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 480 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.

10 Day Southern Sounds & Glaciers (Budget Self Drive)

We really enjoyed our tour, and all the transfers went smoothly - everyone was expecting us - the standard of hotels was what we expected & wanted - car hire worked well and we appreciated how smoothly the trip went. There was an awful lot of driving, and by the time we got to Queenstown we were really ready for our 2 day break. I did think I would cost the trip up after Christmas and see about value for money - but the effort in booking and organisation saved must have added considerable value. Thank you very much.

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10 Day Pure South Island (Premium Self Drive)

What a beautiful country. The holiday was a blast. All started well. Lodgings were good and very easy to get to and check in no hassles. My family especially enjoyed 858 Motel. The Motel experience was by far the best and a new experience. Only minor draw backs was the vehicle given by Thrifty. We were given a new Ssang Yong Kornado. It was small in size as we were expecting a Toyota Camry sedan sized vehicle. The smaller vehicle did have its advantages in getting parking in tight places. The other drawback was Kruse. It was not very helpful and lags very badly. 3 days of the trip we could not use it as it could not be recharged. Then it started working again after that. Besides these small drawbacks the trip was excellent and tiring. Leanne. Thanks so much for making the arrangements. It worked out well.

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10 Day Southern Sounds & Glaciers (Budget Self Drive)

We were really pleased with how well the trip was organised and were very happy with the amount of materials we were given to help with the trip. An extra night or two on top of the default trip length would be good, as we had an extra night in Te Anau and found that it gave us more time to enjoy the area and see the glow worms the night before. Another night in Dunedin or Franz Josef would have been good too, since with Franz Josef our activity was cancelled due to rain & cloud, and the drive to and from there was very long. It would have been nice to have another day to wait out the weather as we were really looking forward to the Ice Explorer activity there.

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24 Day Grand Explorer (Premium Self Drive)

This trip was so perfect I cannot even begin to brag about how great Leanne Duffield did on the organizing and planning of the details. We never had to worry about anything and all the accommodations were beyond expectations. If I had any issue with anything it would only be the GPS which was a bit problematic and several times dumped us in very odd locations - we thought perhaps it needed updating, however we did fine between our own phone navigation apps and the GPS we received from you. We would for sure use Relaxing Journeys again and do plan on returning as three weeks was not nearly long enough for us . We love New Zealand and the people there. Thanks for all you did Leanne.

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9 Day Southern Alps & Fiords (Budget Self Drive)

Now we can say Kia Ora too! We just want to say 'thank you' to you and Relaxing Journeys for organizing our amazing 9 days in the South Island of New Zealand. What a beautiful country and such lovely people everywhere! Although at the beginning we were disappointed when our Trans-Alpine train ride was cancelled half way to Greymouth at Arthur's Pass due to stormy weather, we were all picked up by bus and taken a few hours later to Greymouth where our rental car was waiting for us. When we arrived at our hotel Glacier View outside Franz Joseph, it was pouring with rain and it was already almost dark. We felt that it was a pity our hotel wasn't in town because then we probably wouldn't have minded walking around and exploring in the rain. We felt quite cut off not being in the town. Our apart/hotel in Queenstown was fabulous with everything we could've wished for and the fact that we were in the center of town, made such a huge difference. All our pick-ups, whether for shuttle service or for tours from our hotels were excellent and always with a friendly smile and great sense of humour! We especially enjoyed our driver/guide on the Milford Sound tour (I think his name was John) who was hilarious and kept us entertained all the way there, throwing in his personal comments about just about everything! We were so lucky with the weather that day, it was perfect and felt that that was possibly the highlight of our trip although throughout the 9 days we were amazed at how often we would be saying 'wow' around almost every corner! Mt. Cook was great and the tour of the glacier was fascinating, although the weather was grey - it started raining as soon as we got off the boat which was quite lucky! So thank you again for making it possible for us to have 'a holiday of a lifetime'!

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