Here's what people are saying about Gourmet Journeys Aotearoa / New Zealand
PROBUS NEW ZEALAND TOUR MARCH 2019: And so it began 35 fellow travellers on an awesome 12 day Gourmet Journey of the South Island of New Zealand. It would probably be fair to say that we were feeling a little hesitant travelling to Christchurch NZ when only 3 days before our departure there was the shocking terrorism incident. However, very quickly we realised that friendship and hospitality awaited us everywhere. Anne, our tour organiser from Gourmet Journeys, accompanied us for the entire trip and we stayed in very comfortable accommodations in Christchurch, Dunedin, Queenstown, Hanmer Springs, Nelson, Blenheim and Kaikoura.The South Island has amazing, very diverse and picturesque countryside. Constantly changing from rugged rock faced hills, to lush green rolling valleys filled with cattle, sheep, and deer. When you travel the NE side of the island the main road, which is still being repaired after recent earthquakes, you travel through some of the most beautiful coastal scenery imaginable. It hugs the ocean road down the coast taking in wild seals relaxing on the rugged rocky outcrops, just a stone’s throw from the road. We visited and sampled wines from many wineries in both the Central Otago and Marlborough regions of the Sth Island. Wineries in Central Otago region are known for their red Pinot Noir. We were accompanied and educated by experts Mick Druett, our guide and private sommelier for the day, and later enlightened by well-known Viticultural consultant Timbo Deaker-Morrison. We visited and sampled wines from Gibbston Valley, Kinross (where we had lunch) and dinner at Wild Earth hosted by Quintin Quider at his new restaurant ‘The Stoaker’.A few days later we headed north to the Marlborough region and sampled wines from Wither Hills, Hunter Wines and Allan Scott wines for lunch. Then more sampling and last but not least Cloudy Bay. We finished the day trying chocolates from Makana in Blenheim. We have increased our knowledge on Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, Pinot Gris, Pinot Grigio, Rose, Riesling, Sauvignon Blanc, Shiraz, Cabernet Sauvignon etc by professionals at many cellar doors. My taste has changed from Sauvignon Blanc to Pinot Gris what an amazing development ! Now let’s not forget that this was a Gourmet Tour so to the food...We dined at some wonderful restaurants, and without doubt, our favourite dining experiences were Glenfalloch in Dunedin, one of the top 10 restaurants in NZ and Fleur’s Place in Moeraki where Fleur entertained us with conversation. We were fascinated by the unique tasting experiences (including the best apricots I have ever tasted, just delicious!). Our dining experiences included Teppanyaki, a delicious homemade high tea at the doll place, BBQ sea-food onboard while cruising Charlotte Sound, dinner cooked in Oak Stave barrels by Quintin Quider, a traditional Maori hangi meal, many cheese tastings and fine dining experiences - all in all we were worried about our baggage allowances on our return trip and I’m referring to our personal extra kilos! Thank you all the Probarians who attended, you are marvelous. Your good humour, friendship, companionship and ability to help each other is remarkable. One example of this was when a young mother in distress, was ably assisted when her car had a flat tyre. Our heroes, John and Steve sprang into action and faster than some Formula One pit crews she was back on the road. Well done guys. And finally, I must make mention of Ken Carroll and his ukulele playing. On our last day we were guests at the traditional Maori marae and we were part of the formal Powhiri or Welcome ceremony where our president Rodney spoke confidently in Maori. We then joined in and sang a song to our delighted hosts which we had been rehearsing accompanied by the ukulele to the tune of ‘You are my sunshine’ I think we surprised everyone including ourselves. Our next gig could be the X-Factor !! There were many more events and places, too many to recount and so this is my account of what stood out to me. I look forward to seeing you all very soon.
I enjoyed my interactions with you Anne, and the skills which you bring to this great family we call tourism are remarkable. After all these years, I still find it amazing how much this small country at the bottom of the world exudes so much passion – we are truly blessed. I will miss you dearly; I’ve learned so much from you – you are such exceptional ambassador for this great human adventure that is travel. I can never fully express my gratitude; it was indeed a privilege to work with you. I do hope our paths cross again.
