig, another bonus we had. His depth of knowledge and willingness to share it was incredible, from wildlife to culture, history to geography and sport to taxation, endless information if only I could remember a small proportion I’d be wiser. Then the hidden “extras” that make life easier and smoother, at each Coffee, Lunch or overnight stop the tips on cafes, bars, restaurants oh and bars again saved a lot of investigation time and maximised participation time. The stops at the supermarket and those extra bags, the ones without the tags, making it to the correct room, splendid service, oh and he could drive too !
“All Ways” certainly put together an impressive package for us and ensured we maximised our, in retrospect, short stay in a such lovely country, great memories created, thank youStephen & Julia PattrickWisbech, CambsMagic of New Zealand, February 2019
Thank you for your email and good wishes. Please find completed Questionnaire attached.
We had an excellent tour of NZ - all went very well, thank you very much for all your hard work and that of Craig to ensure that there was a lot of Magic!
The tour group dynamics worked well together. We had indirect links/common friends and acquaintances to at least 4 other couples - small world.
CheersDick & Jill GodwinSilsoe, BedfordMagic of New Zealand, February 2019
Hi John and Kaye
Just a short email to say how good our holiday in New Zealand was. Everything was so well organised by you, down to the smallest detail and the hotels were all well chosen for their position and good quality.
Craig was very, very good and made the holiday such a success. He was so well organised and knowledgeable about everywhere we visited and we shall miss his wit and good humour. You could not have a better person to be your “representative” on the tours. We enjoyed our farewell dinner, which was excellent.
We are now in Perth enjoying relaxing in the sunshine and will email again when we arrive home in the UK, with more details.
Thank you, again, for organising everything so well - it really was the “Magic of New Zealand”.
Very best wishesDavid & Jean LeeBarton upon Humber, North LincolnshireMagic of New Zealand, February 2019
I have typed up my responses to your questionnaire and attach it herewith. I had the most wonderful time,I learnt so much, I saw so much from the beauty of Mt Cook to the devastation of Christchurch. Thank you to all the people involved for giving me such a 'magical' time.
This really was a holiday of a lifetime; I cannot fault any aspect of it from my first Contact with John and Kaye to me return home. A special thanks must go to Craig. I would happily recommend the holiday to anyone who asked.Maggie CahmTorquay, DevonMagic of New Zealand, January 2019
Having a beer at the Copthorne. Weather not too bad
Looking forward to a rest in Russell...
All locations, hotels and tours perfect.
PeterPeter Adams & FamilyGreat Kingshill, BuckinghamshireFebruary 2019
Apologies...I had meant to e mail you much sooner but life/jet lag/birthday got in the way!
It was another amazing 5 week trip, thank you, and completely without mishap for us other than the Forrest's; luggage spending some time in Melbourne!
I cannot thank AWTM enough for their organisation and expertise in putting together another fabulous 5 week trip. For the 6 of us, it was a huge success from start to finish, from the smooth running of the entire holiday to the professional advice and tips offered. All our accommodation was spot on and suited exactly the needs of a family of 6 travelling together.
Denis and I were especially impressed with your recommendations in Fiji as I have to admit to being a bit apprehensive about Matamanoa (goodness knows why!) and we LOVED it. The added bonus of an upgrade to a private bungalow certainly helped! The Fijians have to be the friendliest people ever.... we are still greeting our friends in the UK with "Bula"! We loved the fact that you are forced to do.....nothing at all.
A particular favourite stay was at Wacky Stays in Kaikoura.....wacky really sums it up as our night in a teepee and the Forrest's night in a yurt was definitely a first for both families, especially being woken up by a tiny pig grunting at the door! It is set in beautiful surroundings with the mountains as a perfect backdrop.
This trip has definitely cemented our love of New Zealand and our new found affection for all things Fijian (not forgetting Hong Kong which was amazing too). The 5 weeks passed too quickly and none of us wanted to come home. Hopefully, it won't be our last visit to these wonderful places.
Once again, many thanks Kaye, John and team for arranging such a fabulous trip.
Kindest regards Team Tuck and Team Forrest!Denis & Shirley TuckBlundeston, SuffolkSeptember 2018
The following was a response to a Promotional Email:
We had a superb holiday to both Australia & New Zealand arranged by All Ways Tailor Made Travel. It met and indeed exceeded our expectations and we returned home with both many happy memories and some new found friends with whom we remain in contact. We would have no hesitation in recommending All Ways as they pay attention to every last detail and their recommendations are based on excellent local knowledge and individually tailored to your needs.
p.s. although it is several years now since our holiday and we are focusing on short haul holidays were we decide on a return trip “Down Under” we would once again be knocking on your door. Once again many thanks to you both.Ian & Margaret HuttLittle Chalfont, BuckinghamshireMarch 2015
Hope that the questionnaire is in a readable format for you.
I must say that we found the tour very enjoyable. Hotels were of a very high standard, food good and we mixed very well as a group.
I must repeat that our driver/guide, Craig Emsley, did a magnificent job throughout and we cannot praise him enough. An extremely nice man.
I will conclude by saying what a wonderful country New Zealand is and how polite and friendly the people are. I’m sure that you must be very proud to be called a “ Kiwi “.
Many thanks again and we will not hesitate to recommend you to our friends and family.Tony and Diane BranwhiteLeighton BuzzardMagic of New Zealand, February 2018
The Magic of New Zealand Tour that departed on 11th January 2018 had 18 clients
All 18 returned their questionnaires or contacted All Ways Touring by email:
100% rated the tour as "Excellent"
100% rated their tour as "Better than expected"
The following were comments:
"The overall experience was wonderful - nice number of fellow travellers"
"We covered a lot of ground and saw lots of different aspects of the country. Every day was a new adventure"
"Yes, we were very tired when we got home, but it was certainly worth it to see as much as we did"
"We cannot praise Craig, our driver and guide, highly enough. He was brilliant, unflappable, well informed, efficient - and an excellent driver whom we always felt safe"
"What a fantastic holiday - superbly organised. We had a great time, thanks"Magic of New Zealand
Just wanted to let you know how delighted I was with the tour. New Zealand is a beautiful country. The scenery was stunning wherever we went and created so many wonderful memories. The balance and tempo of the tour was excellent and although I found it tiring it was all so worthwhile.
Thanks also have to go to Craig whose organisational and driving skills were exemplary. Also his sense of humour lightened some of the journey times!
Many, many thanks,Christine BaileyEnfield, MiddlesexMagic of New Zealand, February 2018
I will return the questionnaire asap, but in the meantime thank you for the holiday of a life time. We have never been so well looked after. Everything was brilliant from the make up of the group, our wonderful driver/guru Craig who absolutely made the tour and your superb organisation. Thank you.David & Barbara MarstonHungerford, ShropshireMagic of New Zealand, February 2018
Dear Kaye and John
I had the best time ever, in New Zealand...it was everything I wished for and more.
I loved everything, the hotels, the meals, the excursions, the care and attention to every detail and Craig our driver ...he was fantastic, so knowledgeable, so kind such fun.
I really could go on ...... everything was great.
I will, of course fill in your questionnaire/ review and send it-back to you but I firstly wanted to thank you for all your organisation into making this holiday ... a wonderful experience.
I would love to be part of another tour soon, in the future. I have been totally impressed.
Thank you againCatherine TukeSevenoaks, KentMagic of New Zealand, February 2018
- It was refreshing to do business with a small tour operator where you can have direct access to the owners if necessary, both at the booking stage and, as now, after our holiday;
- You provided a New Zealand holiday of an exceptional standard for the amount charged, with a significant amount of activities and meals included in the price. Whilst a range of options was also available at extra cost in some locations, we only chose a small number of them, being content to enjoy a couple of ‘non-activity’ days within the busy standard schedule;
- The entire holiday in New Zealand was seamless from start to finish, primarily due to the sterling job undertaken by Craig Emslie, our coach driver & guide. He was always checking our hotel reservations and optional activity bookings during our breaks from the coach, to ensure smooth arrivals at our many destinations. He knows the best places for coffee & lunch breaks, is a mine of information about New Zealand and what we are passing or visiting on our travels. It was heart-warming to be taken to see his family farm and to meet other family members and to explore the neighbouring settler village of Norsewood. Both visits were unexpected and enhanced our understanding of the ‘real’ New Zealand;
- Our trips out on boats to see the whales at Kaikoura, the seals, dolphins and penguins at Akaroa and the dolphins at the Bay of Islands were very good. The expertise of the boat operators to spot the marine life and bring us as close as possible to view them was impressive.
