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New Zealand Independent Tours

Choose from 53 Independent New Zealand tours designed to meet the needs of the traveller who is seeking the flexibility of an independent holiday, daily departures & the assurance of a well planned, pre-booked itinerary. Relaxing Journeys are New Zealand's top selling touring specialists, due in part to our guaranteed lowest pricing & dedicated customer service.

Independent Coach Tours | FAQs | Reviews

FAQ - Frequently Asked Questions

  • 1. How do Relaxing Journeys independent coach & rail tours work?

    The Relaxing Journeys team (based in Auckland) will organise your entire indepdendent coach holiday. We pre-book all your travel arrangements including coach, rail and ferry transport, accommodation, transfers between your transport and accommodation and key sightseeing activities. 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, travel vochers & 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!

  • 2. What are the differences between an independent coach tour and an escorted coach tour?

    Tour Departures Independent Coach Tours: Depart Daily
    Escorted Coach Tours: Start on scheduled departure dates
    Tour Itinerary Independent Coach Tours: Can be customised to suit your travel plans and requirements
    Escorted Coach Tours: Itineraries are fixed, but often with 'extra' touring options available
    Tour Cost Independent Coach Tours: Slightly more expensive depending on inclusions & accommodation
    Escorted Coach Tours: Generally cheaper depending on inclusions & accommodation
    Group Independent Coach Tours: Fellow travellers join and leave each day
    Escorted Coach Tours: You travel as group - some travellers may join or leave at certain points on the itinerary
    Stay Independent Coach Tours: Fellow travellers stay in different accommodations
    Escorted Coach Tours: Your group stays at the same accommodation
    Driver / Tour Guide Independent Coach Tours: Your driver provides commentary (on most legs), but your driver changes at each stage of your trip
    Escorted Coach Tours: You normally have a driver & a dedicated tour guide who travels with you
    Transport Independent Coach Tours: You travel on Great Sights, Newmans and Intercity coaches, KiwiRail & Taieri Gorge trains and the Interislander ferry along with local sightseeing operators
    Escorted Coach Tours: You either travel on the same coach throughout your journey, or a different coach on each island. Escorted tours also utilise train journeys on KiwiRail & Taieri Gorge trains and the Interislander ferry.
    Guaranteed Departures Independent Coach Tours: Independent coach tours always depart
    Escorted Coach Tours: Set departures are guaranteed to depart. More guaranteed dates available as year progresses
    Age Group Independent Coach Tours: Ages groups are open and vary from depature to departure
    Escorted Coach Tours: Ages groups are open and vary from depature to departure

  • 3. What is the transport like?

    Relaxing Journeys independent coach tours operate using daily departing coach, train and ferry services. Coaching is on state-of-the-art Great Sights luxury coaches. Most coaches providing air-conditioning, reclining seats, wash room facilities, onboard video and multi lingual commentary. Where Great Sights is not available, transport will be on modern, air conditioned Intercity or Newmans Coaches.

  • 4. What are the coaches like?

    Independent coach tours use superior coaches that can hold up to 49 people. Onboard features include air conditioning, reclining seats, on board bathrooms and intercom systems. However during some of the travel legs Intercity coaches are used and bathrooms may not be on board. Tours can fill up quickly so don't leave it too late to secure your place on board!

  • 5. Do all the coach tours have tour guides?

    Escorted coach tours include a coach driver/guide or a driver and a coach captain who will make sure everything runs smoothly, including booking any optional activities and providing you with tour commentary and support when you reach your destination.

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  • 6. Do all the tours have tour guides?

    While independent coach tours do not have dedicated tour leaders, the multi-talented coach drivers provide excellent onboard commentary on many of legs during your journey. On each leg of your journey you'll have a different driver/guide. As we offer daily departures, you do not travel with a set group of people or with a tour leader, giving you more day to day independence.

  • 7. What is the average age on an independent coach tour?

    Independent coach tours are officially "open age" tours and visitors come from all over the world. There is often a real mix of travellers on these tours.

  • 8. What accommodation do you use?

    Relaxing Journeys provide 3 levels of accommodation on each independent tour itinerary - 4-5 star hotels, 3-4 star hotels and self catering motel & apartment accommodation. You choose the type of accommodation that suits you! The accommodation featured on all our independent holidays have been carefully chosen for their superior level of comfort, exceptional amenities, friendly staff & service and their convenient location.

