So you've decided you want to go to New Zealand. Of course you have!
It's a land of breathtaking scenery, home of the bungy jump, the Hobbit and the best-named bird in the entire world (the Morepork, of course).
Three years ago I made the same decision and stumbled across Haka Tours after about five seconds of internet searching. Three tours later, they've asked me to say a bit about tour life from a traveller’s point of view.
Why choose a small group tour? Why not arrange everything yourself?
I wanted to get off the beaten track, which is difficult to do if you've never bothered to get your driver's licence :) I figured Haka Tours could get me to lots of interesting places without being at the mercy of bus & train timetables - if you don't have much holiday time it's frustrating to spend half of your trip hanging around at bus stops or rushing around to make travel connections.
Also, I didn't have anyone to travel with and liked the idea of travelling with a bunch of people from all over the world, having people to share experiences with.
What were your tour buddies like?
Amazing! They couldn't have been better, not unless Ryan Gosling turned up on the bus. On my three tours with Haka each group has been very different each but I loved them all. I am still in touch with many of them and have caught up with a few after the tours ended. I've had the pleasure of travelling with an incredible range of people - students, backpackers, teachers, firefighters, doctors, farmers, American servicemen, musicians, and even a stone-skimming champion! The vibe has always been laid back & happy, I've never been in a group where anyone clashed. The guides foster a really good atmosphere - they're so easy going, it rubs off heaps! By the end of day one it feels like you've known each other forever.
What age were the other tour guests? Am I too old?
I doubt it! If you've got an open mind, you're up for a giggle, and you want a bit of adventure, then age is just a number, right? The average age on the tours I did would probably be mid to late twenties but there were 18-year-olds and fifty somethings too, and everyone got along great. The only time I felt old was after one too many teapot cocktails at the World Bar (RIP), but that's another story. Will you fit in? Absolutely - if you've got a sense of humour, a thirst for adventure and an open mind then the rest of it doesn't matter at all.
There are so many tour companies to choose from! Why'd you pick Haka Tours?
I seriously googled something like "Best New Zealand adventure tour" and it appeared in the first few listings The Haka website stood out from the other companies cos it was friendly, down to earth, and a bit cheeky - they seemed like people I'd want to travel with!