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Thrifty Tours

South Island Gems Highlights

Your journey begins in Christchurch, the largest city in the South Island, where you'll board the TranzAlpine Scenic train. From your carriage you'll see the fields of the Canterbury Plains, the spectacular gorges and river valleys of the Waimakariri River, the Southern Alps and then the lush rainforests of the West Coast town of Greymouth. From Greymouth, you'll head south to Franz Josef and Glacier Country, catching glimpses of the Franz Josef Glacier as you arrive into the town centre. You'll be collected from your accommodation and taken on a short tour to see the glacier from a viewing platform. Day two sees you setting off from Franz Josef, along the scenic Haast pass through the Southern Alps. See the pristine waters of lakes Hawea and Wanaka as you continue through to the worlds Adventure Capital, Queenstown. The next morning, embark on a truly memorable experience in Milford Sound. Luxury coach transport from Queenstown, along the shores of Lake Wakatipu, through the rolling countryside to Te Anau, and onto the spectacular Milford Road. On reaching Milford Sound, board a spacious, modern vessel for a leisurely cruise in the fiord, enjoying the waterfalls, rainforest, mountains, and wildlife. Return to Queenstown and your accommodation via coach. The next morning sees you embarking from Queenstown, through the Lindis Pass, to Aoraki Mount Cook National Park in the Southern Alps. You will have free time to explore, or even consider booking a scenic flight! Afterwards, continue on toward the stunningly blue Lake Tekapo, through the lush farmland of the Canterbury Plains to your final destination, Christchurch.

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**Please Note: Some elements of this tour may only run on certain days of the week. Speak to one of our travel specialists today to find a departure date that works for you.

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Quick Itinerary Details

New Zealand Independent Tour

This suggested tour costs from NZD$1,720 per person (twin share, low season)

Starts in Christchurch, finishes in Christchurch

4 days/3 nights

Motels

 Customisable? YES

 Viewed 211 times in the last 7 days

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Detailed Itinerary
South Island Gems Highlights - 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 Gray Line

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.

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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South Island Gems Highlights - Day 2
Franz Josef to Queenstown Day Tour with Gray Line

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.

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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South Island Gems Highlights - 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.

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South Island Gems Highlights - Day 4
Queenstown to Christchurch via Mt Cook with Gray Line

Depart Queenstown in the morning passing the fruit growing area of Cromwell towards the dramatic Lindis Pass that links Mackenzie Basin with Central Otago. The pass crosses a saddle between the valleys of the Lindis and Ahuriri Rivers at an altitude of 971 metres above sea level. You will continue towards Omarama, which is a favorite place of glider pilots and sometimes known as 'place of light'. You will continue towards Aoraki/ Mount Cook National Park in the Southern Alps. Mt Cook is New Zealand's tallest mountain. You will have a free time to explore Mount Cook Village or you can take a sightseeing flight (at your own expense) enabling you experience some of the most dramatic alpine and glacier scenery. After then, you will continue towards beautiful Lake Tekapo, where you can see the iconic Church of the Good Shepherd as it stands in solitude next to the vibrant blue waters. After visiting Tekapo, you will travel through the lush farmland of the Canterbury Plains to Christchurch.

 

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Mar 9, 2024
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Mar 10, 2024
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