3 day - Christchurch, Tranz Alpine and West Coast Glaciers to Queenstown
Enjoy 3 days of spectacular South Island travel as you travel New Zealand's southern regions with Thrifty Tours. Staying in comfortable motel accommodation, you will visit the majestic Franz Josef Glacier, travel the wild west coast, visit Lakes Wanaka and Hawea, and ride the stunning TranzAlpine scenic train, finishing up in the beautiful resort town of Queenstown.
Included in this tour package
- Accommodation: 2 nights, Motels
- Includes: All coach tour transport as specified in this tour package
- Includes: Shuttle to Glacier Valley (may not be available May-Sep)
- Includes: TranzAlpine Train from Christchurch to Greymouth
At a glance - 3 day - Christchurch, Tranz Alpine and West Coast Glaciers to Queenstown
Day 1: Wellington to Christchurch. Accommodation: Bella Vista Christchurch
Day 2: Christchurch to Greymouth Tranz Alpine Scenic Train then to Franz Josef Glacier. Accommodation: Scenic Hotel Franz Josef Glacier
Day 3: Franz Josef Glacier to Queenstown.Back to top
Day 1: Wellington to Christchurch
Interislander ferry Wellington to Picton
The 92 km journey between Wellington and Picton takes around 3 hours and has been described as 'one of the most beautiful ferry rides in the world'. Leaving Wellington Harbour you pass many interesting points such as Pencarrow Head on top of which is New Zealand's oldest lighthouse (1859). Red Rocks is home to a seal colony and Oterangi Bay is the site which recorded the country's highest ever wind speed of 268 kph (167 mph).
From the Cook Strait spectacular views of the Kaikoura Ranges on the South Island can be enjoyed and dolphins and many sea birds are often seen. Around one hour of the cruise takes you through the Marlborough Sounds and this region of bush covered mountains, small islands, crystal clear waters and secluded bays offer remarkable photographic opportunities. The final leg of your cruise travels through Queen Charlotte Sound before coming to an end in the picturesque town of Picton.
Picton to Christchurch by Intercity Coach
From Picton you head south on State Highway 1 towards Blenheim which sits right at the heart of the New Zealand's largest wine producing region, Marlborough. Crossing the dry hills of the Marlborough ranges you head towards one of the most spectacular coastlines of the South Island, the Kaikoura Coast. The road hugs the shore for around 50 kilometres and offers many chances to view the native wildlife such as seabirds and New Zealand fur seals. To the east is the turquoise waters of the South Pacific Ocean and to the west the towering Kaikoura Ranges. Kaikoura Township is a bustling little place with many cafes, restaurants and shops. Arriving into Christchurch City puts you close to the airport and the International Antarctic Centre and a visit is highly recommended. Here you can get as close to experiencing life on the frozen continent without actually visiting plus see New Zealand little blue penguins and ride in a Haaglund Tracked vehicle.
Private transfer Christchurch train station to your accommodation
You will be met by a private transfer driver at Christchurch train station who will take you to your Christchurch accommodation. (Look for a driver holding a board displaying your name after arriving into the station.)
Your Accommodation: Bella Vista Christchurch
The Bella Vista Motel and Apartments, Christchurch, offer accommodation in a great range of comfortable modern units with excellent facilities.
Day 2: Christchurch to Greymouth Tranz Alpine Scenic Train then to Franz Josef Glacier
Private transfer hotel to Christchurch train station
A private transfer will collect you this morning and deliver you to Christchurch train station in time for your train journey.
TranzAlpine Scenic Train: Christchurch to Greymouth
Considered one of the world's great train journeys, the TranzAlpine Scenic Train 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 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 by GreatSights Coach
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 Charters 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 Shuttles and Charters shuttle.
*Winter hours do not allow the Glacier Valley Shuttle to connect with this tour
Your Accommodation: Scenic Hotel Franz Josef Glacier
Located in the heart of Franz Josef Village the hotel offers all the amenities you would expect and is close to the shops, restaurants and activities on offer.
Day 3: Franz Josef Glacier to Queenstown
Franz Josef to Queenstown with GreatSights
Travel from the isolated beauty of Franz Josef to the exciting resort town of Queenstown on a full-day sightseeing tour. 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, enjoying the commentary from your local driver guide. 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.