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 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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10 Day Pure South Island (Premium Self Drive)

It was a pleasure working with Toni who was always courteous, professional, and prompt in her replies. She even arranged perfect weather for us! Thank you, Toni. We tailored our tour a bit to fit our interests (more days in Te Anau, fewer days in Queenstown), and everything worked out beautifully. Our vouchers were accepted without question and our dietary requests honored. All the places we stayed at were lovely and conveniently located for getting in and out of the cities easily, but close enough to walk to the CBD. We appreciated being met at the airport and taken to our first hotel in Christchurch. It helped us orient ourselves to the city and feel welcomed and very well taken care of. We only wish we could have stayed longer and enjoyed even more of the beautiful country and friendly people of New Zealand.

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5 Day Rotorua & Waitomo Explorer (Mid Range Self Drive)

Great holiday. We had a ball. The Kruze GPS was brilliant! It made driving so much more enjoyable. The only constructive criticism I would offer is that the 'story' does not stop running when navigation instructions are being given - it keeps playing, unheard, in the background. This means that you miss the bits.

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13 Day Northern Circle (Premium Self Drive)

All went smoothly, thanks to the efficiency of Relaxing Journeys. Our B&B accommodation was excellent - special mention of the hosts at Harbourview Lodge (Tairua, Coromandel Peninsula) and Cobden Garden Homestay (Napier) for outstanding hospitality. B&B's were a great way to meet other interesting travellers. The tour schedule was well-paced; we were very glad that we added an overnight visit to the Bay of Islands at the start of our tour - could easily have made this 2 nights. Optional activities that we particularly enjoyed were Hobbiton (on our way to Rotorua); Rainbow Springs (bird and kiwi sanctuary) at Rotorua; Art Deco walking tour at Napier and a tour of the Glowworm Caves at Waitomo. A warning re the Tongariro Crossing Guided Walk (19.4 km; 7-8 hours over challenging terrain) - one needs to be moderately-to-very fit to undertake this Walk and to come equipped with hiking boots, wet-weather jacket, (ideally) walking sticks, a back-pack and at least 2 litres drinking water. Maybe this walk should be an optional add-on, rather than a standard itinerary inclusion! Other, less strenuous, walks are available at Tongariro.

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10 Day Pure South Island (Premium Self Drive)

Well organized holiday. We did not have a problem with anything, from the time that we were picked up from the airport by a very professional driver to the time that we departed everything went very smoothly. We would be more than happy to use Relaxing Journeys services again and will recommend to friends.

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All New Zealand Self Drive Tour Reviews>