25 Day Grand Explorer

25 Day Grand Explorer

With two & three night stopovers in the Bay of Islands, Coromandel, Rotorua, Napier, Nelson, Franz Josef, Akaroa, Dunedin & Queenstown, this self drive holiday will show you all that New Zealand has to offer at a relaxed pace.

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) $4533 per person
Tour Operator: Relaxing Journeys
Pace: Relaxing
Duration: 25 Days
Tour Code: GNPT

Inclusions

24 nights accommodation
2 night stopovers in Bay of Islands, Coromandel, Rotorua, Napier, Nelson, Kaikoura, Franz Josef, Akaroa and Dunedin
3 nights in majestic Queenstown
Waitangi Treaty Grounds day pass including guided tour & cultural experience
Hole in the Rock & Cape Brett cruise
Admission to Matakohe Kauri Museum
Admission to the Te Puia geothermal region
Te Po - Maori cultural experience with traditional hangi
Admission to the Wai-O-Tapu geothermal region
Half day wine tour in Napier
Scenic Interislander Ferry Cruise
Akaroa Harbour Nature Cruise
Dunedin Wildlife Cruise & Peninsula Tour
Queenstown's Famous Shotover Jet
Milford Sound Day Tour - Coach & Nature Cruise
Award winning TranzAlpine Train Journey through the Southern Alps
Rental vehicle of your choice
Admissions outlined in the Itinerary
Airport transfers to/from your accommodation
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

On arrival at Auckland airport, you will be personally met by our representative & transferred in an executive sedan to your accommodation. The afternoon is yours to relax or to explore the ‘City of Sails’. Auckland is New Zealand’s largest and most vibrant city, offering an exciting array of cosmopolitan experiences. Family attractions abound and the city has plenty of adrenaline for adventure lovers. Indulge in Auckland’s shopping, nightlife and unrivalled cuisine. Discover why Auckland is one of the best places in the world to live – and visit.

Your choice of accommodation

Day 2
Auckland - Bay of Islands

Take delivery of your rental car this morning. Travel north over the Harbour Bridge and along the Hibiscus Coast to arrive in Paihia, a seaside town nestled on the shores of this National Maritime Park in the Bay of Islands. On arrival visit the historic Waitangi Treaty Grounds, New Zealand’s most historic site where the Treaty was signed between the Maori Chiefs and the British Crown. (2 nights)

Your choice of accommodation

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 you’ll 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. 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.

Kerikeri, only 15 minutes drive from Paihia, is worth a visit. Kerikeri Mission House, the country’s oldest house built by John Butler in 1821, and the Mission’s Stone Store dating from 1832 is New Zealand’s oldest stone building. The area is well known for its orchards, vineyards and art galleries. There’s a lively cafe scene, good restaurants and wineries as well as several gourmet food producers to visit – indulge in delicious handmade chocolates or locally made macadamia liqueur.

Your choice of accommodation

Day 4
Bay of Island – Auckland

Head south from Paihia and at Whangarei, take the turn-off to Dargaville. Home to the original Dalmatian gum diggers and kauri loggers who made the area their own in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, and whose lives are charted in the local museum. Approximately 40 kms south of Dargaville is Matakohe, home to the Kauri Museum (admission included). This amazing museum tells the fascinating story of the pioneering days through the use of kauri timber and kauri gum. Explore the many exceptional displays and galleries inside the museum from the magnificent collection of antique kauri furniture and the largest collection of kauri gum in the world to restored machinery including New Zealand’s earliest tractor, a 1929 Cat 60, and a turning steam sawmill. Leaving Matakohe, rejoin the main highway and make your way towards Auckland.

Your choice of accommodation

Day 5
Auckland - Coromandel

This morning you continue your journey to the Coromandel through Auckland and along the Pacific Coast Highway, traversing the spectacular east coast of the North Island, is one of the great touring routes in the world. The Pacific Coast Highway is well signposted along the entire route, giving a safe and easy way to navigate through some of the most spectacular coastal scenery New Zealand has to offer. (2 nights)

Your choice of accommodation

Day 6
Coromandel

The Coromandel Peninsula is an unspoilt haven. Today you have a full day of leisure. You may choose to enjoy stunning Cathedral Cove. Accessible only on foot or by boat, famous Cathedral Cove is one of the “must visit” sites on the Coromandel Peninsula. The track begins at the northern end of Hahei. You can also choose to dig your own spa pool using the thermal waters in the sand at Hot Water Beach. Some volcanos develop huge underground reservoirs of superheated water. Over time, this water escapes to the surface — cooling on the way. There are two fissures at Hot Water Beach issuing water as hot as 64ºC (147ºF)! This water contains large amounts of salt (NOT salt water), calcium, magnesium, potassium, fluorine, bromine and silica. There are other hot water springs nearby but the location of these two springs on the beach make them unique. You can only dig your own spa pool 1 hour either side of low tide.

Your choice of accommodation

Day 7
Coromandel - Rotorua

Depart today and travel along the Bay of Plenty coastline through the subtropical orchards of kiwi fruit and citrus. Head inland through massive pine forests, passing many of the regions crystal clear lakes en route to Rotorua. You have time to spend a relaxing afternoon exploring Rotorua. (2 nights)

Your choice of accommodation

Day 8
Rotorua

Free time to explore Rotorua this today. You may like to visit the Agrodome or take a gondola ride to the top of Mt Ngongotaha for spectacular views of Rotorua. Later this afternoon visit Te Puia geothermal area to view the boiling mudpools and cascading Pohutu geyser that make Rotorua famous as New Zealand’s thermal city. 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. (D)

Your choice of accommodation

Day 9
Rotorua - Lake Taupo - Napier

This morning depart Rotorua and head to Wai-O-Tapu. Walk at your own pace and marvel at the reserve’s unique features that include the world famous Champagne Pool, geysers, bubbling mud, steaming ground, expansive vistas, huge volcanic craters and sinter terrace formations. Stop at the mighty Huka Falls and Wairakei Geothermal project then wander around the popular lakeside resort of Taupo. Continue on to Napier, one of the world’s finest Art Deco cities. (2 nights)

Your choice of accommodation

Day 10
Napier

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.

Your choice of accommodation

Day 11
Napier - Wellington

Drive south today to the Wairarapa, a rural retreat in the very heart of New Zealand. Stop in at Martinborough, a unique wine village with over 20 boutique vineyards before continuing onto Wellington, the nation’s capital. A visit to Te Papa, the national museum, is highly recommended.

Your choice of accommodation

Day 12
Wellington - Picton - Nelson

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, drive onto Nelson, a stunning seaside town and gateway to the Abel Tasman National Park. (2 nights)

Your choice of accommodation

Day 13
Nelson

Today is at leisure to explore this beautiful region caught between sweeping coastline and the northern edge of the Southern Alps. Nelson is home to diverse communities that have blossomed on rich land in a Mediterranean climate. It is a true lifestyle destination based on adventure, art and nature. Highly recommended is a trip to Abel Tasman National Park.

Your choice of accommodation

Day 14
Nelson - Kaikoura

As you head south to Kaikoura, the road is dominated by the awesome beauty of the Pacific Coast. Before the small town of Ward you�ll come to the Lake Grassmere saltworks – an interesting stop, particularly in late summer when the ponds turn coral pink. Quinnat salmon are known to run in the Clarence River and just north of the Ure River is a road that leads to the walking trails of the Sawcut Gorge. Kaikoura, located in a narrow strip of stunning coastline between mountain peaks and the Pacific Ocean, is a place of unparalleled wildlife experiences.