A perfect 10/10 Tour Survey — 1. Were your expectations met by the tour? a/ Extremely circled + a handwritten WONDERFUL!2. What places, people and activities did you enjoy most?The optional tour to Milford Sound from Queenstown even though it rained on and off all day we loved the waterfalls, the cruise on the Sound and the road home.3. Were there any places, people or activies which you did not enjoy?No, all the places were enjoyable, exciting and well organised.4. How was the pace of the tour?b) Just right5. Overall, how satisfied were you with your Gourmet Journeys experience?a) Extremely (then handwritten - I am going home and will always remember and often contemplate the wonderful experiences of our trip!)7. Overall, how please were you with the included tours, activities and attractions?a) Extremely8. How pleased were you with the range of Optional Tours offered?a) Extremely9. Please rate the professionalism of your Tour Drivera) Superior10. Was the drivers commentary interesting and knowledgeable?a) Strongly agree11. Please rate the professionalism of your Tour Directora) Extremely12. Would you consider the tour value for money?a) Extremely - I would consider another trip with Gourmet Journeys - the food was delicious...everything was Delicious! We both enjoyed our trip immensely. We have not had a holiday for 10 years and our holiday experience was very memorable and unforgettable!
MANY thanks Anne for your companionship, humour and a Most deliciously enjoyable trip!
THANKS Anne for our wonderful NZ experience - GREAT hotels, food, wine and sights!
An anonymous review on a recent Tour Survey Too much good food, too much wine, too many wine tastings and the tastings started too early on the days in Marlborough.More shopping time and stops would have been good too.
Thanks for the trip of a lifetime Anne!! Loved having a full-time tour escort with us to smooth any issues AND particularly enjoyed the three local specialist guides who joined us - Bec in Dunedin was so much fun, Mick’s knowledge of the Central Otago wines and region was amazing and best of all, young Kerry in Marlborough. We’ll be back - when are you planning a trip to the Nth Island - soon we hope!
Hi Anne! Just wanted to drop you a quick note to say thank you for all your help with the honeymoon/babymoon, we had the trip we had hoped for and really enjoyed each of the places we stayed.The staff at Peppers found us a massage therapist who was a doula in a past life so she was great with tips on the pregnancy and we loved the farmers market you suggested. Christchurch was very pretty with all the daffodils and fruit blossoms and we got to watch the Downtown Abbey movie in a funky old movie theater and then the first half of the NZ rugby game in a bar over dinner so quite the contrast. Peppers itself was nice, looks like they are ready for a little sprucing up, but it definitely served it’s purpose for us.We LOVED the pod, the food they left us was great, the location was beautiful and we had three uninterrupted days of relaxation watching the light change over the hills and the ocean and staring at the stars at night. It is really well done and a highlight of the trip for sure.Aoraki Mount Cook was great and though a longer drive on a day that some scary weather was forecasted, we didn’t get any of it other than a little snow flurry when we were getting to the park which made Iain very happy. The Hermitage is a funny hotel with the makings of a quite elegant resort after a thorough renovation but definitely targeting foreign tourists we think ... we tried to do the star gazing and unfortunately it was a cloudy night so they did it inside a planetarium type screening room but the guide’s English was rather choppy so hard to follow! We did get an excellent hike to Hooker Lake in though which was very picturesque and enjoyed the Mountaineers Cafe for a few meals too.Gibbston ended up working really well for us too as we could take it easy - I think on this trip Queenstown would have been a bit too busy for us though we will definitely go back. We liked the cottages quite a lot, though we unfortunately had loud neighbours, and we did get to Clyde one day to buy some yarn and a pattern for my mother-in-law to make a sweater for the little one next year. We also had lunch at Wild Earth and gave them your regards, and at Bannockburn bistro, plus the food at Kinross was pretty good too. Based on a friend’s recommendation we also did the evening degustation at Aimisfield and really enjoyed it plus they were super helpful with the food and adapted quite a few dishes for me. We also bought lots of wine which I am looking forward to enjoying next year!So thanks again for everything!