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Turtle, Ecuador

Reviews

Your Words – We tell it like it is! Holiday Reviews by previous Exodus travellers  

Here at Exodus we thrive on feedback from our customers. It’s the only way we can ensure our trips continue to be the best they can be. So, for the real tales, twists and turns of the trip you’re interested in, look no further than the reviews from our previous travellers.

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Reviews

Full on trip

This was a fantastic trip where we saw so much . Not for anyone wanting to take it easy. Some fantastic sights great tour manager and lovely accommodation

Most Inspirational Moment

Difficult to pick one but my favourite day has to be the walk in Abel Tasman National Park and then the afternoon spent on a catqnaran sailing around Anchorage Bay. Lovely walk and beautiful weather for a sail.

Thoughts on Group Leader

Summer was a good tour leader. She was enthusiastic ,helpful, knowledgeable about the culture especially the maori culture. She was always fun to be around

Advice for Potential Travellers

Don't do this trip if you want plenty of rest. There is a lot of walking involved and a lot of it uphill. There are some long days getting in not much before 7pm so be prepared for not having much time before dinner Otherwise just enjoy the amazing sights you will see and some great accommodation

Suggestions

I was disappointed by Milford Sound and would have liked to have just had a few hours there instead of staying overnight. Getting there at 4pm and leaving at 9am in the morning we didn't see as much as I expected. I would have liked more time in Wellington as we got in there in the afternoon and left early the next morning

A great summery of what New Zealand has to offer.

A packed trip including most of the scenery and activities you can get in New Zealand.Although we covered a lot of kilometers, there was time to walk, take a boat and just take it all in. We had a great tour leader who also drove the van, even the men in the group noticed she is a very good driver.Everything was well planned for, including stops for buying food in supermarkets, and of course the toilet stops. We were lucky with the weather, although the only rainy day was when we were in Tongariro so the crossing was cancelled.But later in the afternoon it was still possible to walk around a bit. Most of the group, if not all thought that another night in Rotorua and especially in Mount Cook would add to the trip.The hotels were very good, most of one hotel group,but the hotel in Mount Cook stood out and even had a complete kitchen, and the views… with clear skies just amazing.,

Most Inspirational Moment

For me the hike to Key Summit, as 15 years ago I walked the other end of the Routeburn trek in heavy rain and got then wet to the skin. This time the rain was a little drizzle slowing down, and at the top clouds were playing around the tops of the mountains.The same gave a magical touch when we woke up in Milford Sound that same morning. Another moment was when Summer saw the rare white Heron flying just in front of the car. We stopped ,and could see it and even take pictures when if flew alongside the road for several minutes. The opposite was true for Christchurch, which I remember from 15 years ago and looks now so different and cold with new high modern buildings and lost all the charm it had before.

Thoughts on Group Leader

Summer is the right person for this work: passionate about her country and its culture, has broad knowledge of every aspect of nature and life in New Zealand, is interested in her guests and devides her time between all in the group.Always on time, drives good and very careful,efficient when dealing with hotels and other service providers.I think she found the right balance between giving alone time and initiating reservations for dinner.The goodies bag was a welcome surprise and greatly appreciated.

Advice for Potential Travellers

Take good raingear, and layered clothing.Be ready for some long drives but with stops ,sometimes some early mornings. Everything could be paid for by credit card, although some places had a surcharge for that from 0,8-2,95%. So you can decide if that's for you or pay cash. Most of the group came 1-2 days before the trip to New Zealand , so were over the jet lag when we started, and some also planned some extra days after the trip.If you fly to the other side of the world, that might be a good thing to consider.

A wonderful trip.

This trip covers a lot of ground, with a packed itinerary and with plenty of walking in beautiful scenery. The weather was very kind to us – we even saw Milford Sound with clear blue skies!

