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Thrifty Tours

8 day Southern Discovery (Fly & Coach from Auckland)

Fly from Auckland to Christchurch then cross the Southern Alps on board the TranzAlpine train. Explore the West Coast Glaciers before heading south to Queenstown. Venture into Milford Sound for a wonderful full-day experience and cruise. The World Heritage area of Mt Cook National Park is also a highlight. Return to Auckland by Air New Zealand.

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Quick Itinerary Details

New Zealand Independent Tour

This suggested tour costs from NZD$6,220 per person (twin share, low season)

Starts in Auckland, finishes in Auckland

8 days/7 nights

Hotel 4 star

 Customisable? YES

 Viewed 181 times in the last 7 days

Tour full itinerary
Detailed Itinerary
8 day Southern Discovery (Fly & Coach from Auckland) - Day 1
Air New Zealand flight Auckland to Christchurch
Private transfer Christchurch International Airport to your accommodation

On arrival, you will be met by a private driver and transferred to your Christchurch accommodation.

Welcome to Christchurch City

Christchurch New Zealand's garden city is steadily being transformed into a vibrant urban destination. Encompassing a large green belt, it is known for its wide tree lined avenues and lush gardens. A great way to explore the city or easy way to see the sights or ride the historic trams across town to the renowned botanic gardens and the unique cardboard Transitional Cathedral, that's right it is built of cardboard!

Your accommodation: The George Hotel

The George is the essence of supreme comfort. The award-winning 5 star hotel is opposite Hagley Park and just a few minutes stroll from the Botanic Gardens. It also has an award-winning restaurant, 50 Bistro onsite.

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8 day Southern Discovery (Fly & Coach from Auckland) - Day 2
Private transfer accommodation to Christchurch Train Station with Christchurch Touring

A private driver will collect you from your accommodation and transfer you to the Christchurch train station in time for your train journey.

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 Hokitika Scenic Tours

Leaving Greymouth, you will head south to Franz Josef and Glacier Country.  Continue on through Ross, a historic gold mining town where several buildings still remain intact. As you travel further down the coast you’ll also go through Hari Hari, the town where Guy Menzies, the first person to fly solo over the Tasman crash-landed. Follow the coast through several small towns before catching a glimpse of the Franz Josef glacier as you arrive in the town centre.

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: Scenic Hotel Franz Josef Glacier

Only a breath away from the Franz Josef Glacier, Scenic Hotel is located in the heart of Franz Josef Village. Here you will find all of the amenities you would expect, as well as being close to the shops, restaurants and activities on offer in the beautiful Westland region.
Meals included: Breakfast

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8 day Southern Discovery (Fly & Coach from Auckland) - Day 3
Explore Franz Josef

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 - Franz Josef Glacier Helihike with The Helicopter Line

Take a scenic flight over all three Franz Josef glacier icefalls. Landing high on the glacier take a two hour guided trip through some of the most beautiful terrain in the country. Your guide will choose the route as you go through a wonderland of blue ice and frozen pinnacles. You'll have endless views of the surrounding mountains and rainforest as well as plenty of opportunities to take photographs. Sure to be one of the most memorable experiences you have while you are in New Zealand. 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 operations in Queenstown or Mt Cook.

Your accommodation: Scenic Hotel Franz Josef Glacier

Only a breath away from the Franz Josef Glacier, Scenic Hotel is located in the heart of Franz Josef Village. Here you will find all of the amenities you would expect, as well as being close to the shops, restaurants and activities on offer in the beautiful Westland region.
Meals included: Breakfast

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8 day Southern Discovery (Fly & Coach from Auckland) - Day 4
Franz Josef to Queenstown with Glacier Shuttles

Set off from the small village of Franz Josef, set at the edge of Franz Josef Glacier (one of the world's most accessible glaciers), and travel through the remote and unspoiled scenery of the West Coast. Take the scenic Haast Pass through the Southern Alps, the southernmost pass between the East and West coasts of the South Island. See the clear and pristine waters of Lake Hawea as you travel east, passing Lake Hawea and Lake Wanaka as you continue through to New Zealand's 'Adventure Capital', Queenstown.

