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
Welcome to Auckland, our City of Sails.
Situated amongst a cluster of extinct volcanic cones, Auckland is a large harbour that bustles with life, both on water and on land. It straddles a slim piece of land with the coastline facing both the Pacific Ocean and, on the wild West Coast, the Tasman Sea.
After checking into your hotel, relax and stretch your legs with a stroll around our beautiful city. Explore the highly acclaimed Waterfront Restaurant Quarter or choose one of the many activities available for 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
Sail the Hauraki Gulf Marine Park
Explore Auckland's beauty in the most pleasurable way: by taking to the water.
Dolphin and Whale Safari - Auckland
We get lots of visitors to Auckland, and not all of them are human. In fact, one-third of all the types of marine animals found on earth come to swim in our Hauraki Gulf Marine Park.
You'll meet many of them today on a Whale and Dolphin Safari. After boarding a boat that's been specially built for viewing wildlife, you'll sail out to the Hauraki Gulf to see who you can spot.
You might spy bottlenose dolphins, orca (killer whales), blue penguins, turtles, and even sharks. As you sail onboard wildlife researchers will tell you all about these amazing creatures before you return to shore in time for dinner.
Marlborough Magic: Auckland to French Pass
Fly to the South Island for a jaw-dropping drive to the French Pass peninsula, one of New Zealand's hidden gems.
As your flight descends into Nelson the views of the glittering waters give you a great taste of what's to come. Picking up your rental car you'll leave city life far behind as you wind along one of New Zealand’s most spectacular peninsula roads.
This undulating route boasts one-lane bridges, sheer drops and possibly a few cows or sheep to overtake: it's as "Kiwi" as you can get!
Arriving at French Pass Village you're rewarded with a side of the Marlborough Sounds that few international visitors get to see. You'll be tucked away here for two nights in an outdoor-lovers' paradise.
Approximate Distance: 104 kms | 64 miles Total Driving Time: 2 hours 14 mins
Accommodation: French Pass Village - 2 Nights
Isolated Paradise: French Pass and D'Urville Island
Today, relax and make the most of French Pass's unspoiled beauty whatever way you wish.
We recommend a ferry ride to nearby D'urville Island, the Marlborough Sound's best-kept secret. Here you can delve deep into the coastal forests, bathe at the foot of waterfalls, meander through the rock pools, or all of the above.
With panoramic views of the Sound, you can see as far as the North Island's Kapiti Coast. Whichever way you turn there are outstanding vistas to be found. For ocean lovers, try kayaking on the crystal clear waterways or you could take a fishing charter to the fishing grounds of Stephens Passage and catch a cod for dinner.
Things you can't miss in French Pass and D'urville Island
- Watch the whirlpools from the French Pass Lookout
- See birds and glowworms on D’Urville Island
- Relax in Okiwi Bay before you hit the French Pass Road
- Take the Goat Hill Track in Okiwi Bay
- Hire kayaks in Okiwi Bay
- Relax in a hot tub at the Wilderness Resort
Picturesque Picton - Gateway to the Marlborough
Wind your way through the Marlborough region to the waterfront village of Picton.
Expect incredible wine, fresh seafood, culinary delights, and gorgeous views as you drive through Marlborough, one of New Zealand's award-winning wine regions.
You're in no hurry so feel free to pick up some world-renowned Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc or Pinot Noir along the way! There is wonderful local produce too - such as honey, cheese, and salmon - perfect for a gourmet picnic lunch.
Snuggled between the hills and the sea at the top of the South Island, Picton is New Zealand's gateway to the glorious Marlborough Sounds Maritime Park. Its picturesque port is perfect for a peaceful evening stroll
Approximate Distance: 146 kms | 90 miles Total Driving Time: 2 hours 39 mins
Accommodation: Picton - 3 nights
Queen Charlotte Track - One Day Walk
The Queen Charlotte Track is one of New Zealand's most celebrated Great Walks, and you have a full day here to bask in its beauty.
Queen Charlotte Track Day Hike
The day begins with a charming boat ride from Picton to Ship Cove, a historic and scenic reserve that Captain Cook visited several times in the 17th Century.
