Planning a New Zealand Holiday: FAQs

First Light Travel FAQs

Here are a number of questions that we are frequently asked. Each question is accompanied with a concise answer or will link through to a First Light Travel blog post or to an article featured in the New Zealand Travel Guide section of this website, providing you with the best possible answer available. If you don’t find the answer (or question) you are looking for, just Contact Us - we’re here to help you plan the best possible experience in our wonderful country.

Planning Your Holiday

How Long Should I Spend In New Zealand?

Are you struggling to decide how long your New Zealand dream trip should be? Or how much time your budget will allow? First Light Travel are here to help!

Read our Blog How Long Should I Spend In New Zealand?

When is the best time to visit New Zealand?

When is the best time to visit New Zealand? - This is a good Question. New Zealand’s location in the world and its unique geography will ensure you have a wonderful experience whenever you arrive. In our experience, most locations can be visited in each season and the holiday will still be exceptional. We do have distinct seasons though, so it’s well worth taking time to match your hopes and desires to the best season and location.

For further detailed information about New Zealand Seasons. please refer to our Seasonal Holiday Planner

What should I pack for my holiday?

We know that many of you will be coming to New Zealand for a variety of experiences, so therefore your clothing and equipment needs will vary accordingly. It has to be said that New Zealand is a fairly informal country and very few places insist on strict dress codes, so unless you are coming to New Zealand for business we have compiled a useful list that tries to accommodate various requirements. We hope the information provided helps you make the right decisions, ensuring you have a trouble free holiday. 

See our New Zealand Travel Guide: How to, and what to pack when heading to NZ

What passports/visas are required?

Please check with us and/or your airline regarding current passport, visa and vaccination requirements. 

All travellers will require a valid passport to enter New Zealand. 

If you plan to visit New Zealand for a short period, you must request an NZeTA before you travel if you: travel on a passport from a country on the list of visa waiver countries and territories, and are visiting for up to 3 months — or, if you are a British citizen, up to 6 months.

The following are visa waiver countries and territories













Czech Republic


Estonia (citizens only)





Hong Kong (residents with HKSAR or British National–Overseas passports only)







Korea, South


Latvia (citizens only)


Lithuania (citizens only)


Macau (only if you have a Macau Special Administrative Region passport)










Portugal (if you have the right to live permanently in Portugal)



San Marino

Saudi Arabia



Slovak Republic





Taiwan (if you are a permanent resident)

United Arab Emirates

United Kingdom (UK) (if you are travelling on a UK or British passport that shows you have the right to reside permanently in the UK)

United States of America (USA) (including USA nationals)


Vatican City


More questions? See our New Zealand Travel Guide: New Zealand Passport and Visa Requirements

What medication can or can't I bring into New Zealand?

If you are bringing any form of medication into New Zealand, make sure it is in its original packaging and that you have a copy of the prescription. If the medication contains narcotics like diuretics, depressants, stimulants, heart drugs, tranquillisers, and sleeping pills - then you must have a doctor’s certificate stating the medication is necessary and being used under doctor’s instructions. This medication must be declared on arrival at New Zealand Customs.

Please read our Blog on Personal medication and how to bring it through New Zealand Customs & what you can't bring.

Explain the International date line and how it could affect my travels.

The International Date Line has confused navigators, explorers, and the everyday traveler for nearly five centuries since humans first began circumnavigating the globe. It is important you do know what date you actually land in New Zealand - don’t let it baffle you!

Please read our blog dedicated to explaining the International Date Line Phenomenon

What types of accommodation are available in New Zealand?

New Zealand has a wide range of accommodation to suit all budgets and requirements. We have it all! The criteria for choosing which accommodation providers we use are simple. We want to put you in the best accommodation available to suit your budget, whether Luxury Lodges or Backpacker Hostels. We have compiled our preferences with the help of invaluable client feedback and from personal experience. They may have been selected for their historic & cultural significance, unique scenery and location, outstanding facilities, or simply because they have a host of true ‘Kiwi’ character. At the least, they will be of a high standard, clean, friendly and comfortable.

There are 9 distinct styles including: Motels, three, four and five star hotels, luxury lodges, bed and breakfasts, travellers lodge / hostels, camping including campgrounds and glamping.

For more information on each accommodation style: Read a detailed overview in our New Zealand Accommodation Guide.

I am interested in getting into the 'Great Outdoors' - What do I need to know?

There’s  nothing quite like exploring the quintessentially Kiwi ‘great outdoors’. With some of the most breathtaking and varied scenery in the world, untouched terrain, pristine rivers and beaches, and plenty of walking, hiking and water sport options, New Zealand is an outdoor playground. BUT.... Every year, New Zealand Search and Rescue crew are called up to rescue kiwis and visitors who have become lost, injured or need emergency help. We want your trip of a life-time to run without a hitch, so our advice is to follow the old Scouting motto and ‘be prepared’.

