16 Day Discovery Trail

16 Day Discovery Trail

A complete New Zealand tour including 5 days in the North Island and 11 days in the South Island. Visits all the top tourist sites. Features almost a complete circuit of the Southern Alps.

Book your self drive tour this month and receive an Earlybird Discount of 10%. Make full payment by 31 July 2018 to qualify or receive a discount of 7.5% if you pay by 30 September 2018.

Tour Info

Tour Type: Self Drive Tours
From: Auckland to Christchurch
Departures: Feb 2018 to May 2019
Price:
From (NZD) $2487 per person
Tour Operator: Relaxing Journeys
Pace: Comfortable
Duration: 16 Days
Tour Code: GNDT

Inclusions

15 nights self-catering and/or motel accommodation
Rental vehicle of your choice including airport and ferry port collection charges
Te Po - Maori cultural experience with traditional hangi
Interislander Ferry
Milford Sound Nature Cruise
Travel wallet, comprehensive customised itinerary, bound map book, accommodation & activity vouchers and local travel guides

Book your self drive tour this month and receive an Earlybird Discount of 10%. Make full payment by 31 July 2018 to qualify or receive a discount of 7.5% if you pay by 30 September 2018.

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Day by Day Tour Itinerary

Day 1
Arrive Auckland

“Haere Mai” Welcome to Auckland. On your arrival in Auckland pick up your chosen car and tour documentation, guides, maps and travel vouchers. You then travel onto your centrally located accommodation. The remainder of the day is at leisure to explore what Auckland has to offer.

Your choice of accommodation

Day 2
Auckland - Rotorua

Travel south through lush Waikato farmland, perhaps via Waitomo Caves, on your way to Rotorua, a region steeped in Maori culture and history. This evening experience Te Po, Te Puia’s cultural experience. It is a feast of cultural storytelling, entertainment and Maori kai (indigenous food). After a formal Maori welcome, relax and enjoy a performance including the beautiful songs, haka and poi dance. After dinner you will be transported by people movers to enjoy the spectacular lighting of the Whakarewarewa Geothermal Valley and hot chocolate. (2 nights) (D)

Your choice of accommodation

Day 3
Rotorua

You have a day free to explore this exciting thermal region – there are many activities to enjoy. Perhaps visit the Agrodome to see a display featuring New Zealand’s various sheep breeds and sheep shearing. Other options include the Buried Village, Polynesian Spa or the Skyline Gondola which offers superb views over city, lake and mountains and for a little excitement why not try a Luge ride while you are there?

Your choice of accommodation

Day 4
Rotorua - Napier

Drive south through to Hawkes Bay which is one of New Zealand’s largest and longest established wine growing regions to Napier. In 1931 a devastating earthquake nearly levelled this city. It was rebuilt in the style of the times, and is now considered the Art Deco Capital of the world. It is also a region where local produce reigns supreme, from its award-winning wines to the freshest range of quality primary produce you will find anywhere. Overnight in Napier.

Your choice of accommodation

Day 5
Napier - Wellington

Pass the many vineyards and orchards of the Hawkes Bay, as you make your way south to our capital city, sprawled over the hills surrounding Wellington Harbour. Overnight in Wellington.

Your choice of accommodation

Day 6
Wellington - Picton - Nelson

Cross the Cook Strait between the North and South Islands of New Zealand on the Interislander Ferry, to the Marlborough Sounds and Picton. The 92 km journey takes 3 hours & is one of New Zealand’s most iconic tourist experiences. Once on terra firma, continue past vineyards built on rich alluvial plains, which produce world class wines, to Nelson. (2 nights)

Your choice of accommodation

Day 7
Nelson

A full day to explore the Nelson area. The nearby Abel Tasman National Park offers opportunities to walk or cruise its beautiful coastline. Water taxi companies can provide a personalised mix of sightseeing by boat and track walking. A number of kayaking companies run guided tours from Marahau and Kaiteriteri.

Your choice of accommodation

Day 8
Nelson - Greymoyth - Glaciers

Travel through the Buller Gorge to Westport, and down the coast to the famous Punakaiki Pancake Rocks. Continue past Greymouth to the glaciers. We recommend a guided walk to the terminal face of a glacier. Overnight at either Fox Glacier or Franz Joesf township. You may wish to add an extra day here if you wish to hike on the glacier.