Your choice of accommodation

Day 15
Kaikoura - Akaroa

Maybe enjoy a whale-watching cruise or flight before continuing south onto the Banks Peninsula, known for its stunning scenery and amazing wildlife. Your stay is in the quaint village of Akaroa, home to the early French settlers of the 1840s. (2 nights)

Your choice of accommodation

Day 16
Wildlife Harbour Cruise

Your wildlife harbour cruise today will be fully narrated by your skipper who has extensive knowledge of the nature, wildlife and history of the harbour. The highlight of this trip is undoubtedly the sighting of one of the world’s smallest and rarest dolphins, the Hector’s or New Zealand Dolphin. These friendly and inquisitive mammals meet the boat most days throughout the year and their calves can be seen between October and March. Also on the trip you may catch glimpses of the White Flippered Blue Penguin, the smallest penguin in the world. There are many different bird species in the Harbour, including five different cormorant species and there is the chance of sighting the endangered yellow-eyed penguin.

Your choice of accommodation

Day 17
Akaroa - Dunedin

Depart Akaroa today and continue south along the East Coast to reach Moeraki, famous for the fascinating Moeraki Boulders (Maori legend describes them as the food baskets of the gods). Continue south to reach the Scottish influenced city of Dunedin, renowned for its natural history and Otago University. (2 nights)

Your choice of accommodation

Day 18
Dunedin

This morning cruise the length of the beautiful Otago Harbour with Monarch Cruises. Enjoy a wildlife cruise experience with unrivalled viewing of the exciting diversity of wildlife which abounds on spectacular Taiaroa Head; the only mainland nesting place for Northern Royal Albatross in the world, and home to NZ fur seals, and eight other nesting bird species. You may also see, dolphins, sea lions and a fascinating array of rarely seen ocean birds including other species of albatross, penguins and marine mammals in their natural environment.

This afternoon is at your leisure. You may wish to take a visit to New Zealand’s oldest brewery for an entertaining and enlightening heritage tour, and guided Tours of Larnach Castle and the stately home of Olveston House.

Your choice of accommodation

Day 19
Dunedin - Queenstown

Travel today through the historic goldfields of Central Otago to Queenstown, a beautiful alpine resort and regarded as one of New Zealand’s premier holiday destinations. (3 nights)

Your choice of accommodation

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)

Your choice of accommodation

Day UP
Milford Sound Overnight Upgrade Package

To experience the best of Milford Sound, upgrade to an overnight cruise and instead of returning to Queenstown, stay onboard the Milford Mariner. Return to Queenstown by coach (or optional scenic flight – see below) the next day. This upgrade package adds an extra day to your itinerary.

Your choice of accommodation

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.

Your choice of accommodation

Day 21
Queenstown

Nothing you have experienced will have prepared you for the excitement of a Shotover Jet ride as you speed through the towering, rocky canyons of the South Island’s river of gold. The major highlight is the famous Shotover Turn, where your boat spins through a full 360 degrees in its own length. On completion the remainder of the day is at leisure to relax or explore Queenstown. Optional activities available include bungy jumping, white water rafting, four wheel driving, cruising on Lake Wakitipu, riding a gondola to the summit of Bob’s Peak for panoramic views or simply enjoying the excellent shopping and dining available.

Your choice of accommodation

Day 22
Queenstown - Franz Josef

Depart Queenstown this morning, travel along the shores of Lakes Wanaka and Hawea to the Haast Pass, gateway to World Heritage Westland National Park. Then continue up the West Coast past spectacular mountain ranges, native forests and lakes to Franz Josef Glacier. (2 nights)

Your choice of accommodation

Day 23
Franz Josef Glacier

Unique in the fact that the Franz Josef Glacier descends from the Southern Alps to just 240 metres above sea level amidst the greenery and lushness of a temperate rainforest, endless opportunities exist to allow you to take in the beauty of this special part of the South Island’s West Coast. Take an optional guided walk or heli-hike to explore the spectacular ice formations; experience the thrill of a scenic flight and place your footprints onto a high alpine snowfield; feel your adrenaline rush on New Zealand’s most scenic skydive; visit New Zealand’s only White Heron (Kotuku) nesting colony; take in the scenery as you kayak the stunning Okarito lagoon or visit Lake Matheson, renowned for its mirror images of Aoraki/Mt Cook and Mt Tasman, New Zealand’s highest peaks

Your choice of accommodation

Day 24
TranzAlpine Train - Christchurch

Depart Franz Josef this morning and travel further north along the rugged West Coast to Greymouth. Your journey features some spectacular countryside with the rugged Tasman Sea to the west and the stunning Southern Alps to the east. On arrival in Greymouth return your rental car to the Greymouth depot before checking in for your train journey to Christchurch. The TranzAlpine is described as “The Great New Zealand Rail Adventure” and is rated as one of the top six scenic train journeys in the world. Ascend through lush beech forests past the beautiful Lake Brunner via the alpine village of Arthur’s Pass situated 737 metres above sea level, before crossing the spectacular Southern Alps. The TranzAlpine then winds its way over massive viaducts, through spectacular river gorges and the stunning Waimakariri River valley before arriving in Christchurch.

Your choice of accommodation

Day 25
Depart Christchurch

Sadly, your holiday is at an end and you will be transferred to Christchurch airport today for your onward flight. Here, we bid you a fond farewell and hope you leave with many happy memories of your stay in Aotearoa, New Zealand.

Your choice of accommodation

4.8/5.0

There are 73 reviews of this tour from past clients of Relaxing Journeys, averaging 4.8 out of 5.

