New Zealand Self-Drive Tours

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Written by
Ellie Khoury

Published on: January 30th, 2018

Last modified: July 28th, 2023

New Zealand is a beautiful country, with a lot to see packed into a relatively small space.

Driving here isn't simply a case of getting from A to B and incredible scenery makes being in the car a treat rather than a chore.

New Zealand self drive tours are common and offer a lot of flexibilty. We've put together this handy guide to help you decide whether it's right for you.

What is the benefit of a self drive tour?

Having a private driver is a great way to get information and meet people that you may not normally meet. However, this does come with a high price tag as wages and accommodation costs are high. The benefit of self driving is that you have more freedom to travel at your own pace between destinations. Of course, once you reach your location we can organise privately guided tours so that you still get the VIP experience Jacada specialises in.

What to expect

What will happen once we arrive?

When you arrive you will be met at the airport by one of our representatives and taken to your hotel. Your car will then either be delivered to your hotel or be available for collection in a downtown location the next day. We never recommend driving straight after such a long international flight. You will also receive a travel pack that will include a comprehensive map of the country, driving instructions as well as information about all the destinations you are visiting. There is a 24-hour contact number for our team based in New Zealand so any problems day or night you can give them a call.

What does the rental car include?

All rental cars are automatic so you do not have to worry about a stick shift. We make sure that a GPS is included as well as insurance, an additional driver and a low excess. When you collect the car there will be a full tank of gas, you just have to return it full. Our cars of choice are SUVs similar to a RAV4 or a Toyota Highlander, perfect for the New Zealand roads.

What side of the road will I be driving on?

In New Zealand they drive on the left hand side of the road. It is very easy to get used to, all you have to remember is that the driver will be in the middle of the road.

Speed limits are also in kilometres so do not be alarmed if you see a sign with 100 on it, this is around 63 mph and is the national speed limit.

What if I want to go wine tasting?

We would always recommend doing wineries with a guide. They can take you to the best spots and do all the driving so you do not have to. New Zealand has zero tolerance for drink driving so if you want to taste any wine, you need to have a driver. You will be picked up from your hotel or lodge by your guide ready for a day in the passenger seat, and dropped back at the end of the day.


If you have any questions about whether a self drive trip to New Zealand is right for you, our team of expert travel designers are here to help.