Nature and Wildlife Discovery Itinerary


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  


Arrive in Auckland

Haere Mai and Welcome to the 'City of Sails'

Relax, you are officially on holiday! We have arranged for you to be met and transferred to your accommodation. The remainder of the day is yours to do as you please. There is plenty to see and do in Auckland. New Zealand’s largest city is located between two large harbours and 48 extinct volcanic cones scattered over the city are evidence of it's volancic past. They also provide a perfect location for viewing the city! A diversely cultural place, Auckland is a great location for marine adventures, wine tasting, forest walks and urban sophistication.

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

The modern and spacious Skycity Hotel Auckland is located right in the CBD and allows you to relax in style while enjoying more than 20 restaurants, cafes and bars, a theatre, free live entertainment on selected nights and the iconic Sky Tower - all right at your doorstep. Each air-conditioned room includes a private bathroom, minibar, satellite TV, including CCTV channels, and 24-hour room service. All rooms have a view of the courtyard, city skyline or Auckland Harbour.
Skycity Hotel - Auckland


Auckland - Hobbiton - Waitomo Caves - Rotorua

Depart Auckland this morning and travel through lush farmland to Matamata. Take a guided tour of the famous Hobbiton Movie Set, located on a picturesque 1,250 acre sheep and beef farm. Here, the village of Hobbiton was carefully created in amazing detail as a film location for the Lord of the Rings and Hobbit movie trilogies.

During your guided tour you will see sights such as Hobbit holes, the Mill and the Green Dragon Inn, and you will learn how farmland was transformed into a living, breathing piece of Middle-earth. After exploring Hobbiton, enjoy a delicious lunch at the Green Dragon Inn.

At the world famous Waitomo Glowworm Caves, take a 45-minute guided tour through impressive underground caverns and learn how stalactites, stalagmites and other limestone structures were formed over millions of years. Your tour includes a boat ride through the Glowworm Grotto – glide silently along an underground river as you gaze at the twinkling glowworms overhead.

After visiting Waitomo and Hobbiton, continue to Rotorua, arriving in the early evening.

Accommodation Rotorua - 2 Nights

This 4.5 star deluxe property is perfectly situated next to mystical Lake Rotorua and is just a brief stroll from the City centre, close to many restaurants and bars. The hotel offers world class residential style accommodation that is suitable for those travelling on business and for leisure. Restaurant Nikau offers a good range of evening menu choices, from the Restaurant's famous Nikau Burger to fine dining options, while the Brassiere Poolside Restaurant is the perfect place to start your day with an alfresco style breakfast beside the geothermal heated pool.
Millenium Hotel Rotorua


Rotorua Sightseeing & Maori Cultural Evening

This morning you will discover three of Rotorua's best visitor attractions on a sightseeing tour. 

Gain an insight into New Zealand's Māori culture at Te Puia, then experience Rotorua's famous geothermal activity with a tour of the neighbouring Whakarewarewa Thermal Valley - a place where mud pools bubble and boil and geysers shoot steam high into the air. You'll also see Te Puia's woodcarving and weaving schools and see how these ancient Māori art forms are being passed on to a new generation of master artists. You will 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. 

Maori Cultural Experience
The Mitai Maori Village offers you an authentic introduction to Maori culture.This indigenous cultural experience incorporates a traditional hangi meal, cultural performance, warrior canoe and sacred freshwater spring.

See warriors in traditional attire paddling in an ancient warrior canoe, view glow worms in their natural habitat and walk around at the sacred freshwater spring. Feast on a traditionally cooked hangi meal cooked in the ground. See displays of weaponry and combat, coupled with the grace and beauty of the poi dance. You’ll learn about Maori history, carvings and ta moko (tattoo art).



Rotorua to Wellington

This morning you will continue by coach south to Wairakei - wreathed by steam, then to Taupo. Skirt Lake Taupo, and cross the volcanic landscape of the Desert Road past the majestic peaks of Tongariro, Ngaruahoe and Ruapehu. You will continue across the fertile plains of the Manawatu and along the rugged Kapiti coastline to Wellington. Your arrival in Wellington will be in the late afternoon. 

Accommodation Wellington - 1 Night

The 4.5 Star Novotel Wellington is located in the heart of the CBD. Enjoy Harbour views of the city in our luxury rooms designed with splashes of colour and comfort. A selection of modern spacious rooms with en suite bath/shower, ergonomic work area, LCD TV with pay movies and WiFi internet access, hair dryer, minibar, tea/coffee
Novotel Wellington


Wellington - Picton - Christchurch

This morning you will take the ferry from Wellington to Picton.

Once arrived in Picton you can enjoy a ride on the Coastal Pacific Train to Christchurch. Winding down the rugged East Coast of the South Island, the Coastal Pacific showcases both towering mountains and surging ocean. Travelling between Picton – located at the tip of the South Island - and the city of Christchurch, this very special train journey makes a magnificent addition to any New Zealand holiday.

After your arrival in Christchurch you will be transferred to your accommodation. 

Somme Suggested Activities If you have time

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


Christchurch - Dunedin

Depart Christchurch and head south through the seaside town of Timaru and onto Oamaru known for their creamy limestone buildings. Pass Moeraki Beach where rounded boulders are embedded in the sand. The arrival in Dunedin will be in the early afternoon. Majestic Victorian architecture dots the city centre, but one of the main attractions is the rare wildlife that lives here. Dunedin is home to rare yellow-eyed penguins as well as the world’s only accessible mainland colony of Northern Royal Albatross. These princely ocean adventurers are thrilling to see up-close. Experience Dunedin your way with an afternoon of free time. Take a wildlife cruise, visit the Cadbury Chocolate Factory or enjoy a historic rail experience on the Taieri Gorge Railway.

