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Hike the Routeburn, Drive the South

12 nights, Queenstown to Queenstown

Hike the Routeburn, Drive the South

Starting and finishing in Queenstown this tour begins with the stunning beauty of the Routeburn Track. Your fully guided and supported 4 day hike is with Ultimate Hikes and you spend the evenings in the wonderfully equipped lodges before returning to Queenstown. From Queenstown you drive north-west to the pristine wilderness of Te Wahipounamu World Heritage Area, where you immerse yourself in the natural wonders at Lake Moeraki Wilderness Lodge and the West Coast Glaciers.  Continuing north, you board the Tranz Alpine Scenic Train to Christchurch.  From Christchurch you journey south to Mt Cook National Park, where Sir Edmund Hillary prepared to conquer Everest, and it's here we've saved the best for last.  You'll get a bird's eye view of Mt Cook and the Southern Alps on the ultimate scenic flight, with a snow landing on the remote Tasman Glacier. 

Tour map

Included in this New Zealand self drive holiday

Driving the South Island crossing 'The Neck' between lakes Hawea and Wanaka
Hikers crossing a pass on the Routeburn Track Guided Walk
Shopping in Queenstown, New Zealand
Hiking New Zealand's great walks and enjoying the scenery
Tour map
 

Day 1 - Arrive into Queenstown

Private Transfer Queenstown Airport to your Hotel

Welcome to Queenstown. You will be met from your flight and transferred to your Queenstown hotel.

Your tour documentation pack and support

Your tour documentation pack and support
Your tour documentation pack and support
Your tour documentation pack and support
Your tour documentation pack and support

Once you touch down in New Zealand your detailed tour pack will be hand delivered by one of our trusted representatives. The pack contains everything you need for the duration of your stay. It will include a comprehensive, printed and bound version of your itinerary as well as clear driving instructions and maps for each leg of your journey. It also contains all the reservation details for your accommodation and activities - along with relevant brochures and information. While in New Zealand we offer 24 hour support - details on how to contact us at any time will be well documented.

Welcome to Queenstown

Renowned for its adrenaline inducing activities 'Queenstown' is synonymous with adventure. Parked on the shores of Lake Wakatipu this small alpine town is nestled below soaring vistas of The Remarkables Mountain Range. While arguably the brightest gem in New Zealand’s crown, Queenstown offers far more than an action-packed getaway. Spend time on the Gibbston valley wine trail and end with a meal at Michelin star chef Josh Emett’s restaurant, Rata. Take a trip down memory lane on a 100 year old steamship the TSS Earnslaw. Soak in the scenery on your walk around the lake, or venture further afield into Fiordland National Park. Head over the hill to resort town Wanaka, or re-live scenes from Lord Of The Rings by four wheel drive. But - if you really do want that rush - head out on the Shotover Jet, dive off the Nevis Bungy, freefall on the Canyon swing or Zip line the Gondola. Just be sure it's done on an empty stomach  – don’t say we didn’t warn you!

TSS Earnslaw cruise to Walter Peak including gourmet BBQ dinner and a farm tour - suggested

TSS Earnslaw cruise to Walter Peak including gourmet BBQ dinner and a farm tour
TSS Earnslaw cruise to Walter Peak including gourmet BBQ dinner and a farm tour
TSS Earnslaw cruise to Walter Peak including gourmet BBQ dinner and a farm tour
TSS Earnslaw cruise to Walter Peak including gourmet BBQ dinner and a farm tour

Enjoy a scenic cruise from central Queenstown to Walter Peak High Country Farm on board the historic steamship, TSS Earnslaw. On disembarking, you'll be welcomed and escorted through the beautiful lakeside gardens to the Colonel's Homestead for dinner. Here, you’ll enjoy a Gourmet BBQ dinner which your chef will prepare as you watch. Choose from the  seasonal menu which includes an expansive array of New Zealand meats and produce, followed by a delicious array of desserts, New Zealand cheeses and freshly brewed tea & coffee. After dinner, an entertaining and informative demonstration offers you a glimpse of life in the high country. On the magical night-time cruise home, you can enjoy the camaraderie of a singalong with the ship’s pianist or breathe in the fresh night air on the moonlit decks as you watch the lights of Queenstown draw nearer.

