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Roam beyond the ordinary

Be guided by locals on your solo journey through New Zealand

Close your eyes and picture yourself on your dream journey in New Zealand. Are you swimming in the blue waters of Lake Wakatipu? Wandering through ancient rainforests? Learning the Maori peoples' stories shared through word of mouth over centuries? Discovering Auckland or Queenstown? Kayaking through Fiordland National Park? Spotting the elusive Kiwi bird? Doing anything your heart desires? The possibilities are limitless.

Experience New Zealand like a local

Be welcomed by Kiwi friendliness, and experience the true meaning of kia ora. Travel at a relaxed pace in one of the world's safest and most friendly countries. Be astounded by the natural beauty and rich culture of New Zealand. Enjoy great adventures, stay with local hosts at unique locations, create new stories, and make long life friendships.

A journey as unique as you are

Your journey to New Zealand should represent you and only you. Because we are specialists in the art of travel, you'll experience a bespoke holiday that is significantly yours. Are you ready to travel through New Zealand in a uniquely local way? Let’s put your dreams on paper.

Soaking in a natural hot spring, Rotorua
Soaking in a natural hot spring in Rotorua
Conquer the Tongariro Crossing
© TravelEssence

Let's design your holiday together

We'll take the time to get to know you to match your fully bespoke holiday with your pace, your interests, and anything you desire. Combined with first-hand, local knowledge, you'll receive a mapped out itinerary from us - but the process isn't done until you are 100% satisfied. We take care of every detail, so you can focus on relaxing, rejuvenating and reconnecting with yourself and the world around you. Get in touch to get started now.

What do you get from us?

Hike the Tongariro Alpine Crossing
Hike the Tongariro Alpine Crossing on North Island
Let the locals take you to the hidden gems
Let the locals take you on a tour to the hidden gems
© Joshua McCormack

"When I travel on my own through New Zealand, I love sharing stories with the locals and enjoying dinner together. I arrive a stranger and feel like I leave as a friend.”

Andrew Morten, Founder and New Zealander
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New Zealand’s border is now open

We have entered a new era of travel. How can you make sure you're prepared? What will the border experience be like? Will covid impact your holiday? Everything you need to know is found here.

More information

Where can I stay?

At TravelEssence, we focus on small-scale accommodation with local hosts renowned for their Kiwi hospitality. This is the greatest way to experience authentic New Zealand. A unique spot to experience the natural wonders of New Zealand and meet the locals. It's a place where you can truly unwind and escape the ordinary. Enjoy a barbecue with your hosts after an exciting day of exploring, sit around the fire and share stories with fellow travellers.

A place where you arrive as a stranger and leave as a friend

Whether you prefer to wake up to homemade brekky at a quirky bed & breakfast in the heart of Wellington. Get off the grid at a farm stay on the South Island or sleep between the fruitful vines in Marlborough. Experience unique accommodations that become an unforgettable part of your journey.

Accommodation in the middle of nature | New Zealand nature
Stay in the middle of nature and absorb the Kiwi lifestyle
© TravelEssence
Our local hosts provide warm Kiwi hospitality
Our local hosts provide warm Kiwi hospitality to our travellers

What can I see and do?

With the diversity of New Zealand, you can see and do just about anything your heart desires. Immerse yourself in the Maori culture with Indigenous guides. Spot the rare yellow-eyed penguin on a hike to the Caitlin Coast of South Island. Cycle along an old railway line, through tunnels and over bridges between Dunedin and Central Otago. Sail the waters as you spot whales, dolphins and albatrosses.

Enjoy once-in-a-lifetime activities and connect with the locals

Don't waste your time with tourist traps! Let your travel specialist know your interests and they will advise you on what is best for you as a traveller. We can take care of every detail, so you just have to show up and enjoy the new experience. There are private tours available as well as small group tours which offer a great chance to meet other travellers.

Get your binoculars out in the Aoraki/Mount Cook National Park
Get your binoculars out in the Aoraki/Mount Cook National Park
Two people in a yellow kayak with a rainbow showing between two mountain edges
Join a small group and kayak the mystical waters of Doubtful Sound

When is the best travel time?

New Zealand is a beautifully diverse country that is great for travel at any time of the year. During the shoulder seasons, spring and autumn, the temperatures are ideal for enjoying the outdoors. There are plenty of opportunities to take in the wonder of nature and immerse yourself in the culture.

Make the most of your time in New Zealand

Would you like to explore Auckland? Discover Mount Cook? Fly in a helicopter over the Franz Josef glacier? Hike one of New Zealand's great walks? Based on your specific interests, our travel specialist can advise you on the best time to travel and the best regions to discover.

