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Thrifty Tours

River, Lake & Fiord Explorer

Begin your journey in Christchurch before riding the TranzAlpine through Arthurs Pass and into Fox Glacier. Experience the thrills of the West Coast before travelling south into Queenstown where you are free to explore on your own. Spot cheeky Kea and snow peaked mountains on your way to Milford Sound where you will be splashed with youthful glacial waters. Travel later to Dunedin before ending your adventure in Christchurch.

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Quick Itinerary Details

New Zealand Independent Tour

This suggested tour costs from NZD$4,195 per person (twin share, low season)

Starts in Christchurch, finishes in Christchurch

7 days/6 nights

Hotel 4 star

 Customisable? YES

 Viewed 287 times in the last 7 days

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Detailed Itinerary
River, Lake & Fiord Explorer - 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 to Fox Glacier with Glacier Shuttles

You will be met at the Greymouth Train Station by a representative from Glacier Shuttles and driven to your accommodation in Fox Glacier.

Your accommodation: Distinction Fox Glacier Te Weheka Boutique Hotel

A modern, purpose built boutique Fox Glacier hotel. Distinctions Te Weheka Boutique Hotel provides a balance of luxury, privacy and location, while being only a short stroll to Fox Glacier village.

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River, Lake & Fiord Explorer - Day 2
Fox Glacier

The mighty Fox is the largest and longest of the magnificent West Coast glaciers. Remarkably, it ends in temperate rainforest, 250 metres above sea level only twelve kilometres from the sea.
There are more peaks at the head of the Fox Glacier than in any other valley in New Zealand.
The Fox Glacier, like all glaciers, advances and retreats. Evidence of the latest surge forward can be seen in the bulging lower ice fall. Alpine Guides has access onto the lower part of the glacier via a secret track that climbs through regenerating native forest. From the track, you will have stunning views into the upper parts of the glacier. Fox Glacier township is the more "laid back" of the twin Glacier Country townships of Fox and Franz Josef, and people often comment on having chosen Fox for its relaxed atmosphere.
An excellent selection of cafés and a wide range of accommodations are available. The township enjoys breathtaking views of New Zealand's highest peaks, Mount Cook and Mount Tasman. Lake Matheson, the famous reflection lake, is a five-minute drive west of Fox Township and historic Gillespie's Beach, known for its crashing surf and distant snow-capped mountains, is only 25 minutes west by car.

 

Your accommodation: Distinction Fox Glacier Te Weheka Boutique Hotel

A modern, purpose built boutique Fox Glacier hotel. Distinctions Te Weheka Boutique Hotel provides a balance of luxury, privacy and location, while being only a short stroll to Fox Glacier village.
Meals included: Breakfast

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River, Lake & Fiord Explorer - Day 3
Fox Glacier to Queenstown with Glacier Shuttles

Set off from the small village of Fox Glacier 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: Millennium Hotel Queenstown

Right in the heart of the action, the Millennium Hotel is just minutes from Queenstown's central shopping and entertainment district. Outdoor activities such as bungy jumping, white water rafting and jet boating are just some of the easily accessible activities nearby in New Zealand's adventure capital.
Meals included: Breakfast

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River, Lake & Fiord Explorer - Day 4
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. Whether you are looking for a scenic short walk or a longer one, you will find the perfect hike or bike trail in Queenstown. Explore Queenstown Gardens, or try out more challenging trails up to Ben Lomond Walkaway or Queenstown Hill Walking Track. Enjoy iconic views and take Queenstown Gondola up 450 metres to Bob's Peak, or 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 al fresco restaurants, try out the famous Fergburger, or grab a dessert at Patagonia Chocolates.

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: Millennium Hotel Queenstown

Right in the heart of the action, the Millennium Hotel is just minutes from Queenstown's central shopping and entertainment district. Outdoor activities such as bungy jumping, white water rafting and jet boating are just some of the easily accessible activities nearby in New Zealand's adventure capital.
Meals included: Breakfast

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River, Lake & Fiord Explorer - Day 5
Milford Sound Coach, Cruise, Coach Small Group Tour with Altitude Tours - Including Lunch

This small group Milford Sound day tours allow you to escape the crowds and offers a truly unique tour showcasing this spectacular and world famous region. Experience a stunning two hour small boat nature cruise on the fiord – see waterfalls, fur seals and occasionally dolphins. Enjoy a delicious picnic lunch, as well as enjoying lots of fun and informative commentary from the local guide, and plenty of off the beaten track visits away from the crowds.

Your accommodation: Distinction Luxmore Hotel

The perfect base for all your Fiordland travel, Distinction Luxmore Hotel provides comfortable accommodation right in the heart of Te Anau.
Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch

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River, Lake & Fiord Explorer - Day 6
Te Anau to Dunedin with Iconic

Journey away from Fiordland today and toward the rolling hills of the east coast, passing through lush Southland farmland and back into the Otago region.

Your accommodation: Distinction Dunedin Hotel

Distinction Dunedin Hotel occupies the grand Chief Post Office built in the 1930’s. This art deco inspired building has recently been transformed into a 4 star hotel with elegant décor, set in the heart of the city.
Meals included: Breakfast

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River, Lake & Fiord Explorer - Day 7
Dunedin Accommodation to Coach Stop Transfer with Iconic

You will be collected from your accommodation and transferred to the coach stop in time for your departure.

Dunedin to Christchurch by InterCity Coach

The drive follows the Otago Coastline as you head north from Dunedin. Pass through the unique town of Oamaru, famous for its buildings constructed with the unique locally quarried white stone. The port town of Timaru is next and then the vast Canterbury Plains. Crossing New Zealand's longest bridge at Rakaia you can view some great examples of the South Island's famous braided rivers.

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