Documentation pack and 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 Auckland!
Welcome to Auckland, situated amongst a cluster of extinct volcanic cones, next to a large harbour that bustles with life, both on water and on land. The Auckland isthmus straddles a slim piece of land with coastline facing both the Pacific Ocean, and, on the wild West Coast, the Tasman Sea.
After checking into your hotel, relax, take a stroll around our beautiful city, explore the highly acclaimed Waterfront Restaurant Quarter or choose one of the many activities available to give a more in depth understanding of Auckland and the surrounding area.
Some Activities and sightseeing options if you have time:
|Explore Waiheke Island||Island Kayaking Adventure||America’s Cup Sailing|
|Auckland's Sky Tower||Relax on the Beach||Rangitoto Island Cruise & Walk|
|West Coast Wine Tour||Whale and Dolphin Safari||Muriwai Surf Beach|
Accommodation: Auckland - 1 Night
Bay of Islands - Dolphin Watching Cruise
Waitangi Treaty Grounds
This is the location of the first signing of the Treaty of Waitangi, New Zealand’s founding document and the accord between Maori Chiefs and the British Crown in 1840. Gain a deeper understanding during a guided tour of Waitangi with one of the traditional guides and enjoy a high-quality cultural performance in the beautifully carved meeting house (Whare Rūnanga). Explore one of New Zealand’s oldest and most visited historic homes and learn about the treasures within, visit treasures such as the Treaty House, Meeting House, Flagstaff and Ceremonial War Canoe.
Hole in the Rock Cruise
Board the Hole in the Rock Dolphin Watching Cruise. Spot some dolphins and see the historic Cape Brett Lighthouse. Skip through the majestic Hole in the Rock and take in the Grand Cathedral Cave before returning to the inner islands of the Bay.
Accommodation: Paihia - 2 Nights
Cape Reinga & Ninety Mile Beach
Today explore Cape Reinga - the very top of New Zealand, via idyllic Ninety Mile Beach. The driver will take the bus up the Te Paki Stream towards the mountainous sand dunes. Enjoy New Zealand's varying and beautiful landscape. Visit the Puketi Kauri Forest and see the majestic giant kauri trees and native bush. Return to the Bay of Islands in the evening after an unforgettable journey.
Paihia at Leisure - Auckland
Enjoy some free time in the Bay of Islands this morning before returning to Auckland late afternoon.
Some recommended excursions available in the Bay of Islands:
|Historical Island Cruise||Diving Rainbow Warrior||4WD Adventure Cape Reinga|
|Sailing the Islands||Dolphin Swimming||Giant Kauri Forest Walk|
|Cultural Tour of Waitangi||Golf at Kauri Cliffs||Sea Kayaking the Bay|
Accommodation: Auckland - 1 Night
Glowworm Caves - Rotorua
Waitomo Glowworm Caves
Waitomo – the name coming from the Maori words wai (water) and tomo (hole) is home to an astonishing landscape. Hidden under the green hills of Waitomo lies a labyrinth of caves, sinkholes and underground rivers. The caves were carved by underground streams pushing through soft limestone over thousands of years. Tour the amazing limestone caverns and sail through the still waters of the sparkling Waitomo Glow Worm Grotto - with plenty of time for your eyes to adjust to the darkness - intensifying the effect of thousands of softly shining glow worms.
Later, travel on to Rotorua, the cultural centre of New Zealand.
Accommodation: Rotorua - 2 Nights
Rotorua Sightseeing & Maori Cultural Evening
This morning experience the amazing Te Puia and be amazed by the geothermal forces at work in the area. Continue on to the Rainbow Springs Nature Park where you can join the Kiwi Encounter and then head over to the Agrodome Sheep Show for a taste of 'very kiwi' farm life. During the afternoon you can enjoy some free time.
Some recommendations for the afternoon:
|See Geysers & Boiling Mud||Polynesian Hot Springs||Whirinaki Forest Walk|
|Thermally Active Golf||Biking the Mighty Forests||Flight to Volcanic Island|
|Museum of Art & History||Evening Cultural Experience||White Water Rafting|
Maori Cultural Experience Rotorua
This evening we visit the Tamaki Tribal Village for an evening of culture. You will experience a traditionally prepared Maori Hangi (feast) followed by a cultural performance featuring Maori songs, chants and dance including the famous haka - lots of fun!
Rotorua - Napier
Continue your journey today across the Central Plateau to the Hawkes Bay region and the seaside town of Napier, often regarded as the world's Art Deco Capital. On arrival, after checking into your hotel. We recommend a walk around the town centre or a beach promenade.
This is a colorful, sunny city with the air of an affluent English seaside resort. A devastating natural disaster flattened Napier in 1931 leaving a blank canvas for city leaders to rebuilt in the favored style of the day - and that was Art Deco. Napier now proudly represents one of the few fully intact Deco city's remaining today. Art Deco, Spanish Mission and Stripped Classical buildings pepper Napier – This is as close as you are going to get to time travel!
Lonely Planet: A ‘charismatic’ New Zealand city ‘can provoke a Great Gatsby swagger in the least romantic soul’.
