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5 day Southern highlights including Milford Sound

Enjoy 5 days exploring New Zealand's South Island with this excellent independent coach touring itinerary. Journey from Christchurch in a loop around the South Island, visiting all the must see destinations and enjoying a selection of exciting activities along the way. Cruise through Milford Sound with Real Journeys, visit the spectacular Mt. Cook National Park, explore the West Coast glacier region, and travel through the Southern Alps on the stunning TranzAlpine scenic train route.

 New Zealand independent tour
 Starts in Christchurch, finishes in Christchurch
 5 days/ 4 nights
 Motels
  Customisable? YES Enquire Enquire
 Viewed 180 times in the last 7 days

Included in this tour package

Wine tasting New Zealand
TranzAlpine scenic train New Zealand

At a glance - 5 day Southern highlights including Milford Sound

Day 1: Christchurch to Mt Cook National Park to Queenstown. Accommodation: Blue Peaks Lodge

Day 2: Free day to explore Queenstown. Accommodation: Blue Peaks Lodge

Day 3: Milford Sound day tour with Real Journeys. Accommodation: Blue Peaks Lodge

Day 4: Queenstown to Franz Josef Glacier by Newmans coach. Accommodation: Punga Grove motel & suites

Day 5: Franz Josef to Greymouth train station, Tranz Alpine train to Christchurch .

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5 day Southern highlights including Milford Sound - Detailed Itinerary  

Day 1: Christchurch to Mt Cook National Park to Queenstown

Christchurch to Mt. Cook National Park to Queenstown with Great Sights

Today you head into the heart of the South Island. First crossing the vast Canterbury Plains , then you enter the MacKenzie Country home to large high country sheep stations. The picturesque town of Lake Tekapo, is the first of the large Southern Lakes on your journey and you’ll enjoy a short stop here to take in the picturesque lake and one of the most photographed buildings in the country, the Church of the Good Shepherd. Continue on to Lake Pukaki where on clear days you will be rewarded with spectacular views of Mt Cook towering over the lake. The scenic drive along the lake delivers you into the heart of the national park and Mt. Cook Village. At Mt Cook Village you’ll enjoy a gourmet lunch at the famous Hermitage Hotel. After lunch you’ll have time to explore the village and soak up the view. Alternatively you can experience a scenic helicopter or ski plane flight for incredible views of mountain peaks and glaciers (additional cost, weather permitting – this flight can be arranged with your driver guide on the day). Twizel, just south of Mt. Cook was the location of many Lord of the Rings movie scenes and a little further on is Omarama where a short afternoon tea stop is available (own expense). Crossing the Lindis Pass this is one of New Zealand’s highest roads with the summit reaching 971 metres, you pass from the Mackenzie Basin into Central Otago. The next major town is Cromwell, a major fruit growing region, which sits at the head of the Kawarau Gorge.  If time allows you’ll visit the Jones Family Orchard, where you can sample the local produce from Cromwell and surrounds. Follow the sheer cliffs of the Kawarau Gorge towards Queenstown and the Gibbston Valley, one of New Zealand's premier wine growing regions. Approaching Queenstown the impressive Remarkables mountain range come into view and then beautiful Lake Wakatipu as you head towards the adventure and activity capital of New Zealand.

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 2: Free day to explore Queenstown

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.

SUGGESTED ACTIVITY - Skyline Gondola

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 3: Milford Sound day tour with Real Journeys

Milford Sound Nature Cruise with return luxury coach transfers from Queenstown

Return luxury coach transport from Queenstown to Milford Sound, with an extended 2½ hour Nature Cruise along the full length of the fiord.
On boarding 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 4: Queenstown to Franz Josef Glacier by Newmans coach

Queenstown to Franz Josef Glacier

Depart Queenstown by coach passing through Cromwell, Wanaka and Hawea before travelling over the magnificent Haast Pass into Westland. On arrival transfer to your accommodation. A local shuttle is available to take you to the glacier base where you can enjoy some short walks and magnificent views. Perhaps take a scenic helicopter flight for the ultimate view. Spectacular photo opportunities abound of these huge ice masses. Watch out for keas (native parrots) and their inquisitive cheeky play.

Glacier Valley shuttle

You will be met at your accommodation by a representative from Glacier Valley Eco Tours 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 Eco Tours shuttle.

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 5: Franz Josef to Greymouth train station, Tranz Alpine train to Christchurch

Franz Josef to Greymouth Train Station by Intercity Coach

This morning travel north through the small townships of Whataroa and Harihari. Stop at the Bushman’s Centre for refreshments and a chance to experience a bit of West Coast humour. Continue 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 time to purchase lunch, walk around the town centre, to view the greenstone factories, visit the woodworking studio, or just relax and enjoy the windswept coast. 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. Continue onto Greymouth Railway Station from where you catch the world famous Tranz Alpine train across the Southern Alps to Christchurch.

Tranz Alpine 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.

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