Turtle, Ecuador

Reviews

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

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14 Reviews

  • Reviewed January 2012
    Anonymous

    TREKKING IN NEW ZEALAND

    An action-filled three weeks. The trip was well organised to fit so much in the time.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    I enjoyed the two days in Siberia the most; as well as Milford Sound and around Holyford.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    We were guided by exhuberant Kath and wise and understanding Graham. Both were gregarious, and gave of themselves fully.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    The minibus was cramped for 11 +1 persons and its windows lacked height for seeing the amazing scenery.An arrangement initiated by the guides to rotate the sitting in the front seats would contribute to greater fairness and reduce tensions.
  • Reviewed January 2012
    Anonymous

    TREKKING IN NEW ZEALAND

    Fantastic jam packed three weeks in the wonderful New Zealand. The trip was more than I could have hoped for, New Zealand would be a great back drop for any visit.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    So many great days, so many great moments. Camping on the beach at Able Tasman and watching seals playing in the evening surf. All sitting on a rock in silence watching the sun go down on the volcano tops in the Tongariro Park. But when your birthday falls on the day that you have a dramatic flight by helicopter to the Siberia Valley that has to come tops. How they managed to smuggle cake into the hut to surprise me I can’t guess. The walk up to Lake Crucible later was hard work, perhaps it was the cake. Must mention the bird life, be quiet and still and you will be amazed how tame they are.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Both the leaders were fantastic but differant in their own ways. Great but real people who brought their own personalities to the job. Very hard working and if you do go on this trip please chip in with the household jobs. You will enjoy the trip more as the team builds.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Sand Fly deterrent is not optional it is a must. Also you will want to stock up on itch relief. Long sleeves and long trousers are also needed to help keep the evil things off you. They bite and it hurts, try to not scratch because it make them flare up again. Get the local snake oil from the first chemist you find, don’t bother with the stuff you can find in Boots in the UK. The walks to the huts are hard work due to the weight of gear that has to be taken along. As well as all your own gear there are the shared items which add up. Everybody has to help and it only works if the team all pull together. It was not clear that there was a short hop from the North to South by a tiny one prop plane. Great trip as it does not get high and the view is stunning. But there is a strict 20Kg limit on all luggage. That includes hand luggage of which there is none because it can’t fit inside. So that’s everything has to add up to 20Kg maximum. Wash and wear is the way to go and many of the motels have laundrettes but getting it done when you arrive late and have an early start is not easy. I will not go into my experiments with microwaves and hairdryers due to health and safety.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Take some music for the van; in the north the CD collection is abysmal and Kath needs help. In the south Graham has an Ipod/mp3 connection and too large a collection of Country and Weston. We organised guest DJs for the front seat and that helped pass the long journeys. The New Zealand people are lovely and you should make time to chat, they will be very willing and interested. Thank you Exodus, a fantastic trip I could not have won a better prize or shared it with a better group.
  • Reviewed December 2011
    Anonymous

    TREKKING IN NEW ZEALAND

    New Zealand exceeded my expectations and the trip provided even more than the brochure promises. The value for money was exceptional. There was such a diversity of landscape and no end to the opportunities to explore it to the full.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    There were so many inspirational moments that it really is difficult to pick just one. Being dropped by helicopter in a remote location on the Wilkin River in the Mount Aspiring National Park, the hundreds of waterfalls in Milford Sound after a day of rain, the latent power of the Tongariro volcanoes, the pristine wilderness of the Whirinaki NP, the vastness of the volcanic crater that is Lake Taupo, a close encounter with the rare Fiordland Crested Penguins and sleeping under the incredible, starlit, southern skies are all inspirational moments that will linger in my memory for the rest of my days.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    We had two group leaders, Kath Watzig in the North Island, and Chris Steele in the South Island. Both were capable, competent, diligent, knowledgable and inspirational. They both had to do absolutely everything from early morning to late evening with no support teams or assistants to share their load. They both approached their roles with such enthusiasm and comprehensive knowledge that the entire group derived the absolute, maximum benefit from the trip.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Just do it!

