Michael and Prue Freeman, The Southern Circle Self Drive Tour, Travelled on 20th April 2018
To the fantastic team at NZ Self Drive Tours ( Especially Natalie), thank you so much for making our holiday the most amazing experience ever! Literally the whole trip was an absolute dream. The accommodation suggestions were absolutely perfect for us (Wayne & Karen at Merivale Manor were awesome!). The car was excellent. And the tailored suggested places to visit in our package were spot on for us. We posted a lot of our experience on Instagram & we have been contacted by at least 20 of our friends & family who have been inspired to travel the South Island because of our photo's. We will be highly recommending you to everyone. Thanks again - we'll be in touch when we do the North Island (or maybe we'll just do a different trip to the South Island as we loved it so much!)
Doug and Lee Meikle, The Ultimate Discover New Zealand Tour, Travelled on 26th March 2018
From the first point of contact, through the itinerary planning with Narissa, we experienced the most wonderful and hassle free trip ever (all bookings were simple quick check ins, whether for cars, accommodation, tours or special interests). Combined with the wonders of NZ and the friendly locals, we had a holiday to remember. Would not hesitate to use NZ Self Drive Tours in the future or recommend them to friends and family.
Syed Rashid Putra, Olga and Sharifah, Customised Fiords, Glaciers and Mountains Self Drive Tour, Travelled on 14th April 2018
Dear Joanna, we would like to thank you for arranging a very enjoyable tour of New Zealand's South Island. Everything went smoothly and according to plan. The hotels we stayed in, especially The Heritage Christchurch, were very clean, spacious and very comfortable. We will definitely recommend you and New Zealand Self Drive Tours to our friends when they visit New Zealand.
Ian and Daphne Taylor, Customized Discover New Zealand, Travelled on 12th March 2018
Thanks to New Zealand Self Drive Tours, we very much enjoyed our 31 days in New Zealand. From the time we first made contact with New Zealand Self Drive Tours and in particular Natalie DeCaro, we were very impressed with the quick and efficient responses to all of our requests and correspondence. Natalie was able to successfully work our itinerary around our primary request which was to attend the Warbirds over Wanaka air show. We were able to accept the initial itinerary with minimal alteration. The itinerary and our time in New Zealand went off without a hitch. All transfers were on time and efficient. All accommodation and other bookings were accepted exactly as arranged and as per the itinerary. We found all of the personalised information in the “Customised Discover New Zealand” bound booklet which was presented to us on our arrival in Auckland very helpful indeed. We have already and will have no hesitation in recommending the services of New Zealand Self Drive Tours to any of our friends who are thinking of making a holiday on the other side of The Tasman.
Susan Laughlin & Lowell Cooper, Customised Discover New Zealand, Travelled on 4th March 2018
I fussed for days and days trying to sort out a self-drive route for South Island. It finally occurred to me that getting a little help would be a smart idea. I started a chat on the Self Drive website and before I knew it, I was having a phone conversation. Within 24 hours I had in my hands a fabulous tour planned out that was much more logical and more adventure-laden than I could ever have planned myself. On the ground, the arrangements were excellent…not a single hitch. The hotels were chosen with care and I think we got the best rooms in each of the hotels booked for us. We were absolutely pleased with the service and the outcome provided by Self Drive Tours.
You won't be disappointed in the service| Mary and Richard DeSmidt | The Customised Discover New Zealand | Travelled on 27th March 2018
We just returned from our 3 week self driving tour of New Zealand. We had a fantastic trip! From beginning to end, New Zealand Self Driving Tours was spot on. We determined where we wanted to go, how much we wanted to spend and how long we could travel.Read more
With that information, New Zealand Self Driving Tours created an itinerary for us. We went over the itinerary and tweaked it a bit to accommodate our needs. We are in our 70s and we did not want to be busy everyday or drive long distances each day. This company customized our trip so that it was exactly what we wanted. From beginning to end, it was perfectly orchestrated. There was not a glitch to be found! Our lodgings were comfortable and conveniently located to access the sites that we wanted to see. The excursions that we booked through New Zealand Self Driving were top notch. All of our reservations were stress free. For us, it was good to book all this in advance. It was all paid for before we left on the trip. That made it so easy! Pretty much, we just needed to pay for food, gas, and souvenirs. We highly recommend New Zealand Self Driving Tours and Narissa Phipps. You won't be disappointed in the service. New Zealand is an incredible place to visit and it was enhanced by the ease of travel provided by this company.
The sights will live with us forever | Larry Kulick | Northbound Explorer Christchurch to Auckland Self Drive Tour | Travelled on 27th February 2018
Hi Lauren, We very much enjoyed our visit to your country. The sights will live with us forever. Christchurch - A city still recovering from the earthquake. The botanical gardens, Canterbury museum and the Antarctica Center and taking the City Tram were highlights.Read more
Novotel's staff and location were excellent. Mt. Cook Village - Spectacular drive by Lake Tekapo, Church of the Good Shepard, sheepdog statue. Took many pictures of Mt Cook on way to the Hermitage. So happy to get a room with a porch and A1 view. Best breakfast on trip. Dunedin - Train station, parks, architecture were highlights. The drive on the Otago Peninsula from Albatross Center back to Dunedin memorable. It was very warm and were disappointed with lack of AC at southern Cross hotel. Te Anau- So much to do there. Doesn't get any better than Distinction Hotel in Te Anau. Short walk to restaurants, scenic cruise and everything else. Milford Sound cruise on a sunny day was highlight of our tour. Queenstown - Amazing views from the Skyline Complex. Gondola, Luge and speedboat rides fun. Scenery on way to Glenorchy super. I would have paid extra to stay in downtown area. Waranka - Big festival in town. Many roads were closed. Did not see much of town. Edgewater is a beautiful resort. Management very helpful to us. Franz Joseph - Helicopter landing on Glacier special. Glacier pools were so so. Alpine Glacier motel disappointing. Trans Alpine Train - After doing all that driving on the west side of the South Island the scenery was nice but not exciting. Kaikoura - Wish I had more time there. The White Morph was so nice. The town was fun. The earthquake damage enormous. The seals plentiful.
Your countryside is picture book stunning. | John & Jennifer Perry | Mountains and Lakes South Island Family Tour | Travelled on 19th March 2018
Hi Erynn Mate how good was that trip. Many workmates, friends & family have asked me about this trip and I keep running out of superlatives. I can’t thank you enough. From the get go where you had to work within my budget to put this trip together. As soon as we left Christchurch for the inland scenic route we knew we were in for a treat.Read more
If we had the time between stops we would have been pulling over every 20 kilometres. Simply breathtaking. I’ll probably get carried away here but back to arriving in Christchurch and the proprietor of Merivale Manor Motel (Wayne) what a comedian and host. We’ve never been to the south island prior so we were taken with the old European influence of the buildings there in Christchurch and the transition it is making after earthquakes. Merivale Manor was very comfortable and I would stay there again if I got back to Christchurch. Your black satchel bag with everything you need in it for a road trip like this was fantastic so caringly put together. I knew with the work that went into what was in that bag our trip ahead was going to be a beauty. Simply too numerous to list all the magnificent highlights of this tour. Lake Tekapo is just stunning and so much fun. The hot pool springs I was in there for ages. On route to Lake Tekapo the landscape incredible with the mountains,gorges,the farms and the communities particularly Geraldine. Queenstown what a beautiful city. We loved the gondola ride and the steamship cruise to Walter Peak farm was great and the gourmet BBQ lunch was absolutely delightful. On the second morning it snowed and the Remarkables were a terrific sight full of powder on the peaks. We loved Cromwell with all the orchards & that magnificent Lake Dunstan. The drive to Dunedin was fabulous with great communities like Alexandra with the clock on the mountain side and Lawrence was a great pit stop as well. In Dunedin we went up to Signal Hill on the advice of a waiter at the octagon where we dined. It provided great views. That Otago Peninsula road is a bit hairy right beside the water but well worth it going out to see the Penguins. That is a wonderful facility for the penguins and the fur seals they share with. In conclusion We are grateful to you for providing a old couple of aussie battlers with a superb week. I have recommended you and your company to people I know should they consider a self drive holiday in your wonderful country. I will submit photos of our trip as soon as one of my boys come around to help me upload. The guest book entry falls into the same category. You take care and all the very best and thank you. Kindest Regards John & Jennifer Perry
NZ self-drive does all the work and then you can have all the fun | Suellen and Kenneth Slater | Customised Discover New Zealand | Travelled on 13th March 2018
Every part of the process went smoothly. Our agent was easy to work with and helped us customize our trip the way we wanted it. One of the easiest trips we’ve ever had, not a single snag.Read more
Well, one very minor snag actually was not getting the type of rental car we had reserved in Auckland. They gave us a sedan that was not to our liking but we did get the correct car when we went to the South Island. All our accommodations were excellent. Our absolute favorite was the McCormick House in Picton. Jeanne and Carl were lovely people and we enjoyed talking with them. Unfortunately is was a drizzly wet day while we were in Picton so we did not explore as much as we would have liked. I also think we had one of our best dinners in Picton as well. Carl recommended a place in town called LeCafe and it was excellent. A great find in a small town. The Manaku Lodge in Kaikoura was also a real highlight, wish we’d had 2 nights in Kaikoura. Not only was it in a beautiful location but clearly had the best breakfast. Most B&B’s in the US are known for their gourmet breakfasts. Most of the places we stayed in New Zealand where breakfast was offered, gave a choice of eggs or cereals in the morning. All quite fine but not at the level of most of the US B&B’s. The eggs benedict at the Manaku Lodge with salmon and real hollandaise was yummy. Having said all this I must say the view we had from the Hermitage at Mt Cook rivaled any found anywhere in the world. The view from our window was breathtaking and we were very fortunate the weather was clear on our first day. The highlight of the trip had to have been Milford Sound and Fiorland National Park. We ran out of ways to “wow”! Everywhere we went on the west coast it was spectacular. New Zealand had everything we love, mountains, beaches, open farmland, spectacular coastline, friendly people and I could go on and on. The Jet Boats in Queenstown are also at the top of our list. Quite the thrilling ride, didn’t want it to end. Queenstown was a bit of a surprise to us. The harbor is quite lovely but the town was more “honky tonk” than we expected, lots of bars and souvenir shops. The compactness was very nice and everything was an easy walk from our accommodations. The only thing we didn’t plan well was our first day in Auckland. We landed at 7am and had to wait until 3pm for our room. This meant a whole day of walking around the city when we were quite tired. Maybe our agent could have suggested some type of tour that would have used up that time without being too exhausting. Otherwise everything went very smoothly. We initially thought this was a once in a lifetime trip but we are already talking about where we want to go the next time we visit New Zealand. A spectacular country. I would recommend New Zealand self-drive tours without any reservations, in fact I have. I have friends who want to go to New Zealand next year and I told them NZ self-drive does all the work and then they can have all the fun.
Susan Coish and Michael Kerr, Customised 30 Day Ultimate Explorer Tour of New Zealand, Travelled on 11th March 2018
Our trip was great. Thank you for your ideas and your organization. The South Island was spectacular! Even more spectacular than the North Island! So many wonderful new sites around every curve in the road. We had lots of fun on our Safari ride outside of Queenstown and I loved Wanaka.Read more
We fit in many beautiful little and medium sized hikes everywhere. The museum in Wellington was a great hit. We were so taken by the Gallipoli exhibit. It was emotionally draining to complete but a fabulous exhibit. We also signed up for a 2 hour private tour and had a passionate guide. The harbor was lovely and WINDY! A great day! Michael and I bought a "chilly bin" when we arrived in New Zealand and prepared lunches and cooked breakfasts and dinners 80-90% of the time. Lots of money saved and it was likely healthier. We realized, at the end though, that we had missed out on some of the great New Zealand food! As I had expected, the New Zealanders were absolutely lovely. Our only exception was at the Oceans Resort in Whitianga. As I mentioned to you, the manager ??( woman) was nasty and rude. It really effected our experience in that location. She was quite dismissive about your company as well, telling us that it would be months before she would be paid. I considered that very unprofessional. When we asked for a record that our bill was complete, (had been covered) she printed a document that said "sent to debtors" and said 'I will NOT give you something that says you have paid up." As well, we received a lecture about opening the downstairs room door and placing our suitcases there. We had not been told that that was not also our space. She realized her new (and actually lovely employee) had forgotten to clarify that with us. The condo had 2 extra bedrooms downstairs. We did not need them but did not realize that we were not even to enter them . She did not ,then ,apologize for the unsettling and aggressive lecture ,but departed in a huff. I can assure you that I was polite and apologetic around our misunderstanding . Michael was upstairs when this all went on and he shocked by her aggressive angry tone. I can honestly say we did not have a single other experience like that in New Zealand. I have no problem if you wish to share my comments with the owners of the property and with your organization. This woman certainly was not one of the great ambassadors for NZD whom we enjoyed everywhere else!! I would never return to that location and I would advise my friends to look elsewhere. The woman who spoke with us about the Glacier Tour cancellation in Wanaka was lovely and apologetic. She mentioned that the refund was in the order of $295 per person. Please let us know when to look out for that. Two towns you sent us to they were not far from bigger cities were Oamarua VS Dunedin and Wanaka instead of Queen town. These were lovely places to stay and visit.Only one other piece of feed back. The manager( Irene) at the Red Tussock Motel in Te Anau,gave us a wonderful piece of advice. Rather than driving from Te Anau to Milford sound and risk getting hung up in what is now a pretty crazy parking situation ,she recommended that we take the bus there and back. It was well worth the extra cost. The bus driver gave an excellent guided talk. We made several stops that I suspect we would have driven by. There were people arriving by car who were stressed by the limited parking and had to park a 15-20 min walk away from the cruise. We were very happy to arrive on time ,see the sites and not have to struggle with parking. We were picked up at our Motel and had a most relaxing trip to Milford Sound. I think it is worth recommending to other clients ,especially if they have been driving a lot and would benefit from a driving break. Thank you once again for helping us on such short notice. I was charmed by the following places we stayed :Takatu lodge great meal ,lovely person hosting stunning setting .Oceans View Chalet,and Abel Tasman Park, Napier Pebble Beach Motor Inn was perfect ,good location very nice couple running it. Napier had a terrific vibe. I could easily have stayed much longer .Bolton Hotel in Wellington ,good location , fun staff . I really liked Wellington . We certainly covered great territory . If we had had more time I think we both agree that there were many places that would have captured or attention and admiration for 3-5 more days in any one of them. We will pass on the name of your service to our friends. Thank you again for your help and support putting together such a wonderful trip . Best wishes to you and your family , Sincerely , Susan and Michael
Thanks so much Erynn you were super helpful | James & Colleen Miller | Customised Christchurch to Auckland Must Do Tour | Travelled on 7th March 2018
Our trip to NZ was absolutely fantastic. This was due to two major factors...NZ is an indescribably beautiful place with great people and the assistance and guidance from Erynn Bell.Read more
Erynn set up things to allow for maximum utilization of our time. We saw and did so much plus stayed at some perfect hotels and lodges...of particular note Queenstown Park Boutique Hotel, City Life Wellington, Mt Cook Lodge and Waitomo Boutique. Too many highlights to mention them all, but a few personal do not misses...Glacier Explorers, Milford Sound Tour, Tei Puia, Bay of Islands cruise,..plus throw in some zip lining, jet boating and zorbing...you will not regret any of it. Thanks so much Erynn you were super helpful and wonderful to work with. We will recommend you to all that are headed your way and if we get the chance again you will be one of the first to know. Take care.
It truly was a perfect trip | Mike & Denice Connelly | Customised Grand New Zealand Experience Including the Milford Track | Travelled on 5th March 2018
My wife and I just concluded our month long trip to New Zealand. Shelley Ryder discussed our needs months prior to our trip and put together the perfect trip. She listened very well and accommodated our every need.Read more
Our hotel accommodation were perfect and the extra touch to meet our request for a few special places to stay were spot on. We also hiked the Milford Track and WOW, that was the highlight to the trip. It did help greatly that the weather was perfect our whole trip. I must also commend the country and people of New Zealand. They are very helpful, kind and pleasant. Their roadways are great and easy to drive, even on the left side. Also, there was NOT one hiccup to the trip. All our cars were where they needed to be at pick up, all taxi services were waiting as expected and reservations at all accommodations were perfect as well as the train and ferry. It truly was a perfect trip and much thanks to New Zealand Self Drive Tours and especially Shelley.
Your help, experience and advice made it better than if I had done it myself | Franklin and Stella Li | Auckland To Queenstown 15 Day Self Drive Tour | Travelled on 1st March 2018
Our trip was great. The evening cruise on the Earnslaw and the dinner buffet were wonderful as you described from your own experience. We wouldn't have gone without your strong recommendation.Read more
We enjoyed the Doubtful Sound outing and would recommend it though the bus ride at the beginning and end are long but the scenery is beautiful. Thanks for building in the included picnic lunch. We wondered whether to pack a lunch, plan to eat on the ship or something else but didn't have time to do anything specific with our late afternoon arrival in Queenstown and the Earnslaw getting pack to town about 9. When were given our tickets when boarding the bus, we saw a decision had been made for us. BTW the picnic lunch was excellent and ample. The airport pickup and drop offs went off without a hitch. Until I saw the delivered itinerary I didn't realize we already had transportation to the Christchurch airport included. The inter-island ferry went without a hitch. It rained the day of the ferry but the crossing enjoyable anyway. It was pouring in Picton and on the way to Kaikoura but it was cloudy the next morning. The sun came out as our whale watch boat left the dock at noon. We managed to see 4 sperm whales. Car pickup and drop off went well. Now I am a veteran of using GPS and driving over 1000 miles on the left side of the road. Would have never made it from Auckland to Waitomo or Waitomo to Roturua without GPS. All of the accommodations were very comfortable. The ones in Auckland and Queenstown in particular were very roomy; the one in Wellington was borderline cramped but more than adequate and the location was good, within a block or two of the main streets without any noise. The one is Queenstown was over the reception (though there was no noise from reception or the street traffic) on the second floor and afforded us a beautiful partial view of the lake over the tree tops. Never had a bad meal the whole trip. NZ wine gets deserved credit but the beers are GREAT too. You're a right-Te Papa is a great museum. All in all, a great trip and wonderful vacation. Your help, experience and advice made it better than if I had done it myself. Thanks for a great job! Frank
We were very pleased with ALL the arrangements | Mike & Sheila Trahan | Christchurch to Auckland Splendour | Travelled on 1st March 2018
My wife Sheila and I had been wanting to visit New Zealand for most of our 50 year marriage, and we finally accomplished that this past March, with the able assistance of Laura Davidson and your company. We contacted Laura at the suggestion of a friend, and asked her to plan and make all the arrangements for a self-driving tour of both the North and South Islands.Read more
We planned to spend 15 days over there and asked her to plan out a tour that would take us to some of the most desirable places to visit. Well, she did even more than that. When we arrived in Christchurch we were met at the airport with a complete and detailed itinerary for our entire trip. All lodging, transportation, car rentals, and special attractions had been arranged and paid for. It was a seamless trip and very convenient and pleasant to accomplish. We did have one "hitch" in the plans though. One of the last places we wanted to visit was being threatened by a cyclone the day we were supposed to be there, so we called Laura and told her we would skip that part of the trip. We asked her to arrange another night at the hotel in Auckland, so we could just finish up our trip there. She was able to get us a room and all went well. I can't say enough about how convenient and interesting this trip was. I would recommend New Zealand Fine Touring to anyone who wants to visit New Zealand. We were very pleased with ALL the arrangements. And, a special thanks to Laura Davidson, for the friendly, competent way she made all those arrangements for us. Sincerely, Mike and Sheila Trahan Dallas, Texas
Narissa, who made our New Zealand dream come true | Reatha and Neil Sorensen | The Customised Queenstown to Auckland Adventure Tour | Travelled on 28th February 2018
We thoroughly enjoyed our 3-week (2/28 - 3/20/2018) New Zealand adventure, expertly customized for us by Narissa. She really listened to what we told her as far as our budget, interests, and accommodation preferences.Read more
I will highly recommend New Zealand Self-Drive Tours and our "ace" agent Narissa, who made our New Zealand dream come true. Look forward to returning someday. Reatha and Neil Sorensen, Maui, Hawaii
Well planned, executed and enjoyable | Ken, Barb and Keryn Jones | The Customised Coast to Coast Self Drive Tour | Travelled on 24th February 2018
Narissa Phipps, thank you for arranging our self-drive holiday it was well planned, executed and enjoyable, all the accommodation arranged for us was excellent and hosts were perfect.Read more
Our only regret is that we did not have more time to explore out of the way points of interest in your wonderful country another 7 days would have been better on this trip to fully appreciate, it’s our fault, My wife says next time we come over we will take more time to explore the missed areas.
