If you're looking for a guided tour in New Zealand, you'll find heaps of different options - everything from large bus tours to small group options designed to get you off the beaten track. There are dozens of New Zealand tour companies, so picking the right one can sometimes be challenging.
The best small group tours in New Zealand are listed in Planit NZ, so you're on the right track having already visited our website. We partner with tour operators all over New Zealand, and thanks to this we can get you the best deal when you're booking your New Zealand adventure.
If you're struggling with choosing a New Zealand tour, here are some things to consider when planning to travel NZ.
1. Hop on Hop off Bus Pass vs Small Group Tour
Do you want a guided Hop on Hop off bus pass or an all inclusive small group tour? The right decision depends on your budget, how much planning you want to do and also how much time you have in New Zealand.
Time. If you have a couple months in New Zealand, the hop on hop off bus pass is ideal as you can literally 'hop off' the bus and stay for a couple days in any location that you like. With a guided small group tour, you'll be set on a specific itinerary - so if you know you have three weeks in New Zealand, this is often a better choice.
Budget. Budgeting for your New Zealand trip is easier with an all inclusive small group tour as you know in advance how much you will be spending in New Zealand. The small group tours are pretty much all-inclusive, including many meals, activities and accommodation at each destination. With the Hop on Hop off bus pass, you're only paying for the guided transportation around the country - activities, food and accommodation will be extra. As it's a guided trip, you'll stop off along the way and do short walks or take photos, but all other activities will be extra. Similarly, your guide can help you book accommodation, but this is at an added expense.
Planning. The all inclusive small group tours take nearly all of the planning out of the process. Simply find a tour that has a departure for your time in New Zealand, and you're ready to go. With the hop on hop off bus passes, it takes a bit more work figuring out how the bus timetable works into your time in New Zealand. We can help you plan an itinerary, so contact us with any questions.
2. Size of the Tour
If you've decided you want an all inclusive guided trip, then you need to determine how big of a tour group you want. The tours listed on Planit NZ are all small groups, approximately 10-25 people. Some tour companies in New Zealand run tours that have 40-50 people on them, and as you can imagine this gives you an entirely different experience. The smaller group tours allow you to get to know your group much better and also have more time with your tour guide.
3. North Island or South Island
You'll struggle to experience New Zealand's North Island and South Island with less than 15 days. It can be done on a self drive trip, but results in you doing quite a bit of driving. Luckily on a small group tour, the guide does the driving for you resulting in a much more relaxing experience. This Best of New Zealand tour starts in Auckland and finishes in Christchurch and explores NZ in 15 days.
If you only have 1-2 weeks in New Zealand, you'll be better off choosing one island. Not sure which is right for you? Check out this post on North Island vs South Island New Zealand.
4. Where do you start?
When you're booking your flights to NZ, you'll likely find the best deals into Auckland. There are plenty of tours that depart Auckland and finish in Auckland, though you can also consider doing a one-way tour from Auckland to Christchurch. You can book return flights into and out of Auckland, and then catch a cheap domestic flight back up to Auckland.
If you have any questions about choosing a New Zealand tour, get in contact and we'll help you find the best tour at the best price.