Highly recommend!! Our tour was fantastic and an excellent value for the price. Marie was very helpful in helping us add on an additional stop on our self-driving tour, and gave us suggestions on when to leave to get to where we needed to be on time. She was also helpful in allowing us to book the rental car for a few days longer as our flight out was not actually at the end of our tour. The hotels were excellent and breakfasts at each place were wonderful (especially Princes Gate in Rotorua!). We ended up needing to rearrange a few things as we spent way to much time in one place to go to the third activity that day. It was very simple to call each place and rearrange our bookings a bit so everything worked out well. There was a small snafu getting the tour package from the rental car company but the company was very helpful and overnighted it to us in Rotorua and we had no issues along the way not having it. Driving through the North Island was a dream and much simpler than expected. Already thinking about when we can go back and what lovely trip Relaxing Journeys can help us with! Many thank yous!
We rejigged this tour a bit to add some activities: we included a drive to Paihia for the day to visit the "Hole in the Rock", and a segway tour in Christchurch. The accommodation was a bit uneven...better in Auckland and Queenstown (but it wasn't bad anywhere.)
Overall, although more expensive than an Asian type holiday, it was a good experience!
Sky City accommodation 7/10. a bit tired, but the location 10/10. All other accommodation 10/10. Our only suggestion for improvement would to be accommodated near to the airport when leaving early the next morning. We commend Salt Air who offered us a 45min helecopter ride over the Bay of Islands instead of the Cape Reinga tour which was cancelled due to bad weather. Mani hopefully the South Island next year.
Hi Toni. The trip went exactly as planned, thank you. The rooms were all great, we particularly loved the 'apartments' at Edgewater in Wanaka, what a beautiful location! We hiked in to Rob Roy Glacier, what a spectacular spot, and managed to witness an icefall from the front of the glacier while we were there - stunning! I would highly recommend the walk (providing you have a suitable car to get to the start) it was a definite highlight for us. The car (Toyota Highlander)was ideal for 4 Adults and the GPS worked well, although it seemed to get a bit confused at times, but the commentary was helpful in deciding how best to use our time. Perhaps a diesel option might have been better just for the fuel prices. We had near perfect weather in all locations, even some rain before arriving at Milford Sound, then clearing on the boat trip to see all the waterfalls in full flow - amazing place. Missed out on the flight back due to the conditions, but a great day nonetheless. I think this time of year is a great time to travel with the Autumn colours and mild weather. The itinerary was great, we could have spent more time in any of the locations, but given the time we had available it was a great way to see the amazing sights and contrasts of the South Island. Thank you for your attention to detail and thorough organisation - great work! I would be more than happy to recommend you and this holiday to anyone.
My tour was organised and there were no problems with any of the bookings. Out of the 11 motels there were only 2 that I wouldn't stay at again, majority were excellent places. Changes to the tour were made with no issues or problems and in a very timely and friendly manner.
We did a lot of travel, met really nice people, saw lots of beautiful scenery and sampled some fantastic NZ wines (and food). The 40th wedding anniversary surprise was also very nice. There were only two minor set backs. 1) We couldn't get to Milford Sound because the road was closed due to snow. 2) The Monarch Wildlife cruise was difficult to find using Google and also with the GPS that I had brought, so we went to the address on the coupon where we found the office was open but unattended. We called them on their contact number and the boat was a further 20 minutes up the road. At this stage a huge storm had moved in. It was very windy and the sea was becoming extremely choppy. The weather looked like it was getting worse so, because of my wife's lack of sea legs, we called Monarch again and cancelled the cruise. They were very nice about it and offered a cruise for next day but we couldn't accept as we had to leave next morning. Other than these two hiccups, you have provided us with a wonderful experience. One that we shall always treasure and certainly recommend to others. Thank you Relaxing Journeys.
I initially was a bit hesitant in not using a local Australian travel agent, but after all my dealings with Relaxing Journeys and their rep Toni, I can now say that after the trip is over I can't praise the organising of it highly enough. Toni was extremely easy to deal with about a few changes to the initial itinerary as listed on the website. One thing to keep in mind when doing a driving holiday is that even though the trip should take "x" hours per day it was not unusual in our case to add 3 hours to this for the sightseeing and meals. I would also suggest that you have at least a two night stay in one place per week of travel to allow a bit of r&r. And don't forget that it is supposed to be a holiday so no need to get up at the crack of dawn and hit the road.