Your accommodation: Hotel St Moritz Queenstown

Awarded the best hotel in the New Zealand Tourism Awards 3 times running this luxury apartment-style hotel is built on an elevated hillside position offering spectacular lake and mountain views. Only a 2 minute walk to the centre of Queenstown's vibrant attractions and activities.
Meals included: Breakfast

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8 day Southern Discovery (Fly & Coach from Auckland) - Day 5
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: Hotel St Moritz Queenstown

Awarded the best hotel in the New Zealand Tourism Awards 3 times running this luxury apartment-style hotel is built on an elevated hillside position offering spectacular lake and mountain views. Only a 2 minute walk to the centre of Queenstown's vibrant attractions and activities.
Meals included: Breakfast

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8 day Southern Discovery (Fly & Coach from Auckland) - Day 6
Queenstown to Aoraki/Mount Cook Small Group Tour with Cheeky Kiwi

Leaving Queenstown you'll head through the Kawarau Gorge and over the historic Kawarau Bridge -  a popular bungy jumping location. The town of Cromwell sits at the head of the Kawarau Gorge. and the original town was completely submerged when the Clyde Dam was built and Lake Dunstan established in 1992, the remnants of Old Cromwell town provide a unique snapshot into the history of this area. Head over through the Lindis Pass, one of New Zealand’s highest roads, with the summit reaching 971 metres. Its tussock-covered hills are a barren but beautiful sight as you descend into the Mackenzie Basin. You'll go through the towns of Omarama and Twizel before you arrive at Lake Pukaki and take the Aoraki Mount Cook Highway to arrive at the small village.

SUGGESTED ACTIVITY - Glacier Explorers Mt. Cook

Enjoy a glacier experience that is unique in New Zealand and one of only three in the world. Get up and close and personal with icebergs, on a glacial terminal lake.

It is extremely rare for a glacier to terminate into a lake and rarer still to find one that is accessible to visitors. Join your group on our boat for an intimate encounter with a glacier -- see massive icebergs and soaring ice cliffs. You'll experience seldom seen and inaccessible parts of New Zealand's largest glacier in a safe way aboard your boat. Few people can say they have seen, touched and tasted 500 year old ice. Now you will be one of them!

Tours depart from Mount Cook Village outside The Hermitage Hotel, where you'll board a small bus for an enjoyable trip to the Tasman Valley. This is followed by a relaxing 30 minute stroll through the National Park to your waiting MAC boat. Now it’s time to witness the changing ice face of the Tasman Glacier and the icebergs it spawns on the Tasman Glacier Lake. Throughout your 2.5 hour trip (45 min to 1 hour on the lake) your experienced guide offers an informative and entertaining commentary that ensures you don't miss a thing.

Your accommodation: Hermitage Hotel, Aoraki Wing Premium

The Hermitage Hotel ringed by magnificent snow-capped peaks of the Southern Alps, is a world-renowned tourist destination and has been an icon of superior accommodation and dining since 1884.
Meals included: Breakfast

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8 day Southern Discovery (Fly & Coach from Auckland) - Day 7
Aoraki/Mount Cook to Christchurch Small Group Tour with Cheeky Kiwi

Leaving the spectacular Aoraki/Mount Cook you will head back along Mount Cook Road, and then out towards the famous Lake Tekapo. After passing through Tekapo you will travel through the small but stunning towns of Fairlie and Geraldine, before joining State Highway 1 towards your destination of Christchurch.

Your accommodation: The George Hotel

The George is the essence of supreme comfort. The award-winning 5 star hotel is opposite Hagley Park and just a few minutes stroll from the Botanic Gardens. It also has an award-winning restaurant, 50 Bistro onsite.
Meals included: Breakfast

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8 day Southern Discovery (Fly & Coach from Auckland) - Day 8
Private transfer accommodation to Christchurch Airport

A private transfer will collect you from your accommodation and transfer you to Christchurch Airport in time for your departing flight.

Air New Zealand flight Christchurch to Auckland

Fly Air New Zealand to Auckland to meet your onward flight.

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