Itinerary in brief:
- 1 night Christchurch
- 3 nights Queenstown
- 2 nights Franz Josef
- 1 night Christchurch
Day 1: Arrive Christchurch
On arrival into Queenstown you will be met and taken by private transfer to your accommodation, located close to the airport.
Day 2: Christchurch to Queenstown
The car hire depot is located in Christchurch airport so you will make your own way there this morning to collect your rental car.
From here your drive will pass through diverse farmlands with a chance to stop off at the pretty ‘Church of the Good Shepherd’, a beautiful little church that cuts a lone figure on the shores of Lake Tekapo.
This afternoon you’ll continue to Queenstown enjoying spectacular views of the Southern Alps along the way. On arrival into Queenstown check into your hotel, the rest of the day is yours at leisure.
Day 3: Milford Sounds Cruise
We’ve included a full day excursion to Milford Sounds today. This scenic fjordland is rich in dense rainforest with glacier carved valleys and cascading waterfalls. Journey through the Southern Alps past Eglinton Valley’s ancient alpine forest before boarding your nature cruise to see the wonders of Mitre Peak.
Day 4: Queenstown
Make your way to downtown Queenstown for your transfer to the Shotover River. As Queenstown is renowned for its adventure sports, we’ve included a Shotover River jet boat ride through the canyon so you can get your dose of adrenalin! However, if you’d prefer a different excursion, speak to your consultant who will be able to offer you a more laid back alternative.
The afternoon is free at leisure to enjoy the many activities Queenstown has to offer.
Day 5: Queenstown – West Coast glaciers
It’s back on the road today as you make your way to the west coast glaciers. Today’s drive will be one to remember as you pass by some of the most magnificent scenery in New Zealand; this remote region has breath-taking landscapes of vast rainforests and snow-capped mountains.
The drive to Franz Josef should take around 4 and a half hours, (although do factor in more time for photography breaks!) On arrival check into your hotel and enjoy the rest of the day at leisure.
Day 6: West coast glaciers
This morning, we’ve included a spectacular glacier walk on the Franz Josef glacier. Make your own way to the starting point of the tour and meet your expert guide who will take you for a Glacier Valley Walk alongside the mighty Waiho River bed. You’ll follow the glacier’s path of retreat gaining some insight into the glacier’s history as you walk. You’ll be rewarded with spectacular views of the rapidly changing face of the glacier as you come to the end of the valley.
After the tour, you’ll have a chance to relax in the glacier hot pools; a haven of natural tranquillity, and a perfect way to unwind after your valley walk.
Day 7: West coast glaciers to Greymouth - Tranzalpine to Christchurch
It’s now time to head north, your drive will take you along the rugged west coast up to Greymouth, just over 4 hours away. Be sure to stop in Punakaiki on the way to check out the Pancake Rocks – a formation that has been sculpted over time by the surging sea.
After dropping your car off at the train station in Greymouth, board the TranzAlpine train for your final journey into Christchurch. This railway is famous for its spectacular mountain scenery as it passes through the Alps so there will be plenty of opportunities to capture these spectacular images as you travel.
On arrival into Christchurch you will be met and taken to your hotel by shared transfer.
Day 8: Depart Christchurch
Make your own way to the airport today to connect with your onward travel plans.