Tour was very good and we enjoyed the included activities. Distances were quite reasonable and total driving time reasonable except day one where we scored large amounts of roadwork. All the B&Bs were good with great breakfasts and excellent informative hosts. Not sure about the Kruse. The commentary was great but GPS one of worst I have used and maps out of date with it not knowing where we were on several occasions including twice on SH1. Often reverted to Google Maps on phone.
Marie did an excellent job with her suggestions and planning for our trip to New Zealand. The accommodations were very good and the route was excellent. We arrived in Auckland and for three weeks we traveled down to Queenstown experiencing the culture, wine, and beauty New Zealand had to offer. The Kruze GPS was a wonderful tool that was very informative and enjoyable with the Maori history. We had one glitch with the GPS freezing but Kruze was very prompt with helping us correct the problem. Depending on what time of year you are going you might want to forgo Mt. Cook because the weather is very "iffy". The trip was everything we expected and I would highly recommend using Relaxing Journeys to plan your trip to New Zealand!
I found the 5-day north island tour very good. Although alot was packed in, I got a very good overview of the best bits and I will definitely be back to see more. The activities you can do are excellent. I found the Maori Cultural evening excellent and a must for any traveller. Mani was very helpful and even added on my trip to Hobbiton with a couple days notice. I would highly recommend this self-drive tour as you see alot of the fantastic scenery and the option of Kruse GPS was helpful as gave good local history to areas you drive through. Thank you for all your work into making my trip such a fantastic one that has left me wanting to return and discover more that New Zealand has to offer.
Everything went smoothly & we have recommended your organisation to others. There were a couple of minor issues which I will touch on. My wife has a knee problem and as such we requested rooms with walk in showers. The Milford Sound accommodation was shower over bath as was the Wanaka accommodation. Now I understand there is only one accommodation at Milford Sound so you took what you got. Wanaka was a different proposition. Additionally the Queenstown hotel, while the room had a walk in shower, had no lift to the room and was accessed only by (I think) 16 stairs. Christchurch hotel room was small but comfortable & centrally located. We appreciated the upgraded & upmarket room at Franz Josef.
The entire trip was wonderful and flawless. We purposely planned a leisurely trip and it was worth it. The accommodations (Bed & Breakfasts) were great. One of the best parts of the trip was meeting many wonderful people from New Zealand as well as from all over the world. We thoroughly enjoyed the New Zealand trip and highly recommend Relaxing Journeys. Good job, Toni!
Your country is very beautiful and we enjoyed it very much. Everything went well except for the glitch with the missing return flight from Christchurch to Auckland to get us home. One suggestion would be to flag opportunities in the itinerary where an extra day might be beneficial to consider. For example, it would have been nice to stop in Hobbitton on the way to Rotorua, but we had to be in Rotorua for the Maori evening gig by 5PM, so there was not time. The Toyota Corolla was the perfect car to tour around in for two people. It was a good size for going through the mountain switchbacks and in the city and got good petrol mileage. Especially when having to adjust to driving on the left, which was fine after a couple of days. Thanks for getting back to us right away regarding the flight costs. I would sure like to go back at some point to see some things we missed this time around.
The choice of lodgings was fine and we especially liked The Breakers B&B. Of course, New Zealand is nature at its finest and my husband and I are so happy to have been there. One thing that would have been nice would have been a choice between the Glow Worm Caves and Hobbiton in the Rotorua area. A couple of other ideas would be these: It would be helpful for travelers to know ahead of time when they will be staying in a place with kitchen facilities, (pots, pans and stove). This way they could pick up some groceries on the way to the hotel and cook dinner a couple of nights. One other thing would have been a choice between a full breakfast on a few of the days and lunch vouchers. Overall, we were amazed and pleased with the sightseeing locations. Even though we had 16 days neither one of us wanted to leave New Zealand!
