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Thrifty Tours

5 day Southern Highlights with Milford Sound (October 2021 - April 2022)

A 5 day tour of the spectacular South Island while New Zealand's borders are closed to the Northern Hemisphere. Visit Queenstown, explore Fiordland, Milford Sound and the West Coast Glaciers and finally enjoy the TranzAlpine Scenic Train journey.

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Tour summary and feature

New Zealand independent tour

This suggested tour costs from NZD$2,190 per person (twin share, low season)

Starts in Christchurch, finishes in Christchurch

5 days/4 nights

Motels

 Customisable? YES

 Viewed 7 times in the last 7 days

This tour also includes

Intercity Coach Travel

Private Transfer Queenstown Coach Stop to Accommodation (LSQ)

Private Transfer Queenstown Accommodation to Coach Stop (LSQ)

1 lunch

Tour at a glance
Brief itinerary - 5 day Southern Highlights with Milford Sound (October 2021 - April 2022)

Day 1: Christchurch to Queenstown. Accommodation: Blue Peaks Lodge

Day 2: Free day to explore Queenstown. Accommodation: Blue Peaks Lodge

Day 3: Milford Sound day tour with Real Journeys. Accommodation: Blue Peaks Lodge

Day 4: Queenstown to Franz Josef Glacier. Accommodation: Punga Grove Motel & Suites

Day 5: Franz Josef to Greymouth train station, TranzAlpine train to Christchurch.

Detailed itinerary

Tour full itinerary

Day 1 - Christchurch to Queenstown

5 day Southern Highlights with Milford Sound (October 2021 - April 2022) - Day 1
Christchurch to Queenstown by Intercity Coach

Today you head into the heart of the South Island. First crossing the vast Canterbury Plains, you then enter the MacKenzie Country - home to large high country sheep stations. Next is the picturesque town of Lake Tekapo, is the first of the large Southern Lakes on your journey. From there, continue on to Lake Pukaki, where on clear days you will be rewarded with spectacular views of Mt Cook towering over the lake. Further along is the town of Twizel, just south of Mt. Cook, which was the location of many Lord of the Rings movie scenes.
You then cross the Lindis Pass, one of New Zealand's highest roads with the summit reaching 971 metres, linking the Mackenzie Basin into Central Otago. The next major town is Cromwell, a major fruit growing region, which sits at the head of the Kawarau Gorge. Follow the sheer cliffs of the Kawarau Gorge towards Queenstown and Gibbston, one of New Zealand's premier wine growing regions.
Approaching Queenstown, the impressive Remarkables mountain range and beautiful Lake Wakatipu come into view as you head towards the adventure capital of New Zealand.

Private Transfer Queenstown Coach Stop to Accommodation (LSQ)

On arrival into Queenstown you will be met at the coach stop and a transfer will deliver you to your accommodation.

Your accommodation: Blue Peaks Lodge

Blue Peaks Lodge offers well equipped self contained rooms with a fantastic location overlooking Queenstown and is just an easy five minutes walk to the Queenstown lakefront.

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Day 2 - Free day to explore Queenstown

5 day Southern Highlights with Milford Sound (October 2021 - April 2022) - Day 2
Free day in Queenstown

Although celebrated as New Zealand's ‘adventure capital’ Queenstown offers far more than a fast paced action-packed holiday. Settled on the shores of Lake Wakatipu beneath a soaring panorama of the Remarkables Mountain Range, this alpine town is surrounded by a plethora of historic, gastronomic, and scenic wonders.
Head down the Gibbston wine trail to sample some of the region’s best Pinot or catch a ride on the 100 year old Steamship - the TSS Earnslaw -  to Walter Peak Station for dinner and a farm tour.
Browse the waterfront cafes and have lunch at Michelin star chef Josh Emett's ‘Rata' or simply take a leisurely lakeside stroll or ride the gondola for breathtaking views.

SUGGESTED ACTIVITY - Jet Boat the Shotover Canyon

Jet boating on the Shotover River is one of the must do Queenstown activities, even the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge climbed aboard ‘Big Red’.  During this unforgettable ride you’ll skim across shallow water, past rocky outcrops as you hurtle through the narrow chasm of the Shotover Canyon before your skilled driver takes you into a scream worth 360 degree spin.

SUGGESTED ACTIVITY - Queenstown Skyline Gondola Ride

Hop aboard the Skyline Gondola - the steepest cable car lift in the Southern hemisphere! From which you can take in the awe-inspiring views of this spectacular landscape. Sit back and relax as you enjoy panoramic views of The Remarkables, Walter Peak, Cecil Peak, Coronet Peak and the magnificent Lake Wakatipu.

