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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 Geysers To Glaciers (Budget Self Drive)

Excellent organisation and packing in some wonderful places and experiences. Organisation spot on. All transfers, accommodation and car hire went well. Many thanks to Mani for being so helpful in tailoring the tour to our needs. Would recommend your company to anyone going to New Zealand. Kia Ora.

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(17/04/2015)

17 Day Complete South Island (Mid Range Self Drive)

Wow, what a great country! We were absolutely amazed at the beautiful scenery. Toni was our Tour Consultant and was always available to help us. We would highly recommend Relaxing Journeys to anyone planning a holiday to NZ. Toni arranged our complete 17 day tour of the South Island and it was just fantastic. Our hire car was waiting at the airport for us and then all we had to do was follow our itinerary which also came with suggestions and attractions of each place we were to visit. The most difficult part of the trip was it had to come to an end! We are planning our next visit to explore the North Island and will not hesitate to use Relaxing Journeys when we return.

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(13/04/2015)

24 Day New Zealand Tourer (Mid Range Self Drive)

Overall it was excellent. Just a few comments. Everything went according to plan, with no glitches. Accommodation was good, but maybe ground floor rooms (where no there were no lifts) would have helped. Carrying heavy baggage up steps is not good for middle age people like us. There is an issue about parking at inner city hotels as in Auckland and Wellington, we did not know we could temporarily park in loading bays while checking in. We were concerned about getting booked if we left the car there, but hotel staff said it was OK. The change of accommodation at Marlborough Sounds was fine...the Bay of Many Coves was brilliant...5 stars. All up it was a great holiday.

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(08/04/2015)

10 Day Southern Sounds & Glaciers (Budget Self Drive)

We tremendously enjoyed our driving tour of the South Island. Our tour got off to a great start when our train in Christchurch was met by the Super Shuttle driver holding a sign with our name. We had expected to go to a shuttle counter to find our reservation. He dropped us off right at the rental car counters at the airport. The Thrifty agent had our paperwork and tour package ready and we quickly got our rental car, which was a familiar Toyota and easy to drive. We liked all of our lodging. Everyone was so friendly and helpful with everything from tour reconfirmations, tips for grocery shopping, laundry, restaurant recommendations, etc. We liked the self-catering rooms and the ability to fix our own food saved us a lot of money. We then enjoyed picking restaurants for meals out. The tour was well-paced, the written instructions for each day were very helpful and we made constant use of the Atlas.

When we arrived in Te Anau, we went to the Visitor's Center and learned that the Milford Sound road was closed due to snow. It was expected to open the next morning, when we had our Milford Sound tour, but private cars required chains to go over the pass. We went down the street to the Real Journeys office to get their advice. We decided to upgrade to take their coach to and from Milford Sound. They said their coach would get in or our money would be refunded. Well, we had the most fantastic day going with Real Journeys in the snow to Milford Sound!! It was one of the highlights of our entire trip to NZ and Australia. Our female coach driver and tour guide was outstanding, I'm sorry I don't remember her name. It was an early unexpected snow. They picked us up from the motel. (Our motel owner was out to see us off although it was before the office opened - he was aware of our tour situation and the road being closed - he knew the coach driver and told us we had a good one). We left Te Anau before the pass road opened but it opened about the time we arrived up there. There were lots of cars in the parking lot where people had driven up and could not get in because they didn't have chains. Our coach driver sold all the remaining seats on the coach to people who had no other way in. On the cruise they told us that we were the first this season to see the snow on the mountains. On the way back, the coach stopped to let us play in the snow. What a memorable day! (We don't get a lot of snow where we live).

One note - it was a little scary driving into Queenstown late that afternoon after Milford Sound, because we drove part of the way in a snow storm. Luckily it was the kind of snow that didn't ice over the roads and we made Queenstown right at dark. (Our Queenstown hotel was very nice - I think we got a room upgrade - big and nice kitchen). It would have been better to spend that night in Te Anau and drive to Queenstown the next morning. Even with good weather, it was going to be a long day going to Milford Sound, and then making the drive to Queenstown. If we had driven to Milford Sound ourselves, it would have been too much driving in one day. We are glad we took the coach so we could both enjoy all the scenery. We would suggest giving customers that option- to drive themselves or take the coach from Te Anau. Real Journeys is an outstanding professional tour company - may be the best day tour we have ever taken - anywhere in the world. We were never concerned about our safety in the snow.

Thank you Toni and Relaxing Journeys for all your outstanding service and help. We appreciate it very much. Toni, thank you for your prompt responses to all my many questions over the last year. You helped make our trip exceed all our expectations. New Zealand is a stunningly beautiful country with friendly and fun people. We hope to return in a few years.


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(08/04/2015)

10 Day Pure South Island (Premium Self Drive)

No problems with any of our tour. All accommodation bookings & transfers etc were faultless. Accommodation was of a high standard (except Distinction Te Anau which was awful). Kruse was helpful and documentation was excellent. We would highly recommend Relaxing Journeys and will certainly use them again when traveling to NZ. We crammed a lot into 12 days but it was well worth it.

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(06/04/2015)

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