Login
Call us FREE in NZ on 1855 638 2709
|

Thrifty ToursAlpine Explorer

A 5 day introduction to the South Island including Mt Cook National Park, Queenstown. Fiordland, Milford Sound and the West Coast Glaciers and the Tranz Alpine Scenic Train journey. An ideal tour to customise to your own schedule.

 New Zealand independent tour
 Starts in Christchurch, finishes in Christchurch
 5 days/ 4 nights
 Hotel 4 star
  Customisable? YES Enquire Enquire
 Viewed 5 times in the last 7 days

Included in this tour package

Tour map
Fox Glacier, west coast, New Zealand
Tranzalpine train, New Zealand

At a glance - Alpine Explorer

Day 1: Christchurch to Mt Cook National Park to Queenstown. Accommodation: Millennium Hotel Queenstown

Day 2: Full day tour to Milford Sound including cruise. Accommodation: Millennium Hotel Queenstown

Day 3: Free day to explore Queenstown. Enjoy the views from the Skyline Gondola. Accommodation: Millennium Hotel Queenstown

Day 4: Queenstown to Fox Glacier by Newmans coach. Accommodation: Distinction Fox Glacier Te Weheka Boutique Hotel

Day 5: Fox Glacier to Greymouth train station, Tranz Alpine train to Christchurch.

Back to top

Alpine Explorer - Detailed Itinerary  

Day 1: Christchurch to Mt Cook National Park to Queenstown

Alpine Explorer - Day 1

Christchurch to Queenstown via Mount Cook with GreatSights

Leaving Christchurch in the morning, travel through the fertile farmland of the Canterbury Plains to the shores of the stunning, glacier-fed Lake Tekapo, where you can view the solitary Church of the Good Shepherd and take in the sights of the spectacular Southern Alps. Then continue to the location of New Zealand's tallest mountain, Aoraki / Mount Cook, situated in a national park and UNESCO World Heritage site. Rising to 3,754 metres high, Aoraki certainly lives up to its name, which in Māori can be translated as 'cloud piercer'.
You'll have time to explore the village and soak up the view. The tour continues south, past Lake Pukaki and through the tawny tussock of the Mackenzie Country. En route, enjoy a stop in the quaint village of Omarama. Your tour concludes in the evening upon reaching Queenstown, the adventure capital of New Zealand.

Your Accommodation: Millennium Hotel Queenstown

The 4 star deluxe Millennium Hotel Queenstown is located in the heart of Queenstown within minutes of the central shopping and entertainment area.

Millennium Hotel Queenstown

Day 2: Full day tour to Milford Sound including cruise

Alpine Explorer - Day 2

Milford Sound Day Tour from Queenstown with GreatSights (Includes Buffet Lunch)

Take an unforgettable journey into the heart of Milford Sound, New Zealand's most famous tourist destination. You'll experience the world-famous fiord in all its natural glory - surrounded by dense rainforest, glacier-carved valleys and beautiful waterfalls. Leaving Queenstown, travel in comfort through rugged mountain terrain past Te Anau, a quiet town on the shores of the largest lake in the South Island. Journey through the Southern Alps and along the picturesque Eglinton Valley, a place of ancient alpine forest and gushing waterfalls and one of only a few road-accessible glacier valleys in New Zealand. Take advantage of the photo opportunities on offer along the Milford Road, like the stunning Mirror Lakes. Travel through the Homer Tunnel, a 1.2km passageway drilled into solid rock, then experience The Chasm, a short but impressive walk over footbridges spanning a series of powerful, swirling waterfalls and rapids. At Milford Sound, board your 1 3/4 hour Southern Discoveries Scenic Cruise and set off to explore the region that Rudyard Kipling called the Eighth Wonder of the World. Travel the length of the fiord and out to the Tasman Sea, gliding past glacier-scarred rock walls and waterfalls that tumble through valleys and crash into the sea far below. Lush native forest clings to steep cliffs, while seals, penguins and dolphins are regular visitors to the icy waters. At the pinnacle of the sound, Mitre Peak rises dramatically from the depths to a height of 1,692 metres above sea level. Along the way your captain will provide lively and informative commentary. Your cruise will take place on a modern, purpose-built catamaran with large viewing windows, outdoor decks, panoramic views and warm indoor seating. After your cruise, return to Queenstown by coach.

