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Valentin Puech

My name is Valentin and I am a travel consultant and a tour-guide for New Zealand, Fiji and Samoa. I plan tailor-made trips based on my clients' desires. I like to get to know my clients so I can plan for them the perfect vacation in one of the world's top destinations, New Zealand.

What places and activities do you specialize in?

"I specialize in self-drive tours. I tend to work with smaller style accommodations such as bed & breakfasts, as well as boutique hotels and luxury lodges for a higher-end, more personal and authentic experience. It also gives my travelers the opportunity to discover the warmth of Kiwi hospitality! For activities, I specialize in many different ones including cycling (with the option of e-bikes), hiking, water-sports and everything involving outdoor adventures. I also specialize in and support wildlife activities, such as kiwi and native penguin spotting in their natural environment. I also like to offer scenic flights and cruises since they allow travelers to gain a deeper insight into our wonderful country."

How did you get involved in travel?

"As a child, my parents would always take my brother, my sister, and I on back-country adventures: hiking, mountain biking, kayaking, skiing, snowboarding... We didn't travel far, but as I grew older my desire to see the world grew as well. To the point where at age 24, I decided to travel from Normandy, France, to the Dogon country, Mali, in West Africa on... a 50cc moped! From then on, my life has been filled with adventures through Europe, the Caribbean, South-East Asia, North-America, and finally Australia and New Zealand where I decided to settle down. Today I still regularly travel from NZ to France, where I grew up, trying to stop in exotic places along the way. "

Please share a unique travel experience you will never forget.

"When I first visited NZ's South Island, I wanted to go for a hike to explore Wanaka's surrounding mountains. I was advised by a local to sleep in a remote hut near the Rob Roy Glacier, which I did. After a lovely walk along the beautiful Matukituki valley, the track suddenly became really steep, winding around sheer rock face and native forest. For about an hour or so, I literally climbed through this Lord of the Rings-like landscape, before reaching an alpine saddle, where the hut was. I spent the night alone in the hut, with only the presence of native kaka birds and summits around me, an amazing experience..."

Featured trips & expertise

Tauranga
North Island Adventure: Auckland, Coromandel Peninsula, Tauranga, Rotorua, Wellington, & More - 14 Days

Enjoy two weeks in the North Island of New Zealand on this tour of six different destinations. Begin in Auckland to do some sightseeing, stroll historic neighborhoods, and embark on a day trip to Waiheke Island. Next, head to the Coromandel Peninsula to discover the stunning coves, gorges, and beaches. Then, head to Tauranga for a glowworm cave excursion via kayak, followed by three days in the geothermal city known as Rotorua. Stay on a family farm in Mairenui, and spend two days in Wellington touring museums, parliamentary buildings, and more.

Lake Wanaka
South Island Exploration: Christchurch, Akaroa, Lake Tekapo, Mt Cook, Wanaka, & Queenstown - 7 Days

Spend seven days enjoying the best of the South Island of New Zealand. First, take in the popular sights of Christchurch and enjoy a mobile dinner via the Tram Restaurant. Then, visit Akaroa in the Banks Peninsula to get acquainted with the little blue penguins, followed by a trip to Lake Tekapo for a stargazing tour. Next, enjoy several scenic walks through Aoraki/Mount Cook and a trip to Wanaka to explore the highlights and Mt. Aspiring National Park. The vacation concludes in Queenstown with some wine tasting and final adventuring.

Redwoods Forest, Rotorua
New Zealand: Auckland, Rotorua, & Napier - 7 Days

On this weeklong tour of New Zealand, explore three entirely different areas of the country. Begin in Auckland, the "Big Little City," to do some sightseeing, kiwi spotting, and island touring. Then, drive to Rotorua to explore the famous geothermal areas and go mountain biking in the Redwoods Forest. Next, make your way to Napier, nestled on Hawke's Bay, and rich with Art Deco culture.

Moeraki Boulders
New Zealand Self-Drive Tour: South Island, Southern Alps, & Wildlife - 7 Days

In one week, enjoy an action-packed road trip through New Zealand's South Island. Begin in Christchurch to do some sightseeing. Then, explore the culture, wildlife and rock formations of Oamaru, the churches and cathedrals of Dunedin, and more. Tour native species along The Caitlins from different lookouts, followed by a full day of activities in Queenstown, from flying and cruising over the sounds and fjords to skydiving and bungee jumping over gorges and rivers.

