24 Day New Zealand Tourer

24 Day New Zealand Tourer

One of our most popular self drive tours of New Zealand. Covering both islands this is a comprehensive & engaging tour and is as adventurous or relaxing as you wish to make it.

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: May 2018 to March 2019
Price:
From (NZD) $4027 per person
Tour Operator: Relaxing Journeys
Pace: Relaxing
Duration: 24 Days
Tour Code: GNNZT

Inclusions

23 nights accommodation
Rental vehicle of your choice including airport and ferry port collection charges
Hole in the Rock & Cape Brett cruise, in the Bay of Islands
Guided tour of Waitomo Caves
Maori Mitai Cultural Evening with traditional Feast
Admission to Te Puia's Geothermal Valley
Admission to Skyline Skyrides
Relax at the Polynesian Spa
Grape Escape Wine Tour in Napier
Pukaha Mount Bruce Nature and Wildlife Reserve
Interislander Ferry Crossing
Milford Sound Day Tour - Coach & 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

After clearing customs and immigration you will pick up your rental car from Auckland Airport and then make your way to your hotel in the central City. Auckland – the “City of Sails” is New Zealand’s largest city and surrounded by two harbours.

Day 2
Auckland - Bay of Islands

This morning head north out of Auckland today to the Bay of Islands. Take some time to visit Kerikeri on the way for arts, crafts, antiques and see one of the oldest buildings in the country – the Stone Store. Then you can make your way to Paihia, holiday resort of the North and gateway to the beautiful Bay of Islands. (2 nights)

Day 3
Cape Brett and the Bay of Islands

You can relax today and enjoy the Bay of Islands in a number of ways. We’ve included a cruise to the famous Hole in the Rock & Cape Brett for you this morning. Board the luxury catamaran which will whisk you on a comfortable journey out through game fishing waters to the Cape Brett Lighthouse. Next is Motukokako Island and the famous “Hole in the Rock” where we make a passage through the Hole and on to the Grand Cathedral Cave. On the return journey the cruise takes its time and meanders through the inner islands. View sandy beaches, beautiful bays and marine wildlife as your skipper gives an informative commentary. Included is an island stopover on beautiful Urupukapuka Island. As your catamaran docks at the Historic Otehei Bay, enjoy the white sandy beach, picturesque views and its rich archaeological landscape. On the way back you might like to stop off at Russell (New Zealand’s first capital) which was also known as the “Hell Hole of the Pacific” It’s now a quaint seaside village where you can take some time to wander around and enjoy.

Day 4
Bay of Islands - Auckland

It’s a good day for exploring today as there are many possibilities for stops on the way down south. At Waipu turn left to Waipu Cove and follow that road down through Langs Bach and Mangawhai. Waipu Cove is the local surf beach in the area. Further on, at the old Bohemian settlement of Puhoi have a drink and sample some local cheese. A little further south is Waiwera where there are mineral hot pools to bathe and have fun in. Stay in Auckland tonight.

Day 5
Auckland - Waitomo - Rotorua

Continue south through Hamilton today to Rotorua. On the way stop off at the Waitomo Glowworm Caves (included in the tour price). For over 100 years Waitomo Glowworm Caves have attracted millions of people from all over the world. This evening you will be picked up and taken to the Mitai Village for a unique and unforgettable cultural experience. Be enthralled by the natural bush setting, see warriors in traditional dress paddle an ancient warrior canoe (waka) down the Wai-o-whiro stream and see glow worms in their natural habitat. See your traditionally cooked hangi meal being lifted from the ground. During the cultural performance, you’ll learn about our past, carvings and ta moko (tattoo art). (D) (2 nights)

Day 6
Rotorua

Rotorua has been known for its geothermal activity for over 150 years now and today you are able to see, feel, smell and hear some of this wonder of nature. At Te Puia, experience the raw power of Te Whakarewarewa geothermal valley with bubbling mud pools, steaming vents and the world famous Pohutu Geyser. Take a journey into the heart of Maori culture, arts and crafts. Then take a ride on the 8 seater gondola which climbs up the side of Mt Ngongotaha and experience Rotorua’s most spectacular views with Skyline Skyrides. This is a fun, all age, all weather attraction with views of the City and Lake Rotorua. You can have lunch here at the café or restaurant, and enjoy the fresh air a little more if you decide to ride a cart down the Luge. At the end of the day you can relax at the Polynesian Spa where you have the choice of 7 hot mineral spring pools – or upgrade to some wonderful treatments from the Spa such as the Aix Massage.

