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Discover what friendship is all about

Take the road less travelled with your friends in New Zealand

Close your eyes and picture you and your friends on an adventure in New Zealand. Are you conquering New Zealand’s 10 ‘Great Walks’? Floating above the snowy-peaks in a hot air balloon? Boarding a boat to sail through a majestic national park? Meeting with the Maori people? Exploring iconic cities like Auckland and Queenstown? Kayaking through the fjords? Spotting the elusive Kiwi bird? Doing anything your heart desires? The possibilities are limitless.

Experience the renowned Kiwi hospitality

Kia ora! Experience what this truly means when welcomed by Kiwi friendliness. 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 and create new stories together.

A journey as unique as you are

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

Four people on a hike in a lush green forest
Learn about unique flora and fauna at Fiordland National Park
© 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 your friends and the world around you. Get in touch to get started now.

What do you get from us?

Kayak the crystal clear waters of Cathedral Cove | New Zealand holiday
Kayak the crystal clear waters of Cathedral Cove
Team effort in Waitomo
See the magical Waitomo Caves with your friends

"At TravelEssence, we don’t just plan your dream holiday to New Zealand. We are with you every step of the way, from the moment you leave your front door to the moment you arrive home a changed person. We take care of every detail so you can focus on having the journey of a lifetime.”

Andrew Morten, Founder and New Zealander

Where can we stay?

At TravelEssence, we focus on small-scale accommodation and personally know the local hosts renowned for their Kiwi hospitality. From staying in a log cabin nestled deep into the forest, to sharing a hot tub under the Milky Way, and being woken up by penguins on your veranda. Escape the ordinary and experience the natural wonders of New Zealand.

A unique spot to connect with your friends and the local people

Enjoy a barbecue together on the veranda at sunset, sit around the fire and share stories with your friends and fellow travellers. These accommodations are an experience in themselves and the greatest way to discover the hidden gems in New Zealand.

Three friends sitting on a deck in a large garden
Relax on the deck of your cottage after a day of exploring

What can we 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.

Authentic once-in-a-lifetime experiences with the locals

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

A helicopter on a mountain peak with six people ready to ski down the slopes
Experience a thrilling helicopter flight over Mount Cook
Go quad biking on the South Island's rugged west coast
Go quad biking on the South Island's rugged west coast

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.

Nature's open-air playground is waiting to be explored

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, your travel specialist can advise you on the best time to travel and the best regions to discover.

Three friends on bikes cycling past vineyards
Tour a variety of lush vineyards by bike
© Nelson Dean Mc Kenzie
Friends hiking the Routeburn Track in Fiordland National Park
Hike the popular and diverse Routeburn Track for panoramic views
© Stewart Nimmo

How long do we 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 we have?"

A great holiday comes with enough time to reset and get into a new rhythm. Rejuvenate yourself with the fresh air and reawaken your senses in pristine nature. No need to rush from highlight to highlight.

Travel at a relaxed pace

To venture deep into the depths of New Zealand and unravel the authentic Kiwi lifestyle, we recommend travelling at a relaxed pace for a minimum of six weeks. If you have slightly less time, your travel specialist can help you choose the best regions that suit your wishes.

Conquer the Tongariro Alpine Crossing with your friends
Conquer the Tongariro Alpine Crossing with your friends
A group of friends kayaking on crystal clear water at the Bay of Islands
Spend the day exploring the coastline of Bay of Islands
© Adventure HQ

How do we 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 in a spacious SUV, 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.

Savour stunning views while cycling around Gibbston Valley
Savour stunning views while cycling around Gibbston Valley
© Miles Holden

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
  • Guaranteed seats next to each other
  • A private HD display
  • A good selection of food and drinks for the journey
  • The best price
  • Carbon neutral flights each time

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.

Comfortable flight in Economy Class | New Zealand holiday
Enjoy a variety of food and drinks on your flight

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.

White flowers, green vegetation, rocks and snow-capped mountains | New Zealand holiday

Should you visit the North Island or South Island?

Dear TravelEssence, We have now been back home for just over a week and we have been trying our best to stay in… read more

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.

Fiordland 17

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 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 become a reality.

Ready for the holiday of a lifetime?

Discover a world beyond ordinary

At TravelEssence, we specialise in crafting custom-made holidays that take you off the beaten path and create memories to last a lifetime. We believe in connecting with the heart and soul of a place, introducing you to the locals who call it home. Engage in conversations with fascinating individuals who will share their stories, traditions, and way of life, leaving an indelible mark on your journey.