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Thrifty Tours5 day Southern Alps Circuit Christchurch to Christchurch

Circumnavigate the Southern Alps on this 5 day tour.  Begin with the world famous Tranz Alpine Scenic Train journey from Christchurch to the West Coast.  Continue your journey south to the West Coast Glacier region and onto the alpine ‘Adventure Capital’ of Queenstown where you’ll spend 3 nights.  You have a free day to explore before your day trip to the pristine wilderness of Milford Sound in Fiordland National Park.  Return to Christchurch via Mt Cook National Park, where you’ll stop for lunch at the Hermitage.

 New Zealand independent tour
 Starts in Christchurch, finishes in Christchurch
 5 days/ 4 nights
 Motels
  Customisable? YES Enquire Enquire
 Viewed 44 times in the last 7 days

Included in this tour package

Tour map
Lady Bowen Falls, Milford Sound
Views Towards Queenstown from Cecil Peak

At a glance - 5 day Southern Alps Circuit Christchurch to Christchurch

Day 1: Christchurch to Greymouth by Tranz Alpine Scenic Train then to Franz Josef , Glacier shuttle . Accommodation: Punga Grove Motel & Suites

Day 2: Newmans coach Franz Josef Glacier to Queenstown. Accommodation: Blue Peaks Lodge

Day 3: Free day to enjoy Queenstown. Accommodation: Blue Peaks Lodge

Day 4: Real Journeys Milford Sound day tour including a nature cruise. Accommodation: Blue Peaks Lodge

Day 5: Queenstown to Mt. Cook National Park, lunch at the Hermitage then onto Christchurch.

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5 day Southern Alps Circuit Christchurch to Christchurch - Detailed Itinerary  

Day 1: Christchurch to Greymouth by Tranz Alpine Scenic Train then to Franz Josef , Glacier shuttle

5 day Southern Alps Circuit Christchurch to Christchurch - Day 1

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: 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.

Punga Grove Motel & Suites

Day 2: Newmans coach Franz Josef Glacier to Queenstown

5 day Southern Alps Circuit Christchurch to Christchurch - Day 2

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.

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.

Blue Peaks Lodge

Day 3: Free day to enjoy Queenstown

5 day Southern Alps Circuit Christchurch to Christchurch - 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 - Remarkable Experience Art, Wine and Heritage Tour

Cruise in style in a 1937 convertible soft-top Chevrolet bus, taking in spectacular mountain and lake vistas.  You’ll also visit historic areas in Queenstown and Arrowtown and sample some of the local cuisine.  You will also get the chance to view the personal galleries of some amazing local artists. Travelling with the unique, convertible top down you can enjoy an open-air view of the magnificent surroundings and alluring beauty of the region. Rich and golden, moody and blue or full of sunshine and glory, bright and crisp with snowy peaks on craggy mountaintops, each day and season offers a fresh new scene. You have the opportunity to view fine art, carefully crafted and created by renowned artists of New Zealand in their personal galleries. Paintings of various styles and beautifully crafted wood sculptures are among the mediums. You’ll complete a circuit from Queenstown, along rolling hills of the clear countryside and drive through the picturesque gold-mining town of Arrowtown. Travelling on to the final stop you can enjoy and taste wines grown from grapes onsite and indulge in mouth-watering cuisine in the cosy gallery or al fresco. Wander around delightful grounds of terraced gardens and ponds over-looking the beautiful Lake Hayes. The journey winds back to Queenstown over the gold filled Shotover River, through pastures and around the mighty sleeping giant, Lake Wakatipu.

The 1937 Chevrolet bus arrived in New Zealand in 1942 and was in service for three decades. This was originally one of six buses operated by Routeburn Valley Motors, transporting passengers from Kinloch, at the head of Lake Wakatipu, to the Routeburn track.

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.

SUGGESTED ACTIVITY - 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: 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.

Blue Peaks Lodge

Day 4: Real Journeys Milford Sound day tour including a nature cruise

5 day Southern Alps Circuit Christchurch to Christchurch - Day 4

Milford Sound Nature Cruise with return luxury coach transfers from Queenstown

Return luxury coach transport from Queenstown to Milford Sound, with an extended 2.5 hour Nature Cruise along the full length of the fiord. On board a Real Journeys luxury glass-roofed coach in Queenstown, 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 Milford Mariner for a leisurely extended cruise of the fiord. The cruise provides excellent viewing opportunities and plenty of time is available to enjoy waterfalls, rain forest, mountains and wildlife with extensive commentary by the on board nature guide. Includes picnic boxed lunch.

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.

Meals included: Lunch

Blue Peaks Lodge

Day 5: Queenstown to Mt. Cook National Park, lunch at the Hermitage then onto Christchurch

5 day Southern Alps Circuit Christchurch to Christchurch - Day 5

Queenstown to Christchurch with GreatSights (Includes Lunch)

Travel to the foothills of New Zealand's highest mountain, Aoraki / Mount Cook, on a full-day sightseeing tour from Queenstown to Christchurch. Setting off from Queenstown, travel through ruggedly beautiful landscape and over the Lindis Pass into the Mackenzie Country. Enter the amazing Aoraki / Mt Cook National Park, home to New Zealand's highest mountain, where there is time to stop for lunch and a chance to enjoy the amazing alpine scenery. During your stop at Mount Cook Village, enjoy a delicious lunch at the famous Hermitage Hotel. In the afternoon, travel past Lake Pukaki to Lake Tekapo, where you can view the solitary Church of the Good Shepherd against the backdrop of this vivid blue glacier-fed lake. Then continue through the diverse farmland of the Canterbury Plains to Christchurch, the Garden City, where your tour concludes.

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