Day 7
Rotorua - Hawke's Bay

Today you head east to Napier. From here you have quite a variety of scenery as you ascend to the volcanic plateau then across mountains and valleys to Hawke’s Bay. Make your way to Napier city which was destroyed by an earthquake and fire in 1931. Napier was rebuilt in the Art Deco style and is known as one of the best Art Deco cities of the world. Art Deco tours are available, and you can also take a walk along Marine Parade or up Bluff Hill to enjoy the fabulous vista from there. Alternatively you can leave Rotorua early and get to Napier in time to go on one of the tours to the Cape Kidnappers Gannet Colony.

Day 8
Hawke's Bay

You have the morning to relax or explore Napier at your leisure. Hawke’s Bay has also become well known as a leading food and wine region in New Zealand, so we have booked you in for a wine tour this afternoon. Meet like- minded people and share an appreciation of Hawke’s Bay’s fantastic wines. (2 nights)

Day 9
Hawke's Bay - Wairarapa

Today’s route has you driving through some of New Zealand’s rural heartland with a mixture of sheep, dairy and crop farming. Make your way south to Pukaha Mount Bruce Nature and Wildlife Reserve. Experience some of New Zealand’s endangered wildlife up close and in the wild. Learn about what is being done to save kiwi, tuatara, kokako, kaka and return them to our forests. Make your way down the Wairarapa through the farming towns of Masterton, Carterton and Greytown before staying in Martinborough for the night.

Day 10
Wairarapa - Wellington

You may like to have a wander around the village which has become well known for its wineries before heading over the Rimutaka Ranges in to New Zealand’s Capital – the harbour city of Wellington. Take a drive up Mount Victoria or a ride up the Cable Car to get some magnificent views of this pretty city. You may also like to have a walk around Oriental Bay, visit Te Papa the Museum of New Zealand, or spend some time shopping or dining in one of the many fine restaurants down town.

Day 11
Wellington - Picton - Blenheim

Today you will travel across Cook Strait, the stretch of water that separates the North and South Islands of New Zealand. The journey across Cook Strait has a dramatic beauty all of its own. Both islands can be viewed, including the magnificent Kaikoura ranges and there is often the chance to see wildlife such as seabirds, dolphins, seals, whales and orca. On arrival in Picton, collect your rental car and make your way past vineyards and wineries to Blenheim. (2 nights)

Day 12
Marlborough

Today is at leisure to explore Blenheim and the wine area of Marlborough. There are more than 20 wineries within driving distance of the town – explore them with a guided tour or bike tour. Visit the Marlborough Sounds, take a wine tour or a Greenshell Mussel cruise or experience all three with the Icons of Marlborough tour. A visit to Omaka Aviation Heritage Centre is highly recommended. A magnificent collection of World War planes set in scenes put together by Weta Workshops with the assistance of Peter Jackson who owns a majority of what you see on exhibit.

Day 13
Blenheim - Kaikoura

Today is another day of dramatic scenery as you drive through vineyards, rolling hillsides and along the Kaikoura Coast. Take some time to stop along the coast where you can see seals and other wildlife before heading in to the whale watching capital of New Zealand – Kaikoura.

Day 14
Kaikoura - Christchurch

This morning is your chance to go on a Whale Watch Cruise or a Wings Over Whales flight to see the giant sperm whales, dolphins, fur seals and depending on the season, you may also see migrating Humpback Whales, Pilot Whales, Blue Whales and Southern Right Whales. From Kaikoura it’s two hours direct to Christchurch or you may like to take a more scenic inland route via Hanmer Springs to bathe in the mineral pools in their alpine setting. Make your way south to Christchurch – the Garden City, and the largest in the South Island. (2 nights)

Day 15
Christchurch

Today you can choose to relax and explore this most English of New Zealand cities. Take a punt on the Avon River, a ride on the tram, or drive up the Port Hills for a great vista over the Canterbury Plains. Alternatively you could take a day tour and visit the beautiful unspoilt old French whaling depot of Akaroa. Lunch in the naturally picturesque setting of Akaroa Village at the popular Bully Hayes. The day’s activities can include your choice of the Akaroa Harbour Cruise, swimming with the dolphins, a game of golf on the picturesque Akaroa Golf Course with beautiful sea views, or simply explore and enjoy the charm and serenity of Akaroa.

Day 16
Christchurch - Mount Cook

Head south today across the Canterbury Plains, through the picturesque town of Geraldine . Be sure you make a photo stop at Lake Tekapo, a beautiful turquoise coloured lake. Visit the Church of the Good Shepherd on the shores of the lake. This is one of the most photographed churches in the world made of stone and sand from around the lake. You are now in Mackenzie Country and the scenery is fantastic as you drive to Lake Pukaki and turn towards the Southern Alps and Mount Cook, New Zealand’s highest mountain. Follow this glacier-fed lake and the Tasman River all the way up to the alpine village of Aoraki-Mount Cook. (2 nights)

Day 17
Mount Cook

There are many tracks for walking and tramping in this area – you can find the most suitable for you by going to the Visitor Centre. There are scenic flights available by helicopter or fixed wing aircraft, and if you wish to have a glacial adventure there is the Glacier Explorers excursion on Lake Tasman at the base of the Tasman Glacier.

Day 18
Mount Cook - Queenstown

Leave New Zealand’s highest mountain behind today as you drive through Twizel and Omarama before heading up over the Lindis Pass – this is the area where gold was first discovered in the Central Otago region in 1861. Central Otago has a harsh but beautiful landscape due to its summer heat and winter cold. A lot of gold was discovered in the area in the late 1800’s. More recently in the late 1900’s it’s been discovered as a great place for growing grapes so there are some good reasons for exploring this area. Continue on through the Kawarau gorge to get to the alpine town of Queenstown where you are staying for three nights. (3 nights)

Day 19
Queenstown

There are a huge number of activities to choose from here in Queenstown – for the adventurous there is bungy jumping, jet boating, skiing, 4WD Safaris snow boarding, rafting and skydiving to name a few. There are also some less adrenaline producing activities such as a cruise on Lake Wakatipu, a ride up the Skyline Gondola, or even a great day out on the Dart River Wilderness Safari.

Day 20
Milford Sound Day Tour

Your day tour coach follows the southern arm of Lake Wakitipu to Lumsden, and onward to Lake Te Anau. The scenery changes dramatically from tussock covered grasslands to glacier hewn valleys as you enter the Eglington Valley and travel through the breath taking man made Homer Tunnel to reach Milford Sound. Enjoy a cruise on this world famous fiord, dominated by Mitre Peak and the cascading Bowen Falls. On completion you will return to Queenstown by coach. An optional return scenic flight to Queenstown is available (own expense). (L)

Day UP
Milford Sound Return Flight Upgrade Package (NZ$395 PP)

Return to Queenstown from your cruise on a scenic flight taking in magnificent views of the alps, glaciers, lakes and forests of Fiordland National Park – a quick and convenient way to return to Queenstown. (Duration 35mins) The flight shaves off approximately 4 hours off a return by coach. It is however weather dependent, so if the weather doesn’t play ball, then you will need to return by coach and we will refund the upgrade price.

Day 21
Queenstown - Franz Josef

This morning, journey up the West coast of the South Island to Fox & Franz Josef Glaciers. Drive to Cromwell, Wanaka and on through the Southern Lakes district to the Haast Pass then north, through dense rain forest broken by rugged coastal vistas, towards the glaciers. (2 nights)

Day 22
Franz Josef Glacier

There’s lots to explore in this area – you can take your own time walking up to the glacier, going to the Okarito Lagoon; or join a guided walk on the glacier, take a heli-hike adventure, or a scenic flight over both glaciers.

Day 23
Franz Josef Glacier - Christchurch

Continue north to Hokitika where you can see some great Pounamu (Jade) shops, before turning inland to travel over the beautiful Arthur’s Pass. Along the way you’ll see the awesome engineering feats of the Otira Viaduct and Tunnel. You’ll have time to stop and look around before descending through some fantastic alpine scenery and on down to the Canterbury Plains and Christchurch. (If you have time you may wish to add a day here and stay at Punakaiki instead).

Day UP
TranzAlpine Train Upgrade Package

For a small cost we can amend your itinerary so that you drop your vehicle off in Greymouth and then join the TranzAlpine Train for your journey across the Alps. On arrival in Christchurch we’ll arrange transfers to your accommodation and transfers the next day to the airport for your onward flight.

Day 24
Depart Christchurch

After breakfast this morning, please make your way to the airport where you will return your car in time for your onward flight.

4.8/5.0

There are 33 reviews of this tour from past clients of Relaxing Journeys, averaging 4.8 out of 5.

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Tour Reviews

5
17/02/2018
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!
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5
03/02/2018
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.
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5
02/01/2018
Joanie and I wanted to take the trip of a lifetime to New Zealand, and being the independent souls that we are, planned to rent a car and drive the country. I figured we could identify what we wanted to see and book our own, but that quickly became overwhelming. So I began searching the internet for sample itineraries, and came across those provided by Relaxing Journeys. Bingo! We chose an itinerary that made sense for us, asked the wonderful Toni to adapt it to our interests, and she created a good one. A few tweaks and we were there. All of the hotels were well-located, friendly, quiet, clean, and comfortable. The recommended sights were spot on. I highly recommend engaging Relaxing Journeys to help guide you in the complex and sometimes time-consuming task of creating your own trip of a lifetime.
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3
15/01/2017
Too much driving. We didn't need a car in Auckland, just had to pay for parking. What wonderful scenery. I really enjoyed the variety of places to stay. Some of the breakfasts were outstanding and some were pitiful. The vouchers were great.
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4
13/01/2017
Our 30 days self drive tour was very well organized and the itinerary was very detailed and easy to follow. Unfortunately, highway 1 between Blenheim and Kaikoura was closed and we had to drive many hours and then the route took us north on Hwy 70 to Kaikoura which was an extremely hard drive with many stops for road works. This day should have been broken up or directed right to Christchurch.... it took us nearly 11 hrs with a stop in the lovely Hanmer hot springs but, drive time was 8 hrs. Also we were disappointed that the TranzAlpine train was cancelled and would have changed our route and not bothered with Franz Joseph Glacier. The tour from Queenstown to Milford Sound was absolutely stunning. We did have a very good overview of your wonderful country, so clean and welcoming to visitors. Thank you Mani, we appreciate your hard work.
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5
17/12/2016
We had an amazing time in New Zealand for our honeymoon with the help of Relaxing Journeys! (and Marie in particular!) They helped us customise our trip until it was exactly how we wanted and then planned it all for us based on our feedback. It was completely stress free and they were happy to make any changes we requested. I highly recommend choosing the Kruse Commentary GPS for your journey too, as you learn a lot on your travels with it and could miss some great sights along the way! It was an unforgettable honeymoon and experience. I hope we get to tour New Zealand again, and if we do, we will definitely use Relaxing Journeys to help us plan our next trip there. Thank you Marie!
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5
26/02/2016
Both my wife and I had a fabulous trip and want to thank your and Relaxing Journeys for doing an excellent job. Everything went smooth without one problem the entire trip. Having drivers meeting us to and from the Airports as well as the train trip was a great touch. I have several friends who I will encourage to call you for their anticipated trips. Thanks again.
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5
22/02/2016
We were more than pleased with the four week tour of both the North and South Islands that you set up for us in New Zealand. The pace was perfect, and you did an excellent job of selecting hotels and activities. We even talked with some other Relaxing Journeys tourists from California while we were there. They were likewise pleased with their tour from Relaxing Journeys. Your ability to tailor travel plans to suit your customers is perfect to make the most of a New Zealand travel experience. New Zealand kept surprising us with frequent dramatic changes in scenery. There was not an area we did not enjoy of your clean and green country. Thank you for taking good care of us Toni! You did a great job.
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5
08/12/2015
What can we say. This was the holiday/honeymoon of a lifetime we loved New Zealand and cannot believe how quickly it all went. We had so many highlights. from Wineries on Waiheke Island, to learning about all the wonders of Rotorua, biking around stunning Napier, Kayaking on the beautiful Marlborough Sounds, Whale watching in Kaikoura, the history and beautiful gardens in Christchurch, the most beautiful meal after hiking in Mount Cook on Christmas Day, our new favourite place on earth is Queenstown, we would move there if we could, it has so much to offer and of course the hubby had to jump off a bridge in the adventure capital. We had New year Helihikes on Franz Josef and then finishing with a breath taking journey on the tranzalphine train from Greymouth to Christchurch. We would do it all again (after a rest)!

Some tips for your travels, in Auckland, its $28 each to get up the Skytower but if you go for a cocktail in the Sugar Club its $20 for a bellini and then you get a free walk around the tower when you leave. We wish we had added extra nights in the Marlborough wine region to do a wine bike tour, we also wish we had seen Nelson as everyone said it was amazing. A small bit of advice when visiting Martinborough, although all the wineries are a walk from town they close at 4-5pm so that needs to factored on your trip, if you want to see visit them you need to get there early, we arrived at 4pm and there wasn't much else to do and we felt a bit let down but it was made up by the friendly locals in the pub. As we said we could have stayed in Queenstown forever but book trips early in busy periods. If you want to do a lot of the adventure activities its worth booking before you get there as we couldn't do all that we wanted as Christmas and New Year are very busy and the main attractions get booked in advance. (RJ. Good tip!) The accommodations were fine our favourite was the Hermitage at Mount Cook.

