viewing a gian whale of the shores of Kaikoura.

Reviews of North Island Birding and Wildlife Tour

bird watching

Anne and Robert Williams

13 Apr 2021

We've always liked to develop our own itineraries when travelling - but often start our research with what's on offer... We were attracted to the bird watching and wildlife self-drive itinerary but wanted it longer and to take in the whole of the East Cape of the North Island.

Amelia Riwai was fantastic: she drafted some suggestions, found appropriate accommodation and activities and tweaked as we made suggestions. We ended up with a two-week trip from Auckland to Wellington with time to revisit places and explore others from our whistlestop tour many years ago. The trip was terrific. We were met at the airport - and given that it was late at night and Auckland waterfront was being renovated, the ease of being taken straight from baggage claim to reception was excellent.

We thoroughly enjoyed Hauraki Gulf and the day trip to Tiritiri Matangi Island - excellent. Our hybrid car was ready and waiting, easy to drive and very economical on fuel - plus free hotel parking in Wellington because of its energy status. All accommodation was as expected - we had opted for a combination of 3 and 4 star - but we probably could have made use of an Esky (or Chilly Bin) for transporting odd bits of fruit, orange juice etc. as we moved between rooms that allowed for some self-catering.

Every tour went ahead as planned and we enjoyed the variety.  We will definitely use First Light Travel when we do a long stint in the South Island 

Thank you, Amelia and staff.

Anne and Robert Williams - Australia



Colin Leonard and Billie Cantwell

03 Jan 2020

First Light Travel is a first-class operation. From beginning to end everything was perfect. Even when the weather caused problems, Shelley was there to make a smooth change in plans that was perfect. Always in touch and making a special effort to make sure we were happy.

For a stress and worry-free vacation you can't beat First Light!

Colin Leonard and Billie Cantwell - USA


Celia Carroll

10 Dec 2019

The self-drive tour, arranged by First Light Travel, was more rewarding and exciting than we imagined it would be. We wanted to see as many rare New Zealand animals as possible! We saw marine mammals, the world's rarest penguins and flightless birds. Wally the Buff Weka's photo is here - an easy subject due to his approachability! Be sure to have a good wildlife camera.

Celia and Larry Carroll - USA

NZ Holiday

Fatema, Huseini and Omaima Dhanaliwala

24 Oct 2018

We decided to visit New Zealand from USA and didn't have too much time to do research, we contacted a few travel agencies in NZ and chose First Light because they were prompt, Melissa was very friendly easy to work with and she made an itinerary for us we loved.

Fatema, Huseini and Omaima Dhanaliwala - USA

Alpine Hiking

Robert and Mara

03 Jan 2013

Our trip to the North and South Islands was a trip of a lifetime, thanks to Shelley! Our itinerary was perfectly planned and paced. Our first week was organized around the Milford Track Guided Walk with Ultimate Hikes, and we traveled up the South Island before concluding our trip sightseeing in Rotorua and Auckland on the North Island. Our itinerary was the most detailed we've seen, replete with suggested activities, descriptions of our accommodations (including the owners' names-very helpful), and information about Air New Zealand baggage limits. The travel and activity vouchers made our trip a snap, and our accommodations were expertly hand-picked. Shelley was wonderful to work with. She was responsive, detailed, and quick to answer our numerous questions.

We would definitely recommend Shelley and would enjoy working with her again!

Robert and Mara

Tiritiri Island

Theresa Riedl

07 Nov 2014

“It was really like being on a paradise island and was so natural with almost no people, no stores! If people want to de-stress from city life, they should definitely go there!” “After hiking the island for about two hours I just laid down in the grass, listened to the ocean and the birds for some time – what could be better!” We just got back from ‘paradise island’ - Tiritiri Matangi. This wildlife sanctuary is located only 30km from Auckland in the Hauraki Gulf. Anne had gone for an early morning walk at 5am and spotted one of the rare kiwi’s situated on the island! 

Theresa Riedl - Canada

Pricing terms

The price is based on current exchange rates but is only an approximation. Please contact us for a final price