If you’re planning to visit our cousins across the ditch, you may not have considered a coach tour: after all, it’s a relatively small country, they drive on the same side of the road as us and the roads are generally pretty good. But we think there are some compelling reasons as to why a coach tour might actually be the best way to explore the Land of the Long White Cloud.
It’s just over 2,000 kilometres from the top of the country to the very bottom, which is not quite as far as driving from Cairns to Sydney. However, those clever Kiwis have managed to cram a huge amount of scenery into a relatively small area. This means that the travelling distances each day on your average coach tour are quite small so you get to spend more time in each destination. In fact, a comprehensive coach tour itinerary will cover pretty much the entire country in around 18 days or the South Island in around ten days.
Of course, not many people would consider an 18-day road trip to be a relaxing way to spend a holiday. The roads are generally good but you’ll be spending a lot of time on two-lane highways so you’ve definitely got to stay focussed – or you can get comfy and gaze out the window at the passing scenery while someone else gets you from A to B and beyond. No more map-reading issues, no more snooty sat-nav voices telling you to “make a u-turn”, and no-one nagging you about how much further it is to your destination.
All that spectacular scenery outside your window, just waiting for you to capture it on camera. Vast panoramic coach windows are much better for taking photos whilst on the move, plus you don’t have to worry about keeping your hands on the steering wheel while you do so, if someone else is driving the coach. And of course, the added elevation afforded by a luxury coach means that you can see so much more than those in a rental car.
No need to spend hours trawling the internet for the best hotel, sightseeing and transport deals when you opt for a coach tour – most coach companies have long-standing relationships with their preferred operators which means that you’re paying the best possible prices. Plus, most costs (with the exception of some meals) are usually included in the package price so it’s easy to set your budget before you leave home.
No need to worry about the best place for a morning coffee break, where to find a comfort stop, how to reach the next sightseeing attraction or what time the hotel is expecting you: you can leave all those logistical details to your very capable tour leader. All you really need to decide is what to pack in your suitcase.
Want to know the about that bird/mountain/lake/sheep? Your tour guide will probably be able to tell you not just the name but also the distribution/height/depth/population of whatever you’ve just spotted: it’s their job to know as much as possible about anything that might attract your attention. That means you don’t have to waste your day in drawn-out google searches, and instead you can focus on thinking up obscure questions with which to test their knowledge.
Are you planning a trip to New Zealand that is based on a special area of interest, such as Lord of the Rings locations, rail travel or an event like Warbirds over Wanaka? There are plenty of operators who put together tours that bring together like-minded people: a great way to share your experience even if you’re travelling solo.
If you like the idea of someone else doing the driving but you prefer the flexibility of independent travel, why not consider an independent coach tour. In many cases there are daily departures from each overnight stop, which means you can plan your own itinerary and decide how much time to spend in each destination. Independent coach touring also usually offers a range of accommodation options depending on your budget and preference, plus the added flexibility means that your fellow passengers will probably change throughout the course of your tour.
There are plenty of great reasons to visit New Zealand: amazing scenery, friendly people and fascinating wildlife are just some of the reasons you might be heading that way. If you’re considering coach touring as a means to an end, why not chat to your personal travel manager about finding the best tour company to suit you.