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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 Queenstown!
Welcome to New Zealand, take this day to relax and orientate your selves. Nestled on the shores of Lake Wakatipu and ringed by towering mountains, Queenstown is one of New Zealand’s ultimate holiday destinations. It may be the adventure capital of the world, but it’s also home to an excellent food and wine scene as well as great shopping, hiking and endless opportunities to relax. It’s just as easy to go fishing, golfing, gold panning or wine tasting as it is to bungy jump or sky dive. Famed for its international winter skiing profile and outdoor beauty, Queenstown is a brilliant destination to visit year-round. One thing is certain here: you won’t run out of things to do.
Accommodation Queenstown - 2 nights
Exploring the Queenstown Lakes District
Visit Arrowtown - a charming village-like settlement only a short drive from Queenstown, Arrowtown is home to gold mining heritage, historic buildings and leafy riverbanks. During autumn (fall), Arrowtown ignites in a riot of gold, red and orange as the deciduous trees that line its streets prepare for winter. Arrowtown sits along the banks of the gold-bearing Arrow River. The settlement itself was created in 1862 during the height of the Otago Gold Rush – pioneers flocked here in the hope they would strike it lucky. Visit Glenorchy - this is a 45 minute drive from Queenstown and and is the last stop before the world famous Fiordland National Park, Routeburn Track, Dart River and Greeenstone Valley.
Recommended excursions in and around Queenstown:
|Routeburn Day Walk||Highest Bungey Jump||Explore Arrowtown|
|Biking Skippers Canyon||Round at Millbrook Golf Resort|
|Earnslaw Steamboat Cruise||Dart River Jetboat Safari|
Travel to Mt Cook, Stay Overnight in Twizel
Travel north through the Lakes district and over the Lindis Pass to Mount Cook National Park - A Fantasy Land of Ice and Rock. Mt Cook National Park, known for its exquisite alpine beauty and is home to the highest mountain in New Zealand, Mt Cook. Its Maori name, ‘Aoraki’ means ‘cloud piercer’ and at 12,016ft (3,755m) it towers above the surrounding snow-covered peaks in the park. There are some stunning walks to view glaciers, tarns and lakes ranging from 30 minutes to 6 hours - Mt Cook is a must visit. Tonight stay in the Twizel, a small friendly town in the Mackenzie Basin.
Some highly recommended excursions around the National Park.
|Tasman Glacier by Boat||Hooker Valley Walk||Glacier Helicopter Landing||Star Gazing Tour|
Approximate Distance: 200 kms | 125 miles Total Driving Time: 2 hours 40 mins
Accommodation - Twizel - 1 night
Kaikoura ‘Serengeti of the Sea'
Leaving Twizel head north past Lake Tekapo and into the Canterbury Plains. You will travel north of Christchurch eventually meeting the coast of the Pacific Ocean before reaching Kaikoura. The Kaikoura peninsula enjoys a mild microclimate and is overlooked by majestic snowcapped mountains. Kaikoura's unique proximity of the ocean and mountain range offers a host of eco-tourism-oriented activities, including whale watching, dolphin and seal swimming, kayaking, fishing and hiking.
Wildlife encounters available in Kaikoura
|Whale Watching Cruise||Swim with the Seals in Kaikoura|
|Whale Watching Flight Kaikoura||Dusky Dolphin Viewing or Swimming|
|Kayaking with Fur Seals||Albatross & Pelagic Bird Watching Kaikoura|
Accommodation - Kaikoura - 1 night
Kaikoura to Picton
After lunch continue your journey through Marlborough to Picton. Marlborough is the engine room of the New Zealand wine industry. In the 1970's the plains would have been filled by sheep - now it is vines as far as the eye can see, producing world cool climate varietals such as Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay, Riesling and Pinot Noir. A 25 minute drive north of Blenheim you will find Picton the gateway to the Marlborough Sounds.
Approximate Distance: 156kms | 100 miles Total Driving Time: 2 hours
Accommodation - Picton - 2 nights
Enjoy a Relaxing Day in Marlborough
The choices today are endless - you could choose to take a scenic cruise in the Marlborough Sounds, or an exciting walk in the beautiful Queen Charlotte Soundor visit one of the excellent vineyard restaurants for lunch. Another fascinating option is a visit to the Aviation Heritage Centre. This centre has a dramatic presentation of some of the worlds rarest WW1 aircraft and aviation memorabilia (models were created by Weta Workshop - the wizards behind the Lord of the Rings & Hobbit Trilogies). It is even possible to book a tiger moth flight!