- Our visits to various peninsulas were some of the tour highlights, particularly the Otago Peninsula near Dunedin and the Banks Peninsula south of Christchurch, the latter being a beautiful place in which to end our holiday;
- Apart from Napier, Dunedin was the most impressive city architecturally that we visited and the rail trip up the nearby Taieri Gorge was very dramatic, particularly during the second half of the journey;
- Whilst a tropical storm prevented us from seeing the Franz Josef & Fox glaciers along the west coast and staying in a nearby hotel, quick thinking by Craig and liaison with yourself and Oceania Coachlines ensured that alternative high-quality accommodation and meals were provided elsewhere at short notice and a different itinerary put in place along our unexpected route the following day to Arthur’s Pass.
Nothing in life is perfect, but we believe that the ‘Magic of New Zealand’ holiday is about as good as it possibly could be. Thank you for providing us with something so memorable so far away!Richard & Anne MIllsNavenby, LincolnMagic of New Zealand, January 2018
Thank you for making our holiday of a lifetime one that we will never forget. All of your arrangements worked perfectly, including our stopovers at Singapore both ways plus of course the whole of the Magic Of New Zealand tour. We really did see the very best of New Zealand and appreciated how you carefully selected the best choice of rooms in each of the superb hotels that we stayed in throughout to enhance the experience - there were too many good ones to highlight any. Fantastic scenery and seeing various wildlife in their natural setting (many seals, a few albatross, a whale and even penguins plus dolphins jumping vertically clean out of the sea) was special and yet there was something different every day. The whole experience was totally brilliant and worth every penny, including our optional excursions (highly recommend Cape Reinga, Wine On Waiheki and Doubtful Sound excursions). I have to say how Craig (driver/courier) added to our overall enjoyment by giving us a thorough commentary with full explanation of each place before we got there, including tips on where to eat or what to see etc. He also dealt 100% with our cases from the moment that we first saw him until we left him at Christchurch airport at the end of the tour.
We originally had some concerns travelling on an escorted package as we have always previously travelled independently, but the small sized coach with just 9 couples worked very well and that was just the right group size to allow us to enjoy our experiences with others but there was no sense of it being too crowded at coffee stops etc. You have this balance right.
Obviously New Zealand is an island occasional affected by extreme weather, and one part of our tour had to be altered on the day due to a cyclone closing a major highway, but with Craig’s intuition and local knowledge plus your management, our drive for that day and hotel for that night was amended very smoothly not to affect our enjoyment other than the section of highway that we missed. If we had been travelling independently I do not know how we would have fared that day.
For us, this was a holiday that we have looked forward to for many years, but in the event our very high expectations were exceeded, mainly by the way in which this tour was arranged and managed by you and Craig.
Thank youGraham & Rose StarkYateley, HampshireMagic of New Zealand, January 2018
Here is my feed back regarding the Australian Holiday.
Loved Perth and Alice Springs, The weather for the sunset and sunrise at Ayres Rock was disappointing (wet) so no sunrise or sunset, but we did see water falls which I understand is rare.
The Ghan train was lovely and the staff and food out of this world had a wonderful time.
Darwin and the Kakadu National Park - we had little time on stops so had to make a choice of the toilets or to get a drink therefore did not have time to see some of the culture centres and enjoy the trip fully, so seemed a long way for not a lot.
Loved Cairns not a fan of the Great barrier reef day, but Cape Tribulation , Daintree and Mossman Gorge Tour were fabulous and the guide was exceptional good and the setting for lunch was gorgeous.
I managed to book a back stage tour of the Opera House on our morning off which for me as an ex dancer was delightful. The Lunch cruise was good. Could have had longer at the blue Moutains to really appreciate the views etc. Enjoyed the Wildlife park and the variety of animals.Christine NewtonSutton, SurreyHeather Jordan Tour, September 2017
Dear John & Kaye
I had a brilliant time. The trips flew past. as NZ is uppermost I will deal with it first:-
Thank you for all the organisation. All worked perfectly. the weather was excellent in north island. we enjoyed Auckland , Rotorua and Wellington.
Crossing in Cook Strait was so calm when we had been prepared for the possibility of a rough one.
We had a great time on South island altho the weather wasn't so good on west coast. We tried twice to do the helicopter flight over Fox glacier but cloud level too low but we managed to get them to transfer booking to Mt Cook side a few days later
Also our flight over to Milford Sound was cancelled twice due to the low cloud and rain over the mountains. Was very disappointed with this as I hadn't done that trip the last time I had been in NZ about 40 years ago and had regretted it ever since. However i realised that even if we had made it the views from our boat cruise wouldn't have been anything like the photos I had seen of the Sound so came to terms with it quite quickly.
The rearranged helicopter flight from Mt Cook side was absolutely brilliant. We had a perfect weather window - they hadn't gone the previous day and didn't think they would go the next day so we were so very lucky. It was for me the absolute highlight of our 5 weeks away.
All the organisation for NZ went very well. it all worked like clockwork. The information that we had been given was excellent. Our accommodation in Queenstown was also brilliant. our 2 bed roomed apartment overlooking the lake was superb.
All hotels etc were well placed for our activities. Perhaps a prewarning that we would have to pay at both Wellington/ and Queenstown for garaging the car during our stay would have been appreciated but that is a minor point in an otherwise faultless organised trip.
Turning to Australia. Again excellent organisation. I must admit my approach there was very much more laid back as was part of a group and just fitted in with whatever had been organised by Heather and you.
Only comments might be the long bus trips along exceedingly straight roads. I hadn't really appreciated the great distances involved to get anywhere
One last point was the varying standard of packed breakfasts. I suppose we were totally spoilt at Uluru. Nowhere else was even close to that excellent first packed breakfast of our trip. The packed breakfast was even in a lovely bag which we all kept and I'm sure we all brought home with us.
These are minor points in an absolutely fantastic trip. They are not in any way criticisms.
Exceedingly well organised and planned trip.
I absolutely adore Heather's trips. I have now been on 4 of them and already am looking forward to the 2019 one . Many thanks to you both for all the time and energy you put in to organising 2 wonderful trips. They both ran like clockwork
Many many very happy memoriesIsobel BarrieGullane, East LothianHeather Jodan Tour, September 2017
Email to Oceania Coachlines, Auckland
We have just returned home to England after completing a 26 day tour of South & North Island New Zealand with Allways Tailormade. Allways Tailormade’s organisation was excellent, but what made the holiday in New Zealand was Craig Emslie. There are not enough stars to sew onto Craig’s shirts !!!!! Excellent falls a very very long way short of an adequate description for the service, route planning, care, attention to detail and the non stop information service Craig provides is just amazing. Clearly his coach is his pride and joy and the presentation of the vehicle every day reflected this.
Cases at 7.30 – Departure at 8.30 and Breakfast From !!!!! 6.30 will be long remembered. All the 15 that have been with him since the start of February will remember him for many years to come. He is an absolute star.
Our very best wishes to Oceania and to Craig Emslie.Maureen & Alistair HumphreysMagic of New Zealand, February 2017
We have returned from our six week trip. We had a wonderful time and the itinerary was just about spot on. Talking to other tourists during the latter part of the holiday it was clear that we had the best of the weather, especially on North Island. Having more than one night in some places was a nice break from having to drive and it was nice to settle and catch breath. This worked because we thoroughly enjoyed mixing organised trips with free time. We saw scenery ranging from stunning to unique - what we called the Hobbit Hills in the Taumarunui area - and plenty of views from the water. We did some exciting stuff and we particularly enjoyed the hospitality and warmth of the Kiwis.
The choice of B&Bs was excellent and the standards were very high. Breakfasts were fantastic with loads of fresh fruit and hosts either ate with us or were there to offer advice, answers to our questions about their area and generally just being very friendly. The Park Hotel at Tongariro NP was disappointing in that the accommodation was basic at best. We didn't mention it until check-out which is where the receptionist acknowledged that we had not been given the Premier room we had paid for!
