16 Day New Zealand Highlights

16 Day New Zealand Highlights

Itinerary includes full cooked breakfasts daily and 15 nights superior accommodation with stopovers in Rotorua & Marlborough Sounds & in the adventure capital of NZ, Queenstown.

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) $3001 per person
Tour Operator: Relaxing Journeys
Pace: Comfortable
Duration: 16
Tour Code: GNPH

Inclusions

15 nights accommodation
Rental vehicle of your choice
2 night stopovers in Rotorua, Franz Josef & Marlborough Sounds
3 nights in majestic Queenstown
Guided tour of the Ruakuri Cave
Admission to the Te Puia geothermal region
Te Po - Maori cultural experience with traditional hangi
Admission to the Wai-O-Tapu geothermal region
Scenic Interislander Ferry Cruise
Return water taxis from Picton to Marlborough Sounds accommodation
Award winning TranzAlpine Train Journey through the Southern Alps
Admissions & transfers 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
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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 ‘City of Sails’ is New Zealand’s largest and most vibrant, offering an exciting array of cosmopolitan experiences. Built on an isthmus of 48 volcanoes, Auckland’s fertile valleys and islands are home to award-winning wineries. 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.

Day 2
Auckland - Ruakuri Cave - Rotorua

Take delivery of your rental car this morning. Farewell the “City of Sails” as you travel south along the Southern Motorway to reach the market garden area of Pukekohe. Continue through Hamilton – New Zealand’s fourth largest city and the fertile Waikato region to arrive at Waitomo. Enjoy a guided tour of the world famous Ruakuri Cave. Ruakuri cave offer a captivating blend of Waitomo’s most compelling subterranean experiences. in any one sightseeing tour, your guide will bring you up close to glowworms, elaborate cave formations, underground rivers, myths, legends and sacred Maori sites. On completion continue over the forested Mamaku Ranges to reach the “thermal city” of Rotorua. (2 nights)

Day 3
Rotorua

Free time to explore Rotorua 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)

Day 4
Rotorua - Taupo

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. Continue south through the large man made forest Kaingaroa to reach the popular lake resort of Taupo. The area owes its landscapes to its dramatic volcanic origins. Lake Taupo fills two of these vast former volcanoes and is New Zealand’s largest lake. Taupo is also home to the spectacular Huka Falls, Taupo Bungy, DeBrett’s Thermal Pools and fantastic fishing on the Lake.

Day 5
Taupo - Wellington

This morning depart Taupo and travel along the shores of Lake Taupo to Turangi, before travelling over the Desert Road, dominated in the background by the three peaks of Ruapehu, Ngauruhoe and Tongariro, to arrive at the small town of Taihape. Continue south through lush farmland to reach the city of Palmerston North, famous for its agricultural University, before arriving in the “capital city” of Wellington.

Day 6
Wellington - Picton - Kenepuru Sounds

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, join the water taxi for a short cruise to Kenepuru Sound where a warm welcome at your resort awaits you in this remote, picture-perfect bay. (2 nights)

Day 7
Kenepuru Sounds

A day to relax & marvel at the magic that is the Marlborough Sounds. Resort staff will share their love of the Sounds with you through the range of water and nature based experiences they put at your fingertips. The wide beach access is great for fishing, boating, sailing, swimming & sea-kayaking and there is a wealth of walks and meanderings in the immediate vicinity. A massage or spa treatment at your resort will complete your relaxation.

Day 8
Kenepuru Sounds - Kaikoura - Christchurch

After breakfast, return to the picturesque fishing village of Picton, pick up your new rental car and travel south through Blenheim to Kaikoura, world renowned as the whale watching centre of New Zealand. Optional excursions include the opportunity to view giant sperm whales by boat or air; see dolphins, fur seals & Royal Albatross at close range in their natural habitat; or swim with pools of Dusky Dolphins – wetsuits provided! Later, continue south to the “Garden City” of Christchurch, thought of as the most English of New Zealand cities.

Day 9
Christchurch - Mount Cook

Drive through the MacKenzie Country to Lake Tekapo, where you stop view the tiny Church of the Good Shepherd, built of local stone and oak in 1935. Then it’s on to the Mt Cook National Park, a World Heritage listed site. Mt Cook is Australasia’s highest mountain at 3764 metres. 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 (optional ski-plane & helicopter flights are available subject to weather conditions).