You will definitely hear from us in the future for all those arrangements and bookings | Kerry Weedon and Andrew Vella | Customised The Southern Circle Day Walks | Travelled on 26th February 2018
Hi Lauren, Well we are back home safe and sound. Just wanted to send you an email to say how much we appreciate everything you did for us with regards to our New Zealand holiday. We had the best holiday ever and enjoyed every activity and every second of driving through the south part of the South Island.Read more
You have an amazing and very beautiful country and all the people we spoke with were so friendly. We could not believe that as you kept driving more amazing views and countryside kept appearing round another corner, especially through the Caitlins. Absolutely everything was fantastic. All the accommodation was spacious, well positioned and great. We really appreciated you booking us into places that had kitchenette’s to allow us to have our own breakfasts, which not only saved us money, but ensured we were up, fed, and ready for some of our early activity bookings. We really appreciated you booking an apartment for us in Queenstown which meant we had our own washing machine & drier in our room. We hadn’t done any laundry since arriving, so was very grateful the facilities were in our room and we could wash everything at night while watching some Television before bed. We really enjoyed your home town Wanaka. We did the Rob Roy Walking Track and the Diamond Lake / Rocky Mountain Track which were both very different but amazing in there own way. Wanaka had the best grazing country to drive through on the way to the Tracks. We also really enjoyed the day walks on both the Milford & Routeburn Tracks. We are very keen to return to do the full 3 day guided walk on the Routeburn Track as well as some other activities at Queenstown. The fly fishing with Chris Dore was great, and I managed to land a Brown Trout which made the day very special. We have some fantastic photos from all our activities and driving. We had a wonderful time and have already discussed our next holiday to New Zealand to do the north part of the South Island. You will definitely hear from us in the future for all those arrangements and bookings, once I have done some research and saved more money over the rest of this year. Thanks again Lauren, and Take Care xx Kerry & Andrew
Thanks for making all the arrangements that made this adventure possible for us! | Marjorie & Jeffrey Stearns | Highlights of New Zealand | Travelled on 22nd February 2018
Our Self-Drive New Zealand Trip was PERFECT in every way! All the details for travel had been attended to by our agent, Louise. The accommodations were great, the directions helpful, the extra tours we planned were wonderful.Read more
It was so nice to be met at each hotel by people who were expecting us and knew our names. There was no need for vouchers--everything was on record! Our itinerary was ambitious and we drove a little more than 4000 km in four weeks. Can't imagine trying to see and get to know the country any other way! Thanks for making all the arrangements that made this adventure possible for us! Marge and Jeff
Fabulous way to visit a gorgeous country | Carol & Paul McCormick | A Customised Relaxed New Zealand Experience | Travelled on 18th February 2018
We couldn't be more pleased with the personalized itinerary prepared by Christina Brockie for us. Materials were expertly prepared for us to collect at our first hotel with phone numbers, confirmation numbers, addresses, and details about all lodging, car rentals, and excursions.Read more
Both islands were included at a pace that suited us (a relaxed tour) with multiple nights at lodgings rather than moving to a new place every day or so. Almost everyone of our locations for lodging included a washer/dryer which was extremely convenient. My favorites experiences: Waimangu Volcanic Valley walk - spectacular views, steamy hot water and exotic vegetation Hobbiton near Matamata - completely charming sets from the LotR movies and so so green wine tasting in the Marlborough region - OMG, their SAUVIGNON BLANC is the world's best! Pelorus Mail Boat - beautiful scenery and great, fun commentary from the captain ferry rides between the north and south islands - stunning views The water is pure, the air is clean, the stars (when visible) are spectacular. There are so very many places and experiences to enjoy in New Zealand. Next time, I want to include the Fjordland National Park, and stops at knitting sheds and shops on both islands. Thanks very much, Christina! Carol (& Paul) McCormick Sacramento, California, USA
Sheri Nielsen & Carla Cassity, Explore New Zealand, Travelled on 22nd February 2018
New Zealand is mother nature at her best.
We shall certainly recommend your company | Sandra & Peter Heaviside | A Customised North to South Island holiday | Travelled on 17th February 2018
We would like to thank you for planning and organising such an excellent trip for us to New Zealand, and for responding so promptly to all our queries and changes.Read more
We had an excellent time, even though the weather was against us at some points (torrential rain at Milford Sound and on the ferry to South Island), and the cyclone stopped us going to Kaikoura. But we still had some very sunny days too! That's New Zealand! We were very happy with the choice of good hotels and motels-and we especially liked the Pebble Beach Motor Inn at Napier-very well run and excellent breakfasts delivered each day to our room, -the warm welcome from our hosts at Blue Ridge Boutique Bed and Breakfast at Te Anau, and the views and service at the Hermitage Hotel. Some fantastic scenery which we will remember for always and we really enjoyed all the trips- especially the helicopter trip onto the glacier at Franz Josef, and the Queenstown gondola and luge were fun-though we didn’t manage all the 5 luge runs! Thank you also for processing the refund so quickly back to our card account. We shall certainly recommend your company as the way to really see and experience New Zealand. Again, many thanks. Best wishes Sandra and Peter Heaviside
Your availability and assistance was greatly appreciated | Ernest and Betty Mistr | South Island Self Drive Tour | Travelled on 17th February 2018
Betty and I had a wonderful time in New Zealand. Time went by way too quickly. The trip was everything I had dreamed of about New Zealand and more. The country is fantastically beautiful. All of the accommodations were great. I think Betty's favorite was in Milford Sound with the river running by and sitting the deck enjoying a bottle of wine.Read more
Our self drive trip was preceded by a cruise which allowed us to visit the coast from Dunedin to the Bay of Islands. The flight seeing around Aoraki and the Earth and Sky experience on Mt John were awesome. We added a flightseeing over Lake Wanaka with U-Fly which was fantastic. I learned about a person who would fly you in a P-51 Mustang in Wanaka, but unfortunately he was getting his plane ready for the upcoming Warbirds show(not sure I could have afforded it but would have been a unique experience). The weather in general was great considering we experienced Cyclone Gita. We missed the kayaking adventure in Abel Tasman but had driven to Kaiteriteri the day before and seen the beautiful beaches. Buller Gorge was beautiful. The Fiordland Navigator overnight in Doubtful Sound was incredible. There are no words to describe the beauty of Fiordland NP and how tiny you feel with the mountains rising into the clouds. Home two weeks and I already miss NZ. What changes would I make if doing this itinerary again, I think adding 2-3 extra days with the possibility of staying an extra day at a given location. The rain in Aoraki NP resulted in missing the chance to do some hikes I had in mind.(don't know how it would have worked to deal with the extra night accommodations without messing up other reservations.) (The day we left Marahau was beautiful and we might have been able to work in the kayaking adventure.) The roads were great in general. (Too many exceptional views with no where to stop for photos only drawback) Construction sometimes added travel time but was not a major factor. I rarely completed the segment in the estimated driving time due to stopping for photos, lunch stop, or to do a walk but in general the intervals were appropriate. The only other change to the itinerary would be to the drive from Franz Josef to Westport. We had previously spent the night in Punakaki and driven from Westport to Greymouth enroute to Arthurs Pass. Spending that night in Hokitika before taking the Tranzalpine from Greymouth might have been better? I had originally planned to drive down to Jackson Bay from Haast but had some concerns about getting assistance if I had trouble with auto and not knowing if the road was traveled enough to get help. All in all the trip more than met my expectations and was fantastic. You have a wonderful and beautiful country. The people of NZ were most friendly and gracious. I would end by saying thank you for your help with planning and arranging our trip. Thank everyone for help in navigating after Cyclone Gita and the closed roads. Your availability and assistance was greatly appreciated. Natalie-thank you again for all of your help.
Lauren Neville did a fantastic job designing our 23-day drive tour | Larry and Ellen Borger | Grand New Zealand Experience | Travelled on 13th February 2018
This is my review of New Zealand Self Drive Tours as arranged by Lauren Neville for the summer (Feb/Mar) of 2018 in NZ. Some background of what we wanted. We asked for a self drive, 23-day tour of both North and South Island of NZ with four star hotel accommodations along the entire route. We asked for a small suv to drive the tour. After arriving in Auckland, our first accommodation was at Sky City Hotel with a great room. We were here for 3 nights and had a wonderful time.Read more
On day 2, we picked up the car we had requested. One point to check on when picking up your car, make sure the GPS you pick up for directions has current software. Outside of Wellington and Christchurch, the GPS we had didn’t recognize the new roads. It kept directing us to turn off of the state highway and use back streets, streets that no longer had off-ramps off the highway. This was somewhat confusing and stressful. But we did get to all of our destinations using the GPS. Upon departing Auckland, we drove north as our itinerary suggested. We had no problems other than two Americans learning to drive on the left side of the road. We encountered our first road closure about 30 minutes from our second hotel. This is something one would need to consider when driving NZ. There may be road closures and many road maintenance delays while driving during their summer months. In our case, we had four road closure delays and detours, some as long as two hours. Also keep in mind that we flew in on the tail of a cyclone and this cyclone changed direction and came back to NZ, causing many of the road closures. At one point we had to contact NZ Self Drive Tours to determine what to do next. But we finally made our second hotel. This hotel was not a four-star accommodation, at best two-star. No air-conditioning, no screens on the windows or sliders, and it was really hot. They brought us a fan, but it was still very warm and uncomfortable. The room appeared well used. After two nights, we moved on to our 3rd hotel. This hotel (actually a motel) was also not a four-star accommodation. It was a very clean motel with a very nice host. But again, no screens on the sliding glass door or windows (still very warm), no elevator (we were on the second floor) and no air-conditioning. However, our host did provide us with an oscillating fan. This was in addition to all of the crickets that came in through the door and windows, landing on the bed and dropping from the window into the shower. Fortunately, we had only one night at this location. This completes the negative portion of my review. Now on our way to our 4th hotel and we finally had an accommodation as nice as the Sky City in Auckland. It was a very nice room in Rotorua, which we had for 2 nights. And from this point on, our accommodations were pretty much what we expected. After arriving on the South Island, all of our expectations were met. The car we picked up on South Island was nicer than the one provided to us on North Island. Although we still had road closures, detours, and many road maintenance delays, all went well with our accommodations. We thoroughly enjoyed our South Island tour. We even stopped by to meet our tour director, Lauren, in Wanaka. In summary, we really enjoyed our tour. Lauren Neville did a fantastic job designing our 23-day drive tour. The accommodations and excursions set up for us by Lauren, went extremely well. All reservations were ready and we had no unexpected surprises. Other than the exceptions noted above, the tour more than met our expectations. Lauren always responded to my questions and concerns before and during our tour. We would definitely recommend both Lauren and New Zealand Fine Touring for your self-drive tour of New Zealand. They both provided a wonderful experience to visit their beautiful country.
All in all, this trip was everything we had hoped it would be | Laurie and Thomas Rogers, David and Caroline Rowlands | The Customised Coast to Coast Self Drive Tour | Travelled on 10th February 2018
Narissa organised the most amazing trip for us, allowing us to get a really good overview of most of South Island in our two week self-drive tour.Read more
From our pick up at the airport in Christchurch until the time we dropped the car off at the airport for our flight home, everything went very smoothly and easily. The hire car was perfect for the four of us and our luggage and we travelled very comfortably and problem free for our entire two weeks. We had requested mid-range motels and check-in was a breeze! These were perfect for what we needed and we had comfortable nights in all of them. They were all within walking distance of a number of restaurants which made things very easy. Our favourite motel and village was Franz Josef which also has a wonderful variety of good restaurants. Narissa had pre-booked tours to Milford Sound and Doubtful Sound and there was no doubt, that these trips were the highlights of our tour. The other highlight of our trip was staying in Mount Cook village and seeing Mount Cook in all its snow-clad glory with a bright blue sky behind it. All in all, this trip was everything we had hoped it would be and I say a huge thanks to Narissa for having put it all together and organised it so well for us. Well done and thank you from the four of us.
We will definitely recommend you and your company to our friends and family. | Conrad, Brown, Renfrew | North to South 18 Day Explorer Self Drive Tour | Travelled on 8th February 2018
Erynn, On behalf of the entire group THANK YOU for all your help planning our trip! We had an AWESOME time enjoying your country.Read more
The weather was disappointing at times, but we may just have to go back to see the things we missed (especially TranzApline Railroad and Milford Sound) and some places we wished we had more time for. The people were so nice and helpful everywhere we went. The food was delicious and the activities we planned were wonderful. (It is hard to pick a favorite!) For the most part, the hotels were in great locations, clean, and very comfortable. The van was a great size and very economical on fuel. GPS was very helpful. Now, we get to sit down and relive the trip sorting and sharing our thousands on photos! Thanks again for your expertise and we will definitely recommend you and your company to our friends and family. Kia Ora! Gail, Rich, Wendy, Mark, Karen & Neil (left to right...sort of)
We shall certainly recommend your company | Sandra and Peter Heaviside | A Customised North to South Island holiday | Travelled February 2018
We would like to thank you for planning and organising such an excellent trip for us to New Zealand, and for responding so promptly to all our queries and changes.Read more
We had an excellent time, even though the weather was against us at some points (torrential rain at Milford Sound and on the ferry to South Island), and the cyclone stopped us going to Kaikoura. But we still had some very sunny days too! That's New Zealand! We were very happy with the choice of good hotels and motels-and we especially liked the Pebble Beach Motor Inn at Napier-very well run and excellent breakfasts delivered each day to our room, -the warm welcome from our hosts at Blue Ridge Boutique Bed and Breakfast at Te Anau, and the views and service at the Hermitage Hotel. Some fantastic scenery which we will remember for always and we really enjoyed all the trips- especially the helicopter trip onto the glacier at Franz Josef, and the Queenstown gondola and luge were fun-though we didn’t manage all the 5 luge runs! Thank you also for processing the refund so quickly back to our card account. We shall certainly recommend your company as the way to really see and experience New Zealand. Again, many thanks. Best wishes Sandra and Peter Heaviside
This was the trip I’ve been dreaming of | Jim and Paula Ream & Karen Sieber | Customised Outstanding New Zealand Self Drive Tour | Travelled on 20th January 2018
This was the trip I’ve been dreaming of for 45 years. Our B n B’s were hosted by wonderful people who gave us great advice about restaurants, places to go and local history.Read more
We had great experiences- from zip lines, kayak and the Redwoods of Rotorua at night. Can’t wait to return.
It was a wonderful experience | Bryan and Susan Goodyer | 21 Day Discover New Zealand | Travelled on 18th January 2018
We chose the 21 day North & South Island tour and we must say that it was a wonderful experience. Narissa did a great job in organising the tour. Everything went so smoothly.Read more
From picking up the car, accommodation and the train journey back to Christchurch from Greymouth. We would very much like to do another tour, maybe just North Island as we really didn't spend that much time there this time and it would be nice to see more of it. If we do, we will certainly use NZ Self Drive again.
THANK YOU for all your help planning our trip! | Neil & Karen Conrad, Rich & Gail Brown, Mark & Wendy Renfrew | North to South 18 Day Explorer Self Drive Tour | Travelled on 2nd February 2018
On behalf of the entire group THANK YOU for all your help planning our trip! We had an AWESOME time enjoying your country.
The weather was disappointing at times, but we may just have to go back to see the things we missed (especially TranzApline Railroad and Milford Sound) and some places we wished we had more time for. The people were so nice and helpful everywhere we went. The food was delicious and the activities we planned were wonderful. (It is hard to pick a favorite!) For the most part, the hotels were in great locations, clean, and very comfortable. The van was a great size and very economical on fuel. GPS was very helpful. Now, we get to sit down and relive the trip sorting and sharing our thousands on photos! Thanks again for your expertise and we will definitely recommend you and your company to our friends and family.
We were very satisfied with our journey | Carin Lyckeus, Hans and Nina Ahlin | Classic New Zealand Driving Tour | Travelled on 20th January 2018
We are now back in Sweden after a fantastic journey in your beautiful country. Thank you very much for your good planning that made our travelling easy and comfortable.
We experienced a lot and it was really interesting and the people were very kind and helpful. Of course I feel sorry about that my beloved husband never got possibility to make this journey that he looked forward to very much. Hans, Nina and I myself were very satisfied with our journey. Best regards, Carin Lyckéus
We really enjoyed our holiday and would like to see more of NZ | John Granger, Treasures of the North | Travelled on 4th January 2018
Hi Lauren, We really enjoyed our holiday and would like to see more of NZ in a year or so. Next time we will contact your first, before we plan anything else, so it will be easier for you to plan for us.
The problem is working out how much time to spend driving (= how much of NZ you see) and how much time to enjoy the lovely places you do see. We really enjoyed The Bay of Islands and the day we had there without any travel. That was probably out best day. But pleased also to have seen Thames, the Coromandel region, and Rotorua. We found the Swordfish Club at Paihia a wonderful place to eat and talk to locals, we had a fabulous view from the verandah where we ate looking over the Bay. Next time we will probably ask to spend two nights at where ever we stay. The accommodation was all good. No air conditioning at Rotorua but we are accustomed to the heat, and is was not too hot leaving the motel door open all night. Maybe thats not best practice! You are welcome to put this on face book or where ever tourists write a review. Thanks Lauren for you planning of this holiday. John
Thank you for arranging everything, it was absolutely amazing | Mirjam, Marco William, Daniel & Senna Piet | Customised Queenstown to Auckland Adventure Tour| Travelled on 14th December 2017
We had a great trip in NZ, thank you for arranging everything, it was absolutely amazing. I saw we got the refund from the cancelled cruise, thanks for that too. I didn't see this on the list ; Waiheke Island Explorer Hop On Hop Off Tour.
When we came there the lady said the agency booked for 4 adults and she changed it to 2 adults, 1 kid and 1 (free) infant. The refund would go through the booking agency. Don't see it on your list, do you know what happened here? Thanks, Mirjam Piët
This trip surpassed any and all of my expectations | Kevin Halow and Carolyn Parkos, New Zealand Grand Tour | Travelled on 22nd November 2017
I have done many trips over the years, this was truly the most memorable. Salli Smith was an incredible agent. New Zealand has been on my bucket list for over a decade. This trip surpassed any and all of my expectations.
Salli tailored the trip to meet our needs and even made a last minute change for us without a problem. She was readily available once we were in country to help us with anything that we needed. Throughout the trip, we did not have one glitch; not one! It was like some toned down version of the "Amazing Race". You show up, get an itinerary, car, GPS, and Map and you are off. It was an awesome way to see the islands. Everywhere we went, we were expect whether it was at our lodging or our scheduled activity. The lodging was first class, the people were warm and inviting, the food was excellent, the activities were very fun, the scenery was spectacular, and, most importantly, the trip was relaxing; what vacation should be!! I cannot wait to go again, and when I do, I will only use this company!!
We had an amazing time in New Zealand | Lorraine Pan Baker, Chris & Poppy Baker, Explore the North Island | Travelled on 11th November 2017
We had an amazing time in New Zealand and want to thank you so much for all of your hard work. I really wanted to sit down and tell you about our amazing trip.
