Considerations between Self Drive and Escorted Coach Tours

Are you considering touring Aotearoa New Zealand? Self drive tour or escorted coach tour?

Road to Aoraki / Mt CookAotearoa New Zealand is often a long way to come and you want to be sure that your NZ experience is a memorable one. A New Zealand touring holiday is a great way to see “the Land of the Long White Cloud”. But how should you travel; “Self-drive or coach tour?”, that’s the question. Let’s explore your touring options.

The We Tour team have been helping visitors make the most of their time in New Zealand for decades. We simply love sharing our country with visitors and finding the perfect tour experience for you. And this combination of experience and passion make us uniquely qualified to lead you through your touring holiday options.

Why tour New Zealand?

New Zealand boasts some of the most breathtaking and pristine landscapes in the world. It is, in many ways. the perfect holiday destination. You’ll be amazed by the diverse range of attractions and destinations for travelers of all interests and preferences within a relative small area.

Seeking an outdoor adventure? Wanting to witness the stunning natural beauty firsthand? Interested in immersing yourself fully into the rich culture? New Zealand offers a vast array of experiences that will leave you in awe and captivated from the moment you arrive.

Stewart Island, NZWays to experience New Zealand

The challenge in visiting Aotearoa (“The land of the long white cloud”) becomes how best to see everything on offer. So, let’s look at ways you can experience New Zealand and your travel options. Should you travel by coach, self-drive or perhaps cruise around the stunning coastline? And what’s the best way to plan your holiday?

Whether you are visiting “NZ” for the first time or coming back to explore in a different capacity you’ve got lots of options. A key piece of advice is to always allow a little more time. Whether it’s through a cruise tour, a guided tour covering the highlights of NZ or a combination of the scenic rail journeys, there are many options at your fingertips to suit your travel needs.

Cruising in New Zealand

There are many ocean cruises that take in New Zealand ports — just ask Google. The challenge being that they often offer only fleeting glimpses of what Aotearoa’s wonders within easy distance of those ports. There are, however, many ways to make local cruises and boat trips a part of your NZ experience, including many escorted tours that include cruises.

Following our “allow a little more time” maxim, we would encourage you to combine a cruise with another form of touring and shorter cruises and boat trips. Kiwis love to get out on their local waters. Whether they are venturing out on the fresh water of lakes and rivers or the salt waters of local harbours and coastlines, there are many ways to join them.

Your North island self drive or coach tour could include many cruises and boat trips. Indeed, most regions of NZ offer ample opportunities to get out on the water and enjoy the local scenery, or even get up close and personal with local wildlife.

Milford Sound, Fiordland cruiseIn the far South, you simply have to get out on the water to experience the full majesty of the scenery in iconic destinations like Milford Sound, Queenstown and Rakiura/Stewart Island. And often you need to take to the water to access the remote beauty of Fiordland and Stewart Island.

In the world-famous fiords of Fiordland National Park, cruise on the fiords take you through dramatic landscapes with cascading waterfalls, lush rainforests and towering cliffs. Multi day experiences, like those offered by RealNZ, are truly special. Milford Sound has been called the “eighth wonder of the world” and Doubtful Sound is a a hidden gem — they’re both must-sees.

New Zealand Coach Tour Holidays

New Zealand coach tour holidays are a convenient and comfortable way to explore the stunning landscapes and attractions of this beautiful country. There are several different coach tours to pick from and all depend on what you are ultimately looking for.

  • Small Group ToursGrand Pacific Ultimate Coach cater to 12-20 people and offer a more intimate experience, staying as a collective for the duration and being accommodated in more boutique locations.
  • Small Group Luxury Tours are a step up being the “business class” version of a small group tour with added extras, travelling on state-of-the-art transport, which includes Wi-Fi on board,  and staying in 4.5-star hotels.
  • Escorted Coach Tours are one of the more popular options, with a tour party of up to 48 people, all inclusive of accommodation, sightseeing activities and most meal options.
What you can expect from this type of touring?

Scenic Drives: Coach tours often follow carefully planned routes. They take you through New Zealand’s most picturesque landscapes, including mountains, fiords, beaches and stunning countryside.

Professional guides: Knowledgeable tour guides provide commentary about the places you visit, So you travel with insights into the culture, history and natural wonders of New Zealand.

Tranzalpine train

Comfortable Travel: Travelling by coach means you can relax and enjoy the scenery without the stress of driving. Our coaches are equipped with comfortable seats, large windows, air conditioning, onboard bathrooms and Wi-Fi (depending on your  option).

Itinerary Variety: With various types of coach tours available, catering to different interests, some tours are adventure orientated. Others focus on cultural experiences or wine tasting.

Inclusive packages: Our coach tours include accommodation, (most) meals and activities in one package, simplifying your trip planning and budget needs. Be sure to check out the different options available.

Time efficiency: Coach tours are designed to make the most of your time. They ensure you visit the key attractions and hidden gems efficiently.

When booking a coach tour in New Zealand, consider factors like tour duration, destinations you’d like to explore and the level of comfort and customisation you desire.

Coach tours appeal to a wide range of travellers’ including.

Seniors: Coach tours offer comfortable transport and a structured itinerary. This makes them popular among seniors who prefer a more relaxed pace of travel

First time travellers: New to travelling or visiting a foreign country? You may find coach tours reassuring, as they provide a guided and organised experience.