Most Inspirational Moment

I couldn't single out just one - there were too many. The North Island volcanoes and geothermal activity were amazing but the South Island scenery was spectacular. The ' Abel Tasman' day was one highlight - a beautiful walk followed by a swim and beach picnic then a return journey by sail - perfect. Sunrise at Lake Matheson, the boat trip on Milford Sound and walk to Key Summit were other highlights, as were the unexpected extras arranged by Sean and Merisha.

Thoughts on Group Leader

Joint leaders Sean and Merisha were great!

Advice for Potential Travellers

Travel as light as you can - there are chances to wash clothes at lots of the motels. I brought far too much luggage and regretted it! Do bring layers, even though we had fantastic weather the temperature ranges were big. We didn't use our waterproofs much but I don't think our weather was typical. If you can, add an extra day or two in NZ at the start and end of the trip.

Suggestions

New Zealand is a beautiful and fascinating country. We had a great group and excellent leaders. I would highly recommend this trip.

Title is good.

It’s a very full an encompassing trip. It covers a great deal and involves a lot of hiking, which is really the only way to truly see and appreciate this spectacular country.

Most Inspirational Moment

Many many beautiful views.

Thoughts on Group Leader

We had 2, they we’re both absolutely excellent and complimented one another perfectly.

Advice for Potential Travellers

Be fit

Suggestions

Our small group of 10 was very special and together with our guides we really seem to bond. All of us had a great time. As a solo traveller, I got lucky - it was a special group! Our guides were over-the-top wonderful! We got lucky with the weather too which was beautiful.

An Unexpected Journey.

An excellent introduction to both islands. There is so much to see and do that the time we had just whizzed by. It is clear that this trip only just touches the surface but in saying that we had an unprecedented insight into the geography, geology, flora, fauna and cultural diversity, balancing the city explorations with the more exciting challenges provided by the spectacular scenery. To achieve this itinerary you have to withstand long travelling interspersed by the activities included. It would have been good to have extra days in certain areas to enhance the experience but you can only do so much in 19 days. However, in saying that, this trip cannot be faulted and certainly shows New Zealand at its best.

Most Inspirational Moment

Too many as each area we visited gave totally different experiences. The Tongariro crossing was not to be missed- fortunate with the weather but there was snow in the craters at the plateau with high winds on the crater edges. Geothermal valleys. Walking up to the terminal face of Fox glacier (despite no polar bear!) Cruising the Milford Sound-seeing the penguins. Walking through the indigenous tropical forests. Walking in the snow at the foot of Mount Cook and crossing glacial torrents in full flood. Walking at night on a Glow Worm trail- like thousands of LED lights- quite enchanting. Sobering walk through the disembodied Christchurch- still recovering and has not regained its soul yet.

Thoughts on Group Leader

All this could not be achieved without the excellent guidance, support and knowledgeable expertise of our two guides, Chris and Rich who both complemented each other- one being a Kiwi and the other a Devonian export. Nothing was too much trouble for them in trying to accommodate individual interests, adjusting the activities according to the prevalent weather conditions and providing a constant supply of snacks to sustain us upon our activities. They appeared to have a magical influence over the weather and visitors, providing a narrow window of opportunity that allowed us to visit volcanic landscapes and geothermal valleys without the crowds or rain that would normally be expected. Their energy and enthusiasm to share their knowledge of the islands and its peoples went without saying. They were quick to ascertain the abilities of each individual member and gave optional activities when needed. The entire trip was skilfully organised and despite the long distance driven by both of them, they were able to protect themselves from being on constant demand.

Advice for Potential Travellers

Be prepared for long travelling. Be prepared for Vivaldi weather (four seasons). If you are reasonably fit and used to mountain terrain, all walks should be within your grasp. Make the most of your time.

Suggestions

The accommodation was excellent and the resort spa was much appreciated.

Fabulous walking in New Zealand

A wonderful itinerary and excellent guides/leaders with infectious enthusiasm for this amazing country!