Now we fully understand your concerns about arriving in places and having to look for accommodation we were very grateful we followed your advice to take up your itinerary. Simply moving on to the next place which had been arranged for us is definitely the way to go. We had an amazing trip and would have no hesitation in recommending Allways Tailormade to others.
Thank you for all your efforts on our behalf.John & Sally AylingBognor RegisFebruary 2017
Just a note to thank you for everything you did to organise our trip to Australia. Fay and I got back yesterday after a fantastic holiday with all the accommodation and excursion arrangements that you made for us working out exactly as planned. So, many thanks. There is already talk in the air of a second trip in a year or so. If we do decide to go ahead with this I will be in touch again.
With all best wishesJohn & Fay QuinseeFelixstoweFebruary 2017
Dear Mr Rankin,
Overall I thought it was an excellent tour in a most wonderful country. Twelve in the group meant that there was plenty of room in the comfortable coach provided. Given the duration of the tour and distances travelled on some days I would not have liked to have been cooped up in a smaller vehicle.
Our guide, Peter Myton was one of the best guides I have come across. He was extremely knowledgeable, well organised , unflappable and always on time. His daily briefings were clear and he treated our comments and queries with polite, often wry, good humour. He had a fund of good and interesting stories with which to keep us amused when on the road, Clearly an experienced and careful driver, I felt completely at ease even when he was driving on the hairiest roads.
With regard to accommodation, all the hotels were of a high standard with the exception of the Scenic Hotel in Dunedin where the rooms where relatively small and the bathrooms' tight' which, for those sharing, must have been uncomfortable. Another hotel would be worth considering. The most sumptuous, was that in Hammer Springs which was obviously a boutique type of hotel that served excellent meals. Everywhere we stayed the staff were friendly and helpful. The Montreal, in Christchurch was also very good although the decor was not to my taste.
As regards eating out, as a single traveller, I would have preferred fewer. Although it is nice to eat out in local restaurants I don't particularly like eating on my own At the same time I did not wish to intrude on the privacy of my fellow travellers and their partners who, doubtless, wished to have the chance to be on their own. The meals that were provided were by and large very
good. I would have liked another day to have explored Napier a bit more. Despite the devastation, another day in Christchurch would have been interesting. We had several hours more than was necessary at Akaroa Harbour, nice though it was, before the cruise which might have been spent seeing more of Christchurch.
All the side tours I took were most enjoyable. They were, Sailing in Auckland Harbour, Dune Rider Day Tour, Doubtful Sound Tour, Dart River Jet Safaris and the helicopter trip at Franz Joseph- all of which I would thoroughly recommend to others.
I flew with Cathay Pacific via Hong Kong and had the good fortune to be upgraded to business class on the first leg of the outward bound Journey. Although I did not sleep much during the journey to my surprise I suffered little from the effects of jet lag and so had an extra day of Sightseeing in Auckland.
In conclusion it was a most enjoyable trip which I would thoroughly recommend to others.Dr L FarrowChipperfield, HertsMagic of New Zealand, February 2017
I just wanted to let you know we had an absolutely fantastic trip, the flights were all on time and all the transfers were there waiting for us. We had three cars and just a minor hiccup when picking the car up from Greymouth, Thrifty thought we were arriving the following day but a very helpful agent helped us sort it out almost immediately so no issue.
Your notes throughout were excellent giving us options to take on our travels. We enjoyed all the accommodation and the locations of each meant mostly we didn't have to take our car out once we had arrived. Despite the train not running ,I also really enjoyed the coach journey across Arthurs Pass.
New Zealand is an amazing country, thank you for organising our trip so well and letting us know in advance of the fire on the rail line.
Thanks and regardsJill & Barry RowlinsonBeckenham, KentFebruary 2017
Many. many thanks for organising such a wonderful trip for us.
We certainly managed to experience more of your lovely country this time and thoroughly enjoyed the overall experience.
We really felt the emotion in Kaikoura and were so glad that we had made the effort. The drive in itself from Nelson was breath taking with the continual changing of scenery and culminating with mile after mile of road works when
We could better understand the devastation of the earthquake and the sheer effort going into making access possible.
We were very surprised by the amount of re building still necessary in Christchurch and also how many properties were still affected in Wellington.
Not sure how you did it but we enjoyed super weather with only 3 wet days and 2 of those were our last days in Christchurch. Particularly after we had left the North Island and they experienced such heavy rains we felt very privileged.
I remain surprised by the casual vehicle hand overs for the car hire - nothing like I had ever experienced before.
Nearly all the arrangements worked really well and in the most part it appears that with our accommodation we got what we had paid for!
Singapore was great and the hotel superbly appointed and located.
We really enjoyed the County Hotel in Napier (though it might not be to everyone's taste) and the Whangamata Marine Reserved apartments.
We ate out most evenings and were pleased with the overall quality of the food and particularly enjoyed all sorts of new (to us) fish. Our only real disappointment was one meal in Paihia.
All the trips the you had arranged were really good.
Overall far too many highlights to mention and nearly 600 photos to go through when I refind my brain.
Thank you again for all your hard work in sorting out a really memorable trip for us.
Kind regardsAnonMalvern, WorcestershireFebruary 2017
Kaye - just to say thank you for organising such a fantastic trip - we had a wonderful 5 weeks. You certainly know how to find some excellent boutique locations - the B&Bs in Twizel, Kaikoura Queenstown and Tongariro all came with amazing views. Most of those and especially Waipoua and Bronte Estate added great hospitality and breakfast and the gourmet dinner in Waipoua was unexpected in such a remote location. The only one which fell below the standard was the apartment at Punakaiki.
All the excursions lived up to their billing and the flight to Milford Sound will stay in the memory for a very long time.
So thanks again for arranging such a great holiday especially given the last minute changes. All we need now is to get back into UK time.
RegardsColin from GXFebruary 2017
Dear John and team
I just wanted to say what an amazing time we had in New Zealand and to thank you all for making the arrangements so that it all ran so effortlessly.
Our driver/guide Peter Mytton was very knowledgeable about his country and many other subjects too and kept us amused with his stories. I felt very comfortable with his driving and he made sure we were taken care of at all the hotels we stayed at.
All the transfers from airports to hotels and back where hassle free and my car was waiting at Heathrow ready to bring me home.
My grateful thanks again for arranging my wonderful holiday.Christine SteaneBexhill on Sea, East SussexMagic of New Zealand, January 2017
We have had a wonderful holiday and the arrangements all worked smoothly. We are just working our way through hundreds of photos!
Although they were still working on the refurbishment at Sorrento Beach it did not affect us. Their restaurant is rather basic but there are 2 more nearby. As we had an apartment we decided to make our own breakfasts.
The shuttle service to and from the airport turned out to be a private car and was excellent.
Travellodge Hotel in Melbourne was ideally situated and within easy reach of many restaurants. (It served an adequate breakfast)
NSW Trainlink. I was able to confirm this by email and had a very friendly reply. They are very strict on the weight of the luggage - 20 Kg is an absolute maximum whereas 30 Kg is allowed on the flights. (I think you can book in more cases but they must be under the weight.)
Park Hotel Clarke Quay (Singapore). The restaurant is being refurbished so we had to eat at the poolside bar. This was rather congested at breakfast time.
The flights were all on time and as comfortable as one can expect in Economy Class! (Singapore Airlines)
Many thanks for all your work - I'd love to say until the next time but doubt we will go that far again.Jenny & Geoff WhittleWinchester, HampshireOctober 2016
What a fantastic holiday.
Thank you so much for all the holiday arrangements, it all went like clockwork, and we loved all the places and all the variety of accommodations you arranged.
People keep asking what was the best bit and we say every place we visited was the best, can't choose! Loved it all, and everyone was so helpful and charming.
Lake Tekapo is undergoing some development on the foreshore (controversial we understood) and so the area was a little bit tired and run down, but the church was delightful. I'm sure it will be fine in a year or so.
Can't thank you enough for arranging such a great time.
We have since found we have several mutual friends!
With many thanks and best wishesLiz and David GrieveChalfont St Peter, BuckinghamshireMarch 2016
Thank you so much for the refund of £XX.00 and for your very kind attention to this matter.
I doubt we would get such a good service from any of the big operators.
Thank you again for everything.