See our New Zealand holiday planner: Safety in New Zealand's Great Outdoors

What types of activities are available for children?

If you are thinking about visiting with your family, we can suggest a wide range of activities to keep your children happy.

New Zealand's parks and large areas of unspoilt wilderness are ideal places to expand your children’s appreciation of wildlife and the outdoors. Horse riding, snow activities, whale watching, fruit picking, wildlife centres and zoos are just some of the choices available.

If you are visiting the larger centres, you will find a range of themed attractions including Rainbow’s End (Auckland), Splash Planet (Hastings), Marine Land (Napier) and the International Antarctic Centre (Christchurch). Te Papa, New Zealand’s interactive national museum, has a range of activities for the whole family to enjoy, including Story Place, a haven for small children.

Most family restaurants have children’s menus and high chairs. Many cafés also have high chairs and a toy basket to amuse babies and toddlers is becoming increasingly common in both cafes and shops. Most public gardens have well equipped play areas for young children, as do many holiday parks. Adventure playlands such as Chipmunks or Lollipop’s Playland are always popular with the very young – these can be found in most main centres.

Take a look at our range of New Zealand Family Holidays

Which of New Zealand’s islands should I visit? The North, South or both?

This entirely depends on the amount of time you are planning to be in New Zealand. If you have the time then ideally you would do both Islands. Mutually stunning, each island has unique attractions. But if you have limited time then we recommend exploring one island thoroughly, rather than trying to rush them both – You can always come back.

So to help you make an informed decision, take a look at our Travel Guide to both the North and South Island

How far in advance should I book my New Zealand holiday?

We are a small but popular country... 

Tourism to New Zealand has boomed in recent years, mainly due to the popularity of the Hobbit and the Lord of the Rings trilogies showcasing the country’s natural beauty to the world, but also folks have realised New Zealand offers a safe, friendly holiday destination with tons of fun things to see and do.

Our holiday season peak runs from November through to March, coinciding with summer -  absolute peak being in January and February. With visitor numbers increasing we experience certain seasonal bottlenecks, so to avoid disappointment, reserving parts of your holiday well in advance is strongly recommended.

So to help you make an informed decision, take a look at our New Zealand Travel Guide to Seasonal Bottlenecks and How to Avoid Them 

How to get to New Zealand - Flights, Stopovers, Times & Date Line

The best way to travel to New Zealand is obviously by air (unless you want to spend a lot of time on a boat). Most major airlines offer direct flights to New Zealand. It’s easy to get here on a non-stop flight from America, Australia, Canada, Chile, China, Hong Kong, Japan, Korea, Malaysia, Singapore and Thailand. Or you can get a connecting flight from these countries to New Zealand from anywhere in the world.

First Light Travel can arrange competitively priced airline seats in from North America (economy, first class and business) however we do not offer flights in from any other destination.

When flying to New Zealand you may well want to take advantage of the various stopovers available.

For further details and a list of Airlines servicing New Zealand please see our Travel Guide Getting Flights to New Zealand 

Which of the popular 4 New Zealand glaciers should I visit?

For many people holidaying in New Zealand, our glaciers are a must-see. Luckily our glaciers are not at a high altitude and are really easy to get to, but not all glaciers have been formed equally. There are distinct differences between them – and not just location. Our main four glaciers are Fox and Franz Josef Glacier and the Tasman and the Rob Roy Glacier.

We love to help people plan their New Zealand adventure, so follow the link and read our Kiwi tips on visiting the glaciers, what make ours different and why you should definitely visit a glacier on your New Zealand tour.

 See our NZ Holiday Planner - Which New Zealand Glacier to Visit?

Doubtful Sound or Milford Sound? – Pro's and Con's

New Zealand is known for its beautiful isolated Fiords. The most accessible and popular are Doubtful Sound and Milford Sound. Both are located in Fiordland National Park in the South Island with the gateway town Te Anau

Both Sounds are spectacular, but if you can only choose one here is the low down on each. See our New Zealand Holiday Planner article on - Doubtful Sound or Milford Sound

Are there any festivals, public or events that we can plan our holiday around?

Absolutely! Its true, New Zealander's love to celebrate - any excuse for a party and the more that turn up the merrier. Nearly every day, somewhere, someone will be staging a festival or public event celebrating what-ever it is that we Kiwis Love.  If you are thinking of a New Zealand holiday, it may well be worth planning your trip around a specific event, as there is no better way to gain an insight into the New Zealand way of life, our humour, creativity and quirky nature.