Auckland: Love the hotel. That location is amazing, and the setup is so perfect for our family. We were able to walk to the waterfront and walk to the sky tower so easily. There were also two amazing food courts so close by that basically let both of us eat exactly what we wanted. I’m sure you know the names, but I can’t remember them right now. The large room with extra space, kitchen and laundry was fantastic. The train ride to Wellington was so beautiful. Amazing views and great amenities. There were some rough points for Poppy, being partially confined for such a long time. I think if I was advising another family, I would suggest waiting until the kiddo is a little older like 4 or 5 before doing the full train ride. Luckily, she was able to get a good nap in and we spent more time in the dining car where she had a little more freedom, so the afternoon went much more smoothly. Much easier than driving and more beautiful than flying. Wellington: Another amazing location for the hotel. We got to the hotel so late, and were a little hangry for food. Luckily, the hotel recommended a Chinese restaurant around the corner (I want to say it was called the Pearl or something like that). It sounded a little sketchy, but was honestly the best meal of the entire trip (minus the Chinese banquet Lorraine’s family was hosting, but that’s not a fair comparison ;)). Anybody who goes to Wellington has to eat at this restaurant. We only wish that we had had more time to spend in Wellington. Definitely will come back if we ever make it back to New Zealand. We took a quick cruise through the Te Papa gift shop, and it looks so intriguing. I think Poppy wouldn’t have been able to tolerate the museum at this age anyway, but definitely looks like a super cool museum. Zealandia: so gorgeous. Still can’t believe how many birds we saw, and just the scope of the space.Also good to get out and stretch our legs. The drive: (This is Chris) So first time driving on the left side of the road but I LOVE driving. There was a mountain pass on this section that might be one of the best driving roads in the world. Napier: another town we really wish we could have spent more time in. By far, the best accommodations of the entire trip. We could’ve spent a week at this one hotel, taking advantage of all the amenities and being right next to Hawkes Bay. Seriously… That hotel was amazing… Chris has an affinity for one soap in the world made by this company called CO Bigelow. It’s in some high end hotels and the little hotel pack costs $60. Needless to say they had it and he was delighted. Cape Kidnappers: This was super fun. I’m not sure that Poppy got much out of the tractor ride, but she definitely got a good nap. But, I think that she liked the birds, and we met another family with a little 3 year old girl, who was super fascinated by Poppy. Chris and Lorraine definitely enjoyed the ride and learning about the geology and history of the area. Oh, and we saw a super cute seal pup on the way back. Rotorua: Accommodations: Egh.. the hotel was ok. The “spa” tub was HUGE but really noisy and not a jet tub so not massaging so we didn’t use it. The room didn’t have AC and it was a bit warm at times. The sulphur smell was not awesome. Getting to restaurants was a little further than would have been awesome. Te-puia: Very Cool. The guide was awesome. The hot springs were very cool to see. It felt like a very New Zealand activity and was great to see the culture up close. Agrodome: Lorraine and Poppy loved it. Chris grew up near farms so seeing them with sheep for the first time was cool. One note if Americans come you might warn them that this will cause some difficulties at customs “visiting a farm”. Glowworm cave: REALLY cool and those things are NASTY.. :) Poppy was way to young for this one. Maybe 5 or so would be better.. Crying in a cave sounds cool though. Wedding stuff Paihia: Hotel here was in a decent location. Walk to downtown and to a beach. Room was decent. We really loved the area and could spend more time here as well. We enjoyed the hole in the rock boat trip. The beach, that we can’t remember the name of it (Chris claims it’s uru pukapuka), where we had lunch was amazing. We could also have spent a week at this beach it was so beautiful and isolated. The motel was also in a great location. Walking distance to a great playground (despite the naked kid on the slide), beach, restaurants and a countdown. Auckland: We also managed to go to the Tarlton aquarium and the zoo. The zoo is amazing. Really one of the best. They were also in the process of moving an orangutan into a new dwelling and the orangutan in the silver cage was not happy about it, which made interesting watching for the grownups of our group. Overall: We cannot thank you enough for all of your amazing work. We would never have seen and done as much as we did without all of your prep work. We are so grateful. The only thing that would have been helpful for us was to have some restaurant recommendations, as we were often arriving very close to dinner/bedtimes, which made finding restaurants close calls. But, overall, bravo! Thank you and happy holidays, Lorraine, Poppy and Chris Baker
Thank you New Zealand Self Drive Tours | Jessica Dang & Shanil Singh, South Island Coastal Self Drive Tour | Travelled on 9th December 2017
We had a great time in South Island. The itinerary was well designed and had all the major attractions we wanted to see.
Milford Sound was incredibly beautiful and it was also great to visit Abel Tasman National Park and Marlborough Sound. The motels were very comfortable and some of them had fantastic views. Thank you New Zealand Self Drive Tours.
We had an AMAZING time! | Leticia Steffen, Jim Ivery, Isabel Ivery, Lord of the Rings Scenic Explorer | Travelled on 10th December 2017
Thank you for planning out our fabulous self drive tour through New Zealand. We had an AMAZING time! You did a fantastic job planning out a variety of activities that we all enjoyedRead more
,and we really felt like we got to know a lot of different aspects about the country. We were very grateful to be able to see so much in just two weeks, and even though it was a busy itinerary, we wouldn't have wanted it any other way for our first trip to New Zealand. We'll have so many memories to last a lifetime and great stories to share! Thanks again for all the work you put into planning the itinerary. It was perfect! Take care, Leticia, Jim and Isabel
Everything ran smoothly and beautifully | Peter & Narelle Palmer, Customised Coast to Coast Self Drive Tour | Travelled on 20th December 2017
We have been back in Briz for a couple of days now, and I'm sorry we didn't get the chance straight away to tell you what a wonderful N.Z. holiday it has been.Read more
Everything ran smoothly and beautifully, due in no small part I am sure to your impeccable organization, along with the wonderful people, without exception, who transported us, accommodated us, took us on tour and generally looked after us so attentively for our whole stay in your beautiful country. (Plunged into grandparent duties the minute we got off the plane! Yes, I think they might have missed us a bit :-)) Also please forgive us for neglecting to tell you sooner how very much we appreciated your kind gift waiting on our table on Christmas night - so unexpected, it was the perfect accompaniment to the fare we prepared on Christmas night - that wonderful New Zealand lamb fillet, cheeses, fresh veg (picked up in Dunedin), and delectable Christmas cake (courtesy of the most amazing little cafe at Kurow). And the best Pinot we'd had since we had been in New Zealand (and we'd had already some pretty good ones!). It was just the icing on the cake to make our Christmas day perfect ... having traveled the Southern Scenic Route most of the day, spending generous time at Curio Bay, I was already in 7th heaven! We did also want to say particularly how much we appreciated your efforts to find us the loveliest places to stay, with the most amazing views to wake up to in the mornings - we have photographs of breakfasts set in the most stunning contexts (the humble kitchen table backed by the most amazing landscapes)... every place different and each with their own particular take on New Zealand hospitality. Just gob-smacked in Mt Cook, stunned by the warmth of welcome at Christchurch and that beautiful, precious Christmas tree (Merivale) reminding us of the joys of the season, and blown away by by the quaint and beautifully restored nostalgia of the Edgewater at Te Anau - I can honestly say it was an absolute joy to prepare those Tautapere sausages on that solid, original (I suspect) 1950s range, and to see all those authentic and original kitchen fittings restored to their inherent lustre & purpose. We might have complained a bit about getting the luggage up the stairs, but it was certainly worth the effort (I can say that as Peter was the one who insisted on carrying up the heavy ones, lol). Congratulations on even managing to get the weather to perform for us! I can't believe it was only really fully rainy for one day (Franz Josef) - and even here we managed to squeeze in the twin helicopter flight early the next morning, while the sun momentarily shone over those particular mountaintops for us! Arriving in Greymouth early was definitely very advisable (rush hour it seems comes at 1pm). Other flights and commitments worked a treat too - everything went ahead as planned or contemplated - the bi-plane flight at Twizel I think should be on more people's itineraries - it was just stunning and exciting and we were lucky enough to have experienced the best weather that season apparently. Chose the 25 minute Lakes/Lord of the Rings battlefield circuit and the water colour, views etc were just breath-taking. We found the pilot to be very professional, knowledgable, reliable and most interesting to talk to. Doubtful Sound just lovely (if a little compromised by the huge volume of people needing to be transported and looked after too, naturally as one would expect at Christmas time). And very excited to have been able to see the fur seals, little blue penguins in their burrows and those splendid albatross soaring above the cliffs and bobbing in the water on the Monarch tour, also conducted very well, very professionally, and quite a profound experience as the mist rolled in. It seems everything just aligned for us ... as we arrived at Lake Tekapo and hopped out in our excitement to take photos of that reflective water with the moody skies and mists, we realised that a wedding shoot was in progress over on one of the far shores ... yet another of those 'wow' moments to add to the already spectacular nature of the experience and photographs. I must say how grateful we were for the late check in opportunities in summer too - not having to be at a destination till 7 or 8ish, and the long summer days enabled us to fit in so much more than we otherwise might have (we are not experienced summer travelers, having usually only holidayed in shoulder season here to enable hiking in comfort, without the crowds too). Even the hikes that we anticipated were managed without a hitch. Again, the Hooker Valley track, though spectacular, was very busy - but still well worth the effort. So many 'wow' moments. I think the ultimate one being arrival at the glacier face and our picnic high on a rock overlooking that spectacular lake. So glad we could manage this one and also Key Summit - I can see why they say if you only have time to do one walk in the South Island it should be this one. Another one of those magic 'picnic on a rock on top of the world' experiences which we will never forget. Very pleased also to be able to drive the Corolla (rather than a 'similar' car) - it performed like a trooper, never missed a beat and had pretty much everything we needed in the way of technology and comfort. Also, thank you so much for including great specific instructions and points of interest in the itinerary, but also particularly for that detailed road atlas - I am a map reader of old, and feel quite disoriented with sat-nav as the only means of navigation. A great thought and much appreciated (and it did save us from a few dodgy sat-nav shortcuts down the odd country lane with the odd un-crossable creek/river too!). Always a good idea to second-guess one's sat-nav, in retrospect! So finally, thank you once again, from the bottom of our hearts, for organizing such a fabulous, jam-packed, beautifully performing South Island holiday, and throwing in such gorgeous weather as well! You seemed to second-guess everything that would delight us and ensure that we had the most wonderful, unforgettable holiday ever! Cheers and all our thanks and good wishes, Peter & Narelle Palmer :-):-)
Our trip to New Zealand exceeded our expectations | Steve & Trudy Sampson and Ray Van Doorn, Customised Discover New Zealand Self Drive Tour | Travelled on 24th November 2017
Our trip to New Zealand exceeded our expectations. The scenery is amazing and the people of New Zealand are friendly and helpful. There are too many highlights to provide a complete listRead more
which included: - Snorkeling and exploring the Poor Knights Islands through Perfect Day Ocean Cruise - Exploring Hobbiton at sunset and enjoying dinner in “The Shire” - Floating on an inner tube in the Waitomo Caves in the dark with the magical lights of glow worms - We were surprised by the majesty of the North Island Volcanic Plateau - Enjoyed a calm sunny day and admired the beauty of crossing from Wellington to Picton on the Interislander Ferry - Taking a water taxi to be dropped off and explore the beautiful Abel Tasman National Park - Driving through Lewis Pass to Kaikoura - Being awe struck in seeing and hearing a magnificent Sperm Whale off Kaikoura - Seeing the amazing Botanic Gardens in both Christchurch and Dunedin - We were really moved by the “personal stories” that we heard at the Christchurch Earthquake Museum - Driving up Mt John to the Canterbury University Oberservatory and seeing the panoramic views on our way to Mt. Cook National Park - Seeing the Stars while staying at Mount Cook and waking up to a Rainbow across the mountains - Seeing the hundreds of waterfalls on a rainy day cruise of Milford Sound - Taking the excursion to see Doubtful Sound which turned out to be a beautiful sunny day - Our best dinner by far occurred through the TSS Earnslaw cruise to Walter Peak (including gourmet BBQ Dinner and farm tour) and we were stunned by an amazing sunset as we returned to Queenstown on our steamship - Taking the Gondola to see Queenstown from a mountain peak and watching the hang gliders - Driving to Glenorchy and seeing the mountains that were featured in Lord of the Rings - The mountain scenery, rain forests, Blue Pools and aterfalls on our drive from Wanaka to Franz Josef - Walking up to the Franz Josef Glacier shortly after dawn and watching the sun rise on the Glacier and Mountain walls - Exploring Okarito Lagoon on kayaks and seeing close-up a majestic White Heron - We enjoyed stopping in quaint towns like Warkworth, Bull, and Hokitika to walk around and enjoy tea and/or a meal - Travelling coast to coast (Greymouth to Christchurch) on the Tranz Alpine Scenic train was breathtaking - Being Canadians, we found the meals to be quite expensive (double what we pay in Canada) and we were fortunate that most of our motel rooms/apartments were equipped with kitchens so we could make ourselves many breakfasts and dinners. We liked the local Boutique Motel Rooms that were chosen for us. - We were there for 26 days and had a rental car for 24 days. It surprised us that we drove 5000 kilometres. The windy two lane country roads with many one lane bridges makes getting around much slower than you would think. We were too ambitious in trying to cover as much as we did on both the North and South Islands. - What was especially nice was being picked up from Auckland Airport, from Christchurch Train Station and being dropped off at Christchurch Airport - all the drivers were quite friendly, helpful and on time so we always felt well looked after We will be recommending New Zealand Self Drive Tours and in particular our travel agent, Shelley Ryder, to our friends and family who are planning to visit New Zealand.
We would happily do it again! | Peter and Mary Shively, Fiords, Glaciers and Mountains Self Drive Tour | Travelled on 28th December 2017
Many thanks to Natalie and the NZSD team for helping make our amazing New Zealand holiday possible! From the start, Natalie worked diligently to understand what we wanted out of our trip and did an awesome job putting together a great itinerary.
We planned our trip with relatively short lead-time, which made Natalie's job tougher and forced us to make a few trade-offs. Through this process, Natalie did a wonderful job communicating the decisions we needed to make and providing helpful guidance on pros/cons of each option. And of course, the actual trip was perfect: accommodations (mostly motels) were very nice, driving plan was well laid out, and excursions (Doubtful Sound overnight is a must!) were amazing. Overall, it was a treat to work with Natalie planning our trip. We would happily do it again!
Wonderful organisation and we will surely recommend you to others | Elizabeth Spencer, Adam Cecchini, Luca Grandjacquet & Miriam Kalnins, A Taste of the South Self Drive Tour | Travelled on 2nd January 2018
The nz trip went very well. As my son looked out of the plane window as we left he muttered “I’ll be back!” I turned out to be the weakest link between the four of us.
My legs gave up on mt cook and never really recovered. Apart from the hiccup at the arrival everything else went smoothly. Even the rough ‘lodge’ on night two was fine as we all slept well. The Hotel in Queenstown was excellent. All of our events went well. Going through Te Anau I discovered that my son had a passion for glow worms! Luckily for him he managed to photograph them near the hotel in Fox Glacier. As it was raining he got drenched but I have never seen him happier! It was a rush to get the train in Greymouth but we managed in the end. I have heard from Miriam since they returned and they enjoyed the north island as well. All in all, a great trip ! Our thanks go to you and your colleagues for the wonderful organisation and we will surely recommend you to others! Thanks a lot! Beth Spencer
Everything went smoothly & according to the itinerary | Susan Cheung & Darrel, Dean & Dana Freeman, Auckland to Queenstown Self Drive Tour | Travelled on 17th December 2017
It has been a week since we left New Zealand and I'm still in mourning over our departure, desperately trying to keep the vacation feeling.
New Zealand is AMAZING and I am so jealous that you live there! Everything went smoothly and according to the itinerary. The devil is in the details as you know and there were a couple of hiccups, but overall the trip was great! The challenge now is trying to save money again so that we can do the trip again. It is either that or having to find a job there and relocating! I'm so glad that you wrote since I've been meaning to but I've been too caught up with work. Your email served as a good reminder and motivator. I tried the link below but it does not seem to work anymore so I'm going to provide the feedback to you via this email instead. First off, this section is a no-brainer. You should be proud of your work and our trip is a result of your hard-work and WONDERFUL support and assistance to us. Not sure how I measure against other clients, but I certainly peppered you with sufficient questions which you were able to address and/or took care of in a timely manner. Anyone should be very lucky to get you as their travel agent and we were very blessed to be assigned to you, given your patience and flexibility. I felt that you took our requests/responses to heart and, where not possible, you took the time to let us know accordingly. There was true empathy on your part with the clients which is so necessary in your line of work. I felt from the communication we have together you understood where we were coming from and thus able to "tailor" a trip together to our liking and wallet-size. Second, because of you, the activities, transportation and accommodations were all great. We found them - Bella Vistas, Terrance, Rydges, etc. - perfect for our taste and comfort. Of course, there are lodging which have more stars (and more costs) but the chosen were great for us and we would use again in a heartbeat! One negative comment. When we are arrived at the Skotel Resort, we were assigned the standard rooms instead of the superior rooms which apparently they ran out of at the time of our stay. I want to say that we were charged for two nights in the superior rooms, but instead were given the standard rooms instead which in the end were fine but they were definitely the standard rooms. Finally, absolutely, I would refer your travel agency and you, of course. I really enjoy our correspondences and you are AWESOME, Joanna. Please feel free to use the above and do not hesitate to ask should you have any questions. Thanks again for all your support and assistance to us, Joanna. Susan
We thoroughly enjoyed our self-drive tour | Lim Chee Hwee, Kit May Mak and Wei Shuen Lim, The Essential South Island 9 Day Tour | Travelled on 22nd December 2017
We thoroughly enjoyed our self-drive Essential South Island 9 day tour planned by Natalie DeCaro.
We had the opportunity to see the beautiful landscapes in the South Island coupled with exhilarating experiences like bungy jumping from Kawarau Bridge, heli-hiking up Franz Josef glacier, and watching 3 sperm whales up close!
Definitely would recommend to my relatives & friends | Allan Chong, Customised Great Northern Land Itinerary, Travelled on 16th October 2017
Just back from our holiday in North New Zealand. Had a wonderful experience thanks to your recommendations and planning for this self drive trip.
Everything went smoothly! Will definitely recommend my relatives and friends to get in touch with you should they contemplate a holiday in New Zealand. Thanks.
Thank you for putting together exactly the right tour for us | Beverly Conover, Catherine Sinfield and Frankie Berman, Christchurch to Auckland Must Do Tour | Travelled on 1st October 2017
Just wanted to thank you for putting together exactly the right tour for us in New Zealand – it could not have been more perfect. You gave us exactly what we asked for – not too little, not too much.
The bus tour in Christchurch was eye-opening and we appreciated the way the driver was so passionate about his city and its recovery. The Merivale Manor was out of this world and Wayne and Karen could not have been better hosts. The garden tour was beautiful and what a treasure to have in the middle of their city. Franz Josef was amazing and good exercise and Aspen Court was great. Queenstown was so picturesque and we got to see you! Milford Sound was beautiful and we loved the apartment we had at Blue Peak apartments. We never did get to see Mt. Cook because of the fog, but the scenery was gorgeous. The ride from Christchurch to Picton was a bit grueling because of all the roadworks, but the scenery was fabulous. I have to say the accommodations at Aldan Lodge Motel in Picton were not even close to the standards of the other places we stayed, but the young couple who are running it were very pleasant. (To be fair, we weren’t actually in the main lodge, but a back building that was a bit tired with the bathroom off the kitchen.) The ferry from Picton to Wellington was a real highlight – beautiful and peaceful. City Life Wellington was a bit hard to find (as the GPS didn’t recognize the address) but once found, it was terrific. We LOVED Rotarua. We went to Wai O Tapu and were intrigued by the colorful thermal pools and the Geyser. The Kiwi encounter was great and the Mitai Maori Village was fabulous. Loved the Quest Rotarua Central as well. The Hobbiton tour was also a highlight. We didn’t expect to enjoy it nearly as much as we did, as none of us are particularly Lord ot the Rings or Hobbit fans. The enthusiasm of the tour guide was contagious in one of the most beautiful settings imaginable. The Hamilton Garden tour was fabulous and the Picnic Basket they prepared for us was incredible. Cathie enjoyed catching up with her old schoolmate in Hamilton and then we were off to Auckland. All in all, it was just a GREAT experience. New Zealand is truly a gorgeous country with the most friendly people. We so enjoyed meeting you in Queenstown and appreciate your literally going the extra mile for us! (Hope you enjoyed your birthday) Please pass along our kudos to your bosses and co-workers. We won’t hesitate to recommend your company to our friends. Thanks again for everything. Hugs, Bev, Cathie and Frankie
Couldn't be happier with the services provided | Blaire Miller, Caroline Richardson and Wim & Carin van Acker, New Zealand Highlights | Travelled on 3rd September 2017
We worked with Laura to organize a two-week active hiking trip on both islands for the four of us (one couple and mom/daughter ages 55-75). From the pick up at the airport to rental car to daily motel lodgings, all went very smoothly.