Day 10
Mount Cook - Queenstown

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

Day 11
Queenstown

Enjoy two full days to experience this magnificent resort. Surrounded by majestic mountains, Queenstown boasts adventure & leisure activities in all forms, from extreme to relaxed exploration. Here you can take a thrilling jet boat ride, pan for gold, raft the white water rapids, take a wine trail, fish for trout, play golf or 4WD sheer canyons. It is also a great base from which to explore the Fiordland National Park, gateway to the awesome Milford & Doubtful Sounds. There are numerous activities from which to choose and your hotel staff will be pleased to offer advice and help you in your selection.

Day 12
Queenstown

Enjoy two full days to experience this magnificent resort. Surrounded by majestic mountains, Queenstown boasts adventure & leisure activities in all forms, from extreme to relaxed exploration. Here you can take a thrilling jet boat ride, pan for gold, raft the white water rapids, take a wine trail, fish for trout, play golf or 4WD sheer canyons. It is also a great base from which to explore the Fiordland National Park, gateway to the awesome Milford & Doubtful Sounds. There are numerous activities from which to choose and your hotel staff will be pleased to offer advice and help you in your selection.

Day UP
Milford Sound Overnight Upgrade Package

To experience the best of Milford Sound, experience our overnight cruise package onboard the Milford Mariner. With return coach transfers from Queenstown (or optional scenic flight – see below). Normally we would add an extra day to your itinerary.

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

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

Day 13
Queenstown - Franz Joesf

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)

Day 14
Glaciers

Endless opportunities exist to allow you to take in the beauty of this special part of the South Island’s West Coast. Take a 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.

Day 15
Franz Josef - Greymouth - Christchurch

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 & across the Canterbury Plains before arriving in Christchurch.

Day 16
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 to your homeland and hope you leave with many happy memories of your stay in Aotearoa, New Zealand.

4.7/5.0

There are 44 reviews of this tour from past clients of Relaxing Journeys, averaging 4.7 out of 5.

