New Zealand is a beautiful, culturally rich country that capitivates all who visit with its endless diversity of landscapes and its friendly people. The best New Zealand tours condense a lifetime’s worth of discovery and delight into one unforgettable holiday.
When planning your New Zealand travel, one of the first questions that arises is this: guided or independent?
While independent travel can be rewarding, the best way to see New Zealand is with the help of a local.
As you explore New Zealand with your private guide, you will travel off the beaten path, discovering hidden gems and tasting the local flavor of New Zealand’s varied regions. From sampling manuka honey right at the source to hiking in untouched corners of New Zealand’s vast wilderness, your guide will take you beyond the tourist stomping grounds to a much more compelling, authentic New Zealand.
And there are many other benefits to choosing a privately escorted New Zealand tour. Read on to see if this rewarding travel experience is right for you.
Why privately guided New Zealand tours are the best way to experience New Zealand
1. Travel with a local
Your tour guide will be a New Zealander born and bred, ready to welcome you like an old friend. In your guide’s capable hands, discover the places and food and stories that shape their experience of New Zealand.
Rather than arriving in New Zealand as a foreigner, you will feel as though you have come home at last. By the time you leave, you will have fallen as deeply in love with the country as any proud Kiwi.
2. Fall in love with highlights you never would have stumbled across otherwise
It is a commonly acknowledged truth that the most tucked-away sights are often the most memorable, while flashy tourist traps give a shallower experience.
Your guide will help steer you away from crowded, mediocre wineries to superb family-run businesses nestled in picturesque countryside. When in search of the perfect photo, your guide will bring you to the very best hidden viewpoints, places that most travelers drive right by.
3. Skip the inconvenience of navigation and driving
New Zealand is larger than you might think, which means driving distances are always long. These long drives are much more bearable if someone else is at the wheel, giving you a chance to soak in the beautiful scenery or take a nap between activities.
Navigation in places like Auckland, Wellington, and Christchurch can be intimidating; much better to let someone else handle the complication.
And for travelers accustomed to driving on the right-hand side of the road, switching to the left is challenging. Many travelers from North America choose privately guided New Zealand tours so they have the flexibility of a private vehicle without the stress of re-learning how to drive.
4. If something goes wrong, your guide will be on hand to help
New Zealand is a country with fickle weather, which means activity cancellations–or even road closures due to landslides–are a common occurrance.
While the team at New Zealand Guided Tours is ready to step in and help in case of any changes or cancellations, it can be reassurring to have your guide on-hand to sort out any difficulties on the spot.
Are New Zealand escorted tours right for my family or group?
While privately guided tours are a fantastic way to see New Zealand, they are not right for every traveller. For instance, if your son is about to head away on a gap year adventure to New Zealand, a hop-on, hop-off bus tour filled with other teenagers might better suit his budget.
How do you know if a New Zealand escorted tour is right for you? If you answer “Yes” to any of the below, you should seriously consider a private tour.
1. Are you traveling in a group of 6 or more?
Privately guided New Zealand tours are the obvious choice for any larger groups. New Zealand Guided Tours caters for anywhere from 1 – 50 travelers, so no group is too large for a private tour.
Once you start combining families or friends into a large group, the cost of a privately guided tour drops significantly–in fact, it is comparable to a self-drive holiday.
The largest vehicle a group can rent without a specially licensed driver is an uncomfortable 12-seater with limited luggage storage. This vehicle can realistically only fit up to 8 passengers, leaving room for suitcases on the seats. And smaller vehicles such as 8-seater vans are only suitable for up to 5 passengers on an extended holiday.
With a guide, your group will instead travel in a comfortable Mercedes Sprinter or–for larger groups–a full-size bus.
2. Are you traveling as two (or more) families?
When two or more families choose to vacation together, they almost always hire a private guide. If one of the main purposes of your New Zealand vacation is spending time with another family, it is very helpful to have a guide to keep you on track. Otherwise, you might be having so much fun chatting that you miss your jet-boat ride!
Rather than force the group organizer to play task-master, let your guide handle the details so everyone can relax.
Also, as above, driving around is much more enjoyable if you are able to share a spacious, comfortable vehicle.
3. Do you have a special interest such as photography, star gazing, wine tasting, Lord of the Rings sights, or Maori culture?
With its infinite variety of landscapes–from subtropical rainforests to volcanic deserts; from near-vertical fiords to golden-sand beaches; and from glaciers to deep river gorges–New Zealand has more to offer than anyone can see in a lifetime.
But most of New Zealand’s diversity is hidden to the casual visitor.
If you are visiting New Zealand for the waterfalls, wineries, birdwatching, fishing, culture, Lord of the Rings filming locations, or any number of special interests, you will easily fill your time exploring one highlight after another.
However, without the experience of a local, many of these special-interest destinations are almost impossible to find.
Rather than driving in circles trying to find the hidden beach access where you can see penguins up close, let your guide show you the way.
4. Are you accustomed to driving on the right side of the road?
Many couples and families from the US and Canada choose a privately guided tour over the stress of driving on the “wrong” side of the road.
If you don’t feel comfortable making the switch, your only two options come down to restrictive, often inconvenient bus tours or privately guided tours.
With so much of New Zealand’s beauty tucked away off the main highways, those who opt for bus tours are missing out on the best parts of the country. Travel with a private guide, and you can enjoy all the freedom of your own vehicle with none of the stress of driving on the opposite side of the road.
5. Are you after a stress-free luxury holiday where all the details are seen to and you just need to show up and enjoy?
If you want to escape the chaos of everyday life with an indulgent and relaxing New Zealand holiday, a privately escorted tour is the obvious choice.
Our team can plan the perfect itinerary, which will treat you to a range of sumptuous luxury accommodation and exclusive experiences.
From arrival to departure, your guide will take care of every detail, leaving you free to relax and indulge in the best New Zealand has to offer.
Choose from our range of New Zealand tours today, or work with our team to create your ideal experience
Our team at New Zealand Guided Tours has been giving travelers the experience of a lifetime for many years.
We have created a number of sample itineraries to give you an idea of the pacing and routes that work best. However, 90% of our privately guided tours are customised, because every traveler has different preferences. We love designing custom itineraries for your perfect New Zealand vacation.
Get in touch with our team today–either by filling out the enquiry form or by visiting our contact page–and start dreaming of your adventure in New Zealand!