We have dedicated a large section of our Travel Blog to this very question -  New Zealand Festivals – There’s one with your name on it.

Can I bring cash into New Zealand?

There is no restriction on the amount of foreign currency that can be brought in or taken out of New Zealand. However, every person who carries more than $NZ10,000 in cash in or out of New Zealand is required to complete a Border Cash Report.

Where can I download your 31 page New Zealand Holiday Planning Guide?

To assist you planning your New Zealand holiday we have published a 31 page comprehensive guide giving you that essential information you need to know before you go. Video and tips helping you plan a hassle free holiday. Covering topics like the best time to go, what to pack, arriving and driving in New Zealand, staying connected and the best time to book  - Everything You Need to Know.

Download the 'New Zealand Holiday Planning Guide' for FREE 

Where can I download your 38 page Lord of the Rings Guide to New Zealand?

Plan a holiday to New Zealand and make the landscapes of Middle‑earth come alive! Here is a FREE 38 page comprehensive guide giving you that essential information you need to know before you travel. Plus we look at all the ‘Lord of the Rings’ and ‘Hobbit’ filming locations and experiences across New Zealand.Video and tips help you plan a hassle free holiday, covering topics like the best time to go, what to pack, arriving and driving in New Zealand, staying connected and the best time to book - Everything You Need to Know!

Download the Lord of the Rings Guide to New Zealand for FREE 

Where can I download your comprehensive New Zealand driving map with driving distances?

Our maps page features a visual representation of iconic New Zealand hot spots in relation to both the North and South Island.  Plus you have the option to download our New Zealand touring map, this is a more detailed map including travel distances and main driving routes.

Go to our New Zealand Maps Page.

About New Zealand

What will the temperature be?

The north of New Zealand is subtropical and the south temperate. The warmest months are December, January and February and the coldest June, July and August. In summer, the average maximum temperature ranges between 20-30°C and in winter between 10-15°C.

Have a look at the New Zealand Weather Widget showing the average high/low temperatures for key centres on the North and South Islands.

How much does it cost to get to New Zealand?

That's a difficult question to answer.  But having worked with people with all levels of budgets we can safely say it can be done "on the cheap", in total luxury, or anywhere in between.  

For most people a trip to New Zealand is a once in a lifetime trip, so they will want to see and do as much as they possibly can in the time they have available.  That can obviously have an impact on how much you spend.

If you're thinking about planning a trip to New Zealand why not contact us and we will be more than happy to give you a quote based on your personal travel goals.  And if price is important to you we can keep you informed of any flight specials or package discounts that come available.

For a comprehensive article on general flight times, possible stopovers and airlines to consider. Please read our 'New Zealand Holiday Planner' article - Getting flights to New Zealand 

What do things cost in New Zealand?

One of the most important parts of planning for an overseas holiday is knowing how much things cost and therefore how much spending money you will need to budget for. Items like petrol, meals and alcohol can quickly add up to a significant amount.

We have compiled some helpful information on New Zealand prices to help you budget for your New Zealand holiday. See our New Zealand Pricing Guide


What dangers and annoyances are there in New Zealand?

As with most developed countries, travellers should be aware of their own personal safety and for possessions. There are similar levels of crime to other first world countries. 

Travellers have no need to fear the wildlife in New Zealand. Apart from two very rare poisonous spiders (the native red backed Katipo spider and the introduced, white-tailed spider, who have bites which are rarely fatal) there are no poisonous snakes or other creatures. Sandflies can be pesky, so carry insect repellant.

The harsh New Zealand sun can catch out travellers to our country - whether on the beach, the snow fields or on the water. Remember to regularly apply sunscreen, wear hats and use protective eye wear.  

New Zealand's many beautiful waterways must be treated with respect. Always exercise caution when swimming in unknown beaches, rivers, lakes and waterways. Never swim or surf alone or after drinking alcohol. If a beach is patrolled by lifeguards, swim between the yellow and red flags and heed the warning signs.

For further detailed information please take the time to read our article Travelling Safely in New Zealand

When are the New Zealand school holidays?

Dates may vary slightly by a few days from school to school, but most New Zealand schools are on holiday on these dates...

School HolidaysStartsFinishes
Term 1 Holidays13 Apr 2024 (Fri)28 April 2024 (Sun)
Term 2 Holidays6 Jul 2024 (Sat)21 Jul 2024 (Sun)
Term 3 Holidays28 Sep 2024 (Sat)13 Oct 2024 (Sun)
Term 4 Holidays21 Dec 2024 (Wed)
What credit or debit cards are best to Use? - Money Matters

Money Matters

In short “use plastic, but make sure it's the right plastic” We recommend you use credit cards for big purchases, car rental & hotel security bonds. Use debit cards for cash as it is less expensive. We suggest you forget about traveler’s cheques or exchanging currency.