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Tour Reviews

5
03/03/2018
The trip was wonderful, and all of the logistics and excursions went very smoothly. We have already recommended Relaxing Journeys to some friends and family who are thinking of visiting New Zealand. Driving was no problem, and the GPS and atlas got us everywhere we wanted to go. Of all the hotels, we were not so thrilled with the Ponsonby Art Hotel. It was rustic, more of a B&B, and was a long way from Auckland City Center. We would have preferred a place more centrally located. The Heritage Hotel in Christchurch was certainly nice (we had a two floor apartment with full kitchen, laundry, etc.), but it wasn't particularly practical for brief one-night stays (which luggage do you haul up the stairs to the bedroom?). All of the other hotels were excellent. We had the most fantastic view of Mt Cook from our hotel room there. The Novotel in Rotorua was on the lake and pedestrian street, and was a short walk from a thermal city park. We have similar comments for the other places we stayed. In some places there was an extra cost for parking / valet. Given that there usually wasn't an obvious alternative, we would have preferred for that cost to be included in the trip price. The VIP seating area on the InterIslander Ferry was great. Very comfortable and quiet with breakfast, drinks, and snacks. On returning home from Christchurch, we were scheduled to be picked up by a taxi at 8:30am for a 10am flight. We thought that was a bit tight, so we changed it to an 8am pickup. That extra 1/2 hour gave us some extra breathing room, and I would recommend that amount of time. The pace of the trip was just fine. We had several days with hours of driving, but we could stop along the way so it never got tiresome. Toni was great at answering all of our many questions, and Kerryann made all of the payments and such very straightforward. Great job!
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5
20/02/2018
From the start of the booking process to when we arrived back home the whole tour worked seamlessly. Relaxing Journeys' staff responded promptly to any queries and were able to design and organise a tour that met our preferences and exceeded our expectations. All bar one of the arrangements - the hotels, the car hire and the pre-booked trips - worked as planned. On the only occasion where a trip didn't work out - a helicopter ride that was cancelled because of the weather - Relaxing Journeys arranged a refund within a few days. We had a truly wonderful holiday thanks, of course, to the amazing NZ landscapes and friendly people, but also to Relaxing Journeys who lived up to their name. I wouldn't hesitate to recommend their services, or to use them again should we ever be able to return to NZ.
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5
10/11/2017
I had an amazing trip and loved my experience in New Zealand. Mani Fagundes did a great job in organizing and scheduling of all of it. I loved all of my experiences, meet a lot of great folks, and saw some amazing scenery. I got really lucky with all but one day of warm sunshine days. Overall I had amazing experiences and a good time. I loved my trip.
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5
02/03/2017
Toni did a great job of working with us from start to finish, sending timely updates to our itinerary, answering our questions, and keeping us posted on important next steps in the process. We certainly got a great introduction to both North and South Islands, enjoyed our time in the big cities (Auckland and Christchurch), and loved all the time we spent on or near the water (ferries, water taxis, kayaks, touring around lakes, visiting islands.) Maritime Museum and Rangitoto Island tour are very good. Once we got the hang of driving on the other side of the roads, most driving tours were quite enjoyable. The trip from Picton to Christchurch, however, was pretty bad....mountain switchbacks, speeding big trucks and aggressive cars, and endless stops for construction. It took us 8 1/2 hours and we were wiped out! We loved Rotorua & Maori cultural experience. We loved The Banks Peninsula and our Akaroa Dolphin Cruise. Other favorites: Christchurch Gardens, upgraded Interislander Ferry ride, Bay of Many Coves, Marlborough Sounds. Mt. Cook experience not so hot....mostly rain, no view of Aoraki Mt. Cook. Didn't think much of Hermitage accommodations/food but loved The Old Mountaineer's Cafe (two dinners there).
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5
01/01/2017
Trip was well planned and thought out. Easy to follow instructions and the sights were amazing. Your company was on top of everything and we had the adventure of a lifetime.
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5
18/11/2016
Your organisation was superb and everything happened to plan even when we were delayed, pick up cars waited for us even in Auckland when customs delayed us by nearly 2 hours (4 flights and only 2 customs officers on duty!). The only slightly disappointing things were a couple of the B&B's we thought were rather poor. The Great Ponsonby in Auckland was a bad choice, on arrival we were advised to keep our blinds drawn in our room as it looked directly into the kitchen, not the view we were expecting especially as we had requested rooms with views, the room was also very small. Orari in Christchurch was not our \"cup of tea\", again a rather poor room, very noisy, creaking floors and very difficult parking. Browns Boutique Hotel I have already written about in an earlier email. I wish we had had a hotel looking out onto the beautiful lake. That was the bad, now for the good. The other B&Bs were excellent, Tauhara Sunrise Lodge in Taupo was superb, we