We agonised when we were at Te Anau (which I think is a fantastic little town - we just loved it, so quaint), and we went through all the brochures etc. The thing to remember is, they really use all the same boats once you're there - they don't actually have their own cruise boat. We also used Trips & Tramps and were very happy with them - actually paid just a tad more to use them, as we wanted a smaller bus. It was more personal and our guide (John, I think?) took us to a few out of the way places, and it's much better if there's not heaps of people on board, otherwise you're continually "rounding up" people at the photo stops. There are just so many operators, and on the way there, I saw heaps of buses and names of companies that we didn't even see advertised anywhere. It was a spectacular day. We had a car and were going to drive, but glad we paid the extra, as in your own car, you wouldn't know where to stop for those special photo shoots. The road is narrow and can be hairy in places, but on reflection we could easily have driven there as even though they kept warning about snow, there was none on the roads. We only wanted to drive so we could "chose" our own boat and not be tied up with hordes of tourists, but glad we did it the way we did. It is all very orderly anyway and not too bad as we were there in off-season. Been told it's not worth doing the under-water observatory (just as an aside).