Since we are squeezing so much into such a short period of time, we have made this trip as seamless and easy as possible so that you do not have to worry about accommodation, most activities and often meals. We took care of the planning and preparation so that all you have to do is show up and hop on board. We take care of the rest.
- What to expect daily: We are usually up before sunrise to either catch a bus or catch a sunrise. If there is not a bus departing that early, it is entirely your choice to sleep in until the bus departs or join for the sunrise. If you are coming from California, it is a huge benefit as the jet lag will work greatly in our favor making those early mornings feel like sleeping in. A continental breakfast will be available for a quick bite before jumping on the bus. The bus journeys will be visually stunning and entirely captivating but also provide us a little additional rest. Throughout the day we will often make small stops for bathroom breaks, snacks, and secret hikes and activities along the way to break up the journey. Our experienced driver/guide will bring us to all the best photo stops and hidden hikes along the way; as well as providing information, history, and humor. We attempt to get into our destination as early as possible to check in and to prepare for either an activity or a hike to catch a sunset. The rest of the afternoon is often up to you. We try to have arranged meals or restaurants available for group meals to cut down on kitchen time as well as shopping. Of course we will spend the evening with a drink or two and discuss the days activities and what comes up the next day. As we will most likely have another early morning the next day, it will be up to you if you want to turn in early or spend the night out.
- Mindset: Our group needs to be open minded and willing to travel closely with other like minded travelers. There are many private tours that offer intimate adventures with one or two people – we prefer to share the experience with a small group so that we can embrace the concept of community and teamwork. We feel these types of experiences are much more rewarding when shared with others.
- Schedule: With such a short amount of time, it is of the highest priority to keep our travel schedule. Every possible attempt will be made to ensure that each person is informed and present for every part of the journey. However if passengers are uncooperative or miss the bus, we need to carry on the tour and ensure that the destinations and activities are reached in the proper time.
- Bus Journeys: In order to pack everything in, we have some longer bus journeys. Bathroom, food, and leg-stretching breaks are scheduled and will be taken as needed. On the longer travel days all passengers will need to be able to endure hours on a bus. Average bus time will be about 4 hours per day with the most being 7/8 hours. Approximate travel times will be provided for each leg of the journey. Due to these longer express bus journeys, this tour is not recommended for children.
- Social Activity: This is a highly social tour but not a party tour. There will be plenty of opportunity to drink or go out if you would like; as long as it is not at the expense of the schedule or the group. With little time, we are more focused on getting up early and catching the sunrise and sunsets rather than sitting in the pub. However all activities are optional and if you prefer to take time on your own and relax or hit the pub, you of course are more than welcome. As long as you are on the bus at the proper time and are not disturbing any other passengers (on the bus or at the accommodation) you are welcome to do as you like. We do love to end each day in the pub for some good conversion and laughter.
- Accommodation – New Zealand is lucky to have a high standard of backpacker accommodation. Our accommodation will be a mixture of hostels, cabins, boats, and resorts. Our standard accommodation venues provide a private shared double room for two passengers but upgrades are available. The majority have full kitchen facilities, a TV lounge and internet. We enjoy the social aspect of our accommodation but mainly cleanliness, comfort, peace and quiet are of the highest importance. All accommodation has been carefully vetted to ensure that all of these standards are met. It is a quick sprint of a tour and getting rest and sleep is important. Upgraded rooms are available if arranged prior to the trip. If you wish to upgrade while on tour, it most likely will be accommodated but cannot be guaranteed. If you have a group and prefer to have a private group dorm room, we can discuss discounted group rates.
- Physical Rating: Average to strenuous – our tours include light hiking, biking and kayaking in addition to walking. All of the hikes and activities are optional. All hikes and degree of difficulty will be thoroughly discussed and prepared for beforehand. Alternative activities and hikes will be available for anyone not wanting to participate in any specific activity.
- Group Size: Small Group (Min 10 people / average 15 people)
- Transport: Travel by private, air-conditioned minibus (14-24 seats)
- Guides: Your guide is also your driver – expect entertaining commentary, to learn some interesting facts about New Zealand and to hear a crazy story or two.
- Activities: Top-rated activities are included. If you want to do any additional activities, not specified in the itinerary, these possible can be arranged if it fits into our schedule. Please advise of any additional interests before booking to ensure compatibility. Please note that all activities are very weather dependent. We have chosen this time of year to give us the best possible weather opportunities with the lest amount of crowds as possible.
- Meals: Certain meals are included in this tour. Any dietary requirements or allergies must be advised upon booking. As we often will be up early and out late, we want to try to take advantage of group meal cooking or group meals in restaurants which will save us money and time. We want to spend as much time as possible outside in the beautiful surroundings instead of in the kitchen and supermarket. When we stop along the way for lunches or dinner, NZ is quite favorable to the USD with a great exchange rate. You can expect to get a nice little meal for $7 USD or a full restaurant dinner for about $10-$15.
- Photo and Video: Though one of the main focuses of the tour is to be at the right place, at the right time for the best image/viewing opportunities; this is not specifically a photo tour. If you are interested in learning photography, we are happy to give any assistance and help needed. If you are skilled in photography or videography, we will provide you the means to get to these stunning spots and set you up for success. If you are not into photography, you will be in some of the most beautiful places in the world at the best time of day to experience it. Throughout the trip we will be available to discuss all aspects of the photographic process – editing, composition, technique, business, social media, technology, sales, experiences. At the end of each day it will be nice to look over each others images and share the incredible captures from each day. As we are partnering with many of these locations, most of our hosts will be heavily interested in the images we are able to capture and there may be plenty of opportunity to have your imagery featured and published if that is something you are interested in.
- Schedule and Activity chances/cancellations: Every possible precaution and preparation will be taken to ensure that all destinations and activities will be met as scheduled. However in the event of uncontrollable events that force us to change or modify our schedule; all attempts will be made to make up anything that is missed. If an activity is missed due to uncontrollable circumstances, refunds for the specified activity will be issued.
What to Bring:
- Sturdy walking shoes/boots, swimming gear, hat and sunscreen, motion sickness tablets, water bottle, towel and toiletries, warm clothing and waterproof jacket, insect repellent, camera.
- Luggage should be restricted to 15kg in a single bag or suitcase, plus a small day pack.
- Recommended camera gear – Coming soon!