Laura provided us excellent options including emergency insurance and with my research on some other interesting options she found out how we could do those too. From the pick up at the airport to rental car to daily motel lodgings (2 bed/one bath/kitchen/living room options), all went very smoothly. All of the lodging was conveniently located near city centers with great food options and mostly quite up to date. Only one lodging had limited wifi options in Christ Church. We drove some good distances between regions which were gorgeous drives (SUV 4WD and garmin was a must!) and flew between the islands (watch carryon restrictions). Some of our highlights included Doubtful Sound overnight ship excursion-(#1 experience), hiking on White Island live volcano, hiking on Mount Cook in a foot of fresh snow, all-day wine touring in Queenstown region (loved the group upscale tour), Rotorua hiking in the geothermal regions and Mauri dinner show (also had a wonderful reception in a Mauri visitors house in town), Waikomo caves and Kiwi santuary, bungee jumping in Queenstown, Antarctica Museum at Christchurch airport, thermal spas in various locations after long hikes, amazing food at every meal (gluten free options everywhere) including country cafes in the middle of the mountain routes! Used Tripadvisor for dinner options in each region-all great! Good weatherproof gear was essential in early Spring, but we had only one day where it was a monsoon pour, so were able to experience so many diverse experiences. Been to 40+ countries and this is one of my top 3 all-time favorites! Thank you New Zealand Self Drive Tours and Laura for making it one of our top touring experiences-couldn't be happier with the services provided!!! Cheers, Blaire
Our trip was fantastic | Mike & Theresa Aldous, Customised Northbound Holiday, Travelled on 14th November 2017
Our trip was fantastic and the planning and help that was provided was excellent. Thanks Christina!
You’ve been our Kiwi angel! | Wendy, Ng Tiong, Edward, Susan LYE, Southern Explorer: Fiords, Mountains & Glaciers | Travelled on 9th December 2017
I would very much like to thank Joanna for her assistance and recommendations as I embarked on my epic self drive tour to South New Zealand for 12 days.Read more
The challenge was taking my elderly parents along as they do have physical limitations. Joanna was prompt in her responses when I came with questions and her assurance that the trip would be enjoyable and not physically exhausting for my parents totally got me sold. Even when I was travelling and needed her help to make a dinner reservation, she went beyond and above, taking the initiative to settle for me despite being cut-off due to lost connection when I was up in the mountains. She even enlisted her colleague, Kelly, to follow up with me on a weekend to make all the arrangement. I was deeply touched as the dinner would make a great closure for our trip in Queenstown coupled with sumptuous food and a spectacular view to behold. A wonderful way to immortalise our unforgettable road trip. Thank you Joanna for everything. You’ve been our Kiwi angel! Happy New Year Joanna and have a blessed year ahead. :) Best regards, wendy
Thanks for the great planning & itinerary | Janet & Michael Seigle, 22 Day New Zealand Showcase | Travelled on 25th November 2017
So nice to finally say thank you for planning our 3 week adventure. Each time that we checked into our next hotel was such a pleasure as everything was so organized and the reservations were perfect with beautiful rooms great locations and breakfast included.Read more
The itinerary folder that you provided was so helpful and detailed that we looked forward to where the next days adventure would lead us. Fun excursions as we enjoyed the waitomo caves. Very fun, from just gearing up into the wet suits helmets and boots. The guides make it very safe, informative and it was thrilling even though dark scary and cold water!! We loved both private kayak tours. Two great girl guides who were very eager to make our day fun. Bike excursion also just perfect. It ended up being just the two of us so a private great ride throughout the station seeing sheep and beautiful country scenic hills and great views with lakes and a nice boat ride. very enjoyable. We even ended up with 2 of our hotel rooms that had washer and dryer in room. And 3 hotels with laundry facilities that we also used as well. Lots of clean clothes were brought home so that was nice. And your country has such good food I must say. We ate at White and Wong and whitebait in Wellington and many great restaurants in Nelson. And we tried pies and pavlova all the pineapple lumps and fish and licorice. Very enjoyable. We learned so much at the treaty grounds and as well at the hangi dinner in Rotorua. We even went mountain bike riding for 2 hours and made my way up to the intermediate course. so proud!! We of course went tramping everywhere. Even in fiordland on the way up to mitford sound. I thought I was in a movie or something as it was so beautiful. Hiking at Mt cook was great to see the glacier and all. I would not recommend the stargazing as it was not that greatly organized. Other than that all went well. People are so friendly in New Zealand. And mountains everywhere, sheep and great food and nice roads even though they are not that wide and windy!! thanks for the great planning and itinerary. best Janet
We have a wonderful time in Aotearoa | Ziggy & Leila Iglewski, Southern Explorer Queenstown to Christchurch | Travelled on 29th October 2017
With that one exception we have a wonderful time in Aotearoa. We just fell in love with this country and people. You deserve a a great round of applause for making it possible. We’re definitely planning to come back in future to soak in the beauty of nature, environment, vegetation, food and an exceptional people hospitality. Thank you again with warm regards, Ziggy
Thanks for the well planned itinerary | David & Anoja Devaranjan, Highlights of New Zealand, Travelled on 24th October 2017
Just want to say THANK YOU for making our trip so wonderful. We could not have experienced all of this without you (8 days to see all the great sights in both south and north islands) - just felt I needed to say thanks for the well planned itinerary, information and recommendations. The last minute addition to stay in Mount Cook and the Glacier Explorers Mt. Cook tour that was the high point in our trip. THANK YOU. David & Anoja
It was a great visit to New Zealand | Gordon and Gabriella Bonn, New Zealand Highlights, Travelled on 21st October 2017
This is Gabriella writing. As Gordon mentioned, it was a great visit to New Zealand. What a beautiful country you live in!
I expect you probably don’t have a chance to visit all of the properties we were booked in so I thought I’d quickly mention a few things about them. Grand Mercure (Auckland and Wellington). Modern nicely appointed hotels and rooms. The rooms were somewhat small, but modern and new. Breakfasts were ample and delicious. Both locations were good. The Princess Gate Hotel (Rotorua): The only one I didn’t like at all, although the location was fine. Listed as a historic hotel, that means it’s old. The floors were squeaky, sound carried from the hallways, the rooms had had a bathroom added, which meant the bathroom was squeezed in and really small, and while the room had 12 foot ceilings, the bottom of the mirrors were attached at the 5 foot height. I am only 5 feet tall, so I couldn’t even see my head! You may wish to reconsider this hotel unless your clients say I love old and squeaky. And of course the entire town smells like Sulphur so of course the hotel did too – it permeated the place. Scenic Hotel Te Pania (Napier): Fairly modern and just fine. It had on site laundry facilities which was helpful. Breakfast were less ample than at the Mercure, but totally acceptable. Location quite good, right across from the shore. Vintners Retreat (Blenheim – Marlborough): Basically a ranch style duplex house, with two bedrooms and two baths, a full kitchen, living room and laundry in the garage. In a somewhat isolated location, but since we had a vehicle, not a problem. More space than we needed, but a nice variation to our hotel room stays and having another laundry facility was a bonus as well. They brought a bagged breakfast to the refrigerator in the room so we were not limited as to the time of partaking of breakfast. The food was extensive, especially for a continental breakfast (although perhaps in NZ continental merely means not cooked on site?). There was granola, fruit, yoghurt, juice, milk and muffin. Merivale Manor Motel (Christchurch). Friendly owners, pleasant, relatively small modern room . There was a two burner stove (no oven which we didn’t expect or need in any case) and small fridge. Continental breakfast was two slices of bread (which we picked up at the front office), various cereals, milk, jams. The location was on a busy street and wasn’t close to downtown, but since we had a car it didn’t prove to be a problem. As well it was near several restaurants and a small mall which was convenient. They had big front windows to the rooms, so we had to keep the curtains drawn as it felt like we were in a fishbowl otherwise. Franz Josef Oasis Hotel [you called it “Lodge”, but that name was nowhere to be seen] (Franz Josef): Located outside of town, but not a problem. Weirdest thing was, no closets! Apparently, from what the very nice manager said, most people only stay one night and thus no closets. There was a restaurant on site which was a gem, really excellent, however very few customers and the second night we were there, it was closed without explanation. Breakfast, while called continental, was varied with boiled eggs, various juices, fruit, a variety of breads, jams and jellies. Having a laundry facility on site was helpful. Sofitel (Queenstown): Having the luxury room was a special treat. The view to the snow laden mountain was stunning. The breakfast buffet was ample and delicious. The location suited us fine as we could walk everywhere we wished to go. It was fun being able to go to La Club as it gave us a chance to meet and talk with other guests. You might wish to alter the estimated times for the drives – there was so much road construction during one of the segments (Blenheim to Christchurch) that while estimated at 5.5 hours our trip took nearly 9 hours. We counted 32 stops along the way for construction crews. Several of the other segments took longer than the estimated time. Avis car rental left something to be desired. Our first pick-up was on Labour Day in Auckland and the office had only two staff working while there were many clients. It took over an hour to pick up our car. And you know about the mix-up in Greymouth where they had no car for us. Was it just bad luck that these things happened or is Avis like that? Gordon indicated he received your email about the refunds for the cancelled helicopter and hot air balloon flights. Thanks. A disappointment but weather is not negotiable. All in all a great trip. Thanks for your planning and assistance. Wishing you most happy holidays as a newly wed!! Gabriella
I will definitely recommend you and your company | Ton Vandehee & Steven Nieto, No Other Tour Like It | Off the Beaten Track in New Zealand | Travelled on 5th November 2017
Steve and I can't thank you enough for putting this unforgettable 13 day trip from Auckland to Queenstown together for us.Read more
What I valued the most was your listening ear while putting the trip together so we really got to experience what we wanted and it allowed us to implement some bike and hike tours. You really know your business. Followed through and was there immediately to help and correct an issue with the rental car company while touring. I will definitely recommend you and your company to my friends and family and for future clients; rest assure she has everything under control when you are enjoying the spectacular countryside of New Zealand. Thanks again Erynn! Ton
Totally awesome vacation | Helene Pierard and Stephane Audet, Auckland to Christchurch Customised Wonders of New Zealand | Travelled on 3rd November 2017
Thank you for preparing and organizing this fabulous trip for us. Everything was perfectly orchestrated and well outlined. The activities were well balanced with the driving and the quality of the activities and tours was very good. I would not hesitate to recommend New Zealand Self Drive Tours. Well done. Totally awesome vacation. Thanks again.
We really enjoyed the whole experience | Annette & Bernie Steinecke, A Customised Ultimate Discover New Zealand Tour, Travelled on 21st October 2017
Our experience with NZ self drive tours was second to none. Christina Brockie organised our itinerary. She was very helpful with any enquiries we had.
She found out what we wanted to see and experience and added a few extra days at our request. From the time we were met at the airport, our hire cars and our accomodation couldn’t be faulted. The only accomodation we weren’t happy about was our hotel room in Rotorua. The Bella Vista room was tiny and well below par compared to all our other accomodation. All the included activities were excellent and were certainly worth seeing and experiencing. Some of the other suggested activities were also well worth doing. Our travel distances and time allowances for travel each day were very helpful. The maps were very easy to follow. We really enjoyed the whole experience and would certainly recommend this way of seeing NZ to others.
Frank Yap & Kim Cheng Khor, Customised New Zealand Naturally 14 Day Self Drive Tour, Travelled on 17th November 2017
Overall is an amazing journey to tour the whole New Zealand. It is an accomplishment and enjoyable but it is also rather tiring driving almost 4-6 hours everyday.Read more
Given a choice, I would rather the driving part be shorter with more stops and extra private time to explore more tourist attraction areas. I would highly recommend Rotorua, Lake Taupo, Kaikoura, Mount Cook and Queenstown to be provided with extra day of stay. I wish the rest of the long journey can be replaced by a tour bus or short distance flight, as driving a long way is tiring while we would like to relax as much as we could during a holiday. I love the cleanliness, fresh air and scenic places, but too many farm lands(like 70-80% of the journey) making the journey becoming a bit boring. I would strongly recommend Mitai Maori Village, Kaituna White Water Rafting, Kaikoura Whale watching, Mount Cook tracking, Queenstown activities. The road instruction is good but it is cumbersome(I wonder how many of your customers make use of it), I think it can be improved as most people are more used to using Waze and Google Maps tracking, perhaps include the google locations of key attraction area, or important places would be great. The GPS navigation tool seems not very user friendly and keys are less responsive than a handphone. My feedback is rather bald, and direct. Hope it helps.
I cannot wait to come and visit NZ again | Sage & Andy Way, Auckland to Christchurch Self Drive Tour, Travelled on 3rd November 2017
Salli was amazing to work with! She made the entire process very easy and knew exactly what types of activities my husband and I wanted to do!Read more
I highly suggest visiting White Island, absolutely breath taking. Our tour guide/pilot was informative and fun. My only negative of the entire trip was the Heartland Hotel Cotswold in Christchurch. The hotel was very questionable, the bathroom had mold and the bed was very uncomfortable. In need of an update and a deep clean but the staff was very friendly!! I can not wait to come and visit NZ again, hopefully longer next time!
Thank you for the exhilarating tour of New Zealand | Dileep Yadav, Sanjaya, Rajeev & Mohana Kulkarni, Fiords, Glaciers and Mountains Self Drive Tour, Travelled on 27th November 2017
A big thank you for the exhilarating tour of New Zealand. I & Mohana thoroughly enjoyed our stay & appreciate your effort in preparing a wonderful itinerary for our tour. The only disconcerting note was our stay at Bella Vista , Wanaka, where the bedroom, for the couple, was in the living room. Thank you once again. Best wishes, Dr Rajeev Kulkarni
Thank you New Zealand Self Drive Tours SO MUCH | Deborah & Martin Walker, Customised Christchurch to Auckland Must Do Tour, Travelled on 10th November 2017
We had reserved our trip about 10 months in advance, with Salli Smith, and were very pleased with the detail, and attention she took with our plans and suggestions.Read more
We looked at some of their basic tours, took some suggestions from family and friends that have visited the islands, and tweaked the trip a bit. We asked for a variety of accommodations, mostly modest, but occasionally an upgrade. We are able to walk several miles, but were not looking for long hikes with suggested excursions. The accommodations were positioned next to the activity we wanted to do in the cities, or by a bus stop, or within our walking comfort range. We chose the self-drive tour and did not find that a problem, even with the left-hand side of the road focus. We were also blessed with incredible weather for November. All the accommodation and excursion phone numbers and reservation numbers were emailed to us before the trip, so that we could let others know where we were and how to get in touch with us. Salli was always accessible by phone or email, and her responses were as soon as the working day started in New Zealand. So here’s a summary of our activities and places we stayed……..
Day 1 Friday 10th November 2017.
Private transfer from Christchurch airport to your accommodation - The representative was at the airport on time, took us on a small tour of the city, and gave us our documentation packet and borrowed cell phone. He did not explain anything about the packet, but that was not necessary, as everything was laid out in an excellent manner. We received a road atlas, brochures on each area we were going to visit, step-by-step directions to each location, vouchers for some of the activities and all the reservation numbers and information for each accommodation and excursions. My suggestion for the tour company in editing future additions for this part of the itinerary package, would be to add the mileage between roads, instead of just naming the next road that comes up. Even though the roads are rural, it makes a difference in unfamiliar territory, if the next road is 50 meters or 50 miles away. Accommodation Terra Vive Luxury Suites and Apartments (Room type: studio) This is a modest accommodation, which has a kitchenette, and a washer/dryer in the room, a big plus. Very nice manager on site, who greets you with a little basket of goodies. The room is clean, and the bed comfy. Most of the hotels had instant coffee and tea, hot water kettle, and milk in the refrigerator. Christchurch’s attractions are spread out all over the city, so there really isn’t one specific location to walk to everything, but this motel was about 20 minutes’ walk from the large attractions: Botanical garden, Cardboard cathedral, Cathedral square, etc.
Day 2 Saturday 11th November 2017
Explore Christchurch City - We walked about 3 miles this morning to the Botanical Gardens (very nice); the Cardboard Cathedral (very interesting) and Cathedral Square to see the progress they are making in reconstructing the earthquake damage. Great exercise after our long plane trip yesterday.
Waipara Valley Wine Trail with Lunch - We felt this tour was a good value. We ate lunch at the first winery, and then visited 3 others. We were glad we did not decide on a full day tour. After your third winery….well, unless you’re looking for that perfect bottle to take home with you, an afternoon is enough.
Day 3 Sunday 12th November 2017
Private transfer hotel to Christchurch train station - the driver was on time, and not only took us up to the station, but took our bags back to the luggage area for us, so that we could stand in line to get our tickets.
Tranz Alpine Scenic Train Christchurch to Greymouth - SO glad we chose this aspect of the trip. Awesome scenery. They have snacks and beverages on the car and very large windows to take photos.
Collect your rental car – Other than the half hour wait to get to the Budget car desk, the ladies behind the counter were very thorough in helping us understand the conditions of the rental, the road navigation, and other tips for driving in New Zealand. We were really impressed with the insurance that was already on the car, and chose not to add additional insurance. The GPS navigational system worked ok. The suction cup to hold it to the car’s surface did not work, but that wasn’t a big deal, just annoying. The bigger deal was when it tried to take us through a weigh station. There are different settings on it: Easy, Fast, and Shortest trip. It was set on “easy”, which was fine, but often it did not match up with the suggested trip route in our navigation package. “No worries”, however, if the tour company would ask the car rental places when they last updated their GPS systems, it would be a good thing, as around the west coast of the North island, near Wellington, there has been a lot of new construction, and the GPS was more lost than we were.
Greymouth to Franz Josef – We chose to take a detour to the Hokitka Gorge, which was a bit hard to find, but the swing bridge and views were worth the extra 1 ½ hours.
Accommodation Aspen Court Franz Josef (Room type: 1 x executive studio) Nice, clean accommodations, right across from the glacier valley walk tour center. The restaurants in the small town do not look impressive from the outside, but great food. The Blue Ice Café had great food. The Landing was fair.
Day 4 Monday 13th November 2017
Franz Josef Glacier Valley Walk – Great hike, and great guide. Not sure it was worth the money, however, when you see the trail for free, right next to you. But as with most guided tours, we learned a lot of information about the glacier and did get a little closer than the general public. We did not take advantage of the hot pools.
Day 5 Tuesday 14th November 2017
Franz Josef to Queenstown (via Wanaka) – Easily the most beautiful part of our driving trip. So glad we were driving on our own to be able to stop wherever we wanted. We stopped at Fox Glacier outlook (very tiny view from the carpark, and Lake Matheson, a short drive down the road. On the coast, we stopped at Bruce Bay and Knight’s Point. Through the Haast Pass, there are three waterfalls, all beautiful and different. Then the swing bridge at the Blue Pools. Lots of photo stops on the way to Wanaka, where we stopped in to see our tour organizer, Salli. She had suggested taking the Crown Ridge Road to Queenstown, which was an excellent suggestion for the views alone.
Accommodation Garden Court Suites and Apartments (Room type: 1 bedroom courtyard apartment) Very nice, clean apartment with a pretty view of the lake. Parking is in a separate stall under the apartments. Queenstown was the largest city to drive in so far on our trip, and actually what we liked best about this location, was the easy way to drive to the apartment as well as to leave the city on a Friday morning in traffic. Walking around and looking at some of the alternatives would not have been fun. The streets are very hilly, and parking at a premium, so we elected to walk everywhere.
Day 6 Wednesday 15th November 2017
Experience the wonders of Queenstown – We walked around Queenstown, since our flight for the Milford Sound Excursion had to be cancelled for today due to the weather. We opted to sign up for the same excursion the next day and hope for the best. When it was officially cancelled, it took about 2 hours to rebook everyone and return us back to the hotel.
Spent the day at Kiwi Park (a lot of money but better than many of the other options in New Zealand, as this one had other animals, shows and walkways. Then we went to the wharf and watched all the wonderful water sports, and then to Queenstown Gardens.
Skyline Gondola and Buffet Dinner – We opted to take a taxi to the restaurant and walk back, since back meant downhill…..The ride up was fun, the meal itself very good and the views fantastic. It is a very noisy place, however, so you don’t go there for a romantic meal. But it is fun nevertheless.
