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 800 five star online reviews - We are the highest rated New Zealand based travel agent.


Anne and Robert Williams


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


Williamson Family

New Zealand

Our travel agent Emma was great and our itinerary was tailored perfectly for our family interests and fitness. The holiday was well organised and easy to use. We had no problems with transportation ( car, train and flights), the accommodation was great and all trip vouchers were well-received ( didn't need to worry about bringing cash). Overall experience was great, the family loved every minute of it.

We would definitely use First First Light Travel again. 

Williamson Family 

Marty and Mark Dennet


Joanne Royce & Richard Zahorchak


Hi Therese.

Not sure if it’s too late for a testimonial on FB but here is ours. If you would like me to change any of the pictures in the collage or want me to change anything in our testimonial let me know.  I hope everyone there is well. Our trip holds a special place in our hearts!

We really don’t know where to start. We travelled to New Zealand earlier this year (before the pandemic) and First Light Travel did an awesome job with our 20 day self-drive itinerary. The accommodations, car, and activities booked for us were spot on. From Hobbiton, to glow worm caves, to hiking (tramping) a mountain, to bubbling mud pools and waterfalls, to wine tours, to cultural shows, to an alpine crossing by train, to cruising intimate fiords, to amazing views on the road, to our final bungy jump. We did so much and experienced things we never imagined, especially at our age. The quality of our tour guides were outstanding. And we loved our rental cars (same make and model) waiting for us throughout, which made us feel safe while driving on the “other side” of the winding roads. Everything was fantastic. We wished we booked a longer stay. When Mother Nature sent us curveballs First Light was there to help. We were booked to cruise Milford Sound but it was flooded so they rearranged and sent us to Doubtful Sound. It was so achingly beautiful with clouds hanging off the lush green fiord hills and the sun and blue sky peeking through, we almost started weeping during the moment of silence.  On our anniversary we were booked to have a heli-ride to Franz Joseph Glazier but the mountain was socked in. No matter, we did local hikes and found Lake Matheson with its majestic peaks reflected in its still waters. And tramping that mountain, all I can say is that was the most physically challenging thing I have ever done in my life. If I wasn’t for our guide (and my husband) I would not have made it through. Finishing that hike was another emotional moment especially with 70 kilometres an hour winds at the summit and being terrified of heights. That made me so brave that we added the bungy jump on our second last day of our trip!

We are definitely planning on returning to tour more of beautiful New Zealand and look forward to working with First Light again.

Joanne Royce & Richard Zahorchak - Canada

Rick and Eileen Bentley


First Light Travel made all the arrangements for our trip of a life time. The 26 day self drive itinerary was custom made to suit our interests and budget. Planning started several months ahead of our journey, communicating with Narissa to prepare a fulfilling itinerary. We started in Christchurch, working our way through the spectacular coast, mountains and lakes of the South Island. We took the ferry to Wellington and completed our North Island journey in Auckland as summer waned into autumn. The trip offered such variety in activities and excursions, the only thing we suggest is adding a few more days, as there is so much to see and do.

Rick and Eileen Bentley - Canada

Bob and Sue Schuette

United States of America

Salli really listened to what we were interested in seeing and doing. She was very helpful in suggesting activities we probably would not have found on our own. And she did this all in a very short time frame.

We loved Franz Josef glacier was definitely worth seeing. Walking through a rain forest to go see a glacier is absolutely phenomenal. The TranzAlpine Train was awesome! Coastal Pacific train. All the trains and the buses were a very enjoyable way to see the beautiful countryside. Corporate Cabs for private transfers made us feel like royalty.

Salli talked to us about our preferences and gave us an awesome trip!


Bob and Sue Schuette - United States of America

Rob & Marg Phillips

Melbourne. AUSTRALIA


Re: First Light Travel – Salli Smith (Senior Travel Consultant)

With the current Covid-19 situation and uncertainty which that brings in these somewhat difficult times, it has been a blessing in disguise that First Light Travel has kept its lines of communication open with its clients. This provides a level of renewed confidence that we are all in this together and that First Light Travel is still here to help. Whilst holiday travelling between Australia – New Zealand is on hold, like the rest of the world, it has been very heartening that you can still discuss your holiday ideas and planning suggestions.  

Being a retired couple, we love to travel and plan for our next trip. Therefore, being able to keep in touch with First Light Travel, has been crucial in present times. This has allowed us to keep some form of normality in an abnormal situation. By keeping the lines of communication open, we have been able to continue to plan our trip and, more importantly, receive feedback and advice from our travel consultant which has continued to be timely, thorough, value-adding and simply excellent. Despite the disappointment of having to defer our holiday, our excitement has not waned as we know at some stage down the track, travelling to NZ will again be possible – but being able to maintain this level of interest and excitement during this Covid-19 period has only be made possible by being able to get ongoing professional service and advice from First Light Travel, and in particular, our travel expert - Salli Smith.

If the coronavirus situation had not occurred, we would be currently travelling around New Zealand enjoying the fantastic itinerary that Salli had professionally put together based on our NZ wish list. Unfortunately, because of Covid-19 that has not been possible but what has happened as a consequence, is that we have been able - together – to review our existing NZ itinerary to a point where we have now extended & further enhanced our NZ holiday.

Kind regards,

Rob & Marg Phillips - Melbourne. AUSTRALIA

May 2020.

Diane Rivers and Christopher Chociey

New Jersey and New York

Michelle diligently worked with us to create and design a three week self-drive tour that allowed us to sample the best of the South and North Islands of New Zealand. 

Michelle was always very professional and responsive to our needs (especially my dietary restrictions). She was very thoughtful and thorough in organizing our trip and flights, providing us with local information, dining options and an atlas. We were very happy with her attentiveness to detail and appreciated her checking in with us while we were traveling around in New Zealand to make sure everything was going smoothly. 

After the Coronavirus settles down, we would like to return to New Zealand and have Michelle and First Light Travel design us another self-drive tour. 

Diane Rivers and Christopher Chociey from New Jersey and New York

Kathy and Russ Tillou


Narissa was our expert and was so helpful with our planning. Everything was pretty spot-on as far as our likes and lifestyle. We really enjoyed seeing the beautiful South Island and will plan a North Island and nearby island trip after Covid-19 passes! 

Thank you for your great customer service.

Kathy and Russ Tillou - USA

Barbara and Timothy Orourke

United States of America

We had the pleasure of working with Toni who planned a perfect trip for us! We gave her an idea of what we wanted to do and she came up with our awesome itinerary.
 We enjoyed all the trips that were planned for us. We especially appreciated that we were able to weave some free time into each of the locations we visited. It helped to make our adventure so personal to our needs.
First and foremost I have to compliment Toni on the choice of accommodations. They were all just perfect for the locations and our needs. All of them had kitchen facilities and in room/or on property laundry. All were perfectly located to what we wanted to do. 

For example we were planning on hiking in the Abel Tasman National Park and we could walk to the park's entrance from our chalet, which was just fantastic.

First Light Travel was very responsive when we had to cancel the last 5 days of our trip due to COVID-19. We appreciated how quickly they got back to us.
All in all we would say that our adventure to Australia and New Zealand was everything we hoped for and more. We know that Toni and First Light Travel helped to make it happen.

We cannot wait to come back to New Zealand. We will certainly have First Light Travel plan our trip.

Barbara and Timothy Orourke - United States of America

Pricing terms

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