New Zealand Self Drive Tour Reviews

 

To make your New Zealand travel dreams come true you need the right team in your corner.

That’s where we come in! We’ve been helping travellers enjoy the very best of New Zealand since 2001 and have learned plenty of tricks which will help you have a hassle-free and super fun NZ self drive holiday.

 

Here’s what our guests have to say about First Light Travel.

We have over 1000 five star online reviews - We are the highest rated New Zealand based travel agent and we have been around for nearly a quarter century!

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Our adventure in New Zealand was magnificent!

5
Te Puia
Mt Cook
Dolphin Swim
Hobbiton
Mount Doom
USA

Our adventure in New Zealand was magnificent. Thank you so much for planning our once in a lifetime trip. Your care and service to us before and during the trip was superb; we truly appreciate the call to warn us that our ferry might be delayed, and for checking in prior to the trip about which car to hire. One piece that we wished for additional communication was finding the entrance to Alexis Motel & Apartments in Queenstown: there has been road construction for 2 years there and it took a detour over steep hills to find the garage.

I've prepared a review of each booking. Happy to share more details as needed. We thoroughly enjoyed ourselves and would recommend the trip to anyone!

Accommodations:

  1. Nesuto Stadium Apartment Hotel: great location, helpful front desk.
  2. B&B @ the Redwoods: our favorite stay on the North Island. Vivien (the host) is knowledgeable, helpful, and a delight. Great breakfast, too.
  3. Copthorne Hotel Oriental Bay Wellington: this hotel was OK. There was water damage on the ceiling in our room, but we had no issues.
  4. Kahutara PurePod: magical and breathtaking, our favorite stay of the trip. We met the owner of the farm and his puppies, had fun walking in the sheep paddock, and relaxed and soaked in the stunning views.
  5. Quest Cathedral Junction: we arrived for late night check-in, which was off-putting just because the garage was dark. We liked how the room overlooked the trolley and was in a central location.
  6. Hermitage Mt. Cook: beautiful location and hotel with a view of Mt. Cook and incredible dining experiences. We would definitely return here!
  7. Alexis Motel & Apartments: fun stay, reliable manager.

Travel:

  1. Marquee Limousines: fabulous. We appreciated the black car service and enjoyed our conversation with our driver on Wednesday morning 22. November, Tanya.
  2. Europcar North Island: seamless car pickup, grateful for the automatic assists provided by the newer model.
  3. Interislander Ferry: it was delayed 3 hours, but you had called ahead to let us know so this was expected. Our only complaint was that this limited our time at the PurePod in Kaikoura.
  4. Europcar South Island: no complaints. Fewer automatic assists than the first car, but Peter was familiar with driving on the left side of the road by this time. :)

Activities:

  1. Auckland Sea Kayaks - sunset tour to Rangitoto Island: beautiful views and a great meal. It was quite an arduous tramp in the rain but well worth it to see the bioluminescent waters.
  2. Hobbiton movie set tour: unforgettable! My favorite experience on the North Island.
  3. Te Puia - Te Po: otherworldly and magical, a real treat.
  4. Weta Workshop tour: really cool, fun, and learned a lot.
  5. Hassle Free Tours - Lord of the Rings Edoras tour: our favorite activity of the trip and a real treat. The views were unmatched and it was perfect for a Lord of the Rings superfan. The only negative comment is our driver picked up 2 hitchhikers and gave them the tour as well, before dropping them back off at a hostel. This made us and some of the other guests uncomfortable and it felt unfair that they enjoyed this amazing activity for no cost.
  6. Nomad Safaris - full day LOTR: fun 4WD adventure. Our specific tour guide was not the most enthusiastic but I think he was feeling ill.

Incredible New Zealand Trip with First Light Travel

5
Snow Landing scenic flight at Franz Josef
USA

We just returned from an incredible custom New Zealand trip with First Light Travel. We traveled with 2 other couples in a Mercedes Sprinter van (have 11 passenger seats, so very comfortable for 3 couples and a driver/guide), started in Auckland, then took the ferry to Waitheke Island (The Boat Shed for 2 nights), drove to Taupo (Huka Lodge for 2 nights), the flew to Benheim (Marlborough Sounds for winery visits, Bay of Many Coves for 3 nights), then headed to Kaikoura (SHapuku Lodge Tree House for 1 night), before going to Christchurch (The George for 1 night), and then Lake Pukaki (Lakestone Lodge for 2 nights), and Queenstown (Rosewood Matakauri Lodge for 2 nights). The tour included many highlights - landing on the Tasman Glacier, flying over the Southern Alps, Milford Sound cruise, Cloudy Bay winery visit. First Light Travel did an excellent job in coordinating all our hotel stays and activities, and provided the best drivers/guides for our entire trip. We were also given some special treatments - private dinners in the library and cellar at the Huka Lodge, private dinners at the Rosewood Matakauri Lodge, and upgraded rooms at some of the hotels. When I worked out the detailed itinerary with First Light Travel, Danielle Mueth was extremely responsive and always answered my emails within 24 hours (an A+ for that). When I first sent out a proposed itinerary to 4 travel companies for quotes, First Light Travel was the first one to respond, and also the one with the lowest quote. I highly recommend First Light Travel to anyone planning to travel to New Zealand and Australia. In fact, we are already working with Danielle Mueth on a 2025 trip to Australia, covering Melbourne and several national parks in Victoria.