Kind regardsMr Norman BlakeLoxley, WarwickMarch 2016
Trip was awesome from start to finish.
The flights were great, although on the 3 hrs from Australia to New Zealand I was asked to switch seats to allow a couple to sit together, however landed up next to a couple with a young child who held no respect or regard for other passengers, the lesson learned I will never be so accommodating, but at least it was a short flight and the final leg.
The accommodation in New Zealand was excellent value for money, staff were lovely, rooms were spacious and clean.
Andrea and Alan, Kiwi Motorcycle Rentals, were amazing, really helpful and friendly, bike had been well maintained with no issues throughout the trip, didn't get the GPS which would have been useful for the North Island, and I said this to Andrea, but didn't really need it for the south Island, so it was fine, all in an excellent ride.
Accommodation in Dubai, poor value for money, (Hilton Dubai Jumeirah Resort) felt the staff at reception were less than helpful, especially after 17.5 hrs of flight time, arrived at 0630hrs, so to be fair they said I would get a room as soon as possible, but no estimation of timescale, went back to reception 5hrs later, was given a room, however, whilst it was spacious, did not have a sea view. At this point I was too tired to quibble, but room was put together in a hurry as there were stains overlooked. Comfortable room but not sure I would stay there again.
Have to say my trip was amazing and I thank you for organising for me and I would not hesitate to use your company again.
LindaLinda MichieFraserburgh, AberdeenshireMarch 2016
Thank you Kaye and John for your help and kind attention everything you organised was perfect. As you know the purpose of our trip was to see my granddaughter in Geraldine and this was the highlight of the trip. Thank you again for making this possible.Norman BlakeLoxley, WarwickMarch 2016
Dear John and Kaye,
We'll start by saying that we enjoyed every day of the excellent tour and we saw and learned so much in a relatively short space of time. It definitely exceeded our expectations, which were already high.
We cannot praise highly enough our driver/guide/courier/organiser - Craig Emslie. He has such a vast knowledge of all aspects of his country and how it works. He was able to give us a wealth of information on every part of our tour whether in rural, urban or isolated areas and on subjects from history, geography, geology, economics, wildlife - or even a good fish and chip shop! His patience is phenomenal and he has such a pleasant, caring manner and great sense of humour that even long journeys on the coach passed by in an interesting and enjoyable way. He was always planning several steps ahead to ensure that we were all well looked after in all aspects of the Tour.
We had seen an advert for the tour in the Travel Section of the Daily Telegraph and followed this up with a look at the All Ways website (which we found excellent and very easy to use and to find information) and then a call to the office and a general conversation with Kaye, who was very helpful indeed. We discussed that we had been thinking of travelling around the South Island in a campervan, and possibly the North Island by car and hotel - and so Kaye sent us some approximate costings for campervan and car hire etc, so that we could make comparisons. After further discussions, we decided that the Magic Tour would suit us best and are now absolutely certain that this was the right decision for us and we are so pleased that we travelled with All Ways.
Our outward stopover was at the Intercontinental in Singapore and we enjoyed both very much. On our return from Melbourne we stayed at the Equarius on Sentosa Island. The hotel room was very good indeed, but it took a little time to get the hang of how the "resort" worked. Sentosa on a busy weekend was interesting!
With respect to New Zealand, we would rate it as an excellent holiday destination. The general standard of the hotels used was very good, and the standard of included meals good. The included excursions were generally excellent. The range of optional excursions was very good and about right; and again an excellent standard.
Our coach for the tour was excellent. The tour was an excellent introduction to New Zealand and we would certainly return to visit specific areas that we particularly enjoyed. The main drawback to returning is the journey time - we're wonder if it may be better to go straight through to NZ with minimum stopovers.
It must be very difficult to balance the itinerary and we do not really see how it could be improved, since we thought that the length of the tour was about right. We also enjoyed the balance between included meals and the chance to explore the area and to find local restaurants ourselves, so again, about right.
To conclude, we had a fantastic time and would definitely recommend both All Ways Touring and the Magic Tour to anyone thinking of travelling to New Zealand. (We also see that you now have an Australian Tour.) Apologies for the length of this e-mail, but if you should need any clarification or anything more specific, we would be happy to try to help.
Many thanks for helping us to have such a wonderful holidayRichard & Gill RodleyNorthallerton, YorkshireMagic of New Zealand, February 2016
We had a wonderful holiday and loved every minute. It is such a beautiful country and it put on it's best for us. The weather was fantastic, blue skies, warm days and only two days of rain in the entire month. You planned it very well because we were on the South Island when it was wet in the north and vice versa, it was even glorious sunshine on the west coast.
The places we visited were each amazing in their own right and the journeys to them were equally as good.
Our flights were all on time with no hiccups and our luggage came with us. The car hire was simplicity itself again with no problems just lovely friendly service.
The accommodation was all excellent with helpful, welcoming hosts. It is difficult to single any out but Dock Bay and 970 Lonely Bay were very very good. The Black Swan and Bronte Estate were in super locations and we couldn't fault the quality and service (the float plane even picked us up and dropped us off at the hotel jetty). The hotels were all in good locations and provided all we needed in good sized rooms. The apartments had everything we needed and more besides and the B&Bs were comfortable and welcoming (the dinner at Kapitea Lodge was excellent).
We only had one minor hitch with our trip to Doubtful Sound but that was soon resolved and we had a lovely day and the rest of the planned activities were great fun.
No special highlights as it was all a highlight. We have visited many places in the world and New Zealand is one of the best.
We believe your excellent planning, arrangements, choices and suggestions gave us a superb holiday, thank you very much.
Christine and GordonChristine and Gordon WhiteCullompton, DevonFebruary 2016
Thank you for a lovely trip around one of the most picturesque and beautiful countries on earth.
We enjoyed the whole experience and will remember it for ever.
Our driver Craig Emslie was magnificent, very knowledgeable, friendly, helpful, courteous, humorous and a true ambassador for All Ways and New Zealand.Dawn & Terry DaviesBury St Edmonds, SuffolkMagic of New Zealand, March 2016
Wow, what a trip!! Simply amazing and we have had such a wonderful time. Thank you. Our small group have all blended well, and everything has gone extremely smoothly. We have wanted for nothing, stayed in some lovely places and visited/done things that I am quite sure we would not have contemplated had we been independent travellers.
Craig, our guide, has absolutely made this tour for us all. Yes, the country sells itself for all the beautiful scenery and what it has to offer, but Craig, with his immense depth of knowledge about the history of the country, Maori culture, and how things work relating to life here in NZ has been fantastic. All all times he has been extremely professional as well as very kind and diligent in his duties. Without his input this holiday would not have been as enjoyable.
Off today for Melbourne and our few days there.
Excellent trip and very interesting itinerary. Thank you.
Kind regardsFelicity & Derek CuttleMarlow, BuckinghamshireMagic of New Zealand tour, March 2016
Thank you for making this the most amazing holiday of our lives
We have so much to talk to you about. Judi is in the process of making photobooks. Can we meet up when they are completed?
The weather was so kind to us. We were able to do everything on the agenda; save the albatrosses at sea ,we went to the sanctuary instead which was amazing. Preening adolescents were just yards away.
Very best wishes
Judi and ChrisJudith Rowlands & Christine BennettHenley, Oxon; Wargrave, BerksJanuary 2016
Firstly, thank you very much, it was a great tour, we really enjoyed the range and variety provided eg trains and boats etc.
Craig, the driver/guide was excellent, always professional in both roles. He was very knowledgeable, informative, helpful and endlessly patient. We would be grateful if you could pass our comments about him to his company.
We had booked with All Ways because a fellow traveller on a holiday in Borneo some years ago had told us that it was a great company and we had remembered the name, obviously we now know that the company has just restarted.
Generally we were impressed by the equipment in NZ hotels. If it helps , we had thought of self driving and we are so pleased we did not as we would never have found so many interesting places to break the journey each day or arranged so many great excursions.Philip & Madeleine KnowlesIngatestone, EssexMagic of New Zealand tour, February 2016
I am writing to say how much I enjoyed the Magic of New Zealand trip from which I have just returned. Craig was an excellent guide/driver whose commentary was amusing and informative, who went the extra mile to ensure everything went smoothly on the trip.
