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.
What's also included?
|Dedicated Travel Consultant||Detailed Daily Itinerary and Vouchers|
|Full 24 Hour Support||50 Page Essential New Zealand Guide|
Welcome to New Zealand
Kia Ora, welcome to Christchurch, New Zealand’s second-largest city and the gateway to the South Island.
Bordered by the Pacific Ocean, Christchurch is our "Garden City", blessed with beautiful parks and gardens right in the heart of town. English heritage buildings sit side by side with innovative post-earthquake regeneration in this vibrant place.
After settling in, why not relax with punting trip down the Avon River? Gliding gently along in a flat-bottomed boat, you will take in Christchurch's 'must-see' historic attractions and botanic gardens away from the hustle and bustle of the streets.
Chill out and enjoy your first day in New Zealand - the adventure starts tomorrow!
Some suggested activities to help you to get to know the region
|Easygoing Cycling Tour||Punting the Avon River||Lyttelton Harbour Wildlife Cruise|
|Māori Cultural Evening||French Akaroa Tour||Southern Alps Ballooning|
|Christchurch Gondola||Clearwater Golf||Arthur's Pass TranzAlpine Hike|
Accommodation: Christchurch - 1 night
Aoraki / Mount Cook via Beautiful Lake Tekapo
Leaving the city behind, you'll drive to Aoraki / Mt Cook National Park today for your first taste of pristine New Zealand backcountry.
On the scenic drive south, enjoy the high-country splendour of the Mackenzie Basin before reaching peaceful Lake Tekapo. Be sure to visit the tiny Church of The Good Shepherd by the shore of the turquoise lake, dwarfed by an impressive mountain backdrop.
Just over an hour away, Mount Cook Village awaits you. Home to New Zealand's highest mountain, and boasting 23 peaks over 3000m tall, Aoraki / Mt Cook National Park will take your breath away.
Tonight, wrap up warm and point your eyes towards the heavens: when the stars come out in this Dark Sky Reserve, you can witness one of the greatest light shows on earth.
Approximate Distance: 332 km | 206 miles Total Driving Time: 4 hours
Accommodation: Mt Cook - 2 nights
Glacial Lands: The Hooker Valley Track
Step into an ice-capped world of giant glaciers and alpine meadows on a guided walk on one of New Zealand's finest one-day trails: the Hooker Valley Track.
Hooker Valley Guided Hike: 5 Hours Walking
This stunning 11 km (6.8 miles) trek leads you to the terminal lake of the Hooker Glacier. The trail winds through the Hooker Valley in the shadow of Aoraki /Mount Cook, crossing the mighty Hooker River on old-fashioned swing bridges. When you reach the lake there are unsurpassed vistas of Aoraki / Mount Cook's south face and the surrounding glaciers.
With a knowledgeable guide by your side, the unique history, flora, and fauna of the area are brought alive while you walk.
History, Steampunk and Penguins: Journey to Oamaru
Heading back to the coast today, you'll discover the heritage town of Oamaru, where you can glimpse the world's smallest (and cutest) penguin at nightfall.
Arriving in Oamaru, step back in time with a stroll through the Victorian Precinct. The splendid nineteenth-century whitestone buildings are home to an array of galleries and specialty stores.
Oamaru is considered the Steampunk capital of the world, and the Steampunk Museum in town is well worth a look.
Visit Oamaru Harbour at sunset for a special treat. Each night as darkness falls, a local colony of Little Blue Penguins waddle up the steep bank to return to their nests. Locals and visitors alike gather to watch the penguin parade, a sight not to be missed
Approximate Distance: 210 kms | 130 miles Total Driving Time: 2 hours 30 Min
Accommodation: Oamaru - 1 Night
Dunedin via the Moeraki Boulders & Wildlife Experience
Your journey down the east coast continues towards the old university town of Dunedin.
Be sure to stop en route at Koekohe Beach to admire the Moeraki Boulders. There are over 50 of these 65-million-year-old natural wonders strewn along the sands. They are up to 2 metres wide and the largest weight around 7 tonnes!
The name "Dunedin" comes from the Scots-Gaelic name for Edinburgh: "Dun Eideann" and you won't have to look hard to see the Scottish influence in this lovely old university town
This afternoon take an unforgettable wildlife tour exploring the wild Otago Peninsula. Bus out early-afternoon along the scenic roads of the Otago Peninsula. You will visit the Penguin Place Conservation Reserve, home to the beautiful, quirky Yellow Eyed Penguin - the most endangered penguin in the world, found only on the South East Coast of New Zealand. This is followed by a cruise where you get to see one of the worlds only mainland nesting locations of the Royal Albatross. Whilst cruising you'll watch as NZ Fur seals play and swim near their breeding colonies.
Approximate Distance: 113 km | 70 miles Total Driving Time: 1 hour 28 Min
Accommodation: Dunedin - 1 Night
Clyde - Gold Rush Fever
Today's destination, Clyde, is a beautifully preserved historic township nestled in a gorge beside the mighty Clutha River. Just 10 minutes northwest of Alexandra, this gorgeous Central Otago town was born of gold, fruit trees, and the Otago Central Railway.
In 1862, two prospecting miners headed to the banks of the Clutha River alongside Clyde. After they struck gold, a ‘rush’ soon followed. At its peak, the mining community swelled to 14,000 people, and the town included 28 pubs and 30 opium dens!
Today Clyde is more famous for its wealth of orchards and vineyards, but many historic turn-of-the-century buildings are still standing proud and strong.
Approximate Distance: 197 kms | 122 miles Total Driving Time: 2 hours 29 Min
Accommodation: Clyde - 1 Night
Tranquil Te Anau: Gateway to Fiordland
Swapping coastal beauty for mountain majesty, today you will journey Te Anau, the gateway to Fiordland National Park.