We really enjoyed the tour. Well organized and efficient. Chelsea was terrific. We found it a bit too long to be in the car on certain days and might have enjoyed one extra day in the Queenstown area as it took us well over 8 hours to drive there from Franz Josef glacier. Perhaps a better description/warning of the winding roads, one lane bridges and construction would have helped prepare us. Accommodation was good with the exception of the Rydges hotel in Queenstown. Franky, our room was a dump and given we had paid extra to stay in better hotels, it was disappointing (the hotel lobby/restaurant area and location were good).
We had a great time. Such a beautiful country with so much to see and do. Having a night in Auckland, then a short drive to Rotorua with two nights was a nice way to ease into the trip, with longer drives later on. The voucher system worked flawlessly. You might want to add a sentence on the itinerary about the pancake rocks and blow holes in Punakaiki. Well worth a stop along the way.
All transfers went smoothly. The B&B's were very good, especially in Te Anau! Dock Bay Lodge was superior! B&B locations and services were great. When returning rental cars at Greymouth you should advise travelers to leave ample time to not only return the car (there is virtually no parking available) but also to check in for the train trip. Once the in coming train arrives, the station gets overwhelmed with people. Travelers should arrive at least one hour before the scheduled train departure. Also, we had a problem with one of our rental cars and did not realize that the rental company would put the burden on us to resolve the issue. We were fortunate that we were still close to Queenstown, so it only cost us a couple of hours, but if we had been more remote, I do not see how we could have kept to our schedule.
First class; the holiday was so special and the planning, organisation and execution via Relaxing Journeys was exceptional, not one hiccup. Big thanks to all the team but especially Toni who provided excellent suggestions and was very understanding, helpful and patient. We thought that a month was long enough, however we will have to make a return sometime in the future to further to enjoy this fantastic country, tremendous history and it's wonderful people. Thank you all very much.
The trip was wonderful, and all of the logistics and excursions went very smoothly. We have already recommended Relaxing Journeys to some friends and family who are thinking of visiting New Zealand. Driving was no problem, and the GPS and atlas got us everywhere we wanted to go.
Of all the hotels, we were not so thrilled with the Ponsonby Art Hotel. It was rustic, more of a B&B, and was a long way from Auckland City Center. We would have preferred a place more centrally located. The Heritage Hotel in Christchurch was certainly nice (we had a two floor apartment with full kitchen, laundry, etc.), but it wasn't particularly practical for brief one-night stays (which luggage do you haul up the stairs to the bedroom?). All of the other hotels were excellent. We had the most fantastic view of Mt Cook from our hotel room there. The Novotel in Rotorua was on the lake and pedestrian street, and was a short walk from a thermal city park. We have similar comments for the other places we stayed. In some places there was an extra cost for parking / valet. Given that there usually wasn't an obvious alternative, we would have preferred for that cost to be included in the trip price.
The VIP seating area on the InterIslander Ferry was great. Very comfortable and quiet with breakfast, drinks, and snacks. On returning home from Christchurch, we were scheduled to be picked up by a taxi at 8:30am for a 10am flight. We thought that was a bit tight, so we changed it to an 8am pickup. That extra 1/2 hour gave us some extra breathing room, and I would recommend that amount of time. The pace of the trip was just fine. We had several days with hours of driving, but we could stop along the way so it never got tiresome. Toni was great at answering all of our many questions, and Kerryann made all of the payments and such very straightforward. Great job!
Every went so smoothly. The only disappointment was the Christchurch motel. I had no idea how different the roads and conditions were from Australia. Took a few days to adjust to the distances and the unspoiled nature. So beautiful, so sparsely populated...no shops, service stations, freeways or towns just around the corner. I liked the 2 and 3 nights stay in Queenstown and Fox glacier just to provide a break from the car and the driving. I would have really enjoyed a second night at Te Anau or even Dunedin to take more advantage of the towns along the way. All our accommodation was comfortable, clean and easy to locate (except for the Christchurch motel). One small thing was we had to pay $440 extra at Thrifty car hire for thee no claim excess insurance. They scared us with stories about 75% of cars coming back damaged. The excess was huge so we paid the $440. I thought this was a bit rich for a 12 day rental. An unexpected added cost. We were blessed with beautiful weather which made everything so much more enjoyable. Overall I was confident that if anything went wrong Relaxing Journeys would assist. Nothing did go wrong. Thank you for organising a fantastic holiday.