Your choice of accommodation

Day 9
Glaciers - Queenstown

Continue south into dense rain forest broken by rugged coastal vistas. Reach Lake Wanaka in the early afternoon. Pass through the rugged Kawerau Gorge to Queenstown. (2 nights)

Your choice of accommodation

Day 10
Queenstown

A day free for you to enjoy this fabulous Alpine resort. There are dozens of optional activities as well, from thrilling jet boat rides to leisurely lake cruises, 4WD safaris, bungy jumping. We recommend the world famous Shotover Jet boat ride, take a Gondola to the Skyline high above, a tour to the gold mining area of Skippers Canyon or for the adventurous – white water rafting. Alternatively browse in the many shops and galleries.

Your choice of accommodation

Day 11
Queenstown - Milford Sound - Te Anau

Drive south following the dramatic southern shores of Lake Wakatipu to reach Te Anau, then travel through pristine beech forests and the Homer Tunnel to Milford Sound. We have included a cruise to enable you to appreciate the majesty of Mitre Peak and Bowen Falls. Return to Te Anau.

Your choice of accommodation

Day 12
Te Anau - Dunedin

Drive across the Waimea plains towards the farming community of Gore, then travel through the rolling hill country of South Otago to Dunedin. (2 nights)

Your choice of accommodation

Day 13
Dunedin

Known as the ‘Edinburgh of the South’, take time to enjoy the rich historical architecture and abundance of wildlife to be found in this fascinating area. Perhaps you’d like to join a cruise of the beautiful Otago Harbour and Taiaroa Head, along with a scenic bus tour of the Otago Peninsula with Monarch Harbour Cruises. You can also include a guided tour of the award-winning Yellow Eyed Penguin Reserve or Royal Albatross Centre. Enjoy the historic and scenic Taieri Gorge Train excursion or explore the city only a few minutes walk away. Let us know if you’d like any of these activites included in your quote.

Your choice of accommodation

Day 14
Dunedin - Twizel

Drive north to historic Oamaru and turn inland. Cross the barren MacKenzie Country to reach the glacial lakes at the foot of the Southern Alps. Visit Mt Cook National Park, with time to enjoy the scenic majesty of New Zealand’s highest snow capped peaks before travelling around Lake Pukaki to Twizel.

Your choice of accommodation

Day 15
Twizel - Christchurch

Travel north across through Fairlie and Geraldine, and on to view the Church of the Good Shepherd dedicated to the early pioneers of the region. Then across the Canterbury Plains into Christchurch. Overnight in Christchurch.

Your choice of accommodation

Day 16
Depart Christchurch

Return your car at the airport in time to catch your onward flight.

Your choice of accommodation

4.7/5.0

There are 29 reviews of this tour from past clients of Relaxing Journeys, averaging 4.7 out of 5.

