West Coast Tour Diary

Why travel NOW

In the beginning of February I had a precious opportunity to take a small group of clients from Auckland to the West Coast. I was fortunate enough to get three couples on board. Four of the clients chose to do this as their second tour with me after being on the October Southern Scenic Garden Tour.


The West Coast tour was special in several aspects:

  • It was designed to be held at a slow pace, having time to explore a few off the beaten track places.

  • We travelled in what is traditionally the busiest season, however now with the covid situation, there were very few tourists.

  • We had enough time to enjoy a relaxing family style holiday.

  • It was interesting to see how local businesses tackled the lack of clients. Some services offered really good price incentives, some kept similar prices to the last overheated international season, some were completely shut.


We were lucky to have sunny weather all the way through our trip. I loved having this small group of Kiwis. Also nine days travelling from Christchurch via the West Coast to Queenstown provided enough time to have a relaxing family style holiday - I loved it!


Actually it might turn me away from my “traditional” Czech clientele in the future. Perhaps Kiwis are more curious to see less travelled places such as Brunner Mine, Denniston Plateau or Jackson Bay which are a bit further from the main highway. I could include activities like Okarito Eco Tours, Waiatoto Alpine Safari or Mou Waho Island Cruise on Lake Wanaka. Sadly many overseas groups don't have enough time to do these things.

I thought I got the feeling of current hard times in tourism while I live in Te Anau, however visiting Franz Josef or Fox Glacier was for me, as tour operator, an eye-wateringly sad experience. Those two villages dependent on tourism are really hurting. I don't understand why (some) Kiwis exclude these places from their itineraries.


The glacier country is one of the most beautiful locations in New Zealand and a must to visit. Accommodation in Franz Josef was ridiculously cheap! Actually we upgraded to a 5 star Te Waonui Forest Retreat paying the price of a cheaper 3 star motel! Ok, if clients pay for my tours I normally guarantee average 3,5* accommodation. However, I do my best to provide the best accommodation for clients money and this trip was a 4 star plus experience!


While there were only few tourists travelling we could experience many places just on our own, time to relax and enjoy - what a luxury! February would be otherwise the busiest time ever with skyrocketing prices and crowds of tourists.

There are still February, March and April - lovely months to travel - ahead. June, July and August are great months for landscape photography.


If you live in New Zealand, take your car or rent it and do your own tiki tour. Or travel with me, I will take you to hidden spots and provide commentary. Visit these beautiful places while they are deserted by international tourists. Once the borders are open, you will be unlikely to ever experience this opportunity again.


Overseas travellers are waiting for the NZ border to reopen. There will surely be a surge of international visitors, so Kiwis - seize this chance while we have it.


Thank you for considering our NEW ZEALAND TOURS. You will love it.

Martin Sliva

17 February 2021

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