Although the itinerary was tiring at times due to the distances covered, I saw so many interesting places, enjoyed splendid scenery and did such a variety of things that it was all so worthwhile.
I am sending the questionnaire separately but just wanted to thank you for organising such a wonderful trip.Sandra FinnertyBrighton, East SussexMagic of New Zealand tour, February 2016
Thank you for being so patient with us as we developed our itinerary for Australia which involved many changes! We had a great time, and your accommodation recommendations were all excellent, as was your organisation of flights, car hire etc. We particularly appreciated the flexibility you offered, permitting us to plan and book some parts of the trip on our own, where this was more appropriate. Just a shame now that the winter weather cannot match that in Australia, 35oC and clear blue skies!
All the bestColin & Jan SheadRivenhall, EssexNovember 2015
Thank you for arranging our recent trip to New Zealand.
We had a wonderful time and enjoyed the magnificent scenery that New Zealand has to offer.
All the accommodation and trips which you arranged were excellent and made for an unforgettable holiday.
Regards DenisDenis KissaneSeer Green, BuckinghamshireNovember 2015
Arrived home last night after our excellent holiday. We had a really enjoyable time and the holiday proved to be exactly what we had hoped for. Very many thanks for your efforts we are very appreciative.
RegardsIan & Margaret HuttLittle Chalfont, BuckinghamshireMarch 2015
Just a short note to thank you once again for all your arrangements, which were great. I was happy with all the hotels, cars and AATKings. We had to cancel the trip at Ayers Rock because I really wasn't coping well with walking around the resort in the heat let alone a walk in the outback - just went to the sunset.
My favourite hotel was the Crowne Plaza in Adelaide.
The day of the wedding was beautiful (hotels were full because of a basketball tournament not the ten British guests!) and we had a great time. The Bride is one of twelve children with 19 nieces/nephews (all attended), her Mother organised it all including making the cake the night before the wedding, after setting up the hall!
Thanks againWendy ScottAmersham, BuckinghamshireApril 2015
Hi Kaye and John,Well we are nearing the end of our 5 week trip and have arrived inAuckland with the family for the last 2 full days. From start to finishthis has been an excellent vacation with so many greatexperiences....running out of superlatives!We'd like to thank you once again for your professional expertise, yourrecommendations and assistance in bringing this all to fruition. Ittruly has been the holiday of a lifetime and we will have many memoriesto look back on.I think Paul has posted a few photos on Facebook but we will send you afew of our own on our return.Best wishesThe Tuck & Forrest tribes!Shirley and Denis TuckBlundeston, SuffolkMarch 2015
All in all, Kaye, it was a really good time. An experience we wouldn't have missed. Even the rain was no problem and didn't stop what we wanted to do. The rain there is so welcomed by the locals, birds and animals, and, of course, it's never cold anyway. Thank you so much for putting it all together for us. The wedding on the beach was perfect, the temperature 28 degrees. The following day we left North Narrabeen to travel back to our Nephew's home. As we left around 2.30 the temperature was about 23 degrees and we watched the temperature guage on our car rise to 40 degrees in 1 1/2 hours. I've never been so grateful for air-conditioning, and also that it hadn't been that hot for the wedding. After a storm it quickly returned to 25 degrees by about 8.00pm.
Many thanks Kaye, and hope to use you again one day - who knows.
(Note: The Saunders' were in Byron Bay (north New South Wales) when cyclone Maria hit Rockhampton in QueenslandBeryl and David SaundersThame, OxfordshireMarch 2015
1. Singapore airlines was excellent as usual. Although we were on A380's going out to N.Z., the return from Singapore was by B777 and we found we slept better on this flight.
2. Intercontinental Hotel Singapore. The Ambassador Suites were great on both trips and the service excellent. We were impressed by the transfers to and from the Airport and in particular my wife left a jumper in the taxi on the way to catch the flight to Auckland and we rang through from the airport to Tour East to ask them to deliver it to the Hotel for our return trip. Needless to say there was a parcel waiting for us on our return and a message to say it was there. The Tour East rep. also telephoned to see if we had got it.
3. The Super shuttle was as efficient as ever.
4. The Langham Hotel (Auckland) was up to it's normal high standard.
5. We were impressed by Thrifty Car Rentals which was so convenient for the hotel. It certainly was a good suggestion of yours to use this company as we had a Toyota 2 litre Camry Automatic which was very roomy and comfortable and not heavy on petrol.
6. The Edgewater Palms apartment (Paihia, Bay of Islands) was excellent and we were able to sit on our balcony in the morning enjoying our breakfast. We think it was better to be at that end of town rather at the other apartments we were in last time.
7. Overall we had a fantastic holiday with only two mornings when it rained and we think it was the best holiday we can remember. Thanks again for your help in organising it.
Kind regards,David and Brenda LightowlerSheffieldFebruary 2015
I have been remiss in not writing sooner to thank you for all the excellent organisation you did for us regarding our trip to New Zealand in January.
Our travels went very smoothly most of the time and when they didn't (trackside brushfires and early morning hotel fire alarms) it was hardly a reflection on you! Overall we had a thoroughly enjoyable time and came back very relaxed.
It may be of interest to you to know that we stayed at a lovely B&B in Blenheim called Botanica Marlborough and while there used a wine tour guide called Bubbly Grape, both of whom we would recommend if asked. Also the train journey from Wellington was essentially very civilised (if long) despite our NZ friends thinking we were insane to do it.
We spent a week in Tairua on the east Coromandel peninsula, very pretty, great beach and again a place I would recommend for anyone looking to pause for a few days.
Thank you again for your help and for the thoughtful touches when booking airline seats etc.
RegardsNick RogersAmpfield, HampshireJanuary 2015
Everything that was organised worked like a dream. Your arrangements were utterly faultless and, in the main, really inspired choices of accommodation. For us it was certainly “the holiday of a lifetime,” and having you and John take care of all the arrangements made everything so painless. New Zealand is a terrific country and the people utterly charming. The service levels were top notch and the only surly person we came across in any of the accommodations, restaurants, airports trips etc. was a miserable “maitre d” in Wellington - and she was English!! The pack from ATS was useful and the map book invaluable.
An utterly brilliant holiday – thank you both so much for all your efforts.Richard & Judith DunnChalfont St Peter, BuckinghamshireMarch 2015
Thank you so much, Kaye and John. It has been a pleasure doing business with you and you have been most professional at all times. If your efficiency in the office and over the phone is anything to go by then I am certain the holiday will run extremely smoothly and be most enjoyable. We especially like the wallet and the comprehensive instructions we received last week.
We will definitely recommend you to anyone wanting to emulate our trip. Looking forward to regaling you with stories of our trip.
With our very best regards
Shirley & DenisShirley & Denis TuckSuffolkFebruary 2015
Well what can I say about our trip other than absolutely fantastic. A holiday of a lifetime. Every single item on the itinerary you wrestled with for us worked out exactly as specified. The places we've seen and things we've experienced are very special memories.
Remarkable - thank you and John so much for your time and expertise in getting it all together.
Best wishes to you both.Jenny and Mick WoodisonLoudwater, BuckinghamshireOctober 2014
We have just about got our heads back into UK times and thought that we would send you a quick thank you.
Everything about the trip was great:
- The organisation was perfect with everything going to plan no hiccups or problems at all.
- Peter Mytton was a great driver and tour guide, he kept us informed and entertained throughout the trip and we can recommend him for any future tours that you may plan.
- We didn't manage to see the glaciers as unfortunately the weather didn't co-operate!
- The star hotel in NZ was the George in Christchurch which was first class in every way and again can be highly recommended for future use.
The Rosa coach was brilliant being large enough to carry our luggage and plenty of space for the eight of of us whist being small enough to get into places and onto roads that larger coaches couldn't.
All in all we all thought that the tour was excellent and would like to thank you for your hard work in planning it.
Kind regards and many thanks
(on behalf of the gang of eight)Peter Nixon & GroupBroseley, ShropshireJanuary 2014
Just to say that this is our last evening in NZ and we couldn't be more satisfied with the holiday. It has been fantastic and we love NZ. We will have some feedback for you after we have recovered in Sydney. Thank you for your excellent organisation.
We'll be in touch on our return.
All the best.
Jim and MaryJim & Mary CurtisHungerford, BerkshireFebruary 2014
First of all, apologies for taking so long to write to you – we’ve been busy since we got back – but finally here is a quick summary of our experience.