Day 7 Thursday 16th November 2017
Milford Fly-Cruise-Fly & Dart River Safari – This excursion was by far our most expensive and the most worthwhile. The weather allowed us an early takeoff for the Sound, with wonderful views. The cruise was on a boat that had drinks on board, but we opted to have a picnic lunch ready for us. They gave it to us by 9:30 am, so we had all morning to snack. The cruise was very pretty and we were glad that we had choses to see the Sound by air and sea, not drive 6 hours to get here. (Be aware that many come prepared to get wet on the bow of the boat as it goes under a waterfall.) The flight to Glenorchy was even prettier as the cloud cover was gone. Our boat crew picked us up and bussed us first for a small hike through the national park and them on to the Dart River, where we donned our vest gear and thoroughly enjoyed the fast-paced ride on the shallow river. Bus ride home was fine, as we were so tired, it didn’t make any difference
Day 8 Friday 17th November 2017
Queenstown to Mt. Cook National Park – First we stopped at the Kawarau Bridge to see the bungee jumpers. They don’t start jumping until 9:30, but they have a café, so we had breakfast until they were ready. So glad we stopped as it was lots of fun to watch. Lots of beautiful views to Mt. Cook.
Glacier Explorers Mt. Cook – Our “nature trail to the lake” turned out to be a gravel trail you had to take to get there….not exactly a tour guided trail. Then the “cruise the lake” was a small boat that did indeed take you close to some icebergs. Not as close to the glacier as we had expected, but it made sense for safety reasons. We would do it again, but it would have been better knowing what to expect.
Accommodation Mt Cook Lodge & Motels (Room type: 1 x motel studio) This was the smallest of our accommodations, although clean, and comfortable. Our apartment was in the back of the main complex, and had a hostel, or community “feel”. Mt. Cook is a little tourist village that has four or five accommodations, and a couple of restaurants in the middle of nowhere, so you will be eating there. Plan on getting gas before you arrive, as the gas pump there is a bit pricey. The most expensive hotel, is where you are collected for your excursions, and has two of the three dining options, so you can’t help but compare where you are staying to this. That being said, we may have booked the same location, in order to save money for something else on the trip.
Day 9 Saturday 18th November 2017
Mt. Cook National Park to Christchurch – Four hours of beautiful views, looking forward to catching up on our emails, and doing laundry.
Accommodation Terra Vive Luxury Suites and Apartments
Day 10 Sunday 19th November 2017
Christchurch to Kaikoura – We were fortunate to travel on a day when the road was open to Kaikoura. Drove first to Seal Point, although the seals were somewhere else that month, but still a must-see.
Whale Watch Kaikoura – Second best excursion on our trip. With the construction on the roads, we knew by going here, we would have a 7 hour drive the next day to Picton, but it was so worth it. The excursion allowed us to see four whales close to the boat.
Accommodation Waves on Esplanade (Room type: 1 x 1 bedroom) Bearutiful accommodations…definitely a step-up. Large and spacious with a beautiful ocean view.
Day 11 Monday 20th November 2017
Kaikoura to Picton via Murchison – With all the road construction it was an 8 hour trip, but we did stop off at New Zealand’s longest swing bridge for a break. The views along the trip really allowed us to see New Zealand, and we felt like we were able to explore a lot more than just the touristy places. The area of Blenheim had wineries as far as the eye could see.
Accommodation Harbour View Motel (Room type: 1 x deluxe room (top level)) Also very nice accommodations. The only thing I would recommend was that anyone who wants to drive up to the reception area, not drive a stick shift. The road is straight up!
Day 12 Tuesday 21st November 2017
Interislander ferry Picton to Wellington – No problems in returning our car. Just left our papers in the outside drop box, and kept our GPS for the car on the next island. A very fun trip. The ferry is huge, with a café, so great snacking here.
Collect your rental car – Had no problems in line this time. Very smooth transaction.
Wellington Cable Car – Enjoyed the ride, the walk through the Botanical Gardens, The Wellington Museum and the Queen’s Wharf for dinner.
Accommodation City Life Wellington (Room type: 1 x 1 bedroom executive suite) The suite was awesome. Our nicest accommodation of the trip. Tourists need to be aware though, that when the GPS says you are at the entrance of the hotel, it means you go up a little path that looks like a service alley. The entrance is really hidden behind a wall. We parked on the street and kept walking around to find the entrance. Your final parking space will be in a parking garage for $15 a day. Also, when they advertise “free internet”, they mean a limited amount, which doesn’t take long to use up. No worries, but it’s nice to know that ahead of time. You can always buy more time, if you choose. Our tour company noted on our itinerary, for which hotels we would pay for parking. There were only two, but I really appreciated knowing this ahead of time. There were several hotels on the itinerary which indicated paid internet, but all of the hotels had free internet, albeit, some faster than others.
Day 13 Wednesday 22nd November 2017
Wellington to Waitomo – The areas around Plimmerton, Paekakariki and Paraparaumu had a lot of new construction, so our GPS was lost a lot, and once tried to take us through a weigh station. Having the Budget Car Rental Company update the GPS would be good, although with all the new construction, that may not be possible. Again the views along this route were beautiful. After checking into our B&B we walked about 5 minutes to the Ruakuri Bushwalk, which is “one of the 10 best walks in New Zealand”. It was lovely.
Accommodation Waitomo Caves Guest Lodge (Room type: studio unit (includes continental breakfast) This little Bed and Breakfast was charming. The manager greeted us with ½ little story of their town and the surrounding things we could do. The breakfast the next morning was fruit/cereal/croissants/toast/yogurt and coffee with homemade jams. Reviews on the TripAdvisor website are not all impressed, but we found this place nice, comfortable, and clean and we recommend it.
Day 14 Thursday 23rd November 2017
Spellbound Glowworm and Cave Tour – Another favorite excursion! We chose the Spellbound tour which offers two caves, one dry and the other with the glowworm experience and we were not disappointed.
Waitomo to Rotorua – Two hour trip with beautiful views. Spent the evening enjoying the night market and eat street.
Accommodation Quest Rotorua Central (Room type: 1 bedroom apartment) – This hotel’s entrance is located on what appears to be a pedestrian mall. The city of Rotorua is experimenting with “share” areas for cars and pedestrians. Once you figure it out, it’s fine, but again, we parked the car and walked to the entrance to figure out where to check in.
Day 15 Friday 24th November 2017
Rotorua Forest Canopy Tours – Another favorite excursion! The zip-lining was frequent, and swing bridges are included, as well as nature walk. We have been zip-lining in longer lines in Costa Rica, but thoroughly enjoyed this experience because of the diversity.
Exploring Rotorua seacoast – Walked around the seacoast thermal and spa areas. Great exercise and fun walk.
Day 16 Saturday 25th November 2017
Wei-O-Tapu Thermal Wonderland – Another favorite excursion! The name of the place sounds hokey, but the area is spectacular. You drive separately to the geyser in the morning, and then back to the wonderland area for a walk at your own pace. Two thumbs up.
Tamaki Maori Village cultural tour and dinner – and yet another fun evening. Timely pick-up and visit to the village, show and dinner. Please let tourists know, however, that you will be standing for an hour for the greeting and walking around the village, before sitting for the show, and then another 20 minutes before dinner. So you will end up eating around 8pm. It was fine for us, but for people who cannot stand for that period of time, they might want to take a fold-up stool for more comfort.
Day 17 Sunday 26th November 2017
Rotorua to Auckland – Nice drive until we met up with a Christmas parade in the center of Auckland near the street of our hotel. We drove for over an hour trying to figure a way to the hotel with all the blocked streets. The hotel said their street was open, but it had been closed by the traffic officers. So one of us sat at a McDonald’s, where we parked, and the other walked to the hotel to check in. They ended up giving us a room upgrade, but it would have been nice to have been notified that the roads were to be busy that day, and we would have just come later in the afternoon.
Auckland Sky Tower Admission - Fun
Accommodation Waldorf Stadium Apartments (Room type: 1 x 1 bedroom apartment) Very nice accommodations, once we got in Parking was in a garage down the road.
Day 18 Monday 27th November 2017
Walking around Auckland – Visited the Auckland Art museum and park. Drive to airport was a little squirrely, as the GPS took us on a scenic route, but fine. So we have been to Germany, Spain, England, Austria, Hungary, Czech Republic, Africa, Galapagos Islands, China and Tibet, Hawaii, Alaska, Portugal, Scotland…………………..and this was one of our most memorable trips. Thank you, Salli Smith and thank you New Zealand Self Drive Tours SO MUCH for all the organization, advice, help and patience in helping us make this a memorable experience.
We really enjoyed the whole trip | Eldhose John and Divya Varkey, Auckland to Queenstown 11 Day Highlights | Travelled on 5th November 2017
Hi Salli, Thanks for the help & assistance provided for our tour. Yeah, though we had a slight hiccup on the first day with the GPS, we managed it without the GPS and google maps is just good enough. It was a great and we really enjoyed the whole trip. New Zealand is beautiful and amazing. The people are awesome too - friendly & very helpful. Regards, Eldhose John
This is a “five star” company and a group of wonderful people | Jeff & Kristi Sprowls, Customised Wonders of New Zealand Anniversary Adventure, Travelled on 3rd November 2017
In August 2017 my wife and I decided we would like to take a trip to New Zealand for our 30th anniversary. Our anniversary was in November so to say the least we did not allow ourselves much time. After some research we reached out to Shelley Ryder at New Zealand Self Drive Tours and this proved to be the perfect decision. Shelley setup a call with us immediately and spent well over an hour with us helping her learn how best to plan for us. She then put together an awesome itinerary for us for the two weeks we had set aside.Read more
Since we had never been to New Zealand before we leaned heavily on Shelley for advice and direction in planning out the itinerary and agenda which in the end was the best trip we have ever experienced. We had some great excursions included and even with one being cancelled due to weather, we were immediately booked on an alternate excursion which ended up being a wonderful experience. All our accommodations were excellent and we are giving all of them “5 stars” on Trip Advisor. Shelley set us up on Waiheke Island for three days around our actually anniversary date and directed us to a wonderful dinner spot. Everything that was put into our detailed agenda happened just like it was listed, from drivers meeting us for pick-ups to shuttles picking us up for the excursions. I could write a lot more but let me just say this, if you are considering a trip to New Zealand you will do yourself a big favor by calling Shelley and the great team at New Zealand Self Drive Tours. This is a “five star” company and a group of wonderful people
It was the tour of a life time for us | William & Jumi Atun van Dongen, Auckland to Christchurch 22 Day Highlights | Travelled on 11th November 2017
We would like to thank you for an amazing arrangement of our holiday to your beautiful country New Zealand dated 11 November – 2 December 2017 with visits to the Northern as well as the Southern Island.
Without your professional advice and arrangements, we would not have enjoyed our holiday so much, and our trip would not be wonderful. It was a tour of a life time for us. All your bookings for hotels, attractions cars were excellent, only the hotel Scenic at Auckland was below our expectation. Because of your arrangement was obvious as you were able to provide introductions to the best accommodations and all the attractions we wanted to visit. Again, thank you very much. We hope to be able travelling to New Zealand by your tours again. Yours sincerely, William and Atoen van Dongen
Would book through NZ Self Drive Tours again in a heartbeat | Tammy & Mersha Sanne, Customised Grand Explorer of New Zealand | Travelled on 29th November 2017
Booked a 17 day self drive tour in New Zealand and had a fabulous time. Everything went off without a hitch, was very organized and would book through NZ Self Drive Tours again in a heartbeat.
We had a spectacular trip | Marc Friedman and Laurel Friedmann, Luxury New Zealand Driving Tour | Travelled on 21st November 2017
We had a spectacular trip that was planned by Salli Smith. Salli listened closely to all our our desires and planned the trip accordingly. It went through three itierations and Salli was uniformly responsive and courteous throughout the entire process, responding almost instantaneously to our questions before and during the trip as they arose. My only complaint is that I didn't fully appreciate the amount of driving I would need to do but this was not Salli's fault.
No hesitation recommending NZ Self Drive Tours to my family and friends | Keith and Ros West, Boutique Northland Tour, Travelled on 18th October 2017
Once contact was made we found New Zealand Self Drive Tours in particular Natalie DeCaro very helpful and co-operative to any changes that we may have requested and was of great assistance in arranging additional tours days.Read more
Everything went to plan as per the itinerary. The document pack was excellent informative with easy to follow instructions . No problems were encountered . Excellent accommodation. Very enjoyable 10 days and have no hesitation recommending NZ Self Drive Tours to my family and friends.
The customised itinerary just made it so easy for us | Darren & Trish Lloyd, Customised Christchurch to Auckland Northbound Self Drive Tour, Travelled on 29th September 2017
We had a wonderful holiday in New Zealand it was such a beautiful country to visit. We were very happy with our tour that was arranged specifically for us. We would highly recommend this tour company to anyone considering visiting New Zealand.Read more
We knew some of the things we wanted to do before we went, but some of the suggested activities were well worth doing. For example the glacier explorers tour at Mt Cook was one of the most amazing experiences we have ever had. We were particularly impressed with the accommodation choices. Whilst it was a mix of 3&4 star motels, the rooms that we were allocated were quite often in a prime position. Every motel we stayed at the staff we friendly and welcoming and happy to assist us. If anything we would have spent more time on the South Island and possibly only the South Island with a separate trip back to the North Island at a later date. The driving directions were very easy to follow and the customised itinerary just made it so easy for us. Every motel or activity that had been booked, we had no issues checking in. We had a family death a couple of days before departing for our holiday and nearly had to postpone or cancel and Shelley was extremely supportive and offered some options for us to consider. She contacted the staff at our motel in Christchurch and they were very sympathetic and gave us a small gift to welcome us there. It was very much appreciated. We would highly recommend this tour company to anyone considering visiting New Zealand.
Thanks for a great holiday | Wendy and Murray Robertson, Ultimate New Zealand Self Drive Tour, Travelled on 25th September 2017
Hi Natalie. We would like to thank you for the wonderful organisation of our recent 38 day Ultimate New Zealand Self Drive Tour. We had an amazing time exploring both islands of your beautiful country.Read more
The itinerary, car hire, accommodation, transfers and included tours exceeded expectation. The detailed information we received upon our arrival was very helpful and meant we didn't have to think about a thing. This was one of the easiest and most relaxed holidays we have ever had due to knowing that everything was organised and already in place for us. Thanks for the great holiday! Wendy and Murray Robertson.
I really appreciate NZ Self Drive's patience | Smitha Bhat, Nariyandada Gopalakrishna & Pramath Ram, Christchurch to Auckland Must Do Tour, Travelled on 25th September 2017
I mailed NZ self-drive tours with an enquiry and our requirements. Within the next 2 days, I got a call from one of their staff, an utterly sweet, efficient, helpful person called Joanna Bullus.Read more
This will be a long and fairly detailed review of the self-drive holiday we enjoyed in October, arranged via New Zealand Self Drive Tours. Planning: after checking the website, reading up a bit about New Zealand and deciding what our family would enjoy, I mailed NZ self-drive tours with an enquiry and our requirements. Within the next 2 days, I got a call from one of their staff, an utterly sweet, efficient, helpful person called Joanna Bullus. She got some details about our family, figured out what we would enjoy, made some suggestions, and mailed back in the next 2 days with a detailed itinerary. We mailed back and forth a couple of times until the plan was finalised. I had so many questions and concerns, and I really appreciate Joanna's patience. The payment was made in advance, online, by credit card. Trip: I normally make reservations for our many trips myself, and this was the first time I booked the trip through an agency. There were many advantages to doing so, however. Our car rental included GPS and insurance, the motels booked were centrally located, and very comfortable indeed, and the attractions were tailored to our family interests. Another huge plus: Our air tour of Milford Sound from Queenstown was cancelled due to bad weather. It took just one phone call to Joanna - she tweaked the schedule to arrange some activities on the day of the cancelled tour and arranged a coach tour of Milford Sound on another day. Post-trip: Refunds due to any cancellations reached me promptly. Driving in New Zealand: very comfortable, and not intimidating at all. They drive on the left side of the road, like us Indians, roads were very good, and not crowded ( except a HUGE traffic jam on the way to Auckland). Directions are clear, and the GPS was a great help. Other drivers on the road are courteous. Drivers licenses from India ( and I guess other countries too) are valid if they are in Engish. Tips: One suggestion would be to focus less on activities which are weather dependent - flights, for example - as the weather is notoriously fickle. VERY IMPORTANT: carry nothing edible from home - no pickles, ready to eat meals, preserves, fruit - because if caught, you will have to pay a fine of 400 dollars.
You have given us excitement to want to come back | Margaret & John Carson, Fiords, Glaciers and Mountains Self Drive Tour, Travelled on 21st September 2017
Hello Christina, we would recommend your company to friends and family as you have catered for our requirements and helped shape our holiday in to being a great first trip to New Zealand.Read more
We had a great holiday on the South Island. There was a small problem at the car hire depot with the information on their computer but the staff resolved it. The best accommodation was at Te Anau, Lakeside lodges. They were very luxurious and the owners were very welcoming and told us about local places to visit. The Milford sound cruise was a little disappointing. We were held up at the pass due to a storm and arrived late for our cruise. Instead of letting us wait till the next two and a half hour cruise they put us on a one hour cruise but gave us buffet lunch. A lot of people were late due to the weather the night before. We understand that delays can happen and we did enjoy the cruise but felt a little cheated as we went to the mouth of the sound and turned back in. We were very great full for all the work you put into our holiday as it made a great trip and knowing that everything was pre paid and organised helped us relax. Having a chauffeur waiting for us at the airport and on our return train journey added to our excellent experience, we felt like stars! We would recommend staying at Mt Cook more than one night as there were lots of walking tracks but as we were only staying the one night we could not take advantage. We would recommend your company as you have catered for our requirements and helped shape our holiday in to being a great first trip to New Zealand. Thank you far all your help and input to achieve a fantastic first trip and an excitement to make us want to come back to see more. John and Margaret Carson
You managed to really create something special for us | Cristea Family, North Island Road Trip, Travelled on 16th September 2017
Hi we have just completed a 15 day driving tour designed by yourselves around the North Island. We were delighted by how smoothly everything went. After a couple of emails between us you managed to really create something special for us.Read more
We were very happy with the accommodation select for us, it was a nice blend of hotel and apartments. Everywhere we traveled and stayed there was not a hitch and that was due to your work not ours. We were incredibly busy leading up to the trip and were totally reliant on your itinerary and paperwork. Thank you for your effort, we would recommend your services to all. Warm Regards, Marie and Michael Cristea, Ineke and Brian Willmann
We had the best time. It was so easy. | Andrew Stacy & Kathryn Ebsworth, Christchurch to Queenstown Exclusive Highlights, Travelled on 5th September 2017
Hi Laura Again we would live to thank you for organising our honeymoon. We had the best time. It was so easy. There was no problems with the car when checking in anywhere. All of the accommodation far exceeded our expectations.Read more
And the staff at Arthur's Pass, Lime Tree Lodge and Azur were the most helpful, warm, accommodating people. They all made us feel at home and were so lovely to chat to. And Aspen Court took me by surprise. I've never stayed in a motel before but it was better than many hotels I've stayed in. It was so modern, clean and breakfast arrived on time both days. It was great to cook our own dinner one night too. We did almost get stuck at Arthur's Pass due to snow and we didn't have chains in the rental car however the weather just seemed to clear up anywhere we travelled. Thanks again. Kathryn Ebsworth and Andrew Stacy.
We would have no hesitation in using your company again | Alistair and Calum Parsons, North to South Explorer Self Drive Tour, Travelled on 25th August 2017
Dear Sara, Writing to say thank you for all the arrangements you put in place for our visit. We had a brilliant time visiting New Zealand for the first time and it was easy and a pleasure to tour the country which in no small part was due to the bookings and advice you organised and gave.Read more
It has simply wetted our appetite to return in the future. We would have no hesitation in using your company again and I would highly recommend you to friends and family. Thank you! Regards, Alistair and Calum Parsons
I would recommended others to use NZ Self Drive | Jennifer Bowen, Madison Kean & Alexandria Kean, Tailored Coast to Coast Highlights, Travelled on 29th June 2017
The itinerary given to us on day 1 was extremely helpful for navigating from place to place. The countryside was so beautiful & something we will never forget. I would definitely recommend others to visit NZ & use New Zealand Self Drive.Read more
All 3 of us really enjoyed our NZ trip!