could have stayed a week, a bottle of wine and 6 bottles of beer awaiting us in the fridge (all complimentary). The owner invited us for pre-dinner nibbles and drinks on the balcony overlooking the lake, however be warned, the house is up for sale, so things may change. Holly Homestead in Franz Josef was also superb, as it was Evelyn's birthday we had a free upgrade to the best room in the house, the owner also organised our special birthday evening meal at a local restaurant with transport in a stretch limo. The hotels you picked all were of a high standard and well placed for visiting local places of interest, worth a special mention was the Hermitage at Mt Cook, a free upgrade to Premier Plus and we were told the best room in the hotel (Sir Edmund had stayed in it, most impressed), some of the best eating we have had for a long time, the buffet was mind blowing, and what views from the windows.
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4
27/05/2016
New Zealand is a beautiful place, we have enjoyed ourselves tremendously. Thank you, Relaxing Journeys. Our travel experience would not be the same without your professional advice and service.
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5
03/02/2016
We had a fantastic holiday, everything ran like clockwork. The included tours were great and the upgrade on the ferry was a really good unexpected bonus. Thank you Toni!
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4
24/01/2016
Everything ran very smoothly. So much to see in NZ. Would certainly recommend Relaxing Journeys.
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5
16/01/2016
We had a fantastic time during our 16 day stay. Accommodation was top notch and everything went like clockwork.
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5
30/10/2015
This tour was a great way to see New Zealand. Mani provided exceptional service and assistance in our requested changes and excursion choices. The variety of the terrain and the views in many places were outstanding. Everything went very smoothly from taxi pickups to accommodation check in to excursions to car pickup. The driving times daily were generally reasonable, some longer than others. More time could have been spent in Auckland, Christchurch, and Wellington if one wanted to add days to the tour. The GPS was invaluable with the available commentary (and music) very useful. The accommodations were outstanding. The proprietors were very friendly and personable, and provided useful local information. The rooms had wonderful views. The excursions (some of which we added) were great and well conducted. Weather affected several but refunds were provided. We thoroughly enjoyed our time in New Zealand and would recommend Relaxing Journeys to anyone interested in visiting.
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5
04/04/2015
We had a fabulous trip to New Zealand thanks to Relaxing Journeys. In the past we have planned out own trips but what a difference they made. Having vouchers for everything made the trip so relaxing because we did not have to worry about using our charge card everywhere. We just pulled out the voucher and handed them to the hotels, car rentals, ferry trips, transportation to and from the airport, etc. We had to call Relaxing Journeys twice with a question and they answered right away and helped us with our problem. There was not an answering service. That was so nice. I would highly recommend their services to anyone traveling to New Zealand.
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5
15/01/2015
We chose a self driving tour. This was a spectacular trip. I can't say enough about great service that Relaxing Journeys provides. Our trip was extremely smooth and I felt like we were treated with genuine care during our planning. The trip was customized to meet our wants. We added a few cities to a planned tour. When we got to New Zealand everything was very smooth. We were upgraded at many of our hotels. A special bonus was the GPS with commentary, through this, we learned much about the Maori people and the lands we were driving through.
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5
16/12/2014
Wow, what a fantastic holiday we had! This is the best way to describe our recent travel to New Zealand. We had eighteen days to see as much of New Zealand as we could and no real idea on where to go first. Relaxing Journeys offered the perfect solution; they planned the itinerary, picked the attractions, booked the accommodation and left the fun part to us. We definitely had a relaxing holiday because we didn't have the worry that we were missing anything or where we had to go next. It couldn't have gone any better.
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4
08/12/2014
All the arrangements made by Leanne and the team plus the voucher system ensured that all elements of our holiday - accommodation, transfers, car hire, itinerary - ran smoothly. The standard of accommodation of the chosen hotels/B&Bs was high and all were well located, being within easy access of sites of interest and/or in a quiet, scenic location. The Highlights Itinerary and the road atlas provided were appreciated and ensured that we found our way from A to B with few problems (although we never found the Long Black Cafe at Waitomo caves, but visitor center accepted the voucher). Both cars provided (North and South Island) were of a good standard. The Kruse system was a much appreciated addition and we enjoyed the Maori stories and background/historical information on the areas we visited. The satellite navigation system was particularly helpful in locating our various hotels and B&Bs but a bit clunky to use and tried on a number of occasions to send us down unpaved roads.