Wander around Lake Wanaka to spot 'That Wanaka Tree'
Wander in solitude around Lake Wanaka to spot 'That Wanaka Tree'
Enjoy a scenic flight over the mighty Southern Alps
Enjoy a scenic flight over the mighty Southern Alps

How long do I need in New Zealand?

You could spend months travelling the ever-changing landscape of New Zealand and not see the same place twice. For your holiday, the question becomes: "How long do I have?" A great solo trip comes with enough time to truly reset and get into a new rhythm. When you don't have to rush or be on anyone else's agenda.

Travel at a relaxed pace

Six weeks is an ideal amount of time to venture deep into the depths of New Zealand and unravel the authentic Kiwi lifestyle. Or, if you have slightly less time, your travel specialist can help you choose the best regions that suit your wishes. We recommend travelling at a relaxed pace for a minimum of three weeks.

A relaxed travel pace allows time to do everything you love
Cruise the mystical Doubtful Sound
Cruise the mystical Doubtful Sound

How do I travel around?

With every turn of the road, New Zealand’s landscape changes. A dramatic array of scenery that you won’t find anywhere else in the world. From coastal roads to panoramic rainforest passes, and awe-inspiring mountainous landscapes - New Zealand is best explored by car. Self-driving means you're able to reach places that group trips and campervans cannot.

Take advantage of our special deals and travel comfortably, complete with:

  • A navigation system
  • Air-conditioning
  • Full insurance and low fuel costs
  • Hire cars that are less than six months old
  • Safe and secure roads
  • A route with only a couple of hours between each location
  • Discover off the beaten track places that motorhomes often cannot reach

Drive less, see more

A relaxed travel pace is the greatest way to see New Zealand. And your travel specialist will design your holiday with two or more nights at each location. Explore each local area and get the most out of where you are. This way you get to drive less but see more. Because that's what a great holiday is all about at TravelEssence.

If you are thinking of renting a campervan, talk to us now and discover why driving in a rental car is the best way to see New Zealand.

Would you like a break from driving? Enjoy a scenic alpine train journey
Would you like a break from driving? Enjoy a scenic alpine train journey
Take a road trip around the Coromandel Peninsula
Take a road trip around the Coromandel Peninsula

Great flights and stopovers to New Zealand

Flying is a fun experience on its own. Nothing else makes you truly feel like you are embarking on a once-in-a-lifetime journey than stepping onto the plane. A comfortable flight makes all the difference, no matter which class you fly.

Take advantage of our first-hand experience and airline connections:

  • The best flight schedule
  • The most spacious seats in each class
  • A private HD display
  • A good selection of food and drinks for the journey
  • The best price
  • All of your flights are carbon neutral

Take a break and enjoy a stopover

On your way, you can choose a stopover in Asia to break up the journey and add a cultural experience to your holiday. From the tropical vibes in Bali and world-class shopping in Singapore to the friendly locals on the Cook Islands and the cultural mecca of Hong Kong. The possibilities are limitless.

How comfortable would you like to fly?

Select information that matches you
Travel to New Zealand in style - Business Class
Travel to New Zealand in style - Business Class
Cathay Pacific offers endless inflight entertainment
Cathay Pacific offers endless inflight entertainment on your solo journey

Sample itineraries

You're unique; your journey to New Zealand will be too. Take a look at some favourite past trips to get inspired for your own journey. With holidays ranging from three to seven weeks based on various themes, you can change comfort levels, and add activities, rental cars, and flights to sense the possibilities that await.

Start your dream journey here

Bring your ideas to us, take advantage of our local knowledge, and together we will create your unique, personalised holiday that is yours and yours alone. Get in touch with us here.

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Frequently asked questions

Specialist knowledge means the details that need specific attention are always taken care of - you don't have to worry about anything. But of course, you may have a lot of questions right now as you get an idea of the possibilities that await you. Find the answers to your questions here. Or contact us for more information.

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Absorb the local lifestyle in Mount Maunganui
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Cycle and explore Central Otago in your itinerary

Useful facts

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Tourism can be great for the environment. With us, you make a positive difference.

Let's accentuate the positive, reduce the negative, and offset what's left.

Sustainability in action

Why book with us?

When you book your solo trip with us, your travel specialist has only one goal: to create your dream holiday through New Zealand and to do it properly. Make the most of your time Down Under by choosing a travel specialist that has local experience and knows New Zealand like the back of their hand. We are travel nerds and from our first-hand experience believe that small details lead to big differences. Get in touch to make your holiday dream a reality.

All the things you love

and none of the things you don't

Our local knowledge makes the difference for your bespoke holiday through New Zealand or Australia. Your journey Down Under starts here.