Everything was in place and waiting for us as expected, at every step of the tour. The quality of the accommodation was great and the breakfasts provided at each location were typically outstanding. The planning and preparation made by Relaxing Journeys was very evident throughout, especially with the activities we added - the Gourmet Walking Tour in Wellington was exceptional.
Tour overall was very good and covered everything which we wanted/expected to see. With regards to the accommodation, overall this was also good, however the Kings Gate Motel in Nelson was not as well appointed as most of the other accommodation (although the owners were very friendly and made us most welcome). Also the Mt Cook Lodge and Motels at Mt Cook did not provide 2 bedrooms in the "2 bedroom apartment" instead having only 1 bedroom, with the 2nd bed being part of the living area. With only one bathroom, it was necessary to actually go past the bed in the living area to gain access to the bathroom. We would suggest that the accommodation options in both Nelson and Mt Cook be revisited for future tours.
We LOVED our self drive tour in New Zealand! Very easy too book in advance and had no issues with any of our hotels or using the vouchers for our excursions. The itinerary provided also provided lots of details on little side trips that we could take during our drives so that we wouldn't miss anything. A little comment on the hotels - Being that this was our honeymoon, we totally enjoyed staying in all of the high quality hotels and it was definitely worth splurging on. However, if we were able to come back, I would probably prefer to take a little less expensive route by staying in some mid-range hotels instead. So honestly, my only "complaint" is that there was very little discussion on what price range of hotels we would want to stay in during the booking process (I will take equal blame for this because I could have asked as well). We booked in August 2017 for our February 2018 so say if that is "too late" to have a larger selection of hotels, then I would suggest to add to your FAQ something like "for mid-range hotels book 8 months out, for high end hotels book 6 months out, etc." Either way, no complaints, just something to note and something for me think about next time as well :) Our favorite hotel, hands down, was The Hermitage at Mount Cook. I'm not sure how we got that corner room on the 10th floor with the balcony but it was INCREDIBLE!
From the start of the booking process to when we arrived back home the whole tour worked seamlessly. Relaxing Journeys' staff responded promptly to any queries and were able to design and organise a tour that met our preferences and exceeded our expectations. All bar one of the arrangements - the hotels, the car hire and the pre-booked trips - worked as planned. On the only occasion where a trip didn't work out - a helicopter ride that was cancelled because of the weather - Relaxing Journeys arranged a refund within a few days. We had a truly wonderful holiday thanks, of course, to the amazing NZ landscapes and friendly people, but also to Relaxing Journeys who lived up to their name. I wouldn't hesitate to recommend their services, or to use them again should we ever be able to return to NZ.
Well paced and great overview of the beautiful country of New Zealand! We loved the two night stays in most locations as it gave us time to tour the area and not feel hurried. The accommodations were all very good and we liked the fact that a buffet breakfast was included each morning (the only change I'd suggest here is to avoid box breakfasts...going to a coffee shop would have suited us). We liked all the excursions that were included: the wine tours, whale watching, geothermal sight, glow worm cave, Milford Sound tour, and cultural dinner were all excellent. The suggested stops along the way were helpful. The car rental went very smoothly and a GPS navigator was helpful. We especially liked our stay at the Breckenridge Lodge in Napier (a beautiful setting in a top notch lodge near a vineyard with meals that we will long remember! The owners/hosts couldn't have been nicer!) Only changes or inclusions that I'd suggest would be: (a) two nights at Te Anau so as not to have to drive from Queenstown to Milford Sound in the morning for an early afternoon boat tour. It was doable, but made for an early departure from Queenstown. (b) perhaps include the Tranz Alpine Railway (would necessitate another car exchange). All in all we couldn't have been more pleased with the Relaxing Journeys experience! Dealing with the company via email worked extremely well. We have excellent weather, which contributed to our overall travel as we drove 4,000km in 4 weeks! We loved our Routeburn Track trip and our stay at the Bay of Many Coves which we added to our itinerary. Thank you for helping us plan a trip of a lifetime!
