Your Private Driver/Guide
When you touch down in New Zealand you will be met at the airport by Your Private Driver/Guide.
Our guides have been with us for a long time and are seasoned professionals. Our aim is to give ‘you’ our guests a memorable experience of New Zealand and its stunning scenery. With years of experience in tourism in New Zealand, we guarantee that you will receive a first-class service!
The best part about our guides is that they are local and chances are they have their go-to destinations that only locals know about. Whether it’s a hole-in-the-wall restaurant, a favourite local pub, or a fantastic attraction that most tourists overlook, our guides can help recommend authentic experiences that you may not discover on your own.
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!
Haere Mai Welcome to the 'City of Sails' Auckland.
Relax, you are officially on holiday! Your guide will meet you at the airport and transfer you to your accommodation. The remainder of the day is yours to do as you please and to let the family get over the time difference as tomorrow is the start of your New Zealand Family Adventure. Take a stroll around our beautiful city with your family, 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 - 2 nights
Kelly Tarltons Underwater Aquarium
Be immersed in our underwater world, and discover the learning opportunities at Kelly Tarlton’s.
Highlights of a trip include getting up close to New Zealand’s only colony of Sub-Antarctic Penguins – the majestic Kings and playful Gentoos. Come face to face with thousands of marine creatures including sting rays, sharks, octopus and more.
Pauanui, Coromandel Peninsula - Relax You're at the Beach!
This morning you will be driven to natures playground! - The beaches of the Coromandel Peninsula. An impressive, heavily forested mountain range runs right up the middle of this peninsula - it’s bordered on each side by kilometres of spectacular coastline.
Fabulous twin harbour towns on the Peninsula's east coast, Tairua and Pauanui offer a superb setting beside the Pacific Ocean. Pauanui is a purpose-built holiday community that features the country's first canal housing development. Close by is Paku, a twin-coned Maori pa sculptured hillside that was once an island while offshore lies the Slipper, Shoe & Alderman Islands.
We recommend you take the scenic boat trip to the spectacular Cathedral Cove and sit on one of the world’s best beaches for the afternoon - only 10 minutes away by boat or an hour's walk. Alternatively, you can arrange to snorkel the fantastic Hahei Marine Reserve or explore the stunning coastline by kayak.
Approximate Distance: 170 km | 105 miles Total Driving Time: 2 hours 15 mins
Accommodation: Coromandel - 2 nights
Free Day - Try Hot Water Beach
We are going to continue the same theme today - Relax!
Head to the beautiful Hot Water Beach, you will find hot water bubbling through the golden sand. Families, kids and couples can be seen digging their own spa pool in the sand and relaxing in the natural hot springs - this is one experience that should be on your New Zealand bucket list and a truly unique Kiwi experience, perfect for a New Zealand Family Adventure Holiday.
Recommended excursions in and around the Coromandel:
|Dive the Aldermans||Soak in the Lost Springs||Visit Cathedral Cove|
|Soak in Hot Water Beach||Rainforest Rail Journey||Explorer Cruise|
|Water Works Park||Guided Sea Kayaking||Kauri Forest Guided Hike|
Rotorua: Thermal Wonderland & Natural Hot Pools
Rotorua is awesome for kids and being the Geothermal and Maori cultural center of New Zealand, Rotorua offers some really unique experiences. When you think about it, its obvious why early Maori settlers were attracted here, imagine living in a world without power and stumbling across an endless supply of boiling water making the usually laborious tasks of cooking, bathing and heating very easy - no effort required. The area quickly became a significant Maori stronghold and remains so today.
Approximate Distance: 217kms | 135 miles Total Driving Time: 2 hour 55 mins
Accommodation Rotorua - 3 nights
A Rotorua: Climbing Trees and Wildlife
Today the kids will be in their element as tree climbers and nature lovers.
Treewalk amongst the Redwoods is a one of a kind eco-tourism walk that provides a unique experience for visitors to Rotorua. It offers an accessible, low-level adrenaline experience for all ages that captures the beauty and spirit of this famous forest.
Following these lofty heights set off to Rainbow Springs, the proud home of the National Kiwi Hatchery Aotearoa, the world's leading kiwi hatchery! We're extremely proud to be have hatched over 1900 kiwi chicks to date, making us the world's largest and most successful hatching centre. Learn all about the efforts of our kiwi husbandry team, discover what it takes to hatch a chick...and if you're really lucky, see baby chicks in person!
Visit a Thermal Wonderland
Wai-O-tapu Thermal Wonderland
Just south of Rotorua lies Wai-O-tapu, a wonderland of stunning geothermal activity and a really exciting place for both kids and adults to visit. Wai-O-Tapu means 'Sacred Water' and it is easy to see why as the hot pools range in colour from turquoise blue, rich green and gold to an almost olive/yellow, make the water at Waiotapu a dazzling kaleidoscope of natural colour caused by the many mineral salts in the water including arsenic, gold and silver. This is the home to the world famous Champagne Pool, seen by many as the most beautiful example of geothermal activity around. The steaming vents with New Zealand’s largest bubbling mud pool while being surrounded by huge volcanic craters make the experience very other worldly - but wait, there is more... the Highlight is the Lady Knox Geyser that spectacularly erupts daily at around 10.15am (ish) - The kids will love that.