Solo travelers: Solo travelers enjoy the companionship of a group and the ease of not having to plan every detail of their trip.

Cultural enthusiasts: Interested in immersing yourselves in the culture and history of a destination? You’ll appreciate the guided coach tours that offer in-depth insights and visits to cultural sights.

Budget-Conscious Travelers: Budget-friendly coach tours can help. Save on accommodation, transport and activities.

Cruise Add-Ons: Many cruise passengers opt for coach tours as shore excursions. Explore inland destinations when your cruise ship docks.

New Zealand Self-Drive Tour Holidays

A self-drive tour holiday in New Zealand offers you the freedom to explore at your own pace and venture off the beaten path. Here’s what you need to know and can expect.

Flexibility: Self-drive tours provide the ultimate flexibility. You can control your itinerary, allowing you to stay in places you love and skip those that may be less appealing.

Scenic Routes: New Zealand is known for it’s stunning scenic drives. You can follow iconic routes like the South Islands’ West Coast or create your own custom journey.

Lots of transport options: You can rent various vehicles depending on your budget and preference, from cars, to campervans and everything in between.

Accommodation: Book your accommodation based on your preferences, whether it’s hotels, motels, holiday parks or camping sites.

Planning: Plan your route, stops and accommodation in advance to ensure availability, especially during peak tourist seasons

Self-drive tours offer freedom and flexibility. But they also come with responsibilities and the need for thorough planning. And this is where we can help you. Our wealth of knowledge and experience planning New Zealand self drive holidays puts you in expert hands. Not to mention, removing the stress from the planning process.

Self-drive tours appeal to a wide range of travellers

Independent Travelers: Self drive tours are perfect for you if you prefer to travel at your own pace and make spontaneous stops along the way.

Kea, NZ mountain parrotNature Enthusiasts: Want to immerse yourselves in nature and explore national parks, scenic drives, and hiking? Self drive might be for you.

Outdoor Adventurers: Enjoy outdoor activities like hiking, biking, kayaking and wildlife watching? Self=dive tours let you tailor your tour to include all these adventures.

Photographers: Self-drive tours allow photographers to capture the beauty of New Zealand’s landscapes at their own pace

Couples and Honeymooners: Romantic getaways are enhanced by the privacy and flexibility of self-drive tours. They allow couples to create their own unique experience.

Repeat Visitors: For those who have already been to New Zealand may opt for self-drive tours to explore scenic regions or experience New Zealand from a different perspective.

It’s easy to see why self-drive tours in New Zealand appeal to many travellers. Their flexibility, customization and adaptability to various interests and age groups are hard to beat. Whether you seek adventure, relaxation, cultural exploration or natural appreciation, a self-drive tour can be tailored to your preference and provide a memorable travel experience.

Why not plan your tour yourself?

There are many reasons why you may prefer to plan your holiday yourself. But both working with a professional planner and doing it yourself have their advantages and considerations. There are a few important considerations to bear in mind:

Price you might often think you can get a better deal online, but don’t forget we send a lot of business to our suppliers and have negotiated preferred rates based on this volume.

Knowledge we drive these roads all the time and have spent our working lives planning holidays for visitors, so we know what works, what doesn’t and when you are trying to do too much which will diminish your enjoyment – we know this because we have done it and seen it all before and want to help you make your trip the best it can be.

Support Don’t underestimate the comfort that comes with our 24/7 support while you are on the road. All it takes is a road closure or disruption of some kind to put your plans off course. When that happens we fix it for you, or find you a solution so you can get on with enjoying your holiday.

When you’ve booked it yourself you spend your precious holiday time trying to re-organise and re-book your trip. And it can be hard to get hold of them all easily while on the road And If you’ve booked various parts online with different suppliers .  For us it’s just an easy phone call to a supplier we work with all the time.

When to book and Visit Aotearoa New Zealand

The best time to visit New Zealand largely depends on your interests and what you wish to experience.

Summer and Spring (September to March) are perfect for outdoor adventures. Hiking, biking, water-based activities and exploring the great outdoors are easier and more enjoyable during warmer months. Summer provides the warmest weather, while spring offers pleasant conditions with fewer crowds.

Winter sunset over "The Remarkables" QueenstownWinter (June to August) is the ideal time for a ski trip to the South Island, like Queenstown and Wanaka.  Outside ski destinations you will likely find accommodation prices more wallet-friendly and the scenery just as spectacular.

Budget conscious but want to avoid the cold?

Consider visiting Aotearoa in Autumn/Fall. The weather is cooler but often pleasant, with stunning autumnal colors. And there are fewer tourists around. So, you will find better deals on accommodation and activities.

Keep in mind that New Zealand weather can vary significantly from city to the next, or one island to another. Your choice may depend on the destination and activities you’re wanting to experience. Regardless of the season you choose, New Zealand always offers stunning natural beauty and a wide range of experiences for tourists throughout the year.

Don’t wait! Start planning your New Zealand Tour Holiday now

Start your holiday preparation today to ensure a memorable and well-organized trip to this diverse and stunning destination. Whether you prefer a guided coach tour, self-drive adventures or specific activities like hiking, skiing or cultural exploration, early planning allows you to secure the best options. Consider the seasons, your budget and the type of experience you’re after, and start making arrangements to maximize your enjoyment of this remarkable country.

Think you’d like help with planning you time in Aotearoa? Contact our NZ tour specialists to get expert advice on your self drive and coach tour options.