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    This trip is challenging at times but is an opportunty not to be missed. The opportunity to trek in so many different magnificent and diverse regions is something that is not easily matched by other destinations but in addition the trip provides numerous opportunities to experience the adrenaline-fuelled activities for which New Zealand is justifiably famous.
  • Reviewed August 2011
    Anonymous

    TREKKING IN NEW ZEALAND

    I have had great diffuculty rating this trip and even with the benefit of time, I just cannot give it more than 4 stars, I really wanted too but although there is nothing wrong with the trip at all and it is exactly as promised in the brochure, I can't help feeling just a bit disappointed. That may sound churlish on what is otherwise an excellent over 3 week trip to a stunning country with fantastic settings for those who love the outdoors, that was superbly organised. But perhaps that's it, the trip is exactly as planned as described and there was not that sudden "surprise" moment you get on other trips. The trip perhaps tries to be too many things to everyone, accepting this may be many peoples only taste of New Zealand, so although it is 3 weeks long, there is an awful lot packed in and being honest the hiking was really relatively easy and it is apparent there are so many fantastic longer hikes available, so I think I would have prefered it to have been able to indulge in one of the longer multi-day hikes, rather than just doing a bit of several of the classic hikes.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    The trip had many highlights, overall the helicopter trip to Siberia hut followed by the climb to Lake Crucible and the jet-boat out of the Siberia river valley the next day was probably the best single part. However for scale and beauty, Milford Sound is almost impossible to beat. The hike up and over the volcanoes at Tongariro was equally inspiration in a more physical way (especially good if you are a Lord of the Rings fan and like spotting film locations). The final hike around Mt Somers, initially felt like it had been tagged on a something to fill a day, but this turned out to be particularly enjoyable, probably as it was the most deserted and not only was the scenery stunning but it was glimpse of how New Zealanders have brilliantly engaged with their outdoors. Perhaps the most surprisingly inspiration part was waking up after camping on the beach in Abel Tasman, just like Robinson Crusoe.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    The two trip leaders, one each for North and South Island were fantastic; knowledgable, enthusiastic. encouraging. Impossible to rate them any higher.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    If you want to experience a bit of most things New Zealand has to offer, this trip is probably ideal for you, although for me it has just stimulated a desire to go on and do the whole Milford trek. I probably did not quite consider who would pay this amount of money and take over 3 weeks off, and it is fair to say that all but one other person on the trip was retired, and as such I was considerably younger than everyone else. This was not particualrly a problem but some fellow travellers seemed to have major concerns about some of the accomodations and I have never been on an Exodus trip like this were people brought hard cases for luggage. Yes, there is camping, some of the huts are basic and there are drop toilets and shared sleeping platforms; however compared to similar in other parts of the world, these are relatively well appointed, clean and comfortable. You do need to be prepared to carry some group equpment, so you do need a 50L day sac, it's a bit unfair if those who do bring larger day sacs have to carry all the eqipment. We were extremely lucky with the weather, especially in the rain-ridden areas of South Island and I am sure at another time you will get considerably wet. You do need to be prepared for all climates, so pack accordingly with layers: it ranged from tropical beach in Abel Tasman to hiking in a hail storm in Mt Cook. The biting insects are worse than advertised, bring repellent and cover up. Gaiters are useful as the grass is wet in the morning and I found baselayer leggings possibly the most useftul piece of clothing, easy to carry, sleep in and wear under shorts to hike in, as the New Zealanders do. For th overnighters you do need enough clothing to change completely.The instructions regarding baggage are clear but different people interpreted differently. You do need a 50 L sac for the overnight hikes, enough to carry sleeping bag, clothes and a share of the group equipment but you can leave your remaining equipment locked in the trailor. I brought a standard and comfortable rucksac with all my things as my main baggage and smaller 30 L day sac as hand luggage and for day walks and decanted out what I didn't need each time into a fold up travel holdall and walked with my riucksac.  This worked well for me, others packed a ~ 50L pack inside their bigger main baggage and also brought a smaller day sac, this seemed like a lot of baggage.As advertised this is a very fast paced trip, there is a lot of arriving late at accomodation and leaving early the next morning. Compared to other trips there is not a lot of time to rinse out and dry clothes, which might be worth considering when packing.I took walking poles but strapped them to my pack on all but one day, the walking is not that difficult at all. However the climb is Lake Crucible is very steep and I found poles essential for both the ascent and descent. So I would recommend taking them.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Our trip coincided with the Christchurch earthquake (we were on the other side of the Alps at the time) and the later stages of the severe rains that hit that part of the world. This had minimal effect: the day in Christchurch and hotel were rearranged and we didn't hike into and camp at the Ballroom because of the height of the river but the alternatives were well organised.If you like the outdoors and this will be your one trip to New Zealand and you don't mind some basic accomodation, this is definitely the trip for you. If you really want to experience the great hikes and love a hard walk, you may find this a bit disappointing and like me, find that it has just wetted your appetite for something more. Although badged as moderate-challenging, physically the trekking is not that tough, although some areas are very isolated and the volcanic scree is tiring. The climb to Lake Crucible and the Tongariro passage (when you have the heaviest pack) are the most difficult days, but really anyone that's used to walking regularly or is appropriately fit should manage these easily enough.