Accommodation: Sofitel Queenstown

Accommodation type: Luxury Lodges & hotels

Accommodation: Sofitel Queenstown
Accommodation: Sofitel Queenstown
Accommodation: Sofitel Queenstown
Accommodation: Sofitel Queenstown

Accommodation features

  • Check in time: 2 pm
  • Check out time: 11 am
  • Walk time to shops/restaurants: 1-2 mins
  • Parking: valet paid parking NZ$40-NZ$50 per 24 hrs
  • Internet facilities: On site free access
  • Restaurant on site
  • Bar on site
  • Tea/coffee facilities in room
  • Room service available
  • Hairdryer
  • Laundry facilities: Drycleaning service available
  • Gym/fitness centre
  • All rooms non smoking

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Day 2 - Explore Queenstown today & attend your RouteburnTrack briefing this afternoon

Explore Queenstown and surrounds

Explore Queenstown and surrounds
Explore Queenstown and surrounds
Explore Queenstown and surrounds
Explore Queenstown and surrounds

Queenstown may be New Zealand's ‘adventure capital,’ but it offers far more than a fast paced action-packed holiday.  On the shores of Lake Wakatipu beneath the soaring Remarkables Mountain Range, this small town is surrounded by a plethora of historic, gastronomic and scenic wonders. Head through Gibbston Valley to sample some of the region’s best wine. We recommend stopping at the Chard Farm cellar door, visiting the architecturally award winning Peregrine vineyard or taking a cellar cave tour at Gibbston Valley Winery. Cruise to Walter Peak station for dinner on board a 100 year old steamship -  the TSS Earnslaw. While you're there, a farm tour is a must do for those not familiar with rural living.

Take some time to wander the waterfront, and grab lunch at one of the many amazing cafes and restaurants on offer. Try Vudu’s Pantry and larder or for a holiday treat go to Michelin star chef Josh Emett's ‘Rata. Check out nearby historic Arrowtown and enhance your experience with a four wheel drive trip to Macetown - a disused gold mining settlement built in the 1800’s.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. 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.

Skippers Canyon 4WD Adventure Tour - suggested

Skippers Canyon 4WD Adventure Tour
Skippers Canyon 4WD Adventure Tour
Skippers Canyon 4WD Adventure Tour
Skippers Canyon 4WD Adventure Tour

Nomad Safaris offers a complete 4WD tour into the historic Skippers Canyon. The Nomad Safaris Skippers Canyon adventure is a half-day heritage tour that follows the rugged and once treacherous Skippers Road. Travel the road that was hacked by hand into the sheer cliff sides of the Shotover River Valley making this an exciting adventure the whole family will enjoy. As your guide navigates this awe-inspiring canyon you will visit many historic sites such as the Skippers Suspension Bridge and the township of Skippers. Visit the restored school house where you will gain a real insight into the local heritage through photos and histories of life in this tough environment. British Automobile Association voted Skippers Canyon Road as one of the 25 most scenic roads in the world.

Routeburn Track Guided Walk Briefing

Today there is a pre-walk briefing for Routeburn Track walkers at 3:45pm at the Ultimate Hikes Centre in Queenstown, it is compulsory to attend.  The briefing will cover everything you need to know to prepare for your hiking adventure.

Accommodation: Sofitel Queenstown

Accommodation type: Luxury Lodges & hotels

Meals included: Breakfast

Accommodation: Sofitel Queenstown
Accommodation: Sofitel Queenstown
Accommodation: Sofitel Queenstown
Accommodation: Sofitel Queenstown

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Day 3 - Travel from Queenstown to the start of the Routeburn Track, then hike to Lake Mackenzie

Routeburn Track 3 day Guided Walk

Routeburn Track 3 day Guided Walk
Routeburn Track 3 day Guided Walk
Routeburn Track 3 day Guided Walk
Routeburn Track 3 day Guided Walk

The Routeburn Track traverses wild and scenic mountain country between the Hollyford and Dart Valleys at the base of New Zealand's Southern Alps. Since the 1880's the Routeburn Track has proved to be one of the most accessible and popular journeys into New Zealand's forests and mountains. The Routeburn Track passes through two national parks, Fiordland and Mount Aspiring, and is part of Te Wahipounamu, South West New Zealand World Heritage Area.The area is a haven for native birdlife: the Robin; Fantail; Parakeet; Bellbird; Yellowhead and watch out for the resident Kea at Routeburn Falls! The variety of landscapes will astound you: mountainous peaks; sheer rock faces; alpine basins; pristine lakes; cascading waterfalls; luxuriant forest; turquoise rivers and million dollar views around every corner.

The Routeburn Track Guided Walk is a 3 day / 2 night Queenstown to Queenstown all-inclusive guided walk traversing New Zealand's Southern Alps. The package includes all transport, accommodation, meals, snacks, backpacks and rain jackets.Accommodation is inluxury lodges and you will be led by expert Ultimate Hikes guides.

