New Zealand River

About

WHO WE ARE
HOW IT WORKS
WHY BOOK WITH US
MEET THE TEAM
FAQS

Who we are...

We’re Absolute New Zealand, the Luxury arm of the First Light Travel Group established in 2001: award-winning creators of unique, perfectly-tailored travel experiences.

So who are we? Well, we are a team of people in the know (about New Zealand). And we’re passionate about detail and service. Combine these, and you come out with our one simple, sole purpose – to encourage and indulge your curiosity about the South Pacific and to ensure that your time away is perfect.

 

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We know that it’s incredibly important to spend your time off well and we understand how every moment counts. You don’t want to miss a single thing – down to the last song before the sunsets.

So our role is to make sure that your travels are filled with moments like these. With us, you’ll see a destination in a different light – through the Absolute lens – and discover things you won’t find out about any other way.

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Equally, if you’re not sure where to travel but you do feel the need to escape, give yourself a treat or a challenge, or learn something new… we can arrange that too. Our advice is full of insight and inspiration, carefully curated to suit you. So is your bespoke itinerary.

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How it works

A quick introduction what we do and how our website works

1
GET INSPIRED & GET IN TOUCH

Our website is a mood board, and our trips are here for inspiration. Browse, mull it over, and inquire.

2
YOUR DEDICATED TRAVEL EXPERT

One of our Travel Experts will devise an itinerary based on your inquiry, budget, group size, and desires.

3
WE’LL TAILOR YOUR TRIP

Our trips are entirely bespoke. You can make alterations and work together until your itinerary is perfect.

Why book with us

  • We’re tailor made – we build all our trips from the ground up, with thoughtfulness, care, and attention to detail. Nothing is too little, and nothing is ever too much. What you see on our site are merely suggestions – we tailor each trip to the individual.

  • Inspiration from us is priceless – we don’t charge for our quotes and we will work to get them right before you commit.

  • We’ll save your time, stress and energy. Our travelers lead busy lives. And as the world expands and becomes ever more complex, it can be difficult to find the proper time to plan the escape you deserve; overwhelmed by options, fretting about FOMO. “Have we made the right decision – is this the right time and place?” But it’s our job to cut through that noise – to do the digging, the heavy lifting, the tailoring and precision engineering, all on your behalf.

Maori Carving Cathedral Cove

  • Our flexibility promise – We understand that you want something to look forward to without adding any extra uncertainty. In the event that you do have to postpone your travel dates due to Covid-19 travel restrictions then you can do so indefinitely without penalty from us – we have waived our normal change fees. Depending on the type of tour and activities that you have booked, seasonal increases, cancellation and change fees from some individual suppliers may still apply but because of the strength of our relationships and longevity in the industry, the vast majority of our suppliers are happy to be as flexible as we are.

  • We’re here for you – Whilst we all adjust to a new way of life and the future might seem a little more uncertain than usual, one thing you can be certain of is that we will be here for you from your very first contact to in-country support and beyond.

  • We will be your trusted specialists – you’ll deal with just one person who will know your preferences.

Weast Coast North Island Lake Taupo

We are recognised with an Enviro Gold rating from Tourism New Zealand and as Aussie Specialists by Tourism Australia.

  • We are the authority on Travel in New Zealand, Australia and our South Pacific Islands. We launched in 2001 – our travel partners are fully vetted – nothing is left to chance.

  • We take sustainability seriously – we are recognised with an Enviro Gold rating from Tourism New Zealand.

  • We are creating a community of like minded travellers – early adopters – trusting us to go beyond traditional travel channels and have fun during the process.

Mount Cook National park Milford Sound

Frequently asked questions

When is the best time to visit New Zealand?

When is the best time to visit New Zealand?  When it is Summer or Winter in the northern hemisphere, the opposite season prevails in New Zealand. New Zealand can, due to our maritime and mountainous environment can offer up four seasons in one day – so always come prepared.

New Zealand Seasons Explained

  • Summer in New Zealand is December, January and February
  • Autumn/Fall in New Zealand is March, April and May
  • Winter in New Zealand is June, July and August
  • Spring in New Zealand is September, October and November
Do I need a visa to travel to New Zealand?

Passports

Make sure before you arrive that your passport is valid for at least three months beyond your intended departure date or one month past the date you intend to leave if the government issuing your passport has consular representation in New Zealand. You’ll also need to check if you need a New Zealand Visa.

Visa Exemptions

You don’t need a visa to visit New Zealand if you are: 

  • A New Zealand citizen or Resident Permit holder
  • An Australian citizen travelling on an Australian passport
  • An Australian resident with a current Australian resident return visa
  • A citizen of a country which has a visa waiver agreement with New Zealand (you can stay for up to three months)
  • A UK citizen and/or passport holder (you can stay for up to six months)

Visa Waivers

Visitors from over 50 countries don’t need a Visitor’s Visa to New Zealand for stays up to three months.

