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New Zealand Tour - Land of the Long White Cloud

Addah and Les our driver were both excellent.
The itinerary was the best of all tour companies.
The accommodation was also very good.
Would definitely travel with Riviera for another trip.
The professional photographer, Andrew promised a video of our testimonials which he recorded in Christchurch but still waiting for it.

Review by Patrick Rice on 30 May 2016

We returned from our tour of New Zealand with Riviera a few days ago. We had a wonderful time and experienced a host of memorable sights and sites. Kate, our tour manager, and Brian, our driver and guide, were professional and friendly - Brian’s knowledge of New Zealand is encyclopedic. In order to see so much of the country we had to keep moving so only on a few occasions did we stay in the same hotel for more than one night. Nevertheless the pace was steady rather than hectic.
This was our third tour with Riviera and we have already booked a fourth for later in the year.
Excellent all round!!!

Review by John Forbes on 13 May 2016

Wow this really was a holiday to remember.  New Zealand is a fantastic country and our driver Brian gave us loads of interesting facts as we travelled through North and South Island.  Our guide Kate was outstanding in her organisation.  Friendly and personable she made all the arrangements so all we had to do was sit back and enjoy the trip. 
Every day brought new delights from learning about the Maori culture to a helicopter ride/landing on the Franz Josef glacier.  So many highlights that you just keep taking photos trying to capture all the beauty of the scenery.
On the way the 2 night stopover in Singapore was useful in adjusting to the time difference.  We can highly recommend pre booking afternoon tea at the Raffles hotel. All of our hotels provided a good level of comfort and we often ate in their restaurants.
Our trip had an extra day in Christchurch which we found beneficial. We really got to know the city and it also gave us a chance to relax before the gruelling 31 hour journey back to Manchester including a 6 hour stop in Singapore and a 1 hour stop at Munich.
All in all a 5 star experience and highly recommended.

Review by Nancy & Bob Mottershead on 6 May 2016

My husband and I went on the New Zealand holiday from 2nd to the 23rd February and I must apologize for not having been in touch sooner but we had a pressing domestic problem to deal with on our return. This now having been dealt with, we are now able to reflect on our extremely memorable holiday. This was our fifteenth holiday with your firm and as we have come to expect everything went smoothly. The itinerary was superb , the hotels were excellent and our tour manager, Marcus, arranged everything expertly. But most of all we cannot find enough words to describe our fantastic coach driver, Les, who made our tour of New Zealand extra special ! His amazing knowledge, his humor, his skillful driving and his great concern for our well-being and comfort all combined to make our trip truly memorable.
We look forward to our next two trips with you this year,

Review by Robert and Lindsey Aitchison on 21 March 2016

What a fantastic tour to New Zealand we have just had. All brought to life by Tour Manager Kevin and driver Brian. From the beauty and historic significance of the Bay of Islands to the majestic grandeur of Milford Sound (with the added bonus of feeding orca, fur seals and dolphins) and all the magic ingredients between. It’s impossible to think how any more could be squeezed in to the time. A fabulous mix of natural beauty, cultural activities, opportunities for adventure, food galore and the friendliest people ever, complemented by a great bunch of fellow travellers. We must now look for a nice quiet trip to recover!

Review by Mike & Eileen Ryan on 8 March 2016

We have just returned from New Zealand and would like our thanks passed on to Les and Marcus for helping us to have a trully rememberal holiday

Review by Jackie Brennan on 8 March 2016

We have just been on your coach tour of New Zealand, our first such holiday. We were apprehensive about being in a coach for such long distances (eventually, nearly 2900 miles), but need not have worried. Certainly preferable to driving oneself.
New Zealand is wonderful, and your itinerary showed it off very well. Our drivers, Brian, Clem and Les, were very pleasant and knowledgeable – sad that Brian damaged his ankle in Rotorua. Our tour manager, Sam, was excellent and his stories every morning eagerly anticipated. We were very impressed with the slickness of your operation.
We were very lucky with the weather, mostly sunny and hot. Highlights are difficult to choose between, but the ‘copter ride to the glacier at Franz Josef, the boat trip on Milford Sound, and Mount Cook emerging from cloud into a clear blue sky on the last day were hard to beat.
Given that, for us and many others, this was a once-in-a-lifetime trip, we would have enjoyed, and happily paid for, extra nights in some places, particularly Napier, Christchurch and Wellington, to explore them further.
The hotels were all of a high standard, and though all had washing machines and dryers available,  the provision of these actually in each apartment at Nelson halfway through the trip was particularly appreciated by many. Maybe Riviera should consider using these apartments routinely, rather than the usual parent hotel.
An hotel with air conditioning would have been good in Queenstown, given the unusually high temperatures experienced when we were there, but this is a minor point in what was an outstanding experience.
We thoroughly recommend this tour, and are actively considering your other tours.