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Tour Reviews

5
13/03/2018
The entire trip was wonderful and flawless. We purposely planned a leisurely trip and it was worth it. The accommodations (Bed & Breakfasts) were great. One of the best parts of the trip was meeting many wonderful people from New Zealand as well as from all over the world. We thoroughly enjoyed the New Zealand trip and highly recommend Relaxing Journeys. Good job, Toni!
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5
03/03/2018
First class; the holiday was so special and the planning, organisation and execution via Relaxing Journeys was exceptional, not one hiccup. Big thanks to all the team but especially Toni who provided excellent suggestions and was very understanding, helpful and patient. We thought that a month was long enough, however we will have to make a return sometime in the future to further to enjoy this fantastic country, tremendous history and it's wonderful people. Thank you all very much.
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5
01/10/2017
Trip was excellent and the team was great to work with. Only a few minor hiccups that were quickly resolved. Given I was traveling alone I probably should have left a few more open days to explore and mix in some more adventure trips. Also would've been good to schedule more opportunities to heli-hike on the glacier (mine was cancelled due to weather). I highly recommend Relaxing Journeys!
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4
01/04/2017
Loved NZ and the tour. Everything was organised and ready for us. We only had to enjoy ourselves without the hassle. It was a great opportunity to see both islands. We had some weather issues but that was out of anyone's control. Only had one travel and stay that really was wasted time because we travelled a great distance but couldn't really see the place because of the time of arrival and because we had to leave the area to travel a great distance the next day. The accommodation was fantastic the B&B's were beautiful and of a high quality. We would recommend this tour. Thanks for all your help.
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5
04/03/2017
Fantastic, well organised itinerary. All accommodation, car hire, tours and transfers went without a glitch, including the reinstated Tranzalpine train journey. The add on tours to Waiheke Island and Franz Josef Glacier were great additions. We did however find the one night at Kaikoura after the difficult and long internal route, followed by a further long drive, including further necessary delays for roadworks, to Akaroa to be insufficient and tiring. We understand this situation has been forced upon you and will improve, with time, especially when the road north of Kaikoura is reopened. There are is also lots to do in Kaikoura including whale watching, swimming with dolphins etc. Happy to recommend Relaxing Journeys. A great way to combine a planned itinerary with the freedom of your own vehicle. Thank you Mani and team at Relaxing Journeys for a wonderful experience.
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5
28/02/2017
Absolutely perfectly planned and executed by all involved.
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5
28/02/2017
From the moment we first inquired about the customized grand tour to the last moment when we were taken to the airport for our air flight home, this company went above and beyond to make our trip a \"trip of a lifetime\". We planned the trip for 8 months, getting efficient and expert advice from our tour representative, Mani. This is a lot of money to spend on one trip and we wanted it to be spent wisely and precisely. Mani helped us make many decisions and we were able to plan additional destinations. We put a tremendous amount of faith into this company's ability to pull this trip off. The journey was beyond what we expected. The accommodations, activities, pace and people were outstanding. We wouldn't change anything. If you are thinking about using this company, we would strongly recommend them.
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5
23/02/2017
Having traveled around NZ many years ago, I had very definite ideas about where I wanted to go and what I wanted to experience. Toni was very pleasant and cooperative in answering questions, offering advice and making adjustments to the standard itinerary to ensure that my objectives were satisfied. I highly recommend Relaxing Journeys in general and Toni in particular to help plan the NZ trip and then make all the necessary reservations for the rental car, ferry, hotels and activities. Thanks to their capable efforts, my 30-day NZ adventure was wonderful.
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5
16/02/2017
Overall, excellent trip although one needs to be aware that roads are very different to what most would be use to and hence, additional time is needed between stops. Accommodation, in the main, very good to excellent with hosts rated the same. Service provided by Relaxing Journeys first class, both before and during which after been caught in a bush fire stoppage, the company was able to find us alternative accommodation our then desired destination.
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5
12/02/2017
Mani did a great job of putting together our tour. We booked this trip on February 2 and departed the USA on February 12. Accommodations, logistics and activities all worked perfectly. It was remarkable that Mani could get this all done in such a short time during the high season. The pace of the trip was a bit taxing, but we loved every place we visited and we won't change a thing. Highlights for us were Bay of Islands, Akaroa, Te Anua and the Glaciers. We were a bit underwhelmed by Nelson/Richmond. But we loved the surrounding areas (Abel Tasman, etc.). All in all a remarkable trip. Especially given the last minute booking. Thank You Mani!
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5
20/01/2017
This has been a great holiday and will recommend it to friends. Could have done with a few free days with longer stays but appreciate these would have required a longer holiday and more expense. Accommodation excellent with only one exception in Wellington (this was ok, but rather scruffy). Rewa House was exceptional mostly due to the excellent hosts, Eden House in Auckland and the accommodation in Dunedin and Napier also superb. The overall organisation was perfect, with superbly arranged pick ups always on time - well done. We enjoyed the Hole in the Rock and the Milford Sound trips even though the latter required a long coach journey and the jet boat ride in Queenstown was a real treat - not for Carol though, having read the leaflet she decided it was not for her. Consequently the operator only charged for three of us. Everyone we met were so friendly and helpful - a credit to all concerned. Thanks for everything,
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5
18/01/2017
Well put together itinerary. All arrangements spot on. Most accommodations excellent and a few absolutely outstanding. The TranzAlpine railway was not running and options were offered and put in place to complete the trip without fuss. Good mix of trips included in the package. Overall we were delighted with the whole holiday and sad to come home.
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5
14/01/2017
We thoroughly enjoyed our self drive tour of New Zealand. We liked the way you always got the same person to help you through your decision of what you wanted to do, Marie was excellent and patiently helped us through all our decisions and made it work when we wanted to add extra things to an itinerary or take something out. That way we ended up with exactly what we wanted. The tour went like clockwork, there was a voucher for everything so once we had paid for our holiday it was only really lunches and dinners we were paying for and of course any take-home gifts! We recommended Relaxing Journeys to quite a few people as we were touring around, everyone liked the voucher system and that we were booked onto everything so you knew you were on a tour or trip. We would have no hesitation on recommending them to friends and family and would use them again.
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4
02/01/2017
Our tour was very well organised and everything ran like clockwork, even when we hit 'bumps in the road' due to uncharacteristic weather adversities. Our contacts (Christine and Toni) really went the extra mile to ensure we enjoyed our vacation.
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4
01/01/2017
Very good itinerary, with some varying bed and breakfasts. After a poor start at Ponsonby, where the B&B was of a poor standard, with no wardrobe space and a set of coat hangars on the wall, most of the others were of a higher standard. A special mention of praise to Sally for service above and beyond normal. New Zealand is a beautiful country and Relaxing Journeys was a good way to see it. You have our recommendations, and we would certainly look to you if we come in the future. Last but not least thanks to Mani for composing our trip.
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5
