Tour 300 Best of the South Island
Christchurch - Mount Cook - Queenstown (3 nights) - Milford Sound - Franz Josef Glacier - "Tranz Alpine Train - Christchurch.
Option to return from Queenstown to Christchurch via Dunedin instead of the West Coast.
This tour commences Christchurch daily and is flexible. Extend your stay at any point if you wish. We can arrange completely independent itineraries throughout the South island.
Day 1. ARRIVE CHRISTCHURCH
Arrive Christchurch and transfer to your accommodation by shuttle.
Day 2. CHRISTCHURCH – TEKAPO - MOUNT COOK
Pickup from your accommodation included.
Drive across the Canterbury Plains and over Burkes pass to beautiful Lake Tekapo. See the Sheep dog monument and Church of the Good Shepherd. Drive along the shores of Lake Pukaki to majestic Mount Cook – New Zealand's highest mountain - arriivng about 1pm.. The rest of the day is free for optional activities. Maybe take a hike in the Hooker Valley or we recommend the following options (all options should be pre booked as space is limited).
Glacier cruise among the icebergs at the base of the Tasman Glacier $170
Ski plane or helicopter flight (30 mins $249 – no landing) With landing on the glacier 35 mins $359, 45 minutes $499, Grand Circle 55 minutes - the ultimate sightseeing experience $599
Glacier helihike $585
Accommodation at the Hermitage hotel in the heart of the Mount Cook National Park in Mt Cook view rooms, or at the Backpacker Lodge - no Mt Cook view. Note: Mt Cook accommodation is heavily booked throughout the summer - please reserve early - we do not hold an allocation.
Day 3. MOUNT COOK – QUEENSTOWN (B)
Free morning to enjoy the beauty of the mountains and more activities. Depart Mt Cook 2.20pm. Travel through the McKenzie Country and over the Lindis Pass to the fruit growing area of Cromwell then on through the Kawarau Gorge to Queenstown arriving early evening. Hotel drop offs included. backpackers within easy walk of bus stop.
Day 4. QUEENSTOWN
We have left the day free for you to plan and enjoy the beauty of Queenstown and the many activities available. We recommend a Shotover Jet boat ride, Skyline gondola and luge, and a cruise across Lake Wakatipu on the historic steamer "Earnslaw" to the Walter Peak sheep station.
Day 5. MILFORD SOUND EXCURSION
Drive to Te Anau and enjoy the magnificent scenery as you travel through the Eglinton and Hollyford Valleys and Homer tunnel to magnificent Milford Sound. Visit the Mirror Lakes and Roaring chasm en route. Enjoy a leisurely cruise to the head of the sound under majestic Mitre Peak and see the Bowen as well as many other waterfalls. A buffet lunch is included during your cruise. Return to Queenstown mid evening.
Day 6. QUEENSTOWN – WANAKA – FRANZ JOSEF GLACIER (B)
Join Intercity/Great Sights for the drive north to Lake Wanaka for a brief stop before heading over the Haast Pass to the rainforest of the West Coast. Continue north with a amazing vistas of the coastline to Franz Josef Glacier. Shuttle provided to and from the Franz Josef car park and it is about a 1.5 hour return hike to the glacier lookout. Shorter walks available.
We do recommend an extra night at Franz Josef to enjoy all the activities and beauty of the area.
Day 7. FRANZ JOSEF GLACIER – CHRISTCHURCH (B)
Rejoin Intercity for the drive north to Hokitika and Greymouth to join the "Tranz Alpine" train for one of the most scenic rail journeys in the world across the Southern Alps to Christchurch arriving early evening. Transfer to your accommodation.
Day 8. CHRISTCHURCH DEPART
You will be transferred to the airport for departure by shuttle.
QUEENSTOWN - DUNEDIN - CHRISTCHURCH - option
Day 6. QUEENSTOWN - DUNEDIN
Depart Queenstown at 7.45am by Intercity coach and travel through Central Otago to Dunedin arriving 12.05pm. You wil be met for your local expert tour guide for an hours tour of introduction to Dunedin city and check in at your hotel.
Free time for optional activities
"Taieri Gorge Railway". Travel on the privately operated train through the gold fields of Central Otago to Pukerangi and return. Depart 3pm - return 7.30pm. Cost $109
"Otago Peninsula". A private tour (minimum 2 passengers) with your local guide for 4 hours including Dunedin City and the Otago Peninsula. No admissions are included but you can discuss with your driver what you would like to see. "Olveston House, Larnachs Castle, Penguin Place, Albatross Colony, and the Elms wildlife tour are all possible but you won't have time for them all! Just pay the admissions as you go. Extra cost $240 per person for transport
Day 7. DUNEDIN - CHRISTCHURCH
Free morning to explore at your leisure. Maybe visit the Otago Museum, Chinese Gardens, or explore the shops and historic buildings such as Knox Church. Depart Dunedin by Intercity coach at 1.05pm arriving Christchurch at 7.20pm. You are welcome to stay longer in Dunedin if you wish.