  • 9. I really like your independent coach tours but I want to amend one to suit us, can we do this?

    All of of our New Zealand independent 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 independent holiday is a relaxing one.

  • 10. How do we pay for our independent coach tour?

    Your tour deposit is always paid by credit card and the balance is paid 45 days out from the start of the tour. To read more regarding how you book your holiday click here.

  • 11. 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.

  • 12. 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 30 days out from your tour, then on your arrival in New Zealand you'll receive another copy of your itinerary with your travel pack. If you prefer to travel light the emailed copy of your itinerary can be stored on your smart device and is all you need!

  • 13. Do you handle flights?

    There are a few tours where we handle the domestic flights to and from certain destinations within New Zealand, however we do not book international flights to and from New Zealand. If you'd like more information on flights to and from New Zealand - click here.

  • 14. 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.

  • 15. 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 175 New Zealand Independent Tour Reviews

Over 175 of Relaxing Journeys past independent coach touring clients have sent us their feedback on their return home. Their comments and insights can help you decide on the itinerary best suited to your travel plans. We've listed the most recent reviews below. Click to view all our independent coach tour reviews.

  • ReviewIndependent Coach Tour 7 Day Alps & Glaciers 7 Day Alps & Glaciers

    It was a little more bus time than I originally expected. Wished there was a bit more time in Franz Josef. All in all it was a great trip though. Really enjoyed the train. Mt. Cook and accommodations were excellent.

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    - 09/04/2018
  • ReviewCoach & Fly Tour 14 Day New Zealand Escape 14 Day New Zealand Escape

    Relaxing Journeys itself warrants the best possible rating for this tour. The number of connections for lodging, transportation, tours, etc. came off without a single missed, or even delayed, connection. So the planning and logistics were, in our view, flawless. Two factors contribute to an overall rating of less than excellent for the tour: (1) weather had a significant impact on the last four days of our tour and resulted in the cancellation of two of the most anticipated events: the helicopter ride at Franz Josef Glacier and the train ride over the Southern Alps; (2) The Air New Zealand folks in Auckland were impossibly unhelpful. Because of TSA computer issues with the US DHS, check-in was delayed even though we had arrived 3 hours early. A general announcement was made of an indefinite delay for the flight, but there was absolutely no communication about what was happening or going to happen from Air New Zealand. It took us the full three hours to check in, get boarding passes and then check luggage. Then, without warning, boarding for the flight was "closed". We had to rush through endless high end retail to get to the gate as they were closing the doors. Auckland airport's layout is a mess, and Air New Zealand's reputation in our eyes will be severely tarnished! I would never hesitate to use Relaxing Journeys in the future, though our travel "bucket list" has many other destinations before we return to New Zealand. I have, however, already recommended Relaxing Journeys to several prospective New Zealand visitors, one of whom is actively planning a Christmas 2018 tour.

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    - 29/03/2018
  • ReviewIndependent Coach Tour 7 Day Southward Bound 7 Day Southward Bound

    We had this tour planned just for two of us and we were pleasantly surprised how well it was done and what an excellent service we received. Thank you, Marie!

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    - 19/03/2018
  • ReviewCoach & Fly Tour 8 Day Discover the South 8 Day Discover the South

    We LOVED our trip! Marie did a fabulous job, and would HIGHLY recommend you all to others. The only recommendations would be, to warn travelers that in Greymouth the transfer to the Franz Josef bus was very confusing. It was an Intercity bus not marked Franz Josef (only Fox); and the bus driver was not helpful (unlike all other New Zealanders we met who were wonderful). Also, if we were to do it again. We would choose our day " off" between the two days of very long bus rides. We LOVED Milford Sound, had gorgeous weather, and our time in Queenstown was beautiful. All in all, we loved the South Island, and are hopeful to return one day.

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    - 11/03/2018
  • ReviewIndependent Coach Tour 7 Day Bay of Islands & Rotorua 7 Day Bay of Islands & Rotorua

    We thoroughly enjoyed our trip to New Zealand. We loved the country and loved the people. Relaxing Journeys helped us choose a tour that ended up being perfect for us. Originally, I wanted to see as much of the country as possible, but Toni convinced me that it would be a hectic trip based on the time we had available, because we wanted time to relax as well. We had several days when we were on our own, and we enjoyed those days as much as the days that were planned out for us. Overall, it was a great trip!

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    - 09/03/2018
All New Zealand Independent Tour Reviews