Bruce & Dorothy Ross, 14 Day New Zealand Grand Tour, Travelled on 27th May 2017
Hi Louise I would just like to say thank you for creating such a wonderful experience for us. As you can imagine, from our perspective, there is the opportunity to get information wrong and ideas confused, however you created the perfect trip.Read more
All the inclusions were spectacular.There was not a hiccup during the entire holiday, with everything where and when it was meant to be, and the choices of accommodation were well received by my wife. She says thank you. Once again, thank you for your great team effort. Regards Bruce Ross
Walt & Lori Gartner, Lord of the Rings Scenic Explorer, Travelled on 5th June 2017
We greatly enjoyed our Lord of the Rings Scenic Tour! All accommodations were excellent and there were no issues with any reservations (hotels and/or tours). Touring during the winter turned out to be great as crowds were never an issue.
On two occasions, we had private tours which allowed the tour guides to spend more time to talk about the surrounding areas (not just LOTR). One addition to our tour package that was the highlight of our trip was the whale watching in Kaikoura – we had three sightings, the weather was beautiful, and the ocean was calm. All in all, a trip we will remember the rest of our lives (in over 4000 pictures). Laura Davidson did a great job setting up the trip and even rerouted/rearranged our trip to account for the closure of Highway 1 due to earthquake damage. We highly recommend the LOTR self-driving tour for anyone who has seen LOTR and The Hobbit. You’ll quickly see why New Zealand was chosen as the location for Middle Earth plus you’ll get to see the country at your own pace. There’s no way you’ll see everything in two weeks but you will see enough to feel that you got your money’s worth. We highly recommend going with New Zealand Self Drive Tours – you will not regret going with them either.
Thanks for a wonderful trip to New Zealand! | Debra & Bob Bullen | A Customised New Zealand Explorer Reversed | Travelled on 5th February 2018
We spent 19 days touring both the south and north island of New Zealand in February 2018. Christina Brockie was a fantastic travel agent who assisted us with our self drive holiday. Her attention to detail and suggestions as to what we should see within our time frame was very helpful.Read more
Also, Christina would call us in Canada several times during the planning stages which made it much easier than just corresponding by e-mail. The instructions/material we received upon arrival was excellent and very easy to follow with detailed information on the accommodation, sights worth seeing in each place and driving instructions. Highlights of our trip, which were pre-booked by Christina, were the Te Anau Glow Worm Caves, bus tour to Milford Sound, Mitai Maori Village, Hot Water Beach and Waimangu Volcanic Valley Walk. Every part of our trip went very smoothly including being picked up at the airport, check-in to our accommodation, activities we had pre-paid, two internal flights, one train trip, and the picking up and dropping off our rental car on each of the islands. The accommodation was very good to excellent with the exception of the hotel in Rotorua (Tuscany Villas Rotorua). This hotel needed to be air conditioned as it was 27 degrees with only a patio door for ventilation and no other windows in the room for a cross breeze. The hotel in Rotorua was the only hotel which was very strict about checking in before 2:00 and was the least welcoming. Each of our rooms had a microwave, fridge, two burners and half of the rooms even had a full stove. The hotel in Rotorua had only a microwave and fridge. We travelled 2800 km which was very ambitious within our time frame as the roads in New Zealand are very narrow and twisty with no shoulders. A couple of our driving days were over 400 kms which was over 5 hours of driving which made for a very tiring and long day so I would recommend shortening the driving distance between places if at all possible. Thanks for a wonderful trip to New Zealand! Debby and Bob Bullen, Ontario Canada
Paul Eiseman, 15 Day Explorer Tour of New Zealand, Travelled on 18th May 2017
Hi Lauren, We 're back home, already reminiscing of our wonderful adventure. Everything went smoothly, with not one mishap. Even the weather fully cooperated. Thank you so much for your assistance in making our New Zealand trip one we shall fondly remember. We'll gladly recommend you and your company to any friends who want to experience your beautiful country. All the best, Paul and Fred
Tom, Kristen & Katherine Skipper, Custom 16 Day LOTR, Wine & Scenery Spectacular, Travelled on 12th May 2017
We recently enjoyed a wonderful two-week driving tour of New Zealand. Erynn did an excellent job with the arrangements and was extremely easy to work with, incorporating all of our requests for additions and changes in the schedule and contacting us quickly when we asked for more information. My wife and I travelled with our adult daughter, so we were concerned about appropriate accommodations. Erynn was able to book us into apartment hotels that had two bedrooms, which worked out great.Read more
All the apartments were nicely appointed and within walking distance to town centers. If you're thinking of going to New Zealand in the fall, don't hesitate. The weather is perfect: Autumn leaves and snow-capped mountains, warm days and cool nights, and no crowds. And while it can be rainy, we were lucky and only had two days with rain during our entire trip. The key to packing is to bring layers, as we often were in short sleeves during the day and adding sweaters and jackets by nightfall (especially at Mt. Cook and in Queenstown). We didn't want to do the entire LOTR tour, but were very glad we included a visit to Hobbiton in Matamata, The Hairy Feet Tour near Piopio, and the WETA studios tour in Wellington. We also did the half day LOTR location tour in Wellington, which was fun, but not essential. Because the main highway on the South Island was still under repair from damage caused by the 2016 earthquake, we spent a lot more time driving than we had anticipated. The trip from Blenheim to Kaikoura, which is usually a 90 minute drive, was a seven hour journey across the island and back. It was tiring, but the scenery is so beautiful, it's almost worth the extra time in the car. Almost. For us, every stop on our tour was well worth the time and effort. The only real disappointment for us was Christchurch. Even though it's been more than six years since the earthquake that devastated the city, the center remains a boarded up, fenced-off, under-construction mess. Reading the local papers, we understand discussion are still in place as to whether to restore the Cathedral or replace it with a more modern design has completely stymied the restoration effort. A real shame. We had one small snafu with a hotel booking, but Erynn fixed everything while we were having breakfast. Otherwise, the trip could not have been better. Having New Zealand Self Drive Tours take care of all the arrangements made for a stress-free vacation. Thanks, Erynn!
Leticia Benitez, Emily Wolf & Aniekan Udowana, A Customised Christchurch to Queenstown Holiday, Travelled on 7th May 2017
Christina did a fantastic job planning our holiday! We appreciated her suggestions for activities and agreed to almost all. The printed out itinerary, driving directions and map were incredibly helpful and we consulted the additional information for suggestions for additional activities or restaurants. We had a fantastic holiday and would highly recommend this travel company and Christina to anyone considering a South Island driving tour!Read more
Black water rafting just was not for us but we thoroughly enjoyed the cave tour. We also enjoyed the scenic train! Everything worked out smoothly during our trip. We were very pleased that every hotel or attraction we went to just needed our names to pull up the reservation, especially at the Greymouth rental car counter. All of our accommodations worked well and we would recommend them to others.
Steve Mckenna & Tim Tyson, Customised Auckland to Queenstown Southbound Explorer, Travelled on 29th June 2017
Great trip! In terms of lodging, Matakauri Lodge was of course was the best, but the others were all very good as well. The Wellington hotel's in room laundry facilities were a HUGE help mid trip. The Waters' self cook breakfast facilities were a distinct step below the other ones, and we were late arriving there because we thought the Waters would be closer to the ferry terminal than it was. In terms of the itinerary, it was great, though I think we could easily have spent another full day in the Rotorua area (the Waimangu Valley was terrific and took a full day for us, so we could have seen more there).
We would also recommend having a car on Waiheke Island (we got one there and used it a lot), and the cars on the South Island were smaller and less practical than the one on the North Island. Finally, the GPS in the car was out of date; we used Navigon on our phone and it worked much better. But the overall trip and holiday was STUNNING. This is just to indicate our minor points of comment. We had a superb time and thank you so much for all your help!
Claudia Hunter and Melanie Rausch, Customised Queenstown to Auckland 11 Day Highlights, Travelled on 27th April 2017
Our fabulous trip to NZ was such a success! We appreciate all the planning, details and super suggestions. We had such a fun time, did so much and loved every minute of your beautiful country! Our highlights were Mt Cook and the Glass bottom boat tour! The Coromandal Coast is magnificent! All the hotels were wonderful, friendly and so clean! Thank you again for all the brilliant work to make our trip seamless and exactly what we wanted. Melanie & Claudia from Cambridge, MA
Thierry Defrene, Customised Lakes, Mountains and Glaciers Self Drive Tour, Travelled on 23rd April 2017
Hi Lauren, Sorry for only getting back to you now. We have been delighted by our trip in NZ and organising it through your services couldn’t have been easier. Very straight forward to start with, you understood our needs perfectly and the content and itinerary were just perfect. I have already provided your company details to one of my colleagues who is thinking of visiting NZ as well. Only one regret, but you could have done nothing about it is that South Island is so amasing and beautiful that we wish we could have done a bit more and stayed in some places longer, sad we only had 8 days... Best regards, Thierry Defrène.
Kristie, Bill, Alanna & Joshua Miles, Bruce & Mercedes Drummond & Mercedes Silvan, A Customised Northern Explorer Family Adventure, Travelled on 10th April 2017
Our overall experience was pretty positive and we enjoyed our family holiday. Thank you Christina for your work with our trip, your itinerary was very easy to follow. Hobbiton was brilliant and definitely one the highlights for the kids. We loved Rotorua and Wellington.Read more
Our main disappointment was our accommodation in Auckland. they were not very inviting and the hotel was right next to the Auckland City Mission. It was very confronting for our young children and my elderly grandmother to continuously walk past the many homeless which surrounding the street of our hotel. They would approach us and ask for money and many were under the influence of drugs or alcohol. I would not recommend staying in this part of Auckland with a young family. Unfortunately due to the Cyclone we were quite restricted with what we could do, the weather was not kind to us as the start however we made the most of what we could.
Lee Lip Fong & Friends, Auckland to Christchurch 17 Day Highlights Tour, Travelled on 10th April 2017
Our group of 8 good friends went on the 17 days NZ tour in April arranged by New Zealand Self Drive Tours turned out to be a life time memory for all of us. I would give a thumbs up for their fantastic service, their excellent arrangement on the itinerary and accommodation were beyond our expectation.
We have no hiccough on the car pick up and return as well. I would strongly recommend any of my friends to contact you all should they think of going to NZ. Special thanks to Annelise Redford for your kind and prompt attention whenever we needed you! In my Malaysian language "Banyak terima kasih" for such a beautiful holiday for all of us! This has marked another new page in my life!! Xie Xie!
Sally & Brad Veach, A Customised South Island Adventure, Travelled on 8th April 2017
Where do I begin? First of all, let’s just say I am a bit of a planner, so I was reluctant to have someone else plan my 30th wedding anniversary itinerary for me. As I was researching online all the different tour groups, I kept coming back to New Zealand Self Drive Tours. Some of the top reasons I decided to go with NZSDT is because I could change up the itinerary and pick what days, how long, and where I wanted to go. I saw that other tour companies weren’t as flexible. Secondly, all their impressive reviews over the internet from people who had used them to book their tours.
Thirdly, it was a relief not to have to coordinate and search thru reviews to find 14 different places to stay throughout the South Island (all with their own cancellation fees, confirmations, availability and amenities) and also; knowing that if a problem came up, I wouldn’t have to have to figure it out on my own while on vacation. Lastly, I wouldn’t have to determine which car rental agency to choose and read all the fine print for hidden fees and insurance costs and on and on. NZSDT has it all covered. One fee covered all I needed including a GPS and auto insurance. Keeping all this in mind and knowing that in all my previous vacations, I have done all the planning on my own with no problems, I still took the step, released the control and went for it with Christina at New Zealand Self Drive Tours. I am so very thankful I did. From the first time I live chatted with Christina, I was very impressed by her helpfulness and willingness to listen to my needs. Since I am a planner, I asked a few hundred questions along the way and she never grew tired of me (well, at least not that I knew about!). Christina was patient, accommodating, kind, understanding, knowledgeable and professional. She was on top of whatever requests I had, whether it was through emails, phone calls or live chats. I loved the fact that I could live chat a quick question and they would immediately direct me to Christina, if she was available. When Christina was not available, anyone I dealt with was able to help me immediately. Even while we were on the trip, we had decided to try and stay an extra night at Mt. Cook and cancel a night in Dunedin. Christina was able to accommodate it smoothly in a matter of hours. I didn’t have to worry about a thing. I could just go on my way and enjoy our adventures. Another factor that impressed me about New Zealand Self Drive Tours was when I researched on my own and found some things to do Christina would welcome the opportunity to add new choices to their itineraries. The New Zealand Self Drive Tours website was extremely user friendly. I appreciated the different tabs in My Tour link, ie. Overview, Inclusions, Driving info, Costs & Pay, and Your Details. Clear and informative. No fine print. Upon arrival we received our packet, complete with a full bound itinerary, brochures and also a New Zealand Touring Atlas Book which was invaluable (even with our GPS). We spent 16 days on the South Island going all the way down to the Catlins. We chose the budget Motels itinerary and we were not disappointed in ANY of them. We were actually quite surprised at the quality of the places we stayed. Most of them had kitchenettes and an extra bedroom. They were just perfect for our needs. They were all very clean and the people were full of hospitality. Everything we saw and did was a 10+. We kayaked Okarito Lagoon thru Okarito Kayaks, glacier kayaked the Tasman Lake thru Southern Alps Guiding, took a smaller boat with Southern Discoveries on Milford Sound (no words to describe this place), went jet boat fishing on the Waiau River thru Fish Jet, and shot Class 5 rapids thru Rangitata Rafting. All past our expectations and all can be booked thru New Zealand Self Drive Tours. We fell in love with NZ and their people. We like to adventure out so we ended up going 1900 more kilometers than the itinerary of 2330 km! We got up early, headed out and ended up seeing everything we wanted rain or shine. EVERYWHERE we went we were not disappointed and EVERYTHING was a highlight for us. I am still going thru and cleaning up 9458 photo memories! In conclusion, I would be more than happy to connect with anyone who needs a recommendation for New Zealand Self Drive Tours. My heartfelt gratitude to Christina, for creating a dream of a lifetime trip for our 30th wedding anniversary. Sally & Brad
Gary & Denise McCarthy, 18 Day Taste of New Zealand, Travelled on 10th April 2017
Well it was a sensational holiday with everything going to plan. The pick up thru to the final drop off was so professional and hassle free. Our introduction to NZ was an eye opener and will definitely return and hopefully with some friends in tow. Once we left Auckland city the fields opened up and so did the welcome in Rotorua with all staff at various establishments happy and helpful. On to Napier after TC Cook blasted the east coast but life carried on and all where smiling.
Napier was a interesting place with retro themes along the foreshore. Big drive to Wellington and now we know why its called the windy city as it was blustery when we arrived, which didn't detract from the whole scheme of things. An early morning cruise across Cook St into Picton was relaxing but didn't venture much outside as temps where a tad cool. Pleasant winery tour and accommodation in Blenheim. Huge drive thru to Christchurch due to East Coast road closed but the 'lost' scenic route was great and arriving to a majestic hotel being OGB, fantastic accommodation. weather wasn't on our side but we ventured out and investigated a city rebuilding. onwards to Lake Tekapo, what a jewel this place is and the sun was out so it just made you feel awestruck. locals friendly and easy to chat about everyting and nothing. local bar/ tavern accommodated our refreshments and meals a real homely feel. the observatory above Lake Tekapo is a must do which gives you massive panoramic views of the surrounding country side. little driving adventures were undertaken and got to see where locals camp and trout fish, brilliant place to relax/ visit. a slow drive to the majestic giant, Mt Cook, what a sight as you travel towards the snow capped mountain and once again a sunny day blessed us all the way. accommodation was great as we opened the curtain, there looking at us was splendid views of Mt Cook. leaving the following a change of scenery on the way to Queenstown with the autumn colours starting to expose themselves. he days spent in Queenstown and the surrounding areas was awesome. Milford Sound is a must but the only negative is the very long bus ride, maybe we should of paid the extra and flew back to Q, it didn't detract from the Sound's natural wonder be it a tad cold but braving it was worth every moment. sadly we then left and headed to Franz Josef which was an interesting drive as the west coast changes to sub-tropical. FJ was an interesting place, small but busy and the walk up to (close) the glacier was invigorating but it was a shame to hear how much the glacier has retracted and we didn't have the opportunity to walk on it unless you hired a helicopter. never the less it is still a great memory. form here we arrived at Greymouth where the vehicle was returned and we caught the train across to Christchurch. this produced some amazing sights and photo opportunities as we meandered through the mountains and down onto the Canterbury Plains. picked up at the station and delivered to our favourite place the OGB (the Heritage). spent 2.5 days here and the sun blessed us to which we took advantage and visited the botanical gardens, museum, tram rides, city walks and frequented eateries and shops, this place hums even though it looks like a war zone and construction is going on all around you, well worth visiting. finally we departed after what felt like forever and any less a stay would not of achieved an understanding of this lovely country which is only 3hrs max flying time away. our self drive gave us a lot and with Jane at the helm and sorting out best options and with my investigations I think we achieved one of our best drive holidays yet. next time we are going to look at going north of Auckland to investigate what wonders are up there....very satisfied and recommend this to anybody. Thanks once again Jane top job. Cheers Gary and Denise Forresters Beach NSW
Stephen & Lynda Collinson, It Just Doesn't Get Any Better South Island Experience, Travelled on 9th April 2017
Amazing holiday in the South Island NZ, beautifully organised, didn't have to worry about a thing. We don't know NZ that well, but had a rough idea of what we wanted to do, so just gave our consultant Shelley Ryder our arrival and departure dates, explained accommodation preferences, activities and sights we would like, a rough price guide and she came back with the perfect itinerary.
No hitches, everything went smoothly with all bookings and connections, no worries at all. Fantastic B&B's booked everywhere, met some lovely people here, real NZ hospitality! A terrific holiday, and we will be back for the North Island, very soon!
Allan & Wendy Quadrio, Customised Return South Island Highlights, Travelled on 8th April 2017
The entire trip went according to the planned itinerary. The map book included in the initial package was very useful. All the accommodation was very good and more importantly clean with comfortable warm beds. The overnight stay of Doubtful Sound was most enjoyable, but you must advise people about the sandflies. Wanaka was beautiful and peaceful an well worth the couple of day stay over.
Wendy especially enjoyed the Zipline in Queenstown. Hopefully you have some influence with the national parks people. If there is a shortfall in the tourist spectrum it is in the public toilet facilities, especially at Fox and Franz Josef where they are too few, smelly and dirty. Shelley, thanks for your organization of our trip. It all went very smoothly without a single hitch in regards to the arrangements you made. A very enjoyable holiday. Regards Allan and Wendy Quadrio
Henrik, Maria, Matilda & Jacob Junkrans, Customised Auckland to Christchurch Splendour Family Adventure, Travelled on 1st April 2017
Really good concept to get the vacation planned via New Zealand Self Drive Tours. The accommodations were ok, and the activities exactly what we asked for. I did a lot of the research myself but it was great to get help with the bookings and detailed planning.
And all the people we interfaced with were very helpful, in particular the Hanmer Springs quad biking. The whale watching in Kaikoura was the peak (we were lucky with the weather). We had 11 days packed with activities and they all worked out as planned. Best vacation ever!
