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U.S.FTC GUIDELINES PLEASE NOTE: we act as an affiliate for several companies that feature on our website. In some cases we may earn a commission from referrals to those companies. For further information please refer to our Privacy and Disclaimer policies which can be found in the "US" tab.

Driving Tours of New Zealand

HI, if you are interested in driving tours of New Zealand, you are in luck.

What do we offer?

With decades of experience, we know that there are some very popular travel routes in New Zealand, and so we offer you our expertise to help you plan and build your perfect New Zealand driving holiday.

Experience has shown us that most of our valued customers like to take their time to explore various options and inclusions, and we've found that no two New Zealand itineraries are the same.

Often, we go back and forth with our customers many times before we settle on that perfect New Zealand itinerary.

So, you tell us where you want to go, what you want to see and do, and we can help you to build the itinerary to suit you.

No rush, no pressure, just expert advice to help you plan your perfect New Zealand escape.

Once you have your itinerary sorted, it's then just a matter of using the links on our website to book your car, accommodation, and any activities that you want to include.

We don't charge you for our service

And best of all, we don't charge for our service. We receive a commission from our suppliers (, DriveNow, and Viator) for any completed bookings that you make through the links on our website. If you don't use the service (for example if you cancel your booking) we don't receive any payment.

All we do are driving tours of New Zealand. So it's in our own interests to help you select the best services for you.

Ready to see some of our driving tours of New Zealand?

There's lots of information on this page to help you plan your holiday, so please scroll down when you have a chance.

But if you want to start looking at a range of sample itineraries, here are our most popular for each island:

* North Island itineraries

* South Island itineraries

Why not try a small group glacier walk on Franz Josef Glacier. Click for more information.

Some things for you to consider about driving tours of New Zealand

Not sure where to start?

In our experience, these are the most important things to consider:

1) Do I really want to drive myself?

2) How much time do I have (including the day you fly in and the day you fly home)?

3) What are my bucket list items (e.g. cruising on Milford Sound, Rotorua, going on a Great Walk, skiing our world class slopes, walking on a glacier  etc)?

4) How much do I want to spend?

1) Why drive yourself?

This is probably one of the questions that we are asked the most. Why not a bus/coach tour?

Well, there's something special about planning your own holiday itinerary (with our help of course), then taking your time to travel from one location to another, at your own speed.

Coach tours are great, but you are limited to the schedule set by the tour company, including some early starts. What they include is what you get. No flexibility.

In our humble opinion, traveling at your own speed and to your own schedule makes more sense.

And we can build that itinerary for you, making sure that you see those special places on your bucket list.

Wellington's iconic cable car. Pic courtesy of NZ Sidekick

Our best advice is don't rush your trip by trying to cram too much into a short period of time.

We want you to experience the real New Zealand. See what we see, experience those uniquely kiwi things, and above all, enjoy Aotearoa.

2) Your available time - ten days per island minimum

To allow yourself time to see the best bits, we generally suggest a minimum of ten to twelve days per island. The longer the better.

If you have less than ten days, our recommendation would be to just focus on a particular region or area, such as the North or South of one of the main islands.

A good example is the Southern Lakes and Fiordland.

Queenstown/Wanaka and Milford Sound/Doubtful Sound, are iconic New Zealand destinations, and with so much to see and do in this area alone, ten days here will fly past.

Have a look at our "10 Day Lower South Island" itinerary. This crams a lot into a short period of time, but also allows some free time in Queenstown, and is not too taxing from a driving perspective.

There's lots of information on our New Zealand region's page, and you can also find information about each region by using the "South Is." and "North Is." tabs in the menu at the top of this page.

Our Travel Planner might also help you through the process.

And of course, if you have any questions, or just want to get the ball rolling, just Ask Us.

Beautiful Cathedral Cove in the Coromandel on New Zealand's North Island

3) What do I want to see and do?

New Zealand is a country of contrasts.

Roughly the size of the U.K. but with only a fraction of the population, it's amazing how much diversity Mother Nature has managed to squeeze into somewhere so compact.

The two islands (the creatively named "North Island" and "South Island") are very different in many ways.

The South Island.

With the towering Southern Alps running down the South Island's spine, the South Island features brilliant snow covered mountains (including New Zealand's highest peak Aoeraki Mt. Cook), ancient glaciers (like Fox and Franz Josef), and the iconic Fiordland, home to the sounds, Milford and Doubtful. Shimmering turquoise lakes like Pukaki and Tekapo are breathtakingly beautiful. Various ski fields around Mt Hutt, Queenstown and Wanaka draw crowds through the winter months. But the South Island also features beautiful coastal regions like the Tasman, and rugged coastline along the western side. In the Southern Lakes region sit the lakeside towns of Wanaka and Queenstown, which offer an almost never ending range of things to see and do.

The North Island

The North is quite different to the South, and whilst also offering ski fields (in the Central Plateau), it is home to the thermal wonderlands around Rotorua and Taupo, and several imposing volcanoes. The sub-tropical Bay of Islands and the Coromandel Peninsula feature beautiful bays and beaches and some iconic spots like Cathedral Cove and Hot Water beach. Hawke's Bay and the Wairarapa regions attract visitors for their wine and food, and the larger cities like Auckland and Wellington offer all the attractions of modern multi-cultural living. Gisborne on the East Coast is the first place in New Zealand to greet the sun each day.

Both Islands

Maori culture features on both islands with a wide variety of cultural and educational opportunities available, particularly around Rotorua and Taupo.

Wildlife abounds, particularly sea life. Whale and dolphin watch tours are scattered around the country, together with lots of opportunities to see local bird life, including several varieties of penguin, and the cheeky Kea, a type of parrot, common in the alpine areas. The Kiwi is a very secretive bird, and these days is usually only visible in dedicated viewing areas and zoos.

If you love walking and hiking (or tramping as we call it) New Zealand is your Nirvana. There are currently ten Great Walks scattered across both islands, and many are considered world's best. The Milford Track in Fiordland on the South Island, and the Tongariro Northern Circuit in the central North Island, are perhaps the most sought after. But both islands have a multitude of shorter walks, all well maintained, and designed to showcase our wonderful diverse scenery.

Our Great Walks are administered by the Department of Conservation (DOC). Their website has lots of information on our walking trails which you can see here.

Food and wine attracts people from around the world, with a range of different varieties available. A good way to experience the diversity is to follow the Classic New Zealand Wine Trail.

Adventure activities are endless in NZ. Jet Boating, caving, white water rafting, bungy jumping, skiing, and mountain biking are available around the country.

But if you want to just put your feet up and relax, this is also the perfect place. Find a room with a view (easy to do), pull up a seat, and take it all in.

Thundering Huka Falls near Taupo on the North Island

4) The budget

Once you have decided what you want to see and do, and where you want to go, it's time to check the finances.

Relative to many other countries, New Zealand offers great value. Our exchange rate offers travelers from many countries the opportunity of more value from their holiday dollars.

Our Travel Planner has a handy calculator to help you calculate your potential holiday costs. We hope it proves useful for you.

Of course if you book one of our packages, many of your costs will be included.

The official New Zealand tourism body has some helpful information on the cost of various items and services in New Zealand. You can access their information by clicking here.

Tiaki - our promise to protect our land.

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