Most Inspirational Moment

The Tongariro Crossing and the visit to the Milford Sound, but so many wonderful days so very difficult to choose just one. I would therefore say, the entire trip!

Thoughts on Group Leader

Our group leader was Chris Cameron and second leader was Richard Mortiboys. Chris was an excellent experienced leader with a lovely friendly personality and huge knowledge of the country and all the plants. She had boundless energy and tremendous enthusiasm for the country which was very infectious. Her organization of every part of the day was very clear and well planned, ensuring the best possible experience and full confidence in her leadership. Richard was the second in command and he and Chris worked very well together, sharing the driving and general care of each and every one in the party. He was extremely kind and caring when some of us had left items at various places enroute and he spent a great deal of time and effort to ensure that these items were successfully forwarded. They were both excellent leaders and they certainly made the trip a resounding success.

Advice for Potential Travellers

Don't pack too many items. When you are moving on regularly, there isn't the time or the inclination to uncover more than the top few items of clothing!

Suggestions

I do not see how this trip could be improved! It just had everything to make it a wonderful comprehensive tour of North and South Islands.

AWESOME NEW ZEALAND

This trip is one of the best we have experienced with Exodus. The varied walking, landscape and experiences on the trip make it an amazing adventure. Beware though there are many long distances to cover (we did over 3500 Km in the 19 days), but Ian and Sonya made it very interesting with their local knowledge and frequent rest stops at interesting places. The highlight of the walking was of course the Tongariro Alpine Crossing which on the day we did it was truly spectacular with the Emerald lake just like the Guide books. The Abel Tasman Coastal walk again like the guide book pictures. The Diamond Lake and Rocky Mountain walk was tough but well worth it for the views. Other experiences met all our expectations – Sailing on Tasman sea, Jet boat on River Motukituki where at times we were in 5 inches of water, Helicopter to Fox Glacier (paid locally) and overnight on Milford Sound in Fiordland. Christchurch was sad to see but it is good to that they are beginning to get the city rebuilt. It is important to note that a few walks and experiences can be affected by weather. Although it was summer we dodged Storm Fehi – Tongariro was closed the day after we walked it, Windy Wellington was stormy Wellington, roads near Fox Glacier were closed due to landslides and they had had no electricity for 3 days before we arrived. However we managed all the planned itinerary except walking to Fox Glacier due to landslide. All in all an AWESOME trip

Most Inspirational Moment

Reaching the summit on the Tongariro Alpine Pass and seeing the Lakes as shown in all the guidebooks

Thoughts on Group Leader

Ian was an excellent leader. He was a very confident and safe driver which is important on this trip. He kept us up to date with weather and reasons for his decisions in view of Storm Fehi. We had plenty of rest stops mostly in very interesting places.

Advice for Potential Travellers

Take note of distances travelled in order to cover the area - New Zealand is a huge country Be aware that although summer itinerary might be changed due to weather

The best of New Zealand

What an amazing trip! I cannot recommend it highly enough – it showcasts everything that New Zealand has to offer, and despite travelling for 3 weeks it is not enough. We wanted to stay longer, explore further, be stunned by the mindblowing views. From the rolling hills on the North Island to the majestic mountains and fields in Middle Earth and Milford Sounds on the South Island – it is impossible to choose a favourite spot, and certainly calls for another trip in the near future. I loved, loved, loved it, the country, the people and how happy it made me.

Most Inspirational Moment

I cannot pick a most inspirational moment, but Mount Aspiring National Park, Milford Sound and Mount Cook left quite an impression - I am in awe. The views! Simply stunning.

Thoughts on Group Leader

Fantastic leaders. I very much appreciated having two leaders, both very friendly, approachable, fun and entertaining and of course, knowledgeable about flora and fauna. Both were a treasure!

Advice for Potential Travellers

Be prepared for mindblowing views.