Napier: Accommodation - 2 Nights
The Grape Escape Wine Tour
The Hawkes Bay is one of New Zealand's premier wine producing regions. It is a veritable treasure trove of vineyards, offering wines of superlative quality, many of which have won both national and international acclaim.
Join a fun filled wine tasting afternoon in the sun driving through absolutely stunning scenery. Meet like-minded people and share an appreciation of this regions fantastic wine. We will visit four to five wineries and enjoy a cheese platter in the grounds of Ngatarawa Vineyard beside the lily pond. You will taste around 30 different wines including the main varieties, Merlot, Syrah, Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc, as well as Pinot Gris, Viognier and the lesser known aromatics such as Gewurztraminer and Riesling.
Napier - Wellington
The capital of New Zealand, Wellington, is our destination for this afternoon. This colourful city is a stronghold for culture and the arts, not to mention stunningly located on the edge of a picturesque harbour and at the foot of rolling green hills.
Accommodation: Wellington - 2 Nights
Wellington at Leisure - Visit Te Papa
Renowned for its eclectic, arty atmosphere, Wellington is a real kiwi cultural treat and numerous galleries and character-filled shops line its colourful streets. The Museum of New Zealand 'Te Papa' is full of national treasures and sits beside the water in the downtown area of the city centre - well worth a visit. Wellington is also famous for having some the New Zealand's best restaurants - gourmet dining experiences here are truly world class. Culture, cuisine and scenic beauty abound in New Zealand’s iconic capital.
Some suggestions to enhance your stay in Wellington:
|National Museum - Te Papa||Weta Workshop Tour|
|Zealandia Wildlife Reserve|
Interisland Cruise - Nelson
This morning you will take the ferry from Wellington to Picton. The Interislander cruise takes three hours to cross the Cook Strait. You will enter the beautiful Queen Charlotte Sound to Picton and will than set your feet onto “Te Waka a Maui”, the South Island. Once arrived in Picton enjoy your ride with the coach towards Nelson, the sunshine capital of New Zealand and gateway to the Abel Tasman National Park.
Accommodation: Nelson - 2 Nights
Cruise & Walk Abel Tasman National Park
Today you have a choice of a full Scenic Cruise or a cruise and walk from Marahau along the stunning Abel Tasman coastline. Abel Tasman National Park is our country's smallest national park. It protects 23,000 hectares of the most natural stretch of easily accessible coastline in New Zealand. The coastline is characterised by islands just offshore, sheltered waters, estuaries and golden, sandy beaches. Lie on a beach, or even go for a swim if the weather is warm. The park is sheltered from ocean swells, and enjoys a mild climate. After your cruise or walk we return to Nelson.
Nelson - Christchurch
Continue your journey today to Christchurch. Pass through the heart of the South Island, over the Southern Alps via the native bush-covered Lewis Pass and onto the eastern side towards Christchurch, the beautiful Garden City.
Accommodation: Christchurch - 1 Night
Christchurch - Mt Cook
Leave the city today westwards through the Canterbury plains, you will find a superb location for some great photos at Lake Tekapo. Tekapo is one of three significant, neighboring lakes that border the Mackenzie Valley in New Zealand's South Island. Golden tussock grass carpets the surrounding hillside and roll away into the distance where the Southern Alps frame the horizon. The charming 'Church of the Good Shepherd' sits alone on its shores and the views to our highest mountain, Aoraki Mt Cook are remarkable.
Accommodation: Mt Cook - 2 Nights
Tasman Glacier Explorer and Stargazing
Experience the Tasman Glacier Terminal Lake and its icebergs, in the National Park. A unique guided experience departing Mt Cook village by bus to the beautiful Tasman Valley followed by a 1/2hr gentle alpine walk. Board our MAC boat, and explore the Tasman Glacier Terminal Lake, where you will discover the ever-changing ice face of the Glacier and icebergs. Have you ever been alongside, discovered or touched an iceberg?Experience the Tasman Glacier Terminal Lake and its icebergs, in the National Park. A unique guided experience departing Mt Cook village by bus to the beautiful Tasman Valley followed by a 1/2hr gentle alpine walk. Board our MAC boat, and explore the Tasman Glacier Terminal Lake, where you will discover the ever-changing ice face of the Glacier and icebergs. Have you ever been alongside, discovered or touched an iceberg?
But it gets even better, recently earmarked as one of only three Grade 1 “Dark Sky Reserves” in the world, the Aoraki Mt Cook will show you an unforgettable night sky exposing the Milky Way Galaxy, Southern Cross, Alpha-Centauri and more. Your expert guides will get an insight into our universe and beyond, through both telescope and specialized binoculars...
Today you head South from Mount Cook, pass through the high country towns of Twizel and Omarama before entering the beautiful Lindis Pass, the pass offers a unique mountain and tussock grassland scenery - Lindis Pass Scenic Reserve was formed in 1976 and was one of the first tussock reserves in New Zealand. Relax as you take in the spectacular scenery that changes from rugged ranges and mirror lakes to the winding Kawarau River Gorge before, emerging into the lush green farmland surrounding Queenstown. Your destination for the next 4 days.
