New Zealand Self Drive Holidays

“Select from 88 Relaxing Journeys self drive tours of New Zealand. Each self drive itinerary designed to ensure your holiday runs as smoothly as possible. Our self drive tours cater for all budgets and incorporate unique inclusions, local experiences and can be customised to suit your requirements.”
New Zealand Self Drives
New Zealand Self Drive Tours
Self Drives Touring Both Islands (22)
Our unique inclusive packages include your choice of vehicle and touring itineraries unmatched anywhere else. Each self drive itinerary has been individually created by our local travel specialists and include unique travel experiences while remaining flexible enough to allow you to discover both islands at a relaxed pace.
North Island Self Drive Tours
North Island Self Drive Tours (19)
From rolling farmland to the deserted beaches and ancient temperate forests discover the soul of New Zealand on one of our North Island self drive tours. A completely different experience from the South Island, read through our itineraries, each of them unique and full of surprises.
South Island Self Drive Tours
South Island Self Drive Tours (26)
Discover the majesty of New Zealand's South Island on one of our self drive holidays. This is 'Lord of the Rings' country, awe inspiring landscapes, glaciers, rivers and fiords that you will not find anywhere else in the world.
Special Interest Self Drive Tours
NZ Motorhomes & Campervans
Every journey is unique, every journey designed just for you - the freedom of travelling by motorhome & campervan around New Zealand will lead to an unforgettable, unique experience. Our country is made for driving holidays!


New Zealand Speciality Self Drives (More Coming Soon)
New Zealand Boutique Eco Self Drives
Boutique Eco
Self Drive Tours (21)
We've selected luxury eco lodges, small boutique hotels, romantic cottages, urban retreats and charming bed and breakfasts matched with the best guided activities and experiences along New Zealand's iconic touring routes.
Middle Earth Inspired Self Drive Tours
Middle Earth Inspired
Self Drive Tours (4)
You don't have to be a die hard fan of LOTR or The Hobbit series of films to appreciate the majesty and awe inspiring scenery of New Zealand's Middle Earth.
Food & Wine Themed Self Drives
Food & Wine Themed
Self Drives (7)
Indulging in local food and wine is a must-do for many vistors to New Zealand, and on a Relaxing Journeys self drive journey if gastronomy and the odd tipple are high on your agenda, New Zealand won't disappoint!
Walking & Hiking Self Drives
Walking & Hiking Self Drives (3)
Exploring New Zealand’s walking and hiking trails is one of the most rewarding ways of seeing the country’s outstanding natural beauty. We have a fantastic new range of itineraries being released next season.


Frequently Asked Questions

How do Relaxing Journeys self drives tours work?
The Relaxing Journeys team (based in Auckland) will organise your entire self drive holiday. We book your rental vehicle for the duration of your stay, we prebook and secure all your accommodation and your ferry crossing if necessary, as well as all the sightseeing activities included in your itinerary. We provide you with a full detailed itinerary and arrival instructions by email, and then on arrival in New Zealand you'll receive a comprehensive copy of your itinerary, map book and documentation pack. Our team is also on call, so if you run into trouble while travelling around our country - we are only a local call away!

Why should we book our self drive tour to New Zealand with Relaxing Journeys?
If you are looking to discover New Zealand independently, then our self drive touring holidays are for you. Our inclusive packages include your choice of vehicle and unique touring itineraries unmatched anywhere else. Our New Zealand based travel team have meticulously planned each itinerary and activity inclusion to produce balanced itineraries with manageable driving times, accommodation the best in its class and touring routes chosen for their scenic beauty. To find out what our previous clients think, read their testimonials here.

What accommodation do you use?
Our premium self drive tours include the option of top class boutique accommodation, international standard B&B's & 4+ star hotels. Our mid range self drive tours incorporate 3+ star hotels and our budget self drive tours incorporate self catering motel accommodation. You choose the type of accommodation that suits you! The properties featured on all our self drive touring holidays have been carefully chosen for their superior level of comfort, exceptional amenities, friendly staff & service and their convenient location.

What about our rental car? What can we expect?
Relaxing Journeys only use rental vehicles from the 'top tier' rental companies (Thrifty, Europcar, Budget, Avis, Hertz), even on our budget self drive tours. Unlike most self drive specialists we have no hidden fees. We arrange the rental vehicle hire on your behalf and the cost of this hire includes unlimited kilometres, standard daily vehicle insurance (subject to an excess), airport and ferry pick up fees, additional driver fees, age surcharge and GST (Government Goods & Services Tax). All of our premium self drives have a Kruse Travel Guide & GPS included in the price, and it's an optional extra on all our mid-range and budget self drive itineraries.