Review by Will & Alison on 8 March 2016

We have just returned from our three week tour of New Zealand calling into Singapore for two days on the way – what a wonderful trip made even better by our tour guide Sam and Les the driver / local guide in New Zealand. The holiday ran like clockwork with all Hotels of good to excellent quality – at all times it should be remembered that New Zealand is still a little behind Europe in some respects and as such many hotels did not boast air conditioning so the high temperatures experienced on this holiday were not always comfortable in the hotel rooms – also those wanting a late drink in the evening should realise that “late” in New Zealand is 10pm!
You can see from these comments that if this is all we have to complain about there is not much of a problem- which there wasn’t. Great travel companions made this a trip to remember and Rivera Travel was as consistent as ever - this was our seventh trip with Rivera and the standards maintained were as high as ever. Sam the Tour Guide was superb in his work – making light of the sometimes-slightly difficult clients and always ready to go the extra mile to ensure the holiday was enjoyed by all – well-done and thank you Sam.

There was only one point of concern which could be easily remedied and that was the flights home which on the way was suitably broken by the two day stay in Singapore (great place) – the trip home was a 24 hour flying time broken by a 6 hour wait for the connection in Singapore plus time for arrival at Airport in Christchurch of 3 hours and then 3 hours to get home from Heathrow - wow 36 hours of travelling/ waiting time – my recommendation would be to have another stay over in Singapore of one day to allow an evening out – a good nights sleep plus a day in Singapore prior to taking the midnight flight back to Heathrow – which would make this journey easy . What do you think Riviera?

Review by Alan Miller on 19 February 2016

If you want as full an experience of what New Zealand has to offer in one trip then this holiday is for you.  It was this reason that persuaded us to undertake our first escorted tour and we were not disappointed.  We had some memorable moments shared with a friendly and interesting group of travel companions.  Our experience was enhanced by our driver, Les, who proudly unveiled his country to us each day through his in-depth knowledge and excellent driving.  Les was matched by our tour manager, Kate, whose organisational skills were complemented by her confident and relaxed manner.  They made a great team and, through great attention to detail, ensured everything went smoothly and as planned.  It would be amiss not to mention the stopover in Singapore - a fascinating urban landscape and a very cheerful and helpful local guide [Joanne].
Overall, we considered the holiday good value for money.  We do not know if we will ever take another escorted tour but if we do, it will be with Riviera. 

Review by Jeanette and Paul Wordsworth on 2 January 2016

A very special holiday that more than lived up to expectations.  We covered so much in both mileage and culture in 3 weeks that it will take some time for us to fully appreciate all that we experienced

Our tour manager Sam and our truly excellent driver and tour guide Les, helped us to discover all that New Zealand has to offer: beautiful scenery, diverse cultures, captivating towns, amazing food and wine and the most friendliest people.  The knowledge, pride and passion that Les has for his country is exceptional and we were very lucky to have him as our guide. 

It is too difficult to choose one highlight but among our favourites were the Maori feast, the leaping dolphins on the Bay of Islands tour, the farm stay and the helicopter flight and snow landing. 

Our fellow travellers were very friendly and the seat rotation policy meant that we had the opportunity to chat to different people every day.

We have travelled with Riviera many times, but this trip was truly a holiday of a lifetime and will stay with us for a very long time.

Review by Pat & Margaret Burnham on 20 November 2015

Just returned from NZ having had our first experience of a Riviera Tour - indeed only our second escorted tour ever - and we must congratulate you on a fantastic holiday. In truth the star of the show was our coach driver,  Les Merhtens, whose running commentary throughout his wonderful country help make our understanding of the New Zealand history, geography, wildlife and culture come to life! He was ably assisted by Sam Bartlett, Tour Manager, who ensured everything ran smoothly and was happy to let Les take the limelight ( except for Sam’s morning jokes which actually were funny). A great team who worked together to ensure the party had a superb time. There is a lot to pack into 3 weeks and although there may be some fine tuning, the highlights of a tour to NZ are all included at a reasonable cost. Well done Les and Sam and well done Riviera.

Review by Peter Litchfield on 22 November 2015

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