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.

9 Day Southern Vistas (Mid Range Self Drive)

My husband and I had a wonderful holiday in New Zealand. We haven't been since our honeymoon 35 years ago and we were delighted with how well it's natural beauty has been preserved. You certainly gave us value for money - the accommodation was beyond our expectations and always centrally located so we could walk to attractions. The breakfasts were delicious. We followed your daily itinerary and got to enjoy so many experiences - it was like you did the tour before us and paved the way. (Ed. We did!) Transfers to airport on time and friendly. All hotels had restaurants that very reasonably priced with staff that were so helpful with directions to attractions etc. I think we must have had some free upgrades! The car was comfortable and very economical. I don't think your company made much profit out of us - we are hoping to do a tour to the North island in the future and will not hesitate to use your expertise again. Thank you for a wonderful holiday. We will be recommending your company to family and friends!

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14 Day South Island Tourer (Mid Range Self Drive)

Great! Could not find fault with any aspect of our itinerary. All accommodation was clean and comfortable. Travel allowance times between stops was most adequate with no rushing required. Excellent locations for stopovers, conveniently located and most friendly staff/management. Toni was always quick with any responses to my questions and everything about our booking were on time and in accordance with the contract. Brilliant Customer Service....Trustworthy & reliable. We have absolutely no hesitation in recommending Relaxing Journeys NZ. to any person/s intending to undertake a visit to your Magical Islands.

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14 Day New Zealand Drive & Fly (Mid Range Self Drive)

Fantastic trip, extremely well organised right from the start by Mani. Ran like clockwork and my husband and I had a trip to remember. Everyone we came across was extremely friendly and helpful and I have already raved about and recommended Relaxing Journeys NZ to my friends and family. We will definitely be using your company again when we return to NZ.

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18 Day Northward Bound (Budget Self Drive)

Not knowing much about New Zealand we were pleased to use the services of Relaxing Journeys to ensure our first trip was memorable. The ease of dealing with Toni via email to organise our itinerary and make amendments as necessary was great. Toni's tips and advice assisted us to ensure the days were relaxing and not too much driving was required with plenty of stops in spectacular places. The accommodation arrangements were very comfortable with great staff and facilities provided. I can't wait to go back and see more of your spectacular country. Thank you.

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10 Day Southern Sounds & Glaciers (Budget Self Drive)

Really an amazing drive and tour through the South Island! Such a beautiful country and very friendly people too! Mani had everything organized and arranged very well. Everything went smoothly throughout the trip from day 1. Pick up of the car was easy from the Thrifty desk and the GPS and tour package were all waiting for us at the desk as well. All the bookings and tour activities was in the voucher booklet provided to us, so it is very convenient. We were given a bigger Toyota Corolla sedan car than the hatchback that we expected, so it was a nice surprise. It came with free snow chains too. The accommodations were all very good, and even had a complimentary upgrade at Quest Christchurch on the last day. The only one which i wasn't too satisfied was the Alcala motel in Dunedin. It was a bit rundown, the heaters weren't really working and there wasn't much hot water either. Other than that, the other motels throughout the trip was excellent. Would pick the Glacier View Motel in Franz Josef as our favourite.

We extended an additional day to Lake Tekapo from Christchurch before heading down to Dunedin. and I would really highly recommend a visit to the lake! The views is just breath-taking. A star gazing tour was also planned for us up to the Mt. John Observatory and it was fun and educational! As the area is under the Dark Sky Reserve, the stars in the night sky at Lake Tekapo is just awesome. Would also recommend a detour to Nugget Point on the way from Dunedin to Te Anau for some spectacular sea and cliff views from the light house! Be prepared for a longer drive on the Te Anau-Milford Sound-Queenstown and the Queenstown-Franz Josef Glacier leg of the trip. The mountainous roads and turns can be quite exhausting.

I guess the only disappointment for the trip was being unable to go for the ice explorer helicopter tour to the Franz Josef Glacier due to bad weather. It was raining heavily and strong winds throughout the day. We changed it to the alternate valley walk tour, which we still can get a look at the Glaciers, and it was really fun, albeit tiring hiking experience! The free Hot Pools entry that accompanies the tour was really a welcomed rest for us. The GPS wasn't really 'user friendly' I suppose, and it did not work on the trip back to Christchurch on the last day. The roads in NZ are really easy to navigate though, so we used our phones and google maps instead throughout the trip. All in all, it was an amazing and fun experience driving through this wonderful country. Would definitely plan on visiting again in the future! Thanks Mani for all the help and information as well as all the arrangements for the trip! Would highly recommend Relaxing Journeys for all self-drive trips in NZ.

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All New Zealand Self Drive Tour Reviews>