Day 1 Queenstown to the Divide to Lake Mackenzie

Day 1 Queenstown to the Divide to Lake Mackenzie
Day 1 Queenstown to the Divide to Lake Mackenzie
Day 1 Queenstown to the Divide to Lake Mackenzie
Day 1 Queenstown to the Divide to Lake Mackenzie

14km (8.7miles) 5-6 hours walking

Your adventure begins with a coach ride from Queenstown to the Divide on the scenic Milford Road. Begin your hike up a well-graded trail until you get above bush line, then take a side trip up to Key Summit. Descend to Lake Howden for lunch, before continuing steadily upwards to the magnificent Earland Falls. Further along the trail, the snow-capped peaks and glaciers of the Darran Range come into view before you make your descent to Lake Mackenzie Lodge. (Includes lunch and dinner).

Accommodation: Routeburn Track Lodges

Accommodation type:

Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Accommodation: Routeburn Track Lodges
Accommodation: Routeburn Track Lodges
Accommodation: Routeburn Track Lodges
Accommodation: Routeburn Track Lodges

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Day 4 - Fantastic mountain views today and tonight you stay at the Routeburn Falls Lodge

Day 2 Lake Mackenzie to Routeburn Falls via Harris Saddle

Day 2 Lake Mackenzie to Routeburn Falls via Harris Saddle
Day 2 Lake Mackenzie to Routeburn Falls via Harris Saddle
Day 2 Lake Mackenzie to Routeburn Falls via Harris Saddle
Day 2 Lake Mackenzie to Routeburn Falls via Harris Saddle

15km (9.4miles) 5-6 hours walking

You leave the emerald waters of Lake Mackenzie; climb the zigzag above the bush line and cross the Hollyford face with its dramatic alpine landscape. After crossing the Harris Saddle and skirting Lake Harris, you descend into an immense alpine basin, which is alive with summer flowers. Continue to Routeburn Falls Lodge. (Includes breakfast, lunch and dinner)

Accommodation: Routeburn Track Lodges

Accommodation type:

Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Accommodation: Routeburn Track Lodges
Accommodation: Routeburn Track Lodges
Accommodation: Routeburn Track Lodges
Accommodation: Routeburn Track Lodges

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Day 5 - Descend to the forested lowlands, before you return by coach to Queenstown

Day 3 Routeburn Falls to Routeburn Road End to Queenstown

Day 3 Routeburn Falls to Routeburn Road End to Queenstown
Day 3 Routeburn Falls to Routeburn Road End to Queenstown
Day 3 Routeburn Falls to Routeburn Road End to Queenstown
Day 3 Routeburn Falls to Routeburn Road End to Queenstown

 10 km (6.1 miles) 3-4 hours walking

The trail descends from the Routeburn Falls to the alpine meadows of the Routeburn Flats. Pass crystal clear river pools and enter the forested gorge, opening to the lowlands. Coach back to Glenorchy for your group photo and then on to Queenstown, arriving at 4.00pm.

That evening you meet at a Queenstown restaurant for a celebration dinner at 6.30pm where you will be presented with your group photo and certificate of achievement. (Includes breakfast, lunch and celebration dinner)

Accommodation: Sofitel Queenstown

Accommodation type: Luxury Lodges & hotels

Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch

Accommodation: Sofitel Queenstown
Accommodation: Sofitel Queenstown
Accommodation: Sofitel Queenstown
Accommodation: Sofitel Queenstown

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Day 6 - Your rental car is delivered and then drive to Lake Moeraki Wilderness Lodge

Driving distance and time: 233 kms / 145 miles : 2.9 hours

Times are based on averages for this specific route and allow for stops. Use these times as guidelines and to assist in the planning for your day.

Collect your rental car

Collect your rental car
Collect your rental car
Collect your rental car
Collect your rental car

Our rental car range includes the latest vehicles from the top suppliers. Insurance is included with a small excess or deductible. All airport fees, additional driver fees and unlimited kilometres are also included. To help you navigate your way around New Zealand all rentals also come with GPS. Our range included small compact cars to mid-size saloons to large 4WD and people movers.

GPS navigation system

Use the latest GPS technology as you tour New Zealand. Your portable GPS features a simple touch screen interface with automatic route calculation and turn-by-turn voice-prompted directions including street name announcement. The automotive-grade GPS unit is easy to use and has multiple language options.

