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“Hop on Hop off nightmare - Shocking time keeping and service - even worse customer support”

Escape to Marlborough
Ranked #2 of 2 Food & Drink in Picton
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Attraction details
Recommended length of visit: More than 3 hours
Owner description: Escape to Marlborough offers personalised, semi-exclusive and highly enjoyable travel experiences throughout New Zealand. - Wonderful wine tasting tours included - Pick up from cruise ship and throughout Marlborough - Luxury Mercedes® Mini Vans - Maximum 6 guests in one van - Experienced drivers and guides - Private hire available - 2/3 day or full day tour
Reviewed January 8, 2018

A group of four of us used the "Hop on Hop off" tour which i understand is a relatively new addition to the area. We caught the initial bus from the Picton i-site having arrived at Picton on a cruise ship.

Well, to say the whole set-up was a debacle would be kind. At the outset, after being sold the tickets on the basis that the busses run on two interchangeable loops (a wine loop and a tour loop - museums etc.) we were then told upon getting on the bus that only one loop would operate stopping at all stops. Alarm bells immediately.

We were all herded onto a large (80 odd seat) bus to Blenhiem i-Site. Well surprise - upon arriving here only a 40 odd seat bus was present to then take people on the hour loop - luckily we got a seat.

The bus was late leaving Blenhiem and the schedule was all but lost. We got off at Highfield winery now some 15 minutes later than indicated on the schedule so we had what we thought was 45 minutes (an hour scheduled at each stop) so that we could get on the next bus.

We waited in the pick-up spot for the next bus at the scheduled time... and waited and waited and waited. The bus that eventually arrived was some 40 minutes later than schedule and by this time we were very nervous about getting back to the port on time.

To top the day off - whilst everyone on the bus simply wanted to get back to the drop off - remember, this bus is a "hop on / hop off" tour, the bus driver stopped at the chocolate factory and refused to leave until we all got off.

I made a formal complaint to the owner but all i got was excuses, and implicit allegation that i was lying about the delays, and a very insincere apology.

Given the track history in complaint management, I don't expect to get anything back even though we paid $69.90 each ($280) for four of us to sit on a bus and visit one stop - not much hop on hop off occurred.

It is a real shame, because Picton is gorgeous - all this is is an exorbitantly priced tourist trap.

Date of experience: December 2017
3  Thank PierceMcMahon
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Travelingteam1, Manager at Escape to Marlborough, responded to this reviewResponded January 13, 2018

Hello,

I am one of the ground managers and have decided to respond to this as you have already had correspondence with the owner.

What you have written is absolutely not correct.

1/ The Isite where you brought the ticket informed you the buses go in one loop.

2/ This again is reiterated at the bus.

3/ The first bus is a 40 seater not 80?

4/ The buses that go around in the loop are 20 seaters not 40 seaters?

5/ Yes this is a relatively new addition to the area. so this is correct. We try hard to work though any issues but after reading your emails I believe no refund will be forthcoming from us.

6/ You are clearly told to keep to the times on the map as drivers try and catch up times, some times this is hard due to traffic as we are in a farming area and no one wants to have an accident.

7/ The chocolate factory is a scheduled stop on both tour so even if it wasn't joint together the bus would stop.
There were other clients on the bus who heard you berating the driver who rang the office to make sure the stop was made and the driver did the right thing, no one asked you to get off the bus at all and you could of stayed on as a couple of others did as this bus then headed back to Picton.

$69.50 is a very reasonable price.

Please read the other reviews.

Escape to Marlborough Team

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Write a ReviewReviews (28)
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"hop on hop"
in 7 reviews
"omaka aviation heritage"
in 2 reviews
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in 2 reviews
"wine tour"
in 4 reviews
"allan scott"
in 2 reviews
"warren"
in 9 reviews
"highfield"
in 6 reviews
"wonders"
in 4 reviews
"driver"
in 12 reviews
"tickets"
in 3 reviews
"isite"
in 2 reviews
"marlborough"
in 16 reviews
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"winery"
in 5 reviews
"wineries"
in 8 reviews
"makana"
in 2 reviews
"stops"
in 3 reviews
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13 - 17 of 28 reviews

Reviewed January 7, 2018

We spent a full day on the Hop on Hop off tour to wineries. We took off from Picton iSite and continued to visit 6 different wineries, tasted over 40 different wines and had a beautiful lunch at Highland Terravin winery.

I can highly recommend this tour, should you need a "shuttle service" without any specific tour guidance.

Date of experience: December 2017
Thank Faijja
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Travelingteam1, Manager at Escape to Marlborough, responded to this reviewResponded January 13, 2018

Hello Faijja,

Thank you very much for your review. We are so glad you enjoyed your day.
Safe travels.

Escape to Marlborough Team

Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed December 29, 2017 via mobile

We got the tour with a GrabOne deal, so ‘only’ paid $39 each. It turned out that we went on a cruise ship day, not listed as such on the site, and the buses were busy. The day was a bit of a travesty, from the time we joined in Blenheim at 11:00 until the end. The bus did not stick to the timetable AT ALL, which meant we were constantly looking for the bus, and we only saw 3 wineries all day which was not what we had planned. Had we known how hit and miss the timetable was we would have gone with Bubbly Grape and paid the extra. The drivers were nice enough, but other than that can’t recommend.

Date of experience: December 2017
2  Thank markkellaway
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Travelingteam1, Manager at Escape to Marlborough, responded to this reviewResponded January 13, 2018

Hello Mark,

We are very sorry you did not enjoy your tour.

As we are new we would like to offer you both the chance to go again.

If you could please call us on 080069372273 we would appreciate it.

Thank you Escape to Marlborough Team

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed October 27, 2017

Great way to get pop south of Picton if you are foot passenger on the ferry (so have no car etc) to see some attractions down in Marlborough. I found the Hop on, Hop off bus an excellent service and thoroughly enjoyed my day out. The bus drivers were friendly and helpful.

I did the Wonders of Marlborough tour, with the Omaka Aviation Heritage Centre being the highlight for me. The bus comes every hour but I would recommend staying 2 hours at Omaka to have time to see everything.

Date of experience: October 2017
1  Thank DouglasM3578
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Reviewed October 7, 2017 via mobile

Fantastic day going between wineries and Omaka had the best day. Easy and we changed over at Vine village lovely place lots to see there. Lunch was at Highfield. Lovely way to get around and cheap 69.50 all day.

Date of experience: October 2017
Thank theone100
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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