Some Company History.
Hinterland Tours has recently been purchased by Mount Classic Tours Ltd. Both companies have been operating in the Tauranga area since the early 2000's. Here is a little background how we got here.
Mount Classics, as the company is usually known by, started out with a vision to offer premium service shore excursions to visiting cruise ships in a small fleet of luxury cars, Rolls Royce and Daimler's, this was in 2001.
After the terrible events in New Your of the 911 terrorist attack, the cruise industry all but ceased, so the company redirected its services to weddings and other special occasions, eventually building up a fleet of 10 Rolls Royce and Daimler wedding cars over the next few years.
During this time we incorporated another local company into our operation when we took over the Bay Limos stretch limousine business, servicing weddings and other special occasions and events with super stretched limousines, which were actually made here in Tauranga.
The cruise sector gradually recovered and Mount Classics continued to expand by adding a number of minibuses and tour coaches to the fleet, selling our tours direct to the passengers as they exited the ships.
Our fleet of luxury cars were now again able to be used for cruise ship shore excursions, and working with the Cruise Lines agents here in Tauranga, we were often asked to run all 10 classic Rolls Royce and Daimler cars as well as four stretch limousines ( we cooperated with another local company to add the extra limos) on tour itineraries around the region.
All was going well until the GFC ( Global financial crisis) struck back in 2007/8. This event severely dented the buying power of the cruise passengers so our high end (and more expensive) classic car and limo tours were dropped by the cruise lines in favour of cheaper coach tours.
So to counter the down turn in our revenues we created a new website so that clients could book all of their ports of call excursions in one place, networking with other similar companies around New Zealand and finally in Australia as well. In fact we were the first to offer this "one stop shop" to cruise clients directly in our region.
As the cruise tours business continued to flourish, we added more tour vehicles to our fleet but found that running a large fleet of wedding cars as well was just too much, especially when ships arrived on Saturdays, so we began to downsize this part of our business. We continued to developed the cruise operation further, eventually running our own tour vehicles in Dunedin, Akaroa, Wellington, Auckland and the Bay of Islands.
A new opportunity arose in 2019 when a company we had worked alongside with here in Tauranga wanted to exit the business as the owners wanted to relocate to Australia. So in mid 2019 we took over the "Cruise Tours Tauranga" and "Taste Of Plenty" operation from Karen and Susanna. This operation was supplying a range of "food" and "cycling" focused tours to the cruise lines so we were now back in the "Official" cruise tours brochure on the ships. Their staff all fitted in well with the large MCT team and we were going well in the 2019/20 cruise ship season, until..........
Then in March 2020 the dreadful COVID-19 pandemic finally reached us here in NZ and basically stopped the cruise industry overnight, our last ship being here on the 15th March. We were looking forward to a bumper season with in excess of 30,000 passengers travelling on our excursions, with one day in particular a great success here in Tauranga with 506 passengers on our tours in just the one day [well done Nigel]. COVID-19 changed all this and we spent the last few weeks of March refunding all of our clients with cancelled tours.
So we are now in Plan B mode, changing our focus to tourism here in New Zealand for our domestic market, as no one knows when international travel will begin and the cruise ships able to return.
So, having worked with Brad Coleman (and his parents Rick and Kae) over recent years, sharing our drivers/guides and vehicles, it was a great opportunity for us when they decided to sell the well regarded Hinterland Tours operation. So Mount Classics now has another division in its range of services, one that we intend to grow and to compliment the cruise ship shore excursions business that is on hold until.............
You can see more of the other parts of our company by visiting these web sites: