16 Day Visions of New Zealand

16 Day Visions of New Zealand

Tour both islands of New Zealand on this excellent self drive tour incorporating all the main regions of New Zealand and travelling down the west coast of the South Island to take in Punakaiki's Pancake Rocks.

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) $3450 per person
Tour Operator: Relaxing Journeys
Pace: Lively
Duration: 16
Tour Code: GNVNZ

Inclusions

15 nights accommodation
Rental vehicle of your choice including airport and ferry port collection charges
Maori Mitai Cultural Evening with traditional Feast
Guided tour of Waitomo Caves
Admission to Te Puia's Geothermal Valley
Admission to Skyline Skyrides
Relax at the Polynesian Spa
Interislander Ferry Crossing
Milford Sound Nature Cruise
Travel wallet, comprehensive customised itinerary, bound map book, accommodation & activity vouchers and local travel guides

Click on the prices below to enquire.

* Prices shown are per person (based on two people travelling).
* 2 Bedroom Motel pricing also available with Exclusive Specials. Please request a quote for prices.

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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 - Waitomo - Rotorua

Continue south through Auckland and Hamilton today to Rotorua. On the way stop off at the Waitomo Glowworm Caves. 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). (2 nights)

Day 3
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 4
Rotorua - Taupo - Napier

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 5
Napier - Martinborough

Today’s route has you driving through some of New Zealand’s rural heartland with a mixture of sheep, dairy and crop farming. A good place to stop is the 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 forest. Make your way down the ancient river valley of the Wairarapa through the farming towns of Masterton, Carterton and Greytown before staying in Martinborough for the night.

Day 6
Martinborough - 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 7
Wellington - Picton - Nelson

You have very little driving this morning as you drop your car at the Interislander Ferry Terminal ready to cross the Cook Strait to the South Island. You’ll have a great view of Wellington and the harbour – you can choose to be inside or outside on the ferry. Now you will be crossing Cook Strait, named in honour of Captain Cook in 1770 when he discovered that New Zealand was in fact two islands. The journey then takes you into the majestic Marlborough Sounds, all the way into Picton. Here, you pick up a new rental car. The drive to Nelson via the Queen Charlotte Sound is very picturesque and peaceful, so we recommend this route. You’ll join back on to the main road to Nelson, S H 6, at Havelock. The journey then takes you on to Nelson – the sunniest location in NZ and gateway to the famous Abel Tasman National Park. (2 nights)

Day 8
Nelson and Abel Tasman National Park

Today is yours for relaxing or exploring this lovely area. There are the arts and crafts of the Motueka and Takaka areas, or you may like to choose one of the activities available in the Abel Tasman National Park. There are guided or independent kayak trips available which can include a mix of kayaking and walking.

Day 9
Nelson - Punakaiki

Head south down S H 6 through Murchison and the Buller Gorge to make your way to the West Coast. Some different places to visit on the way are Murchison, Westport and Cape Foulwind. Stay the night at Punakaiki, best known for its Pancake Rocks and Blowholes – both of which are spectacular and a must-see when visiting the West Coast. Other activities include canoe adventures, horse trekking, caving and guided tours to name just a few. Punakaiki has many colourful local crafts people – jewellers, carvers, painters and potters.

Day 10
Punakaiki - Franz Josef

After a morning of sightseeing head south today down the West Coast. There are some neat old towns to visit on the way as well as some great places to photograph the scenery and take a look at the dramatic coastline, you have time to enjoy this area at a leisurely pace. Continue south through to Franz Josef Glacier. The terminal face is a mere 19 kilometres from the sea and just 5 kilometres from the township.

Day 11
Franz Josef - Queenstown

Today, view incredible scenery as you travel past the untouched native forests and pristine lakes of the World Heritage Westland National Park and Haast Pass to Wanaka. (You may wish to add an extra day here to break up your trip and to take advantage of the scenery and available activities like the Siberia Experience.) There’s time to wander around the popular lakeside township before travelling over the spectacular Crown Range to the historic gold mining village of Arrowtown and then on to Queenstown, a beautiful alpine resort regarded as New Zealand’s premier holiday destination. (3 nights)

Day 12
Queenstown

There is a huge number of activities to choose from here in Queenstown – for the adventurous there is bungy jumping, jet boating, 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 13
Queenstown - Milford Sound Cruise - Queenstown

Today is the day for your Milford Sound Nature Cruise. Drive the unforgettable journey from Queenstown into Milford Sound. Located within the World Heritage Fiordland National Park, this region is rich with dense rainforest, lakes and waterfalls cascading from rugged mountain peaks. Travel through the Southern Alps via the Homer Tunnel, a 1.2km tunnel drilled through a solid mountain of rock. Upon arrival at Milford Sound, board the Milford Mariner or Wanderer vessel for a spectacular and leisurely cruise in New Zealand’s most famous waterway. Throughout your cruise, a nature guide provides an engaging commentary about the magnificent scenery and wildlife. Keep a look out for dolphins, seals and penguins. Return to the Milford Visitor Centre where you can then drive back to Queenstown. (L)

Day UP
Milford Sound Coach Tour and Return Flight Upgrade (NZ $498pp)

Take a break from driving and as an alternative enjoy a guided coach trip to Milford and an included cruise on the Sound. Return to Queenstown on a scenic flight taking in magnificent views of the alps, glaciers, lakes and forests of Fiordland National Park. This is 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 very weather dependent, so if the weather doesn’t play ball, then you will need to return by coach and we will refund the flight portion.

Day 14
Queenstown - Mount Cook

Depart Queenstown and travel through the rugged and beautiful landscape of Central Otago. Cross the Lindis Pass into the Mackenzie Country to arrive in Mt Cook National Park where you will find New Zealand’s tallest mountain, Aoraki / Mt Cook which stands at 3754 metres. But just before you get to Twizel be sure to stop off at High Country Salmon which is on your right – it’s an interesting stop in the middle of the country. Drive up the western side of Lake Pukaki to the Mt Cook National Park, a World Heritage listed site. The park covers over 70,000 hectares of breathtaking alpine scenery and is also home to the Tasman Glacier, the longest in the Southern hemisphere. A total scenic highlight, you may wish to see Mt Cook from above by taking an optional scenic flight.

Day 15
Mount Cook - Christchurch

After a relaxing morning, leave New Zealand’s highest mountain behind today as you head north through the picturesque town of Geraldine and across the Canterbury Plains, through to Christchurch. 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.

Day 16
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.

4.7/5.0

There are 37 reviews of this tour from past clients of Relaxing Journeys, averaging 4.7 out of 5.

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Tour Reviews

5
10/03/2018
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.
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5
10/03/2018
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!
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4
02/01/2018
Toni has been a great help by making our honeymoon trip even more wonderful. She is very kind, clear, flexible and patient. We asked for some adjustments in the itinerary and that was all possible. The hotels were well informed by my husbands birthday and our honeymoon. Because of that, we even got free upgrades! Thanks so much Toni!
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4
12/01/2017
Places booked to stay were all very comfortable and friendly. Your suggestions for side trips along the drives were much appreciated and helpful. All in all, tour was wonderful!
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5
28/12/2016
Our trip was thoughtfully organized allowing us an extra day stop exactly when we needed it. We saw & experienced a wonderful cross section of New Zealand, we want to come back. Internet connection on South Island was restrictive & limited. It would have been great if a deal could be made with hotels as part of travel package. Hotels @ Wellington (Ibis) & Masterton (Copthorne) were not to the standard of the rest. The commentary along the way via the navigation system was excellent & so very appreciated, it enhanced our experience without a doubt. The navigation system appeared to be set (we were unable to change settings) on 'quickest' route & it took us a little while to realize it because we missed some suggested sights on the North Island. You thought of everything & we really appreciated it once we were there. Thank you
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5
09/04/2016
The trip was fantastic. What a lovely place to visit. I just loved the prepaid vouchers as it made everything so easy. Having everything prepaid makes it so nice to come home to no big holiday bills. All the accommodation, car hire, Interislander ferry and train trip ran so smoothly it was so good just tearing out a voucher. I just can't speak more highly of Relaxing Journeys and so if anyone is thinking of using you please let them read this or email me for my recommendations. The only accommodation I wouldn't recommend was the Novotel at Rotorua. We knew we were covering a lot of distance in the two weeks we were there but we wanted to see as much as possible in that time. The tour pace was busy but we knew this before we left and hence we got to see a lot of your beautiful country in the two weeks. The Kruse navigation and commentary was also very good. Especially in the cities taking us straight to our accommodation. Thank you SO much. You will hear from us again as I would like to come back to Queenstown during your winter. Thanks again.
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5
22/02/2016
Just got back after nearly three weeks touring both islands, added a day at the start and end of our holiday which I would recommend if you are on a long flight, but absolutely loved N.Z. a stunning beautiful country which we will be going back to at some point, the pace could be a bit lively at times but not to bad and Relaxing Journeys have itinerary's to sort all tastes, Toni did an excellent job for us from start to finish with no hic-cups wot-so-ever and we would not hesitate to use them again. So go on and book your holiday to N.Z. you will love it !!
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5
02/02/2016
Fantastic trip! I can't t emphasize enough how flawlessly it all went thanks to Mani's attention to detail. We spent a lot of time prior to the trip emailing and he always listened to be sure we got it just right. Accommodations, cars, transfers worked perfectly. Everyone was professional and unbelievably friendly with true kiwi hospitality. Our only regret, not having long enough in some locations. Still, it was our own planning. New Zealand is too amazing to see in one or two trips. This was our second visit and first with Relaxing Journeys. We are already planning a return! And we will definitely work with Relaxing Journeys in the future and cannot recommend them more highly.
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5
08/01/2016
Amazingly well organised, travelling with three kids has never been easier. Everything ran smoothly. An amazing part of the world, loved Wanaka and the accommodation there. Would consider alternative accommodation at Franz Joseph, it was out of town a bit and the facilities were very basic.
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5
08/01/2016
Amazingly well organised, travelling with three kids has never been easier. Everything ran smoothly. An amazing part of the world, liven Wanaka and the accommodation there. Would consider alternative accommodation at Franz Josef, it was out of town a bit and the facilities were very basic.
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5
18/12/2015
It is hard to put into words how amazing our 'relaxing journeys' trip to New Zealand was. It is honestly the best holiday we have ever had and the best country we have ever visited. The trip went seamlessly without a hitch, and exceeded all our expectations. We really can't thank the Relaxing Journeys team enough for all the suggestions and logistical organisation. We would definitely recommend relaxing journeys to anyone considering a trip to NZ.
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5
01/03/2015
What a gorgeous country. Unbeatable scenery, very pleasant people. My adult children really liked Mt. Cook and Christchurch (they felt city was quite vibrant with artists and music and street fairs, despite what I saw which was destruction and rubble) and felt Auckland was 'chill'. I liked Milford Sound and Queenstown best. We did a lot of walking and tramping which was great. The travellers we met casually were interesting and contributed a lot - it was nice to exchange stories and sometimes see them a second time if itineraries came together again. Our family loves scenery, animals, and walking/tramping and doesn't mind driving. Cities are great for us, too as the adult kids enjoy clubs and I enjoy museums/shopping. So this vacation was perfect for us.

We lost almost an entire day waiting at the Wellington ferry due to weather and accidents on the Picton side. We might have slightly overdone the driving in the South Island. Too many days driving 5 or so hours. But there isn't anything we would have cut out so maybe we should have added one more day or cut out 1-2 days in the North Island. We would have been fine going from Auckland straight to the South Island, though I understand the peninsula north of Auckland which we didn't see is pretty spectacular. Regret: We should have gone hang gliding in Queenstown - do it! We met a couple in their late 60s who had just gone and loved it. Most of our hotels were lovely - one or two had issues of cleanliness and one had a fire alarm that rang throughout the night, which required us leaving the vicinity of our room to avoid ear damage. No compensation was offered beyond late check out so we could sleep.
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5
10/01/2015
We had the most delightful two weeks in New Zealand and hope that we can come back again someday! Starting with the arrangements made with Toni Harris to the car rentals, maps, hotels and extra trips we booked, the trip went exactly as planned!! When we decided not to drive to Milford Sound but arrange for a bus to take us, Toni arranged that promptly and we were then relieved of driving ourselves that day. The hotels that were arranged for us were great and all had different views that were quite lovely and interesting out our window or patio! My only regret would be the tour pace - partly because everywhere we went we wanted to stay longer!! We had no problem keeping up as we loved to go and see as much as we could, but for someone that doesn't want to get up and GO and enjoys a slower time, I would not suggest this trip for them. All in all, Relaxing Journeys gets an A+ from us!
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5
06/01/2015
Tour was well planned with only a few one night motel stays. The driving between stops was fairly short so we could maximize our time at each place. The itinerary was very helpful and contained many suggestions of what to see along the way. Leanne did an awesome job putting it together for us and she was very responsive. After 5 weeks, we saw a great deal of both islands. New Zealand is a beautiful country and we thank you for sharing it with us!
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5
19/12/2014
Was excellent, thanks to the arrangements by Toni. As a family we enjoyed every hour of the tour and would have no hesitation recommending to others.
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5
30/06/2014
Very friendly service and expert advise from all at Relaxing journeys. The tour was just the right pace and lots of time to do everything. Everything was expertly arranged and ready for us.
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5
09/04/2014
We had a wonderful time on this tour. If I had to do it again, I might not try to put so many destinations on the tour. The driving was a bit much especially when we got 2 days behind. I must commend Relaxing Journeys for finding us a new motel at such short notice (road was closed). Your have a beautiful country, I have recommended your tour to my friends.
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5
04/04/2014
Excellent. We had a very nice vacation... only complaint was the weather, which was not great, but certainly no fault of your company. The hotel accommodations were fantastic, and we managed to drive all around NZ without causing any accidents! Toni, thank you for all your work on our behalf, and when we hear of anyone going to NZ we will recommend your company.
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5
31/03/2014
Everything was perfect! No problems whatsoever, the rental a car was peaceful - please thank Thrifty for us for such a kind and warming service :) - driving on the left was our biggest concern, but it ended up being great! Your roads are quite good, lots of signs, and lots of nice drivers. The itinerary for our tour was also perfect, we were a bit scared if we would be able to keep up with it, but it was really no big deal! I wouldn't say it was relaxing, but we managed to arrive on time to all activities you've programmed for us and the days off the road were also nice to take a break. The choice of hotels was another wonderful thing, we could see you put some time into it, every hotel was intimate related to the whereabouts. We absolutely loved the Punakaiki Resort and the Punga Grove at Mt Cook, everyone was always nice and concerned for our welfare. The activities you've programmed for us also helped us to get a better tourist view of what NZ has to offer. We enjoyed the Maori show a lot, thanks to the Mitai family! The cruise at Milford Sound was unbelievablly beautiful, and we were most lucky, the weather that morning was raining but when we arrived at Milford the sun appeared...here comes the sun, la,la,la...yes, we even got lucky with the weather conditions!

Most of our journey was sunny and whenever the rain came it didn't make a mess...our biggest concerns were the Franz Josef Glacier, Mt Cook, Milford Sound and the whale watch in Kaikoura, but except for Mt Cook everywhere else was great, even in Kaikoura the sea was a bit rough that day but it didn't rain. Like I said, the Maori gods were with us all the way. The bottom line is WE LOVED IT ALL! You are a great country with so much to offer, people are amazingly kind, we will never forget the 'hello, how are you doing this morning?' or 'what are you plans for this evening?' or 'you're not lost, you're in Martinborough!' and we thought we were kind because we are Latins, from South Europe, bah! Nothing like the Kiwis we met. Thank you very much for all your help, Relaxing Journeys should be proud of its service! We'll absolutely recommend it!
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5
01/01/2014
Everything went well from start to finish - the pack we were given at Auckland Airport had literally everything in it we needed. The voucher booklet was excellent. All the hotels were in excellent locations and very convenient fro 'downtown' attractions (except for Wellington). My only issue was the ferry crossing to South Island - it was impossible to leave the hire car in the 'Thrifty' bays because they were all full so we just had to double park. It would have been better to have taken the car on the ferry.
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4
05/12/2013
We really enjoyed the trip. All the B&B's you selected were excellent. We especially liked the Breakers and the Wanaka Springs Lodge. We found that we really didn't need the GPS that much. We had no troubles with the car. All in all it was a very positive experience. It would have been helpful if you provided a little more info on the airports. You have a most beautiful country and should be very proud of it.
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4
30/09/2013
The Itinerary was comprehensive and offered many alternatives as to what we could do on our journey. Our tour of the North Island went without a hitch. Having become thoroughly reliant on our Sat Nav there was some difficulty experienced in replacement of a faulty device early in the South Island trip. Seemingly a minor problem but not so on unfamiliar roads and attempting to stick to a timetable. Our tour consultant Toni Harris stepped in and ensured timely delivery of a replacement device. This service allowed our journey to continue as it was meant to. Good work. We enjoyed New Zealand, the land, it's people and culture.
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4
01/04/2013
This was our first time going overseas and having a package set up for us. Our holiday was very well organized and my consultant was very helpful through out the whole process. The accommodation was very good - the only thing was that at a couple of places where we stayed we were required to find our own parking and pay for it. The places that were set up for us to see were all very worth while and I felt we got value for money.
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5
03/03/2013
The tour was well laid out, driving times were well thought out allowing us plenty of time to explore on our own between destinations. All reservations were complete and checking in at the hotels was a breeze. The maps provided were excellent and needed as the GPS sometimes would detour you around a place you wanted to see. New Zealand is beautiful and the people are extremely friendly and go out of their way to help you if need assistance. The 17 days was too short a time to see everything but about the right length for a holiday. We definitely intend to return and see the things we missed. We will have Relaxing Journeys set it up for us. Great tour and great service.
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4
12/04/2012
We had a wonderful time! The only downside was that at Rotorua we did not realize that we had vouchers for Te Puia the skyline or the Polynesian spa as the itinerary sounded as if these were 'suggestions'. It was only on route the next day that, having bought tickets for Te Puia, and ignored the other two events that we realized what we had missed! Our fault also, as had not checked through all the vouchers, but we were following the itinerary and every other event said 'voucher enclosed'. Everything else was wonderful! Thank you. We had an amazing experience. Would not have known where to start on our own. The trip to Milford Sound was great, but a very long day. Would have been nice to stay overnight a bit closer.
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5
02/04/2012
We were dazzled. Our 25th anniversary trip to NZ was beyond exceptional, thanks to the expertise of Relaxing Journeys. Everything went smoothly, no worries at all. We were left to truly enjoy and be amazed by this unbelievably beautiful country as we completed our self drive tour through both islands. Our accommodations were so special, the people so inviting. Being from the east coast of the US the only issue would be driving on the left side of the road, but I guess that was all part of the adventure! Our highest recommendation to your company for a truly wonderous trip.
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5
12/01/2012
We were very impressed. From the very first email till the end of the trip. Not a single hickup in the bookings anywhere which indicated to us that there is attention to detail in your company. The accomodations were very good and comfortable and all very centrally located. The rental cars were excellent and I loved driving in New Zealand. This trip was to celebrate my parents 50th wedding anniversary and it could not have been a more appropriate trip.
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5
01/01/2012
Excellent arrangements with our variations including adding Dunedin (very necessary for visitors from Edinburgh!)all working to plan. It was a nice surprise to get the map book, we had taken a sat nav but it was useful to check routes and mark up where we had visited! Flying to Milford Sound as alternate to coach trip worked really well and meant not such a long day as well as some awesome sights. Shanty Town well worth a visit in South Island. The alternate hotel we agreed in Napier (the Scenic) is thoroughly recommended. Only disappointment was Ibis hotel in Wellington - room was too small for 2 people. Recommend to anyone offered a corner room to turn it down. There is no room for cases and people! Also only 2 pillows and one chair so really are single rooms.
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4
01/08/2011
We had an absolute ball! Even getting snow bound in Queenstown was a hoot. Although we managed to sort our accommodation during that time ourselves, Toni (our tour consultant) was ever there to support and swing into action should we need her. The supplied car (V6 Toyota Aurion) turned out to be an excellent choice for the challenging roads that New Zealand offers, plenty of power and good on fuel. Thrifty did try to push a 4 cylinder Camry on us at Picton fitted with ski racks but after driving to Nelson through the mountain pass it was not up to the job, heavy on fuel and underpowered. We were able to change it in Nelson. The Thrifty manager at the Nelson airport was very helpful when we approached him about the vehicle. In fact I can say that everybody we dealt with or met throughout New Zealand were wonderful. This made for a really enjoyable holiday that I would recommend to anybody. The route chosen for us exposed us to a real cross section of the country and people. A couple of points in hindsight; Punakaiki - not much to see or do during the colder months. The local pub was a hoot and well-priced food and drink but after a brief walk around the pancakes it was all over. The resort accommodation was the only place we had concerns about the whole way around New Zealand. The room was not prepared as all the others were. It was cold and musty. Could have stayed an extra day in the Glacier country -wow! That is magic. Milford Sound- we were programmed to drive to Milford Sound, boat tour and then drive back on the same day. That's a very big day by anybody's standard. An 8 to 10 hour day then leave Queenstown the next day for Mt Cook. By the time we got to Queenstown we were ready for a go slow and were looking forward to the 3 night stopover. There is certainly no shortage of things to see and do in this amazing town. After talking to the Relaxing Journeys people in Queenstown we chose to exchange our Milford Sound tour for an evening cruise on the TSS Ernslaw with dinner at Walter Peak. Really enjoyed this experience so all worked out well. Sorry to miss Milford Sound as it really deserves a proper look. Certainly on the 'to do' list for next time. There is a bus service that can be included in the tour, if we had known we would have used this service. Christchurch - glad we added this to our stopover. What an amazing community. A resilient bunch that are just getting on with it after such a terrible year. The experience was quite surreal around Lyttelton and Christchurch city. I wish them all well in the future. Our hosts at Halkett Lodge were excellent, very helpful and sent us out in the morning full to the brim with great tucker. I wish to thank Toni for an excellent itinerary, we all thoroughly enjoyed every minute of it. The accommodation (apart from Punakaiki resort) was above average. The service provided by staff also exceptional. A special thanks to Brad at Breakfree in Queenstown for all his help. We will be revisiting New Zealand again. Now that we are armed with a very good over view, our next Custom Adventure will be even better with Relaxing Journeys very much part of the experience. Thank you all for a great holiday!
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5
10/11/2010
We have had what we can only discribe as a holiday of a life time. It has been truly fantastic, what a wonderful country, fantastic scenery, good food and very friendly people. The organisation put in by you and the team has been outstanding. Everything worked perfectly except one hotel booking. We arrived and they couldn't find our reservation, it had been booked under the name of the person at Relaxing Journeys that made the reservation. It was soon sorted and all was well. All the other vouchers worked out very well. All the hotels except one were excellent. We feel we did make a mistake by going to the Ibis in Christchurch. The rooms were too small and very dark with poor lighting, nowhere to open the suit cases and no hanging or draw space. You can rest assured that we will recommend you to anyone who asks how we did it. Top marks, thanks to all the team at Relaxing Journeys that made it possible, please pass on our thanks.
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4
29/10/2010
This was really a fantastic trip - the tour plan went off like clockwork, it was perfect, covered all the important areas and made us wish that time would not fly so fast!! The hotels that were provided were fantastic, the rental cars - agency folks were thoroughly professional and it was a super fast service. There was really no room for any complaints. I do have one suggestion - for those who do not read up adequately before they travel, once the tour is finalized, you could look at providing a list of things to definitely do at each location. This will help a first time traveler immensely. Great work, keep it going.
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5
08/10/2010
We had a grand time in our tour of New Zealand. For nature lovers like us, New Zealand is the Garden of Eden. We found our time there to be both exhilerating and exhausting. Exhausting in that driving on one lane roads - on the wrong side of the road, was a bit wearying on some days. Although that really is the best way to see as much as you can. Exhilerating in that variety of scenery was stunning at every turn. We did get some rain and a bit of wet snow. The visit to Milford Sound was a constant downpour, but I suppose that one would expect that at that time of year. The big cities were emminently walkable. Terrifice museums. We stopped at some excellent wineries (although, again, the time of year for that was not optimal). We got to 7 National Parks, all fabulous. A thoroughly enjoyable trip and thank you for putting it together.
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5
15/09/2010
Our New Zealand family holiday was made so easy for us by going through Relaxing Journeys. From the moment we arrived at the Auckland airport, where all of our travel vouchers, itinery, individual booklets on the towns and areas we were visiting and a touring atlas, were waiting for us, until we checked out of the Christchurch airport, everything was so organised. Thank you for letting us enjoy our stay in beautiful New Zealand by not having to worry about the paper work.
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5
30/03/2010
Kia ora, we are now home from an excellent trip to NZ where we spent four weeks. Due to the volcanic ash over the UK we were advised by Air New Zealand that we would have to stay an extra week. Oh dear what shame! Anyway our self drive vision of new zealand tour was organised by Relaxing Journeys. On arrival in Auckland we were given a bag with all our vouchers in and a prepared intinery maps etc, which were very easy to follow. We collected our car and we were on our way into Auckland to our hotel. No problems. Over the the next six days we travelled down the North Island to Waitomo caves, Rotorua, Napier, Hawkes bay, we stayed at a great place in Martinborough, Aylstone Retreat surrounded by vineyards. Really great people reccommended. From there onto Wellington. I'm afraid we arrived on easter sunday where it was raining and everything was closed it was dead. Sorry but thats how it was. Monday we crossed over to the South Island on our 3 hour boat trip to Picton. We left the ferry picked up our car and were soon on our way. Next stop Nelson we took the senic route. We arrived in Nelson for a two night stop at the Arthur Wakefield Motor Inn. We took one look and you know this is not the place for you! God it was a shit hole. No way could we stay there for two nights! To say the least we were not impressed so we moved on we did not want to stay in that town. So we were ahead of ourselfs and ended up in Punakaiki a day early. Relaxing Journeys booked us a extra night in Franz Josef to bring us back on course. There were no problems the rest of journey and we enjoyed all the sights of the South Island. Brilliant tour reccommended. Just keep away from the Arthur Wakefield Motor Inn! To those at Relaxing Journeys thankyou for 97% of our trip, and to let you know that in Christchurch we were able to make contact with my wife's family which was a bonus. Great trip - thank you.
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4
05/01/2010
Everything was fantastic. It was easy to understand the itinerary & everyone was so kind & willing to help. If we travel New Zealand again we would look at using your services again. Thank you.
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4
17/12/2009
We had a fantastic time. All of your arrangements worked perfectly. At times we felt we're rushing off to the next location too soon or spending too much time driving (Milford Sound). Overall, it was a great itinerary. However, we would not stay at Bay Plaza Hotel in Wellington again (horrible bathroom with non draining shower stall). We loved Punakaiki Resort. The rest of the hotels were nice, too. We would love to come back to New Zealand. Thank you so much for all your hard work. Kia ora!
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4
18/02/2009
My husband and I returned last Saturday from our New Zealand Adventure (16 Day Visions of New Zealand, with some add-ons). I want to tell you how much we appreciated the time Cam took to arrange all the details of the customized tour for us. My initial enquiry was responded to promptly; all my questions - and there were many - were answered; and additions/changes were made with professionalism and a sense of humor. From the time we were met at the airport in Auckland, until our last day in Christchurch, almost everything (except the weather some days) was perfect. We were pleased with our rental cars, meals (we weren't expecting so many cooked breakfasts), activities and most accommodations. The lodging exceeded our expectations in all but one place (pretty good since we stayed at 13 different establishments!). We were allowed to check in at whatever time we arrived. In most cities/towns we left the car in the car park and walked to restaurants, shops and attractions. It was so convenient to submit a voucher and get a rental car, lodging, transportation or admission to an attraction or activity. All we had to purchase were lunches and dinners that weren't included in the tour, petrol and souvenirs. The optional activities we chose were professionally run, educational, and a lot of fun. Cam's suggestions of places to visit outside our itinerary (Sky Tower, Maritime Museum, Puzzling World, Lower Hollyford Track, etc.) were excellent. We only wish we could have had more time at each stop! I have been singing the praises of Relaxing Journeys' wonderful service since returning home. I would say to those of you reading this who might be apprehensive about a driving tour if you're accustomed to driving on the right, don't let it stop you from driving in New Zealand. It's not as difficult as you might think!!
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Optionals

New Zealand has a great deal of things to see and do, why not add one of our optional sightseeing activities to your trip. Prices are per adult (we'll adjust your quote for any children).

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16 Day Visions of New Zealand
Self Drive Tours
Tour Code: GNVNZ
From (NZD) $3450 per person
Save (NZD) $345 per person
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Departures: May 2018 to March 2019
Rating:
37 reviews (4.7/5)

Tour both islands of New Zealand on this excellent self drive tour incorporating all the main regions of New Zealand and travelling down the west coas... Read More

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16 Day Visions of New Zealand
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