Can we amend an exisiting itinerary to suit us?
All of of our New Zealand self drive tours are flexible. We can add or remove days to the itinerary, we can can add pre or post accommodation if required and remove or incorporate addtional daily activities. We'll amend our itineraries to suit your travel plans, and provide you with 'local knowledge' to ensure your driving holiday is a relaxing one.

I'm not sure a self drive holiday is the best idea, I'm not confident about driving on the 'wrong' side of the road!
Self drive holidays are one if the most relaxing ways of enjoying New Zealand's landscape. Many of our roads are scenic and traffic is low when compared to international standards. Based on feedback from our past clients we can reassure you that if you are a confident driver in your home country, then your self drive holiday should be stress-free. Have a read of our New Zealand driving guide to make yourself familiar with our road rules. You might also like to consider our independent coach tours if you'd prefer not to drive but you'd still like some independence.

What is the difference between a budget, mid range and premium self drive tour?
The main difference between each category is the accommodation. Accommodation also makes up the greatest proportion of the total cost of your tour. All categories use the same rental vehicles. Our premium self drives include GPS as standard and the itineraries are generally more varied & inclusive. Budget and mid range self drives tend to have fewer inclusions, but that doesn't mean you can't book them as you go around or prebook them yourself.

Are there any other costs I need to budget for on my self drive tour?
Our self drive tours include all government taxes, accommodation, car rental and sightseeing activities that are clearly identified in your itinerary. Items that are not included in the price include, fuel, parking & meals (except those specified in your itinerary).

How do we pay for our self drive tour?
We welcome bookings from all over the world. Your tour deposit is always paid by credit card and the balance is then paid 45 days out from the start of the tour either by credit card or bank transfer. To read more regarding how you book your self drive holiday click here.

Do we get any more information than that provided on your website?
Yes. After we receive your final balance you'll receive your full itinerary detailing tour times, pick up and arrival information etc. We will send this to you by email around 35-40 days out from your tour, then on your arrival in New Zealand you'll receive another copy of your itinerary along with your travel vouchers & travel pack.

When is the best time to travel to New Zealand?
We have a comprehensive weather section that explains the best times to visit New Zealand.

What sort of driving licence do I need to drive in New Zealand?
You can legally drive in New Zealand for up to 12 months if you have either a current driver's licence from your home country or an International Driving Permit (IDP). Recent law changes mean all drivers, including visitors from other countries, must carry their licence or permit at all times when driving. You will only be able to drive the same types of vehicles you are licensed to drive in your home country. The common legal age to rent a car in New Zealand is 21 years. Make sure your driver's licence is current. If your licence is not in English, you should bring an English translation with you, or obtain an IDP.

Do I need a visa to visit New Zealand?
All visitors to New Zealand must carry a passport that is valid for at least three months beyond the date you intend to leave the country. Currently travellers from more than 50 countries do not require a Visitor's Visa for stays less than three months. Read more here.

Do you handle travel insurance?
We do not sell travel insurance, however we do have information on a few select providers if you are looking for a recommendation. We recommend purchasing your travel insurance locally at the same time you book your flight. This will make dealing with your claim, should this be necessary that much easier when you return home.


Over 500 Relaxing Journeys Self Drive Tour Reviews
Planning a self drive holiday to New Zealand can be daunting, but we have doing this for a long time and our experience and dedicated support ensures you're in safe hands. Read the feedback from some of our past self drive clients - their comments and insights can help you decide on the self drive tour itinerary best suited to you. We've listed the most recent reviews below. Click to view all our self drive reviews.

14 Day South Island Tourer (Mid Range Self Drive)

We had a wonderful time overall...such beautiful scenery, lots to see and do. After five days we realised that some of the driving distances were too much for us with only one day staying in a we contacted you....and thank you very much Sally, as the changes made suited us well and we thoroughly enjoyed our extra day in Dunedin and our two day road trip to Christchurch which enabled us to stop at many places. We especially loved Oamaru with its wonderful buildings and Steampunk Museum! The rest of the touring pace was great for us. Most accommodation was really good with a couple of exceptions only. Your service was great and appreciated when needed. We had a lovely holiday and are happy to tell others we booked with you.

