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About Thrifty Tours New Zealand

Over 30 years of New Zealand touring

Showing visitors around New Zealand is what we love to do. Our range of flexible tour packages depart every single day and with more than 200 great ideas to inspire you we offer the largest choice. Our team of New Zealand touring specialists can modify any of our ideas to suit you perfectly. With hundreds of accommodation and activity ideas to choose from, we can tailor-make the ideal itinerary for you.
Based in Wanaka overlooking the lakes and mountains of the South Island, our team has first-hand knowledge of everything New Zealand. This means you get the best local, relevant and up to date advice when planning your New Zealand holiday.

Why and how to book your Thrifty Tour

See our 'how it works' page to get all the answers on why you should book with Thrifty Tours.

Meet the team here

Staff list
Chelsea Lodge
Chelsea Lodge

Travel Specialist

Before I joining Thrifty Tours, I spent time on the ice at Scott Base in Antarctica and worked as a travel guide in New Zealand. Now I look forward to helping you explore in New Zealand. As an avid chocolate fan I also encourage you to try our delicious Whittakers, the creamy milk is something special!

My favourite place: Cape Reinga at the top of the North Island, it's not just beautiful, the sandboarding there is fantastic fun.

Telephone: +6432228021
Christina Brockie
Christina Brockie

Travel Specialist

I have worked as a New Zealand travel specialist for many years, so I know plenty of hidden gems and local secrets across the country.  When I'm not at work planning other peoples awesome holidays, I love to get out on my mountain bike and also catch as many live music concerts as I can!

My favourite place: Hot Water Beach. At this amazing location, you can dig a hole in the sand and wait for the thermally heated water to rise up, creating your own personal hot pool!

Telephone: +6434430892
David Kettle
David Kettle

Boss Man

I am the founder of New Zealand Fine Touring, the parent company of Thrifty Tours. I have a great passion for New Zealand and sharing it with visitors. It's an incredible place and we are lucky to be able to run a business that has such a great product. Equally, I have a passion for delivering great customer service, because few companies truly understand that is also part of the product they sell. In my spare time, I spend this with my kid's camping, fishing, on the lake or tinkering with old cars.

My favourite place: New Zealand - I have been selling this country for over 14 years and it's easy because it is such a GREAT product.

Telephone: +64 27 4116938
Helena Reimer
Helena Reimer

Office Admin Wizard

I have spent the last 8 years in New Zealand and am so glad I have.  Originally from England, I fell in love with Wanaka and made it my home.  I am lucky to work with a team who know New Zealand inside out and can provide you with the perfect tour.

My favourite place: Abel Tasman, I love its white sand beaches, tranquillity and summer sun!

Telephone: +6434430812
Liz Wilson
Liz Wilson

Travel Specialist

As a Canadian, I get really excited about how accessible New Zealand is - these diverse little islands offer so much to get excited about. Wineries and wildlife, thrill-seeking activities and culture - they have it all. The best part about my role is being able to share these experiences and first-hand knowledge with YOU!

My favourite place: Raglan. Add this to your itinerary if you like to surf or just want to explore one of New Zealand's quirkiest small towns.

Telephone: +6434430842
Louise Barrett
Louise Barrett

Travel Specialist

Australian's like myself LOVE New Zealand. The cities are small and full of character and you're never too far from an adventure.  Send me an email today and let's kick start your holiday now!

My favourite place: Queenstown, like me you'll love the adventure!

Telephone: +6434430895
Nisse Perry
Nisse Perry

Product Guru

I work hard in the background here at Thrifty Tours finding comfortable new places for you to stay and exciting new activities for you to try. When I’m not at work, I can usually be found taking short trips around this beautiful country camping, mountain biking, climbing, snowboarding or surfing.

My favourite place: Dunedin, for its awesome camping spots, climbing and surf all super close to the city.

Telephone: +6434430812
Rebecca Bisset
Rebecca Bisset

Accounts Team Manager

I spend my days at Thrifty Tours supporting the team but when it's time to go home I like to explore the great outdoors. I am also a big foodie and love sampling the delicious wine and culinary delights New Zealand has to offer.

My favourite place: Akaroa, a beautiful, quaint part of New Zealand with incredible wildlife and ocean views.

Telephone: +6434430812
Shelley Ryder
Shelley Ryder

Travel Specialist

I have been at Thrifty Tours for many years now, so I have a wealth of knowledge and am 100% focused on making sure your journey is completely focussed around YOU. I grew up in New Zealand and spent many holidays venturing along the shores of this glorious coastline. If you're after a little adventure then get in touch and let me help.

My favourite place: Marlborough Sounds, is such a stunning and tranquil setting.

Telephone: +6434430846

See what other guests have to say abut Thrifty Tours

Check out the latest 10 reviews below or see all our reviews here.

Testimonial list
Colleen Lau, 8 day Southern Lakes to the Southern Alps, Travelled on 26 Jul 2020

Louise had been exceptional making this tour work during this difficult time, with a lot of activities unachievable due to floods, works of natures and what have you. She must have waved her magic wand and booked me in to the places I have on my bucket list! My first time in South Island as a domestic tourist had been amazing and now I finally understand why overseas tourists save up to come here!

Sarah Hoon & Grace Ng, Southern National Parks tour, Travelled on 15th March 2020

What a week it ended up being, with the COVID situation rapidly escalating the week of travel and each day bringing fresh news updates that brought lots of uncertainty to our plans! We were really thankful we had engaged Thrifty Tours to help us plan the travel - we initially had thought of planning it ourselves to save on costs. But as it turned out, engaging Thrifty Tours not only took a load off our minds during planning, being able to easily customise our plans without a lot of research on our side. The company also turned out to be an invaluable help during the trip when plans had to be changed last minute and eventually cancelled due to the COVID situation. It really helped to have them on board to help sort out the changes/cancellations/refunds so we could focus on finding our way home. Thank you for that, appreciate the good service!

Sue Hunt, Jennifer Hughes with Stephen and Jennifer Langsbury, Customised Southern Highlights with Milford Sound - 3* Hotels (original), Travelled on 8 Mar 2020

Thank you so much for all your help. Our south island tour was simply the most wonderful experience, and we had 7 days of seeing the most outstanding scenery, and visiting some beautiful places, the south island of New Zealand is simply breathtaking. Everything was organised to perfection on our tour, thanks again to you - we never had to wait for any pickups, all staff we came into contact with were always friendly & courteous & coach drivers obliging, funny, enjoyed a chat & were all very careful drivers. The coaches on all the routes were very comfortable & all stops en route supplied lovely food & snacks. All accommodation booked by you was lovely & comfortable, the Rainforest Lodge at Fox Glacier was out of this world, stunning rooms set in the most beautiful New Zealand scenery & dinner in the restaurant that night there was great. The TSS Earnslaw trip was wonderful, a must for anyone to do, the BBQ lunch sumptuous & mouth-watering meats served up, the best beef & lamb we have tasted in a long while! The excursion to Milford Sounds breathtaking, what an amazing & serene place, took my breath away from the beauty of it all. Our lunch at the Hermitage another highlight, superb & it was a beautiful day that we were there so we got stunning views of Mt Cook. Accommodation at the Heartland was fabulous, my sister & I sat on our balcony with a nice glass of New Zealand wine overlooking the lake & The Remarkables, I will remember that moment for a long time, weather again nice & sunny during our stay there. Queenstown is a lovely place, vibrant & buzzing. I did the Gondola ride, worth every penny, loved it. TranzAlpine train journey from Greymouth to Christchurch amazing, very comfortable, and well worth the ride, stunning views from the huge windows. Thank you again, Louise, for all your help, patience & guidance & I would not hesitate to recommend Thrifty Tours to any of my friends here in the UK wanting to see the spectacular South Island of New Zealand in style.

Romeo Dumitrescu, A Custom Upper North Island Adventure, Travelled on 4 Mar 2020

Just to confirm that - after two re-bookings :) - arrived safely and (surprisingly) without delay back in Zurich. I had a very good experience with the trips you booked for me, many thanks again. I have very much appreciated the quality of the information you provided to me, the speed you answered to me, and, in general, your professionalism - really enjoyed being advised by you. All trips were done also professionally, with clear customer focus, and practically without any significant delays. Very knowledgeable guides, fantastic places, a very good experience all in all. I will certainly return at some point in the future, New Zealand is a great country...

