What is the difference between Private Guided Tours and Self Drive Tours?

Private Guided Tours

Choosing a privately guided tour is like having a good friend who lives in a beautiful country showing you all their favourite places!

You’ll have a private driver/guide showing you and your travel companion(s) around New Zealand. Noone else comes on your tour. You have the freedom of exploring New Zealand exactly how you want to without having to wait on other people. We offer guided tours for groups of all sizes. Our most common group size is 2 to 6 people.

Your guide is full of ideas of how you should spend each day and (aside from pre-booked experiences) you have the freedom to choose what you feel like doing on the day. Your driver/guide can also take you to the supermarket or pharmacy when needed, take you to restaurants, drop you back to the hotel if you’re not feeling well (where possible)… etc

If you’d love a driver/guide to show you around but you also enjoy your personal space, don’t stress! Your guide is around to make sure you enjoy your trip but they do not have to be with you all the time if that’s not how you like it.

Self Drive Tours

With this option, we book your whole trip using our exceptional local knowledge and you simply enjoy your trip the way you want to, without a tour guide.

We will provide you with a rental vehicle of your choice (with full insurance), book all your accommodation and some activities and meals, and we will be a phone call away if you need help during your trip!

The travel guide we provide is detailed! It is based on your chosen route and includes information on all the best scenic spots, lesser known nature walks/hikes, paid experiences in each area, where to dine (for a whole lot of different tastes), and some interesting information here and there. We have spent most of the last 11 years travelling around New Zealand, so we know where it’s at!

We are full to the brim with local knowledge and love to share our travel tips + take away the stress of planning when you’re not sure where to start!

For more info, see: Private Guided Tours or Self Drive Tours

What if I have to cancel my tour, what is your cancellation policy?

We understand that plans change and unforeseen circumstances can arise, which is why we have a fair cancellation policy. Depending on if you have paid only the deposit or the full payment, and how soon you let us know prior to your departure date, we will be able to refund a significant part of your deposit or full payment. Please read our cancellation policy here.

Are your private New Zealand tours both North and South Island?

Yes we offer both South Island Tours, North Island Tours and tours that combine both North and South Island. We also offer tours to Waiheke Island, Stewart Island, Great Barrier Island and others!

What sort of vehicles do you use?

We use a range of spacious comfortable late model vehicles including mid-size SUVs (Mitsubishi Outlander, Nissan X-Trail, Hyundai Tucson etc) and large SUVs (Mitsubishi Pajero, Toyota Highlander, Toyota Prado etc), 8 seater vans (Ford Tourneo, Mercedes Valente etc) and 12-17 seater vans (Typically Mercedes Sprinter) We can also charter buses for larger groups. Vehicles depend on group size and preference and we can quote on a range of different options for you, including high spec luxury vehicles.

What’s the included accommodation like?

The accommodation we include in our tours is very flexible, so the choice is yours! We can include 4 or 5 star motels/hotels, self-contained apartments, glamping experiences, beautiful bed and breakfasts, fam stay experiences, premium luxury lodge experiences, or a mix of any! Our clients often choose 4 star motels/hotels throughout with a few nights of luxury in special locations.

Our accommodation providers are carefully selected based on location, standard and cleanliness of rooms, amenities, service and friendliness of the staff and providers. We always endeavour to keep strong relationships with our accommodation providers. If you don’t know what you want, let us suggest for you!

If you want to stay with friends for some of your trip and book accommodation for the rest, we can arrange that too!

We appreciate knowing as much about your preferred accommodation as possible during the booking process. When we prepare an itinerary we will list the accommodation providers we suggest and you are free to research the options and let us know if you like the accommodation. In the event that something is not available on the nights chosen, we will choose a similar accommodation provider.

Check out some of our favourite accommodation providers here

Do you run your New Zealand tours all year round?

Yes, certainly. Our busy season is November to March (spring/summer) although as New Zealand is such a popular destination in all seasons, our tours run all year round.

Are all guided tours private?

Yes, except for our premium small group tours. All other tours for your group only, whatever size it may be. This is your trip, done your way!

Does the per person cost of a tour decrease as the group size gets larger?

Yes. The overall per person cost decreases substantially as numbers rise, especially for groups of four or more.

Do you book optional activities?

Absolutely. This can be done upon booking or with your private driver/guide whilst on tour.

How far in advance should I book?

You can book whenever you like, as we design itineraries to work around you. During high season (Nov, Dec, Jan, Feb, Mar) it is strongly recommended to book at least 60 days in advance in order to secure preferred accommodation. For tours that run over Christmas/New Year or Lunar New Year, it is advised to book several months in advance. For tours booked 45 days in advance or less, full payment must be taken at time of booking.

Does The Road Trip work with travel agents?

Yes, The Road Trip works with travel agents. We’re flexible and can customise our services to include your branding and offer support throughout the planning process, ensuring a seamless and tailored travel experience for your clients.

Do I need travel insurance to book a holiday?

It is not essential to have travel insurance to book a holiday, but it is highly recommended. We do not provide travel insurance but we strongly recommend booking travel insurance to accompany your trip.

What languages can you cater for?

We can offer private tours and self drive holiday packages in Mandarin, English, French, German and can cater to other languages upon request.

Do you run private New Zealand tours for corporate groups?

Yes we do and we will be able to arrange special corporate rates upon enquiry.

What is the maximum/minimum group size?

We have hosted group sizes between 1 and 53 in the past. There are no minimum or maximum numbers on your private guided tour or self-drive holiday. Please let us know your requirements and we will strive to make it happen.

Can you recommend good hotels in New Zealand?

We have great relationships with a large range of New Zealand accommodation providers and with some of the more boutique lodges we deal directly with the owner on a first name basis, meaning that these great connections reflect on the fantastic quality that our guests receive from our suppliers.