We recently spent four weeks of holidays in New Zealand and wanted to try out something new. We always wanted to do quad biking, so we did a two hour tour in Franz Josef, which was absolutely amazing! We were so enthusiastic about it that we decided to do another quad biking tour when we came through Hanmer Springs. Online booking was quick, the place easy to find and we were really looking forward to it.
However, we were put into a really big group of 12 people (9 adults and 3 children), so it got very crowded. After putting on the safety gear, one of the two tour guides gave safety instructions. I know this is important, especially for people who have never done quad biking before and especially if young children are allowed to ride a quad bike themselves. However, the guide's speech seemed endless and he repeated every step several times. I'm sure, even if you never quad biked before, you'll get the point: Don't leave the track, don't lift your hands from the handle bar, don't stretch your legs while driving, keep all four wheels on the ground, etc. The safety instructions took about 10 min. and afterwards, some people started looking bored. The guide told us several times that if we don’t agree to this regulation, we could leave now, and that if we don’t follow the rules, we’d have to walk back to the base. We felt like the fun was spoiled before the actual trip even started.
The trip itself was okay, but nothing fabulous. The worst thing was that two young girls, who were riding kid's quads, were sent to the front, so the whole party had to adjust to their speed – which was not fast at all. Instead of enjoying the rough terrain, we rode in a long and rather slow queue of quads. The water and mud sections of the track were great, not to mention the landscape, but we found ourselves comparing this trip to our first quad biking tour in Franz Josef and were very disappointed. In Franz Josef, there was only the guide and the two of us. Even when it’s busier, there are never more than 6 or 8 people in one group, we were told. The guide gave us safety instructions as well, but it was done in 5 min. and all points were clear and easy to remember. My boyfriend was way faster than me, so he was riding in the front, behind the guide, and was allowed to move on a speed according to his skills. At Thrillseekers, the slowest people were sent to the front, even though there was a guide at the back of the group as well who could have had an eye on them back there.
All in all, the trip was okay and we enjoyed the track and the water and mud parts, but we would strongly recommend to shorten the safety instructions, to keep groups small and to let younger (and/or slower) people ride at the back of the group.
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