This tour is good, we like it . Nice driver/guide, same person. The only remark , I left my umbrella in his car.
Although my phone call and ask him to bring the umbrella to the warf, which not so far from his office, he does not
bring it back. I am dissapointed and do not expect this. So be carefull with your items when you join this tour.
Unfortunately, we were unable to see the glow worm cave because it was pouring down rain when we arrived. The guide/driver made the best of it, by taking us to the oldest store, but it really was a disappointment. The highlight of the trip was a stop at a chocolate factory, which produced some really excellent chocolate. We spent almost 100 on chocolate for friends and relatives back home. Overall, it was a decent excursion. They picked us up on time and got us back to the wharf in plenty of time to board our ship, so that was a plus. But I was really disappointed not to see the caves since that was the reason I picked this excursion.
Matt was our guide for the day and his passion for the area and the business which his wife began are infectious. We appreciated the small group for the tour and the water which was provided for us. Matt was waiting for us when we arrived from our boat by tender. I did have to ask where to find him and would suggest a sign near the other busses would make it easier to find him, but it was only a matter of asking one of the lovely ladies who greeted us off the boat, so it wasn't a large imposition. I was immediately impressed by Matt's appearance and professional manner. We waited for half an hour for other's to arrive by tender but in the end had to leave without them. I can appreciate that Matt was willing to wait, as the tender system isn't foolproof and I would like to be given a little extra time if I were held up. The glow worm caves were wonderful to see as was the rain forest area. I am not a great chocolate lover but I did fall in love with some of the chocolates and treat myself to a few boxes. It was nice to stop for lunch but the amount of time we spent at lunch would have been well spent having a better look around the area where our ship was docked. Perhaps a pre-ordering system or a simpler lunch of sandwiches could be a way of shortening the time taken for lunch. It was a busy day with tours and some venues were closed after New Years which did put added pressure on the venue we did visit. The Bay of Islands is a beautiful place to visit and a tour with Matt gives you a good overview of the area. His commentary is interesting and informative and he happily answers any questions you have. Polite, professional and easy going he makes the day worthwhile and I would happily do a tour with him again. The van is well maintained and attention to detail makes the day a pleasure.
We enjoyed the tour, stopped at a small inexpensive place for lunch, nice.
The biggest problem with the tour was that the tour operator only had a sign for his company and nothing about Viator, so we spent a lot of time wandering about the port area looking for our guide, we wound up asking 10 different guides if they were Viator until we found the correct one.
The speaker system in the van didn't work properly and those of us in the back couldn't hear anything the driver said. He thought he fixed it once, but it must have been an inferior system as we never did hear him. It ruined the trip for our group of 10. The Glow worm cave was nice but the rest of the stops were disappointing. Not worth the money for the tour.