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Thrifty ToursTrains, Fiords and Glaciers

Spoil yourself with a trip to beautiful fiords, stunning glaciers and the best scenic rail routes of New Zealand's South Island.

 New Zealand independent tour
 Starts in Christchurch, finishes in Christchurch
 6 days/ 5 nights
 Hotel 3 star
  Customisable? YES Enquire Enquire
 Viewed 12 times in the last 7 days

Included in this tour package

Tour map
Queenstown, New Zealand
Tranzalpine train, New Zealand

At a glance - Trains, Fiords and Glaciers

Day 1: Christchurch to Dunedin by Intercity coach. Accommodation: Distinction Dunedin Hotel

Day 2: Today head into the Taieri Gorge by train and then onto Queenstown. Accommodation: Copthorne Hotel and Resort Queenstown Lakefront

Day 3: A full day tour into Milford Sound including a cruise. Accommodation: Copthorne Hotel and Resort Queenstown Lakefront

Day 4: A full day to explore Queenstown at leisure. Entrance to the Skyline Gondola is included. Accommodation: Copthorne Hotel and Resort Queenstown Lakefront

Day 5: Travel through Lake Wanaka, Hawea and the Wild West Coast to Glacier Country. Accommodation: Heartland Hotel Fox Glacier

Day 6: Today cross the Southern Alps on the world famous Tranz Alpine Scenic Train.

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Trains, Fiords and Glaciers - Detailed Itinerary  

Day 1: Christchurch to Dunedin by Intercity coach

Trains, Fiords and Glaciers - Day 1

Christchurch to Dunedin by InterCity Coach

Leaving Christchurch early, you will cross the vast Canterbury Plains as you head South, crossing many braided rivers that start their life as glacial melt water high in the Southern Alps. New Zealand's longest bridge at Rakaia crosses such an example. Pass through the towns of Timaru followed by Oamaru, most famous for its buildings constructed with the unique locally quarried white stone. Continue along the coast and into the city of Dunedin.

Dunedin Coach Stop to Accommodation Transfer with Iconic

On arrival into Dunedin you will be met from your coach and transferred to your accommodation.

Your Accommodation: Distinction Dunedin Hotel

Distinction Dunedin Hotel occupies the grand Chief Post Office built in the 1930’s. This art deco inspired building has recently been transformed into a 4 star hotel with elegant décor, set in the heart of the city.

Distinction Dunedin Hotel

Day 2: Today head into the Taieri Gorge by train and then onto Queenstown

Trains, Fiords and Glaciers - Day 2

Dunedin Accommodation to Train Station Transfer with Iconic

You will be collected from your accommodation and transferred to the train station in time for your departure.

Taieri Gorge Train and Private Transfer to Queenstown

This morning transfer to the railway station to board the historic Taieri Gorge train. Steeped in early settler history this journey features spectacular changing scenery with magnificent pioneer stone work and engineering along the railway. A combination of modern carriages with panoramic views and immaculately restored traditional versions make this a truly memorable train ride. Depending on the day the train will either finish at Pukerangi or Middlemarch. From there you will transfer to your private transfer vehicle and continue to Queenstown through the rugged rock landscape of Central Otago. During Winter months the Taieri Gorge Train Departs at a later time and travels through to Pukerangi, instead of Middlemarch.

Your Accommodation: Copthorne Hotel and Resort Queenstown Lakefront

The Copthorne Hotel and Resort, Queenstown Lakefront is conveniently located within walking distance to the centre of Queenstown and just a few minutes stroll from the picturesque Lake Wakatipu.

Copthorne Hotel and Resort Queenstown Lakefront

Day 3: A full day tour into Milford Sound including a cruise

Trains, Fiords and Glaciers - Day 3

Milford Sound Nature Cruise with return luxury coach transfers from Queenstown

Return luxury coach transport from Queenstown to Milford Sound, with an extended two 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 onboard nature guide. Includes picnic boxed lunch.

Your Accommodation: Copthorne Hotel and Resort Queenstown Lakefront

The Copthorne Hotel and Resort, Queenstown Lakefront is conveniently located within walking distance to the centre of Queenstown and just a few minutes stroll from the picturesque Lake Wakatipu.

Meals included: Lunch

Copthorne Hotel and Resort Queenstown Lakefront

Day 4: A full day to explore Queenstown at leisure. Entrance to the Skyline Gondola is included

Trains, Fiords and Glaciers - Day 4

Explore Queenstown and surrounds

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 Heli-ski.

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: Copthorne Hotel and Resort Queenstown Lakefront

The Copthorne Hotel and Resort, Queenstown Lakefront is conveniently located within walking distance to the centre of Queenstown and just a few minutes stroll from the picturesque Lake Wakatipu.

Copthorne Hotel and Resort Queenstown Lakefront

Day 5: Travel through Lake Wanaka, Hawea and the Wild West Coast to Glacier Country

Trains, Fiords and Glaciers - Day 5

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: Heartland Hotel Fox Glacier

The Heartland Hotel Fox Glacier is nestled at the base of the majestic Southern Alps, in the Westland World Heritage Park. Originally built in 1928 it has been refurbished to retain its charming atmosphere.

Heartland Hotel Fox Glacier

Day 6: Today cross the Southern Alps on the world famous Tranz Alpine Scenic Train

Trains, Fiords and Glaciers - Day 6

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.

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