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16 Day Discovery Trail (Budget Self Drive)

We thoroughly enjoyed the tour and all that New Zealand had to offer. Often after 3 weeks we are ready for home but this time we would have happily carried on touring and visiting your beautiful country. The journeys were quite long some days , but this was because the roads are fairly slow, there was lots to see on the way to the next destination and we enjoyed the two trips thrown in, i.e. Milford Sound cruise and the Maori evening in Rotoroa. The motels we felt were excellent for the 'economy' option, the only one we would not stay in again was the Alpine View in Kaikoura and only because it is next to the railway line and 3 freight trains went through Kaikoura during our night there. We would like to thank you very much for organising the motels, car hire etc, everything went like clockwork, the pack and map you provided were very helpful and we certainly would use your company again and recommend to friends.

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9 Day Southern Journey (Premium Self Drive)

Spent time in Queenstown, Wanaka, Franz Josef and Christchurch. The boutique hotels in Queenstown and Wanaka and Franz Josef were fantastic. Wanaka was the most relaxing and somewhat quaint, would love to go back there. The driving was great and the tips on what to do during the driving days were helpful. I would recommend the 45-minute drive to Glenorchy while in Queenstown as well as a stroll through the city gardens which are quite nice. The day trip to Milford Sound from Queenstown was ok, but 9 hours round trip on a coach for a 1-1/2 hour cruise is probably not worth it even though every other tourist in the South Island feels compelled to go at least once. I think we were on that because Te Anau was booked before we went, but frankly I'm glad we did not spend the night in Te Anau since from passing through there clearly wasn't much to do there but eat deer pies and get bitten by sand flies. The coach driver also had this special sense of humor that included being a smart ass and not giving anyone a straight answer to reasonable questions which got more annoying as the day went on. The sand flies were also a concern while traveling along the coast so would definitely recommend some bug spray and forewarning.

Generally the sun is really hard compared to everywhere else I've been, so I would also stress sunscreen anytime someone goes outside in the day. The hosts were friendly and a nice way to meet locals as well as other travelers and have some interesting conversation. We really enjoyed the stunning scenery and ability to get around easily. Everyone had our booking in advance and was expecting us. One thing I did not realize is that the entire country of New Zealand is a gourmet cuisine mecca. Just about everything we ate was special and terrific. I thought it would probably be like England where food is boiled for 2 days then served however day after day we ate nothing but incredible dishes served by friendly often traveling European waiters and waitresses.

Pick up and drop off at the Thrifty counter was very easy and all documents were in order and ready. Although it's not required to buy the excess reduction insurance I bought it for $165 USD for the 8 days and I felt much better since I learned auto insurance is not required for all drivers in New Zealand. Also driving on the left takes concentration and I was glad for the insurance although thankfully I had no mishaps. The GPS unit was extremely awkward and difficult to use and finally stopped trying after several attempts. The keyboard was mostly unresponsive and at times led us towards the wrong location or just gave up. I'd recommend a different system that isn't as frustrating as using 1996 dial up internet. Christchurch has more to see than we had time for. Ideally I would have liked a full day at the end there but the limitations of my available time prevented it. Anyways, the central gardens were great and this Spanish Tapas place in the corner where I felt like I ate food for the first time in my life. That was the right call to reduce time in Christchurch in favor of the other places. Overall we were very happy with our trip and hopefully I can take advantage of the 5% discount and go back. New Zealand is one of my favorite places I've been to and for the little guidance I provided in advance you organized a superb trip that was memorable and right on. I'm really glad we booked through you and if I get back to New Zealand would use your travel company again. Thanks for everything!

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16 Day Te Wai Pounamu (Premium Self Drive)

The trip was awesome, the scenery spectacular, the people extraordinarily nice and helpful! The self guided tour designed by Mani was near perfect. The itinerary worked very well and the places we stayed overnight were all wonderful! The trip exceeded all my expectations!

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9 Day Southern Journey (Premium Self Drive)

After I decided to go to the South Island of NZ for holiday, I researched on the internet and found Relaxing Journeys. I simply provided them with my arrival date and departure date, they planned and organized everything for us. The accommodation and itinerary matched closely to our requirements and we are satisfied with the value for money provided. I would not hesitate to recommend anyone who wants to explore the beautiful nature of NZ. We were lucky and the weather was good throughout our 10 days visit. People were nice and helpful, whether in the hotels, at the restaurants or even at the gas station. NZ is a great country and we will be back.

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All New Zealand Self Drive Tour Reviews>