We had a fantastic time from beginning to end. The break was just what we both needed and more than fulfilled our expectations.
The flights were great, everything went to plan. The only uncertainty was about which legs included an airline transfer and no-one seemed clear about how that worked. The two legs where this occurred were Adelaide to Sydney (there was an airline transfer for us in Sydney, as well as when we arrived in Adelaide) and Sydney to Johannesburg (no pick up in Sydney but we found that out and made our own arrangements). Nevertheless, we managed the transfers and all worked out.
Adelaide was brilliant and we thoroughly enjoyed our time there with my nephew and his fiancée. We were less impressed with Kangaroo Island but that was mainly because of our accommodation which was not really up to standard. This is not a complaint for you as it was our choice of hotel and you had recommended somewhere different to stay but you may want to make a note for other travellers to avoid the Kangaroo Island Wilderness Retreat.
New Year’s Eve in Sydney was spectacular and our whole stay there was most enjoyable, even if it was a bit cloudy in the Blue Mountains although it did clear by midday. I was a little confused as to where to join the boat for the New Year’s Eve cruise, wrongly assuming that it would be from Circular Quay – it was in fact Darling Harbour. We enjoyed the Opera House backstage tour and our trip to Manly.
Finally on to South Africa and the 14 hour flight to Johannesburg followed by 2 hours the Cape Town where we arrived pretty shattered. We had a great time celebrating my Dad’s 90th birthday, which was the main reason for the trip really. We can certainly recommend the Tsala Tree Top Lodge – it was a delightful haven.
All in all, it was the ideal holiday. Thank you so much for your help, efficiency, organisation and patience during the planning – it was all very worthwhile.Graham & Marie-Louise McAlisterAmersham, BuckinghamshireJanuary 2014
Well we are now back home, and after nine weeks in summer clothes and swimming in the sea, with temps in the high 20s, we are trying to cope with the wind, rain, cold and dark! We have made so many memories of our own, to overlay our previous ones and with over 2,000 photos to work through, those memories are going to last for ever! We have had a truly amazing trip, with many highlights. Top of the list, I guess, would be our helicopter flight over the three glaciers and around Mts Tasman and Cook - it was a glorious, cloudless, sunny morning and so warm we were told to go in shirts, which proved true when we landed high up on Fox Glacier and for a while had it all to ourselves. Our organised trip out onto the Farewell Spit was 'awesome' (as the kiwis would say!), especially as , because of tides, we did not start until 3pm so came back as night was falling to a spectacular sunset. Equally, the Doubtful Sound trip will be remembered for the unusually calm Tasman Sea which allowed to go out of the Sound mouth.Christchurch was memorable for perhaps the wrong reasons, but the spirit and determination of the city to go forward was inspiring, as was the 'cardboard cathedral'.
On North Island, the beautiful Coromandel and Hot Water beach vied with the Bay of islands and Hole in the Rock for our affections, with the Kauri Museum not far behind. But also was the chance to meet up again with old friends and go out with them. This applied particularly for the Christmas period, especially when we went to stay on Motutapu Island for a few days - what an idyllic lifestyle. On more mundane matters, the flights were bearable and being in Premium Economy was a brilliant stroke and especially on the A380. All the other arrangements went without a hitch, if you discount me forgetting to take my driving licence with me! However, with helpful times and the wonders of modern technology all was sorted in half -hour. So it remains for us to thank you and the company most sincerely for all the help and advice you gave and for arranging such a trouble- free holiday. I will certainly recommend you to anyone that is planning similar trip,Marion & David MarshBroadstone, DorsetSeptember 2013
Firstly can I say that we had an absolutely fabulous time for the whole holiday. Everything went like clockwork and with the exception of a 3 hour delay at Picton for the ferry crossing everything ran to time as well. The driving distances were about right and we did everything we had hoped to do and a few things more as well. Couldn't believe how quiet the roads are on the South Island once you get away from Christchurch. We also seemed to get all the good weather which made it even better. Only real downside was how expensive it was compared to the UK. Even basics in the supermarket like yoghurt were a lot more than over here and the cost of the food and wine and beer in restaurants was generally much more, though we did find some bargains. Only cooked two meals the whole time and ate out the rest of the time.
Regarding Tamanu Beach, I really can't complain. Island Hopper phoned me in Rarotonga before we left and told me about the problem so we were prepared when we arrived. The room they gave us was only a few yards behind the beachfront ones and the view of the lagoon was 90% as good as those. They really were quite generous with the compensation. We had a bottle of bubbly and a fruit bowl on arrival, a free Lagoon cruise, a free Island night dinner and a late checkout. Everyone at the resort was very good. The late checkout was essential given the travelling we had in front of us. You might consider advising your clients about costs/availability of this when flights are later in the day.
You can now walk around Christchurch city centre but we started with a Red bus tour which was an excellent introduction. The lady guide had experienced the earthquake and her insights really helped you understand what had happened. The Quake city exhibition in the Re Start Mall is also very good. The scale of the demolition is quite staggering.
As I said at the beginning we had a fabulous time with no real issues and there isn't a great deal I would have changed. The long flights are always going to be tedious and apart from the last leg passed quite well. Even Los Angeles airport was relatively easy.
Much as we enjoyed the Cooks and would like to spend more time there I don't think it would justify travelling there just for two weeks. If you want sunshine the Caribbean is so much closer. Maybe in a couple of years we will think about doing something else in that part of the world and will be back in touch.Colin & Belinda FittBroadstairs, KentOct 2013
Hi Kaye, An unbelievable holiday and thoroughly enjoyed it – even the camper van. The scenery, especially the South Island, was awesome. As expected, we did not have sufficient time to do justice to the North Island, so will have to concentrate on that next time!!Peter HewittEast YorkshireFebruary 2013
New Zealand Adventure
The trip of a lifetime can be a truly personal experience when organised by travel specialists such as Flackwell Heath’s Kaye Rankin, Sue Bromley discovers
For Roy and Anne Smith life is just not long enough for all the things they’d like to experience and enjoy. As Roy says: “We’re not the sort of people who just meander through it all. Life is for living, not wandering aimlessly.” This particularly applies to their joy at travelling to far-flung spots. In January they’re off to visit South East Asia, taking in Cambodia, Laos and Vietnam. No doubt it will be a splendid adventure but we wonder how it’s going to beat the incredible trip to New Zealand they had earlier this year.
To set the scene, this couple have just celebrated their 39th wedding anniversary, raising two children along the way. Anne was the sister of one of Roy’s schoolmates and they clicked on a blind date. He is a skilled cabinet and chairmaker, a craftsman who delights in the artisan skills of his Dorset ancestors who were shoemakers some 150 years ago. That’s been their business, together with a tearoom, but with Roy now in his early 60s they are making the most of a chance to see the world while still very active. Both love to get off the beaten track. When son Robert took a year out for a tour of Australia, New Zealand and South East Asia they visited him in Australia. “Since then Anne has often said ‘We really ought to go and see New Zealand’. On top of that I had a school friend, Carol, who emigrated to Auckland, so it was time to look at a visit,” says. Roy. “But we don’t do standard package trips because we are not standard people.” Instead they turned to Kaye Rankin, a proud New Zealander and founder of All Ways Tailor Made. Kaye is an experienced specialist in arranging the finest bespoke holidays to New Zealand, Australia and the South Pacific. She runs her business from Flackwell Heath in Buckinghamshire, using her unique insight to match clients’ dreams to the perfect accommodation, itineraries and experiences during their visit. The Smiths say they ‘clicked’ with All Ways Tailor Made from the start, as Kaye carefully listened to their ideas for a ‘trip of a lifetime’ and then set about making it come true.
But it was only while in New Zealand that they realised just how much hard work she’d done behind the scenes. “Kaye arranged everything and it all worked like clockwork. There was not one hiccough,” says Roy.
They travelled to New Zealand via Los Angeles, staying first with a wonderful couple chosen by Kaye to welcome them to the country. Before long they had picked up their car and began to enjoy the stunning scenery the islands offers, including glaciers, mountains and primeval woodland during their 36 days there. There was a helicopter flight over Mount Cook for a close up view and the excitement of a ride on a jet boat down a swirling river (Roy says they’d reached the perfect age to really appreciate the thrill of this!)
