How to Plan a Custom Experience in New Zealand©
How to Plan a Custom Experience in New Zealand

How to Plan a Custom Experience in New Zealand

Article Single Pages©
Article Single Pages©
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How to Organise a Tailored Tour in New Zealand

Do you want to do something out of the ordinary to celebrate a special occasion or perhaps visit more off-the-beaten-track locations in New Zealand? Just because there isn’t a set tour or package for your dream activity, doesn’t mean you can’t achieve it. New Zealand is lucky enough to have a wide range of operators specialising in bespoke tours. But how do you go about organising a tailored tour? Find out in this complete guide on how to plan a custom experience in New Zealand.

Note that this guide focusses on planning custom day tours in New Zealand. If you’re looking for bespoke itineraries of New Zealand, browse our Planning Your Trip and Trip Ideas categories.

What are Custom Tours and Their Advantages?

You’ll hear (and see) custom tours referred to in many ways: tailored tours, personalised tours, bespoke tours, etc. These are tours that do not follow a set itinerary that a tour operator already offers. Custom tours are designed according to the client’s wants and needs. They might be more refined experiences of a tour that already exists or a completely different experience using the assets and expertise that a tour company can provide.

The Advantages of Bespoke Tours in New Zealand

  • Private tours – Custom tours are private, making for a more intimate experience for you and your group, no matter how large or small
  • Do exactly what you want to do – They allow you to do activities according to your unique interests
  • Tours run on your time – Your bespoke experience fits in with your itinerary; you don’t have to try to make your itinerary fit around the tour
  • Flexibility is factored in – Set tours usually run on a tight schedule. When you’re the only customer, however, you have time on the tour for spontaneity
  • They can sometimes be the best value for money – For groups and families, it is sometimes worth looking at bespoke tours which might offer better value for money than normal tours.

How to Plan a Custom Experience in New Zealand©

Know What Bespoke Experience You Are After

Custom tours are all about you, so you need to know what you want. You don’t need to know every fine detail, as your chosen tour operator should be able to provide a great deal of help, but you at least need a vague idea of your dream experience. Browsing is a good place to start to understand the types of destinations around New Zealand and what activities are typically done there.

Choose a Destination for Your Custom Tour

After browsing our destination guides, you’ll understand that if you want a snowy mountain experience, you will need to go to Mt Cook or to have a private picnic on a remote golden sand beach, you might need to go to Abel Tasman, for example. Start browsing destinations using our Luxury Destinations Guides.

Choose an Activity to Personalise

After choosing a destination with your dream landscapes, you’ll need to choose an activity. This, in turn, will help you find the right tour company to help you plan a customised experience. New Zealand has an extensive list of activities between skydiving, helicopters flights, boat tours, bungy jumping, wine tours, skiing, soaking in hot pools and much more. You need only browse our Activities category to get an idea of what’s available to do in New Zealand. While this might be overwhelming at first, you’ll be surprised how quick it is to hone in on experiences that appeal to you. Soon enough, the ideas will start forming to create an unforgettable custom experience in New Zealand.

With an idea in mind, it’s time to start contacting tour companies who can make your vision a reality.

How to Plan a Custom Experience in New Zealand© Inflite Experiences

Contact a Tour Company for a Custom Experience

Tour companies that offer bespoke tours in New Zealand are easy to find. In fact, most companies that offer set tours and packages can organise custom tours even if they don’t advertise it – all you need to do is ask! Then there are companies like Inflite Experiences that specialise in custom tours all over New Zealand.

How Easy is to Organise a Bespoke Tour with an Activity Operator?

In short, very easy. Simply call or email your chosen company and they’ll happily take it from there. With their expertise in the destination and activity, tour operators in New Zealand are able to quickly coordinate your experience and offer suggestions to make your trip extra special, if needed. What’s more, Kiwis have a can-do attitude when it comes to awesome travel experiences, so don’t think that an idea is too big! Give it a try and you might be surprised at some of the wild activities tour operators are able to conjure up.

Of course, not all experiences are possible due to changing conditions on hazardous terrain or even to avoid native wildlife breeding seasons. In these minor cases, tour companies will advise you on alternative experiences.

How to Plan a Custom Experience in New Zealand©

Quick Tips on How to Make the Most of Your Bespoke Tour

Now that you know how easy it is to plan a custom experience in New Zealand, here are some quick tips to make sure that your experience goes smoothly.

Tweak Tours That Already Exist

It’s worth browsing the set tour packages that companies already offer. Many tour companies allow you to refine the details of their itineraries to match your interests.

Explore Terrains That You’re Qualified For

If your desired personalised experience means being transported to some of New Zealand’s more extreme backcountry terrains, then make sure you have the appropriate backcountry experience. Companies like Inflite Experiences can get travellers to some amazing places around Mt Cook, Franz Josef and Abel Tasman, for example, but will only take travellers to places that are suitable for their skill level. Don’t worry, if your skill level is “zero”, then you can still go on a glacier with a guide!

Give the Tour Company at Least 48 Hours Notice

Of course, planning with plenty of time before the tour date is easier for all parties involved in the customised trip. For personalised day tours, give companies at least 48 hours notice. For multi-day trips, this takes a little more organising, so allow at least a week’s notice.

Listen to the Advice of the Tour Company

As mentioned, tour companies know their destination and their activity well. Listen to their advice on what you can and can’t do, such as what to do in certain weather scenarios and where to go according to your skill level (if applicable).

Ask on Ways to Save Money on Your Bespoke Experience

Of course, the price of bespoke tours relies on what you want to do, how far you travel, transport methods and the duration of the experience. If you’re on a budget, ask for a quote upon initial inquiry and always make sure you understand how much you’re paying if you add-on more features to the experience, such as a private picnic or extra kayak excursion, for example. Furthermore, ask about ways to make the experience more affordable if needed. For instance, the team at Inflite Experiences can arrange private flights to a destination then shared flights back from a destination at a set time to reduce flight costs.


The information in this guide has been compiled from our extensive research, travel and experiences across New Zealand and the South Pacific, accumulated over more than a decade of numerous visits to each destination. Additional sources for this guide include the following:

Our editorial standards: At NZ Pocket Guide, we uphold strict editorial standards to ensure accurate and quality content.

About The Author

Robin C.

This article has been reviewed and approved by Robin, who is the co-founder of NZ Pocket Guide. With more than 15 years of experience in the New Zealand tourism industry, Robin has co-founded three influential tourism businesses and five additional travel guides for South Pacific nations. He is an expert in New Zealand travel and has tested over 600 activities and 300+ accommodations across the country.

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