We thoroughly enjoyed the combined North and South Island wine- and food-themed tours. All the accommodations were of a very high standard; the pre-arranged winery and food tours were very informative and conducted by fully conversant guides. Pickups for all the tours were on time and all ran smoothly. Only problem with the car rentals, was a 30 minute wait for the Thrifty office at Blenheim Airport to open. GPS receiver was considered essential to find the accommodations, particularly in the cities.
We really enjoyed our tour of beautiful New Zealand. The bookings of accommodation, car hire, ferry tickets and tours all went to plan. There was one problem with a nights accommodation, it was sorted out very quickly by Relaxing Journeys. (We were upgraded and given free breakfast and parking for the inconvenience) On a couple of days there are long drive times, but we actually enjoyed them, the scenery is so stunning. In summing up, we have no problem with recommending Relaxing Journeys. Thank you to Toni for all her help and communication.
We debated between using a tour company to organize our trip or to organize it ourself. In the end we chose using a tour company and were pleased that we did. Mani altered the trip to match our criteria but also ensured that we did not talk ourselves out of any New Zealand's highlights. He chose motels in great locatons and seemed to know what time to book excursions. We were given a great map book to help choose routes but he also suggested things we might like to see on the travel days. When we arrived at our hotel in Christchurch we realized that due to construction it would not be a good idea to return to this hotel for our last night given we would have a long drive that day and then need to be at the airport at 3:30am the next morning. We called Relaxing Journeys and they were able to book us a room at the hotel 2 minutes from the airport. It took the stress out of an early morning flight. It also allowed us to return the car in the evening and avoid the extra time required to return the car in the morning. We really enjoyed our trip but in retrospect think we tried to squeeze too much into three weeks. We should have either just done the South Island or added a fourth week.
We had a wonderful trip. Everything well organized thank you so much. Beautiful scenery. We were not too sure about getting up before 5 am in Queenstown to get to the lunchtime cruise on Milford Sound, but it was well worth it!!! Fortunate our dates were between two cyclones...so only minor holdups on west coast roads. How did you manage that?!!!! Magic trip. thank you for your help in making it so perfect.
This self drive trip and all the places my 83 year old mom visited in New Zealand exceeded our expectations. With a very late request from me for this trip, Mani helped us organize our 16 + day driving tour of the North and South Islands in early January. Not all the original places on this tour were available but we were very happy with the alternates. Each motel or hotel was different but all were spacious and included kitchen facilities. We added some optional tours during the trip and Mani helped us with that. He and another Relaxing Tours representative also helped us with up to date travel info when the road washed out just south of Franz Josef Glacier. The Kruz GPS worked well and helped keep the trip interesting with history, cultural, and other info. I look forward to a return visit with my husband.
Words are insufficient to describe how beautiful and exciting a country New Zealand is, as we concluded after our first trip there with Relaxing Journeys. The organisation from Toni and colleagues was second to none, everything ran very smoothly, which was so important after arriving bleary eyed from a 30+ hour journey from UK. The itinerary was busy but the amount we managed to cram in was amazing. The highlight has to be the flight back from Milford Sound to Queenstown, our Christmas present to each other, with Tommo the pilot pointing out all the sights. Other highlights were the Hooker Valley trail at Mount Cook, the climb up Ben Lomond at Queenstown, the constant changing views, the glow-worms, oh, and the views (did I mention the views?). Accommodation was generally of an excellent standard. The Hermitage at Mt Cook in particular, where I think we had the best views in the house, and the Princes Gate Hotel in Rotorua, splendid fading Colonial glory, with the best waitress ever. High Peaks in Fox Glacier was more basic, but to be fair, I don't think there's a lot of choice round there, and its very handy for the Lake Matheson walk (with THAT view of Mount Cook!), and the Lake Matheson cafe, not to be missed for the best dinner you'll probably have in the trip. The only downside about the holiday was having to come home ... there was a tearful moment when we tore the last voucher out of the book in Auckland ... hopefully we'll be back and hopefully with Relaxing Journeys sorting it out for us.
