The trip was well planned out and worked out very well overall. The bus that took us to the Glow Worm Cave broke down on the way (luckily about 500 meters from the entrance so we had to walk there. The bus was not repaired by the time the Cave Tour was over, we got no lunch and we had local friends which are located 2 hours away pick us up and take us to their house. The whole incident was very poorly handled. We were supposed to take a train from Chistchurch to Greymouth but the Train was cancelled due to damage to 2 bridges from a forest fire. The Train company organized a bus to Greymouth and offered 1/2 the cost of the train back as compensation but the credit went to the travel company not me. I would think it would have been good if our travel agent followed up with us after the trip but that never happened.
Many enjoyable parts of the trip in both New Zealand and Australia, too many to list
I think I would have allowed one more day in New Zealand to do the stretch between Franz Joseph and Queenstown or I would eliminate the organized tour of the glacier at Franz Joseph so we could have done the walk ourselves earlier in the morning and had more time to drive (It is a lot of driving for one day and there wasn't enough time to explore in a more relaxing way.) Alternatively, I would change the drive from Franz Joseph to Wanaka instead of Queenstown and do the last leg to Queenstown on the following day.
TRAVEL COMPANY COMMENTS:
Thank you for taking the time to post your review and we are delighted you enjoyed your trip to Australia & New Zealand. Apologies that your agent did not connect with you immediately as you returned from your trip to learn of the issues you encountered with the Waitomo tour. We followed up with our local Auckland office, who were not advised of the service issues you encountered on the tour and we have secured a partial refund for you as compensation of your day not being delivered as it should have been. A 50% refund for the Tranz Alpine Express rail journey has been processed, I trust you still enjoyed the coach journey across the Southern Alps. New Zealand has unfortunately experienced an earthquake in conjunction with the Tranz Alpine Express track fire in the past few months which has resulted in many clients trip plans being significantly amended which resulted in a delay in us receiving the refund from our local Auckland office for the Tranz Alpine change, apologies for the delay in this regards.
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