A must visit experience: The South Island of New Zealand

5
NZ bush
Mackenzie country
Mt Cook
Australia

My wife sister-in-law and I spent nine days on a self-driving tour of the NZ South Island. The whole trip, accommodation and several excursions were organised by the first-rate people at First Light Travel. the magnificence of the experience was matched by the expertise and service of First Light.


We had the trip of a lifetime and I thank Nicole and First Light Travel for that.

5
Tasman Glacier Terminal lake
nz lake
nz waterfall
USA

We are very pleased to that we can report a most successful and enjoyable trip to New Zealand, due to the fantastic self-drive/flight/train itinerary that Nicole put together for the 4 of us. Her thoughtfulness and quick work in developing an outstanding itinerary for us was the best. Everywhere we went, everything worked like clockwork, and she put together an itinerary where we experienced many wonderful areas of New Zealand. The accommodations were excellent, and the limo service was above reproach. We had the trip of a lifetime and I thank Nicole and First Light Travel for that.

Andy, Peggy, Jim and Terri, USA


First Light was incredibly helpul!

5
Hiking Mt Cook
Lake Mou Waho
Rotorua Redwoods
Hobbiton
USA

Excellent experience designing our journey from tip to tip of New Zealand. We stayed in amazing hotels and enjoyed all the attractions along the way. FirstLight was incredibly helpful!


The help in getting a spot on the back up cruise for Doubtful Sound is a perfect example of why working with a pro is so critical! 

5
Hiking at Milford Sound
USA

Thanks for creating the perfect experience for us. The help in getting a spot on the back up cruise for Doubtful Sound is a perfect example of why working with a pro is so critical!  It was unfortunate the weather kept us off the Franz Josef glacier, but overall it was amazing how much we did in 30 days. So many great pictures it is hard to pick 1, but this is from hike in Milford Sound. 

 


Karen and I give Anna and First Light Travel our highest recommendation for their expertise and superb level of service and support.

5
Green rivers
Glenorchy
South Island waterfall
Te Anau
Lake Wanaka
USA

Karen and I loved our trip to New Zealand. The country is exceptionally beautiful and unspoiled. The New Zealanders are the best; extremely nice and always helpful. Anna Caudle and the team at First Light Travel did a wonderful job helping us plan the perfect itinerary and arranging all the details. We did the self-driving tour with lots of hiking, and appreciated the chance to go at our own pace and explore on our own. Te Anau, Kinlock, and Wanaka were our favorite stops on the South Island. Mount Cook was spectacular and we wish we had more time and better weather while there. All-in-all, it was a wonder time and we're looking forward to visiting New Zealand again. Karen and I give Anna and First Light Travel our highest recommendation for their expertise and superb level of service and support.


Covered a broad range of activities and experiences that we would not normally have done

5
Self drive family adventure designed by First Light Travel
Australia

Micala designed a very varied itinerary, involving a wide range of activities. Covered a brad range of activities and experiences that we would not normally have done. The visit to Hobbiton was fantastic, Whale watching, the Anzac exhibition at Te Papa, cable car and Luge a wide range of different activities.

Accommodation was mostly clean and comfortable and close to the CBD. enjoyed various activities such as the wine tour, to whale watching, The itinerary was evenly paced to to allow us to have an activity with time to do our own thing.


We will definitely recommend First Light Travel to any of our friends.

5
Kayaking Abel Tasman
New Zealand Rivers
USA

Thanks Michelle! We had a great time on our trip. We will definitely recommend First Light Travel to any of our friends who are looking to head out to that part of the world.


Fight Light Travel were amazing in tailoring an itinerary to suit our timetable

5
Hobbiton Movie Set
Redwoods Trees
Cruising Self Drive New Zealand
Gannet colony
Australia

We made a last minute decision to travel to NZ north Island for Christmas 2023. Fight Light Travel were amazing in tailoring an itinerary to suit our timetable and specific interests and recommended places to visit based on our specific interests at such short notice. Fight Light Travel were a pleasure to deal with, they were very professional, great communicators and listened to our ideas as well. We packed a lot into our 12 days on the road with a self drive tour. We had a hassle free holiday. Thanks you Tatyana and your team. We will be using FLT again. cheers Gregg and Jenny



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