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“Worth Every Penny--Just Do It!”

Coast to Coast Tours
Ranked #5 of 32 Food & Drink in Auckland
Certificate of Excellence
More attraction details
Attraction details
Recommended length of visit: More than 3 hours
Owner description: NEW owner Peter has new Auckland tours available. Contact for more details.
Useful Information: Bathroom facilities, Activities for older children
Washington DC, District of Columbia
Level Contributor
75 reviews
31 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 39 helpful votes
“Worth Every Penny--Just Do It!”
Reviewed 8 January 2017

By far one of the best tours I have taken anywhere and I travel a lot. The warmth and hospitality of Stuart and Donna exceeded expectations, and it was such a marvelous opportunity to learn more about New Zealand and see an actual, working sheep farm. From pickup at our hotel in downtown Auckland to drop off, the day was absolutely perfect and one of the highlights of a nearly three week trip to New Zealand and Australia. Stuart was a knowledgable guide and we enjoyed learning about how his family had acquired the farm and seeing Auckland and environs on the way to his farm. Donna was a gracious host and imparted so much information that I feel like I really learned a lot about the Maori culture and the history, animals, and flora and fauna of New Zealand. Our tour group was only six, which made it very nice and it turned out that we all were going to be embarking on the same cruise a few days later so it was nice to later see some friendly faces. We LOVED everything we did on our tour, which included a stop at a fantastic crafts store--the goods are made by local artisans and as I learned later the quality and prices were probably the best we found anywhere in New Zealand. We wanted to go back but it was a bit of a taxi ride from our hotel so we didn't do so. I almost wished we had stopped there on the ride back to Auckland as opposed to our first stop because after seeing the items and local handicrafts Donna had in her house I would have been a more informed shopper and likely would have bought some additional items. The next stop at a local winery, which included a wine tasting and a superb lunch, was fun. We also enjoyed the sparkling wine we purchased there sitting on our balcony during our cruise. We then went to the coast to see a black sand beach and a nesting colony of birds (can't remember the name but the views and photography opportunities were awesome!) I could have watched the birds for a long time, and especially liked seeing a small chick with the mother nesting on top of it. Then it was on to Stu and Donna's farm, which really was the best part of the whole day. It was so great to see a working farm. We loved getting up close and personal with some sheep and seeing their sheep dog in action. It also was the small touches that set this tour apart from others, from Stu stopping to buy us the most delicious strawberries from a local vendor, to Donna's excellent pavlova, to planting a tree associated with our tour group, to the small container of black sand we were given etc. Again, the glowing trip reviews on this site say it all--this is a tour not to be missed!!!! Do it soon too because Stu and Donna are retiring after this season, and while we understand a relative will be taking over the business, I somehow suspect it won't be the same without them at the helm.

Visited December 2016
Helpful?
1 Thank luv2trvl2012
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
muriwaidonna, Owner at Coast to Coast Tours, responded to this review, 11 January 2017
Kia ora!
We thank you for your detailed comments. How valuable is it to receive a review from such a well-traveled person!?
It is also worth noting the title of your review; "Worth Every Penny".
We aren't the cheapest of tours...but then, we are by no way the dearest.
However, this "value-for-money" comment has been said [by reviewers] many times before, so we are pleased you found it so too.
As you experienced, the route of our tour takes in the coast and countryside of the Muriwai region where our family (-as its early pioneers-) have lived since 1922. You also get to come inside our historic Homestead and stand in the very room (now our dining room!) which was once the original worker's cottage in the 1880's.... NO other tour that "visit's" the Muriwai Beach region gets to see (and touch) our artifacts from this time.

The stop we make at the Craftmarket has been sniggered by some, as being "a stop to get a commission for bringing tourists there", but as we point out (with the 15% discount voucher we pass -in full- onto each of our guests), we receive *no* incentives, other than the great feeling in knowing our guests find genuine NZ crafts, like you have cited in your comment. (We ourselves have fallen into the "trap" of pressure-selling while on overseas tours, ...it is not nice, and this does not happen at any time during our tour!!!!).

Oh, we could picture you sitting sipping your wine on your balcony during your cruise as we have done this too ;)

Unfortunately all things must come to an end, and yes, after 15 amazingly busy years we are retiring at the end of April. It is our daughters who may look at doing something in tourism in the future...

Nga mihi,
Donna & Stu












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Honolulu, Hawaii
Level Contributor
4 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
“Best Farm Tour EVER”
Reviewed 5 January 2017

We were picked up punctually from our ship by the owner who was charming. On the way to the rain forrest he (on his speaker headset) gave us the whole breakdown of the economy/politics/housing/and history of the region. The stops we made were explained in detail on the way and when we arrived. We had a lovely lunch and then the highlight of our trip was going to his farm where his wife greeted us with a traditional Maori greeting. We toured their sheep operation and learned all about farming in this region. No question was ignored and then we had High Tea which was to die for. This tour in Auckland is not to be missed!!!

Visited December 2016
Helpful?
Thank Candy C
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
muriwaidonna, Owner at Coast to Coast Tours, responded to this review, 9 January 2017

Hi there Candy,
Thanks for your kind review.
You booked your tour as 'private' which meant you and your group could choose where and what you wanted to see in your available time. As it turned out, Stu took you to Arataki Information Centre in the rainforest. (This is quite a popular stop with many Auckland tours, but it is a rather long drive in ...and out... and because we do so many other things on our tour we just run out of time if we go there, so we don't go there unless specifically requested to do so, as another stop needs to be deleted to make up time ...you opted to delete the Craftmarket stop).
Yes, Stu likes to talk to everyone (and about more than just the stops you visit!), so no stone is left unturned SHOULD guests want this level of conversation. He must have been having an enjoyable day too, for you to comment he was "charming" ...LOL...