Ayse Emek, Olcay Bige Orer Okdelen & Ceyla Okdelen, Northbound Adventure, Travelled on 2 Mar 2020

It was great! Thank you for everything, especially for the hotel (Grand Millennium Auckland) we stayed in for our last two nights, it was a real treat :) I had previously read some comments on the internet where people had complained that they had to find their own way to the different tours or the guides on those tours were not good enough or the picnic lunches on the tours were not good enough... It was definitely not the case for us! We were picked up from the hotel and dropped off where we wanted, the guides were very helpful in every possible way (they were very informative and also did everything to keep us safe and happy), and the picnic lunches were some of the best food we had in NZ :))

David & Karen Stewart and group, Southern Highlights Tour, Travelled on 29th February 2020

We had a wonderful experience! Our accommodations were clean, up-to-date and comfortable. And all our transfers were seamless. We did have some confusion in Franz Josef as to our pick-up point, but we figured it out. The drivers were very informative and willing and able to adjust to the unique conditions that we encountered along the way. We were able to make all our stops - including Milford Sound - thanks to the road crews working overtime to get the roads open. We were blessed with good weather during our time in NZ (except for the last day while travelling in the bus - and then the sun came out for our view of the Franz Josef Glacier!) We were happy with our meals too. Everything seemed to go as planned! Thank you for all your help. This was a trip of a lifetime for us. And despite the Coronavirus starting to shut countries down, we were able to return to the USA without mishap.

Colin Ciccarello, Best of the North, Travelled on 28 Feb 2020

Great way to travel around New Zealand, especially for someone who has never been there and doesn't have a lot of time for research. The tours and hotels booked were excellent. The Thrifty Tours app is incredibly useful. My consultant Emma was extremely helpful and responsive.

Alicia Blake & Cathryn Hanly, Bay of Islands and Cape Reinga Tour, Travelled on 23 Feb 2020

We both enjoyed our Bay of Islands Tour. The accommodation was great and the motel owner was friendly and helpful. The continental breakfast was good. The tours included in the trip were good. Since we didn't do Hole in rock cruise it was a long day waiting to go back to Auckland, we should've done some more planning to get back to Auckland earlier. But overall I would recommend to friends and family to do this tour if they travel to the North Island.Thanks to the staff at Thrifty Tours for organising the tour and quick response.

Armin Luer, Southern Alps to the Southern Lakes, Travelled on 12 Feb 2020

We loved the service provided by Thrifty Tours. Particularly, - Continuous communication with Emma. - The perfect scheduling and coordination of each activity. - Very well located accommodations. - That the conditions were clear at all times. It was our first time booking a tour online, and it worked perfectly. We like to travel at our own pace, and travelling with a group was not an option. On the other hand, it was not possible for us to coordinate all the accommodations, trains, coaches, etc. by ourselves. Thanks to Emma Shaw and Thrifty Tours to give us this great experience. We are looking forward to travelling to New Zealand again.

Annette & Robin Goulton, West Coast Glaciers and Tranz Alpine to Christchurch Tour, Travelled on 17 Feb 2020

The coach trips were comfortable and informative. It was delayed, to begin with, but I suppose this happens. The hotel was superb. A lovely room and close to everything. The receptionists and waiting staff were very helpful. We had one meal at the hotel. Lovely views from the dining room and the meal was excellent. The buffet breakfast that was included couldn't be bettered. There were lots of choices. The bus driver told us about a very good curry restaurant at Franz Josef that we went to. The shuttle bus to the glaciers was good and we could go back when we wanted. Lovely bush walks near the glacier. Not much to see of the glacier but I had read up about this. I loved the hot pools and stayed there for about two hours. The trip to Greymouth was good and time to walk around Hokitika. The TranzAlpine train was delayed by at least one and a half to two hours. We weren't sure why. It would have been good to be told when it was leaving approx. so we could have had lunch in a relaxed way. Instead, we had to get a take out and sit at the station. The journey on the train was great once it got going. Also, a varied buffet service. That was helpful as we didn't want to be looking around Christchurch for food in the dark after we arrived at our motel. Overall, an excellent tour and obviously the delays couldn't be pre-planned. Thank you Chelsea for arranging it all and for answering my many questions so that I could have a clear idea of what to expect and also to receive the pdf and information on my phone was helpful.

Read all our guest feedback & testimonials