New Zealand Trails Newsletter March 2015
What a summer we’ve had, it's been wonderful in every way which has made for some amazing memories on our World Heritage Walking Tours - guests have enjoyed great weather and lots fun on their ‘trip-of-a-lifetime’ to New Zealand. We've got some great photos in our tour galleries, perfect for some inspiration for your New Zealand walking holiday.
See some of our favourite summer walking photos from the trips here:
Many guests on our World Heritage Walking tours have the opportunity to travel with our lead guide, Marilyn. With over 10 years experience guiding in both New Zealand and overseas, we’re lucky to have Marilyn with us and are delighted to announce she’ll be returning for the 2015/2016 season. So we thought it was the perfect time to find out a bit more about what makes our one and only ‘M' tick.
What do you like most about guiding?
That’s easy, showing our amazing landscapes and wilderness areas to our guests. New Zealand is brimming with hidden gems, many of which are readily accessible with just a little time and know how. I love seeing the reaction on peoples faces at places like Mou Waho on Lake Wanaka, where we’ve usually got the island to ourselves and have uninterrupted views as far as the eye can see.
Favourite place visited on tour?
That’s a hard one, because they’re all very such fantastic places, but perhaps I’ll give the Hollyford Valley my vote. There’s something special about flying into this most remote corner of New Zealand, waving good-bye to our helicopter and knowing that we’re totally ‘off-line’ in every way. We have a lot of fun while we’re here - helicopters, jet boats, wildlife and lots of hiking and the rich history of the area makes it all the more alluring - gold miners, shipwrecks, failed settlements, Moa sightings, dramatic rescues, local legends - it’s all here and part of the Hollyford magic.
Most memorable moment on tour this season?
Probably the ‘helicopter rescue’ of some backpacks from a coach on the Milford Road. To cut a long story short, our vehicle relocation driver had inadvertently taken several guest backpacks with him on his way out of Milford to reposition the coach. These backpacks contained all the overnight gear for about half our group and there’s no cellphone coverage on the Milford Road to get a message to him. A radio call to the road crew who waved the van down near the Homer tunnel and a quick transfer to a passing helicopter had the backpacks back with their owners within about 20 minutes.
Your favourite getaway spot in New Zealand?
I love the New Zealand bush and like nothing more than strapping on my own backpack and heading off into the hills for a few days of solitude, surrounded by native forest and bird song. My favourite places for this are Nelson Lakes and Kahurangi National Parks.
Tell us something we don’t know about you?
Growing up, a close family friend was deaf so I learnt sign language as a youngster and am still pretty proficient. I spent a a year in the Solomon Islands working on an aid programme developing agriculture businesses for women. An amazing experience that words cannot do justice to. That’ll do for now!
Do you have any plans for a holiday of your own?
Well I do actually and thanks to the seasonal nature of guiding it’s something I look forward to in my down time. I’ve got a real passion for the great New Zealand outdoors and there are still many corners of the country I haven’t seen. This year it’s Northland and Cape Reinga, ‘the Winterless North’ will be a great place to be during the coldest time of the year in the South Island.
Marilyn will probably tell me off for writing this, but after (and often during) every trip she’s leading, guests will get in touch to tell me how wonderful she is and how much they appreciate everything she does for them. As a guide myself, I realize how important the ‘little things’ are so from a company perspective, we want to say thank you to Marilyn for all your efforts and we’re so glad you’ll be with us again next year - Andrew!
As guides, the part we love the most about running these trips is hearing back from guests after the trip and knowing that we've everyone's enjoyed themselves, made new friends and shared an experience they'll treasure for a long time. Here are a few recent reviews from guests we'd like to share:
Julie Attwood, UK.
Marilyn is worth her weight in gold! She proved to be an excellent guide with her amazing knowledge of New Zealand and she has the patience of a saint. Nothing was too much trouble and she took the time to ensure that everyone's needs were catered for. Marilyn made a great holiday even better. I really can't sing her praises enough.
Art & Maura Keene, USA.
We want to say thank you for the wonderful experience you and your staff have crafted. We had a wonderful time and thought everything about the tour was great, the itinerary was fantastic - just about perfect for us with interesting full and active days, but not so packed that you felt like you had to rush. Every day felt rich and fulfilling that we eagerly anticipated the next day. Marilyn was an excellent guide and was impressively attentive to our needs and interests. All in all, I don't see how the trip could have been any better.
Our World Heritage Walking tour is only in it's second season, and to celebrate what's been a great summer for everyone we'd like to offer a special deal for the last trip of the season. Book your spot on the 30 March 2015 trip and we'll include a complimentary airport transfer, one night's free accommodation and dinner the evening before your trip starts at Christchurch's Chateau on the Park Hotel. See more about this travel deal here.
New Zealand is where everyone wants to visit at the moment, this season has been very busy, with the ‘No Vacancy’ signs up all across the country throughout summer. All the indications are there for next season to be busy too and as our tours are small group they can fill up very quickly. Trips this year were fully booked pretty much all season and we already have a lot of forward bookings for next season, with some departures nearly full already. If you are thinking about joining us in 2015/2016 we advise booking as soon as you can in order to avoid disappointment.
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