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4.5 star rating: Recommended 15 Reviews

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  • Location: Christchurch, New Zealand
  • Duration:  5 days / 4 nights

See all the highlights of New Zealand's scenic South Island on this five-day guided sightseeing tour. Travel by coach from Christchurch to Queenstown, experience the majesty of Milford Sound, view the glacier at Franz Josef and travel aboard the famous TranzAlpine Express train.

Highlights

  • Five-day coach tour of New Zealand's scenic South Island
  • Lunch at Mt Cook, New Zealand's highest mountain
  • Cruise on Milford Sound
  • Free leisure day in Queenstown
  • Spectacular Franz Josef Glacier
  • Trip aboard the famous TranzAlpine Express train
  • Fully guided tour and commentary
  • Pickup and drop-off from centrally located Christchurch hotels

What You Can Expect

5-Day South Island Tour from Christchurch

Franz Joseph Glacier

Your five-day exploration of New Zealand's spectacular South Island begins with the stunning scenery of the foothills of the Southern Alps and a lunchtime visit to Mt Cook, New Zealand's highest mountain. After spending the night in Queenstown, you'll take an unforgettable cruise on majestic Milford Sound, surrounded by rock walls scarred by glaciers rising vertically from the sea.

You'll have a day free to explore Queenstown on your own, then travel along New Zealand's most stunning highway to the World Heritage Westland National Park. The route up the West Coast takes you past soaring mountain ranges, native forests and lakes to the Fox and Franz Josef Glaciers. A "living river of ice", the Franz Josef Glacier is more than 7,000 years old and a must-see for any visitor to New Zealand.

On the final day of your South Island tour you'll travel along the rugged West Coast to Shantytown, a faithful reconstruction of a Westland gold-rush town. You'll also stop at Greymouth, the center for thousands of diggers during the historic gold strikes of the 1860s. Your five-day tour concludes with a trip to Christchurch aboard the famous TranzAlpine Express, one of the top 10 train journeys in the world.

Itinerary

Day 1: Christchurch / Mt Cook / Queenstown
Travel through the rich pastoral farm land of the Canterbury Plains and the ever-changing spectacular scenery of the foothills of the Southern Alps. Continue traveling across Burkes Pass before descending to the stunning glacial fed Lake Tekapo and visiting the Church of the Good Shepherd which stands on the foreshore. From here you travel up the western side of Lake Pukaki to arrive at Mt Cook, New Zealand's highest mountain. Stop at Mt Cook for lunch (additional at own expense) where you will be mesmerized by the surroundings of this truly unique region. Cross the Lindis Pass, leaving the MacKenzie Country and travel along the Kawerau Gorge before arriving in Queenstown.
Overnight Accommodation: Heartland Hotel Queenstown (or similar).

Day 2: Milford Sound Day Excursion
Travel along the edge of Lake Wakatipu beneath the rugged Remarkables to Te Anau, the 'Gateway to Fiordland National Park'. On entering the Fiordland National Park you pass through the Eglinton Valley. See ancient beech forest, stunning waterfalls and the famous Mirror Lakes where you will pause for a photo stop. Continue through the upper Hollyford Valley, past the stunning Christie Falls and enter the 1.2 km Homer Tunnel, drilled through the solid rock of a mountain. On exiting the Homer Tunnel prepare for the breathtaking impact of the Cleddau Valley and the descent into Milford Sound. On arrival, take an unforgettable cruise on the majestic Milford Sound where you will see the wonders of Mitre Peak and rock walls scarred by glaciers which rise to 1200m vertically from the sea. Then reboard the coach for the return journey to Queenstown. Optional lunches onboard the cruise are available.
Overnight Accommodation: Heartland Hotel Queenstown (or similar).

Day 3: At Queenstown
Enjoy a free day in Queenstown.
Overnight Accommodation: Heartland Hotel Queenstown (or similar).

Day 4: Queenstown / Franz Josef Glacier
Travel along the shores of Lake Wanaka and Hawea to the Haast Pass, the most stunning highway in New Zealand and gateway to World Heritage Westland National Park. Initially the pass travels through the treeless grasslands of Central Otago, then at the highest point, the majestic peaks of the Southern Alps and the rivers and rainforests of Westland dominate the landscape. Continue to travel up the West Coast past spectacular mountain ranges, native forests and lakes to the Fox and Franz Josef Glaciers. The Franz Josef Glacier is 11 kilometers in length and more than 7,000 years old. Its terminal face creaks and arches over the cave from which the river emerges, pale with powdered rock and can advance or retreat at over a meter per day. This living 'river of ice' is a must see for any visitor to New Zealand.
Overnight Accommodation: Scenic Hotel Franz Josef Glacier (or similar).

Day 5: Franz Josef / Greymouth / Arthur's Pass / Christchurch
Today you continue to travel along the rugged West Coast to Shantytown, a faithful reconstruction of a Westland Gold Rush town. From Shantytown, travel to Greymouth, the center for thousands of diggers during the historic gold strikes of the 1860's. From Greymouth, journey over the Southern Alps, through Arthur's Pass and onto Christchurch by the famous TranzAlpine Express. This journey is renowned as one of the top ten train journeys in the world.

Customer Reviews

5 star rating: Highly Recommended May 2014

Was top notch. All the pickups were right on schedule and the hotels fine. Great scenery.

5 star rating: Highly Recommended March 2011

This was a great way to see the highlights of the South Island and the free day in Queenstown was perfect for people wanting to try the various adventure sports The trip was very well organised and would be suitable for all types of traveller.
From USD $ 1,528.01

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Tour code: 2950CLT22

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