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Tour Reviews

5
03/03/2018
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.
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4
26/02/2018
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.
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5
05/02/2018
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.
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4
09/01/2018
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!
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5
25/02/2017
Amazing!!! Tour was spectacular. Everything went well and above expectations, from itinerary to car rentals, to lodging, it all was great. Accommodations were great and excellent locations. We packed a lot of activities in 2 weeks and it all went very smooth and without hassles at all. Cannot say enough words to express our gratitude to the staff in Relaxing Journeys. Special thanks to Christine and Toni. Amazing service!
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5
26/01/2017
We had a fabulous holiday due to the thorough planning and organisation of our 16 night tour of New Zealand. Relaxing Journeys had fine tuned the trip to our brief and this resulted in a stress free holiday. Both the accommodation and hire cars were of a high standard and the voucher system ensured swift booking-in processes at every motel. The only problem we encountered was the address given for Dunedin. It stated Cumberland Street Dunedin when in fact it should have read Cumberland Street North, North Dunedin. This resulted in a wrong location given by satnav and unnecessary time/fuel spent driving around the city. Apart from this minor issue we would have no hesitation recommending your company to family and friends for the holiday of a lifetime. Many thanks.
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4
03/01/2017
The Kruse commentary system did not work on the South Island, only the GPS for navigation. We followed all the instructions on the system but still no commentary. It was a disappointment as the Kruse commentary was very informative and enjoyable on the North Island and we were hoping for the same experience on the South Island. Fortunately the GPS still worked so we were able to navigate without issues. The South Island was experiencing some bad weather during our visit but we were still able to see many things and enjoy our time there.
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5
22/12/2016
Everything went very smoothly with very good service, nice accommodation everywhere; one location (Franz Josef) had not got the 'breakfast included' message, but no big deal - it was a do-it-yourself pack, not worth having. Pace of the tour of South Island was a bit too much for us with back-to-back >5 hr drives on mountain roads and other long drives, over 2600 km in all (even though we knew ahead of time what it was). The supplied big book of maps was appreciated. We would recommend your service - I put only 'pretty good' for value for money because we have nothing to compare it with.
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5
07/12/2016
We did a self-drive tour of both the North and South Islands this past December. It was fantastic! Mani arranged everything for us and it was perfect. The car rental went smoothly and we chose the economy lodging and all our accommodations were extremely nice. It was a pleasant surprise to have kitchens in each place and most had a laundry we could use which was most helpful. The itinerary and directions were easy to follow and the pace was good. Some days were longer drives but the scenery was so beautiful that it wasn't a concern. We still made unplanned but exciting stops. The Kruse GPS was very useful and educational. So glad we included that in our tour. The 3 highlights of our trip were caving Waitomo Caves, the heli-hike on Fox Glacier, and the jet boat ride on the Shotover River in Queenstown. I really can't omit all the other excursions we took because they were exciting too - Te Puia cultural experience, Walter Peak Farm, Skipper's Canyon, Buller Gorge, Albatross Centre, Milford Sound Cruise, Abel Tasman National Park, all the hikes to waterfalls and rapids. The only negative would be the 17 hour flight to get to New Zealand from the States but I would do it again. It's worth it!
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4
27/11/2016
We decided to book with very short notice. Toni quickly answered us and get everything sorted. Having a car and accommodation organised made the experience smoother. The customized itinerary was pretty good and logical. Suggestions provided were a good guideline. We enjoyed the freedom and the experience on the road. The beautiful weather helped too. We have been happy with accommodation, maybe a better one could be found in Rotorua, the included event there was very planned. The cruise in Milford Sound was a highlight. We probably should have researched more the destinations, distances between cities and possibly consider some extra activities too but we just didn't have enough time as it was a very last minute booking. Overall a beautiful experience.
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5
03/11/2016
I have always wanted to see New Zealand ever since I can remember and this trip was a dream come true for me. It proved to live beyond my expectations. We were a family of 4 adults and Relaxing Journeys made this self drive tour tailor made for us. The welcoming pack included GPS with interesting commentary by Kruse, on any places we passed. The itinerary also pointed out any other points of interests at our stops that we might enjoy. The whole trip was memorable but the night sky at 1.30 am over at Mount Aoraki/Cook was breathtaking as was our view of Lake Tekapo from Mount John Observatory where we thoroughly enjoyed the recommended coffee! The sighting of the Emerald lakes made the Alpine Crossing totally a worthwhile experience. I could go on and on. Thank you Marie and all the team at Relaxing journeys for making this holiday a beautifully wonderful memory for me.
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5
05/10/2016
Loved my trip! Lots of driving, but I enjoyed it. Only had one small snag with a time printed on my ticket and itinerary being different than the time booked, but otherwise everything was perfect! Mani was a tremendous help, and I'll definitely recommend this company in the future.
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5
02/01/2016
We thought that the Kruze navigation equipment was excellent a great idea. Accommodation apart from a couple were awesome. The ease of picking up cars was excellent. The recommendation of extra places to visit and the itinerary was fabulous. We had a great holiday with no worries at all.
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5
05/11/2015
We didn't have an ounce of trouble with our holiday. All the vouchers were in order, none missing. The accommodation booked was all very good, clean and comfortable and easy to find. The itinerary suggested by Relaxing Holidays was excellent and we felt that we saw a lot of New Zealand, certainly the main highlights. The vehicles booked for us were both good, the first was almost brand new. We had no trouble with either, they were comfortable and not heavy on fuel. I would have no hesitation in recommending the services of Relaxing Journeys. Thank you Marie.
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5
11/03/2015
I found most of the accommodation very good. I would give an overall score of 9/10. The only negative comments I would make was that at Te Anau the accommodation was fairly basic The power supply was provided via extension power boards. At Christchurch, although the Quest was very good, being in the middle of the Earthquake zone any services such as shopping and eating was limited. The outer suburbs would have been better. All provided some level of Internet access which was great for keeping in touch with the kids. Finding the accommodation was relatively easy in most places. Auckland was a bitch. The vehicles provided were very good. Both were very fuel efficient (just as well because the price of fuel was a bit of a shock). Overall we had a great trip. Sorry to hear about the game yesterday. Even though I don't follow Cricket I was barracking for NZ! (Ed. Wow an Aussie, barracking for us in cricket - one in a million - thank you!)
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5
22/02/2015
We thoroughly enjoyed the tour and all that New Zealand had to offer. Often after 3 weeks we are ready for home but this time we would have happily carried on touring and visiting your beautiful country. The journeys were quite long some days , but this was because the roads are fairly slow, there was lots to see on the way to the next destination and we enjoyed the two trips thrown in, i.e. Milford Sound cruise and the Maori evening in Rotoroa. The motels we felt were excellent for the 'economy' option, the only one we would not stay in again was the Alpine View in Kaikoura and only because it is next to the railway line and 3 freight trains went through Kaikoura during our night there. We would like to thank you very much for organising the motels, car hire etc, everything went like clockwork, the pack and map you provided were very helpful and we certainly would use your company again and recommend to friends.
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5
06/11/2014
This was by far the best vacation I have ever taken! Our Tour Consultant was Toni and she was phenomenal! We altered our 16 day tour to a 21 day to give ourselves a little more time in Auckland, Rotorua and a (highly recommended) stop in Punakaiki. Toni helped us with all the changes without any problems, in a timely manner and with good suggestions. Our Milford Sound cruise was cancelled due to weather and Toni helped us get a prompt refund. (No worries if your cruise gets cancelled, Te Anau has many things to do and you have an excuse to come back to beautiful NZ.) We would have loved to spend more time in many of the cities but we feel like we were able to get a taste of each place on limited time. I highly recommend every person do a self drive tour! The vehicles we rented were almost brand new and great on gas. It was interesting and not bad at all to drive on the opposite side of the road. The turnabouts took a few cities to get used to but now I am thoroughly convinced they are a superior form of intersection that enables traffic to flow smoothly. The one way bridges are clearly marked as are all of the traffic signals. Driving the country we chose to listen to the Kruse GPS system. It was so fun to hear all the mythology and history as we drove around!