Accommodation Dunedin - 2 Nights

This contemporary quality 4-star hotel accommodation is located the heart of Dunedin and is filled with modern local artwork. Located just blocks from the Octagon and walking distance of many of the city’s main attractions like the fabulous First Church of Otago, and handy to great restaurants and shopping centres. Amenities Include: Free WiFi, Restaurant & Cafe/Bar, Fitness Centre, Valet Car Parking, Conference Facilities.
Scenic Hotel Dunedin


Otago Peninsula Wildlife Tour

Today you will tour the beautiful Otago Peninsula with a focus on wildlife. Visit a private conservation area that will give you fantastic opportunities to photograph Hooker's Sea lions, Yellow-eyed Penguins,  Blue Penguins, a breeding colony of New Zealand Fur Seals and other sea bird colonies. 

Enjoy a fascinating Wildlife Cruise around Taiaroa Head and the surrounding coastline of dramatic cliffs. Watch the New Zealand Furseals play and swim near their breeding colonies, out at sea you can spot rarely seen ocean birds including other albatross species and petrels, and you may see penguins, dolphins and other marine mammals.

The Otago Peninsula was described by the internationally-acclaimed environmentalist Dr David Bellamy as “the finest example of eco-tourism in the world."


Dunedin - Te Anau

Take some time and explore Dunedin. Visit the Larnach Castle or enjoy a historic rail experience on the Taieri Gorge Railway or one of the other interesting spots. This afternoon, travel by coach across fertile farming land and pass by spectacular mountains to the beautiful shores of Lake Te Anau. You will arrive in the late afternoon into the township of Te Anau. 

Accommodation Te Anau - 1 Night

Distinction Luxmore Hotel provides comfortable newly refurbished accommodation in one of New Zealand's most popular scenic areas - Te Anau. Within easy walking distance of the township, surrounded by all local services, this 4-star hotel welcomes guests with 2 restaurants, free self parking, a fitness centre and FREE unlimited WiFi. Luxmores management and staff take pride in providing a warm, friendly and efficient service to all guests.
Distinction Luxmore Hotel


Majestic Milford Sound Cruise

Milford Sound Nature Cruise  
No visit to New Zealand is complete without a pilgrimage to the "Eighth Natural Wonder of the World": Milford Sound.

The Milford Road takes you from Te Anau to Milford Sound on one of the most scenic drives on the planet. A glorious labyrinth of soaring peaks is punctuated by unspoiled rainforest, plunging valleys, azure lakes, waterfalls, and glaciers.

Keep a lookout for our cheeky alpine parrot, the Kea. These super-intelligent and mischievous birds are a delight to see in the wild.

Arriving in Milford, you will board your purpose-built cruise vessel and sail the length of the Sound, dwarfed by towering cliffs and waterfalls all around you. The onboard nature guide will tell you all about the seals, penguins, and dolphins who frequently visit this mesmerising location.

Wildlife to watch out for: Bottlenose, Dusky and Hector's Dolphins, Whio (blue duck), NZ Fur Seal, Little Blue Penguin, Fiordland Crested Penguin, Kea, Oystercatcher, Sooty Shearwater

Accommodation Queenstown - 2 Nights

Sitting on the crystal-clear shores of Lake Wakatipu, Novotel Gardens is centrally located - only a five-minute walk to town on level ground - home to prime restaurants and boutique shopping. Rooms are spacious and comfortable with views from private balconies over manicured landscapes, with the property being adjacent to the beautiful Queenstown Gardens.

Novotel Queenstown


TSS Earnslaw Steamboat Cruise - Walter Peak Gourmet BBQ Lunch

Today you will board the TSS Earnslaw. Enjoy a scenic cruise from Queenstown, across stunning Lake Wakatipu to Walter Peak High Country Farm on the vintage steamship TSS Earnslaw. A delicious BBQ Lunch will be served on the sun terrace at the Colonels Homestead. When you returned to Queenstown you will have some free time to explore the city. 

Recommended Queenstown excursions if you have time:

Routeburn Day Walk Highest Bungey Jump Explore Arrowtown

Wine Tasting Central Otago      

Biking Skippers Canyon       Round at Millbrook Golf Resort
Earnslaw Steamboat Cruise   Dart River Jetboat Safari      

Gibbston Valley Wine Trail



Queenstown - Auckland - Bon Voyage!

Homeward Bound"Haere rā" Goodbye! and Bon Voyage!

It is time to say goodbye. This morning you will be transferred to the airport to catch your flight to Auckland. From Auckland you may choose to stay an extra night, or you can organise your flight home to link up with your arrival back in Auckland.  

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

* Please note the flight from Queenstown to Auckland is additional as flight prices change on a daily basis.


What is an Independent Coach Tour

Tour inclusions

  • 4 Star Accommodation
  • Experienced Driver Guides
  • Detailed and informative commentary
  • Travel in an air-conditioned coach
  • 24 Hour Assistance
  • Daily Departures
  • Waitomo Glowworm Caves
  • Mitai Hangi & Concert
  • Te Puia Geothermal Experience
  • Rainbow Springs Nature Park
  • Agrodome Farm Show
  • Wellington City Sights Tour
  • Ferry from Wellington to Picton
  • Coastal Pacific Train Ride to Christchurch
  • Monarch Cruise Tour
  • Walter Peak Gourmet BBQ Lunch
  • Milford Sound Nature Cruise (including lunch)

Profile picture for user Tracy
What Tracy says about this tour: This is a well designed tour with all the main locations included - and also goes beyond the normal stops - adding in the beauty of Dunedin and the Otago Peninsula before heading inland to Fiordland. This trip would suit nature lovers who prefer an 11 day itinerary - then this is it.
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