Tropical Sky/MoaTrek’s 22-day All New Zealand Kakapo Small Group Tour (max 20), which I joined recently in November 2018, was perhaps the best single country tour I have ever done.
I have always wanted to complete a comprehensive tour of the North and South Islands, but had only a maximum of 3 weeks in which to do it, so this was the ideal trip for me. Tropical Sky were superb in helping me to arrange my tour, including my flight for a 10-day stopover to visits friends in Melbourne Australia. Donna Jones was my travel consultant, and she was so professional, competent and a really gifted multi-taker. She was absolutely superb (thank you Donna). Tropical Sky booked our trip with Auckland-based company MoaTrek, who, again, as you would expect, were fantastic.
From the very outset, Tropical Sky and their New Zealand Partner, MoaTrek, looked after all the relevant tour details and both companies kept me informed of everything I needed to know before stepping on the plane to Auckland, our tour starting point. An incredibly comprehensive and customised programme was also prepared with every conceivable detail of the tour provided for our comfort and it served as a very useful reference when we needed to review our travel itinerary, accommodation details or excursion details for each of the 22 days planned. During the booking process, MoaTrek provided a comprehensive excursion guide, some of which you could book in addition to the activities already included as part of the tour. I was advised by Tropical Sky/MoaTrek to book the excursions during the finalisation of my tour booking in order to avoid disappointment and I was glad I took their advice as they do fill up fast and may not be available to you should you wish to book them when on the tour itself.
Our MoaTrek tour guide, Nigel Murray, was without question, the best tour guide I have ever met and a driver to be proud of. He was simply amazing – a Kiwi to the core with a passion for the outdoors and an encyclopaedic knowledge of his home country and so many others (anthropology, botany, current affairs, economics, environmental issues, geography, geology, history, politics – you name it, Nigel knew it). A fountain of knowledge and a person of great integrity, kindness and compassion, Nigel is highly competent and was source of good humour and reassurance throughout the trip. Nigel, through his desire to go the extra mile and make ever passing moment light-hearted, interesting and customised in a way that only he knew how due to the love he has for his native land, he single-handedly turned this tour into a riveting adventure. Providing us all with our comprehensive MoaTrek Map of New Zealand just added to the sense of adventure, not to mention the occasional beach picnic or evening soirée that we would enjoy as a group for good measure!
The quality of the tour bus, hotel accommodation and excursions on offer was superb. Note that washing machine, dryer and ironing facilities were available in our hotel in Auckland and in Queenstown which made life easy for those of us packing for 11 days. While a trip of 22 days can be challenging on paper, it was so well organised, I always felt I had time to absorb the adventures of the day and take time to look ahead to the next. I also had plenty of time to get to know everyone in the group, and what a wonderful group we had. To cap it all off, the weather was simply superb, on both the North and South Islands, with the exception of one wet day which turned to snow travelling from Kaikoura to Mount Cook, the longest 1-day journey (520 km).
To think that I covered 4,600 km with Nigel and my fellow travellers and friends over 22 days, fills me with a great sense of achievement and I can’t thank Tropical Sky (Donna), MoaTrek, Nigel and my travel buddies for helping to make this trip one filled with unforgettable memories.
John from Cork, Ireland.