Frederick Abels & Jerome Pleysier, 27 Day New Zealand Discoverer, Travelled on 1st April 2017
We had an awesome trip discovering NZ on our 27-day self drive tour, set up by Jane. She did an awesome job. The motel accommodations she chose for us were more than we expected. Even though we spent 27 days in NZ, we could have easily spent another two weeks to include some of the sights we didn't see. It's just such a beautiful country. This of course leaves room for a return trip! TRead more
here were only a few minor things I think could have been handled better. I was under the assumption our car would be delivered to us on our 2nd day. I did not realize we would need to find our own transfer back to the airport to pick up our car. I think we should have been given the option to set up a transfer to the airport when we booked our trip, or have the car delivered directly to us. Luckily, I managed to set up a transfer (at an additional cost) with the gentleman who transferred us from the airport to our motel upon our arrival into Christchurch. It was a miner snag, but could have been set up better. Confusion at the beginning of a trip is unwelcomed. At several motels we were asked upon check-in if we were with 'Fine Tours'. Being unaware that this was the name of the actual company, I said 'no'. This caused a little confusion. I was under the impression I booked with NZ Self Drive Tours. It might be wise to inform your travelers of the 'Fine Tours' name...which appears nowhere in any of our paperwork. Again, just a very minor hic-up, but worth mentioning. When we arrived in Kaikoura, we found the motel we were booked at to be closed due to the earthquake back in November. Somehow this was not communicated to Jane. I called Jane for help and we were set up in another property in a very short time. This snag was handled fast and in a very professional manner. Jane re-booked us at a super nice property. This was a bit of a larger incident, but it was handled very well and we were pleased with the outcome. Would I book with New Zealand Self Drive Tours (a.k.a. 'Fine Tours') again? Definitely! All in all Jane did a fantastic job and we LOVED our trip. A small snafu just adds to the adventure of traveling. Thanks Jane for all your help and giving us an experience we'll remember for the rest of our lifetime! It was SUPER!
Jenny Shao, Greg, Douglas, Kyle and Lucas Mitchell, Tailored Fiords, Glaciers and Mountains Self Drive Tour, Travelled on 31st March 2017
Thank you, Salli, for putting together our fantastic New Zealand holiday to the South Island! We appreciate your friendliness, professionalism and efficiency in putting together our 10-day self-drive tour itinerary. We had very little time (and knowledge) to research all the NZ destinations, activities and accommodations, so it was wonderful that you took on that task for us. All the accommodations you arranged were clean with all the amenities required (usually more than!) The motel proprietors were friendly and very helpful in providing local recommendations and tips.Read more
We particularly appreciate that you provided a suggested list of activities for each area that we visited but allowed us to pick and choose however much or little we wanted to do. You told us not to miss the Milford Sound cruise, and indeed, that was the absolute highlight of our trip! A couple of suggestion on things: 1. It would be nice to include distances with all the driving directions - for example, if a direction says "Head east on State Hwy 6" if would be nice to know how long we stay on Hwy 6 until the next instruction to "Turn left onto XYZ Road." 2. Some of the "driving distance and time" were underestimated. For example, Queenstown to Franz Josep Glacier (via Wanaka) took close to 6 hours instead of 4.4 hrs as listed (we didn't dilly dally and made only a quick lunch stop). Also, to drive comfortably and safely from Te Anau to Milford Sound really takes about 3 hours (would leave Te Anau *no later* than 7:30am for the 10:30am cruise). Aside from those few minor details, this was simply an amazing trip! You made the whole trip planning so effortless for us. And with everything pre-arranged by you, we were able to really focus on experiencing the beauty and the culture of New Zealand. Simply a fantastic trip with memories that will last a lifetime! Thank you, Salli!
Charles & Candace Black, 21 Day Discover New Zealand, Travelled on 30th March 2017
We had an amazing trip and we met so many wonderful and interesting people. Everything was so well planned out, all we needed to do was get in our rental car and go. New Zealand is so breathtakingly beautiful, pictures while wonderful, do not begin to capture the beauty. All I can say to anyone, if you can, go to New Zealand.
Suresh, Aparna, Megha & Kunal Narang, Customised Ultimate South Island Experience, Travelled on 28th March 2017
Had a good to great holiday. itinerary well organised. Most of the accommodations booked were of high standard. However, the accommodation at Punakaiki was average compared to accommodation at other places.
Distances and travel time mentioned in the book were occasionally off. Lastly, I wish more details had been provided about the cave tour near Punakaiki. It was mentioned that the total tour would be of 2 hours duration - however, that refers only to the duration from entrance to the cave. What was not mentioned is that it takes another couple of hours to get to and from the cave entrance. The to and from journey to the cave entrance is quite arduous for the not young people. In future, perhaps this aspect can be clarified to prospective participants in this adventure. The 4WD adventure near Queenstown was off the beaten track, and wonderful. Please convey our appreciation to Andy.
Mary & Geoffrey Lee and Angelo & Bernice Falconieri, Behind The Scenes in New Zealand, Travelled on 30th March 2017
Hi Shelley, Well, back to the real world now, work etc, We had a wonderful time, Uncle from Auckland could not do enough for us, a real gentleman. Our mystery night was organised by us girls, whilst we were at Lake Tepako, We stayed at a B and B called Dalry Country House run by a wonderful couple, we went to the local pub for dinner that night. The B and B was 9 ks out of Hastings but was worth the drive.
We changed the road trip a couple of times on the advice from the locals on what to see and where to go, found Paua ( abalone) at Invercargil, had to google how to cook it, was nice. We did a lot of touring at Wanaka, between wineries, War Birds, Puzzle House and also the Gypsie Caravans were there, quite colourful, we just ran non stop, our accommodation was lovely, including the ducks. the scenery was amazing, especially Arthurs Pass, found a lovely place for lunch, some how we escaped the bad weather, was ahead of it most of the time. we had to change vehicles at Christchurch because the hire company had us returning it on the 10th, that was a bummer as it took up some wasted time, wanted to see more of Christchurch. Queenstown was amazing, and so was our helicopter flight. Anyway, thankyou for organising such a wonderful experience for us, now to save up for our next holiday in two years time, South East Asia. Will recommend your company to our friends. Cheers Mary Lee
Sharon & Rod White, South to North 14 Day New Zealand Highlights, Travelled on 27th March 2017
We very much enjoyed our holiday in New Zealand. Highlights include: Milford Road coach trip and the plane ride back to Queenstown. The scenery on the South Island was spectacular, especially the Mount Cook National Park. Rotorua was an interesting place to see with the mud pools etc. The Maori Village was a bit touristy but they did a very good show and I learned about their culture. The Coromandel township was beautiful but we got caught on a road closure due to cyclone Debbie.
This required a detour on a somewhat perilous drive through the mountains on a gravel road. We would have appreciated someone from New Zealand Self Drive Tours giving us a heads up on this as we were following their itinerary. The drive from Christchurch to Blenheim was very long due to #1 closure but we loved the Marlborough B and B. Lovely country setting, just the right location to relax. Not sure why we were booked on the afternoon ferry to the North Island. We could have easily made the morning ferry and this would have given us some time in Wellington. We enjoyed our short time in Christchurch but were not prepared for the earthquake devastation that still affects this city. It was disturbing but we are glad to have seen this as we better understand their situation. We really enjoyed meeting Catherine who now runs The Springs in Rotorua. She was very helpful with restaurant advice, what to see and do in Rotorua and even helped with weather forecasts and road conditions. She provides a hand drawn map of Rotorua which I will keep as a souvenir. When we asked for B and B the Springs and Marlborough B and B were the best and what we think of when B and B comes to mind. We like to meet the owner have a chat with locals. We did meet the owner of the Dairy when first checking in but not after this. Very positive experience and we would recommend to others.
Tan Chun Ghee, 8 Day Christchurch to Queenstown Exclusive Highlights, Travelled on 25th March 2017
Lauren helped us customise an 8-day itinerary driving from Christchurch to Queenstown and was very responsive throughout the process. The website is also fast and easy to use. The suggested accommodation, driving route, and attractions were carefully chosen and helped us make the most of our short time in beautiful NZ. It was a wonderful experience and everything went very smoothly thanks to Lauren's planning. We highly recommend this company.
Lora Banicevic & Jake Luschwitz, Iconic South Island Tour, Travelled on 21st March 2017
Dear Shelley, Thank you for helping us plan our honeymoon around the South Island of New Zealand! We were so busy with planning the wedding and greatly appreciated how simple it was to organise our trip through your company! You made the whole process straight forward and we didn’t have to worry about a thing.
We thoroughly enjoyed our time in your beautiful country and were amazed by the scenery and some of the stunning accommodation available. Star gazing in the outdoor bathtubs at Tin Tub Luxury Lodge is a memory that Jake and I will treasure forever. We would not hesitate to recommend your company to anyone! Lora and Jake
Susanna & Bill Ross, 12 Day Northern Highlights, Travelled on 19th March 2017
We had a great holiday and everything was arranged just the way I envisioned it. So thanks! Couple of suggestions: 1. When I received my package in Wellington, most of the activities did not have vouchers and we did not have train tickets. I spoke with Shelley and she assured me they wouldn't be needed (and they weren't), but it would have been nice if the instructions had made that clear. 2. The hotel in Snells Beach was less than exciting. There wasn't anything exactly wrong with it, but it was easily the least interesting place we stayed. Loved the Waipoua Lodge! And all your suggestions about where to go and things to do were just perfect. I very much appreciated the road atlas--it was very helpful.
Shari & Howard Scher, New Zealand at a Glance, Travelled on 16th March 2017
Thank you Salli and everyone who helped make this a fabulous 'trip of a lifetime'. The B and B's and hotels were beyond terrific, the hospitality of all we met was perfection and the trip put together highlights that were just right. The only problem was our desire to spend more time in New Zealand. I guess we will simply have to return! I must add that Salli was amazing in terms of how fast she got back to us and how she was always patient, regardless of how many times we needed clarification. I highly recommend her services. Feel free to use the Schers for recommendations for others.
Jena Rueth and Linda Hanson, Auckland to Queenstown 14 Day Self Drive Tour, Travelled on 16th March 2017
We had a wonderful time! New Zealand is beautiful and the people very friendly. The cars for both islands were spacious and easy to drive. All of the hotels were excellent locations and several with spectacular views. We liked when we didn't have to pay to park or pay for internet. We especially feel that hotel guests shouldn't have to pay for internet. Our optional trips were all we hoped for and the pre-booked trips were more economical. My top 3 were Maori Village, Zealandia Wildlife Sanctuary Night Tour and Whale Watch Kaikoura. The Glowworm cave was also a wonderful experience. Thank you Lauren for your advice, help, and kindness.
Steve and Bev Swartz, A Customised Grand New Zealand Experience, Travelled on 12th March 2017
My wife Bev and I had a thoroughly enjoyable time during our 18-day drive-around of NZ. Christian Brockie did a superb job of making all the arrangements for accommodation, hire car and activities - there were no 'surprises' except for the astounding beauty of the country that we experienced, on both north and south islands. From the opening Mitai Village evening in Auckland to the final visit to the Antarctic Centre in Christchurh and everything in between (including visits to three glaciers), we had an unbelievable time and would do it again! Steve Swartz
Donald Baulderstone, Customised 25 Day Length & Breadth - North to South of New Zealand, Travelled on 13th March 2017
Thanks for your arrangements,only the one hiccup, the tour of Auckland. Do you intend refunding the amount to me? The accommodation was brilliant, except for Wellington, which was my fault as I requested to be nearer the airport. Dunedin, Mount Cook,Christchurch,and Paihia were our favorites.
Franz Josef, they gave us an older apartment,after we had unpacked, I complained to the Manager, and in fairness, he then offered an updated one, but we couldn't be bothered moving.He couldn't answer why we were not given the better one in the first place. We did call into your Wanaka office, but you were in Auckland. Once again thanks and I will certainly recommend you to any friends contemplating a NZ tour. Don Baulderstone.
Adrian & Julie Phillips, The Length & Breadth North to South, Travelled on 12th March 2017
Hi Laura, It's been a while since we came back but I'm finally getting round to sorting things out! I thought I'd send you some feedback: Firstly we had an absolutely amazing time, everything was wonderful and we have some lovely memories. I've just finished sorting through 7000 photos to make 2 photo books! We were very impressed with the quality of the accommodations considering this was your entry level property.Read more
However some stood out for various reasons. Host of the holiday was Robin at the Red Tussock Motel Te Anau, he was such a character and we had a lovely fruit bowl in our room. He also went in and put the lights and heating on before we got back from our trip to Milford, so thoughtful and kind. He had a bird table so we spent quite a while watching the birds. Other stand out properties were: Aoraki Court Motel, Mount Cook, fabulous views of the glacier and a spa bath! Ocean View Chalets, Abel Tasman, again a fabulous ocean view and great deck for watching the sea and stars, lovely eco approach and amenities. Least favourite were: Albatross Motel Napier. It was on a very noisy main road, although there was a lovely view of the nature reserve. The cooking facilities were also rather basic. Blue Peaks Motel Queenstown, also right on the main road and rather noisy although the other facilities were fine. Camelot Motor Lodge Christchurch, rather run down and in poor condition throughout, though of course we appreciate the issues around Christchurch. As I've already said we were very impressed with the overall quality so this is being very picky! As to locations, being Nature and country lovers we obviously preferred those locations to the cities. The standout experience has to be the Doubtful Sound Cruise, we were so lucky to have wonderful weather, a dolphin pod bow surfing for ages and the best best time in the side fiord, awesome views and a most wonderful experience. Milford was also great and that road is an experience in itself. In fact the whole Fiord area was fab. The nature experiences around Dunedin too were wonderful, just seeing a penguin on the beach at Moreaki and all the seals and sea lions, just great at Katiki Point. We did a tour with Elm Wildlife Tours, which was fantastic. Abel Tasman was just lovely, we were quite tired by the time we got there and it was lovely just to have a breather for a couple of days. We took the water taxi up the coast and back again, lovely. Aoraki Mount Cook was wonderful, it was awesome driving up through the clouds from Christchurch to Lake Tekapo, the church on the lake was stunning. Walking to the glaciers was wonderful too. The Geothermal area around Rotorua was really interesting, we went to Oraki Korako, a bit off the beaten track and seemed less touristy than the other locations. We also walked around the lake and to the Maori Village, amazing to see the thermal vents in the middle of the street! We also loved Coromanel, birdwatching at Miranda and visiting the Thames School of Mines. Hot water beach was an interesting experience too! Auckland was great too and we walked up Rangitoto which was a great experience. We did the Hangi at Waitangi which was really interesting, would love to have had time to visit in the day but instead we did the Hole in the Rock cruise. We also visited Russell which was very quaint. Waipoua was majestic and rather moving, being in the presence of those huge Kauri. Least favourite location was Napier, not quite sure why but just didn’t feel it. We did do a wine tasting tour with Prinsy and had a lovely view from Te Mata. We also found Wellington a bit overwhelming, but enjoyed Te Papa. That brings me to another point, travelling times. We had driving guidance and sat nav to help but still found it much longer than estimated to get from place to place. We were obviously driving cautiously but still needed at least an hour longer than estimated. This affected our estimated arrival times and reduced time available to visit places. We did enjoy the driving and some of the great detours satnav took us on! We had great weather, considering all the stuff going on during our stay until the very end so our experience of the West Coast was restricted by the Cyclone! It looked stunning though and definitely an incentive to come back! We had our helihike cancelled due to the weather so we ended up leaving Frank Josef a day early and driving up to Greymouth where we visited the Pancake rocks in the pouring rain! So all in all we were delighted with the itinerary and all the organisation you put into getting everything to run so smoothly, we had no difficulties at all as we travelled round. Many thanks for all you help and assistance. Best wishes Julie Phillips
Cliff & Mary VanCott and Linda & Steve Healy, Northbound Navigator Christchurch to Auckland, Travelled on 9th March 2017
Hi Shelley! We had a GREAT trip, enjoyed it all wonderfully. Your aid and suggestions were tremendously helpful in making this a fantastic trip-of-a-lifetime. You did a FANTASTIC job and we are all very grateful! If we ever return, I'll be sure to contact you! The Milford Track was great we had no rain at all. The downside was very limited waterfall pictures... but we all agreed that was a small price to pay for warm and dry hiking! White puffy clouds and blue sky... the perfect weather for walking with a big pack on our back!Read more
We had a great time on the Penguin Place tour, we all drove up to the Albatross Center (maybe ten minutes away). They were not doing tours because the weather had turned bad earlier... but when we arrived, the clouds were parting and we spent an hour photographing as many as a dozen albatrosses which flew overhead! Linda and Steven are big birders so this was a huge plus for the trip. (They also returned later for a Blue Penguin tour while Mary and I stayed at the lodging to catch up on laundry and relax some.) Penguin Place was a good location because it saved us the nearly hour-long drive back into Dunedin after all the tours... VERY convenient. Basic beds in rooms with shared bathrooms and kitchen... but location was everything (and laundry too!) We would stay there again in an instant. One pleasant surprise was that you provided TWO sets of all documentation, one for Mary and I, the second for Linda and Steven. That was unexpected and appreciated a lot. Both couples have these remarkably helpful guides to refer to at night and also as reminders after the trip. The maps and your daily turn-by-turn directions were very helpful. Those, along with the GPS in the car made it quite easy for us to focus on enjoying the scenery instead of being worried about being lost. (One improvement to your turn-by-turn directions would be to add the DISTANCE, in either kilometers or miles, before the next turn. Without that we needed to either do Google map searches or else just keep watching for signs that might come in 2 minutes or 200 kilometers later. Adding something like "... in 23 kilometers turn left on Pilsbury road..." would make it much easier for the navigator!) We found your directions to be really well thought out and useful, and followed them almost exclusively. We did stray on our route from Dunedin to Wanaka in that we traveled further north on the coast to see the Moravi (sp?) Rocks (a bit disapointing) and then inland to the Elephant Rocks (VERY cool! ...well worth the drive). This still got us into Wanaka early enough to play at the Puzzling World's labyrnth for hours (Highly recommended!) and walk the town at our leisure. I believe all of our lodging choices were spot-on... the right mix of convenience and cost. We typically made breakfast and dinner in our rooms, so the kitchenettes were perfect. Being able to walk to many of the city's attractions was a big plus... and the people we met running the places were, without exception, pleasant warm and helpful. I would share with you that the hostel at Mt Cook worked very well. It IS a hostel, but we were able to get a single (crowded) room with four beds all to ourselves. We still had the kitchen so cooking worked well for us... but the biggest plus was location. The only alternative was the Hermitage, which exceeded our budget... or else we would lose hours driving to/from the next closest lodging in Twizel. I mention this in case you have future clients torn with that same delema... If they understand the limits of a hostel (and this one was very clean, pleasant and well-run) then they may be able to make the visit AND stay on site. (We had signed up for the Stargazing Tour, which doesn't end until hours after sunset. Being faced with an hour+ drive to Twizel afterwards would have made for a much too long day!) As for the activities we did... I found the Hike on Milford Track to be a life's dream come true. My Grandfather visited New Zealand some forty years ago and he loved it. He planted in me a desire to visit your homeland, something that I finally was able to do. The hike was something I learned of later hand have been hoping to do for years. Beautiful, challenging, remarkable scenery and a very well-run system for hikers to visit a uniquely stunning area... I highly recommend it! The tour at Penquin Place was perhaps the ONLY way we would have seen yellow-eyed penguins, and certainly not so close or convenient than if we'd struck out on our own. It's only a few kilometers from the Albatros Center, so very convenient to do both... and they do a Blue Penguin tour also.) The Black Water Rafting was FANTASTIC!! Mary pretty much kept it to herself... but she was scared. But she faced the fear and did it anyway... and had a blast! I was quite pleased too... they do a good job. Drifting on the underground stream in the inky blackness with only glowworms twinkling overhead was a remarkable experience I am SO glad was a part of our trip. One other activity added was the Driving Creek Railroad. I'll admit that I first thought it a hokey touristy distraction (one I toyed with bypassing for perhaps more exciting stuff) ... but it was marvelous! Made me envious of the life he lived "playing with trains"! Keep including this whenever you can... and if anyone is thinking about ignoring it... think again! It was a blast! Our tour of Hobbiton was rainy and wet... and wonderful! We are big fans so it really didn't matter much. They do provide umbrellas, and there's a bus ride to/from the site. I'd do it again tomorrow, it was that good. (We had also visited the Weta Cave in a tour while in Wellington... that added a lot to the overall story and enriched our Hobbitton tour much.) For any prospective client who is concerned about the inter-island ferry... It really IS that easy. Drop off the car at the Picton terminal, walk up to the boat, and enjoy the 2-3 hour cruise. Get off at the other end and the new car is there at the Wellington terminal waiting for you. Easy peasy! One other thing I'll mention that we found adding a lot to the trip was the vast collection of Farmer's Markets, Artist's Markets and festivals. We especially liked the Dunedin Farmer's Market, the Wanaka Artist's Market and ... the CubaDupa Street Festival in Wellington. Turns out we were in Wellington for that annual street fair and we enjoyed it tremendously. A serendipitous addition to that city's visit which was a real hoot! So... I think you can see that we liked our visit a lot! ... I hope that you also know that YOU helped make that happen and we're really grateful. Tell your boss that you did REAL GOOD and these clients were wonderfully well served. Thank you! Cliff
Stephanie Brooks, Ron Henze & Brenda Horner and Nina Gill, Customised Length & Breadth 36 Days South to North, Travelled on 8th March 2017
Fantastic accommodation, really appreciated having laundry in suite at the perfect time. Also appreciated the kitchenettes and barbecues... it was great to be able to cook "at home" rather than eating out constantly. And we felt like we saw most of the country without being too rushed.