The Custom New Zealand Drive & Fly was fantastic for myself and my wife - everything went like clockwork. The itinerary was great and exceeded all our expectations (we did the reverse option - North Island first, then the South). Toni provided an exceptional service - great with suggestions and timely feedbacks which certainly took a lot of the guess work away. Overall, a very nice and stress free holiday - just what we wanted. Thanks Toni!!
Our trip to your country was truly wonderful and one that we will remember forever. Marianne and I both enjoyed the great hospitality of your fellow New Zealanders, travelling over 3500 km to enjoy the magnificent scenery and ever changing vistas, the itinerary of activities that we chose to participate in so as to learn about your country and the daily experience of being a part of New Zealand for the past month. The organization and attention to detail demonstrated by you and your company gave us the opportunity to make our experience in New Zealand the memorable adventure that it was. The pick up by shuttle services, accommodation reservations, use of vouchers for specific activities or services and car rental arrangements was seamless. It was like everyone was waiting for us to show up. It is without hesitation that I would recommend the services of Relaxing Journeys to anyone travelling to New Zealand.
I had a wonderful time. The booking process was smooth and everything was well organised and effortless when I arrived. My agent was so helpful and went above and beyond when I ran into some difficulty on the trip. Would use agaian and would highly recommend!
A couple of the motels (Queenstown & Franz Joseph) did not fully meet our expectations. Only one of the units had a safe or air corn which had we known would of led us to ask for alternative options. The pick up and drop of our car with Thrifty was reasonably painless when compared to some firms and the car was clean and performed well.
The country is sensational!! Accommodation was basic; however, very clean. The best presented unit was in Wanaka Distinction alpine resourt where we had access to pool, spa, barbecue and many other complimentary things for comfort including dishwasher, washing machine. The weather was hot +28 and we would appreciate if units have air-conditioning inside but none of them had. The worst experience was with car hire through Thrifty cars. They've given us a heavily damaged car! We were told the car was damaged but driveable and they have already photographed all damages. I asked to see the photographs before signing in the car, the guy said he didn't have them!!! How can you rent the car without inspecting a damage??? So I refused, I said that we would like to take our pictures before renting this car so the guy took us to the car which was like 5 minutes of walking in heat conditions. Guess what we counted 7 damages and deep grazes on car which weren't even showed on their drawing!!!! So we took all pictures and the guy witnessed everything (he wasn't happy you could tell)! We documented on their lease form and marked additional damages on their drawing. Having mentioned all this the provided GPS unit didn't work neither so we had to use off line maps for most of our trip. I will never book with Thrifty cars again! As for Relaxing Journeys, the company is very good and helpful.
Just completed a wonderful two week self drive tour of the South and North Islands arranged by Toni. Everything was arranged perfectly to begin with. I was experiencing some severe back problems during my two weeks and as a result I had to cancel a few of the more strenuous excursions and fly back home earlier than expected. Throughout all the changes, Toni and Relaxing Journeys, became my advocate and were able to make a number of adjustments to my itinerary and actually obtained refunds for a number of the changes. All the directions for lodging, car rentals, flights and excursions were made very clear and really allowed me to enjoy their beautiful county. I hope to use their services in the future and would highly recommend them to others!
We enjoyed our time in New Zealand. The accommodation that was booked for us was very good except for the Christchurch room. The accommodation was small and there was very little room in the fridge to put any items and noise from adjoining room could be heard. All the tours were excellent. The trip went smoothly and the voucher book made everything so easy for us. We found the Kruse with GPS very informative and we learnt a lot about New Zealand. Thank you Toni for your great organisation of our tour and we would recommend you to others.
Had and excellent tour of NZ. The country is a definite must do on one's bucket list! We thoroughly enjoyed it. For us one night in Rotorua would have been good swapped with 2 nights in Wellington. The only other change we would make is the hotel in Christchurch is really really difficult to get to because of the construction there. Maybe a hotel in a little different area would be better until the roads/ buildings are repaired. But we had a fantastic time! We will recommend you to all our friends!