Abel Tasman National Park
Highlights of the North Island and Top of the South, New Zealand - 11 Days

This 11-day adventure explores New Zealand's North Island, as well as one of the most popular regions of the upper South Island. Start in Auckland, and take a short scenic flight to Great Barrier Island, where you can hike, bathe in natural hot pools, or relax on the beach. Continue to Rotorua, with its geothermal waters and the Tongariro volcanoes, before making your way to Wellington. From there, you'll finish with Golden Bay, Abel Tasman National Park, and Nelson—the sunniest town in New Zealand.

Akaroa
South Island Tour: Christchurch, Akaroa, & Hanmer Springs - 5 Days

Enjoy the outdoors of New Zealand's South Island on this quick, five-day trip. Begin in Christchurch and go punting on the Avon River, stroll Hagley Park, and zipline through the Adventure Park. Next, tour the Banks Peninsula, where time stands still. Discover the bays, villages, galleries, and cafés, as well as Akaroa, nestled in the heart of a volcano. Go swimming with Hector’s dolphins and view little blue penguins on a night tour. Then, head to Hanmer Springs for a therapeutic soak or two in the thermal pools, take a scenic hike, or go mountain biking along New Zealand High Country and Hanmer Forest Park.

Recent trip reviews for Valentin

JESSICA

Lord of the Rings and Scenic Sights · New Zealand - Jun 29 - Jul 7, 2019

Traveler: JESSICA T. - Local specialist: Valentin Puech

Thanks so much to Valentin for planning our amazing trip. Everything was so well organised and our trip flowed seamlessly. Our trip incorporated everything we wanted to see and more. The accommodation Valentin chose for us were all fantastic, the hosts made us feel right at home. Looking forward to booking our next trip with Kim Kim.

Valentin Puech profile photo
Valentin Puech, local specialist, responded to this review:

Thanks so much Jessica for you kind feedback and great pictures! I'm glad you had a good time in Aotearoa, and all the best for you in Aussie. Feel free to get in touch if you ever want to come back!

A short adventure from Auckland NZ · New Zealand - Apr 20 - Apr 26, 2019

Traveler: Jane G. - Local specialist: Valentin Puech

We traveled a lot and It was our first time to try a self guided tour. It’s an amazing experience since we have our time and choices to maneuver which places we like and explore. It’s an adventure that time is not pressured but it’s laid out for you to venture. As long as your provided SIM card is activated then everything is easy. Our best unforgettable adventure is the hike to Mt Tarawera by kaitiaki adventure which was arranged by Kimkim and the thermal spa . Breakfast was substantial... read more

We traveled a lot and It was our first time to try a self guided tour. It’s an amazing experience since we have our time and choices to maneuver which places we like and explore. It’s an adventure that time is not pressured but it’s laid out for you to venture. As long as your provided SIM card is activated then everything is easy. Our best unforgettable adventure is the hike to Mt Tarawera by kaitiaki adventure which was arranged by Kimkim and the thermal spa . Breakfast was substantial and accommodations are acceptable. Valentin our tour organizer, was quick to respond and understand our interest and so we are happy and contented with our NZ adventure. I highly recommend Kimkim but make sure to have more time in NZ rather than just one week . I’ll definitely come back in the near future with more time. Kia Ora ! We are happy camper, thank you very much.

Valentin Puech profile photo
Valentin Puech, local specialist, responded to this review:

Kia Ora Jane and thank you very much for this great feedback! I'm really glad you enjoyed self-driving and that we were able to come up with the right suggestions for your trip. Feel free to recommend us and I wish one day you'll be able to come again for a longer trip, who knows!

Trip to New Zealand · New Zealand - Feb 21 - Mar 9, 2019

Traveler: Chelsea M. - Local specialist: Valentin Puech

Everyone we interacted with from the beginning of our trip planning to wrapping up was excellent. Valentin helped us build the perfect trip and patiently answered all of our questions along the way. Each and every bed & breakfast owner was extremely professional, welcoming, and helpful and we also found KimKim's partner company in NZ to be well-regarded. This trip was the perfect way to view the beautiful country of New Zealand and so much of what it has to offer. At one point, we had in our... read more