I would recommend Relaxing Journeys to anyone - the hassle free booking and support were fantastic. I also recommend booking all your trips with them if your sure what you want to do, they are the same price when you get there and the voucher book was the best, you know what you were doing next and just hand the voucher over and have no worries. Thank you Relaxing Journeys and New Zealand for such a wonderful time.
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5
08/12/2015
Toni, great job! Thank you. Arrangements were perfect. Lots of fun especially Mitai Maori event. Agrodome sheep show in Rotorua a hoot as well. Raetihi Lodge a welcome respite upon arriving in South Island. Great masseuse there, as well as awesome chef. Recommend Te Papa museum in Wellington. Enjoyed the wine tasting in Napier and walking along marine parade. Pretty city. Despite Christchurch being in tough shape from the earthquakes five years ago, it is coming back and we enjoyed our time there - botanic gardens, Cambridge museum, art gallery, re-store, Quake City exhibit. Good hiking at Aoraki Mount Cook and Franz Josef, airplane ride there over the mountains and glaciers was great and highly recommended. Queenstown was lively and full of daring things to do. Gondola ride and observation is spectacular. Driving takes forever and you have to keep telling yourself \"drive left, look right.\" We didn't use the Kruse, finding our iphone GPS worked well for directions. Tour documents were first rate, with good map book and brochures for everything. Hotels were as expected with one exception, the Scenic in Auckland, lobby run-down, food awful, first room had sofa so dirty and saggy, I had to cover it with a blanket to use it. Second time we were there, room was okay. Suggest you use another hotel, especially as that one was our introduction to the tour! Overall, though, this was an awesome trip and we truly appreciated all your help, clear correspondence, and warm attitude.
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5
05/12/2015
We thoroughly enjoyed every aspect of this holiday. We provided Mani with our rough ideas and he produced a tour which was extremely well planned, to the smallest detail. Every day flowed efficiently and it was good to be free from any concerns about problems as Mani had catered for all possibilities. The tour paperwork was accurate and informative. Our second tour with Relaxing Journeys to New Zealand. Both were excellent!
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4
15/11/2015
A trip that we've been wanting to do for many years and it was eventually worth waiting for. We would be hard pressed to say what our favourite part of the tour was as we each have our own preferences. All in all, I would say that the idyllic stay at Raetihi Lodge in Double Bay (Marlborough Sound) was the most relaxing and a welcome break in the driving and living out of a suitcase. The staff were excellent, well presented and exceedingly welcoming and there was absolutely nothing to criticize. For my husband, Milford Sound was the part he had been most looking forward and to he found it lived up to expectations (although the coach trip was long but what can you do about that?!) One or two accommodations did not excite us - more to Mani directly via email - but on the whole they were very good. We would recommend this tour - we had a 3-day extension - to anyone wanting to see the best of both islands with exciting add ons too. Breathtaking scenery at every turn and so much diversity in such a small country. Thank you Mani for helping us live our dream!
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5
10/11/2015
We had a wonderful time. Our only problems occurred in larger cities, next time we will bring or rent a GPS unit. The maps provided were not the best for Auckland, Wellington, and Christchurch. Both wine tours we took were wonderful. While we didn't purchase a Milford Sound tour from Relaxing Journeys, we ended up booking one while we were in Queenstown. Weather in Milford Sound was beautiful the day we went, but not the day before or day after. It seemed like we saw a lot, but we know there is more to see next time. Thank you for making our trip so much fun and easy to plan.
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5
12/10/2015
I had a wonderful holiday in your lovely country. Mani's help and support was key in organising all the details and the full 3 weeks went without a hitch. For me the pace and mix of the trips, visits and relaxation time were perfect and some of the journeys I completed both in the north and south islands were breathtaking. The quality and range of accommodation was excellent from the typical 4 star room in a city centre hotel to the chalet overlooking the bay. On reflection adding a further 3-4 days to the advertised itinerary would have enhanced the trip allowing more time to be spent in Auckland and Wellington in particular. However the itinerary achieves its purpose in giving you a broad experience and impression of the country overall which achieved my objective. Springtime was a lovely time to experience NZ with all the fresh blooms and colours and was quiet to allow more time and space to appreciate your surroundings. The holiday exceeded my already high expectations of NZ. Fantastic!!
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5
08/04/2015
Overall it was excellent. Just a few comments. Everything went according to plan, with no glitches. Accommodation was good, but maybe ground floor rooms (where no there were no lifts) would have helped. Carrying heavy baggage up steps is not good for middle age people like us. There is an issue about parking at inner city hotels as in Auckland and Wellington, we did not know we could temporarily park in loading bays while checking in. We were concerned about getting booked if we left the car there, but hotel staff said it was OK. The change of accommodation at Marlborough Sounds was fine...the Bay of Many Coves was brilliant...5 stars. All up it was a great holiday.
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5
28/02/2015
