New Zealand Self Drive Tour Reviews

First Light Travel 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!


Until next time NZ and First Light!

Kim Duenas Family

Gina at First Light Travel did a great job planning our trip. Most everything was easy, itinerary was well planned out. We wanted to see a lot within a two week period and that we did! Our trip was based around seeing LOTR sites and I have to say it’s a great way to see New Zealand. Especially nice was the Hobbiton tour and dinner, the Tongariro Crossing trek, Weta Workshop, and I could go on and on. If I could change anything it would be that I wish we had one day where we could just do whatever, no driving or tours, maybe an extra day in Queenstown as there’s so much to do there, but we only had so much time so now we will know for next time. Also would have been nice our first driving day to not to have to Uber back to the airport from Auckland as we did see a rental car place right near the hotel. Accommodations were nice and Gina booked multiple rooms each time as we are a family of five adults, so having our own space was nice. Especially loved the QT Museum Hotel in Wellington, the Swiss-Belsuites in Auckland and the Kinross Cottages outside of Queenstown. Until next time NZ and First Light!

Our adventure in New Zealand was magnificent!

Te Puia
Mt Cook
Dolphin Swim
Mount Doom

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!


  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.


  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. :)


  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.

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

Self drive family adventure designed by First Light Travel

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.

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

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

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

Unique travel products & Quality of information

enjoying New Zealand's scenery

The holiday of a lifetime! Everything was fantastically well organised, the details on the itinerary were clear and helpful and the activities booked were all amazing! New Zealand must be one of the most beautiful places in the world, and its people were welcoming and gracious, we loved every single minute!

Thanks again, that's been a magic trip

Enjoying Central Otago
Helicopter landing on the snow
Steaming Waimangu Valley Scenic Reserve
Braided Rivers from the air
Hobbiton Hobbit Holes

One year ago we had an amazing family trip organized by First Light Travel and specially Natalie.
The trip was tailored to our needs and we left room for extra, in case we would find something there (which we did, as getting on top of the Franz Joseph Glacier in helicopter)

the service provided by Natalie was absolutely fantastic, and very careful. Her involvement to make this trip fabulous made the difference (8 versions of the trip have been built until we were happy).

Thanks again, that's been a magic trip

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

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

Kazuie & Yuki Nagano


First Light Travel provided me with a very reliable, accurate, interesting, stress-free itinerary that was more than my expectation. Thank you First Light Travel and the agent who gave me good information and advice!!

Kazuie & Yuki Nagano - Japan

Jessica Barrett & Katie Moran

Sword Fight
Mt Doom
LOTRs Filming Locations
Peace Pipe

Hi, Sofie! I hope you are well.

I know this is UNFORGIVABLY late, but here are some photos from the trip Jessica Barrett and I took to New Zealand that First Light Travel booked for us in 2017. We had the absolute BEST time doing all things Lord of the Rings related. We cannot wait to come back, now that our journey is a few years behind us. Please feel free to use these photos as you'd like!

All best,

Jessica Barrett & Katie Moran

Pricing terms

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