Everyone we interacted with from the beginning of our trip planning to wrapping up was excellent. Valentin helped us build the perfect trip and patiently answered all of our questions along the way. Each and every bed & breakfast owner was extremely professional, welcoming, and helpful and we also found KimKim's partner company in NZ to be well-regarded. This trip was the perfect way to view the beautiful country of New Zealand and so much of what it has to offer. At one point, we had in our notes that breakfast was included, but it was not reflected in the B&B's notes. The B&B called the company and it was quickly resolved with the company absorbing the cost of the mistake. We thought this was fair and a very good business practice. Valentin even called us once during the trip to check in and make sure everything was going well and see if he could offer any recommendations or assistance. This was our second trip with KimKim and we found their services once again to be a great value. We enjoyed collaborating on the itinerary where we wanted, but letting Valentin fill in the details with his extensive knowledge and spot-on recommendations. Thank you!

Valentin Puech profile photo
Valentin Puech, local specialist, responded to this review:

Thank you so much Chelsea for these kind words, I am very happy you had a great time in Aotearoa and that you appreciate our expertise and assistance. All the best and you know where we are if you ever want to come to NZ again!

New Zealand · New Zealand - Jan 31 - Feb 16, 2019

Traveler: Heather F. - Local specialist: Valentin Puech

Valentin gave us an itinerary that well suited our needs. We were able to cover a lot of territory in a relatively short stay. All of our reservations and arrangements went according to plan. A highlight in the South Island was the cruise on Milford Sound, but the overall scenery was very beautiful. We appreciated that city accommodations were on the edge of town to avoid city driving. In the North Island we especially enjoyed the Waimangu Volcanic Valley, Hobbiton and also a day trip we took took to Waipu. Again the scenery was absolutely beautiful all along the way.

Valentin Puech profile photo
Valentin Puech, local specialist, responded to this review:

Hi Heather,
Thanks a lot for your wonderful review!
I am so happy you had a good time and enjoyed our beautiful scenery!
You got to see the highlights of both islands in a relatively short stay but there are many other beautiful locations to explore, if you ever want to come back to NZ, it would be a pleasure to organize your trip again!
All the best to you and thanks again !

Dream cycle trip · New Zealand - Jan 4 - Jan 20, 2019

Traveler: Clare F. - Local specialist: Valentin Puech

Overall I enjoyed a really cool holiday. My highlights were definitely the cycling days, and particularly doing the Twin Coast Trail. It was brilliant to have the shuttle services and flexibility around accommodation for that as well as for the Haureki Trail. While I also enjoyed cycling Waiheke Island, the cycle hire place was less helpful which limited the cycling I felt confident to do.

The walking aspects of my trip were good - certainly the Park Run events were great, but the other... read more

Overall I enjoyed a really cool holiday. My highlights were definitely the cycling days, and particularly doing the Twin Coast Trail. It was brilliant to have the shuttle services and flexibility around accommodation for that as well as for the Haureki Trail. While I also enjoyed cycling Waiheke Island, the cycle hire place was less helpful which limited the cycling I felt confident to do.

The walking aspects of my trip were good - certainly the Park Run events were great, but the other walks I was interested in were a bit hit and miss. I found it difficult to get information about suitable walks, and perhaps the biggest disappointment was being located quite a distance from Turangi, which meant I didn't get to do any of the walks in that area, although I had indicated I wanted to do that.

However, the places I went to were interesting and there was generally a lot to do. The accommodation was good and the car hire worked.

Best accommodations: Blue Water Motel in Tairua, Scenic Hotel in Paihia and Left Bank in Kaikohe.
Most challenging accommodations: i) Heritage Collection Waitakere Estate - while in a magnificent setting with great views of Auckland, they provided basically no information about what to do on site and near by. Even if they had, it would have been challenging due to the steep terrain and and lateness of arrival. There was also no offer to clean the loo despite indicating to the front desk that it was not up to par. Etc. And ii) Palm Motel Waihi, which was just a long way from the shops/cafes when you don't have a car.

The planned activities/tours were all good. And the freedom to take up other activities worked well for me, although the ultimate cost of these was far more than I expected. Highlights: seeing the massive Kauri trees in Waipoua Forest (and around), dinner up the tower in Auckland and fish and chips in Mangonui, and the Te Toto Gorge.

I definitely appreciated the follow-up by Valentin and knowing that I had someone to contact if I had any difficulties.

So all good - and in the end, I had a relaxing and very enjoyable holiday. Thanks!!:)