The attention to detail by Leanne and the team ensured that we did not have to worry about resolving any logistical issues but could simply relax and enjoy the fabulous scenery of New Zealand and warm hospitality of all those we came into contact with on our travels. We thank you for helping us have such a fabulous visit to New Zealand.
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5
10/11/2014
Well organised. No hitches. Hotels great standard.
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5
04/03/2014
Toni was simply wonderful - from start to finish. I planned this tour for my husband and me, and my husband thinks I am brilliant! (But he doesn't need to know that most of the credit goes to Toni!) She promptly answered all of my email inquiries - no matter how silly or detailed. She was patient and thorough and made great suggestions. The itinerary came through EXACTLY as planned, and everything was as expected. All of our transfers were clear and simple and on time, and our accommodations met or exceeded our expectations. (The ONLY hitch was in Auckland - the Thrify Car rental agent was 15 minutes late picking us up from up hotel, and when we got to the rental desk, the car was ready, but a GPS unit was not available as planned, but Thrify shipped the unit to our hotel the next day.). We would recommend you guys to anyone! We loved our trip and want to return again. My only regret was not getting to meet to Toni in person! Again, thank you for all the help. We hope to be in touch again sometime in the future.
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5
06/02/2014
The trip was very well organized, Mani was extremely prompt in answering questions and soooo easy to work with. Every hotel accommodation was great except one (Peppers Portage outside of Picton was our least favorite for a number of reasons). All in all it was a great experience that we would do again if we could. I am planning to pass your name to my brother for future reference.
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5
25/01/2014
The Relaxing Journeys experience for our party of two couples traveling in a minivan was excellent in every respect, starting with Mani's willingness to accomplish an extensive revision of the standard 16 day NZ Highlights tour - reversing the direction, substituting a B&B and a Farm stay that I found on the web, staying two nights in different locations (Blenheim and Hawke's Bay to more fully enjoy the NZ Wine Trail) and finally, adding a Milford Sound loop out of Queenstown. Mani's replanned itinerary was ideal and went smoothly throughout. Our trip book and vouchers were well organized and complete. The B&B's were all great with very friendly and helpful hosts. All arrangements for activities went off without a hitch. We thoroughly enjoyed our entire NZ experience from Queenstown to Auckland and only wish it could have been longer - the people and sights were fantastic! A special thanks to Mani for his above-and-beyond planning effort.
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5
13/12/2013
Toni was very helpful to help me to come up with the trip details and confirmation in such a short time, during the busy Christmas season. And minor issues were addressed immediately. The driving per day is very manageable so that leave a lot of time to enjoy the sights. Only wish I can stay in the cities such as Wellington for more time as there are quite a bit to explore. I would definitely recommend to my friends who are thinking about visiting NZ! Thanks for all your help!
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4
24/11/2013
We had a great time on the tour that you arranged for us. This was our first time to your beautiful country and despite being Aussies we were warmly welcomed by all Kiwis that we met (ha!). The scenery was breathtaking and we were very lucky that the weather for the majority of our trip was fine. The accommodation that was arranged was first class especially the Bay of Many Coves resort and the Heritage Hotel at Mt Cook where we had a world class view of the mountain and surrounds. And then there was beautiful Queenstown. Our hosts, Paul and Matt spoilt us rotten with their fantastic breakfast meals and afternoon teas. We spent my 60th Birthday at Queenstown and travelled on the TSS Earnslaw Steamer to a homestead for a BBQ lunch and farm tour. I had a very enjoyable day in your beautiful city. The different regions that we visited gave us an excellent insight to your country and we appreciated its beauty, Maori culture, people, fine food and of course it's excellent wine. Driving around NZ in a rental car is very easy and at times we did not need the GPS. The tour was not rushed and staying at places for more than one day was very welcome as there is so much to do and see. We have many photos of NZ's beautiful scenery to remind us of our trip. We will certainly return again in the future now we know what NZ has to offer. Thank you again for arranging our trip which went off without any problems.
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5
17/11/2013
The whole tour was excellent with few upgrades on our accommodations. Most of the time, we were put in rooms with excellent views. The clear and instructive itinerary as well as the hassle-free voucher system enable us to visit many interesting sites and plan our additional sites. With good weather and scenic routes between destinations, we really enjoy our self-drive tour of New Zealand. Good job done Mani.
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5
29/09/2013
Wonderful trip! The only mediocre note is for accommodation at Portage Resort, where quality was well below tour average. Nice environment but old hotel - to be overhauled, but, no hard feelings. All in all we really appreciated the tour every step of the way. Thank you!
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5
19/12/2012