You do need:

  • An onward or return ticket to a country you have permission to enter
  • A passport that is valid for at least three months after your intended departure date from New Zealand
  • Enough money to support yourself (about NZ$1000 per month, per person)
  • If you have stayed in New Zealand for up to three months previously you may need to apply for a visa

The following are visa waiver countries:

Andorra, Argentina, Austria, Bahrain, Belgium, Brazil, Brunei, Bulgaria, Canada, Chile, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia (citizens only), Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hong Kong (residents with HKSAR or British National–Overseas passports only), Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Japan, Korea South, Kuwait, Latvia (citizens only), Liechtenstein, Lithuania (citizens only), Luxembourg,  Macau (only if you have a Macau Special Administrative Region passport), Malaysia, Malta, Mauritius, Mexico, Monaco, Netherlands, Norway, Oman, Poland, Portugal (if you have the right to live permanently in Portugal), Qatar, Romania,, San Marino, Saudi Arabia, Seychelles, Singapore, Slovak Republic, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Taiwan (if you are a permanent resident), United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom (UK) (if you are travelling on a UK or British passport that shows you have the right to reside permanently in the UK), United States of America (USA) (including USA nationals), Uruguay, Vatican City 

Apply Online for an Electronic Travel Authority visa  

Tell me about New Zealand Passport and Customs Control when I land ?

We know it can be daunting to arrive in a new country for the first time. Especially after a long flight. Don’t worry, the information supplied below will make things run as smooth as possible for you on arrival to New Zealand.

After your plane lands, you will:

  • Head to Passport Control to show your passport/visa
  • Collect your bags from the baggage carousel
  • Dispose of any items (eg food from the plane) that aren’t allowed into New Zealand
  • Proceed to Customs & Border Protection, where your bags may be inspected
  • Leave the airport and begin the holiday of a lifetime!

Our top tips for a smooth arrival into New Zealad?

  • Before you leave home, read the official guide to what you can bring in to New Zealand and repack if necessary
  • Pack a pen in your carry-on bag – you’ll save time by filling out the Incoming Passenger Card during your flight
  • Write down the address of your first night’s accommodation – you’ll need it for the Incoming Passenger Card
  • Bringing hiking boots to New Zealand? Clean any dirt off them before you go – they will be inspected.
  • Ask a Border Control Officer for help if you’re unsure – get rid of any fruit you may have in your bag –  they’re happy to advise if you’re unsure if an item is permitted.

Having sailed through the arrivals process, it’s time to start the holiday of a lifetime!

Crossing the international dateline

The International Date Line has confused navigators, explorers, and the everyday traveler for nearly five centuries since humans first began circumnavigating the globe. It is important you do know what date you actually land in New Zealand – don’t let it baffle you!

The International Date Line is the boundary where each calendar day starts and is also known as the “Line of Demarcation” because it separates two calendar dates: When you cross the date line traveling east, you subtract a day, and if you cross the line traveling west, you add a day.

When you travel from North America, you travel across the International Date Line which means you journey forward in time to get here. So when you leave San Francisco on Friday night you land in New Zealand on Sunday morning. Of course, you may feel like you’ve lost a day but you’ll gain that back on your return journey, arriving home just a few hours after leaving – it’s like time travel!

 

How far in advance should I book my New Zealand holiday?

Tourism to New Zealand has boomed in recent years. Travellers have also realised New Zealand offers a safe, friendly holiday destination with tons of fun things to see and do. With visitor numbers increasing we experience certain seasonal bottlenecks, so to avoid disappointment, reserving parts of your holiday well in advance is strongly recommended.

How to get to New Zealand - Flights, Stopovers, Times & Date Line

The best way to travel to New Zealand is obviously by air (unless you want to spend a lot of time on a boat). Most major airlines offer direct flights to New Zealand.

From Europe: flight times are around 24 hours (two flights of around 11-12 hours). Most travel experts recommend a 24-hour stop over in Asia (think Hong Kong, Bangkok, Dubai, Singapore, Tokyo.)

From Australia: New Zealand is a three and a half hour flight from the East Coast of Australia, and around 10 hours flight from most places on the Pacific Rim, like Singapore, Hong Kong, and Tokyo.

From North America: Many flights from the West Coast of the USA leave in the evening, taking about 15 hours, a non-stop overnight flight from the United States.

Think about incorporating Australia or the Pacific Islands in to your itinerary. Talk to one of our Travel Designers – we are the experts in creating combination tours of the South Pacific.

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