Read our detailed article - Everything you need to know about Money in New Zealand 

Is tipping expected in New Zealand?

Tipping and Service Charges: New Zealanders do not expect tips for normal service - even in restaurants and bars. However, tipping for extra special service or kindness is at the discretion of the visitor. Hotels and restaurants in New Zealand do not add service charges to their bills.

How do I connect to the internet & work my mobile phone in NZ?

These days it’s easy to stay connected to friends and family while on holiday in New Zealand - if you come prepared. To make things a little easier we have written down a few tips to ensure you maximise connectivity during your New Zealand holiday.

Read our NZ Travel Planner article Staying Connected in New Zealand

Is a power plug adapter or voltage converter needed in New Zealand?

Yes you probably do need a New Zealand power plug adapter when you're on holiday in New Zealand, but converters are bulky and limited.

Read on comprehensive guide to New Zealand Power Plug Adapters & Converters

What if I have an accident while I'm on holiday in New Zealand - What do I do?

New Zealand is a generous country, medical care for injuries caused by an accident in New Zealand is covered under a scheme called Accident Compensation Cover. We explain how this works, why you still need personal travel insurance and what to do in the event of an accident.

please read our detailed guide on - What to do if I have an accident in New Zealand

Where is your New Zealand driving time and travel distance calculator?

When planning a New Zealand self drive holiday or road trip, use our NZ Driving Time and Travel Distance Calculator to work out the best route between two towns or cities.  This calculator will give you an accurate average driving time taking into consideration obstacles like mountain passes, winding roads, single lanes etc. The NZTA Journey Planner is also a helpful tool to use which takes into account traffic cameras, delays, roadworks, and road closures and how they may impact your journey.

please feel free to use our New Zealand Driving Time and Travel Distance Calculator 

What is the shopping like in New Zealand?

After your unforgettable adventures in the Land of the Long White Cloud, you'll definitely want to bring a small piece of New Zealand home with you. While shopping is unlikely to be the main focus of your trip, it's worth taking time out to browse our stores for treasures you just won't find anywhere else.

Here are some of our favourite New Zealand shopping experiences

Driving & Rental Cars in New Zealand

Do I need an international drivers licence to drive in New Zealand?

You can legally drive in New Zealand if you have either a current driver’s licence from your home country or an International Driving Permit (IDP). The law here requires all drivers carry their licence or permit when driving. You will only be able to drive the same types of vehicles you are licensed to drive in your home country. Just make sure your driver’s licence is current and if not in English you should bring an English translation with you or obtain an IDP.

A translation of your overseas drivers permit or Licence can be issued by:

  • A New Zealand Transport Agency authorized translation service provider.
  • A diplomatic representative at a high commission, consulate or embassy.
  • The authority that issued your overseas permit or license.

These documents will also be acceptable as a translation:

  • An international driving permit that has been issued in accordance with a United Nations Convention on road or highway traffic.
  • A translation document issued by a Notary Public Office in China.

IMPORTANT NOTE: If you are caught driving without an acceptable English translation or an international driving permit, you may be prosecuted for driving unlicensed or for driving without an appropriate license and will be liable for an infringement fee of NZ$400 or up to NZ$1,000 on a conviction in court.

Test yourself before you leave

About to set off on your New Zealand driving adventure? You must understand New Zealand’s road rules, signs and driving laws and before you set off.

Test: Take a Tourist/Visitor Test to learn about New Zealand's road rules

Info: Further Driving Safe in NZ information. 

Other driving related reading... 

Driving in New Zealand? Essential Road Code rules you need to know
The Ultimate New Zealand Road Trip - A Self Drive Itinerary
Best New Zealand Itinerary for a Honeymoon
Getting of the the beaten track with a Self-drive holiday in New Zealand
Travelling Safely in New Zealand
How to plan the perfect New Zealand Self-drive Holiday

Can I take my rental car on the ferry between the North and South Island?

All of the major car hire companies in New Zealand require you to drop one rental car in either Picton or Wellington and collect a replacement car on arrival to the other side. This allows the rental companies to have a better control over their fleet distribution. This saves you money, as taking a car on the ferry is expensive.

Dropping of your rental car and collecting a new one after your ferry trip is very easy. Your luggage is checked on the ferry in the same way you would at the airport to catch an aeroplane flight.

All of our self-drive tour itineraries have been designed with this in mind, we supply detailed itinerary to make the process as easy as possible.

Road rules you need to know.