01/01/2017
We had an outstanding time on our holiday. We felt 5 and 1/2 weeks was the perfect amount of time to explore both the North and South Islands. We appreciated the location of all of our lodging. Marie was most helpful during the planning stage and when we made a couple of adjustments for an airplane ride (weather related) and one lodging location (weather related), your organization was most helpful. We would highly recommend your company to anyone traveling to New Zealand. Thank you for making our holiday magical.
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5
17/12/2016
The itinerary we worked out with Toni, including routing, accommodations and all activities, was excellent. Cliff Edge by the Sea, including a three course dinner by Peter Meier, was the best B&B we have ever stayed, in many years of travel. Other highlights of the trip included the Hermitage Aoraki Mount Cook with Christmas dinner in the Panorama restaurant, the Doubtful Sound and Milford Mariner Overnight Cruises, Franz Josef Glacier Heli-Hike, and Wilson's Swing Bridge Bush & Beach in Abel Tasman. I rated service down a bit because the GPS system in the Kruse Commentary system provided in the rental cars was technically out-dated, information not current and was very difficult to use, often providing directions on back roads (perhaps the shortest way, but not the easiest, quickest or best way). Also, some hotels and B&B's were not in the GPS system locator. I suggest that directions to hotels and B&B's be provided by Relaxing Journeys in the itinerary, not just the name and address of the accommodations. For example, the Heritage Hotel Christchurch was very difficult to find due to construction and one-way streets, and the signage on the hotel was impossible to see from the street level while driving a car. Including a small local area map and a small picture of the hotels and B&B's with the name of the accommodation in the itinerary would be helpful. Overall, a terrific trip, and I would certainly recommend Relaxing Journeys, and Toni, to others planning a visit to New Zealand. A wonderful, beautiful and friendly country.
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5
05/12/2016
We had a fabulous time exploring your breathtakingly beautiful country, and getting to know some very friendly and welcoming people. Toni put together the perfect itinerary for us based on our abilities and available time. Thank you, Aotearoa, for an exhilarating vacation full of spectacular wonders! Kia ora!
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5
27/10/2016
First of all I plan on sending you a more detailed account of our trip but wanted to let you know the trip you planned for us was outstanding. We have traveled to several places in our 70 years and this by far ranks either at the top or very close to it. Mani, I know I must of asked a lot of dumb questions but you were patient and understanding. I really appreciate that! I should point out my first few days of driving in NZ was anything but a Relaxing Journey but I adapted. A little disappointed we did not get our jet boat ride so I did get to make a bungee jump, not to bad for an old guy. Yep I would do it again. I have a few minor suggestions included in the letter I am preparing you may want to consider for future travelers that would enhance their experience. Once again, Thanks
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5
24/10/2016
Had a fantastic holiday. Although not badly affected felt supported through the earthquake situation. The organisation was spot on everything was ready for us and went like clockwork I would definitely recommend you. Accommodation of a particularly high standard. I will try and email with a more detailed review but thank you.
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5
01/10/2016
Thank you Relaxing Journeys for guiding and helping us through a wonderful and memorable experience in North and South Islands, New Zealand. Your accommodation choices were excellent and completely dispelled any reservations we had as we met the most wonderful hosts who gave us the most friendly and personable welcome we could wish for. Your excursion recommendations on each leg of our journey gave us a fascinating insight into what a wonderful country New Zealand is, and we only scratched the surface even though we spent 35 days travelling in some of the most spectacular countryside and scenery we had the pleasure of experiencing. Thank you Christine and Toni for making this a memorable holiday that will stay in our memories and cameras forever.
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4
06/09/2016
We booked the 24 day Grand Explorer Tour with Relaxing Journeys and our consultant was Toni Harris. Toni was great to deal with and quick in answering all of our queries. We had the best time in New Zealand and the tour package was great. All our hotels were amazing and we were even upgraded to the five star hotel in Franz Josef. The Maori cultural experience in Rotorua was such a good experience, and the concert was amazing. Other highlights on our trip included the Heli Hike in Franz Josef, Milford Sound and Shotover jet boat in Queenstown. We did have a few issues with the GPS taking us off the main highways and onto back roads. Not sure if there was a setting that could stop this or maybe the GPS needed to be updated, but other than that we didn't have any other issues with the tour. Everyone we met was really nice which added to our holiday experience. NZ is a beautiful country and there is so much nice scenery to stop and take photos of along the way. I will definitely be recommending Relaxing Journeys to my friends and family who may be considering a self drive tour around NZ. Thanks again Toni, we had a blast!
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5
26/02/2016
This was the best organised tour that we've ever been on - everything was absolutely spot-on! Thanks to Mani with whom everything was discussed beforehand and he put it in place to perfection. I can recommend Relaxing Journeys to anybody who wants to visit NZ with the greatest peace of mind.
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5
21/02/2016
Overall we were very pleased with our tour, and exceptionally pleased with the service that our consultant, Toni provided us. The whole trip went smoothly and the only glitch we had with the missing breakfast at the Wellington B&B, was dealt with before we had contacted Relaxing Journeys about the problem. The only thing I would do differently would be to bring my own GPS to use in our rental car. Our Kruse GPS had a problem with screen resolution so that if it was mounted on the windscreen, during daylight hours it was too faint to see. My wife kept it on her lap while we were in the car and relayed the instructions to me. Also, the GPS must have been set to take us the shortest distance rather than the fastest time, so on a couple of occasions early in our trip it took us onto gravel roads where it was unsafe to travel over 30km/hr. I could not adjust the settings in any way as I can on my own GPS and the Kruse company only offered telephone assistance for questions - no instruction came with the GPS other than initial pairing instructions with the car radio. For us, the most important feature of the GPS is to provide directions to the destination. The feature of lesser importance to us was the commentary provided by the GPS, which we found from time to time, was a distraction.
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02/02/2016
The GPS was out of date, poor graphics, often wanted to divert us down some remote side road rather than staying on the highway and needed greater emphasis on using it in conjunction with the map (to avoid bogus turns) and using it in maximum magnification or turns were not easy to visualize. I would consider skipping Takapuna and going on to Coromandel. Nelson to Akaroa is a tough drive due to the last section being at the end of the day. Perhaps a day in Christchurch would be better before continuing on to Akaroa. We did the downtown double decker one hour bus tour because our flight was later in the day and found it fascinating. Everything went without a hitch and pickups were right on time. Accommodations were all fine. The upgrade on the ferry was a nice touch.
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01/02/2016
Loved seeing an overview of the entire country. We were so so on the GPS Kruse. Didn't think it was a very good GPS as it doesnt show cross streets and doesn't have accommodations on the point. However was good with the history. Thought the route was pretty good. But I might suggest for the over 50 crowd to stay in Arrowtown instead of Queenstown...too much going on there. This sure let us see the country, which we really appreciated..so weighing this against 3 nights in each area which would of been more relaxing pace. Fiordland Lodge was by far the best of the best. The accommodation in Wanaka was our least favorite along with the Hermitage. But would not have wanted to miss either location. But we loved the people that owned the place in Wanaka. The George was awesome too and view from Rimu was amazing. Stewart Island was lovely too and Sails Ashore was a great place with great hosts. All in all it was a wonderful experience. We like to go different places all the time and usually do not come back to the same area. We were so impressed with the beauty and majesty of the country plus the friendliness of the people...except for crazy drivers honking all the time...I guess the expect everyone to turn a corner at the full speed limit and had no patience at all. Honk, honk, honk.... Thank you for your assistance. I am also glad we dropped the excursions...it felt a little more organic and more relaxing to do it as we went and of course you choose based on weather. We have recommended you to others.