Overnight stays were with people Kaye has come to know. The Smiths were delighted to arrive at one host’s premises to discover it was “wine o’clock” and everyone was out in the garden ready for them to join in. There were delightful and hearty breakfasts over tables shared with fellow travellers, and meals to remember forever, particularly those with freshly caught fish.
Three days were spent walking with guides through some of the wildest scenery New Zealand offers, crossing rope bridges, viewing the glacial mountains and staying in fabulous lodges in ‘the back of beyond’. Roy had been concerned about driving in a strange country but says it was spectacularly easy and that with so few people about you find many open roads. His only other concern was that a Maori Experience was on the itinerary as he and Anne tend to avoid organised ‘tourist traps’. The one arranged by Kaye was nothing of the sort, but time spent with local Maoris and a chance to genuinely learn about their way of life.
They travelled by coastal roads to Dunedin, seeing an albatross colony and sea lions basking on the sands. Their visit was a wildlife fan’s dream, with dolphins and even two whales spotted. An Abel Tasman trip by boat may sound a little too organised for the escaping Smiths, but it turned out to be perfect as the boat stopped along the way, allowing them to walk over hillsides and rejoin it at a later point. But it wasn’t all the call of the wild. They were fascinated by the country’s towns and small cities, including the art deco town of Napier which caught Roy’s creative eye, and Nelson were they tasted the world’s best green mussels. With the adventure nearly over, they spent time with old friend Carol before heading home via Los Angeles. Even this last stage of their journey included a treat of cycling on the Santa Monica Boardwalk. “What can I say about Kaye? That lady is such an organiser,” declares Roy. “She knew exactly how to fit the independent parts of our travel around the things you really should see. Bespoke travel really is the way forward for get up and go people like us, and having checked out details of the larger package tours I am quite sure it didn’t cost more by letting Kaye arrange all the details that made our visit such a personal adventure to remember.” _
Fancy a dream trip?
Contact Kaye Rankin at All Ways Tailor Made Travel, 01628 526 585, see www.awtm.co.uk. All flights and flight-inclusive holidays are financially protected by the ATOL scheme.Buckinghamshire Life MagazineOctober 2013
Our honeymoon was fantastic!!! the first few days in Rarotonga we slept a lot, the weather was mixed but on the whole the north side of the island seem to have sun. Aitutaki is incredible , and staying at Etu Moana we felt like really spoilt but absolutely love it. It all fitted together rather well because the first days on Aitutaki there wasn't any wind for kiting so we really made the most of staying at Etu Moana then when we move to Paradise Cove the wind pick up and we were out from 8am and getting back at 6pm. I have never seen water like there is in that lagoon, we snorkelled all over the lagoon. Mike Lee, the chap who runs the kite school took us and a few others on a couple of lagoon trips which was great, as it was much more informal , half the price and half the people. We never did dive as we saw moral eels, turtles, and thousands and thousands of weird and wonderful fish, big and small all in the lagoon. The water was so clear you could see 20meter underwater.
We got motorbikes everywhere so did lots of exploring of the islands. I think we ate at every establishment you could bar the pacific resort, sat on every beach, and watch the sun go down every night. Atiu was amazing and the only thing I would have changed, is that we wanted to spend more time there. I think a week on that island and you would be super relaxed. Mine and Ambers routine there consisted of have some breakfast, finding some fresh coconuts (normally found on the ground or supplied be a local) on the bike to the beach, where we sat and watched humpback wales go passed all day long. It was quite spectacular as the edge of the reef is only 20-30 meters away and the wales were only another 10 meters the other side. I walked out to the edge of the reef to get as close as possible.
The whole trip ran really smoothly. Thank you very much for all your help, I will definitely recommend you to anyone who is thinking of travelling in the South Pacific. I have attached a few photos , sure you have your own, theres only so many pictures of blue lagoon you can take!!
All the best.
JamieJamie & AmberBlandford, DorsetAugust 2013
We asked to see as much as possible in between following the British Lions’ matches and we certainly did. It was a seamless holiday, every hotel was excellently positioned within each area we visited and there was never even the slightest confusion regarding any booking, whether hotels, match tickets or car hire. We saw some unforgettable sights, as well as closely following the tour, thanks to All Ways’ knowledge of the region and their impeccable planning. They are genuine perfectionists, there was never a hitch. We would most definitely use All Ways for any future holiday to Australasia.Mike, Henry & Ed BoughtonBuckinghamshireJune 2013
Having returned from Singapore / Australia, and recovered from our jetlag, we thought we would let you know that we have had another memorable time. Thank you for your careful and detailed arrangements which enabled us to have a very happy holiday. There are too many “highlights” to pick our favourites, but we will have fun reliving them when we have sorted out our 1,000 plus digital photographs!
Other than a couple of minor points outside your control the holiday was superb, and once again we would like to thank you for your kind and careful attention. We are debating whether to tackle another return to Australia in a year or two. If we decide to give it another go – you will be hearing from us!Michael & Kay PearsonWarwickshireFebruary 2013
Just to let you know we had the most fabulous time. The weather was extremely kind to us and everything worked liked clockwork. We really loved the country and the people. If we were 20/30 years younger, we’d be making enquiries!!
All the arrangements worked extremely well and even when there was a slight hitch, as on the Milford Sound/Dart River Safari Combo when the plane couldn’t fly in the morning due to low cloud, they just reversed the itinerary and we did the Dart River in the morning and flew later to Milford Sound. Incidentally that was our most enjoyable trip – absolutely wonderful.
All the accommodation was excellent and the variation of B&Bs, hotels, studios, apartments worked really well. We loved Breakers Boutique near Greymouth. There was no spa bath available at Mount Cook View Motel, but it was not a problem and we were refunded $10. The rooms and particularly bathrooms were a little tired at the Bayview Chateau Tongariro and the Copthorne, Auckland (particularly the Copthorne) but they were perfectly adequate and all the staff very helpful.
We met up with some other clients, whose trip coincidentally you also arranged, at Dyers House in Christchurch, became friends and also met up with them at Browns in Queenstown and again in Auckland – very nice couple.
Our car in the South Island was a Mazda 6 which was excellent. In the North Island we had a Holden which was not so comfortable and also quite heavy on fuel, but it was not a problem and fortunately we did not have to do so many miles in the North Island. Also we took your advice and returned it on arrival in Auckland to avoid parking charges.
The flights were tiring as you would expect, particularly the homeward journey, and we are still recovering from the awful jet lag, but I’m sure we’ll feel normal again soon.
We would like to thank you for arranging such a memorable trip for us and, as we didn’t manage to see everything, we certainly intend to make a return visit, so will be in touch some time in the future to make the arrangements.Sue & Trevor ChandlerLongwick, BuckinghamshireFebruary 2013
Well here we are in Auckland at the end of this part of our trip.
And what a fantastic trip it has been. Blessed with great weather, exceptional I believe.
We have met a lot of people, so warm and friendly and super accommodation, especially Napier.
Then there were the activities, wow, so much to mention. We have loved them all from the flight over mount cook onwards. Rock en roll.
Then the Hollyford track, not enough great words to relate that experience.
The scenery, wow, words fail me other than breath taking, you know exactly what I mean I am sure.
It has been a full on wonderful experience, packed every day.
Day three decision, we must return. I think that says it all.
Thank you so very much Kaye.
With very best wishes.Ann & Roy SmithDorsetFebruary 2013
How nice to hear from you Kaye - and yes we were expecting it to be a little warmer on our return but having been blessed with such glorious weather in NZ we cannot really complain. I think NZ have just had their best summer for 25 years or something and we were there for it!!
Honestly Kaye it was fantastic and you had obviously put a lot of thought into the whole trip, including getting the best rooms in places and calculating the times to drive between places! There was just so much we really loved from the people to the food and scenery.
The Coromandel was so pretty and Kiwi Dundee (or his colleague) most informative; Bay of Islands Lodge was stunning and we loved Russell; Chris and Mark at Stafford Villa were wonderful though I think are about to retire. We loved Wellington and did an evening tour of Zealandia when we saw kiwi, which was very special, and could have spent a whole day in Te Papa! Nelson was one of our favourite towns which we weren't really expecting - great restaurant recommendations and we took a water taxi up the coast of Abel Tasman including a 3 hr walk which was very beautiful as well as doing a wine tour.
