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Ulva Island Explorer from Stewart Island
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All reviews stewart island real journeys doubtful sound te anau both ways the bus glow worm caves sick bags return trip day trip across lake manapouri wilmot pass tasman sea free tea and coffee south island paterson inlet overnight cruise
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Reviewed 28 November 2017

I had no idea what to expect when I did this trip other than knowing that this was the best way to see a kiwi in the wild. Despite the bad weather making visibility and listening difficult, we kept to our guides and in the end we found one! A very worthwhile experience to see one in it's natural habitat, but more than that it was fun just tiptoeing through the woods and beach looking and listening and stalking the elusive kiwi. I highly recommend this trip while on Stewart Island.

Date of experience: November 2017
Thank mafouski
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Real_Journeys, Guest Relations Manager at RealNZ, responded to this reviewResponded 5 February 2018

Kia Ora and thanks for the review. We are delighted you experienced this trip with us despite not really knowing what it entailed. Seeing a kiwi in the wild should be on the 'must-do' list for anyone!
Kind regards, the team at Stewart Island Experience.

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Reviewed 28 November 2017

Will start with the gripe because the rest was fabulous
We waited outside hotel for pick up and as time came and went husband stayed by reception I ran down to real journeys office / visitor centre where there was the inevitable queue of people booking and asked when we were being picked up give it ten more minutes she said so back to hotel nothing so back again she rang them and said they were on their way a man turned up shortly after with a child in a car seat and said sorry we were not on his list ! He then proceeded to take us 20 metres down the street to the real journeys check in we could have walked there 20 mins before with no stress !
On to the coach journey we had a lovely driver Darren who was funny and informative the scenery was stunning and you had lots of photo opportunities
On arrival at the terminal check in was easy surprised there was only a vending machine there and no cafe however as soon as we boarded the mariner we had tea coffeee muffins and lovely fresh made sandwiches
We went to our cabin and it was small but perfectly formed immaculate en suite and we were so lucky to be upper deck our door opened out to the railings and sea fantastic
Our travel agent had booked a twin really wanted a double but not real journeys fault and to be honest you spend very little time in cabin
We then had the choice of a tender craft trip or kayaking we chose the tender and cruised around the bay looking for wildlife we saw penguins I thought you got off fir a walk as advertised somewhere but we didn't however it was good and not rushed at all
After settling in dinner is served I didn't like the fact they allocated seating by room number should be first come choice in my opinion and if you were a large group wanting to be together then someone could hold the tables you can easily end up sitting where you don't want to be as the tables are for six and you were trapped in like on the airplane having to ask to get out hated this
Food was superb wish you could have had the lovely salad type dishes as a starter and then the hot as a main because your main meal got cold whilst you ate your salad but you felt that this was not the system so you ought to get it all at once !
Dessert was incredible the choice omg top marks for all the food
After dinner and a few very pricey drinks ( everybody moaning about this !) we had a brilliant talk about the area nature etc really good
Back to cabin to a really comfy bed but not for long breakfast was at 6.45 ! I am not a sleepyhead but we are on holiday however breakfast was excellent great choice fruit cereal and hot brekkie
The scenery was superb and we saw seals close up
Soon time to dock and get the coach back it felt slightly all rushed would have liked to board at lunchtime and get off the next lunchtime for it to feel more leisurely
Would not have missed it however
On return to te anau we were dropped off and walked back to hotel( all of 20 metres ) ironic considering the pick up ! I only point this pick up problem out as I wonder if we would have been left behind if I was not a worrier and kept asking

Date of experience: November 2017
Thank walkerpayne
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed 21 November 2017 via mobile

Took exactly 4 hours from the suggested check in time to boarding the boat on Doubtful Sound. A coach to Manapouri where we were held for a while followed by a boat across the lake. A coach with a few scenic stops followed before finally arriving. NOTE: If you don’t pre-order a packed lunch then bring food! The cafe at Manapouri was fully sold out of sandwiches at 930am and the Doubtful boat has a small selection.

The boat trip was amazing! Beautiful scenery and great narration from, I think, Maddy! Makes up for the travelling but be ready for a long day out!

Date of experience: November 2017
Thank Lee_A_B_1976
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Real_Journeys, Guest Relations Manager at RealNZ, responded to this reviewResponded 23 November 2017

Hi there, thanks for taking the time to post this review. Doubtful Sound is a truly unique experience, with its remoteness being one of the reasons for this. Yes, from Queenstown, it would be a longer day than usual, however we think that the drive to Manapouri is quite beautiful in itself. A lovely scenic cruise across Lake Manapouri, before driving over the famous Wilmott Pass down into Deep Cove harbour and Doubtful Sound itself for the main cruise. We always recommend either bringing your own lunches or ordering one of ours. I'm surprised to hear that they had run out in Manapouri however will speak about this with the team there. We are pleased to see how much you enjoyed your trip and the commentary from your amazing nature guide!
Regards, the team at Real Journeys.

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Reviewed 20 November 2017

Our crossing from Bluff to Stewart Island was a little rough. The return trip the next day was a bit smoother. So much so the Skipper handed the wheel over to one of the other staff members. I can only hope she was in training. However it was a little disconcerting to see the Skipper looking towards the back of the boat for most of the trip. I think next time, I’ll fly.

Date of experience: November 2017
1  Thank Sharon I
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed 20 November 2017 via mobile

We took the ferry from Bluff to Oban. Staff at Bluff were very helpful and friendly and Chris who was the skipper was a delightful character who certainly had no need or requirement to chat to us but did anyway in the manner one would expect from a friendly local. He made the one hour trip seem a lot quicker. Good on ya Chris!

Date of experience: November 2017
Thank Binkynz
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Real_Journeys, Guest Relations Manager at RealNZ, responded to this reviewResponded 15 October 2018

Kia Ora and thanks for the review. We're delighted to see how much you enjoyed your adventure on Stewart Island.

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