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29/01/2016
Completely and totally impressed. What an amazing trip! All I had done prior to our trip was to find reviews of tour companies, not any of the endless search for the right location, the right hotel, etc. etc. With Toni's help, she, painlessly for us, crafted a tour. The hotels ranged from delightful, quirky and very comfortable B&B's to hotels at the height of excellence. The range and selection added to the excitement of the trip. The travel plans were also excellent - we never felt rushed and especially not bored. The Kruse GPS, the individualized tour guide, the booklets and maps added to our knowledge of New Zealand, and combined with the location of the hotels allowed us to wander cities, towns and the countryside easily. One of the major delights were the excursions that came as part of the package. I would never have chosen a Jet Boat ride. It became one of the highlights! What fun! New Zealand is an absolutely beautiful country and with Relaxing Journeys and Toni's help, we had a wonderful visit. P.S. Value for Money - very much so. Due to an accident affecting the train and our flight plans, we were unable to take the TransAlpine train to finish our trip. We were delighted when Relaxing Journeys automatically refunded us the cost of the train ride. This speaks to their honesty.
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5
21/01/2016
Very easy to organise on line with quick and efficient responses on email. Trip can be tailored to your needs. The holiday itself was first class with good accommodation (b/b option) enjoyed meeting other travellers and the b/b owners were helpful and went the extra mile to make your stay as comfortable as possible. The hire vehicles were of a good standard and enjoyed the Cruise GPS system with its commentary during the journeys. There are a couple of very long days and we did find this quite tiring but given the distances to travel we accepted this as part of the adventure. Would really recommend this trip to anyone who wants to see as much as possible in the time given of a very special and beautiful country.
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07/01/2016
The tour was excellent. Toni listened to every word we said so we ended up with a wonderful trip. The itinerary exactly matched what we wanted to do.
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30/12/2015
Superbly organised. Everything happened when it should have. Taxis collected on time, accommodation was excellent throughout and hosts were in the main very welcoming and pleasant. The voucher system for accommodation and excursions worked very well. Beforehand some of the drives seemed a bit daunting, time wise but they passed very quickly due to the ever changing surroundings, stunning scenery and the commentary from the Kruse travel guide. New Zealand is a wonderful country, in fact I think it seems to have parts of the whole world in one country. The pace of life is slower than the U.K. and this shows by the people we met being very friendly, helpful and very proud of their country. Our short stay only scratched the surface and it would take many more visits to appreciate New Zealand fully. It's a pity you're so far away but I suppose that's what makes New Zealand so special. Thank you New Zealand.
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10/11/2015
Fantastic holiday, each place had something new and different to see or do, great accomodation, well organised this holiday really had the wow factor!
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04/11/2015
The self-drive approach was a great way to see New Zealand. This was due to Wayne being very comfortable driving in New Zealand. Our accommodations were really good. Most of the hosts were incredibly friendly and helpful. It was really nice being able to travel at our own pace. Other than making sure that we arrived at our activities \"on-time\" we could set our own pace for each day. We loved that flexibility. We also loved how transfers to and from the airport and train station were thought of for us. Thanks Mani!
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08/03/2015
Outstanding! I can think of few words to express what an incredible honeymoon we had with your help. I had started to put our tour together but thank goodness I found Relaxing Journeys. We didn't alter a single aspect of the tour that they put together and we reflect that we would change nothing in hindsight. The boutique hotels were fantastic, the suggestions of places to visit spot on and the driving times, though tight were accurate. Everything asked for and expected was delivered, mostly more so. I wouldn't hesitate to recommend Relaxing Journeys and should we return to New Zealand (and I seriously hope we will), your website will be the first place I go to for travel options. A massive thank you Toni and the team at Relaxing Journeys.
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01/03/2015
At first I was apprehensive about booking an arranged holiday as we have always done our own thing, but my fears were allayed whence upon arrival we were met and everything was explained to us. Everything from the car hire to the ferry crossing ( nice touch having access to the private lounge) to the Transalpine train journey and all transfers went smoothly and flawlessly. The choices of B&Bs was outstanding my partner and I cannot fault any of them, each and everyone of them had their charm and quirkiness. There is one thing I think that would help is that a couple of vouchers for laundry. I know it is not a lot, but to know that you have not got to budget for that but it would help. So thank you Relaxing Journeys for a wonderful service.
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14/02/2015
This was a great tour which was superbly organized and was a great way to visit New Zealand for the first time. Whilst retaining the freedom of not being part of an organized tour you had all the hard work of recommending places to visit, looking for accommodation etc, done for you whilst having full flexibility to adjust the itinerary before hand in discussion with your tour consultant. The voucher system worked without a hitch and the accommodation choices were brilliant particularly the B&Bs. Any questions, issues were dealt with quickly and efficiently. Nothing seems to have been forgotten from the moment from being picked up at the airport. Whilst 26 days sound quite a lot it is not really long enough and the pace is quite quick and we would have loved to have stayed longer in such places like Bay of Islands, Nelson to explore a little longer the beauty of Abel Tasman and also the southern mountains. The trouble is NZ is such a beautiful country you want to see more. In summary I congratulate Relaxing Journeys for organizing this tour and would recommend them without hesitation to anyone thinking of visiting NZ.
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04/02/2015
We couldn't believe how organized everything was. Of 24 days, there was not one hitch! Relaxing Journeys arranged our car rental, insurance, GPS (extraordinary Kruse GPS), hotels and excursions in the South and North Islands. And all of the places we stayed at and excursions we booked were exactly as we expected. Our travel consultants, Leanne and then Marie were exceptional in their attention to detail and very responsive too. We had to make a little adjustment to our plans within three weeks of leaving on our trip and Relaxing Journeys handled it all with calm and efficiency. I wouldn't recommend last minute changes but in this case, it worked out just fine thanks to Leanne and Marie. Rely on these folks - they will put together an exceptional holiday for you. (Ed. Thanks Mary-Jane!!)
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26/01/2015
We had the holiday of a lifetime in your beautiful country! The itinerary was excellent and the variety of excursions were of a high standard. All of the hotels we stayed in were very good, some of them outstanding, such as the Bolton, The Byron and the St. Moritz. The voucher system worked like clockwork and the maps provided were easy to follow and worked like a dream. I would not hesitate to recommend Relaxing Journeys to anyone wanting to visit New Zealand. Thank you for organising such a memorable trip! (Ed. That's what we like to hear - thanks!)
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17/12/2014
