Reasons to Explore New Zealand with Wild Kiwi
Wild Kiwi is a tour operator in - you guessed it - New Zealand and last year Josie Brownlee decided to book onto their South Island tour when she was travelling in this incredible country.
Josie was keen to get the most out of the experience in a short period so when she found Wild Kiwi she was super excited as they offer lots of different tours with some itineraries being less 1 week or less.
Below Josie shares her experience of travelling in New Zealand with Wild Kiwi and why you won't regret booking with this company.
What I loved About Wild Kiwi...
Here are some of the best things I discovered about my tour with Wild Kiwi...
I wanted to confirm a few things about the trip before I went to make sure it was the one for me and what I loved was how super friendly and quick to respond the team were in replying to my queries. They also helped me book my tour at a discount and didn't pressure me into it (which I don't like about some tour operators)
They pick you up and drop you off where you need to go! I was leaving New Zealand straight from the tour - sad times - and they were able to pick me and up and drop me off at the airport to help make things easier. For some others, though they were more than happy to drop them off in the town of Christchurch where we started and ended or at their hostel or place of stay - so convenient!
Ourtour guide, Robbie, was brilliant! He was so friendly and knowledgeable about each place (I loved learning about all the Maori history and stories) and you could tell he absolutely loved his job and it made a big difference that he was part of the group and not someone that drove us around for a week! He even got us involved in a competition winning us all free meals/drinks at some point over the tour!
Our guide Robbie drove us around the south island where we all bonded and got to know each other and when we got to each spot we were free to book onto adventures or to roam around and explore or just to chill, whatever we each wanted to do!
I was quite impressed with the quality experienced on this tour - it's still rather expensive but compared to other tours and for what you get I was happily satisfied. The bus was really comfortable - for the amount of driving it needed to be - and had USB chargers and wifi (although it depends on where you are for good connection).
Similarly, the hostels we stayed at were pretty nice too - more so in Queenstown but the other towns are literally tiny so as to be expected and they did the job perfectly. I've stayed in quite a few different hostels around so as hostels go they were pretty good!
The size of the groups are limited to 18 and because we went in Spring it was even smaller and I really liked that about the trip because it meant that we all got to know each other and although we were free to go off and do things individually, we bonded as a group and I made loads of lovely new friends.
The Southern Voyager Tour
This is the tour that I chose - a 7-day tour around all the best picks of New Zealand's South Island.
We were picked up from Christchurch and taken via the Southern Alps to the teeny tiny town of Fraz Josef stopping off at some beautiful spots along the way including Hokitika and Arthurs Pass. We stayed the night here, along with the next day and night to give the chance to do the Franz Josef Glacier (which you could either do the walk/helicopter or one of several hikes to see).
We then were back on the bus for our trip to Queenstown via Lake Wanaka. Accompanied by some good history, amazing views and tips for Queenstown our journey was lovely. We stayed the night plus two others here in Queenstown and were given these two days free to do as we wished - although one of the days was for the brilliant cruise to Milford Sound which Robbie booked some of us onto during the drive, which was pretty epic! This is the chance to do all the amazing adrenaline pumping activities but is also nice to roam about and do some of the gorgeous hikes around the town and sample all the amazing food like the Fergburger and Cookie Time cookie dough!
After the fun in Queenstown we headed to my favourite part of the whole trip which was Mount Cook - New Zealand's highest peak and after arriving, we all took the hike/walk over to see this incredible mountain peak! It was a great chance to get into the real outdoors and I've really never seen anything so beautiful!
The next day we made our way back to Christchurch, driving through the town and bidding farewell to each other and I left with about 10 new friends and a serious urge to get back and look at the millions of amazing photos I had from this stunning country!
The incredible Mouth Cook - or Aoraki to the native Maori people of New Zealand. (And the shot that won me free dinner on the last night!)
I Recommend Wild Kiwi If...
This tour was brilliant in my opinion but I understand that travel is very different for different people and that it may not be as great for everyone. So I would definitely recommend this tour to people if;
You're on limited time
This was just a week-long tour so got through everything pretty quickly and it would have been nice to explore places a bit longer but for the time we had it was perfectly separated. Wild Kiwi the company has other tours too so I'd still recommend them as a tour operator if you've got longer to explore and would say to have a look at their longers tours if so!
You like a good drive
There is a lot of driving on this tour - most of the days tbh - which I would assume is the case for most New Zealand tours (although this is the only one I've done) since most of the South Island is scenery and the main towns are quite a distance from each other. Now I love a good drive - and also sleep exceptionally well in cars/buses so this trip was perfect for me and the scenery never got boring if I'm honest but if you're bored easy or get motion sickness maybe look into visiting each town/city instead.
You're looking for a scenery and activities tour as opposed to a partying hard tour
One of the things I asked about beforehand was the amount of emphasis on alcohol. I'm never against a good drink or two but when I saw that the age range was 18-35 I was conscious that I'd be left out in wanting to make the most of the week by exploring the sites, sober.
I was put at ease by the people at Wild Kiwi and - I guess it'd also depend on who else was in the tour group - they weren't wrong. We went out for food and drinks each night (which was optional to join too) but most people not only shared my desire to sleep and explore but were totally understanding for those who weren't as keen to join in.
You want to make new friends
The small group meant that it was difficult to be left out so if you're looking for just the vehicle to get around it might not be the best tour. This doesn't mean to say that you have to pay and take part in everything - when it came to activities we split off a bit, and it just so happened that at least a few of us were up for each of the main activities whether it be the bigger, slightly more expensive ones or the simple free to do hikes.
By Josie Brownlee