Your Accommodation: Millennium Hotel Queenstown

The 4 star deluxe Millennium Hotel Queenstown is located in the heart of Queenstown within minutes of the central shopping and entertainment area.

Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch

Millennium Hotel Queenstown

Day 3: Free day to explore Queenstown. Enjoy the views from the Skyline Gondola

Alpine Explorer - Day 3

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 valley 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.’ Check out nearby historic Arrowtown and enhance your experience with a four wheel drive trip to Macetown. Take a leisurely lakeside stroll or ride the gondola for breathtaking views. Venture further afield into the Fiordland National Park or head over the Crown Range to Wanaka. Drive through Lord Of The Rings country - or for the really fanatic, jump aboard one of many dedicated LOTR tours. And after all of that - if you do really want the adrenaline rush Queenstown is known for, take your pick from the Shotover Jet, Nevis Bungy, Canyon Swing, Zipline, Luge or White Water rafting.
 

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.

Queenstown Skyline Gondola Ride

Hop aboard the Skyline Gondola - the steepest cable car lift in the Southern hemisphere - and 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 and Coronet Peak - one of Queenstown's Ski field.

Your Accommodation: Millennium Hotel Queenstown

The 4 star deluxe Millennium Hotel Queenstown is located in the heart of Queenstown within minutes of the central shopping and entertainment area.

Meals included: Breakfast

Millennium Hotel Queenstown

Day 4: Queenstown to Fox Glacier by Newmans coach

Alpine Explorer - Day 4

Queenstown to Fox Glacier with GreatSights

See the majestic Southern Alps, picturesque lakes and rivers and the wild beauty of the West Coast on this journey from Queenstown to Fox Glacier. Along the way your driver guide will provide commentary on this unique region. Pass man-made Lake Dunstan outside Cromwell, beautiful Lake Wanaka and its neighbouring Lake Hawea. Entering Mount Aspiring National Park, follow the historic route used by Māori as they travelled across the Southern Alps in search of pounamu (greenstone). Journey through the Haast Pass, the southernmost pass between the South Island's two coasts, enjoying views of native beech forest, waterfalls and glacier-fed rivers. Arriving on the West Coast, you enter an awe-inspiring landscape of vast rainforests, crystal clear waterfalls and rugged mountain tops. Here you will discover an isolated and tranquil part of New Zealand. Your journey concludes as you reach the small village of Fox Glacier.

Fox Glacier Valley Shuttle

Your shuttle vehicle will transfer you south from Fox Glacier Township to the Fox Glacier carpark. The drive along the access road takes you through regenerating forest and over a small ford before entering the valley proper. From the carpark follow the trail that leads over the glacial moraines to the glacier valley barrier. From here you'll enjoy fantastic views of the Fox Glacier terminus with the Fox River flowing from under the ice wall of the glacier face. The Fox Glacier is the largest and longest of the West Coast glaciers and as unusual in that it ends a mere 250 metres above sea level and just 12km from the coastline.

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

Distinction Fox Glacier Te Weheka Boutique Hotel

Day 5: Fox Glacier to Greymouth train station, Tranz Alpine train to Christchurch

Alpine Explorer - Day 5

Fox Glacier to Greymouth Train Station with GreatSights

This morning travel north through the small townships of Whataroa and Harihari. Pass through the township of Ross, which in the late 1800s was the centre of one of New Zealand's richest alluvial goldfields. In 1903 the largest gold nugget ever found in New Zealand was discovered at Jones Creek, not far from the town centre. It weighed 2807 grams. The New Zealand Government later purchased the nugget and presented it as a coronation gift to King George V. On arrival into Hokitika there is a 35-minute break in your journey. This allows time to purchase lunch, explore the town centre and relax. Hokitika is the administrative and commercial centre for this part of Westland. The major primary industry is timber milling. Dairy and sheep farming, commercial fishing, white baiting and eel processing being the other major industries. Your coach concludes at the Greymouth Train Station.

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.

Back to top

Departure Dates & Prices  

Filter Tour Departures by Month (This tour departs daily)
All prices are in
Back to top

Here are some similar NZ Coach tour packages

Back to top

Travel with our teammates

The original NZ self-drive touring company
Prefer to self-drive? Search over 200 NZ tours
nzsidekick - New Zealand's leading travel agent partner
Travel agents - book NZ itineraries here