4 star rating: Recommended 5 Reviews

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  • Location:Christchurch, New Zealand
  • Duration:3 days/2 nights

3-Day South Island Circle Tour from Christchurch

Spend three days experiencing the highlights of New Zealand's scenic South Island on this tour from Christchurch. Travel by coach to Mt Cook National Park, Queenstown, Greymouth and the impressive Franz Josef Glacier, listening to informative onboard commentary and stopping to explore sights independently. You’ll be treated to a panorama of New Zealand’s spectacular, ever-changing scenery, from open plains and rugged mountain ranges to glacial lakes, dense forests, Gold Rush towns and beyond. This 3-day tour is ideal for more independent sightseeing, and those looking to experience the beauty of New Zealand in a relaxed, comfortable way.


  • 3-day tour of New Zealand's South Island
  • Visit the South Island's must-see sights on narrated coach tours, with time to explore more at your leisure
  • Travel through the mighty Southern Alps and visit Mt Cook, the tallest mountain in the country
  • Explore the rugged West Coast, with its glacial lakes and historic Gold Rush towns
  • See the impressive Franz Josef Glacier
  • Ride on the famous TranzAlpine Train from Greymouth back to Christchurch
  • Overnight hotel accommodation included

What You Can Expect

3-Day South Island Circle Tour from Christchurch

Mt Cook - 3-Day South Island Circle Tour from Christchurch

Day 1: Christchurch — Mt Cook — Queenstown
Board a coach in Christchurch and travel through the rich pastoral farm land of the Canterbury Plains. Watch as the scenery changes as you make your way through the foothills of the Southern Alps, across Burkes Pass and to Lake Tekapo, where Church of the Good Shepherd stands proudly on the shore.

Continue along the western side of Lake Pukaki and arrive at Mt Cook, New Zealand's highest mountain, where you'll have free time to soak in your stellar surroundings. Cross Lindis Pass and skirt the Kawerau Gorge before arriving in Queenstown for the night.

Overnight: Heartland Hotel Queenstown or similar

Day 2: Queenstown — Franz Josef Glacier
From your Queenstown hotel, drive along the shores of Lake Wanaka and Lake Hawea to Haast Pass, one of New Zealand's most stunning highway routes and the gateway to World Heritage Westland National Park. After passing through the flat grasslands of Central Otago, ascend up to the majestic peaks of the Southern Alps and the rivers and rainforests of Westland.

Travel up the West Coast past spectacular mountain ranges, forests and lakes to Franz Josef Glacier, a jaw-dropping 7-mile (11-km) glacier dating back more than 7,000 years. Stay overnight at a unique hotel tucked away in the mountains.

Overnight: Scenic Hotel Franz Josef Glacier

Day 3: Franz Josef Glacier — Greymouth — Christchurch
Wake up to beautiful mountain scenery before embarking on the last day of your tour. Travel back in time to the West Coast Gold Rush in Greymouth, the center for thousands of diggers during the historic gold strikes of the 1860s.

Board the renowned TranzAlpine train for your homeward journey across the Southern Alps, along the banks of the Waimakiriri River Gorge to the Canterbury Plains, arriving finally in Christchurch in the evening. From here you'll be taken to your hotel or the airport for your onward journey.

Customer Reviews

Jenny S

5 star rating: Highly Recommended January 2010

Best trip ever, the guide was a wonder, absolutely above all expectations.

5 star rating: Highly Recommended January 2010

The most fabulous trip ever!

4 star rating: Recommended January 2010

If you don't have a car this is the way to go. Enjoyed my 3 day South Island Circle Tour from Christchurch. The bus drivers provided commentary on all sights we visited without being overbearing. I felt completely safe at all times. Saw enough to make me want to go back to the South Island and see more for a longer period, which means I can stop and see what really interests me.

Susan S

3 star rating: Worth doing June 2010

This tour was great and we did get to see a lot of great countryside - however I feel this tour wasn't timed very well. We got into Queenstown after dark, then left at 7:15am so had no time at all to explore the city properly which was extremely disappointing. Would have rather fewer pit stops or missing some other things on the way to get a few hours of light in Queenstown. The lunch stop on this day was at Mt Cook for 1hr 40mins. Too long. Can't do anything in the museum for lack of time, so would be better to have lunch and get back on the road for gain of sunlight hours in Queenstown. Again, there was the same problem in Franz Josef Glacier although we did have an hour of sunlight - would have been nice to have a bit more exploring time. On the third day - the timings were too rushed. We stopped for lunch at 2pm at a Salmon farm, though only had a 30 minute stop! They couldn't make us anything in that time frame so we had to have a pre- made sandwhich. All in all it was a very lovely and enjoyable tour. The tour guides were great and extremely informative. The only issue was had we known we would have had so little time in the Queenstown, we would have stayed an extra night as there are no timings etc. given when you book, you have no idea when you get where.

1 star rating: I do not recommend this January 2012

First day bus had a very annoying electrical fault with the intercom.Second day second bus a/c was broken.If all day on a bus is ok then you might like this tour.

From USD $ 826.44

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Tour code: 2950CLT22B


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