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“Glow Worms 4h tour!!A must do”

Russell Mini Tours - Day Tours
Ranked #4 of 16 Tours in Russell
Certificate of Excellence
Attraction details
Paihia, New Zealand
2 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
“Glow Worms 4h tour!!A must do”
Reviewed 29 January 2014

As a mature female traveler passing through paihia (with no car) i was advised about the Glow worms tour which was a lot more comprehensive that it appeared. $49 well spent in my opinion! i met David my driver and tour guide outside Isite in Paihia. He looked like a local and his local knowledge did not disappoint, absolutely delightful. He was a gentleman from the outset. such a detailed tour (personal touch i believe) as David drove around paihia sharing its history and then we went into Opua harbor where he advised even more historical information!!! Then we drove to the glow worms. He made sure my tour guide was there and came back to pick me up after. Glow worms a must do - brilliant. David then took me to see kawakawa and the famous toilets and railway!!! brilliant, we had a walk around at my request...lovley. After this we drove a nice country route chatting about the area and more facts where shared and ended up at haruru falls as a bonus to the tour. haruru falls is a definite...so beautiful. I have learnt so much about the area more so than other tours i have done. David was happy to help and share knowledge and a lovley guy!!A true local!! i will be telling others about it!!!

Visited January 2014
1 Thank reb t
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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63 reviews from our community

Visitor rating
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • Any
English first
New Zealand
Level Contributor
71 reviews
15 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 30 helpful votes
“Great sights Russell mini tour”
Reviewed 27 January 2014 via mobile

A must do for all travelers to Russell. Traveling with mr 11 and miss 9 this tour gave them a good overview of many of the historical aspects of Russell. Following the trip we went and explored further on what we had learnt and discovered during the trip. Short and sweet but money well spent. Our guide was funny, friendly and well informed

Thank kiwifamily2010
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Level Contributor
304 reviews
176 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 133 helpful votes
“Nice work if you can get it”
Reviewed 22 January 2014

We recently were on the Celebrity Solstice sailing from New Zealand to Australia. Our first port of call was Pahia in the Bay of Islands.

After doing some research on the internet I found Russell Mini Tours who operated tours out of Pahia. We made a booking with them for a Glow Worm Cave and Kauri Forest tour for $59 NZD.

There was a little confusion when we first arrived at Pahia from the ship as to where we were to meet our guide and we were told to catch the ferry across to Russell. On making further enquiries a kind lady in the local tour office contacted one of the owners of Russell Mini Tours who came and met us. Unfortunately she knew nothing of our booking but made a telephone call and told us that David would meet us back at Pahia.

On arriving back in Pahia we finally found David Fryer, our guide (and co-owner of the business). He met us dressed in shorts and thongs and we could have been forgiven for thinking he was on his way to the beach, not quite how I would expect a professional tour guide to dress. By now we were all of the opinion that David had forgotten our booking and had come to meet us after being prompted by his partner.

After greeting us he led us to Honda Sedan which was to be our tour vehicle for the day(I was less then impressed). I had assumed that we would be taken by mini van or the like. As "mature age" travellers our days of straddling the hump in the rear of a vehicle are well and truly over!

We squished into the car and set off first for a short drive around the town of Pahia. David seemed a nice enough guy but he really lacked the kind of skill sets necessary for a tour guide. His commentary on Pahia (somewhere he had lived for six years) was very limited and there was little to no interaction with his four charges.

I did mention to David that we were not happy about the sedan and his response was that he thought we would prefer it (they do own other vehicles). I think when you are paying for a private tour you should at least be asked your preference beforehand.

After our five minute drive through Pahia we then headed to the Glow Worm Caves at Kawiti. Following the tour through the caves (by a professional guide at a cost of $25 NZD not included) we drove to the Thunderwasser toilets and steam train that drives through the Main Street at Kawakawa.Unfortunately the train was not running that day and the toilets are only worth a five minute visit. David provided no information on the town, the toilets or the train.

From Kawakawa we headed to a local kauri forest where you can walk through a section of the forest via an elevated boardwalk. It was ok but not as impressive as other Kauri forests I have visited. More to the point David told us to tag along with a professional guided tour that had just arrived ahead of us. He offered no information whatsoever on the Kauri Forest and just hung at the back waiting for us to do the loop, very disappointing.

David planned to take us to a local chocolate factory but after being cramped into the sedan we opted out and instead asked that he drive us to the Waitangi Treaty Museum close to the tender wharf.

Throughout the tour David was quite uncommunicative and when asked questions his response was limited. At one point my hubby asked him if real estate was expensive, his reply "yep". And that pretty much sums up the four hour tour. It was just like catching a crowded taxi-cab to each stop, transport only!

David dropped us at Waitangi and was gone in a flash, he obviously did not want to waste time on chit chat.

All in all it was a disappointing day but fortunately the other private tours we had organised in whilst in New Zealand were excellent and very professional. Would I recommend Russell Mini Tours, unfortunately no.

Visited December 2013
3 Thank missskybird
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Colchester, England, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
32 reviews
14 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 6 helpful votes
“Great little tour of Russell”
Reviewed 22 January 2014

We booked a mini tour around Russell as we were only there for the afternoon and took the easy option of seeing the sights by bus rather than on foot. We enjoyed a very informative couple of hours with our guide Steve whizzing around the island in the little blue and white bus. Always nice to have someone who is passionate about where they live and what they do. I was really sceptical about this tour but having been on it, I can say it was really well spent couple of hours.

Visited January 2014
Thank melw266
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

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