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


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

Heather and Brian Harley


Hi Narissa

Just wanted to drop you a note to let you know that returned home to Australia on the 13th March safe and sound after our most enjoyable holiday in New Zealand.

We were so happy with all of the arrangements you made for us and were extremely pleased with all of the accommodation you put in place. All of the accommodation was clean and comfortable and we were able to cook quite a lot of our meals as most had cooking facilities. All of our tours you booked for us went very smooth and we were grateful that you booked us on the Doubtful Sound tour after Milford Sound was closed for people like us travelling independently.

We had such a wonderful trip and no doubt the highlight for us was being able to land on Fras Jozef Glacier. It was cancelled twice due to the low cloud but we were fortunate that we had the time to wait and were successful on the 1pm trip.

We had no hiccups anywhere with tours, accommodation and vehicles.

Thank you once again for all your help in ensuring we had a memorable trip. New Zealand is such a beautiful place and hopefully we will return one day.

We will have no hesitation in recommending you and First Light Travel to our friends.


Heather and Brian Harley - Australia

Kiranmayee Potluri and Setu Pendurthi


Let me start with the planning. Narissa, she was the best! She heard all our suggestions and requirements and made a perfect itinerary. From the minute we landed in NZ we were very comfortable with transport or accommodation. Did I mention we were traveling with a 1 year old , Narissa kept that in mind while planning everything. 

We did not plan any adventurous activities but wanted a nice scenic getaway and that was what we got. On the whole we didnot regret planning our travel with First Light even for a single day from our 9 day trip. I would recommend First Light Travel and Narissa to all my friends

Kiranmayee Potluri and Setu Pendurthi  - USA

Adele Kitsanelis


I first came across First Light Travel when I started researching itineraries for my trip to New Zealand, at that time I was planning to book everything myself. However, their Journey to a Southern land was almost perfect for me so I contacted them and with a few minor adjustments, I was all booked and ready to travel. 

From the moment I landed at Auckland airport until the moment I departed the whole trip apart from being PERFECT went like clockwork. The organization was amazing, all connections, check-ins and day trips went exactly to their prepared plan. I was hugely impressed with the organization of my trip. And, when I had a fall whilst out hiking, Michelle quickly cancelled one long hike for me (with a full refund) and altered one other excursion that I couldn't take part in due to my injury (with the difference in price being refunded)

I had the time of my life and cannot wait until I can come back to New Zealand.

Adele Kitsanelis  - Greece

Calvin and Janice Langford


Hi Narissa,

Thank you very much for setting up our wonderful New Zealand vacation (March 2020)! You did a spectacular job during the planning in 2019 to line up places to visit and activities to enjoy, and gave us an easy agenda to follow and see the beautiful sights of New Zealand. The accommodations were excellent, all providing nice inside space, great locations, kitchens and laundry to make our stays comfortable and close to the action. We really enjoyed the tours, boat outing in Bay of Islands with great island views and close interaction with dolphins and cormorants, having special tour guides in Napier (Ron and ’39 Packard for Art Deco tours, Tim for superb wine tasting and dinner tour), Waimarino Glowworm Tour, Wellington (Kate for Lord of the Rings and WETA tour, and some nameless kiwis in Zealandia) and Nelson (Robbo for kayak tour to Split Apple Rock and other features).

We really appreciated your support when the trip was affected by the Corona Virus emergency. 

You secured our US return flight early and kept us moving to safe places until we could get to Auckland and wait for departure. You were pro-active and always available to clarify things during that confusing time.

Overall, we had a very nice trip despite some challenging world events, we appreciate your flexibility and support, and we look forward to working with you for another trip.

Calvin and Janice Langford - USA

Sara Mateos and Jerome Bacot


We had a very nice and well-organized trip. The itinerary was tailored made for us, all was perfectly timed so we didn't have to rush and still we could visit plenty of places having also free time to relax. Some activities had to be canceled due to the heavy rains of February but we were informed well in advanced and offered several options instead. Everything was very smooth and we were so glad we have booked the trip with First Light Travel instead of doing it on our own. First Light Travel dealt with our itinerary from the very first moment, she was very friendly, helpful and took very well into account our demands to make a perfect itinerary for us.

New Zealand is such an amazing country and we enjoyed the trip very much

Sara Mateos and Jerome Bacot - Belgium

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