We had fantastic time, commentary on Kruse was excellent but the GPS system was not up to date - sent us down back roads gravel roads dead ends but all in all it was fantastic. Thanks to all at Relaxing Journeys and for the Hema road map.
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5
27/01/2015
We had no problems at all. The arrangements went like clockwork. The hotels were varied and interesting, and conveniently sited. Would have ticked 'excellent' for accommodation if the Copthorne Hotel at Bay of Islands had not been so 'tired'. It would have been useful to know that on the Interislander ferry the luggage is checked in, as on an airline and on the TranzAlpine train, there is a luggage van, so you do not have to sorry about your luggage during the trip. The ride on the gondola at Rotorua was a waste of time but all the other trips were greatly enjoyed, especially the overnight on Doubtful Sound. We had a GPS, which was very useful, but if your clients do not have a GPS it would be useful if your paperwork gave details of how to find the hotels in the bigger towns. Finally, we would be more than happy to recommend Relaxing Journeys to our friends and family.
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5
02/12/2014
This was the first time we visited New Zealand, and we had a wonderful time. The tour arrangements by Toni were excellent. Though we were not able to use your GPS system, we had a good driving experience with our iPhones, maps and our own backup GPS system. As it was crowded at the Thirfty Car Rentals desk in Auckland international airport during our arrival, we were not able to obtain adequate information, such as the venue to return the rental car at Wellington. We almost missed the Interisland Ferry because we had difficulty finding the place to return the rental car. In the rush, we left your GPS system and our 2 trekking poles in the rental car. We were not able to retrieve our 2 trekking poles. Fortunately, the whole vacation was awesome, and my family were very happy with this holiday adventure. Thank you very much.
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5
15/11/2014
Three weeks touring the North and South Islands was not enough, but the experience was superb; the landscape and natural features unique and breathtaking; the people warm and accommodating. Orchestration by Relaxing Journeys was flawless from tailored itinerary/recommendations, to transfers, to lodging, to rental vehicle, to the many tours, etc. Thoroughly enjoyed the mix of hotels, motels, and B&Bs at mid- and upper-levels. Only material negative was the Copthorne Hotel in Rotorua -- while breakfast offering was excellent and location was convenient, rooms and physical condition of the facility, in general, was shabby and below par.
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5
12/03/2014
Thank you Toni for planning our wonderful 24 day self-drive experience. The itinerary was easy to follow and there were plenty of options to keep us busy. The map book was very helpful, and we would have had difficulty finding our way in the cities without the GPS. The New Zealand scenery was gorgeous and it changed often so it was never boring. It did take us longer to reach our destinations than the itinerary suggested but that was only because we stopped often to hike or take pictures. Our accommodations were excellent and unique so we never knew what to expect. In Franz Josef, our room opened out to a rainforest! Many nights we had water views. Other than the cyclone in Paihia (after the Island cruise), and showers at Mount Cook, the weather was perfect. The people were helpful and very friendly. We were invited by a group of new Zealand travelers to have dinner with them one night in Napier. It would be hard to say what we liked best. All in all, we had beautiful sights, great hikes, delicious food and excellent wine.
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5
04/03/2014
Kia ora and thank you Toni, apart from a date problem at Picton with the Thrifty people (and it was resolved quickly) everything went like clockwork. We didn't use one of the vouchers in Rotorua as we found the Polynesian spa early in the day and after the previous day's long drive, we relaxed so much we didn't feel like much else. The accommodation was great, but maybe next time I would opt out of breakfast. It was 50/50 on being really nice and very ordinary buffets. The weather you arranged was also perfect, we only had one really rainy day when we drove to Milford. Thoroughly recommend the trip and Relaxing Journeys.
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5
11/01/2014
We had a fantastic 4 weeks in NZ with your assistance. We were surprised at how cool the temperatures were for your summer (maybe a fluke this year). We loved Dunedin, Akaroa, Queenstown, Pahia and Russel, Hobbitton, Rotorura and Napier. The Grape Escape in Hawkes Bay was wonderful. Christchurch was a tragedy, as I had seen it in 1999 in its prime. We were in Wellington for the earthquake, couldn't have been better, hotel moved for about a minute! Picton and Marlborough terrific, Neudorf Winery terrific as were the Marlborough wines. Best were in Hawkes Bay and Central Otago - what a surprise at Chard's Farm! Doubtful Sound beautiful as we caught it on a spectacular day. The somewhat disappointing thing was the Polynesian Spa and the west coast drive to Franz Josef, should have been prepared for dismal weather since it rains 2/3 of the year. I had visited Rotorua when the hot baths were springs from the earth and quite natural and indeed as hot as you wanted. The Glebe was absolutely fantastic (my choice), just earned 4th best in NZ. Was a little disappointed in the accommodations in Auckland as they were difficult to find and very, very difficult to park. As this is the first stop and driving on the wrong side, you should strive to make the first hotel super easy. Most travelers will be so tired that being centrally located may not matter as much. I am sending you access to my photos which you may use as you see fit. And he said modestly, most of them are very very good. Thank you for all your help. By the way, I did not have a traffic accident, but turned on the wipers about a zillion times for the turn signal. (Ed. Lol)
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5