Thanks again for choosing our tour, and we wish you all safe travels for the future.
Regards,
Donna & Stu.
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San Jose, California
Level Contributor
5 reviews
5 attraction reviews
“Perfect for our group”
Reviewed 28 December 2016 via mobile

We are a group of 8 traveling around New Zealand and found Stu and Donna to be very informative and friendly hosts. We got to see a lot of beautiful views and get up close and personal with many of the local plant and animal life. And the pavlova...mmmm. yummy!!!

Visited December 2016
Helpful?
Thank joruth33
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
muriwaidonna, Owner at Coast to Coast Tours, responded to this review, 9 January 2017
Kia ora group of 8!
Thank you for writing in here.
It is often difficult to find things that will suit everyone in a large group, and things which will cater for different ages too, so we are especially pleased to hear you found the tour "perfect for [your] group".
Thank you again for choosing our tour while in Auckland. And, I especially enjoyed escorting you all through the supermarket at the end of the day
...just as well Tripadvisor provides our tour company with carry bags to give away ;) ;)

Happy New Year to you all, and safe travels for the future.

Regards,
Donna & Stu.
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Singapore, Singapore
Level Contributor
91 reviews
33 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 80 helpful votes
“One of our best day tour experiences ever”
Reviewed 18 December 2016

This family run enterprise exudes genuine Kiwi hospitality and warmth. Transfers were provided by Stuart, an affable gentleman who safely negotiated city traffic and the narrow Muriwai roads with ease, all the while providing snippets of information on historical and current affairs. The highlight was the visit to the owners homestead, where the education on Maori culture and farm activities continued. It was indeed a privilege to be given a glimpse of the owners' life, and we are cortunate that we were able to do this tour before it's format changes. Highly recommended.

Visited December 2016
Helpful?
1 Thank SINWSSS
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
muriwaidonna, Owner at Coast to Coast Tours, responded to this review, 22 December 2016
Kia ora,
Thank you for your exuberance about our tour.
Indeed it was ourselves who were fortunate to have you and your family choose our tour, considering the many tours now available in Auckland.
We are pleased you enjoyed your trip, and that you gained an insight into our lifestyle and the Auckland region. As said many times before, this level of interaction on a tour; (talking on a personal level, coming into our private home etc), may not suit everyone.
These "exchanges" we make (as tour operators and guest) are [for us] one of the most important aspects of tourism. It will be something which we will miss.

All the very best to you and your family for 2017.
Best regards,
Donna & Stu.
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Stockport, UK
Level Contributor
8 reviews
6 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 31 helpful votes
“Wonderful day out from our cruise ship”
Reviewed 15 December 2016

What a wonderful day out we had with Stuart and then Donna Hamilton on the 23rd November 2016. Their bubbly personalities and knowledge made us wish the day would never end!

From the beginning it has been a pleasure to deal with Donna and Stuart. I first made contact with them some 17 months in advance of our cruise round New Zealand as I knew that they would get booked up quickly by someone due to the excellent feedback they get on here.
E-mails were answered promptly and various options discussed before we settled on what we would cover on our day.

From the moment Stuart greeted us as we disembarked ship to the minute he dropped us back at the port we were entertained and well looked after.

The minibus was clean, and well presented. We liked the fact that Stuart used a microphone to talk to us as we were driving along so we could all hear his interesting chat quite clearly. A real boon seeing as two of the four in our group are hard of hearing.

Normally on a Ship organised shore excursion in Auckland, like many ports of call, you have to pick from a variety of activities all of which are very much on the Tourist trail - not a complaint just a fact.

Well, when you pick a trip with Coast to Coast Tours (who have your day planned out to the last detail) you see the real New Zealand and how the local people who live there go about their daily business.
Donna and Stuart do it very differently from the usual tours so you see more of the real Auckland area, off the beaten track and lunch at a cafe frequented by locals – (lovely pie and chips by the way!).

There are a number of activities etc that are unique to Coast to Coast so I won’t spoil anyone’s fun by disclosing what happens on the day but trust me, you won’t be disappointed and will find the whole day a wonderful and unique experience that will stay with you for many a year.

I highly recommend them. Keep up the good work for the rest of the holiday season. I quite understand why they are stepping down in April 2017 and wish them both well for the future

Visited November 2016
Helpful?
1 Thank MichaelWild
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
muriwaidonna, Owner at Coast to Coast Tours, responded to this review, 22 December 2016
Hi all,
It is lovely, that even though we are due to retire from our tour at the end of April next year, that you took the time to post a review. Thank you for that!
Yes, we also had a great time showing you different attractions of the Auckland countryside, and getting to know you all.
17 months may seem a long time in advance to make a booking, but (-and as you also read on a forum from other disappointed people!!), if you hadn't have booked us for your private tour when you did, you would have missed out. We make no joke when we suggest people secure their booking with us early, and this is a classic example (as we hate having to turn folk away).
Our tour is aimed to show visitors the reality of things, as you have said we "do it very differently from the usual tours". Naturally, this type of tour won't suit everyone, but those that want a more personal interaction seeing other than tourist attractions are the ones who find us.
Thank you for your best wishes,
and we also send greetings of the season and for a great 2017.
Regards,
Donna & Stu.




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