We drive on the left using right-hand drive vehicles and, if you are not overtaking, stay in the left-hand lane on motorways.You can drive on your own driver’s licence for up to 12 months after arriving, and you must keep your licence with your when you are driving. Everyone must wear a seatbelt and children up to age 7 must be in an approved child seat.

You must not talk on a hand-held phone while driving, compose or read SMS messages, or access services on your phone that require you to hold the phone. NZ uses kilometres per hour for speed and kilometres for distances.

The important speed limits are:

100km/h – default open road and motorway speed limit
50km/h – default urban speed limit (i.e. in towns and cities)
40km/h – speed limit around schools during marked times
30km/h – speed limit through roadworks
20km/h – speed limit past a stationary school bus that’s picking up or dropping off children; limit at accident sites

For further information please see: New Zealand Road Rules

What to look for when choosing a rental car:

Choosing the right vehicle is probably one of the most important decisions you can make when planning your driving holiday in New Zealand. This article has been designed to help you decide which is the best vehicle to rent for your New Zealand road trip. The rental vehicles we select from when planning your road trip are brand new, modern vehicles with an average age no older than 6 months) and the latest models, including the latest safety features.

For detailed information on New Zealand rental cars and the safety features to look our for, read our article on Choosing the right vehicle for your New Zealand road trip

See our Vehicle Guide and Rental Car Range

Choosing the right vehicle for your New Zealand road trip is essential. Make sure that your vehicle has enough room to comfortably seat your-self and fellow travellers including your luggage. Our rental locations/depots are found throughout New Zealand, covering all major airports and city centres.

We have a fleet of modern, late model vehicles - sporting the latest safety features. Our fleet includes all popular models of car, including sports, 4WD/SUV, mini-coach and vans. For those that have larger groups we can offer larger busses and luxury coach’s.

Please link through to see our full New Zealand vehicle range.

See our Campervan and Motorhome Guide

f you’re looking for touring freedom, you just can’t beat a motorhome on the open roads in New Zealand. There are various options available - from budget 2 person RVs through to fully equipped 6 berth camper vans. Most have their own shower, toilet and kitchenette, plus a dining area and plenty of storage space. In many locations around New Zealand it is possible to ”free camp”, making motorhomes a very economical option for transport and accommodation.

There are dozens of motorhome/campervan companies here in New Zealand, but through our experience and client feedback we have chosen four companies that offer the highest standard of RVs, the best customer service in the event of a break down and of course the best value for your money.

Why book your motor home through First Light Travel you ask?

Well there’s lots of reasons actually:

  • We offer a free itinerary planning service. Sure you might be ”free wheeling”, but a little bit of advice will help you get the most from your New Zealand motor home experience
  • We can book your pre and post touring accommodation, plus any activities or ferry bookings you require. Or if you only want to use a campervan for part of your tour, we can arrange your car and accommodation package for the balance of your trip
  • We’ll help you find the most competitive travel insurance for your travel plans
  • All of our clients receive detailed maps and directions as part of their customised campervan hire New Zealand itinerary
  • We can suggest the best camp grounds along your planned touring route
  • And of course there is our toll free phone number if you should require assistance at any time while in New Zealand

Take me to look at our New Zealand Campervan Guide

What do I need to know about New Zealand Rental Car Insurance?

New Zealand Car Hire Insurance is different from other countries. To fully understand please read  New Zealand Rental Car Insurance - Demystified



Bookings, payments, cancellations and insurance

I like what I see. How do I make a reservation?

It’s easy. Just contact us directly by phone or email [email protected] and one of our travel consultants will be happy to discuss your travel plans and talk you through the reservation process. If you would like a no-obligation customized itinerary Fill in the form and we’ll work with you to craft the perfect trip. If you’re not sure what you would like, don’t worry – we’ll reach out with some tailor made suggestions.

Phone Us Toll Free 

USA/Canada: 1-877-282-2577
United Kingdom: 0808-189-2382
Australia: 1-800-324-917
Singapore: 800-130-1776
New Zealand0800-347-785

Phone Local

New Zealand: 09 281-4481


Are there any hidden charges that are not included in the cost of your itineraries?

Our prices are all-inclusive - there are no hidden costs. You will find details of what is included or optional in each itinerary. Our premium hosted tours include all excursions, activities, meals and accommodation. If you are still unsure, we are happy to discuss any aspect of an itinerary with you.

Many outdoor activities are weather dependent. What happens if I've paid for an activity that has to be cancelled due to the weather?

We will provide as best an alternative as we possibly can at no additional charge to you. On our hosted tours all the details will be taken care of for you. If you are on a self-drive tour, simply call our freephone number and we will endeavour to either book you onto a different activity of your choice, determine whether the activity can be rescheduled or, in the event that there are no suitable alternatives, we will refund to you the cost of the activity. Note that this does not apply if you change your mind on a particular activity – only if the activity is cancelled.