Finding public toilets was not a problem, in fact they were always plentiful, clean and fully stocked. There are endless places to stop for a picnic from your chilly bin or go to a cafe that will have plenty of options. Driving was a fantastic way to see New Zealand! All of our accommodations were easy to find, clean and well kept. We had a full kitchenette in each place and most had laundry (usually NZ$2 per load). The water pressure is great everywhere you go! Many places had nice animals to greet you as you came and went, that helped us be less homesick for our own. Using vouchers was not a problem at all, not one place questioned them. It actually made things very easy. We added a few tours along the way. I advise taking the 1/2 day Lord of the Rings tour in Wellington because it is a great way to visit the Wetta Cave and see the city. You start at an incredible lookout that would be hard to venture to on your own. Our tour guide was hilarious and full of information! From the food to the great sense of humor, the Kiwis have figured out how to make tourists feel great and welcome. Take this tour, you will be happy you did!! Worth the cost. Thanks Relaxing Journeys!
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4
12/07/2014
Relaxing Journeys rock!! We had a great time and really amazed how beautiful New Zealand is, even in winter! Weather has been really good to us considering some parts of the country was either heavy snow fall (we have snow chains but never get the chance to use it! ;-) ) or raining!. Our travel plans (Thank you Mani!) was well organized and easy to follow. Over all, it was a great experience! New Zealand landscape and it's people are just beautiful!
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5
19/03/2014
I can't thank Toni from Relaxing Journeys enough!!! Everything went so smoothly - from the moment we collected the car until we did the final dropoff. It was fantastic not to have to worry about getting accommodation at the end of a long day or money with all that taken care of from the beginning! The accommodation choices were brilliant - all the proprietors were so freindly and helpful I will definitely be back to some. The pace was a bit hectic however that was my doing and it was a lesson that distances can be deceiving when you want to stop and sightsee heaps. For us the ideal driving distance would be around 250 - 300km - giving lots of time to stop and enjoy the scenery (and take little side trips recommended by others to some amazing waterfalls!) Thanks again!
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5
01/03/2014
My wife and I flew into Auckland (from Australia) and picked up a car. Our route took us to Waitomo and then on to Rotorua, stopping at Aratiatia Rapids. They were most interesting. I highly recommend the rail cruising outside Rotorua, as well as the traditional authentic Maori cultural experience. It's a bit hokey, but the food was excellent as was the entertainment. The Novotel Rotorua was satisfactory. From Rotorua we drove to Napier via Taupo. Napier was nice, Hawkes Bay beautiful. The Scenic Hotel Te Pania was quite nice but the view of the bay was perfect. From there we went on to Wellington. The traffic in Wellington was pretty bad, but we were able to get to our hotel (Novotel Wellington - just OK) and used the valet parking. Don't try the park yourself places, as they are VERY tight quarters. While we were in Wellington, a storm came up and the ferry boat to Picton for the next days was cancelled. Relaxing Journeys worked with us very closely and did a great job of getting us rebooked into a wonderful B&B owned by an author. I would highly recommend the B&B. Staying the extra day actually gave us the opportunity to spend the unexpected day in Te Papa, which you should plan to visit.