Everything went according to plan, BB's were great, and everyone very friendly. Even the weather was terrific for the whole trip. The GPS tried to lead us astray a couple of times, gravel roads, but soon worked out when to ignore it. The roads took a while to get used to, bends bridges and cloud (fog) especially in the South Island, but overall found the driving most enjoyable. Drove just over 4,000k, which doesn't include 600klms return from Milford Sound in a coach. Left my shoes behind at Browns Boutique in Queenstown and didn't realize until I got to Holly Homestead in Franz Josef. Well between them I got them delivered by courier the next day, what great service. Than kyou Mani for a trip we will remember forever.
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17/12/2014
There were no significant issues with any aspect of the trip. We would give the accommodations a very good rather than an excellent because there was variability in the 13 places we stayed during our trip. The top three in our experience included Rewa House, Hawthorne House, and Brown's Boutique Hotel, while the bottom 2 would be Regent of Rotorua and the Museum Art Hotel. The breadth of experience encompassed in our itinerary was breathtaking and unforgettable. Thank you for the experience.
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14/12/2014
It was most definitely the trip of a lifetime, thank you Mani for all your help in tweaking our itinerary and for making it so very special - a perfect end to my 50th birthday celebrations!! Everything was very well organised , the vouchers went without a hitch and the pickups from the hotels were at the specified times. Favourite places we stayed at were St Moritz, Chalet Romantica and Grand Mercure Puka Park. All the trips were awesome our favourites were the shot-over jet and the Lord of the Rings tour where they filmed Edoras. The scenery in both islands was stunning, the pictures you see don't do it justice. Some of the days did involve a lot of driving but there's so few cars on the road it was very enjoyable being able to take in all the breathtaking views. A road trip we will never forget.
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18/11/2014
This trip was so perfect I cannot even begin to brag about how great Leanne Duffield did on the organizing and planning of the details. We never had to worry about anything and all the accommodations were beyond expectations. If I had any issue with anything it would only be the GPS which was a bit problematic and several times dumped us in very odd locations - we thought perhaps it needed updating, however we did fine between our own phone navigation apps and the GPS we received from you. We would for sure use Relaxing Journeys again and do plan on returning as three weeks was not nearly long enough for us . We love New Zealand and the people there. Thanks for all you did Leanne.
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08/10/2014
All the arrangements were flawless. Even with 3+ weeks, there was not enough time for all the areas. In hindsight, would cover the same locale but over longer time - could have spent additional day in Napier, Wellington, Nelson, Queenstown, and even Bay of Islands. We drove approx 4400km and the drive days were long, though gorgeous. The Kruse GPS was quirky and occasionally incorrect (once taking us on quite an off road adventure and adding a huge amount to an already long day), but the commentary was surprisingly enjoyable. Could give you a run down on all the accommodations. ...only one disappointment but the others were wonderful and hospitality was outstanding. Would easily advise others to book through you. Thanks, Mani!
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05/03/2014
The itinerary was comprehensive. It not only included all areas that we had hoped for but some that we were not aware of or would not have included if we were to plan on our own. However, we found that we enjoyed everything and are grateful for the knowledge you supplied. The lodgings were, with perhaps one exception, excellent and again are appreciative for finding them.
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10/02/2014
The only change we think should be considered on the self drive is the day from Nelson to Akaroa is too long for one day. We left early and arrived late in Akaroa. There were many interesting things along the way and we had not time to stop at any of them, it was very frustrating. On a map it looks like a very reasonable drive but the road is very twisty and slow. We would have been much happier spending a night along the way, perhaps Hanmer Springs. Otherwise it was wonderful. Mani was excellent and very responsive to our requests. We would highly recommend Relaxing Journeys to others.
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05/02/2014
We had a wonderful time exploring New Zealand. All, but one, of the excursions were interesting/fun. We feel that we got a very good look at the wonders New Zealand has to offer, and experience the many variables of B&Bs across the country. The voucher system worked very well and all went smoothly in every location. The itinerary was well done and had excellent suggestions for stops along the way and where to find them. Two times our B&B host offered alternate routes and we did take their advice both times. One was the trip from Pahia to Devonport, we went on a bit longer route and saw the west coast and drove through the Kauri forest -- I recommend this route, it was very interesting, the only downside being a shortened visit to the Gum Dwellers museum (our favorite museum) and a later arrival at Devonport. We also took the route recommended by our Richmond host to go through the central valley to get to Akaroa rather than drive back to the coast. The B&B's were all nice, some close to town where we could park the car for the entire stay and some outside of town. All of the hosts were wonderful, very helpful and eager to share their knowledge of the area. The only disappointment was the overnight boat ride in the Bay of Islands - we didn't go through, nor even close to the hole in the rock, the food and rooms were very mediocre and the island drop-off rather uninspiring and a disinterested staff. I would have preferred a boat trip to the hole in the rock and a half day trip to Russell. Overall, this was a fabulous itinerary and I am recommending it to friends :)
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01/02/2014
We had a fantastic time in New Zealand. It is a beautiful country and we found people to be extremely friendly and helpful. Many thanks to Mani and Sally for organising everything, the whole tour went very smoothly. We had a slight glitch at the start when there was no GPS supplied with the car, but this was no fault of Relaxing Journeys. The accommodation throughout was generally excellent, our only slight criticism is of Koura Lodge, which offered only limited wifi access without extra payment. Every other place we stayed provided unlimited access. It is for this reason we have rated accommodation as very good rather than excellent. On the positive side, we would like to give special mention to Colleith Lodge and Glendinning House, both of these were quite outstanding in every respect. We would happily recommend Relaxing Journeys to anyone planning to tour New Zealand.
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5
28/01/2014
Let me start by saying thank you for planning a trip of a lifetime for us. It was awesome! Everything worked like clockwork. The process of booking and use of the vouchers worked flawlessly. Please find below lots of detail feedback. I cannot give enough praise to Mani, Sally and the whole support team behind the scenes for the planning and booking of our customized 28 day tour of New Zealand. Mani was extremely responsive whilst we were planning our trip. New Zealand is such a beautiful place with really friendly people. Every B&B and lodge we stayed at exceeded our expectations. We especially loved Kauri Cliffs, Fiordland Lodge, Greenhill Lodge, Kamahi Cottage and Maison de la Mer! The hospitality and special treats that they all provided will be in our memories for a long long time. Kauri Cliffs had a beach BBQ one night and it was fantastic. Greenhill Lodge, a very special late 1800s stately mansion, made us dinner one night for just the two of us in a seating for 12 dining room. We felt like we were in Downton Abbey. The hotels were very nice especially Hotel DeBrett and Te Waonui Forest Retreat. The 'Retreat' had a nice touch with a welcome by a Maori in native dress and a kiwi cocktail. Service at both locations was outstanding. At Hotel St Moritz we didn't like our room because the view was not very nice. Only two places charged for Wifi and they were one of them. But their breakfast buffet and happy hour were very good. Our day tours were wonderful and the ferry booking all worked out perfectly with one minor exception. The Hawke's Bay Scenic Tours folks forgot to pick us up for our wine tour so the proprietor at the Greenhill Lodge drove us into town. They were very apologetic. The wine tour was fun.