We are a family of four from the UK who spent two and half weeks over the Christmas period travelling on an itinerary organised by Michelle and tailored to suit our particular requirements. There were a couple of places we wanted to visit off route, to see relatives and Michelle found just the right accommodation in these towns too. The trip was a huge success for us all. The attention to detail was immaculate. The hotels were all absolutely fantastic. They ranged from boutique hotels to B&Bs, but all were unique and of top quality - and we are a fussy family who like our comforts. Even though we were travelling quite a bit and at quite a pace, our teenagers didn't complain at all since we were so well looked after. Beds extremely comfortable, locations perfect, many with fabulous view and such friendly hosts, with excellent breakfasts in each one. Our Christmas Day and New Year's Eve meals were exceptional. I know we could quite happily have stayed for a much longer time in every hotel/B&B if only we had had more time to play with. We travelled from Auckland in the North down to Wanaka and Christchurch in the South and everything worked like clockwork, Michelle had organised it all so perfectly. Even when a sudden bout of extremely bad weather and floods forced us to change our itinerary at last minute, it was no problem - a quick phone call from the car and we were heading to a new hotel, equally impressive, and able to extend the car hire. When the teenagers discovered how close we were to the Hobbiton village at one point, Michelle's team seamlessly switched a pre-arranged cave visit for this instead, which was hugely appreciated! We want to thank you Michelle and your team for arranging such a perfect family holiday for us in such an amazing country. We are still buzzing from the experience and wish we could return. We know a lot of this is down to the superb organisation of your company. Many many thanks!
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5
07/02/2012
Our self drive tour of NZ was fantastic. The itinerary, book of vouchers, excellent map book and guides, and GPS made this a completley enjoyable, hassle free vacation. We really enjoyed driving at our own pace and seeing this beautiful country and meeting its friendly people without worrying about trip details. The boutique and lovely hotels we stayed at were in themselves worth a journey. The comfort, staff and cuisine were amazingly high quality. The views out of several of the hotels were absolutely stunning. Many thanks, Relaxing Journeys, for an unforgettable trip!
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5
07/01/2012
This was one of the best trips we have ever taken! Everything was fantastic! We were delighted with all the accommodations, tours and arrangements. Jarrod was a pleasure to work with too. His understanding of our needs and his promptness in responding amazed us. (Give him a raise)! Thank you so much we have already recommended your company to friends! We will definitely come back and use your company again!
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5
18/12/2011
Kia Ora (see, we did learn something!) We are very happy to rate the tour you arranged for us as 'Excellent'. The hotels were excellent, with the exception of the hotel in Mount Cook which was, unfortunately, mediocre. We understand you probably didn't have a choice of where we could stay, particularly with the incredible view of Mount Cook from our bedroom window. As we only stayed one night we were OK with that, and the view was wonderful. The food on the evening of our stay (a buffet) was pretty awful! We particularly loved The George Hotel in Christchurch (could you take time to pass our thanks to all the staff who coped so well. We arrived during an earthquake, and they did everything possible to ensure our safety and comfort. I understand the hotel is privately-owned and it would be good if the owner could be told how great his staff are!). The hotel was lovely, with beautiful rooms, and excellent food. We also loved our stay in Lake Taupau. The Soak and Sail (even though it was pouring with rain it didn't spoil anything but the view) was wonderful, and Matt (skipper) was brilliant. Browns Boutique Hotel in Queenstown was fantastic - peaceful and yet only 5 minutes walk to the main town centre. The Christmas stay in Kenepuru Sound was idyllic, and the staff excellent. The food was wonderful, and the place and views just wonderful - we didn't want to leave! The Holiday Inn in Rotarua was, well, a Holiday Inn. However, the Maori experience was very good, and the food better than expected (when having to serve so many people in that kind of environment it can be difficult to maintain food quality). We enjoyed the North Island very much, but South Island is, in our opinion, one of the most beautiful places we've ever visited. The people are lovely, and we loved everything about it. One note to bear in mind is Auckland at Christmas and New Year. An awful lot of shops and restaurants were closed during our stay there (31st December thru' to 4th January). We found that a bit difficult, as it was the last leg of our stay and we'd planned to visit restaurants and shops. However, more opened up on the 3rd and 4th January, and some restaurants were open in the Viaduct area. Just worth mentioning to visitors. Wellington (only one night there) was also a bit like a ghost town (I think we were there on the 27th December), though we persevered and found a very nice Italian restaurant. The support we had from you both before we left the UK and whilst in NZ was much appreciated. Thank you again for arranging such a wonderful 'epic' trip for us. We have already recommended your company to everyone we know, and have told them they have to go to New Zealand at least once!
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5
04/11/2011
It was a great trip. It all came together very well. We had a wonderful time! We were fortunate the sun always came out when it absolutely needed to. Everything went very smoothly. The B&Bs were all great; very warm & helpful hosts, locations excellent, nice variety. We enjoyed each place we went to and don't know if we would change anything. I should however comment on the B&B in Wellington. I believe it was a substitute as the one you would normally use as this was not available. It wasn't of the same calibre as the others. There were a number of issues; one that probably says it best - I found a used tissue in the pocket of the bath robe in my room. The place has the potential to be a great B&B and although the hostess was nice she probably needs to brush up on how to present & run a welcoming, comfortable & clean B&B. Thank you Jarrod for organizing our trip!
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4
13/06/2011
The 16 Day New Zealand Highlights self-drive was a fantastic way to see New Zealand. Everything went smoothly. All the hotels that were chosen were great and we felt warmly welcomed at all of them. The scheduled prepared made it easy to follow and the suggested sights were all worth visiting. A wonderful experience!
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4
02/03/2011