The next day we took the ferry to Picton and drove on the Nelson. Dropping the car off in Wellington at the ferry boat was easy (although we just left the car parked behind a bunch of other cars from the same rental company) but picking the car up in Picton took almost an hour waiting in line. We took back roads to Nelson and the scenery was magnificent. The Grand Mercure Nelson Monaco we quite lovely, very quaint, and a bit difficult to find. The next day we drove to Punakaiki. Do stop along the route to see Cape Foulwind. The hotel there (Punakaiki Resort) was wonderful, with great views of the Tasman Sea. Pancake Rocks were OK. We ate in a cute tavern like place just north of the rocks. The burgers were good, but very pricey. We then headed to Franz Josef. My wife toured the kiwi exhibit while I took the helicopter ride up to the glacier. She loved her time as did I. The flight was magnificent, and the short time we spent walking about was sufficient. Excellent picture opportunity. The Punga Grove was a cute little motel, tucked into the woods. We actually cooked dinner that night in the room and enjoyed some wonderful lamb.

We headed from there to Queenstown, past some of the most awesome lake scenery I've ever seen. We stopped more times to take pictures than I thought I ever would. Queenstown was fun and quite lively. So many great restaurants that it was hard to choose where to eat! The Copthorne Hotel and Apartments Queenstown, Lakeview was very nice. We had a great view of the lake from our room.

From Queenstown we headed to Milford Sound. If you have only one place to go in New Zealand, make sure it's Milford Sound. The beauty of the mountains, waterfalls and the sound itself is beyond words. We were fortunate to have perfect weather, with lots of sunshine, which made for many, many pictures. We spent that night in Te Anau. I'd recommend against staying in the Bella Vista. It was very small, and had a bad odour. The next day we took the long way from Te Anau to Dunedin, going through Invercargill. We had thought it might be a bit of a long drive, but it was well worth it. We finally got to see sheep in large numbers, as well as some stunning vistas of the Tasman Sea and the Pacific Ocean.

We spent two nights in the 858 George Street Motel. It was excellent. The suite was huge (we cooked dinner one night). The man who owns the place was one of the most helpful hoteliers I've ever met, and provided us with lots of great information. There are lots of neat restaurants to choose from. We had a hard time deciding where to eat the one night we went out. The ride to see the Albatrosses (the low road out and the high road back) offered more wonderful scenery. But, alas, we didn't get to see a single albatross. The Cadbury factory tour was fun, but if you love factory tours, you may be disappointed by this one. It was pretty rushed, and there wasn't a lot of interest on the part of the tour guide in answering questions. The reason for the linkage to Scotland is quite apparent throughout the city. It's without a doubt the cutest and coziest of the cities we visited.

From there to Mount Cook. We stopped at Moreaki Rocks along the way (thanks to the owner of the 88 George Street Motel), and were glad we did. It's a pretty incredible site. Mount Cook was just fabulous, as was Lake Pukaki. If you've been to the Alps, you'll quickly see why these are considered the Southern Alps. The whole place just defies description. We stayed in the Hermitage Chalets which were pretty quaint, though quite comfortable. But the dinner prices in the main lodge were outrageous and the wait time at the backpackers restaurant was forever and the food wasn't very good once we got it. Some great hiking in the area, but the definition of easy was somewhat different from ours. I'd put Mount Cook as the second most important place to see. We headed from there to Christchurch, and wandered around downtown on foot, heart-broken by the devastation that occurred there and inspired by the work that has been done already and by the creative solutions to retain the facades of some of the buildings. Alas, this was the end of our sixteen days in New Zealand, and we headed from there to Fiji.