01/01/2014
Following the itinerary went smoothly. All vouchers were there and honored which made it hassle free! New Zealand is such a beautiful country! We got to see and experience a lot of the country! Job well done! Hope to return! Jeanne & Jim
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5
15/02/2013
Kia Ora!! Thank you Kirby for all your organizing!! What a 'relaxing' time, not having to worry about accomodation, what to see/visit and what to expect along the way. We were not dissappionted!! So good to pay it all up front too! It was great to get somewhere and know the cost was covered. Your written itinerary was easy to follow as well, and thorough. What a pleasant surprise to get a complementary breakfast a of couple times. We saw and did just about all we wanted to in the 24 day tour, glad we did that one!There really were no hassles at all and we had a great little car that served our needs perfectly. We were enabled to learn a lot about your country with amazing tour guides. The bus driver to Milford was especially great. It was lovely to have kitchenettes in most rooms. As not all had kitchenettes, I ticked rated them 'very good'. So, as we loved our trip we will be encouraging others to try the same!
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5
01/02/2013
An excellent tour, we enjoyed it all! Details were accurate and accommodation smooth. Good map book. Your efforts meant that we didn't have to worry.
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5
31/12/2012
Where to start... what a wonderful place New Zealand is, We have been home 7 weeks and wish we were still there. Everything went so smoothly thanks to Relaxing Journeys and their organizing skills, from when we landed in Auckland to sadly leaving to return home. The voucher book was great and meant no problems because everything was paid for in advance which took the stress out of worrying about having the money on you to pay for accommodation. Michelle was really helpful in sorting the tour out and answered any questions for us and suggested things to include in the tour, it was great knowing if there had been any problems we had someone at the other end of the phone to help. All our hotels were great and and welcoming, great food, good rooms and easy to find with the sat nav provided with the car. We chose a self drive tour and found it a brilliantly way to explore, best of both worlds an itinerary to follow but the chance to do your own thing too. The driving on New Zealand roads was so relaxing which was good because the scenery was fantastic! We so looked forward to our trip and we have to say it and Relaxing Journeys definately lived up to our expectations......... can't wait to go back again, given half a chance it would be tomorrow!
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5
20/02/2011
We had the holiday of a life time. Virtually everything exceeded our expectations, including the weather. Your organization was first rate and we knew we didn't have to worry about anything, even when our itinerary had to be rearranged because of the awful earthquake in Christchurch. Everything was waiting for us at Auckland airport and the maps and information that you supplied were very comprehensive and beautifully presented. We certainly packed a lot into three and half weeks and, given more time and money, we probably would have treated ourselves to slightly longer stays in places like Bay of Islands; Rotorua; Wellington and Portage. We would thoroughly recommend that people take one of the Bay of Island boat trips and stop off at Russell which is a delightful little town with an old tannery and printing press that is a must to visit. We enjoyed all the stop offs for which you provided vouchers: in particular the cultural evening at the Mitai village in Rotorua; the geothermal parks and, of course, the wine tasting. We also visited a second geothermal park at Wai o Tapu which was about 20 mins south of Rotorua. The Lady Knox geyser was rather a damp squib, but the rest of the park was amazing and well worth a tour. Another word of warning is that car hire desks at ferry terminals largely only open just before ferries dock and the taxi firm at Picton ceased trading in February 2011 (although something may have resumed since then) and you do have to walk between the ferry terminal and the water taxi to portage (about 5 mins along a relatively flat walkway). On the accommodation front: we found it really helpful to have some of the apartments/rooms with washing facilities or access to them on site. We were particularly impressed with the Paihai Pacific (Bay of Islands - but eat at one of the local restaurants): Regent Hotel in Rotorua (great staff and food); Quest Hotel in Napier (a faultless, roomy apartment): Portage Hotel (for superlative views: fab staff and good food); the Terrace Hotel in Queenstown (a magnificent apartment with wonderful views); the chalet at the Hermitage Hotel (out of the world views and all the benefits of the Hermitage hotel). We also particularly enjoyed: a trip on the TSS Earnslaw at Queenstow; a helicopter trip to the Franz Josef Glacier whilst in Punga Grove and of course the TranzAlpine train journey. Hanmer Springs Inn provided a lovely little apartment but our stay was marred by very drunk and rowdy customers outside the bar next door who didn't leave until about 3am. There were nice walks around Hanmer Springs as well as the spa (public and private pools). If we were being very picky then the Scenic Hotel in Auckland was unremarkable (although very convenient) and the restaurant/cafe wasn't that appealing and we did wonder what the rest of the hotels/motels would be like. Having said that, the bed was amazingly comfortable! These are really only minor quibbles, because every day was thoroughly enjoyable. Thanks again for ensuring we had such an amazing time. We have already recommended you to friends and hopefully we will be back.
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4
19/12/2010