Wendy McDonald & Colin Devenish, Customised New Zealand Discoverer North to South Self Drive Tour, Travelled on 7th March 2017
Colin and I would like to thank you Shelley for putting an incredible trip together for us. The accommodation was extremely clean and comfortable and hotel staff were very helpful. The ease of checking in, picking up cars and embarking onto the ferry and the Trans Alpine train was so well organized so thank you. Our trip was great from arriving in New Zealand to departing without any problems what so ever. We will certainly recommend your company to friends and family. Shelley thank you again for all your assistance. Colin and Wendy
William (Bill) & Ruth Ann Parker, Adventure to Middle Earth, Travelled on 5th March 2017
Dear Louise, Just wanted to thank you for the wonderful trip we enjoyed while in New Zealand. All of our contacts were made and we thoroughly enjoyed the time you arranged for us. We had an interesting time getting to Hobbiton because the GPS wouldn't hook up and connect to the satellite but a couple of people gave us accurate instructions and we arrived on time. We stopped at a travel store along the way and got hooked up with Budget Rent a Car at the Hamilton Airport who replaced it for us and from that time on everything was lovely. Appreciate all you did and if any of our acquaintances plan a trip there we'll be happy to refer them to you. William and RuthAnn Parker.
Drew & Tracy (Margaret) Rasmussen, Making the most of Aotearoa, Travelled on 3rd March 2017
Thanks to Shelley Ryder and the rest of the New Zealand Self Drive Tours crew, our recent two month trip to New Zealand was extraordinary. Shelley shaped an extensive itinerary for us focusing on what we wanted to see and do and arranging it with enough flexibility that we were able to take advantage of countless unplanned experiences along the way. The few glitches we did have were immediately taken care of by New Zealand Self Drive Tours. Without Shelley's help we could have missed so much of her wonderful country. Thank you, Shelley, and we look forward to working with you on our next adventure to New Zealand.
Nancy Kimbrell & Mario Larouche, A Customised Outdoor North Island Holiday, Travelled on 1st March 2017
We have had a great time. I think you have done a fabulous job. We loved everything except for the dolphin swim. That was overbooked and not our thing. I thought they were cruel to the dolphins. I cannot un recommend it enough. They were very nice and let us off at an island where we hiked and got the ferry back to town. Loved kiwi Dundee we have loved the places we stayed. Weather made us cancel pee jay white island tour & the boat tour we were supposed to be on yesterday in Rotorua. Thank you for keeping tabs on us and doing such a wonderful job Cheers Dr. Nancy Kimbrell, DC
Tim & Tanya Powys, A Customised 24 Day Grand Explorer, Travelled on 28th February 2017
Hi Christina, Thanks for providing us with a great self drive holiday. Our accommodation was great and all the activities we chose enhanced our knowledge of New Zealand. I would also like to thank you for arranging a couple of additional trips while we were on the road. I would highly recommend this company. The only fault I could raise was the time it took to collect our hire car in Picton. Budget cars need to priorities pre booked rentals instead of leaving us to wait over an hour to get our vehicle.
Tom Symington & Gerry George, A Customised North to South Self Drive Holiday, Travelled on 1st March 2017
Hi Christine, We’re finally back on schedule. We were very pleased with the arrangements you made for us. “Uncle” picked us up at the airport and drove us to the hotel. “Early check-in request” - no luck with that. You might want to advise future clients that if they can’t check in and freshen up until later in the day, they would do well to take the “Hop-on, hop-off” bus tour that gave us an excellent overview of Auckland. The last stop was the Sky Tower, and we still had an hour to put in so we went up to the top and enjoyed that experience.
The Barclay Suites was very nice and met our needs. We took a taxi to Budget Rent-a-Car the next morning and Vivian was the lady who helped us out. She did an excellent job in preparing us for our venture out on the roads. We drove out of Auckland and headed for Pahia. It was nice to be able to head into a motel office and just give my name and receive confirmation that all was looked after. All of our accommodations were most acceptable. We very much enjoyed the tour to 90-Mile Beach that you arranged. Steve the driver from Keri-Keri was excellent, and the drive along the beach amazing – including the boogie board slide down the dune and the visit to the lighthouse at the northern tip of New Zealand. Another couple of days in Pahia would have been nice to really get to know the Bay of Islands would have been welcome, but our time constraints didn’t allow for that. The next day we drove to the Kauri forest and saw the large tree. The drive from Pahia was most interesting. Our GPS worked well, but it’s too bad that the indicators (names of streets et cetera) given in the itinerary didn’t mention any of the names of the towns we were passing through. The estuary before we turned south was spectacular. We had lunch in Dargaville, and then a long drive to Snell’s Beach. The drive the next day to Coramandel was very interesting. It wasn’t a problem getting through Auckland. We really enjoyed the tour to Driving Creek Pottery and the train ride up the mountain. It was a highlight for both of us. Once again, the accommodation was excellent. We never ran into a problem with the motels you booked. The drive the next day to Rotorua was quite long. We stopped at the hot water beach, but didn’t have a lot of time to enjoy it. (Our fault for not devoting more time to the North Island.) We found our motel quite easily. The tour to the Volcanic Valley (I forget the name) was most enjoyable, as was the boat ride. A worthwhile excursion. I tried booking a hingi dinner that evening, but managed to book the following evening. Fortunately the lady at the motel was able to call the people and arrange to have my VISA account refunded, as we had to head to Wellington the next day. That was a very long drive through the rain and Wellington was a little confusing for both the GPS and the two of us. We found the hotel, but the parking was not close by (but not that far away either). We had time for a walk along the harbour and a nice dinner at the Hummingbird Restaurant, but didn’t have time for the museum, your parliament building or other sightseeing. We were a little concerned about the car drop-off at Budget at the ferry dock the next morning. As it turned out, all of Budget’s parking stalls were full. An indication as to what to do in those circumstances would have been helpful. I.e. There is an overflow return location not too far away. The staff at the ferry terminal helped us with that, as the Budget counter isn’t open at that time of day. We kept the GPS, but should have kept the GPS holder as well. That should be specified to future clients. We picked up our car at Picton. The employee didn’t have time to check the car for any damage, so we carried on. We were able to see a wee bit of Blenheim that evening. Then the long drive down to Christchurch. We got there about 5:30 and Steve met us at six at the Budget counter to drive us to the Heartland Hotel. We had dinner in Marivale (sp?) at a Thai restaurant and a good evening before joining our Active Adventure Tour of the south island the next morning at the hotel. Thank you for everything Christine. As mentioned – no problems with any of the bookings you made for us. Tom
Laurie and David Pancoast, Customized New Zealand Driving Tour, Travelled on 1st March 2017
Hi Natalie, Well, we’re home – finally! Everything you arranged worked out perfectly. Our flights though went a bit sideways. We were delayed leaving Auckland so we missed our connection in Houston. Air New Zealand rerouted us through Detroit on Delta Airlines which also got delayed. The long and short of it is we didn’t arrive home until 3:00 AM our time! We had a wonderful trip and covered a lot of ground. We are so grateful to you for all the advice, coaching, suggestions and work you put into our adventure. And to top it all off, the weather in Milford Sound was awesome!
Same for our walk on the Milford Track. All blue skies and sunshine. The naturalist on the Milford Sound cruise started by pointing out some of the things most visitors never see – mountain tops and blue sky. If you want, feel free to claim credit for the unusually fine weather. J Renting the car instead of taking the TranzAlpine train worked out well. Thanks again for helping us have an incredible trip through New Zealand. It was a joy to meet you in person. If you are ever in our neck of the woods, you are more than welcome to visit. Sincerely, Dave and Laurie
Shiraz & Fareeda Satchu, A Customised North and South Island Highlights Tour, Travelled on 21st February 2017
We had an incredible trip through your beautiful country, New Zealand. We were often blown away by the sheer beauty of the country. It was a truly memorable trip and a very fitting celebration of our golden anniversary year. Christina (Brockie), you did an excellent job in organising the whole itinerary, making very suitable suggestions and making all the reservations. We are most grateful for all your help. A trip such as this would have been very difficult to plan and organise without your very capable professional help.
The only way to really appreciate the beauty of New Zealand is by road and self-driving is much, much better option than doing so by coach. We noticed this at every hotel with regimentation imposed on groups travelling by coach. We could come and go as we pleased, stop when we wanted to and have full control of our own schedule. We did all the activities you had booked for us. All the activities were definitely worth doing. The top three for us were Waitomo Glow Worms, the Tasman Glacier at Mt. Cook and Milford Sound cruise. However, the real joy of the whole trip was experiencing the beautiful country side, the lakes and the mountains as we drove along and stopping at lookout points. On a more mundane level, the availability of washrooms at the frequent rest stops was much appreciated!!!! Finally, the tour package. The documentation was very professional and we read the following days itinerary each evening. We referred to the atlas frequently. We will keep the whole package to remind us (together with photos) of the great trip we took down under. Thank you once again, Christina, and we will not hesitate to recommend you and New Zealand Self Drive Tours to our friends. Shiraz and Fareeda Satchu Toronto, Canada
Cornelis and Eveline Kolijn, North Island Explorer, Travelled on 20th February 2017
Kia Ora Hayley! Thank you so much for arranging this PERFECT Holiday! You were very responsive assembling our customized 21 - day North Island Adventure for Nature Lovers. Auckland was our start and end-point, a nice University city where we heard all tongues of the world, and also offering good restaurants. New Zealand deserves to be congratulated on its conservation efforts. Our Tongariro Northern Circuit was a delight and its wonders at the coast - The Kauri Forests, White Island (Active Volcano), Poor Night Islands (World Heritage - Snorkeling) and The Bay of Islands where we hiked across beautiful Urupukapuka Island - well worth the day we spent exploring it.
The tours to White Island (Pee Jay) and Poor Night Islands (Perfect Day Ocean Cruise) were very professionally run, with high quality and safety standards. We were very pleased with all Motel accommodation, and the car - the Corolla being ideal for the winding roads. The Lighthouse Lookout and Waipoua Lodge were delightful - our only regret not being able to stay longer. Importantly, during our trip you checked in with us to check if all was going smoothly. New Zealand is an island of tranquility in these anxious times. We found the people of New Zealand very friendly and hotel and restaurant staff and tour operators very responsive. Yes, we have already made many recommendations to our friends! Cheers! Cornelis and Eveline.
Your recommendations were perfect | Jye Bryant & Craig Grimsey, Lakes, Mountains and Glaciers Self Drive Tour | Travelled on 15th January 2018
We've arrived safely back in Christchurch after an AMAZING trip! Thank you so much for all your hard work piecing together what has been a seamless experience!
The itinerary was so thorough and personal that it made the whole week totally stress-free. Your recommendations were perfect and we got to see so much! Also, we've put a 5-star review on your Facebook page because we'll be referring plenty of our friends to you! We've also been talking about coming back to do the North island next year, if you guys could assist us with that? Jye :)
Lal Silva, A Taste of the South Self Drive Tour, Travelled on 20th February 2017
Thoughrally enjoyable and well planned tour. Everything worked like clockwork from the time we landed in Christchurch to the time we returned the car. The motels were all expecting our arrival and the rooms were ready. All the motels were clean and well maintained with good cooking facilities for those who want to make light meals.
The routes suggested in the itinerary were all scenic and covered some of the best sights in the South Island. The tours included in the price were very enjoyable too. I recommend this tour to anyone. Make sure you are a confident and competent driver. My next trip for will be a longer one with shorter drives between stops. Only downside was the cost of the tour which was considerably more than the advertised price and the considerable credit card charges did not help either
Marjorie Stearns, North Island Express, Travelled on 13th February 2017
Louise: We are now home in Milwaukee. We appreciate your assistance in planning a last minute visit to NZ for us! We enjoyed everything you planned for us. The suite at the Hamilton Novotel blew us away (not necessary--but enjoyed). Our ride to the airport came on time. We felt cared for! Loved the Eden Villa--wonderful welcoming experience. We kept our left over NZ currency to use on our next trip to NZ. We look forward to working with you on that itinerary! Many thanks! Marge and Jeff
Richard & Ginger de Neufville, Customised Wonders of the South Island, Travelled on 7th February 2017
Dear Shelley, my wife and I thank you for all the arrangements you made for our recent trip - no hitches at all. We also were lucky to enjoy a lot of good weather - essentially no rain to speak of - and absolutely clear views of Mt Cook and range. Some brief comments:
Queenstown - Garden Court. Physically great facilities. Being on the main road into town just between two turns, however, the traffic is intense. You could/should focus on places off that road. Milford Sound overnight - clearly a highlight! Te Anau - Marakura Motel - great facilities, location, but hard to find - no sign and hidden amidst a holiday camp. Mt Cook facilities - Hermitage chalets no longer part of Hermitage - they have been passed off to the Motel complex (but no signs yet up, very confusing) Speargrass in Arrowtown - really nice, we really enjoyed our stay there (and away from Queenstown) I will recommend your services. Best! Richard
Ross & Robyn Bate, A Customised New Zealand Self Drive Holiday, Travelled on 3rd February 2017
Thank you Christina and New Zealand Self Drive Tours. In all 21 stops we were greeted with enthusiasm and smiles. Christina assisted with numerous suggestions of places to consider around New Zealand and all those that we visited or involved ourselves in worked in with great pleasure and hassle free. To have all accommodation and ferry's etc. pre booked made the entire tour much more enjoyable and without worry or concern. We had to alter some of our itinerary at late notice but that was no problem for Christina. Thank you again Christina for making our tour of New Zealand an extremely complete one and leaves us with a feeling of enormous contentment. Ross and Robyn Bate - Australia
David & Shelia Beecroft, Customed 22 Day North Island Explorer Tour, Travelled on 16th February 2017
Hello to the team at NZ Fine Touring now that we have been home in the UK for a week and re-adjusted to ‘real’ life we wanted to thank-you for providing a superb service in arranging our holiday personal touring itinerary. Every aspect arranged by yourselves – car hire, accommodation and activity bookings went entirely to plan, making for a carefree and enjoyable holiday.
We know that our advisor Michelle has moved on but her help, advice and efficiency in getting everything arranged and booked was excellent. We will most certainly recommend your services to all friends and family thinking of visiting your wonderful country and, should we be lucky enough to make a third visit in the future, then we will certainly be back in touch. Many thanks once more and best regards, David & Sheila Beecroft - Colchester, UK
Laurie, Allison & Andrew Boutilier & Janet Murphy, A Customised Discover New Zealand Holiday, Travelled on 16th February 2017
Christina Brockie organized our month long trip around New Zealand (Feb/Mar 2017) with our two kids. Using Self Drive Tours & Christina was the BEST idea for our vacation. We can't say enough good things about the service and support we received. Every place we stayed at was perfect and the attention to detail to make sure that we knew where we had to be made every day relaxing.
Both my husband and I knew that this was going to be a trip of a lifetime with our kids but we were both blown away with how relaxed we were ourselves the whole time. We have travelled long distance for 1/2 the time and felt stressed about details and timelines and Christina just took all that off our shoulders. She kept us informed of changes and made adjustments to our plans on the fly as we decided on different locations or attractions. If you plan to go to NZ for ANY length of time, I can't say enough about the quality of service you will get with Christina and Self Drive Tours. If only they were all over the world. ;)
Walter & Mary Sheffield, The Winterless North, Travelled on 1st February 2017
Putting this tour together on such short notice was great. The document pack was well prepared and helpful. Lauren was great in following up once the trip was booked, making sure that we were able to get the document pack on short notice. Great customer service.
A few notes - The Copthorn did not have a sea facing room. I am not sure if the rate is different, but if you were charged for a sea facing room, they did not have any left. Also, the owners of the Lochiel Estate Vineyard Bed and Breakfast have the property for sale. They are retiring. Although our stay there was nice, I am not sure they are as "dedicated" to running the business as they are planing on retiring. No real complaint, except I was expecting that to be a bit more fun... no offer for a tasting or anything, just a place to stay. The facility is nice so no complaints in that regard. The remainder of the places we stayed were really enjoyable. Overall, a great trip, just too short, but that was our decision due to time constraints. We will return so we can see more of your beautiful country. Thank you, Walter and Mary
James & Vivienne Armstrong, 8 Day Northern Highlights, Travelled on 28th January 2017
We are just home from our 8 day North Island tour. What can we say everything was organised to the finest detail. Your second choice accommodation in Paihia was great. We had a room at the front with magnificent views of the bay. All our accommodation was first class and we had plenty of time to take in all the sights along the way. We have been singing your praises to anyone prepared to listen.
Thank you, thank you, thank you
Jim and Vivienne Armstrong
David & Bonnie Pascoe, 16 Day Northbound Scenic Explorer, Travelled on 10th February 2017
Jane, we wanted to thank you the advice, arrangements and execution were flawless. It did rain every single day we were there but will not hold you accountable for that ;)) Only negative observation is that Budget would not provide GPS at either location without $10/day charge! Hope you had not paid for that! All the accommodations met or exceeded our expectations and the people were charming. Ti Kouka was both funky and particularly beautiful.
At Home Wellington has no parking. If had been a week day it would have been a major issue! If I had know there was an Intercontinental I would have grabbed it. The Hilton Auckland was perfect at the end and saved a lot of hassle and driving in town. We would not hesitate to use your services again and would recommend them to anyone. David and Bonnie
Don and Jan Jones, Customised Southern Highlights Tour, Travelled on 24th January 2017
My husband and I send a sincere thank you to our wonderful tour consultant, Shelley Ryder. She put together a package for us that could not have been more pleasant. Every step of the way was laid out for us, and the details made traveling in a foreign country effortless and friendly. We enjoy the independence of driving ourselves and being on our own, but having the details of motels, transfers, and car rentals taken care of saved me a lot of time and energy in the planning stage, and all of our accommodations were perfect.
We only had six days on the South Island, we feel as if we were able to maximize our time seeing as much as possible without being rushed. We flew into Queenstown, toured Doubtful Sound, then drove over to the Southern Alps and the West Coast. From there we explored the area (including the glaciers) up to Greymouth where we caught the relaxing Trans Alpine train to Christchurch. We picked up another car to drive back down to Queenstown with several enchanting stops along the way including a most delightful farm stay at Glen Dene Station. My husband was able to fish on Lake Hawea and our hosts smoked one fish for an appetizer that evening. We thoroughly enjoyed our travel experience on the South Island and plan to come back (with Shelley's help) and do the same on the North Island. GPS, a wonderful atlas and pamphlets kept us informed and on track. Thank you again to Shelley and the NZ Self Drive Tours for a wonderfully planned trip. It would not have been the same without your excellent guidance and very personal touch!
Louise and Matthew Bennett, The Length & Breadth North to South, Travelled on 23rd January 2017
We had a really wonderful holiday and thought that the service we had from New Zealand Self Drive Tours and from Natalie in particular was excellent. The judgements about where to go, how long to stay in individual locations, where to stay, what we might be interested in doing and the information pack provided were all spot on.
We appreciated the fact that you could adapt the standard 30 day tour to suit our specific needs and that you got in touch with us to calmly sort out an alternative when a fire meant we could no longer return to Christchurch on the train form Greymouth. We have been recommending the company to friends and acquaintances currently interested in a New Zealand holiday.
Richard Woerner & Deirdre Waarich, Tailored 23 Day Discover New Zealand, Travelled on 20th January 2017
We had a wonderful trip made easy by Laura and New Zealand Self Drive Tours. We did the B&B option and were delighted with all of our arrangements. We felt like we saw the entire country on our 23 day tour - the pace was perfect and the routing and tour guidance made it a fun and stress-free adventure. We did have a couple of changes to our itinerary due to an earthquake and a brush fire but Laura was on top of the situation and we adjusted seamlessly. Thanks for a wonderful experience.