Arthur's Pass Wilderness Lodge was outstanding and we felt we could have had another night there, BUT we are a bit geeky when it comes to nature and it was expensive so may not suit everyone! Christchurch was sad to see but so interesting ...... The Hermitage at Mount Cook was big and crowded but great for seeing the area and the view from our room was outstanding! Thank you! We did a trip on the lake here to see the icebergs, went for a helicopter ride to see the glaciers as well as enjoying the Edmund Hillary film in the hotel. Interesting tho - they charged us an extra 2% everytime we used either a debit or a credit card (the only hotel in NZ to do so) - the only way to avoid this was to pay cash. Very naughty I thought! We had a great time in Wanaka with our friend and enjoyed Queenstown. Arrow Town was charming.
And finally the cruise (Oceanic Discoverer - Milford Sound to Auckland)! Couldn't recommend it highly enough. Very well planned, delightful crew, fantastic food - and our fellow passengers were generally extremely interesting, well travelled people so lots to talk about.
So, as you will have gathered the trip was a huge success and we really appreciated all you put into it for us.Elaine & Jonathan EyresChesham, BuckinghamshireFebruary 2013
Good afternoon Kaye; Well its all over and the last almost six weeks have gone so quick. However we have so many memories and pictures 2000+ and some video that we will look back on this fantastic trip many times in the future and just survive by looking and talking about all the experiences we had. Every day was a new place new magnificent views new friendly people. The camper van was a totally new venture for Anne and me but we took to it like a duck to water to such an extent that Anne was trying to talk me into us purchasing one in the UK; we will see!! The travel arrangements were excellent all running on time. We only had one problem with the camper van and that was the 240 volt cable had to be replaced fortunately by coincidence it happened when Auckland was our next stopover so we called in to Kea and it was fixed within two hours on a Saturday. We managed to get to the Southern most point on the South island and the Northern most point on the North island and in the four weeks covered some 8882km the Kea staff thought this was a lot!!
So thank you for the work you did and best wishes for the future.John & Anne RadfordNorthantsJanuary 2013
Almost a week has now passed since we got back from our trip so I thought I'd provide the feedback you requested on how it all went - especially as regards the itinerary you planned & booked for our post-wedding travels over there.
As regards the trip overall, I'm delighted to report that my son's wedding on Waiheke island turned out to be the major highlight as well as the reason for our going to New Zealand. That being said, the Hollyford Valley Heli-hike out of Queenstown was almost as memorable.
Reflecting on the accomodation you booked for us, the excellent location / apartment at The Rees in Queenstown notwithstanding, my favourite hotel was The Crown in Napier - especially after the first night when we upgraded (for a very reasonable fee) to a superior apartment with beach view at the front of the hotel after my son flew down to spend a couple of days with us. By some margin, The Copthorne in Wellington was the least satisfactory hotel from every standpoint and the extra we paid to secure rooms with a 'balcony'(sic) was a waste of money.
The Gondola in Queenstown, the 'Walk Wellington' tour & the Art Deco Walk were all more than satisfactory, whilst the hire car arrangements were perfect for our needs.
The Hollyford Walk was a superb day that none of the 4 of us taking part would have wanted to miss nor are likely to forget for a very long time. (Incidentally, my daughter spent her spare day in Queenstown horse-riding and Kiwi feeding).
Whilst we have been getting over jetlag, the snow in the UK since our return has also proved to be a real shock to the system. Nonetheless, the memories of our trip will remain with us & I'd like to thank you one more time for helping us to make the very best of our time in New Zealand.The Gamble FamilySheffieldFebruary 2013
Overall, absolutely a superb holiday both from the family end to the part you organised for us. It was a pleasure to get back to Australia and see those areas, you recommended, that we hadn’t previously visited.
So, overall a great trip with a good choice of accommodation, which was flawlessly organised by yourself and the ground agent you used (ATS Pacific).Stan & Sandra PackhamChalfont St Giles, BuckinghamshireMarch 2012
We are back after a wonderful holiday.Everything went very smoothly and no grumbles about accommodation all of which we found very good. It goes without saying that the country is stunning. Please convey our thanks to Penny and Paul with whom we had pre dinner drinks for their hospitality. Angie and Barry were also most hospitable particularly as we arrived in Christchurch in awful weather and they were kind enough to provide us with lunch, as it was so bad we could not step out. In general everybody was friendly and helpful in all the accommodation.
Weather was pretty good albeit a couple of days could have been better. The flight over Mt Cook was delayed to the following morning because on the afternoon of our arrival they were not flying because of the heavy cloud cover. The wait was worth it as when they got above the clouds the mountain was bathed in sunshine and stunning.After the fight we were off to Lake Tekapo and if we had missed the slot then I do not think we could have flown the next day because of fog and rain.
We were happy with Air New Zealand who provided good levels of service, were on time and the Premium Economy cabin outbound was very spacious AND comfortable.
In summary a great trip with many memories.Thank you.David & Sian DukeHyde Heath, BuckinghamshireNovember 2012
Firstly, sincere apologies for not responding earlier, but what with Christmas and New Years and then collating our memories, notes, etc. this has taken far longer than expected.
Thanks to all your planning and arrangements (and adjustments as flights, etc changed) we had a whale of a time. Everything that you had organised worked like clockwork. Even with all our (and your) research, we were still somewhat shocked by the expense of everything in Australia; largely due to the strong Australian economy and the weak UK one the exchange rate made everything pricey to British tourists. That didn't stop us one whit from enjoying everything that was on offer that we could fit into our timescale. We were pleased that we had extended our original thoughts of 3-4 weeks to encompass so much more. There was nothing that we thought we had missed out, although there are still a lot of options to make up another visit one day. Thanks too to ATS Pacific who provided not only copies of all the vouchers, but had indicated on each voucher if a local telephone confirmation was necessary and what number to call.
Please feel free to use in any way you wish any of our comments contained in the attached PDF diary, which we hope you enjoy.
It has been a pleasure working with you on this trip. You were always so prompt, friendly and efficient in dealing with any of our queries or amendments and we hope we may call upon your services at some time in the future and would certainly recommend you and your team to anyone contemplating a trip Down Under.
Best wishes for 2013,
Chris and Sue (ex BA) HallChristopher & Susan HallLa Grimordie, FranceOctober 2012
Thanks for your follow up...we had been meaning to give you some feedback, but got caught up in the maelstrom of activity that results from being away for 4 weeks!
Well, no surprise, it was fantastic. Weather was superb and you know all about the delights of our itinerary Highlights for us were the Milford Track/Sound, Abel Tasman National Park, and Nelson.
It was nice to have the variety of 1) car/nice B & Bs....2).rucksacks/lodges....3) campervan. Everything worked very well.
Thanks for all the arrangments we will be going back....Cook Islands was also a great idea!Keith and Janette BradfordPenn, BuckinghamshireJanuary 2013
All your arrangements were excellent. We were very impressed by Qantas and the high standards of their cabin staff – in contrast to that provided by British Airways on our return flight. The domestic flights were fine too. Hotel Vibe in Melbourne was excellent as was Mantra on Kent in Sydney and we would recommend both to anyone. In both cases the rooms were clean and well provided and the staff helpful, those in Melbourne particularly so.
The Herz car you hired on our behalf was ready when we went to collect it and served our purposes admirably. The staff happily extended the duration of the rental and transferred delivery of the car to the airport. Unfortunately, however, the direction indicator and windscreen washer controls were on opposite sides to those in my car and I kept pressing the wrong one. Having eventually got used to the arrangement, I now make mistakes back home! (I don’t hold you responsible for this though.)
So thanks for your organisation of our trip which took a load off our mind when thinking about the holiday. All we have to do now is to sort out the 1500 photos we took, one of which is attached.Laurence SmajeBeaconsfield, BuckinghamshireFebruary 2012
We got back today and we had an amazing time. We met up with James and Sammy and will be keeping in touch.
Thanks for all what you did. We got upgraded on the plane on the way over to LA and upgraded at The Aitutaki Lagoon resort to an overwater bungalow, it was fabulous.
I will send some pics soon.Jayne & Russell GibbsWinchmore Hill, LondonApril 2012