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Thrifty Tours8 day Southern Discovery (Fly & Coach from Auckland)

Fly from Auckland to Christchurch then cross the Southern Alps on board the Tranz Alpine train. Explore the West Coast Glaciers before heading south to Queenstown. Venture into Milford Sound for a wonderful full day experience and cruise. The World Heritage area of Mt Cook National Park is also a highlight. Return to Auckland by Air New Zealand.

 New Zealand independent tour
 Starts in Auckland, finishes in Auckland
 8 days/ 7 nights
 Hotel 3 star
  Customisable? YES Enquire Enquire
 Viewed 13 times in the last 7 days

Included in this tour package

Tour map
Mt Cook National Park, New Zealand
Queenstown, New Zealand

At a glance - 8 day Southern Discovery (Fly & Coach from Auckland)

Day 1: Fly Auckland to Christchurch with Air New Zealand. Accommodation: Heartland Hotel Cotswold

Day 2: Christchurch to Greymouth by Tranz Alpine Scenic Train then to Franz Josef , Glacier shuttle . Accommodation: Punga Grove Motel & Suites

Day 3: Free day to explore the glaciers at leisure. Accommodation: Punga Grove Motel & Suites

Day 4: Newmans coach Franz Josef Glacier to Queenstown. Accommodation: Heartland Hotel Queenstown

Day 5: Day tour to Milford Sound including a nature cruise and picnic lunch. Accommodation: Heartland Hotel Queenstown

Day 6: Queenstown to Mt Cook National Park. Accommodation: Hermitage Hotel Room Mount Cook View

Day 7: Explore Mt Cook National Park this morning and then onto Christchurch. Accommodation: Heartland Hotel Cotswold

Day 8: Depart Christchurch to Auckland today with Air New Zealand.

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8 day Southern Discovery (Fly & Coach from Auckland) - Detailed Itinerary  

Day 1: Fly Auckland to Christchurch with Air New Zealand

8 day Southern Discovery (Fly & Coach from Auckland) - Day 1

Private transfer Christchurch airport to your accommodation

On arrival you will be met by a private driver and delivered to your Christchurch accommodation.

Welcome to Christchurch City

Christchurch, New Zealand's garden city is steadily being transformed into a vibrant urban destination. Encompassing a large green belt, it is known for its wide tree lined avenues and lush gardens. Take the double decker hop on/hop off bus for an easy way to see the sights - or ride a historic tram across town to the renowned botanic gardens and the unique cardboard Transitional Cathedral.

Your Accommodation: Heartland Hotel Cotswold

The Heartland Hotel Cotswold is just minutes walk to boutique shopping at Merivale and Hagley Park. The distinctive architecture of the Heartland Hotel Cotswold reflects Christchurch's image as the most English of cities outside of England.

Heartland Hotel Cotswold

Day 2: Christchurch to Greymouth by Tranz Alpine Scenic Train then to Franz Josef , Glacier shuttle

8 day Southern Discovery (Fly & Coach from Auckland) - Day 2

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: 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.

Meals included: Breakfast

Punga Grove Motel & Suites

Day 3: Free day to explore the glaciers at leisure

8 day Southern Discovery (Fly & Coach from Auckland) - Day 3

Explore Franz Josef Glacier

Franz Josef is small but lively town in the heart of the West Coast, known for its 12 km long glacier. Surrounded by lush rainforest-clad mountains the township has a vibrant and bustling atmosphere. To see the ice up close walk along the valley floor to the terminal face without a guide. However, to go on the glacier itself or get within 100m you must take a licensed tour. Strap on some crampons and give it a go with Franz Josef Glacier Guides or take the easier option and book in a helicopter landing instead. Whichever way you choose to ascend, once on top you’ll have the chance to explore the crevasses, caves and ice flows.

SUGGESTED ACTIVITY - Franz Josef Glacier Helihike with The Helicopter Line

Take a scenic flight over all three Franz Josef glacier icefalls. Landing high on the glacier take a two hour guided trip through some of the most beautiful terrain in the country. Your guide will choose the route as you go through a wonderland of blue ice and frozen pinnacles. You'll have endless views of the surrounding mountains and rainforest as well as plenty of opportunities to take photographs. Sure to be one of the most memorable experiences you have while you are in New Zealand. Should weather not be suitable to take this flight you are able to transfer your booking onto a similar tour on any of the Helicopter Line operations in Queenstown or Mt Cook.