Te Anau is another area of breathtaking natural beauty, and several key Lord of The Rings movie scenes were filmed amid the unspoiled forests and lakes of this region.
Immerse yourselves in the gorgeous surroundings: flight-seeing, fly fishing, kayaking, sailing and horse riding are all on offer and are great ways to get up close to nature. You can also visit the underground waterfall and glow-worm grotto of the Te Anau Caves.
Some of the best-loved New Zealand Great Walks begin nearby, such as the Routeburn, and Kepler Tracks. And of course the iconic Milford Track, which welcomes you tomorrow.
Approximate Distance: 290 km | 7180miles Total Driving Time: 4 hours
Accommodation: Te Anau - 2 Nights
The Splendour of Milford Sound
Milford Track Guided Hike: 3.5 Hours Walking, Distance 11 km (6.8 mi)
Prepare to be awed by some of the most dramatic scenery New Zealand has to offer as the Milford Track carries you towards the splendor of Milford Sound.
Milford Track Guided Walk and Cruise
You begin with a short boat ride to Sandfly point, where you'll enter a realm of ancient forests filled with countless species of ferns and springy mosses. As you and your guide walk alongside the cascading Arthur river, you are treated to impressive views of the powerful Giants Gate falls.
After exploring on foot to your heart's content, you'll board your cruise vessel and sail the full length of the Milford Sound, dwarfed by towering cliffs all around you. The onboard nature guide will tell you all about the seals, penguins, and dolphins who frequently visit this mesmerising location.
Routeburn Track Day 1: The Divide to Lake Mackenzie
After driving back through Te Anau to The Divide, you'll begin your Routeburn experience with a hike to Lake Mackenzie Lodge.
You'll start with an ascent along the well-formed track towards Key Summit. Admire pristine alpine landscapes and enjoy the fresh mountain air as you gaze down at the three valleys far below!
Pausing at Lake Howden Hut for lunch, you will then ascend through lush silver beech forest to the cascading Earland Falls. Drink in the views of the Hollyford Valley and the ice-capped Darran Mountains before descending to Lake Mackenzie.
A welcome hot shower, a three-course meal, and a comfy bed await you at Lake Mackenzie Lodge.
Meals: Lunch and Dinner
Walking Distance: 13 km (8 mi) - 5 to 6 Hours
Accommodation: Lake Mackenzie Lodge - 1 Night
Routeburn Track Day 2: Lake Mackenzie to Routeburn Falls
Climbing out of the Mackenzie Basin, cross the Hollyford Face to the Harris Saddle before descending to the delightful Routeburn Falls.
Emerging from the forest this morning, you find yourselves in one of greatest natural gardens on earth. You will feast your eyes on all manner of daisies and buttercups, gentians and edelweiss and other fascinating alpine plants.
For many hikers, the traverse along the Hollyford Face offers the most spectacular scenery of the whole track. With the Darran Mountains ahead and the Hollyford Valley far below, you are in a big country.
At the end of today's walk, you're greeted by the welcome sight of the Routeburn Falls and the stunning lower valley.
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Walking Distance: 15 km (9 mi) - 5 to 7 Hours
Accommodation: Routeburn Falls Lodge - 1 Night
Routeburn Track Day 3: Routeburn Falls to the Routeburn Road
For your final day on the Routeburn, you can take it easy - the hard work is over!
Descending to Routeburn Flats through gorgeous beech forest, the landscape transforms before your eyes as the altitude lowers. Below the flats, the Routeburn River surges between boulders in frothing white torrents before resting in clear jade pools where you can stop for a swim.
Your adventure ends with a gentle stroll through a gnarled red beech forest, and you emerge at the Routeburn Road where a coach will be waiting to return you to civilization.
The drive back to Queenstown along the eastern edge of Lake Wakatipu is the icing on the cake. One of the most scenic drives in the South Island, it's the perfect way to round off your Routeburn experience.
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch
Walking Distance: 10 km (6 mi) - 3 to 4 Hours
Accommodation: Queenstown - 2 nights
Queenstown at Leisure
A full day for you to enjoy Queenstown and its surrounds.
Adrenalin junkies, we can arrange virtually any activity you can think of from a bungy jump into Kawarau Gorge, a swing across Shotover Canyon, or a skydive into Paradise.
For a more peaceful day, there are beautiful drives in the local area. Head to historic Arrowtown for quaint streetscapes and leafy views. Or drive to Glenorchy for a horseback ride through Lord of The Rings country. You could explore local wineries, cheese-eries and orchards by car or by bike.
Like the landscape the options are endless: chat to our travel specialists for more great suggestions for your perfect Queenstown day.
Recommended Queenstown excursions:
|Routeburn Day Walk||Highest Bungey Jump||Explore Arrowtown|
|Biking Skippers Canyon||Round at Millbrook Golf Resort|
|Earnslaw Steamboat Cruise||Dart River Jetboat Safari|
WILL I BE FIT ENOUGH FOR THE ROUTEBURN TRACK?
To enjoy your walk you need to be able to carry a medium-sized backpack for 4-8 hours over 10-21km (6 to 13 mi) of mountain track each day. To maximize your enjoyment we encourage you to set your own pace while walking the track, there is no need to keep up with the fastest walkers. There is always a guide at the back of the party. The track surface varies from smooth well-formed paths to rough terrain broken up by rocks and tree roots and we recommend you wear hiking boots, which provide firm ankle support. If you are not a regular walker, we suggest you begin a daily walk regime 6-8 weeks before your departure. Some practice carrying a pack and hill/staircase walking during this time will make you even better prepared for your walk.