Our customised trip was terrific. The accomodations were welcoming and comfortable, the sights were jaw droppingly gorgeous and the attractions that we visited were interesting and informative. The rental cars and other voucher transactions were seemless. Our only regret was that we didn't stay a week to 10 days longer. We would have liked to have visited the Bay of Islands and the far north of the North Island, Dunedin and the far south of the south island. We wish we had cruised Doubtful Sound as mell as Milford Sound and gone to Stewart Island. We could have spent a few days just touring more vineyards. The wine making regions are so gorgeous. Driving on the left side of the road was a new and exciting challenge for a couple of days. We really have nothing negative to say and little to add to suggest improvement. The only lodging we did not necessarily like was Peppers Resort outside Christchurch. This was a replacement property from where we were orginally supposed to stay before the tragic earthquake. We didn't particularly like the place because the staff seemed to be disinterested, the suite although roomy was not particularly comfortable and the food was pretty pedestrian. But traveling, particularly to a new place for the first time, is always an adventure and ours was great because Jarrod and Relaxing Journeys did a terrific job of structuring a trip that met with what I am sure was our less than complete description of what we were looking for. Thank you all for a great trip.
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4
28/01/2011
All went very well, we thought that the standard of accommodation was good and the journey timings realistic. The only minor niggles were being told twice by the DeBrett staff in Auckland that a second coffee at breakfast would be extra! Very irritating, and the transfer pick up van in Christchurch was filthy internally. Otherwise, we thoroughly enjoyed ourselves and will definitely return to New Zealand at some time to see the things we missed.
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5
08/02/2010
We were very impressed with the voucher system and that at each venue we were expected, regardless of the time we arrived. In Rotorua 5 attractions were too many for the time allocated, we managed 3 and forwent 2 others plus the night out. Glacial walks should explain that a medical questionaire is required prior to participation, and exclusion results with a failure of such. The upgrades in some hotels were wonderful, as was the use of the lounge on the ferry across Cook Straight. Lakefront rooms would be nice at Queenstown as they were at Taupo and Tekapo. Overall a wonderfully organized holiday, we will recommend it to our friends without hesitation.
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4
30/01/2010
We absolutely loved our trip and were impressed with how smoothly everything went. All was in order; there wasn't a single glitch with any of our reservations or vouchers. We stayed the perfect amount of time at each stop. Never did we feel we were someplace too long or not long enough. We were a little disappointed with a couple of the Heritage Hotels particularly in Rotorua. There were no towels in the room, the air conditioner didn't work well and at one point the elevator wasn't working. The staff were the least hospitable of all the hotels we visited, although the man who brought up a fan was very kind and helpful. We absolutely loved the Country Retreat at Franz Josef and Raetihi Lodge. What disappointed us with the Heritage Hotels was more than compensated for by the incredible staff and hospitality of these two hotels. Also, our Bed and Breakfast Inns were AWESOME. The experience added much to our New Zealand experience. We have friends who are planning a New Zeland trip early next year. We have highly recommended them to you. We thank you again for organizing everything so beautifully. We were just looking at our pictures tonight and savoring the many memorable days and moments. Our sincerest thanks and appreciation.
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4
02/12/2009
We had the best time ever! It was a great experience from the begining, driving on the right side of the road, the fashion city Auckland, the city built from a dream - Christchurch, the Maori culture at Rotorua, to walking on Franz Josef Glacier. The people were very kind and friendly. We definetly have to go back! The hotels were so beautiful, they were a very important part to make this trip an extraordinary experience. Only at the hotel in Taupo were the crew a little bit rude. They told us breakfast wasn't included when every hotel in our tour was. Also it would be nice that the tour included a few more activities pre-booked like they were in Rotorua - maybe something at Queenstown and Franz Josef. That way it is easier to plan a day and know the best places in NZ. Thank u a lot for everything, it is a trip that we will never forget. NZ is incredible! we want lo live there!
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5
20/11/2009
Excellent thanks, we had wonderful time. From my first last minute enquiry to Jarrod I was given help and advice with the planning and booking, through to a telephone call part way through the trip to check everything was OK, this is a very good idea. Everything booked by yourselves worked smoothly, from the car hire to hotel bookings. The Heritage Hotels were good although we felt the Scenic were of a lower standard, although of course they had wonderful views! The travelling time between destinations was just right and the activities excellent.
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5
03/03/2009
We would like to thank you and your staff (Ms Debbi Smith) for putting together a wonderful self drive package for my wife & I. All went according to plan including the professional pick up at the Auckland airport till our departure 20 days later from Christchurch. The hotels, motels and resorts that we stayed at were first rate and the itinerary was well diversified. The only glitch in the program was our rental car reservation in Auckland was nowhere to be found, but a call to your office got Ms Smith involved in the problem and we were on our way in a short time. We also had a problem turning in the car at Wellington as there was no agent at the Europcar booth to take the key and paperwork as well as receive the GPS unit. We ended up turning in the GPS at Picton as we didn't want to carry it around everywhere we travelled. On their behalf, we received a 'goodie' package from Europcar when we stopped overnight in Christchurch as a peace offering for the mix up. Overall, our trip was a wonderful 50th wedding anniversary adventure, and we have told our travel agent that she should have no qualms recommending your company to other customers. Again thank you for a great trip.
