Options for tours range from independent to guided or group tours. Independent tours offer maximum flexibility – assistance with planning the itinerary, but once in New Zealand, your clients will be on their own – while guided and group tours are an easy way to experience popular itineraries.

For those seeking a packaged tour, major guided tour operators include GreatSights, AAT Kings, Gray Line New Zealand, Johnston’s Coachlines, Kirra Tours and Pacific Tourways.

Kiwi Travel and Tours offers both pre-planned tour packages and custom-designed tours to suit your clients’ needs. Chartering a coach allows you to plan the perfect itinerary – some companies also provide assistance with planning or will design a custom itinerary to suit your precise needs. Try Tours and Travel New Zealand, Leopard Coachlines, and Guthreys Coachlines.

For free independent travellers, there are some good hop-on, hop-off coach tours designed for backpackers. Try Kiwi Experience and Stray New Zealand.

Also look for specialist tour operators such as Red Carpet Tours, specialising in The Lord of the Rings location tours, or Green Realm Travel, with its luxury small group tours.

Self-drive or Tour

Choose between the independence and flexibility of self-drive or the convenience of joining a tour.


Maximum independence, so visitors can go wherever they want to go.

Campervans are equipped with beds, cooking facilities and sometimes bathrooms, so hirers can stay at good-value holiday parks.

  • Freedom camping is frowned upon – except in designated areas.
  • New Zealand roads are generally of a good standard and main highways are sealed.
  • Most car rental companies do not allow hirers to drive on unsealed country roads or beaches.
  • The minimum hire age generally varies from 21 to 25 years of age.
  • Hirers must hold a valid car licence from their home country or an International Driving Permit.


  • No need for your clients to plan the details – they can just enjoy the view during the journey.
  • Hop-on, hop-off coach passes are a good-value and flexible compromise.
  • Some bus companies offer package deals for backpackers and aim to get off the beaten track with services to out-of-the-way places.
  • Rail journeys are an excellent way to see some parts of the country, though the New Zealand rail network is not entirely comprehensive.
  • Guided tours allow travellers to benefit from local knowledge to see and experience things they might otherwise miss.
  • Touring with a group and meeting other travellers can be an enjoyable social experience.

Chartered Coaches

Chartering a coach and driver combines flexibility in planning an itinerary to suit your clients with all the advantages and convenience of a coach tour. Some charter companies can also offer assistance with planning or custom-design an itinerary to suit your clients’ needs.

What kind of tour operator do you need?

Independent Tours Assistance with planning your clients’ itinerary; once in New Zealand, however, visitors are on their own.

Guided Tours A tour with a knowledgeable local guide will help your clients to discover the real New Zealand.

Group Tours Your clients can experience popular New Zealand itineraries on a multi-day group tour including accommodation.

Sightseeing Tours One-day sightseeing tours offer a deeper insight into particular areas of interest for your clients.

A – Z Reference

Tour Operators

AAT Kings Tours Pty Ltd www.aatkings.com

ANZ Nature Tours New Zealand www.anznaturetours.com

Flying Kiwi Adventure Tours www.flyingkiwi.com

Gray Line New Zealand & Scenic Coachlines www.graylinetours.co.nz

Green Realm Travel www.greenrealmtravel.com

Guthrey Coachlines www.guthreys.co.nz

Hiking New Zealand www.hikingnewzealand.com

Hobbiton Movie Set & Farm Tours www.hobbitontours.com

InterCity Group www.intercity.co.nz

Johnston’s Coachlines www.johnstons.co.nz

Kirra Tours www.kirratours.co.nz

Kiwi Experience www.kiwiexperience.com

Kiwi Travel & Tours www.kiwitravelnz.com

Learning Journeys www.learningjourneys.co.nz

Leopard Coachlines www.leopard.co.nz

Luxury NZ Tours Ltd www.luxurynztours.co.nz

Moatrek www.moatrek.com

New Zealand Link Travel Ltd www.nzlink.co.nz

Pacific Tourways www.pacifictourways.co.nz

Pavlovich Coachlines www.pavlovich.co.nz

Red Carpet Tours www.redcarpet-tours.com

Reesby Coachlines www.reesbybuses.nz

Stray Travel www.straytravel.com

Tours and Travel New Zealand www.toursandtravel.co.nz