Queenstown to Lake Moeraki

Queenstown to Lake Moeraki
Queenstown to Lake Moeraki
Queenstown to Lake Moeraki
Queenstown to Lake Moeraki

Crossing the Crown Range, the highest sealed road in the country, you arrive into the alpine town of Wanaka. The route follows the shores of Lakes Wanaka and Hawea before you enter the township of Makarora, the gateway to Mt. Aspiring National Park and the Blue Pools here are a wonderful 30 minute walk through pristine native beech forest. Descending into Mt. Aspiring National Park and towards the Haast Pass, crashing rivers and waterfalls are around every corner. Crossing the Haast River you are now truly on the wild West Coast, a 600 kilometre stretch of bush, rainforest and podocarp forest. The tranquil bush surroundings of Wilderness Lodge Lake Moeraki are just a few extra kilometres.

Accommodation: Wilderness Lodge, Lake Moeraki

Accommodation type: Luxury Lodges & hotels

Meals included: Breakfast, Dinner

Accommodation: Wilderness Lodge, Lake Moeraki
Accommodation: Wilderness Lodge, Lake Moeraki
Accommodation: Wilderness Lodge, Lake Moeraki
Accommodation: Wilderness Lodge, Lake Moeraki

Accommodation features

  • Check in time: 2 pm
  • Check out time: 10:30 am
  • Parking: onsite free parking
  • Internet facilities: On site free access
  • Includes continental breakfast
  • Includes cooked breakfast
  • Includes dinner
  • Tea/coffee facilities in room
  • Laundry facilities: On site
  • All rooms non smoking

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Day 7 - Explore the pristine wilderness of Te Wahipounamu World Heritage Area

Wilderness Lodge Lake Moeraki

Wilderness Lodge Lake Moeraki
Wilderness Lodge Lake Moeraki
Wilderness Lodge Lake Moeraki
Wilderness Lodge Lake Moeraki

Complimentary Guided Nature Activities:

Twice daily complimentary activities are led by expert naturalists and introduce guests to the area remarkable natural history (approx. 1-hour duration each). Some of the activities on offer include:

  • Discovery the Ancient Rainforest: Join an ecologist guide to learn about the remarkable diversity of life in the rainforest
  • Freshwater Ecology and Giant Eel Feeding: Discover what lies beneath the surface of the Moeraki River and handfeed the world’s largest freshwater eels.
  • Glow Worms and Stars of the Southern Night Sky: A relaxed stroll after dinner to see glow worms light up the forest and marvel at a sky completely free from light or atmospheric pollution.
  • Learn Easy Kayaking: Learn to use a safe and stable ‘minnow’ kayak and explore the calm waters of Lake Moeraki

Longer Charged Guided Activities:

Join a guide to explore further afield. These trips are generally 3 to 4 hours in length and are a great way to learn about wild New Zealand. Some of the activities on offer include:

  • Tawaki Penguin Discovery Hike: Join a guide and hike to a secluded wilderness beach. Watch Tawaki penguins emerge from the Tasman Sea and make their way to their rainforest nests.
  • Hard Seacoast, Tawaki Penguin and New Zealand Fur Seals Wilderness Adventure: This is a dramatic and challenging wet footed walk. It involves wildlife viewing, scrambling over beach rocks and along spectacularly wild beaches. A good level of fitness required.
  • Easy Seacoast, Hector's Dolphin and Beach Fossicking Adventure: Explore a dramatic expanse of wilderness seacoast. Watch dolphins ride the breakers, search for jade and other beach treasures and learn about marine life of the rock reefs and tidepools.
  • Lake Moeraki Kayak Safari to Glacier Beach and The Giant Matai Trees: Join a guide in our safe and stable kayaks to paddle Lake Moeraki. Enjoy refreshments on a sandy beach and walk beneath giant rainforest Matai trees.
  • Lower Moeraki Rainforest Hike and Kayak to the Tasman Sea. Marvel at the diversity of life in the rainforest. Hike and kayak through ancient rainforest to the mouth of the Moeraki River, search for jade and enjoy refreshments beside the wild Tasman Sea.

Self-Guided Activity Options:

  • Explore a 10km network of walking trails. Stroll beneath 1000-year-old rainforest trees, along rivers and lakeshores and visit a beach home to Tawaki penguins.
  • Borrow a complimentary guest kayak and discover the calm waters of Lake Moeraki. You may like to hire a fishing rod and try your luck catching a brown trout.
  • Relax in peace and tranquillity and soak up the rainforest and river views.