For those of you who drive normally on the right hand side of the road and the left hand side of the car, it's not really all that difficult to switch (though remembering that the blinkers and windshield wipers are also reversed is hard).

As for Relaxing Journeys, overall we were very happy. Toni was a great help in putting everything together. Some of the hotels that were originally recommended didn't get the greatest reviews in my online searches, and she was quite willing to accommodate us by finding different ones. She made some suggestions about a couple pieces of the itinerary that I had originally planned, and I'm glad we took her up on her suggestions. When we were stuck in Wellington due to the bad weather, and weren't able to stay in the Novotel because they were booked up for that second night, Christine kept in very close contact with us and did a wonderful job of getting us re-booked into the great B&B. We did have a bit of a problem when we did our final payment about a month before our trip. There was some confusion about the wire transfer and the fees that were charged. The bank in the US that we used and the bank in New Zealand that Relaxing Journeys uses didn't provide the same story about the fees, and I was quite concerned about whether this was just the beginning of a series of problems. Campbell Harris, who is the Managing Director, did get in touch with me about the problem and assured me that this was not indicative of what our association would be. And, he was correct. I would highly recommend Relaxing Journeys. It was a great trip and they did an excellent job of putting it together. We didn't have a single problem with any of the places for which we had vouchers from them. Everything was in order when we picked up our package when we arrived in Auckland, and everything went smoothly after that.
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5
15/12/2013
Being able to drive yourself gives you the freedom to linger where you want and explore the many options in each region. Having the convenience of the route and hotel planned gave you more time to enjoy the trip. Never have I seen such clear air making the scenery more vivid. The spectacular mountain vistas and glacial blue of the lakes takes your breath away. We enjoyed the main roads through the smaller towns where good local shopping could be done or leisure at a local cafe. Never have I seen such diversity of land and life within a half day's drive. Pack for all kinds of weather as it is as diverse as the land. There is so much to see that you won't get it all in and you'll want to come back.
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4
18/01/2013
Everything went to plan, and we were very happy with all aspects of the tour. Some of the driving legs were very long but because of the lovely weather and the NZ roads, in practise it wasn't a problem for us. However, if the weather had been bad I think the experience could have been much less enjoyable. We think we would go for four star accomodation throughout if we did it again, most of the 3 star units were tired and a bit disappointing, whereas the 4 star ones were all very good.
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4
06/09/2012
It was a good trip except the weather didn't cooperate. There was a road closure on the west coast that had us on edge for a while and caused us to miss the first afternoon in Queenstown. Had it been closed all night we had no backup plans. Maybe a warning in the itinerary about possible road closures in winter would be a nice heads up. We discussed a couple of other ways the printed itinerary could be improved but now I have forgotten them.
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5
04/12/2011
Thanks for the arrangement for my tour to NZ! I had a splendid time driving myself around and discovering NZ's natural wonders! It was a great feeling to be driving amidst great scenery, and being surrounded by mountains, especially during the drive from Te Anau to Milford Sound. I have ranked the cities/towns I visited, and here they are: Number 1: Queenstown!!!!! Number 2: Rotorua!!!! Number 3: Dunedin!!! Number 4: Franz Josef & Twizel (Tie) Number 6: Te Anau / Milford Sound Number 7: Wellington Number 8: Christchurch Number 9: Nelson Number 10: Auckland & Hawkes Bay (Tie) Not that the last few rankings were bad, because all scored varying degress of over 9 out of 10 when I ranked them. Just that I had less time to explore both Auckland and Hawkes Bay. Tha main problem I had with NZ is that there's just too many things to see and do there, such that I ended up driving late at night in the dark on highways without street lights, because I left my earlier location late. Thankfully, as a solo self-drive, I had the flexibility of taking this risk of driving late into the night. That being said, I ended up missing out quite a bit on the smaller towns to stop at on the way from one place to another. If I get to come to NZ again, I'll probably spend more time on the towns in between. Thanks again for helping to arrange my tour. It was very convenient to show vouchers at the various places, and with the GPS, finding places was easily accomplished! Great job to all!
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5
12/03/2011