From Ship Cove you'll ascend through lush podocarp and beech forest, emerging on a ridge with sensational views of the Sound. Descend to Resolution Bay and on to the sheltered shoreline of Endeavour Inlet for a well-earned rest before your transfer back to Picton.
Challenging yet comfortable, this 14km (9 miles) walk is a wonderful way to enjoy what is often regarded as the premier section of the Queen Charlotte Track.
Pelorus Sound: A taste of local life
Gain a unique insight into remote island life today - by delivering mail to the island dwellers!
Pelorus Sound Mail Boat Cruise - Swim and Walk
For almost a century the Pelorus Mail Boat has delivered mail, groceries, and supplies to isolated homesteads in the quiet, secluded bays of the Pelorus Sounds.
Greet the residents as they row out in dinghies or wait for their delivery on tiny, unspoiled beaches. The mail route reveals secluded bays and coves that most tourists never discover, and you'll hear stories of the fascinating characters who live tucked away from the world.
With stunning scenery, spectacular wildlife, and the chance to stop for a refreshing swim in the bays, it's an enchanting trip you will never forget.
Heading South - A Journey to Oamaru
After a quick flight to Christchurch, your journey continues with a road trip down the east coast of the South Island to Oamaru.
It's worth making a pit stop in the small town of Geraldine, known for its gourmet cheese and boutique arts and crafts.
The North Otago town of Oamaru greatly prospered from gold mining in the 1800s and boasts some of the finest heritage buildings in New Zealand. The splendid nineteenth-century whitestone buildings - formerly prestigious banks and hotels - are now home to galleries and specialty stores.
The town has a character all of its own, and some highly revered residents who you will glimpse tomorrow.
Approximate Distance: 250 kms | 155 miles Total Driving Time: 3 hours 12 Min
Accommodation: Oamaru - 2 nights
History, Steampunk and Penguins: A Day In Oamaru
Spend the day wandering Oamaru at your leisure, and catch up with the world's smallest (and cutest) penguin at nightfall.
If you haven't heard of Steampunk, which marries Victorian stylings with the futuristic invention, you will certainly become familiar with it in Oamaru! This town is considered as the Steampunk capital of the world, with a festival devoted to it every year, and even a Steampunk Museum in town.
Head to the Oamaru Harbour at sunset for a special treat. As darkness falls, a local colony of Little Blue Penguins waddle up the steep bank, before heading towards their comfy nests. Locals and visitors alike gather to watch the penguin parade, it's a sight not to be missed.
Journey to Dunedin via the Moeraki Boulders
En route to Dunedin today, be sure to stop at Koekohe Beach to view 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 weigh 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.
A popular attraction here is Larnach Castle, built in 1871. It took 200 workers three years to build, and twelve years to decorate! Housing a unique New Zealand antique collection and beautiful gardens, it's a relaxing place to meander.
Approximate Distance: 113 kms | 70 miles Total Driving Time: 1 hours 28 Min
Accommodation: Dunedin - 2 Nights
Wildlife Watching in Historic Otago Harbour
Today cruise the length of the Otago Harbour and discover the wonderful creatures who call it home.
Otago Harbour Wildlife Cruise This unforgettable half day cruise takes you from historic fishing villages to beautiful bays, busy wharves and the dramatic cliffs of Tairoa Head. You'll learn all about the Maori and European history of the harbour and see the world's only known mainland nesting place of the Northern Royal Albatross.
Watch the NZ Fur seals play and swim near their breeding colonies and spot rarely seen ocean birds such as albatross and petrels, as well as penguins, dolphins and other marine mammals.
Discover the Unspoiled Catlins Coast
Journey down to the southeast corner of the South Island to visit yet another remote haven of outstanding natural beauty: The superb Catlins region.
This barely populated coastal landscape boasts magnificent cliffs and rugged headlands, and an abundance of marine wildlife. From Curio Bay's 180-million-year-old fossilised forest to the tiered Purakaunui Falls, there are hidden gems everywhere.
