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“Wilderness Experience”
Review of Bush and Beach

Bush and Beach
Certificate of Excellence
More attraction details
Attraction details
Recommended length of visit: More than 3 hours
Owner description: Bush and Beach is Auckland's premier small-group tour company. Daily award-winning tours take you to Auckland's coastal rain forest, wild black sand beaches, untamed Great Barrier Island, Coromandel Peninsula, Hobbiton and Waitomo area. Our experienced guides provide an interactive, unforgettable experience, including walks in lush rainforest, on awe-inspiring surf beaches, to lush wetlands and beautiful waterfalls.
Reviewed December 10, 2013

Had a few days in Auckland and wanted to see as much as possible without renting a car. We chose the wilderness experience tour and had a great 1/2 day with our guide, John Dawson. The commentary was funny and informative. The black sand beach was spectacular, as was the kauri forest. Quite a lot to see within a relatively short drive from Auckland.

1  Thank SSNOPL
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
KrystleBT, Front Office Manager at Bush and Beach, responded to this reviewResponded February 4, 2014

Hi there,
Thank you for your great review. The Wilderness Experience tour is a great option to get out of the city if you do not want to hire a car and we are lucky to have such a great natural area only 30 minutes from the city.

John definitely provides a great experience, glad you enjoyed your tour with him.

All the best for future travels,
Krystle

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Reviewed November 26, 2013

Read all the reviews and booked with my two daughters to go to Hobbiton and then onto Rotorua. What we got for the money was effectively a pick up from our hotel, a drive down to Matamata where we got on the Hobbiton coach (no external tours are allowed into the Hobbiton set). Did the tour with the dedicated Hobbiton team (nothing to do with Bush & Beach!), got a packed lunch because there was a screw up and we were rushed off to Rotorua, on another coach, without being able to go to the souvenir shop or have lunch as included in our ticket. The cost for this was NZ$275 each! We had to pay for our own coach rides back to Auckland from Rotorua!! So ... cost for Hobbiton set tour NZ$75 and $200 each for what was a bus ride from Auckland to Matamata and to Rotorua and a sandwich, drink and cookie! Rip off or what????!! Tip: Hire a car. Park at Hobbiton, go round Hobbiton, go onto Rotorua then back to Auckland. Or coach to Rotorua from Auckland. I believe Hobbiton arranges transport from Rotorua up to Matamata and back again. Then get coach to Auckland. Probably about $150.00 all in!

1  Thank Giselle B
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
BenThornton113, Owner at Bush and Beach, responded to this reviewResponded November 27, 2013

Thank you for taking the time to review our tour to Hobbiton although I am extremely disappointed that you feel that the trip was a “rip off”, especially as we went out of our way to help you visit Rotorua as well as Hobbiton. To clarify a few points:

1. Lunch is not usually included on our Auckland / Hobbiton / Rotorua tour (most people have lunch after they arrive in Rotorua at 1.15pm). We decided to offer lunch at no extra cost so that you would have more time for sightseeing in Rotorua.

2. It was your decision to visit Rotorua and head back to Auckland on the same day (our official trip ends on arrival in Rotorua at 1.15pm) so of course you had to pay another operator for the coach ride back to Auckland.

3. If people took the public bus to Hobbiton, there is no hotel pick up service, no commentary from the driver plus you would not have enough time to visit Rotorua as well.

4. To optimise your time in Rotorua, we customised an itinerary with suggestions of things to do there, maps etc.

5. Comments from other clients who also travelled on the same day and paid $275 include, “It was a beautiful day…..our tour guide and drivers were wonderful!”, “It was all good, the tour and set were amazing”.

In summary, all of the other passengers thoroughly enjoyed their day and they also paid $275. We all went out of our way to ensure that you had a seamless and enjoyable time at Hobbiton and Rotorua and a 1 star rating is a tremendous disappointment.

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Reviewed November 13, 2013

I second what everyone has written. We had a lovely trip down to Hobbiton with the Bush and Beach company, - small bus, personal service, interesting guide. As a small group we quickly got to know each other. I'm glad I took the time to read the TA reviews, many of which described the larger tour groups as "rushed" and "impersonal". Bush and Beach was the right choice.

Also, the Hobbiton tour itself is charming.

Thank lindsaybc
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed November 2, 2013

I will rate this trip on the top of our global list. We started out with a hike to Cathedral Cove. There are a few inclines and steep stairs on this hike so moderate fitness is required. We had some time to walk along the beautiful beach and took scenic pictures of the cathedral cove. Next stop was was the Hot Water Beach. Now that was really unique! Tour guide gives you a spade and you find and dig a "hot springs tub" right on the beach----then relax in the "sand tub." If you don't feel like digging, you can walk along the vast expanse of the beach. Water was very clean and crystal clear. We didn't want to leave! Then lunch at a wonderful cafe that's walking distance from the beach. Last stop was a train ride on the side of a mountain to the EyeFul Tower. This ride will surely to bring out the inner child in you. At the end of the ride, you will be rewarded with some of the most spectacular views of the bay and the islands. On the way back to Auckland, out tour guide took us through a coastal drive for more picturesque views. We were more than pleased with our guide who re-engineered our stops as we went to make sure we took advantage of the low tide (for the hot water beach), chased the sun and avoided the gray clouds. Just go and have a wonderful time!

Thank worldtraveler43Usa
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
KrystleBT, Front Office Manager at Bush and Beach, responded to this reviewResponded June 16, 2014

Hi there,

Thank you for your great review of our Coromandel Day Tour. It really is a spectacular part of the country with stunning views.

As you mentioned we organise to the tour each time to suit the tides to make the experience as interactive as possible.

Thank you again for a great review

Kind regards
Krystle

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Reviewed October 27, 2013

Today I took a trip with Bush-Beach from Auckland central to Hobbiton (Matamata), the drive of just over two hours was over in a flash courtesy of the scenic route taken by our very informative tour guide and driver (Dion). On arrival at our destination, Hobbiton (the movie set where I understand most of the "Shire" scenes were shot from "Lord of the Rings" and "The Hobbit") we were very efficiently hooked up with the very first site tour of the day. This proved to be a huge advantage if you are a photographer and you want to shoot scenes without another tour group cluttering the background. A quick and very scenic/entertaining bus drive takes you to the actual location from where a walking tour is conducted. The walking tour of the "Hobbit holes" takes around two hours an was very professionally conducted by our guide (Toby) who provided some interesting facts about the history surrounding the location and the movie. A quick farewell drink at the "Green Dragon Inn" saw the end of the walking tour and off in the bus again to the main area where a lovely lunch was provided for our tour group arranged by Bush-Beach. Another scenic drive along a different route back to Auckland with a couple of worthwhile stops followed which saw me back at my hotel on time as per the schedule. I can highly recommend this tour even if you are not a Lord of the Rings fan. Bush and Beach thank you very much for the very professional manner in which the tour was conducted, from the painless telephonic booking, spotless vehicle, prompt on time service and very professional guide, you certainly got my vote.

Thank ChrisKotze
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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