SUGGESTED ACTIVITY - Glacier Hot Pools

Nestled within the lush rainforest surrounds, the Glacier Hot Pools is a haven of tranquility. Unwind in one of the three main pools. Temperatures range from 36 to 40 degrees and the water comes directly from a glacial stream. Wash off the day and rejuvenate in this unique forest paradise.

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.

Meals included: Breakfast

Punga Grove Motel & Suites

Day 4: Newmans coach Franz Josef Glacier to Queenstown

8 day Southern Discovery (Fly & Coach from Auckland) - Day 4

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: Heartland Hotel Queenstown

The Heartland Hotel Queenstown is the ideal place to stay if you want to be close to all the action of Queenstowns main centre, yet be elevated enough to take advantage of the spectacular views over Lake Wakatipu to the mountains.

Meals included: Breakfast

Heartland Hotel Queenstown

Day 5: Day tour to Milford Sound including a nature cruise and picnic lunch

8 day Southern Discovery (Fly & Coach from Auckland) - Day 5

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: Heartland Hotel Queenstown

The Heartland Hotel Queenstown is the ideal place to stay if you want to be close to all the action of Queenstowns main centre, yet be elevated enough to take advantage of the spectacular views over Lake Wakatipu to the mountains.

Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch

Heartland Hotel Queenstown

Day 6: Queenstown to Mt Cook National Park

8 day Southern Discovery (Fly & Coach from Auckland) - Day 6

Queenstown to Mount Cook with GreatSights

Journey deep into the Southern Alps on a half day sightseeing tour from Queenstown to Mount Cook. Set off from Queenstown in a luxury coach, enjoying the commentary from your local driver guide as you travel north. Pass through the historic gold mining district of the rugged Kawarau River Gorge and the famous fruit growing region of Cromwell. Skirting the shores of Lake Dunstan, your tour crosses the Lindis Pass into Omarama for a short stop. Continue through the rugged high country landscape of the Mackenzie Basin to arrive at Aoraki / Mount Cook National Park, home to Australasia's highest mountain at 3,754 metres. Your tour concludes in Mount Cook Village.

SUGGESTED ACTIVITY - Glacier Explorers Mt. Cook

Enjoy a glacier experience that is unique in New Zealand and one of only three in the world. Get up and close and personal with icebergs, on a glacial terminal lake.

It is extremely rare for a glacier to terminate into a lake and rarer still to find one that is accessible to visitors. Join your group on our boat for an intimate encounter with a glacier -- see massive icebergs and soaring ice cliffs. You'll experience seldom seen and inaccessible parts of New Zealand's largest glacier in a safe way aboard your boat. Few people can say they have seen, touched and tasted 500 year old ice. Now you will be one of them!

Tours depart from Mount Cook Village outside The Hermitage Hotel, where you'll board a small bus for an enjoyable trip to the Tasman Valley. This is followed by a relaxing 30 minute stroll through the National Park to your waiting MAC boat. Now it’s time to witness the changing ice face of the Tasman Glacier and the icebergs it spawns on the Tasman Glacier Lake. Throughout your 2.5 hour trip (45 min to 1 hour on the lake) your experienced guide offers an informative and entertaining commentary that ensures you don't miss a thing.

Your Accommodation: Hermitage Hotel Room Mount Cook View

The Hermitage Hotel ringed by magnificent snow-capped peaks of the Southern Alps, is a world-renowned tourist destination and has been an icon of superior accommodation and dining since 1884.

Meals included: Breakfast

Hermitage Hotel Room Mount Cook View

Day 7: Explore Mt Cook National Park this morning and then onto Christchurch

8 day Southern Discovery (Fly & Coach from Auckland) - Day 7

Mount Cook to Christchurch with GreatSights

Today leave Aoraki / Mount Cook National Park in the afternoon and travel past Lake Pukaki to Lake Tekapo, where you can view the solitary Church of the Good Shepherd and take in the sights of the spectacular Southern Alps mountain range. Then continue through the diverse farmland of the Canterbury Plains to Christchurch where the tour concludes.

Your Accommodation: Heartland Hotel Cotswold

The Heartland Hotel Cotswold is just minutes walk to boutique shopping at Merivale and Hagley Park. The distinctive architecture of the Heartland Hotel Cotswold reflects Christchurch's image as the most English of cities outside of England.

Meals included: Breakfast

Heartland Hotel Cotswold

Day 8: Depart Christchurch to Auckland today with Air New Zealand

Private transfer to Christchurch airport

You will be collected from your accommodation and a private transfer will deliver you to Christchurch airport in time for your departing flight.

Air New Zealand flight Christchurch to Auckland

Fly Air New Zealand to Auckland to meet your onward flight.

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