Do I need travel insurance to travel to New Zealand?

Travel insurance is not compulsory except on group dive tours, but is strongly recommended. We offer highly competitive travel insurance packages that are especially prepared to cover most adventure activities. Please enquire for further details.

Do prices on your website include flights? Whats the best way to get to New Zealand?

No. But we regularly have access to special fares for flights to New Zealand, Australia and the South Pacific. If you require flights please ask and we can get a quote for you.

For further detailed Flight Information please read our  Travel Guide on Getting Flights to New Zealand

What do prices include/exclude?

Although most tours include your accommodation and transport, each tour is different with regards to meals and activities that are included. Please check the itinerary to see what is included or contact us. Items of a personal nature, such as laundry, phone calls, tipping, room service, optional excursions, wine & beverages, etc. are not included in tour and holiday costs and are your own responsibility. Tour and Holiday prices also exclude International and New Zealand departure taxes, customs and immigration fees.

What happens if I have a problem with my itinerary while on holiday?

If you have read any of our reviews then it has probably become evident that our guests are a priority at First Light Travel, we make an utmost effort to go that extra mile to make sure every situation is dealt with properly.

Travel Advocate – We’re there when you need us! 24 hour Guest Helpline

What do you do if the hotel has lost your reservation? What would you do if the car rental agency has run out of cars? Specifically, whom are you going to call? Who’s going to help you, especially if one incidence has snowballed, disrupting your whole itinerary – a nightmare in the making!

If you book through First Light Travel - a New Zealand based agent. All you have to do is make one simple phone call and everything will be taken care of. We work quickly and efficiently to resolve any potential “snags” that may happen during your travels. We are based down here; in the same time zone you will be in, so we are available to talk to the suppliers if in the unlikely event a misunderstanding has occurred.

Without a locally based travel agent, you’re on your own when time counts.

Here is an excerpt from our ‘Essential New Zealand’ booklet provided to those travelling with First Light Travel


First Light Travel Assist Helpdesk operates a 24 hour Travellers Assistance helpdesk for your peace of mind whilst you are on holiday. This facility puts you in touch with us in the event of a serious problem with your holiday arrangements.

Please follow the guidelines below and take a look at the examples on the next page…

PROBLEMS: If you encounter a problem on your holiday it is important that in the first instance you take the matter up directly with the hotel or supplier to give them the opportunity to put the matter right. If you cannot resolve the issue in this way and are still dissatisfied, you may contact us via the listed telephone numbers below.

CANCELLATIONS: If an Operator Cancels your excursion due to weather disruptions or the like, you don't need to do anything, as you will receive a 100% Refund from First Light Travel automatically.

IMPORTANT: It is important that we are given the opportunity to resolve any problem as we have found from experience that it is very difficult (in some countries impossible) for us to obtain redress for you once travel has been completed. If you have not given us this opportunity we may not be able to arrange for a refund or compensation from the service provider after you get home.

Here are a few tips to help you get quick effective results…

Cancellations: If you elect to cancel an excursion or activity whilst in New Zealand, the operators generally require at least 24 hours notice, however specialist or private excursions may require more notification as they will be less likely to re-sell their services at short notice. If you simply do not show up for an excursion or activity, no refund will be available.

Reconfirmations: Don’t forget to reconfirm your activities the day prior with the operators. The contact information can be found on your itinerary. This is important in case of potential weather interruptions or unexpected amendments.

Insurance Claims: If you need to make an insurance claim, medical or otherwise, please contact your insurance company directly. You will then be given a list of the documentation you require for a hassle free claim. If you have experienced a theft it will be necessary to visit the local Police Station and file a report. Please ensure you ask for the Police File Number (Complaint Acknowledgement Form) for insurance purposes.

Car Trouble: Lost your keys or broken down? Contact the car hire company immediately. If you have broken down and it is outside of normal business hours please contact the AA (Automobile Association) 24-hour roadside assistance. The details are outlined in the documentation provided by your car hire company.

Flights: If your flights have been delayed or cancelled or your luggage has been lost, the most effective way to handle this is to speak directly with the Airline especially if you are at the airport. You are more likely to get results from crew on the ground that fully understand the situation than phoning a help desk that is likely to be located in another city or country who don’t have up to the minute info. If you are going to miss arrangements because of flight delays, please try and contact suppliers directly if possible.

Accommodation: If you are unhappy with your room please talk to hotel reception. They will go out of their way to make the situation right. If you are still unhappy please contact us.