An amazing holiday in a remarkable country. Every day was awe inspiring, seeing scenery which constantly changed but was always beautiful beyond description ? mountains, lakes, waterfalls, glaciers, forests . . . the list is endless. The wildlife too; whales, fur seals, dolphins, penguins, parrots, albatross, tui, kakas, keas etc. The New Zealanders themselves are the most friendly, helpful and relaxed people we have ever met ? and very courteous drivers. There was not a single day that we were disappointed with what we saw and experienced. The book of vouchers, and the pack supplied by Relaxing Journeys, made the holiday very relaxed and hassle free. We could enjoy every day knowing that all the bookings had been reliably taken care of. Every aspect of our dealings with Relaxing Journeys was handled in an efficient, professional and friendly manner. On hindsight we should have spent a little more time in the Bay of Islands, Rotorua, Marlborough Sound, Kaikoura and Dunedin ? but we don?t know what we could have left out instead. Guidance in the pack concerning car parking difficulties/options in Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch would have been helpful. The locations of the hotels was always good and within easy walking distance of the local facilities and attractions. Thank you for the most amazing holiday that we have ever had.
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4
27/02/2009
Now that we are back home in Kingston after a four day stopover in Calgary and our sleep patterns have almost returned to normal, here's the feedback I promised you when we spoke briefly in Auckland. We have wonderful memories of our trip to New Zealand. As time goes along, we are more aware of the valuable role that you and Relaxing Journeys played in making our travel around your beautiful country truly 'relaxing'. We are so pleased that we chose to work with you in designing a custom itinerary, one that worked for us and our travel companions. So many of the tedious and frustrating aspects of daily travel life were arranged in advance, freeing us to enjoy the scenery along the way. We have already told many friends about Relaxing Journeys' quality services. The resource materials were excellent, especially the detailed driving instructions along our route. (There was only one exception that created minor confusion in Nelson getting to the Balmoral Motel). Providers were expecting us and with minor exceptions were gracious hosts. Thrifty proved - as expected - a good rental car provider. The arrangements worked smoothly with minimum fuss. In our case, Thrifty made a special effort to deliver a newer model to our Blenheim motel the morning after we arrived in Picton. The only car they had when we arrived was very old and dirty with almost 100,000 kms. The motels varied in quality, but we expected that given the need to have a studio and 2 bedroom combination for 13 nights during our shared itinerary. Some were excellent, most quite acceptable, and a couple were marginal in our view. Overall, they represented good value (we know this from endless web searches of New Zealand motels in the months leading up to our trip). We recognized too that they were chosen for their convenient locations in relation to arrival and departure in each city.
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5
25/10/2008
Firstly we would like to say that NZ lived up to all our pre-visit expectations and secondly that the tour you organized when perfectly; no problems with the vouchers, schedule etc. We had a few bad days weather-wise but this did not stop us from doing what we had planned. Overall we had a fantastic time, thank you very much and we wish you a very merry Christmas.
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4
01/10/2008
Our self drive tour was perfect allowing us to take our time to get to know the country, people & food. The detailed driving directions and travel times were big help as we do like to go slow to take in all the sights but still arrive at our next destination before midnight! The staff at virtually all the accommodations, big or small, were helpful and friendly. Cam Potts did excellent job of putting it all together per our specifications. I'd recommend Relaxing Journeys to anyone travelling to NZ.
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4
15/09/2008
I would like thank Relaxing Journeys and especially Cameron for organising a wonderful holiday for all of us. The whole experience was superbly well organised from arrival to departure with every last detail planned and taken care of, making it a truly relaxing journey, allowing us to take in all that New Zealand had to offer. On top of that even though we visited in August the weather was excellent and didn't stop us from doing anything. Even when things went wrong outside of Relaxing Journeys control when one of our planned hotels shut, Cameron had organised us new accommodation with a new voucher and driving instructions faxed to our hotel ready for our departure. Without them we would have turned up to a closed hotel and then have to look for a new hotel. We would not hesitate to re-book a tour with Relaxing Journeys as there is still a lot of New Zealand to see and would also recommend them to anyone. Once again many thanks.
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5
12/12/2007
Sadly our fantastic NZ holiday finished over three weeks ago. We wanted to say a great big thank you to all at Relaxing Journeys who helped in making our holiday so enjoyable and such a great success. The detail in our itinerary was really helpful, may we compliment your company on such a professional package. If we are ever able to come back to NZ again (I really hope) we will be sure to use your company again. Once again many thanks, and all good wishes to all at Relaxing Journeys for 2008.
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24 Day New Zealand Tourer
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Tour Code: GNNZT
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Departures: May 2018 to March 2019
Rating:
33 reviews (4.8/5)

One of our most popular self drive tours of New Zealand. Covering both islands this is a comprehensive & engaging tour and is as adventurous or relaxi... Read More

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24 Day New Zealand Tourer
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