Thank you very much for our lovely customised tour around New Zealand. A beautiful country with amazing scenery. Our motels were comfortable and hosts friendly. Here are a couple of hints that we think would improve the journey. On arriving in Rotorua we spoke to our host about our Te Pui night tour and dinner. He recommended that we view the area before nightfall, this was not included in our tour so we paid the extra and viewed before the Te Po. This gave us abetter idea and more informative view of the area. Our next booked activity was in Nelson and we went on the seals and beach walk . Again the tour operator asked why we had not booked to go on the full cruise up the National Park and disembark on the return journey for our walk, we took this option again for a few dollars more. We were very satified with this option. Another point would be travelling from Te Anau to Dunedin we discovered we should have gone the coastal scenic route via Invercargil rather than the advised route via Balcultha, as other travellers we spoke to in Dunedin said the coast route was amazing. Once again thank you for organising our journey we had an amazing time!
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5
02/02/2010
We thoroughly enjoyed our time spent in New Zealand and would like to thank Jarrod for organising our trip. The itinerary was excellent and we appreciated the details of places that we passed on the way to our acommodation. The maps and leaflets that also came with the itinerary were again very useful! We were very impressed with the accommodation that we stayed in and also the location of each motel. The cars that we hired in each island were easy to drive. We hired a sat nav to use in the cars which proved useful when locating the motels apart from the motel in Auckland - it didn't recognise Newmarket for some reason in the address. It came up with Epsom instead?! We had one minor 'hic up' when we came to hand our car over in the south island - the car hire company was not open (it was passed 9.00 am and we were boarding the ferry at 9.30 a.m) and we didn't know whether we should leave the sat nav in the car or take it with us to the North Island. We took it with us and were told by the hire company in the north that we should have left it in the south island!! And they were going to charge us the cost of sending it back! A minor 'hic up' but it might be useful for others to know what they should do! Thanks again for organising a great holiday!
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4
14/03/2009
Finally I am getting around to letting you know that we had an ABSOLUTELY FABULOUS TIME on our NZ holiday. It was indeed RELAXING but also exciting, educational, fattening and fun!! What a beautiful country!! We collected our car (which was upgraded from a medium car to a 4WD Hyundai Tucson) without a problem and managed to work our way around the island to our various accommodations without a problem. The changeover of vehicles at the Ferry Terminals was a very good system. On the whole, 16 days (plus the couple of extra days) was enough to whet our appetites and see what there is on offer in NZ. We had a wonderful time, the vehicles were great and accommodation was fine. The route was well thought out and the package was reasonably priced and suited us well. We would recommend doing the trip the South Island first then the North Island because there was so much on the South Island that when we arrived on the North Island we were quite pleased to take it a bit easier, especially with our time at Rotorua to enjoy our spa etc. We were impressed by how much all the guides and representatives enjoyed and were passionate about their work. They certainly helped us enjoy our stay and feel our entry fees/donations were value for money. We thank you for your all your assistance and recommendations.
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5
07/03/2009
We returned home safely on Monday afternoon after our month away in NZ & Australia. The NZ leg of our trip exceeded all expectations. The arrangements that were made were excellent and the information pack we received at Auckland airport was extremely good - the vouchers presented no problems and the travel information was very reliable and accurate. We were impressed with the quality of the studio units and the helpfulness of the owners/managers. Invariably, they offered good advice on their locality and provided excellent information for us. It was a completely trouble free trip. We have travelled a lot in our retirement and rarely do we want to re-visit places. NZ, however, will be the exception. The people, culture, scenery were all wonderful experiences and we hope to return before we get too old and arthritic. Many thanks for the organisation - it was great.
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4
23/11/2008
I found the Discovery Trail Tour a fantastic way to see New Zealand for the first time. It gave us a really good snapshot of a lot of places within a limited time. The accommodation we opted for was the Budget...this was of a really high quality and more than adequate for our requirements. Driving in New Zealand was a real pleasure...I'm just looking forward to my next visit and narrowing the places I want to go to next time from the trip we did. Again, a great way to see New Zealand in a short space of time.
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Optionals

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16 Day Discovery Trail
Self Drive Tours
Tour Code: GNDT
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Departures: Feb 2018 to May 2019
Rating:
29 reviews (4.7/5)

A complete New Zealand tour including 5 days in the North Island and 11 days in the South Island. Visits all the top tourist sites. Features almost a ... Read More

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16 Day Discovery Trail
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