The Doubtful Sound tour was just okay. It was a bit too long of a day with the fast moving (not very 'peaceful') boat across the lake, the long bus ride to the catamaran on Doubtful Sound. The picnic lunch wasn't very good. We expected salmon as described on your website and got some awful beef sandwich instead. Didn't see much wildlife. The Kaikoura Whale Watching tour was fantastic. We saw 5 sperm whales, NZ dolphins, tiny penguins and seals. We didn't expect much of the TSS Earnslaw cruise but it was an absolute delight. The BBQ was great, scenery amazing. It was a great way to spend the day. Nice touch booking us in the lounge on the ferry from Picton as it made the journey much more comfortable. We had a nice surprise on our visit to Wellington as the Sevens rugby finals were happening that night when we were there. It was a riot people watching for hours with everyone all dressed up. When I reached out to Mani for advice whilst on the trip when we got double charged for our visit to Hobbiton, he responded immediately and his advice did the trick, we got our refund promptly. The pace was a bit too much although I knowingly planned it this way with Mani. We stayed no more than two nights in any location and should have planned longer stays. Hanmer Springs was the only stop that wasn't special. We think we should have stayed someplace a little further west, perhaps in one of the old gold mining towns like Reefton. Car rental in Nelson was painfully slow. And we wished we had better understood the excess insurance as we ended up with scratches on the bumper that cost us $500.
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11/01/2014
Thank you Toni for organizing such a wonderful trip, especially sorting out the problem with the GPS. Everything was top notch - the accommodation the various trips and cruises you set up for us made it truly a holiday of a lifetime. It really was worth the money. The only minor point we had was to have had more time in Christchurch. Everybody we met were really friendly and welcoming and every B&B we stayed at were charming as were the hosts. Once again thank you, we have some wonderful memories and were very sad to leave.
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02/01/2014
A very well organised and delivered tour, with a well explained tour pack that required no further involvement from Relaxing Journeys. Hotels were generally very good and the rooms pre booked always had good views or some other feature to recommend them. The pace of the tour allowed for a number of non-scripted choices to see attractions or places of interest not covered by the itinerary. This tour was the reverse of the standard routing and I can see why it proceeds in the opposite direction. As for me the South Island held more attraction and interests and would have been a more spectacular finale than the reverse direction. Small niggles were confirmation telephone numbers often needed for a following days activates being 0800 numbers impossible to dial from a non-resident mobile phone. The hotel in Pahia was poor probably exacerbated being bracketed on both sides by the Spencer on Byron in Auckland with its spectacular views of the city and general first class facility's. I chose to do a self-drive semi scripted tour as New Zealand is too far away to be getting on the plain regretting missing things you only find out about while on the tour that you were unable to fit in. Relaxing Journeys plan certainly hit all the main attractions.
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15/11/2013
Mani worked out a great tour adapted to meet our needs. All the accommodation was at least good and in most cases excellent. Most breakfasts were very good but to name one that was the poorest would be at The County Hotel at Napier. Top marks to Maison de la Mer at Akaroa for accommodation in their boathouse and breakfasts. Vehicles provided met our needs and were clean when we took delivery. The only negative was in Auckland when the GPS wasn't ready as one member of staff had to go to the airport to collect it. When he finally arrived there wasn't a bracket to fix to the windscreen so we had to have it on our lap or balanced on the dash when in use for 10 days. Finally I would like to highlight all the effort Mani put into our vacation. He's a credit to your company and therefore wouldn't hesitate to recommending your company in the future and Mani in particular.
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15/09/2013
The tour was well planned and the hotels chosen were both comfortable and friendly (all but one). Mani patiently worked with us through several rewrites and versions of our tour itinerary until we had the perfect route through the country. The vouchers were never questioned at any stop. The price was lower than a comparable self-planned trip I compared it to before purchase. If you've never been on vacation in New Zealand and need someone else to manage the details of getting you and your family into some of the nicer small hotels and attractions in tourist areas as well as off the beaten path, Relaxing Journeys is a very good travel agency.
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28/02/2013
Expectations were met or exceeded throughout our entire trip. My only regret is that I did not extend our stay and spend more time in New Zealand.
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16/02/2013
Thank you so much for arranging this superb trip of a lifetime. The weather was so special as well... how do you do it? (Ed. Trust me, we don't always succeed!) We only took 1,000 photographs and really most of them are great! The best way of describing it is the jaw dropping effect of looking out at the view from our bedroom in the Bay of Islands Lodge...that feeling continued virtually every day. Even Dunedin, cold wet and blowy, was ideal for Albatross spotting! I dont suppose you do Australia as well? (Ed. Yes, we do through our sister site Global Journeys). Really, a massive thank you. I know we paid for it, but it could have been rubbish....but it was the best holiday we have ever had. I am a doctor and back in 1976 we nearly emigrated to NZ (got to the physical examination stage!) but my father became ill and we never brought it to fruition. It says much of the holiday that we really regret that now.
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12/02/2013
The whole tour was an outstanding experience, with good accommodation and a wide range of activities either pre-booked or available locally. We saw the whole spectrum of geography and wildlife that characterises New Zealand, over the 24 days of the tour, and also the regional diversity of the cities and towns we visited en route. The balance of regular hotels, premium B&Bs and boutique hotels again gave us a great insight into the culture and hospitality of this great country. The only two negatives were the pick-up time of 08.30am to collect the rental car on Tuesday 12th Feb. This would have been too late for us to make the departure time of the Ipipiri in Paihia. We brought the time forward by 45mins and were still pushed for time. There was a lot of traffic between the Heritage Hotel and The Thrifty pickup point, and there was also a delay at Thrifty waiting for the GPS. We did make the Ipipiri, but only just! And secondly the Central Ridge Boutique Hotel in Queenstown has changed hands recently, and although the new proprietor was doing her best the standard of service was not quite up to the mark. Maybe she will sort this out over time. Other than those two niggles the whole tour ran very smoothly and the accommodation was excellent. The pre-booked activities were both stimulating and educational and we thoroughly enjoyed them. Overall we were very impressed and will definitely be recommending Relaxing Journeys to our friends.
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02/02/2013
We were really pleased with all the hosts that you selected for us. We could not have wished for better. Pen-y-bryn was just amazing. We booked to have one of James's meals. Although $125 a head may seem expensive, the 4 course meal with canapes really blew us away. We would definitely recommend it for a special occasion. Mark was not particularly enthused by the glacier trip, I was unable to do it, as I was unwell. The Glowworm Caves were very good. The Odyssey wine tour was very interesting and we sampled some extremely good wines, particularly those from Moana Park. The Blue Pacific apartments were very comfortable and I made much use of the hot-tub. Both hire cars were good and we found your journey timings to be more realistic. New Zealand proved as welcoming, as beautiful and as amazing as last time. Thank you all for your time and effort in planning our itinerary.
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4
26/01/2013
Overall a very enjoyable trip, giving excellent insight into NZ culture and the country as a whole. All the B&B's were excellent, but the 2 hotels Koura Lodge & Browns Boutique were disapointing by comparison. The written information given on the itinerary was excellent but some of the suggested stop off points were not worth going to, while others needed more info (Waihi Gold Mine Museum and quarry was excellent, there is an excellent Gannet colony north of Auckland - more accessable than the one near Napier and free). The museum at Dargaville is worth a miss and spend more time at Matakohe. In Akaroa, a visit to the Giants House is a must see place and there are no salmon beds to see on that boat trip. From Queenstown to Franz Josef the stop at Cardrona is for photos only - far too early for lunch (only 45 mins from Queenstown). Also in Queenstown a visit to Glenorchy is worth the trip. The Milford Sound trip never gets back until 20.30 - the bus driver confirmed this - it would be advisable to book a restaurant the night before. We have already been recommending your company to our friends. From our first contact with your company everything was easy to deal with (and in a friendly manner).
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23/10/2012
Our trip was fantastic. As the four of us were staying in budget motels the overall standard of the accommodation was excellent, with some being better than others but all were clean and acceptable. The whole tour ran very smoothly without any hitches and the tweaks that Jarrod had made to our original itinerary only added to the enjoyment of the trip. We would certainly recommend the expertise of your company to anyone contemplating planning a tour of New Zealand. Many thanks!
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01/10/2012
Our self-drive Grand Explorer Tour of New Zealand was absolutely marvelous. All of the arrangements made by Relaxing Journeys were flawless and resulted in a very pleasant travel experience. Michelle White accommodated our special requests and modified the tour to our desires. We appreciated the wide diversity of activities including nature cruises, Maori cultural events, museums, opportunities to enjoy the spectacular scenery, and even an afternoon tasting great New Zealand wines. All of the individuals associated with the accommodations, private transfers, cultural events, cruises, etc. were friendly, helpful, and very competent. Our only complaint is that our 29 days in New Zealand went by much too quickly. For those contemplating a visit to New Zealand, we highly recommend booking your trip with Relaxing Journeys.
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4
30/11/2011
Trip was really good and amazingly comprehensive, I don't think there's much of NZ we haven't seen one way or another!Would have been nice to spend more time in Wellington - we only had one evening really as we were on the early morning ferry the next day - but would have liked to maybe have two nights so we had a day free to explore the city, this maybe something to review on the trip as I'm sure we're not the only people to think this? Wasn't really much going on at Napier - we visited Taupo on the way to Napier and on reflection would have much preferred to stay in Taupo instead of Napier. But thats just us. Milford Sound was pretty - not sure it's worth spending over 8 hours in a coach from Queenstown for though, especially as the trip includes a couple of other similar tours. But an absolutely fantastic trip, the itinerary provided was really good as it gave us loads of pointers of things to do in between our overnight stops - not that we needed much help, the North Island was full of beautiful little beaches and coves to stop at, and we managed to fill every bit of spare time we had doing one of the may hundreds of activities NZ has to offer - swimming with dolphins, sea-kayaking, river surfing, you name it I think we did it. We're already planning our next trip - have to save for many many years before it happens though. In a nutshell we had a fantastic trip, and all thanks to you guys for putting it together for us - the package of info we received when we arrived at the airport was really useful and much appreciated. I'll be recommending you wherever I can! So thank you very much for organising a fantastic honeymoon for us, we've got so many memories from our 4 weeks in NZ.