Cruise to Wellington - The Arts Capital
This morning, make your way to the Interisland Ferry Terminal in time for your Cook Strait ferry sailing. This challenging stretch of water connects the Tasman Sea to the Southern Pacific Ocean, you will leave the South Island through the picturesque Marlborough Sounds. Wellington is another of our Harbour Cities situated at the southern most tip of the North Island. The Wellington vibe is creative and ecclectic - the nations politicians and parliament rub shoulders with street performers, the National Te Papa Museum and a lively cafe culture.
Accommodation Wellington - 2 nights
Free Day to Explore Wellington
Wellington is the nation’s capital city. A magnificent landscape of steep sided hills sits beside a beautiful harbour, and the city itself bustles with a vibrant creative culture. 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|
The Volcanic Central Plateau/Rotorua
Today head north out of Wellington passing through several small towns along the way Paraparaumu, Shannon, Taihape and Waiouru (home of the NZ Army). You will travel the desolate alpine beauty of the Desert Road - catch a sunbeam burst through dramatic clouds as the snow capped peaks of Ruapehu and Tongariro loom nearby. Lake Taupo is set amidst rolling green countryside and spectacular mountain scenery. Rotorua is a natural wonder of geothermal activity that includes natural hot pools, steaming craters and boiling mud pools.
Recommended excursions in and around Rotorua:
|See Geysers & Boiling Mud||Whirinaki Forest Walk|
|Thermally Active Golf||Flight to Volcanic Island|
|Museum of Art & History||White Water Rafting|
Approximate Distance: 452 kms | 280 miles Total Driving Time: 6 hrs
Accommodation Rotorua - 2 nights
Cultural Village & Whakarewarewa Geothermal Valley
Discover the heart of Maori culture in New Zealand at Te Puia, located in Rotorua in the Central North Island - a region that is surrounded by picturesque lakes and forests. This is also one of the most geothermally active environments in the country and Te Puia's 70 hectare park in the beautiful Whakarewarewa Thermal Valley is right in the heart of the action. Restless forces boil to the surface in the enchanting, superheated mud pools and hot springs and geysers gush hot steam and water in spectacular fashion. The famous Pohutu Geyser erupts approximately every 20 minutes and bursts reach heights of 30m (100ft). Silica terraces, native bush and birdlife and a wonderful insight into Maori culture and tradition rounds off a fascinating and memorable experience.
Travel to Auckland, the City of Sails
Auckland City is 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.
Approximate Distance: 228 kms | 140 miles Total Driving Time: 3 hrs 30 mins
Accommodation Auckland- 2 nights
Waiheke Island - Cruise to the Heart of the Gulf
Waiheke Island is to Auckland as the Hamptons are to New York – the former being on a much smaller scale. Home to beautiful beaches and holiday homes, Waiheke Island produces some outstanding wines. Just a thirty-minute boat ride away the island lends itself nicely to relaxing and sampling to fine food and wine. A natural complement to the fine wines you will taste on Waiheke is a range of hand-made specialty foods all locally-grown produce.
Take a tour of the island and stop off in Oneroa at one of the excellent cafes for lunch.
Enjoy a final leisurely breakfast and relax, take a stroll around our beautiful city, explore the highly acclaimed Waterfront Restaurant Quarter it is likley you have an evening flight out from Auckland so choose one of the many activities available to give a more in depth understanding of Auckland and the surrounding area.
Haere rā and Bon Voyage!
We are sure you will enjoy the Great Sights of New Zealand Self Drive Tour and our promise is to make your travels through New Zealand as hassle-free and hospitable as possible - ensuring that today you leave with a memory card full of photos, and huge smiles on your faces when recalling your time in New Zealand! Have a great homeward journey, farewell and hope to see you again soon in Aotearoa, New Zealand.
Ready to find out more? Talk to us here in New Zealand about the 'Great Sights of New Zealand Self Drive Tour' - We Guarantee it will be the Holiday of a Lifetime!