Accommodation Queenstown - 4 Nights
Queenstown - TSS Earnslaw Cruise
Full Steam Ahead
All aboard the vintage steamship TSS Earnslaw this old coal-fired beauty has been ferrying passengers around the lake for over a 100 years. Kids find the experience fascinating and love watching the stokers at work in the engine room and seeing the glowing fireboxes.
On arrival at Walter Peak High Country Farm on the western shores of Lake Wakatipu, you will get a real taste for rural New Zealand. Kids can pet and feed the lambs (during Spring - Oct to December) and other farmyard animals, watch the sheepdog's round-up a flock of sheep and see a shearing demonstration. The high country air works up a healthy appetite, so the trip includes morning or afternoon tea with fresh scones with jam.
Milford Sound Nature Cruise
Today promises to be one of the major highlights of your time in New Zealand. We journey to Te Anau, the gateway to the stunning Fiordland National Park, before driving the spectacular Milford Road. Lush forests, glacier-carved valleys, snowy peaks and mirror-like lakes dot this very special driving experience into a renowned World Heritage Site. Continuing through the hand-carved Homer Tunnel and on to Milford Sound itself, the views of this grand fiord are breath taking. We explore its inky waters on a boat cruise, soaking up the surroundings of granite cliffs, tumbling waterfalls and unique wildlife before journeying back to Queenstown.
Queenstown Shotover Jet & Gondola
Enjoy today a Shotover Jet Boat Trip and discover and explore every aspect of this magnificent area through a combination of exciting jet boating.
If you want to enjoy spectacular scenic views, you can sit back and relax in the Skyline Queenstown Gondola (cost of Gondola included). The steepest cable car lift in the Southern Hemisphere and one of the must-do activities in Queenstown.
Recommended Queenstown excursions if you have time:
|Routeburn Day Walk||Highest Bungey Jump||Explore Arrowtown|
|Biking Skippers Canyon||Round at Millbrook Golf Resort|
|Earnslaw Steamboat Cruise||Dart River Jetboat Safari|
Queenstown - Franz Josef Glacier
Continue today to Franz Josef, travel along the rugged West Coast Road and over the Haast Pass. Discover the rich alpine rainforest as you journey through this historic region. Through the Gates of Haast is a lost world that’s so spectacular and remote UNESCO designated it a World Heritage area.
In the summer months there is free time to explore Franz Josef township. Perhaps take a scenic flight over the magnificent Franz Josef Glacier or over Mt. Cook, the highest mountain in the southern hemisphere or a valley walk with a local glacier guide (all own expense). The magnificent Franz Josef Glacier is widely regarded as the gem of New Zealand’s West Coast glaciers. Take the opportunity to experience the most spectacular glacier environment anywhere in the world, offering a range of glacier hiking options.
Accommodation: Franz Josef - 2 Nights
Franz Josef at Leisure
Today is a free day to explore the region around Franz Josef. You are in the heart of the Westland National Park, considered to be the most diverse and beautiful areas in New Zealand and the home of the Kea, a protected native parrot that thrives in the chilly environment and is infamous for its inquisitive and often destructive behaviour!
Excursions available in and around the Franz Josef area:
|Glacier Hot Pools||Glacier Scenic Flight|
|Walk to Glacier Face||Glacier Heli-hike|
TranzAlpine Rail Journey - Christchurch
This morning you will travel by coach to Greymouth. Then you will board the Tranzalpine to Christchurch. The TranzAlpine Train, renowned as one of the great train journeys of the world. Descend through spectacular gorges, river valleys and over massive viaducts before completing your journey at Christchurch.
Accommodation: Christchurch - 1 Night
"Haere rā" Goodbye! and Bon Voyage! Today we say farewell. We take care of your transfer to Christchurch Airport where you will board your onward flight, taking with you the magical memories of a truly exceptional New Zealand holiday.
What is an Independent Coach Tour?
- 3 to 4 Star Hotels
- Experienced Driver Guides
- Detailed and informative commentary
- Travel in an air-conditioned coach
- 24 Hour Assistance
- Daily Departures
- Waitangi Visit
- Hole in the Rock Cruise
- Cape Reinga & Ninety Mile Beach Tour
- Waitomo Glowworm Caves
- Maori Cultural Experience Rotorua
- Te Papa National Museum
- Interislander Ferry
- Milford Sound Nature Cruise
- Shotover Jet & Gondola Queenstown
- TSS Earnslaw Cruise
- TranzAlpine Rail Journey
- Return airport transfers - flight details to be provided 14 days prior to travel
What Jess says about this tour: This is a fantastic three week long trip with.a relaxed pace of travel with multi day stopovers and the ability to visit some of our more out of the way locations. Enjoy an Island and dolphin cruise in the Bay of Island and visit the beautiful Hawkes Bay and visit their top vineyards. Abel Tasman National Park is another highlight of this trip and Milford Sound and Queenstown will be the icing on the cake.Enquire Now