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New Zealand Independent Tours

Choose from 70 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?

    All escorted coach tours use luxury 5 star coaches that can hold up to 49 people. Onboard features include flat screen plasma TV, DVD player and CD player and toilet. Exact facilities differ slightly between operators but all tour coaches are of luxury standard. 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 10 Day Southern Circuit 10 Day Southern Circuit

    In general it was a very nice tour. All the transportation from place to place and between bus station and hotel were well organized. All the accommodation were clean and comfortable, however, sometime need 10~20min walk to reach city/visit center, still doable, preferably closer. The travel information was nicely shared and we really enjoy our time in NZ. I would like to recommend this tour to my friends.

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    - 01/03/2017
  • ReviewIndependent Coach Tour 10 Day Southern Circuit 10 Day Southern Circuit

    An excellent trip. Relaxing Journey's (Toni) did a great job in customizing a trip for us that covered what we wanted to see and experience, and at a pace we wanted. Both Mani and Christine were very prompt in answering the few questions that came up. A great job by everyone.

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    - 27/02/2017
  • ReviewIndependent Coach Tour 6 Day South East Express 6 Day South East Express

    We had a very enjoyable holiday, everything well planned, accommodation very good, loved the places we went to see, we would have loved a day in Queenstown to have a good look round, Milford Sound was spectacular. Very efficiently organised.

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    - 26/02/2017
  • ReviewIndependent Coach Tour 9 Day Queenstown Loop 9 Day Queenstown Loop

    This tour had the right balance of convenient transportation and lodging along with giving us the independence we desired at each location.

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    - 24/02/2017
  • ReviewIndependent Coach Tour 7 Day Alpine Express 7 Day Alpine Express

    Well organised tour with good accommodation. Great sights coach is good with very informative drivers. Only problem is, each stop is very short. More time required especially the Lake Tekapo stop because it's very beautiful. Rainforest Retreat at Franz Josef doesn't have air con so its pretty warm. Might be nice to have a couple of meals included during the travelling on the coach.

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    - 14/02/2017
All New Zealand Independent Tour Reviews