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Experience the coastal splendor of New Zealand’s South Island on this 7-day tour by coach and Taieri Gorge Railway from Christchurch. Hear live onboard commentary as you travel through the Canterbury Plains to the historic city of Dunedin, then head to Queenstown and Franz Josef Glacier via the rugged west coast before returning to Christchurch on the TranzAlpine. Your itinerary includes six nights’ accommodation, a Milford Sound cruise and a guided sightseeing tour of Dunedin and the Otago Peninsula with admission to the royal albatross colony. 

Highlights

  • Seven-day coach tour of New Zealand's South Island
  • Take a scenic cruise on Milford Sound
  • Travel to historic Dunedin
  • 6-nights accommodation
  • Trip aboard the famous TranzAlpine train
  • Tour the Otago Peninsula and see the renowned Royal Albatross Colony - subject to seasonality
  • See the picturesque Franz Josef Glacier
  • Free time at leisure to explore Queenstown
  • Plenty of photo opportunities
  • Fully guided tour and commentary
  • Hotel pickup and drop-off from centrally located Christchurch hotels

What You Can Expect

7-Day South Island Coastal Splendor Tour from Christchurch

7-Day South Island Coastal Splendor Tour from Christchurch

Experience South Island highlights of this 7-day round-trip tour from Christchurch, which includes a wilderness cruise on Milford Sound, a sightseeing tour of the Scottish-influenced city of Dunedin and seasonal viewing of the royal albatross colony at the Otago Peninsula. Enjoy train trips aboard the Taieri Gorge and TranzAlpine railways, and journey up the scenic west coast with views of the Southern Alps. You’ll have free time to spend during overnight stays in Dunedin, Franz Josef Glacier and Queenstown. 

Itinerary

Day 1: Christchurch / Dunedin
This morning, travel by coach or train for your journey to Dunedin. Head south through the Canterbury Plains and onto Dunedin, which boasts some of the most beautiful architecture in New Zealand.

Overnight Accommodation: Scenic Hotel Dunedin City or similar

Day 2: Dunedin
Board a double decker bus this morning for a one and a half hour tour of Dunedin's historic sights. This afternoon, you will be taken on a tour of the Otago Peninsula including the renowned Royal Albatross Colony (seasonal due to Albatross breeding).

Overnight Accommodation: Scenic Hotel Dunedin City or similar

Day 3: Dunedin / Queenstown
Today, board the Taieri Gorge Train and enjoy the rugged, unspoiled landscape of Otago with the opportunity for sightseeing stops along the way. Experience the breathtaking views of this historic journey to Pukerangi where you will board your coach and continue the journey to Queenstown, adventure capital of New Zealand.

Overnight Accommodation: Heartland Hotel Queenstown or similar

Day 4: 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 5: At Queenstown
Enjoy a free day in Queenstown.

Overnight Accommodation: Heartland Hotel Queenstown or similar

Day 6: 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 7: 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, you journey over the Southern Alps on the world famous Tranzalpine Train, through lush beech forests and past serene lakes, over massive viaducts, through the stunning Waimakariri Gorge and across the fertile farmlands of the Canterbury Plains to Christchurch.

Customer Reviews

HELENE C

5 star rating: Highly Recommended November 2012

Tour was fantastic. Everything went smoothly, all transfers and admissions. We highly recommend this tour in order to enjoy the splendour of the south island.

Bonnie C USA

3 star rating: Worth doing September 2011

Beautiful country made the trip worth while. Could have been better with shorter bus trips and not use public transportation for several legs of the trip. The hotels were excellent in Dunedin and Queenstown except for Franz Josef. Thank goodness a free breakfast off set the dismal, very old hotel. We thoroughly enjoyed our day trips to Milford Sound with a helicopter flight over the glaciers and swimming with the dolphins in Christchurch (this was extra, but worth it!) It was a great way to see the 'hightlights' of the South Island.

Bonnie C USA

3 star rating: Worth doing September 2011

Beautiful country made the trip worth while. Could have been better with shorter bus trips and not use public transportation for several legs of the trip. The hotels were excellent in Dunedin and Queenstown except for Franz Josef. Thank goodness a free breakfast off set the dismal, very old hotel. We thoroughly enjoyed our day trips to Milford Sound with a helicopter flight over the glaciers and swimming with the dolphins in Christchurch (this was extra, but worth it!) It was a great way to see the 'hightlights' of the South Island.

john S

1 star rating: I do not recommend this May 2015

It was largely by public bus. I could have saved 900 by booking myself. The hotels booked were in a number of cases below the standard advertised. Too much travel in the number of days. Had I booked myself I'd have stayed at least two days in every place. I feel like it was a bit of a con really.

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