Best local tour operators

Old Jan 28th, 2020, 03:01 PM
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Best local tour operators

Whilst we are on our road trip through both islands we have a few 'must dos' including hobbiton, kaikoura whale spotting trip, frank Joseph helicopter hike, Milford sound day cruise etc. I am wondering if there is a 'go to' operator to book these activities, or is it best to book direct or even wait til we are a day or two away from the area and pick up local leaflets. We are taking 5 weeks to tour the islands starting mid march so at this stage we really have no idea when we will be in certain areas.
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Old Jan 28th, 2020, 08:31 PM
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I suggest you book the Franz Josef Heli-Hike and Kaikoura Whale Watch in advance--you meant the boat, right? Because you can also watch them from the air.
The boat based whale watch operator is
I don't think there is yet another company that has been issued a permit to offer boat tours of the whales in Kaikoura. Whale Watch Kaikoura is !00 percent Maori (Ngai Tahu) owned and is Kaikoura's largest employer.
I have gone out with Franz Josef Glacier Guides
There are other DOC (Dept. of Conservation)-approved helicopter tour operators listed here:
Acquaint yourself with cancellation policies. I always buy travel insurance and I would suggest you do the same, but it's up to you. Perhaps your credit card will cover you?
Both heli-hikes and whale watch tours can be cancelled if conditions are not ideal.

You don't need to book in advance for the Milford Sound day cruise. There are several operators.

I've not been to Hobbiton. It probably depends on which tour you are interested in. If interested in the evening banquet tour, you should probably book in advance.

March is a popular month for travelers. not as busy as December, January or February, but it's still popular and some destinations, such as Aoraki Mt. Cook, have limited accommodation.

Last edited by Diamantina; Jan 28th, 2020 at 08:36 PM.
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Old Feb 29th, 2020, 09:27 AM
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For Hobbiton, it would be best to book directly from the official Hobbiton Movie Set website which is There are the normal 2-hour guided tours and the evening banquet tour which includes dinner and a walk on the candlelit Hobbiton. I have only done the first one due to time restraints but I have heard the best for the second one as well. Just for warm-up here is a travel story I have prepared about Hobbiton including numerous pics I have taken - Enjoy your trip to New Zealand, it's an adventure of a lifetime!
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