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5
05/02/2011
We had an absolutely wonderful time in New Zealand. Thoroughly enjoyed the B&B or Boutique Hotel accommodation along with a home cooked meal each morning. Operators were very knowledgable about things to see and places to eat in their towns. We were about an hour out of Christchurch when the quake hit - met many people after that were staying there but off on a tour and lost all luggage, documents, etc. We were as shocked as everyone else when we heard about the quake - we were in the car and did not feel it. Your company was very good to make the changes and contact us as soon as possible. We only had one glitch - limo service to the Auckland Airport on our final day was not arranged as per our new itinerary. After waiting for 15 minutes in the lobby - we approached the desk at the Heritage Hotel and they called the number on the voucher. They had no record of us - so they made arrangements with a limo service in the area. We did just make our flight. We are very happy with your service overall and would strongly recommend your company to anyone wanting to visit New Zealand.
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4
10/09/2010
Greatly designed comprehensive tour, beautiful accommodations, very well chosen tours and cruises, reasonable driving distances, all reservations executed without complications, exceeded highest expectations.
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4
31/01/2010
Thank you for all that you have done to make our trip to New Zealand a memorable event in our lives. Now that we have returned to the UK we can reflect on what we have seen , experienced and very much enjoyed. The total organisation from start to finish has been superb. The trip enabled us to experience a wide range of what your country has to offer and also gave us the opportunity to go off the beaten track with confidence. Everywhere we stayed was excellent and each one was different in its own particular way. We appreciate how you have dealt with the one very minor incident. The daily written detail/plan was vey good but we did find the description for Day 06 puzzling - we never found some 'great gorges and old native forests before heading across the volcanic plateau to the geothermal city of Rotorua, passing many of the regions crystal clear lakes en route'. We wondered whether we were on the wrong road but we got to Rotorua with no trouble. On Day 15 we found the loop road diversion to Geraldine a let down. The gourmet cheese factory now seems to be more concerned with selling cheese - there was no activity in the factory. Finally we felt the Matakohe Kauri Museum should be a MUST VISIT museum for anyone wishing to get an insight into life for the founding members of modern New Zealand. It is a fabulous showpiece and we shall never forget our visit to it. It needs to be given more emphasis amongst so many other highlights. We will now, once we recover from the long flight home, revisit all the photos we have taken . Your peoples and the sights and sounds of New Zealand will remain with us for a long time.
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5
27/12/2009
My wife and I used the Grand Explorer tour as a base and made a few changes to suit our interests and location preferences. We worked with Jarrod Sharvi who was extremely helpful in working out and finalising our amended itinerary. I was very happy with his prompt, friendy, informative and honest (in terms of what to see and what could be missed) assistance. We ended up having a fantastic holiday and I am sure that was due in part to his outstanding contribution, arranging for additional activities and tips of what to see along the way, some of which were off the normal tourist route. NZ is an amazing country and we truly loved our holiday which was well organised and gave us many varied experiences. Again, Jarrod played a large part in this. I would highly recommend Jarrod and Relaxing Journeys for a New Zealand holiday.
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4
05/11/2009
A truly wonderful experience. New Zealand was everything we imagined and more. The tour organized by you guys was outstanding and the help and communication couldn?t have been better. Every detail worked out - with no hassles, and the weather was truly remarkable, one grey day and a few minutes rain in 22 days. The hotels provided were good, but the B&B?s were outstanding, and it was a shame that sometimes we just had to move on, when we could have happily stayed longer. It will be a very long time before the memories of the remarkable scenery, Kiwi in the wild, Manu the Sperm whale and meeting a 4000 year old tree fade! It would be difficult to describe these as high points, as all of our trip was so good. Thanks for everything, and we certainly can?t recommend your services highly enough.
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5
07/04/2009
Well we are back in the UK and wanted to send you an email to say a huge thank you. Our honeymoon was fantastic and everything went really smoothly. Everything was seamless from beginning to end. The standard of accommodation on the whole was very high and ideally located. We met some wonderful people and saw some amazing things. New Zealand exceeded both our expectations and we are already planning our next visit even if it might take time to save! Thank you for helping to make our honeymoon a once in a lifetime unforgettable experience.
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4
03/03/2009
Superb Tour, well organised, the itinerary was absolutely spot on, had no problems anywhere. Other guests we met in the B&B's were most impressed with our travel instructions. One who was travelling with a sat nav with directions from one of your rivals was very envious of us and took details of your company for the next visit! We did a few diversions on our travels, the most notable was Thames, here we visited a church made from Kauri inside and out. It was the most beautiful church we had ever seen, and definitely worth a mention to any visitors to this area. We also found here a tour round an old gold mine, this was also very interesting. Another place we visited was Whangarei Falls. This also impressed us - quite spectacular, we did a very short circular walk around here. Betty coped with the driving very well but she was pleased to get back to her manual vehicle! The quiet roads were very novel to us we are more use to traffic jams. Two minor negative points. We did not feel welcome at Gothic Heights Motel Christchurch, too many rules, we were greeted with 'we need a credit card in case you damage anything or leave any unpleasant smells, we charge $300.00 to fumigate a room'. Whilst we understand they do not want other people to enter a room smelling of an unpleasant odour, we feel it could have been presented less aggressively. In Nelson we only had a very small studio apartment. The itinerary stated 2 bed apartment. However neither of these incidents dented our enjoyment. Those moans apart, all the B&B's were absolutely superb everyone was so friendly, and the rest of the motels were fine. The weather was kind most of the time and it all went too quickly. I would like to finish by saying thank you for the professional way our holiday was planned by you. The attention to detail and the expertise was really appreciated. We are more than willing to recommend your company to our family, friends and colleagues, because we know it will be well organised. Many thanks.
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5
13/02/2009
We just returned home yesterday and are just about over the jet lag so I am taking the opportunity to write regarding the holiday you organised for us in your beautiful country. I would like to say from start to finish that the organisation, service and professionalism of the arrangements were excellent. The pacing of the travelling was just what we wanted and the standard of the accommodation you chose was top class. The only slight hitch that occurred was the late delivery of the first rental vehicle which put us behind schedule on our first day on the road but one phone call to yourselves and the matter was quickly sorted and arrangements changed to accommodate this. We received delivery of a gift of a hamper in Christchurch from Europcar as a gesture of apology and although unexpected it was very much appreciated. I have been and will continue to sing your praises and if we ever have the opportunity to visit your amazing country again we will have no hesitation in putting the arrangements in your very capable hands. Once again, many thanks for your help Craig and just to say your company is well named.
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4
01/02/2009
We've been back in the UK for a couple of months now but were missing one of our two suitcases for a couple of weeks with most of the info on our trip. Thankfully, we have now got it back and have had the chance to reflect on what was, undoubtedly, a fantastic holiday. As was promised, New Zealand is a wonderful country to visit and we have many happy memories of our trip. With respect to Relaxing Journeys, the organisation, standard of accommodation and the variety of activities were faultless and I wouldn't hesitate to recommend your company and this type of holiday to any of our friends or relatives. If we ever go to Australia to tour we won't hesitate to book through your company. (RJ - Feedback has been shortened, please ask if you'd like us to send full report.)
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4
30/01/2009
I cannot believe we have been back from the Antipodes for a month now. I just wanted to let you know what a wonderful holiday we had in NZ, it was so relaxing, so beautiful and so well put together for us. And what friendly people we encountered, nothing was too much trouble, just wish we could do it all over again but spend twice the time! Once again, thank you so much for all your efforts, you got it just right for us!
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5
02/01/2009
Just a note to thank you for all the arrangements you made for our recent holiday in New Zealand. From the moment we arrived at Auckland till we left Christchurch a month later everything went like clockwork. We all had a great time. The variation between the north and south island was quite dramatic both in scenery and weather. I'm glad we had the extra days at both ends of the holiday and a couple in the middle. On hind site I would have like a few extra days at some locations. By the end of the holiday we were quite tired, but nicely so. Anyway, thanks again for a wonderful holiday.
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5
21/01/2008
Well what a wonderful holiday we have had! A stunning country both North and South (although we preferred the south as it seems to have everything). You people are so proud of it all and rightly so ? may there never be any high rise buildings built; it was such a change to see beaches and lakes looking as natural as possible. Plenty for all, as I said to someone. It was lovely and our grateful thanks for arranging such a fine and memorable holiday. By-the-way, we had (apart from rain in Rotorua) fantastic weather on the whole, many days getting up to 25 degrees, so an added bonus to your beautiful landscape, as it is like our Devon, Cumbria, N.Wales and Scotland all rolled into one, with jolly nice Kiwis to make our stay so informative and pleasurable.
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5
30/04/2007
We just had to write and express our gratitude for providing us with the holiday of our lives. Every aspect of the itinerary was as advertised and then some! The standard of the accommodation was excellent and the tours and excursions were marvellous. All the details were well presented and easily understood. Having completed the trip we can now see in hindsight that a lot of thought?had gone into it to strike the right balance of locations and activities. This was going to be a once only?visit.?This is no longer the case and we will be coming back one day and we will be calling on your services again.
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4
25/10/2006
Just a quick note to let you know how much we enjoyed our trip to New Zealand, the accommodations were the best, and every room had the best views. We will certainly recommend you to all our friends. Thanks again.
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25 Day Grand Explorer
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Tour Code: GNPT
From (NZD) $4533 per person
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Departures: May 2018 to March 2019
Rating:
73 reviews (4.8/5)

With two & three night stopovers in the Bay of Islands, Coromandel, Rotorua, Napier, Nelson, Franz Josef, Akaroa, Dunedin & Queenstown, this self driv... Read More

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25 Day Grand Explorer
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