Staying at quiet Curio Bay tonight, you will count fur seals, sea lions, and rare yellow-eyed penguins among your neighbors in this idyllic spot.
Some highlights you should not miss in the Catlins:
- View soaring seabirds from the top of Nugget Point Lighthouse
- Spy on the sea lion colony at Cannibal Bay
- Soak up the spray of the 22-metre cascades of McLean Falls
- Stroll through the Cathedral Caves, set in cliffs by the ocean
- Visit the southernmost point of the South Island: Slope Point
Approximate Distance: 179 kms | 111 miles Total Driving Time: 2 hours 40 Min
Accommodation: Curio Bay - 1 Night
From Coast to Fiordland: Catlins to Te Anau
Leave the coast behind and head inland to 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. Some of the best-loved New Zealand Great Walks trails begin nearby, such as the Milford, Routeburn, and Kepler Tracks.
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
Approximate Distance: 239 kms | 150 miles Total Driving Time: 3 hours
Accommodation: Dunedin - 2 Nights
Mountain Majesty on the Kepler Track
Fly to Mount Luxmore today for your second New Zealand Great Walk adventure: the Kepler Track.
Kepler Track Guided Full Day Heli-Hike
Your day will start with a wonderful scenic helicopter flight over Lake Manapouri and the Fiordland Mountains. Landing at Mount Luxmore you will have glorious panoramic views for a picnic lunch before beginning the hike down the Kepler track to Lake Te Anau.
Keep a lookout for our cheeky alpine parrot, the Kea. These super-intelligent and mischievous birds are a delight to see in the wild. Panoramic views of the Te Anau Basin, Takitimu Mountains, and the Snowdon and Earl Mountains will refresh your energy as you hike along. Finish by walking back to Te Anau township via the lakeside walking track, or rest your legs and take a water taxi ride back to town.
We can organise for you to walk this track guided or independently.
Walking Distance and Conditions:
Approx 9 miles (14 km) walking distance, approx 5 hours.
2000ft descent (switchbacks, so not a steep descent!!)
Very good walking surface. Flying time in Helicopter approx 8 mins
Queenstown: The Jewel Of The South
Travel to Queenstown to drop off your rental car, and spend the afternoon getting acquainted with the "Jewel of the South".
Queenstown overlooks Lake Wakatipu and the towering Southern Alps. The area's wild rivers, high peaks, and deep canyons play host to an exciting range of outdoor adventure activities. But if you prefer to chill out downtown, you can count on stylish designer shops and waterfront eateries offering a kaleidoscope of dining experiences.
Milford Track Pre Departure Briefing: Late this afternoon you'll meet your specialist Milford Track hiking guide for a briefing that will whet your appetite for tomorrow's journey to the start of one of the world's best walking trails.
Approximate Distance: 170 kms | 105 miles Total Driving Time: 2 hours 20 Min
Accommodation: Queenstown - 1 Night
Milford Track - Te Anau to GLADE HOUSE
1 km (.6 mi) / 20 Min Walking
Today marks the beginning of a true once in a lifetime experience: walking the full length of the iconic Milford Track. Throughout the four day trek, you will be looked after the whole way by your knowledgeable expert guide and stay in comfort each night at cozy, catered lodges.
For your first day, we will ease you in nice and gently. Transfer by coach to Lake Te Anau harbour, where a boat will be waiting to spirit you and your group away to the end of the lake.
On disembarking at Glade Wharf an hour later, it's a short twenty-minute walk to Glade House. Relax and soak your toes in the crystal clear waters of the nearby Clinton River, knowing that a great meal, hot shower, and a warm bed are waiting for you.
(Lunch and Dinner Provided)
Accommodation: Glade House - Milford Track - 1 night
Milford Track Day 2: GLADE HOUSE TO POMPOLONA LODGE
16 km (10 mi) / 5-7 Hours Walking
After breakfast, your group will depart Glade House and use the swing bridge to cross the emerald green waters of the Clinton River.
