Reminiscing after a trip to America, Caroline and Murray Ireland realised one of the most enjoyable aspects of their holidays abroad was meeting the locals, who provided a more personable city tour. “They were run by friendly, engaging personalities, who made it really fun and memorable – so we decided we could do the same here in Christchurch.”
The well-travelled Cantabrian couple established Caroline’s Kombi Tours, providing a unique way for visitors to explore Christchurch while showcasing and supporting local businesses. “There is so much to offer in the city now and many exciting opportunities to come with the rebuild – we’re not focusing on the earthquakes. It’s also a chance to include Christchurch’s heritage, combined with quirky history facts, Kiwi culture, and a lot of fun.”
Murray is the tour guide, while Caroline drives their vintage mint-and-white Kombi vans – Judy and Moira – which seat six people each, for an even more personable tour. “The vans are named after my mother and aunt, who both had a great passion for life,” Caroline says. “And the iconic Kombi van represents adventure and brings back many happy summer holiday memories for us – people connect with them worldwide.”
The vans have been meticulously worked on by local VW specialists, Mark and Tony from The Metric Nut, to ensure they are of the highest standard for comfort, quality and safety.
Caroline’s Kombi tours include the Christchurch City Tour, featuring a must-see list of attractions such as the Christchurch Art Gallery, Kate Sheppard Memorial, Rutherford’s Den, Scape Public Art, Solidarity Grid, Bridge of Remembrance, and the Cardboard Cathedral, as well as showcasing the city’s renowned street art, before heading to Cashmere hills for stunning views of the Southern Alps. During the summer, the guided tours will extend to Governors Bay to visit the garden of international significance, Ohinetahi, as well as other sights outside the CBD.
Christchurch Food Tours, Super Senior Tours, and tailored tours for special events or corporate outings are also available – whether groups of friends or colleagues want to visit Diamond Harbour, Sumner Beach, Lyttleton or beyond. Partnering with ChristchurchNZ, the company fully supports #explorechristchurch, encouraging fellow Cantabrians back into the city centre. “The tours are also a great way for local families who have visitors in town to truly experience their city and have some fun.”
Caroline and Murray provide a fun-filled experience, sharing wonderful stories and fun facts, along with their extensive local knowledge. “We love new experiences and meeting new people, both locals, and people from all over the world. We take great pride in providing our customers with the best possible experience.”