Your accommodation: Blue Peaks Lodge

Blue Peaks Lodge offers well equipped self contained rooms with a fantastic location overlooking Queenstown and is just an easy five minutes walk to the Queenstown lakefront.

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Day 3 - Milford Sound day tour with Real Journeys

5 day Southern Highlights with Milford Sound (October 2021 - April 2022) - Day 3
Milford Sound Cruise and coach tour from Queenstown

Return luxury coach transport from Queenstown to Milford Sound, with a 1 hour 40 minute Cruise along the full length of the fiord. On boarding a Real Journeys luxury glass-roofed coach in Queenstown or Te Anau, you will enjoy a relaxing trip along the shores of Lake Wakatipu and through the rolling countryside to Te Anau. The coach driver provides an informative commentary. After a morning tea break in Te Anau, where you have the option of purchasing refreshments, the coach continues along the spectacular Milford Road. There is time for photo stops and short walks along the way. On reaching Milford Sound, you board the modern, spacious vessel for a leisurely cruise in the fiord. The cruise provides excellent viewing opportunities and plenty of time is available to enjoy waterfalls, rainforest, mountains and the wildlife. During the cruise your friendly crew provide commentaries in several languages and point out the sights such as Mitre Peak and the Pembroke Glacier.

Your accommodation: Blue Peaks Lodge

Blue Peaks Lodge offers well equipped self contained rooms with a fantastic location overlooking Queenstown and is just an easy five minutes walk to the Queenstown lakefront.

Meals included: Lunch

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Day 4 - Queenstown to Franz Josef Glacier

5 day Southern Highlights with Milford Sound (October 2021 - April 2022) - Day 4
Private transfer Queenstown Accommodation to Coach Stop

You will be picked up from your accommodation and transferred to the coach stop.

Queenstown to Wanaka with Ritchies

Leaving Queenstown you head over New Zealand's highest sealed road, Crown Range Road before dropping into Wanaka.

Wanaka to Franz Josef with Glacier Valley Shuttles

Leaving Lake Wanaka, travel past picturesque scenery of massive mountain peaks and crystal-clear blue lakes. Travel across the Haast Pass to the other side of the Southern Alps, the landscape changes dramatically. Welcome to the wild and wonderful West Coast, a remote and unspoiled region. Wind your way past native rainforest, rocky coastlines and powerful waterfalls. Your journey concludes in the village of Franz Josef, your base for exploration of the area.

Glacier Valley Shuttle

You will be met at your accommodation by a representative from Glacier Shuttles and taken on a short tour to view the glacier. Your shuttle vehicle will transfer you up the Franz Josef valley to the road end. Here you will have the opportunity to walk to view the glacier from a viewing platform. Or enjoy one of the short walks available in this area. You will be returned to your accommodation by the Glacier Valley Shuttles.

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 5 - Franz Josef to Greymouth train station, TranzAlpine train to Christchurch

5 day Southern Highlights with Milford Sound (October 2021 - April 2022) - Day 5
Franz Josef to Greymouth Train Station with Hokitika Scenic Tours

Today you’ll head north through the historic gold mining region of Hokitika. Known for its Greenstone (Pounamu) this seaside town has a rich history dating back to the 1860’s. Continue on to Greymouth, the largest town on the West Coast and the starting point for the next leg of your journey - the Tranz Alpine Scenic Train.

TranzAlpine Scenic Train: Greymouth to Christchurch

Your transport from Greymouth to Christchurch, the Tranz Alpine scenic train, offers a chance to take in one of the world's great train journeys. The train -- with carriages specially designed to allow you to take in all the amazing views on offer -- will carry you from the Tasman Sea up into the Southern Alps and through Arthur's Pass National Park to the Pacific Ocean.

The train offers a comfortable and relaxing way to cross Arthurs Pass from the South Island's wild West Coast to the more tamed east coast and its biggest city. Leaving Greymouth Station, you will travel through lush West Coast rain forest before climbing into to the spectacular mountains of the Southern Alps. And, after a stop in Arthur's Pass for a breath of mountain air, you'll travel dramatic gorges and the beautiful Waimakariri river valley to emerge on the farmland of the Canterbury Plains. From here the train crosses the plains for an early evening arrival in Christchurch city.

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Oct 4, 2021
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