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Thrifty Tours

3 day TranzAlpine and West Coast Glaciers to Queenstown

From Christchurch you’ll cross the Southern Alps on board the world famous Tranz Alpine Scenic Train.  On reaching the ruggedly beautiful West Coast you’ll follow the coastline south to Franz Josef where you’ll spend the next 2 nights.  From your base in Franz Josef you’ll have time to explore the pristine wilderness of Westland Tai Poutini National Park and the fabulous glaciers.  Leaving the glacier region you’ll continue south through the stunning Haast Pass to the Southern Lakes region and the ‘Adventure Capital’ of Queenstown.

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Tour summary and feature

New Zealand independent tour

This suggested tour costs from NZD$830 per person (twin share, low season)

Starts in Christchurch, finishes in Queenstown

3 days/2 nights

Motels

 Customisable? YES

 Viewed 120 times in the last 7 days

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GreatSights Coach Travel
Tour at a glance
Brief itinerary - 3 day TranzAlpine and West Coast Glaciers to Queenstown

Day 1: Christchurch to Greymouth Tranz Alpine Scenic Train then to Franz Josef Glacier. Accommodation: Punga Grove Motel & Suites

Day 2: Explore the West Coast Glacier region. Accommodation: Punga Grove Motel & Suites

Day 3: Franz Josef Glacier to Queenstown.

Detailed itinerary

Tour full itinerary

Day 1 - Christchurch to Greymouth Tranz Alpine Scenic Train then to Franz Josef Glacier

3 day TranzAlpine and West Coast Glaciers to Queenstown - Day 1
TranzAlpine Scenic Train: Christchurch to Greymouth

Your early morning departure is rewarded with incredible scenery today onboard the TranzAlpine Scenic Train, considered one of the world's great train journeys. It travels between Christchurch and Greymouth, from one coast of New Zealand to the other. From your carriage you'll see the fields of the Canterbury Plains and farmland, followed by the spectacular gorges and river valleys of the Waimakariri River. Your train then climbs into the Southern Alps before descending through the lush beech rain forest to the West Coast town of Greymouth - a great base for visits to Punakaiki and the West Coast glaciers.

Greymouth Train Station to Franz Josef with Intercity

Your coach to Franz Josef Glacier departs from the Greymouth Railway Station. The journey to the Glaciers is southward through the lush bush covered landscape at the base of the Southern Alps. A refreshment stop in Hokitika allows you to stretch your legs around the town centre. Further south you pass through the township of Ross which was the centre of one of New Zealand's richest alluvial goldfields in the late 1800s. Further along, travelling down the West Coast enjoy the beautiful landscape of vast rainforests, gushing waterfalls and snow-capped mountains before arriving into the small village of Franz Josef. From here you can explore the world famous Franz Josef Glacier.

Your accommodation: Punga Grove Motel & Suites

Punga Grove is right in the heart of Franz Josef Glacier village and offers affordable and stylish accommodation in a beautiful rainforest setting.

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Day 2 - Explore the West Coast Glacier region

3 day TranzAlpine and West Coast Glaciers to Queenstown - Day 2
Explore Franz Josef Glacier

Franz Josef is a small but lively town in the heart of the West Coast, known for its 12 km long glacier. Surrounded by lush rainforest-clad mountains the township has a vibrant and bustling atmosphere. To see the ice from a viewpoint you can walk along the valley floor to the viewpoint below the terminal face. However, to go on the glacier itself you must take a licensed helicopter tour.

SUGGESTED ACTIVITY - Twin Glacier Scenic Helicopter Flight with The Helicopter Line

Take a spectacular scenic flight over two of New Zealand's most famous glaciers. Land at the head of one and view the incredible sight of this frozen river as it winds its way through ancient carved valleys. Should weather not be suitable to take this flight you are able to transfer your booking onto a similar tour on any of the Helicopter Line's operations in Queenstown or Mt Cook.

SUGGESTED ACTIVITY - Franz Josef Nature Tour

Nestled in thick historic West Coast forest and a stone's throw from wild black sand beaches, this is one of the world's most unusual glaciers. Beautiful blue skies or magical misty rain - whatever the weather - you will feel like you are in Narnia or LOTR.
With easy walking at your pace, information on glaciology, geology, geomorphology, flora and fauna, local legends, history, and small guided groups with fantastic guides, you will experience this glacier in style and in the best hands with the only local company. Wander past glacier rivers and streams and through beautiful podocarp forest; discover hidden natural treasures such as native snails, wild native mushrooms, and dozens of species of native orchids; listen to native bird song and waterfalls; see if you can spot a Chamois or a Tahr on the huge snow-capped mountains above while drinking a cup of tea and talking one-on-one with your guide. This tour will be a highlight of your travels in New Zealand.

Your accommodation: Punga Grove Motel & Suites

Punga Grove is right in the heart of Franz Josef Glacier village and offers affordable and stylish accommodation in a beautiful rainforest setting.

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Day 3 - Franz Josef Glacier to Queenstown

3 day TranzAlpine and West Coast Glaciers to Queenstown - Day 3
Franz Josef to Queenstown with Intercity

Travel from the isolated beauty of Franz Josef to the exciting resort town of Queenstown.
Leave the small village of Franz Josef, access point to the world famous Franz Josef Glacier, and journey through the remote and rugged landscape of the West Coast. This is New Zealand at its purest and most untamed, see moody mountain ranges, thick native rainforest and wild rocky shores as you travel in comfort. Cross over to the East Coast through the Haast Pass, the southernmost pass in the Southern Alps. On the other side, enjoy picture-postcard views of vibrant blue lakes like Lake Hawea, Lake Wanaka and Lake Dunstan as you make your way into scenic Queenstown, arriving in the late afternoon.

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May 22, 2022
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