Emergency Numbers

Emergency: Police/ Fire/ Ambulance – Dial 111 – the operator will put you through to the relevant service.

Need a Doctor: For a visitor to New Zealand requiring non-emergency treatment go to the local ‘Accident and Medical Centre’ These are open early in the morning to late at night offering professional service with no fuss and a relatively low fee. To find your nearest facility either ask a local or Google ‘town accident and medical centre’

Important - Supplier Contact Details: All relevant contact details you need are found on your detailed daily itinerary NOT on the vouchers. The vouchers are purely for First Light Travel to communicate with either the operator or the hotel provider and may be booked through a head office or resellers (wholesaler) so the details on the voucher may not have all the information on them that is relevant to you.


Best Price Guarantee

We are confident our pricing gives outstanding value, so If you find a lower price published on another legitimate site we will refund the difference -  better still we will beat it!  

Earlybird Savings & Exclusive Online Specials!

Our exclusive specials and earlybird booking specials ensure your booking provides you with the best value, anywhere in the world! Our specials are always being updated and are LIVE on our website so you can see what the true cost is immediately!

For further details please visit our 'Price Guarantee' Page.

What do I need to know about Car Rental Insurance?

New Zealand Car Hire Insurance is different from other countries. To fully understand please read  New Zealand Rental Car Insurance - Demystified



Questions about First Light Travel

Why should I book with First Light Travel?

Since 2001 we’ve been helping visitors plan their dream holiday to New Zealand. We aim to make it effortless for you to have the holiday of a lifetime in our beautiful land. Well, we can think of at least 10 reasons to book your trip with us...

The misconception is that booking a trip with a tour operator or travel agent costs you more. Not true! The cost to you, the consumer, is the same and, often better as we pass on our good contract rates to you.

Information overload! There is too much destination information out there to wade through on the internet, travel books and magazines, friends recommendations and other sources. It can be overwhelming, confusing and time-consuming. Then, the actual planning, setting dates, reserving, following up, reconfirming, sending payments to various locations ... there is much to do. Your time is too valuable - let us make it a process whole lot easier for you.

The glamorous part of being in the travel business is we get to travel all the time. Yeah, someone’s got to do it! The reality is, we check out all the rooms and compare the boats, resorts and operators, meet and negotiate with adventure outfitters, airlines and so forth. Most importantly, we experience firsthand the diving, kayaking, rafting and other adventure activities. Can you believe that some dive & adventure travel companies do not have employees that dive or hike? We are all dive certified with thousands of dives under our belts. Travel is our passion and we pass on our valuable knowledge to you so you will reserve the trip that is right for you. An internet site or brochure might look amazing, but the reality can lead to big time bad experiences and then you have wasted your hard-earned vacation.

We’ve been in the travel business for many years! We know how to put together trips and what makes an itinerary work successfully. We represent only the most seasoned and reputable operators.

We coordinate every aspect of your trip. Airline connections, transfers, what works on certain days, what does not, the timing, the pacing - we know who to make it all work together. Let us handle getting you from point A to B to C for you.

We make sure you have exactly what you have requested - whether it is aisle seats, vegetarian meals, diving equipment rentals, king-size beds or honeymoon specials. As our valued clients we provide you with important pre-departure information, which includes recommended packing lists, visa and medical information, travel insurance, suggested readings, emergency contact numbers and more.

Just when you think a trip is all set, something happens. Whether it is something major like a hurricane or coup or minor like a flight cancellation, we can fix it for you. We can rearrange your trip to accommodate the change or come up with a viable alternative or handle the refund for you. We specialize in smoothing over the rough spots. We do it all the time. Also, our inbound operators are so amazing that if something happens to you in the field, they will handle any emergency or change with efficiency and care.….we provide 24/7 assistance by phone. We act as your travel advocate and deal with suppliers on your behalf.  

We are not a faceless, dot-com, travel consortium run by venture capitalists trying to retire in their 30s (too late for that!). We are people who love travel and have chosen it as our profession. Whether you contact us by email or over the telephone, we enjoy hearing from you and will fulfil your requests in a timely and personable manner. Many of our clients have become our friends and return to us time and time again. We all share the great passion of travel.

We will not corral you into a pre-packaged tour that is not right for you. All of our itineraries are customised for the travel you have requested. This is time-consuming and work-intensive for us, but we feel very strongly that your vacation time is golden and you should have the perfect itinerary that is right for your travel desires.

We value our clients and enjoy hearing your feedback and your thoughts on your next travel plans. We offer special deals to our clients and enjoy planning your trip with you. We are here for the long haul and want you to have many fabulous and exciting vacations with us!

