New Zealand Self Drive Holidays

“Select from 67 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!


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 accommodation 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 is an optional extra on all our mid-range and budget self drive itineraries.

I really like your self drive tours but I want to amend one to suit us, can we do this?
All of of our New Zealand self drive tours are flexible. We can add days to the itinerary, we can remove days and we can add pre or post accommodation if required. 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 400 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 Hobbiton, Mordor & Mt Doom (Mid Range Self Drive)

We had an excellent time, everything Relaxing Journeys suggested was great...our ideas fell a little! The Scenic hotel, really, really great, helpful and always welcoming, the restaurant was good too. Our side trip of the half day Auckland was a bit of a dud, the driver had trouble with his coach and he was a bit of a pain, but the ex Premier/Prime Ministers memorial was great....then our next idea of the dinner cruise was cancelled by the people. We phoned Relaxing and they are going to refund us along with our other side trip to Waitomo, so glad we didn't push ourselves to go there? The Bay of Islands was lovely, weather great, cold, but no problems, Hotel Kingsgate, again, lovely welcoming people and the room was super. Travelled back to Auckland, weather very wet, but we still managed to find things to do - the Oil Refinery, which I thought would be b.o.r.i.n.g, was actually very interesting and a welcome diversion. Loved the Wood Carvery Gallery, if only we could have taken one of the huge pieces home. Again, it was a lovely hotel The Spencer, all the breakfasts so far were great.

We then had our big day, and again, thank goodness we didn't go to Waitomo. Hobbiton was amazing, we managed to get on an earlier tour at 1pm, I, who was only going as it was George's 70th Birthday present, could have set up camp there - just loved the whole tour and the cider at the end in the Green Dragon Inn was a welcome surprise. Rotorua, is as always, great, we spent the morning at Hell's Gate, 3.5hrs, no one was there, it was just amazing, then we wandered until it was time for Te Puia, that rounded off the Rotorua experience, we really enjoyed the total day.

The concert was fun and then the Hangi was delicious, just wish we had more room. We then travelled on to Taupo, this was a bit of a dead day, knew we had to travel far and only spent a couple of hours in Taupo. Wasn't that keen on the trip up to Ohakune, bit boring and then Ohakune was dead, a lot of the shops were closed, but could recommend the Sweet Pea Cafe, all home cooked delicious food, really, really good. The Powderhorn Chateau, I wouldn't stay at again, it was vast, but without soul, as it was a little out of the town, there was nothing to do in the evening as they closed the restaurant at 8.30, we gobbled and went, as they were having a function upstairs in the guests common room, so we stayed in our room and I re arranged the case contents! Breakfast was the meanest, just one item and one drink....nup, not my favourite place.

The GPS the next day took us on the 'road from hell' into some Valley starting with a T...... it went on unsealed roads for over 100k until we arrived shaken to the bone on a sealed road Route 1 and had double shot coffees at the Sugar Plum Cafe, another gem worth mentioning. The trip then down to Wellington was great, stopped off everywhere and loved it. Rydges in Wellington was amazing as was their breakfast buffet, this was the best and they varied it each day. We also thoroughly enjoyed the Rover Tours, Lord of the Rings tour - our guide was the best. Would I recommend Relaxing Journeys, definitely, would I recommend Toni, definitely, all in all we had a lovely 70th Birthday Trip and thank you for all your cheerful help.

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9 Day Northern Escapade (Premium Self Drive)

We chose the 9 Day Northern Escapade and extended it to 15 days to include the Coromandel area with 2/3 nights at each stop. We opted for apartment living so we were able to complete the tour at our own relaxed pace Thanks to Leanne everything went very smoothly, airport pick-up, accommodation, car hire, voucher system for accommodation and tours worked well and was all very efficient. Thanks Leanne and Relaxing Journeys you really designed us a great holiday.

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9 Day Southern Journey (Premium Self Drive)

Excellent trip! Well planned by Relaxing Journeys, thanks Mani!!

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8 Day Northern Highlights (Premium Self Drive)

The itinerary Toni created was wonderful. Everything, from the pickup at the airport to coming back to where we started, was put together so well. The only issue we had was with the Kruse commentary. It was not at our rental car location. Thrifty rental car company was able to get us one, though, so crisis averted. Plus, the map book that was provided with our documents was also very useful even though we had the GPS system.

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8 Day North & South Highlights (Budget Self Drive)

Amazing trip organised by Leanne at Relaxing Journeys! All tours were fantastic espceially the Milford Sound one and to my surprise the motels were all great! Really good! Only negative - our GPS wasnt working when we got it and we were told to ring Kruger (which we didn't as we didn't want the hassle!) But the maps provided were great so all was perfect! Thank you!

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All New Zealand Self Drive Tour Reviews>