Shhhhhh here’s a little Secret: Your guide will take the family for a soak in a free natural hot pool. Just past the 1st entrance of 'Waiotapu Thermal Park' is another about 500 meters (1640 ft) further down the road, take this second entrance and drive another 500 metres (1640 ft) down this tiny winding road and you'll come across a small bridge. Make your way down the bank into the steamy stream.
Fly to Christchurch & Board a Tram
Fly south to Christchurch.
Hop on board one of Christchurch’s heritage trams to explore the city from a unique vantage point. The Christchurch tramway weaves through the city, down streets closed to other vehicles, and past some of the city’s key attractions such as the iconic Re:START Mall, Cathedral Junction, the Avon River, Gothic-style Arts Centre, and New Zealand’s most beautiful street – New Regent Street.
It’s a kid-friendly attraction with an ongoing narrative of the sights and history of the area. In our experience, the tram drivers are friendly and engaging.
Accommodation Christchurch - 2 nights
Visit Quirky Lyttelton
A short 15-minute drive from Christchurch city will see you in the quirky portside town of Lyttelton. The town itself is well worth a stroll, as it’s brimming with boutiques selling locally made art and delicacies. Ferries depart Lyttelton mid-morning and return mid-afternoon, leaving you just the right amount of time to walk, explore and enjoy a picnic lunch on the island. Quail Island is uninhabited and it’s a great place to discover at your own pace. Kids will love passing the island’s shipwrecks, former leper colony and early European quarantine station. Stop to swim and build sandcastles on the island’s beaches and keep an eye out for NZ’s native birds who call the island home – including the white flippered penquins.
You must also visit the best playground ever - named after Margaret Mahy a Christchurch resident and New Zealand's most beloved childrens author of a Lion in the Meadow, The Man whose Mother was a Pirate, Down the Back of the Chair, and my favourite a Summery Saturday morning - all worth tracking down.
Approximate Distance: 12 kms | 8 Total Driving Time: 20 mins
Lake Tekapo and Mt Cook
On the way to Mt Cook a picnic at Lake Tekapo is recommended. This superb high country location offers some stunning photo opportunitys and is a great place to let the kids go for a swim. 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, Mt Cook, are remarkable.
Approximate Distance: 333 kms | 206 miles Total Driving Time: 3 hours 45 mins
Accommodation Mt. Cook - 1 night
Solve a Puzzle in Wanaka - then Continue to Queenstown
Wanaka is located on the southern shores of Lake Wanaka, embraced by the Southern Alps, Wanaka is Otago's second resort town after Queenstown. The crystal-clear waters of Lake Wanaka, New Zealand's fourth largest lake, reflect the snow-capped peaks of Mount Aspiring National Park. Here you can absorb the unstoppable beauty of pristine wilderness and know that it will be easy to find a great restaurant for dinner. The township of Wanaka is a magnet for visitors who want to find the perfect combination of outdoor adventure and indoor luxury. There are comfortable places to stay, great shops and eateries — and all the time there's the call of the wild.
The drive from Cook to Wanaka takes just over 2 hours - a great place for a break before a short but dazzling 1 hour drive to Queenstown. In Wanaka if you do get into town before lunch and want to get the kids out and about, then we suggest visiting Puzzling World, with a Maze and several bafflling rooms to explore.
Approximate Distance: 274 kms | 128 miles Total Driving Time: 3 hours 40 mins
Accommodation Queenstown - 3 nights
TSS Earnslaw Cruise to Walter Peak High Country Farm
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.
Gondola & Luge
The gondola whisks you smoothly up 450 meters (1,746 ft) as Queenstown drops away below. Breathtaking views from the top extend almost 360 degrees; from Coronet Peak around to the Remarkables, with Cecil and Walter Peaks on the other side of beautiful Lake Wakatipu. Treat your family to a Gondola Ride and Luge for some fast paced family fun! You have the choice of two 800 meters (2,624 ft) tracks winding down through trees; choose either the scenic track if you want a leisurely trip or take the advanced track if you want to be more adventurous and enjoy the challenge of banked corners, a tunnel, bends and dips. - Mum and Dad, the Luge (or fancy Go-cart) has been designed so you can take charge and control speed and direction while the young ones sit in front - loads of fun!
Haere rā and Bon Voyage!
Sadly, Your New Zealand Family Adventure Holiday is at an end, your driver/guide will drop you off at Queenstown airport to catch your onward flight. Have a good homeward journey, farewell and know your family leaves with many happy memories from your New Zealand self-drive adventure.
Ready to find out more? Talk to us here in New Zealand about the 'New Zealand Family Adventure Holiday' - We Guarantee it will be the Holiday of a Lifetime!