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Once Upon a Trip

As in country experts, our services ensure your vacation exceeds all your expectations.
We create tailor-made New Zealand tours. We know this country, these regions, and accommodations in a way that the internet won't allow you to. We specialize in custom New Zealand and South Pacific Island itineraries.

Our philosophy is to listen to your vacation dream and then using our first-hand experience of living and traveling all corners of New Zealand, to design the trip of a lifetime specifically for you. No two customers are alike so no two New Zealand vacations we create are alike.

Featured trips & expertise

Check out the thermal lakes in Rotorua
New Zealand's North Island Adventure - 7 Days

This self-drive itinerary hits the highlights of New Zealand's North Island with a wide array of activities and landscapes. Along the way, you'll explore Auckland's best neighborhoods, sip pours from local wineries, go swimming and kayaking, and take part in Rotorua's geothermal treatments and Maori culture—all within the span of a week.

Fiordland National Park
Highlights of New Zealand - 10 Days

This action-packed itinerary dives into New Zealand's South and North Islands for a wide variety of landscapes and attractions. Kicking off in the adrenaline capital of the world, you'll kayak through the Milford Sound, explore the scenic capital (Wellington), take part in Rotorua's geothermal treatments, tour Hobbiton, and finish the adventure in the cosmopolitan city of Auckland.

A beautiful view over a New Zealand Lake
South Island Highlights & New Zealand Wines - 12 Days

Travel through New Zealand's beautiful South Island, getting to know its cultural hotspots, famous landscapes and public gardens, and sprawling vineyards along the way. Over 12 days, you'll enjoy the cafes and fine art of Nelson, spend two days sipping wine in Marlborough, hike near beautiful Lake Wakanda and the famous Milford Sound, and more.

View of Mount Ngauruhoe  from the Tongariro Alpine Crossing in Tongariro National Park
New Zealand's North Island - 6 Days

From Auckland to Taupo National Park, this six-day itinerary presents the highlights of the North Island's diverse and dramatic landscapes. You'll trek amid emerald lakes and ancient volcanoes, explore The Shire from Lord of the Rings, and discover the sacred thermal waters of Wai-O-Tapu.

View of Mount Ngauruhoe  from the Tongariro Alpine Crossing in Tongariro National Park
New Zealand's North Island - 7 Days

Explore the beauty of New Zealand's North Island, from the foodie's haven of Wellington to stunning Tongariro National Park. This seven-day tour starts in Wellington and ends in Auckland, with a variety of local activities including hiking, visiting Lord of the Rings' filming locations, touring wine country, and spotting local wildlife.

Reflection of Mount Cook on a hidden tarn in Aoraki Mount Cook National Park
New Zealand Cities, Parks & Mountains - 12 Days

This 12-day tour features a perfect mix of adventure and relaxation. Explore New Zealand's cities, mountain landscapes, native bush, and beaches. Begin in Wellington working your way through parks and vineyards to Christchurch and to the mountains and fjords of Mount Cook and Milford Sound, ending your stay in Queenstown.

Recent Trip Reviews for Once Upon a Trip

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, 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, 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, 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!!:)

Sightseeing south island, New Zealand - Dec 28 - Jan 9, 2019

Traveler: Bernadette B. - Local specialist: Kelly Fitzgerald

Christchurch accommodation was awesome. All accommodation was clean and comfortable. Really helpful at the Geraldine place. Loved the Vintners retreat as well.

Great trip Kimkim a big thank you

Memories , New Zealand - Dec 17 - Dec 22, 2018

Traveler: Shelagh T. - Local specialist: Kelly Fitzgerald

Kelly and Valentin both did an amazing job, all our accommodation was first class, loved the wineries tour although that was probably because we were only 4 people , Ken our driver was great.

Quiglayshan vacation, Fiji - Jul 13 - Jul 27, 2018

Traveler: Kristy L. - Local specialist: Kelly Fitzgerald

Wonderfully planned and stress-free trip! Every connection was seemless and timely. Ben was amazing keeping in touch during one unexpected change. We especially liked our quad bike adventure & guide, diving at Kuata with Brad, and with Semi and Epi at barefoot manta. Saki was an amazing host at manta.

When we were ready to leave manta the money hadn’t been paid by Kimkim, but the manager Lauren said, “no worries... they always pay. We’lol sort it out” and they let us leave without $$ in... read more

Wonderfully planned and stress-free trip! Every connection was seemless and timely. Ben was amazing keeping in touch during one unexpected change. We especially liked our quad bike adventure & guide, diving at Kuata with Brad, and with Semi and Epi at barefoot manta. Saki was an amazing host at manta.

When we were ready to leave manta the money hadn’t been paid by Kimkim, but the manager Lauren said, “no worries... they always pay. We’lol sort it out” and they let us leave without $$ in place for our 3 day food and lodging! Glad to hear you have a great relationship with the places.

We discovered a hidden gem in Boitaira ... good food, beautiful beach, chill village hike, friendly staff (be prepared for a few bugs and critters in your bure)