In short, it’s our goal to inspire and enthuse you about your hard earned vacation. As a First Light Travel client, we provide you with comprehensive pre-travel information on what to do before you leave, suggested packing, vital documentation, money and medical matters, driving on the left, safety and more.

Don't take our word for it, check-out nearly 2 decades of Customer Feedback and Reviews

So what’s the next step? Contact us for an obligation free itinerary and quote. Then, relax and enjoy the convenience of having your locally-based travel specialist pull together options, pricing, and ideas. Everything from air tickets to car rentals, coach and train reservations, accommodation, insurance, and activities. We’d love to hear from you.

What does it cost to use your services?

Our Inspiration is free - we dont charge for our trip proposals.

If you would like some assistance in planning your trip, we ask that you use us to book your land based accommodation, rental car, activities, flights anything that you would normally pre-book.

What's more, we can often save you time and money. The misconception is that booking a trip with a tour operator or travel agent costs you more. Not true! The cost to you, the consumer, is the same and, often better as we pass on our good contract rates to you. Because we are local and have gone to great lengths to source the best value options available.

How do you earn your money? We earn our income (wages) from a commission paid to us by the tourism operator. This commission is deducted from the normal retail rate (the retail rate is the rate you would normally pay if you went direct to the supplier) 

Read the 10 reasons why you should use a Professional New Zealand Based Travel Agent 

Where can I find First Light Travel's guest testimonials?

To make your New Zealand travel dreams come true you need the right team in your corner. That’s where we come in! We’ve been helping travellers enjoy the very best of New Zealand since 2001 and have learnt plenty of tricks which will help you have a hassle free and super fun holiday. Our past guest testimonials speak volumes about our excellent service and tour planning ability.

See First Light Travel’s Testimonials and Reviews Page for feedback that has come to us either directly or has been pulled in from our social media channels.

A trustworthy source of reviews is social media, so here’s what our guests have to say …

Read Independent guest reviews posted on Facebook

Read Independent guest reviews posted on Google

Where are the First Light Travel offices?

Head Office Auckland CBD

We're in central Auckland, really handy to the CBD and waterfront. Our physical address is The Beach, Ground Floor 85 Beach Road, Auckland City, New Zealand.

Here's where we are on Google Maps.

Queenstown Office Near Airport

175 Glenda Drive, Queenstown.

Who is First Light Travel?

Started in 2001, First Light Travel is owned and operated by Brent Narbey and Nigel Williamson. Adventurers themselves, with more than a few travel stories of their own, they know the ins and outs of travelling both in New Zealand and around the globe. Both are absolute travel professionals with a lifetime in the industry, which means you couldn’t be in safer hands!

Backed by a dedicated team of passionate New Zealand Based Travel Specialists, we guarantee to deliver the holiday of a lifetime.

Do you have a sustainable tourism policy?

Good Question!

New Zealand has been described by National Geographic as a 'world in miniature'. New Zealand is a land of incredible natural wonders with a unique ecosystem featuring many species found only on these islands - and we want to keep it that way!

Please take your time and read First Light Travel's Sustainable Tourism Policy

Where can I find First Light Travel's video library?

Yes we love video and we are lucky to have a selection of great videos our guests have shared with us and a collection we have had made our-selves to show you as much as we can of our beautiful country.

Take me to First Light Travel's Video Library. 

What is Supplied in your New Zealand Documentation Pack?

Documents and 24/7 Support: We've got you covered!

When you touch down in New Zealand your detailed documentation pack will be hand-delivered by one of our trusted representatives. You'll find everything you need in one handy place: your personalised itinerary, clear instructions and maps, and reservation details for your accommodation and activities.

24 Hour Assistance: We’re just a free phone call away if you encounter any issues while you're on the road - at any time of day or night. Don’t waste your precious vacation time stressing - First Light Travel are here to help you quickly when every second counts.

Please take a look at our Documentation Pack Video 

Do you have a 'Carbon OffSett Programme'

For us, we recognise that our core business relies on the transportation of guests throughout our beautiful country and therefore there is a carbon cost to the environment. So after much brainstormingwe have embraced carbon offsetting and its reduction across all of our tourism businesses. We have taken the hands-on and dirty approach, simply put, we are PLANTING TREES. Not just by raising money but we are now actually turning soil - It's hot and back-breaking work, but here we are…

Apart from our head office in Auckland, we have offices in Arrowtown and Queenstown, so the challenge for us was finding a group of people who are committed and have a long-term vision to make a significant impact on the environment, so we could get involved and truly offset our emissions. That group of people turned out to be Arrowtown Choppers based in Arrowtown.

For more Information...

Pricing terms

The price is based on current exchange rates but is only an approximation. Please contact us for a final price