Heading up Clinton Valley you'll continue through to the lunch shelter at Hirere Falls. The further you walk, the more luxuriant the Beech forest becomes.
Then it's onwards and upwards to an open meadow called the Prairie and the ice-carved Clinton Canyon. It's just a short climb from here to Pompolona Lodge, your home tonight on the Milford Track.
(Breakfast, Lunch, and Dinner Provided)
Accommodation: Pompolona Lodge - Milford Track - 1 night
Milford Track Day 3: POMPOLONA LODGE TO QUINTIN LODGE
15 km (9 mi) / 6-8 Hours Walking
Today's walk is perhaps the most challenging, but it will also be the most memorable and rewarding!
The track leads upwards toward the head of the Clinton Valley. As the climb starts the three "leaps" of St Quintin Falls are quite spectacular.
Reaching the top of the Mackinnon's pass you'll be ready for a rest, but it will all be worth it.
After lunch, the track takes you down a long descending section to Quintin Lodge. You will pass huge rock cliffs, chilly glacial streams, moss-covered forest, and many cascading waterfalls.
Leave your backpack at Quintin Lodge for a 1.5-hour return walk to Sutherland Falls, the fifth highest waterfall on the planet. Take your waterproof jacket though if you dare to walk right in and behind the falls - a once in a lifetime experience!
(Breakfast, Lunch, and Dinner Provided)
Accommodation: Quintin Lodge - Milford Track - 1 night
Milford Track Day 4: QUINTIN LODGE TO MITRE PEAK
21 km (13 mi) / 6-8 Hours Walking
Follow the Arthur River as it heads down to Milford Sound. As you descend you come back into the deep luxuriant beech forest, and enjoy a final view of Sutherland Falls.
Then it's another swing bridge crossing before continuing on to MacKay Falls and Bell Rock. Continuing along the track you will hear the steady roar of Giant's Gate Falls, where your group will enjoy lunch.
The final section follows Lake Ada to the aptly named Sandfly Point, where the Maori goddess Te Hine-nui-te-po released the sandfly to stop men lingering too long in the beauty of Fiordland (nothing that a bit of repellant can't handle though).
From here it's a short launch ride to Milford Sound harbour and our final accommodation at Mitre Peak Lodge. A perfect location to end a perfect trip and enjoy a celebratory dinner.
(Breakfast, Lunch, and Dinner Provided)
Accommodation: Mitre Peak Lodge - Milford Sound - 1 night
MILFORD SOUND TO QUEENSTOWN
Before returning to Queenstown today there's a last opportunity to enjoy this amazing place by joining a Milford Sound cruise.
As you cruise through the Fiord you'll soon realise just how massive the mountains are around the Sound.
This whole area is a marine reserve so it's an absolute haven for many marine animals. You'll see plenty of Southern Fur Seals warming themselves on the rocks and well used to posing for photographs. Dusky and bottlenose dolphins are also often seen in the Fiord.
On returning to the wharf, your group will board your coach and start the trip back to Queenstown via Te Anau.
(Breakfast and Lunch Provided)
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|
Departures: Trip Departs everyday between 1st of November to the 18th of April
Guided Walk: Fitness for Milford Track
The Milford Track is neither easy nor difficult as each walker will have a different experience or expectation depending upon previous experience and fitness level. They are a challenge which people of all ages and abilities will enjoy.
How fit do I need to be to walk the Milford Track?
To really enjoy walking the Milford Track you should be happy to carry a medium sized backpack for 4-8 hours and be able to walk 10-21km (6-13miles) of well formed but at times steep mountain track each day. If you are not a regular walker, we recommend that you begin a daily walking routine 6-8 weeks prior to departure.
To make the most of the walk it's important that you walk at a pace you feel comfortable at and can sustain. Over the day walkers will spread out along the track, and there is absolutely no need for you to stick with the fastest (or slowest) walkers. Take your time, and just enjoy walking on the Milford Track!
The track surface varies from smooth, well formed paths to rough terrain, broken by rocks and tree roots. There are steep rocky downhill sections and you may have to cross small streams and wade in deep water after heavy rain.