New Zealand Trails Newsletter April 2014
• Photos and Feedback from our February & March 2014 trip
• Availability update and exciting changes for next season
• A Traveller's Story - live from the trail with Susan & Tom
Greetings from New Zealand!
Autumn in New Zealand is one of my favourite times of year, calm cool days and falling leaves everywhere. With the New Zealand walking season winding down it's also the time of year for hiking guides to reflect on the season that was and enjoy a little downtime ourselves.
Here at New Zealand Trails it meant looking back at our first full season for our new 'World Heritage Hiking Tour'. Having guided all the trips personally myself this year I've got a great gauge on everyone's experience and feedback and we've been overwhelmed and humbled by the positive comments and encouragement. There will be a few small refinements for next seasons but all our walkers have been telling us they love the trip and in particular the little touches like comfortable accommodation and the best local cuisine have been really well received.
In this month's newsletter:
- Photos and guest feedback from our February and March trips - The fun continued as guests and guides had a wonderful time discovering the best of Southwest New Zealand World Heritage Area.
- Exciting changes for 2014/2015 tours - All the popular hikes and activities will remain, just a few small refinements to add to your enjoyment.
- A traveller's story - Guest Susan Patterson's blog from our February trip.
Availability Update: Forward bookings for the 2014/2015 walking season have been really strong, with our second November and December trips nearing capacity already. For early season travellers there is a travel deal available - if you're still thinking about a New Zealand hiking adventure next summer please contact us now.
For those of you joined trips this season, thank you so much. For those joining us next season we can't wait to meet you and for everyone, Happy Hiking!
Andrew Wells and the New Zealand Trails team.
Feb/Mar 2014 trip – Dodging the weather, a culinary adventure plus the usual stunning World Heritage hiking and activities
We headed off in late February with another small fun group of people on our latest adventure, looking forward to a fun filled tour through the best of the great NZ outdoors. Many of you may have seen the 100 year storm which brought flooding to Christchurch and wonder how we fared, we drove through the fringe of the storm on our way into Fiordland where we escaped to for three beautiful sunny days in Milford and on the Hollyford Track! In fact the whole trip was beautiful weather again as you can see from the photos. Great walks and activities aside, we enjoyed some beautiful meals in stunning spots like Lake Matheson, the Queenstown lakefront and Milford Sound. Thanks again to all our guests for making such a wonderful time.
February / March 2014 Guest Feedback:
'New Zealand Trails have done a brilliant job of organizing and coordinating this tour, everything came off without a hitch. The guide was stellar and went out of his way to ensure each member of the group was comfortable and had everything we needed. Our accommodation was very comfortable, spacious and clean. The meals, including venues and service, were outstanding. New Zealand is a lovely country and Kiwis are among some of the friendliest and most helpful people I've met in my travels. I would highly recommend New Zealand Trails to anyone contemplating an active holiday which allows you to focus on the fun without having to worry about the details'
Catherine Tanner, Canada.
Exciting itinerary improvements for 2014/2015:
The most important measure for us to assess our trips is guest feedback. Having guided all the tours this year personally I've had some great conversations at both the dinner table and on the hiking trails. Every guest also completes a post trip survey form which provides valuable insight from our most important voice, you the guest.
As a result of this feedback we'd like to announce a couple of small refinements to our World Heritage Hiking Tour for the 2014/2015 Season:
Best of the TranzAlpine
The TranzAlpine journey will now be moved from day two to day one, allowing us to experience what is commonly accepted as the best section of the trip, the Waimakariri Gorge and Canterbury High Country.
Discover everything Queenstown has to offer
Everyone loves Queenstown so next season we're spending another night in the Adventure Capital of the World. With three nights you'll now have a full day available to try some of Queenstown's famous adventure activities, more gentil pursuits or enjoy a day to yourself - your choice.
To fit these changes into a 13 day itinerary, on the first day of the trip we're now travelling on to Punakaiki after our walk in Arthur's Pass - the magical type of day only New Zealand can offer - a world famous rail journey, hiking in the Southern Alps and dinner enjoying the sun set over the ocean on the West Coast.
Stay in Mt Cook National Park
We experimented with this on some tours this season and it was such a success that we have made the change permanently for next season's tours. Instead of staying in Lake Tekapo with a two hour return drive for our Mt Cook hiking, we're now in the heart of the village.
With these small improvements, you'll still enjoy all the best walks and activities guests loved so much this season with the advantage of more time in iconic spots and less time on the road.
A Traveller's Story – Read Susan's New Zealand Trails travel journey
Guiding our first February departure I soon learned our guest Susan Patterson was an avid travel writer with a small but dedicated following in the US and around the world. During the trip we started spending time after dinner looking at her writing, with me providing local knowledge and verification of facts. Susan was more than happy for us to publish her writing on our site, so here they are, five entertaining and though provoking episodes from her and husband Tom's World Heritage Hiking Adventure.
Read all about Susan and Tom's New Zealand Adventure:
Part 1 - New Zealand overview, Arthur's Pass to the West Coast
Part 2 - Underworld Rafting, Okarito Kayaking and Fox Glacier Hiking
Part 3 - Mou Waho Island, Routeburn Track hiking and Queenstown
Part 4 - Milford Track, Milford Sound heli, Hollyford jetboat and hiking
Part 5 - Mt Cook hiking, New Zealand final thoughts
As a lover of travel writing and an amateur scribe myself, it was a real pleasure to see Susan's dedication to her writing and fun to read someone else's perspective of New Zealand and our tour. Highly recommended for anyone considering some active New Zealand travel. Thanks Susan!
Where's my travel deal?
We've got a great new deal in the pipeline for next month, please keep your eyes out and in the meantime for early November 2014 travellers our ever popular pre-tour accommodation deal is still available:
One night's accommodation and airport transfers included on selected departures (3 November 2014), on this departure we would like to extend a special offer - included in your tour price is one night's accommodation either the night before you join the tour or the evening you leave the tour, plus a private transfer between your accommodation and the airport.
Find out more or register your interest for this travel deal now.
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