Suggestions

n/a

Trails of New Zealand

A perfectly balanced blend of touristy sightseeing activities, incredibly beautiful, varied walks and exciting, unforgettable experiences. We were blessed with fantastic weather, too!

Most Inspirational Moment

Standing under the 80m high Fairy Falls on the bow of the Milford Wanderer, water pummelling down on our heads, totally surprised, completely exhilarated and utterly happy. I have to add first seeing Red Crater on the Tongariro Crossing, jetboating, catamaran sailing on the Tasman Sea, walking through Tiritiri Matangi Island’s gorgeous native woodland ringing with exotic bird calls and cicadas, the joy of seeing the glorious colour of Huka Falls. The trouble is that every day had moments like these, so how do you choose!?

Thoughts on Group Leader

Hayley and Josh are an extraordinary young couple, calm, cheerful, incredibly hard working and competent. If everyone drove like Josh, the roads would be safer places. Every suggestion regarding where to eat or shop or what to do in our free time turned out to be good. In his review, Martin mentioned the lady stranger who had a fall, but not that Hayley actually carried her most of the way down a steep mountain after giving first aid! There were, inevitably, some long drives, but Hayley and Josh arranged an enjoyable short walk or other activity at least every two hours. I think I’d trust these two in almost any situation.

Advice for Potential Travellers

Don’t scratch your Blackfly bites! They really are the scourge of South Island, but DEET does deter them so use it. I kept leaving it too late. Bites I managed to resist scratching settled down quickly, those I took the tops off had scabs for weeks and have left scars. Be prepared for the jet lag - it took us a week to get over it after coming home. Take lots of notes as well as taking photos -see below!

Suggestions

It has been five weeks since the end of our holiday. It has taken this long to go through all my photos and notes, remembering more and more things that we did, to do research on the internet and to write a journal. Only now do I feel able to take an overall view and write this review. This holiday is a full-on three weeks of new experiences and it is almost impossible to take it all in at the time. For us and, I imagine most people, this was a holiday of a lifetime and I really do recommend making a photographic journal to fix those memories. It is a lot of work, but rather like having the holiday again!

Trails of New Zealand

We had promised ourselves this trip for some time and had high expectations. We were looking for a good mix of activities to see and experience the country.
Trails of New Zealand went way beyond our expectations. We thoroughly enjoyed the amazing places, the range of walks in different landscapes, the fun of jet-boating, sailing and cruising, and luging, and the unique birds and wildlife.

Most Inspirational Moment

We had so many experiences which will stay with us: walking the stark volcanic landscape of the Tongariro Crossing; walking to and flying over Mount Cook and landing on pristine Fox glassier; sailing a catamaran; or travelling at 80mph up a braided river; the magnificent kauri and redwoods, and not forgetting the kiwis. On our way to Milford Sound on the South Island it poured with rain and we were not expecting to see much. However, soon after we boarded the boat the skies cleared and the fiord was filled with magnificent waterfalls. It was magical as we explored Milford Sound in boats and kayaks, and our ship nosed its way past and into the silver cascading water against a backdrop of majestic snow covered peaks.

Thoughts on Group Leader

Josh and Haley were superb leaders. They were very organised and ensured that we knew all we needed to know. They provided supplements to our meals and provided a super spread when they catered for us. They were great at sharing additional information and encouragement to the slower and faster members of the group. When they found that an unknown walker had had a serious fall they ensured that she returned down the mountain safely while continuing to look after our group. When the bus developed a technical fault it was dealt with quickly and efficiently.

Advice for Potential Travellers

Go!!! It is a long way so pace and prepare yourself, but it will repay you many times over. The country is very varied and so is the weather, so go prepared for everything - it was coldest and wettest at sea level and hottest in the mountains.

Suggestions

This trip is a good balance of activities. You should be reasonably fit and prepared for the unexpected. We were delayed for two hours when a giant kauri fell across the road, and there are no alternatives. So we had a great time chatting with everyone including the fire brigade and police. It is that sort of country.