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5
10/06/2008
Thank you so much for the wonderful holiday! It was a shame that we could not make the Milford Sound cruise due to the landslide but we did have a fantastic day anyway. We went to see some snow (not often seen by us Queenslanders) at Coronet Peak, Remarkables and Cardrona and visited Arrowtown. Thank you so much for the dinner and the wine for our anniversary. It was a fantastic unexpected extra! I must mention that our 4 favourite parts were Lake Tekapo, Queenstown, the heli hike and Raehiti Lodge. Nick and Pip were absolutely wonderful hosts and, as we were the only ones there on our last night, we got spoilt rotten. We took over 500 photos so there are lots of memories. I will recommend your company to all our friends and family. Thank you so much again.
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4
09/02/2008
Although it's some time since we concluded our tour with you, we have only just returned home having extended our stay on the North Island for the test cricket series, but we did want to write to you and let you know that we had a fabulous holiday and we really appreciate the work that you had put into our itineraries. Your route, your recommended accommodation and your excursions were of the highest quality. Having met many other visitors during the course of our tour and discussed their experiences we were always confident that the arrangements you'd made on our behalf were at least as good and on most occasions better than those who had made their own plans or had relied upon other agencies for their itineraries. Even your choice of hire car company was commendable. During our South Island tour we managed to break a windscreen and sustain a puncture within 48 hours of each other but they could not have been more helpful and came to our assistance quickly and efficiently on both occasions. We enjoyed all your excursions and perhaps surprisingly, our favourite was the Mount Cook Glacier Explorers trip which provided a glimpse of a world so alien to us it is difficult to describe. We received a warm welcome in all the selected hotels and lodges and we particularly enjoyed the smaller, boutique style of accommodation. Everyone was expecting us and had a room ready for us despite being exceptionally busy. In closing, may we thank you and all your colleagues at Relaxing Journeys once again. Our experience of New Zealand was just wonderful and we would not hesitate in recommending you and your services to any other Brit planning to visit your great country.
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4
09/02/2008
There was great value in booking the self drive trip through you. The itineraries and B&Bs you selected were outstanding, and there was the added advantage of having you and Rochelle there when our baggage went astray. All the places either had a fantastic view or were extremely high class small hotels. In particular the Charlotte Jane is a super place with our special Valentine's dinner (which you booked for us) as an added highlight. We will recommend your operation to our friends when we show them our great pictures.
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5
02/09/2007
No mistake this time with the photo I just wanted to thank you both for your kind attention to us regarding our NZ holiday, we were pleased to do business with you and?say thank you , it has been a pleasure. See you next time. Kia-ora,?
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23/02/2007
We have been in the US for a few days and are settled into our everyday life. I just wanted to let you that we had a wonderful experience in NZ. The weather contributed considerably to show New Zealand at its best. The schedule could not have been bettered. Thanks for your all your help. The personal touch made it so much easier to deal with this trip. Having you as a contact person was invaluable. We appreciated your prompt responses to our inquiries. Again, thank you. We had a wonderful time and can recommend you to everybody willing to listen.
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02/01/2007
Just to let you know the self drive itinerary that you arranged for us went like clockwork. At every point, things were taken care of and the voucher system worked perfectly. Our problem was we didn?t have enough time to do all the things that NZ has to offer. Anyway we want to thank you for a good job and wish you a very Happy New Year.
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15/12/2006
Just wanted to send you a note thanking you for your assistance in planning my trip in December. The trip went really well and I was blessed with great weather almost the entire trip. I was really impressed with your country and hope to visit again in the future. Take care and Happy New Year.
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5
26/11/2006
We would like make some comments on our recent trip with you. We did the New Zealand Highlights holiday. The experience you provided us with seeing your country was the very best, a 5 star trip. The whole trip was excellent. We have only been back less then 2 weeks but we have already told many people that if they plan to travel to New Zealand, this was the way to go with a first class operation all the way. The accommodations were way beyond what we thought we were going to get. They were all spotlessly clean. The value of the accommodations were way beyond what we thought we were getting, we would rate you a 10. We have already recommended to friends and family and colleagues if you go to New Zealand you need to go with your group. We've given copies of trip plans that you gave us to people to show how excellent a job you do. The ferry between the north and south island was a great experience and thank you for putting the Tranz-Alpine train on the tour. It was a must do item. Thanks again.
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16 Day New Zealand Highlights
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Tour Code: GNPH
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Departures: May 2018 to March 2019
Rating:
44 reviews (4.7/5)

Itinerary includes full cooked breakfasts daily and 15 nights superior accommodation with stopovers in Rotorua & Marlborough Sounds & in the adventure... Read More

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