Accommodation: Wilderness Lodge, Lake Moeraki

Accommodation type: Luxury Lodges & hotels

Meals included: Breakfast, Dinner

Accommodation: Wilderness Lodge, Lake Moeraki
Accommodation: Wilderness Lodge, Lake Moeraki
Accommodation: Wilderness Lodge, Lake Moeraki
Accommodation: Wilderness Lodge, Lake Moeraki

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Day 8 - Free day to explore the West Coast Glaciers

Driving distance and time: 111 kms / 69 miles : 1.4 hours

Times are based on averages for this specific route and allow for stops. Use these times as guidelines and to assist in the planning for your day.

Lake Moeraki to Franz Josef Glacier

Lake Moeraki to Franz Josef Glacier
Lake Moeraki to Franz Josef Glacier
Lake Moeraki to Franz Josef Glacier
Lake Moeraki to Franz Josef Glacier

Continuing along the wild west coast you pass through ancient podocarp forests. At Knights Point Lookout an interesting display tells of shipwrecks in the region and at the right time of year you can see elephant seals basking on the far beaches.
First Fox Glacier welcomes you to the glacier region and Lake Matheson, the famous reflection lake, is a five minute drive west of Fox Township. Historic Gillespie's Beach, a wilderness of crashing surf and distant snow capped mountains, known for its seal colony and colourful gold mining history, is 25 minutes west by car. Access to Fox Glacier is well signposted from the highway and a short walk will reward you with some great views of the largest of the West Coast glaciers.
Franz Josef township is just a further 45 minutes and a great way to experience the glaciers is with The Helicopter Line or Mt. Cook ski planes.

Explore Franz Josef Glacier

Explore Franz Josef Glacier
Explore Franz Josef Glacier
Explore Franz Josef Glacier
Explore Franz Josef Glacier

Known for its 12 km long glacier, Franz Josef is a lively town in the heart of the West Coast. Surrounded by lush rainforest-clad mountains its 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.

Franz Josef Glacier Valley Walk - suggested

Franz Josef Glacier Valley Walk
Franz Josef Glacier Valley Walk
Franz Josef Glacier Valley Walk
Franz Josef Glacier Valley Walk

The Franz Josef Glacier Valley Walk will take you up alongside the mighty Waiho River bed, following the glacier’s path as it winds its way through the remarkable landscape. Here you will learn about the glacier’s history and learn the legend of Ka Roimata o Hinehukatere. After a brief climb you will be rewarded with spectacular views of the glacier’s rapidly changing terminal face. Accessing some exclusive trails and including great storytelling from your experienced and well-trained guide.
Following on from your scenic walk enjoy access to the Franz Josef Glacier Hot Pools, the perfect end to an unforgettable day.

Twin Glacier Scenic Helicopter Flight with The Helicopter Line - suggested

Twin Glacier Scenic Helicopter Flight with The Helicopter Line
Twin Glacier Scenic Helicopter Flight with The Helicopter Line
Twin Glacier Scenic Helicopter Flight with The Helicopter Line
Twin Glacier Scenic Helicopter Flight with The Helicopter Line

Take a spectacular scenic flight over two of New Zealand's most famous glaciers. Land at the head of one and view the incredible sight of this frozen river as it winds its way through ancient carved valleys. 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's operations in Queenstown or Mt Cook.

Accommodation: Te Waonui Forest Retreat

Accommodation type: Luxury Lodges & hotels

Meals included: Breakfast, Dinner

Accommodation: Te Waonui Forest Retreat
Accommodation: Te Waonui Forest Retreat
Accommodation: Te Waonui Forest Retreat
Accommodation: Te Waonui Forest Retreat

Accommodation features

  • Check in time: 2 pm
  • Check out time: 10 am
  • Walk time to shops/restaurants: 1-2 mins
  • Parking: valet free parking
  • Internet facilities: In room free access
  • Restaurant on site
  • Includes cooked breakfast
  • Includes dinner
  • Bar on site
  • Tea/coffee facilities in room
  • Hairdryer
  • Laundry facilities: On site
  • Gym/fitness centre
  • All rooms non smoking

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Day 9 - Drive north along the stunning West Coast Road and take the TranzAlpine train to Christchurch

Driving distance and time: 170 kms / 106 miles : 2.1 hours

Times are based on averages for this specific route and allow for stops. Use these times as guidelines and to assist in the planning for your day.

Franz Josef to Greymouth Train Station

Franz Josef to Greymouth Train Station
Franz Josef to Greymouth Train Station
Franz Josef to Greymouth Train Station
Franz Josef to Greymouth Train Station

Today you’ll head north through the historic gold mining region of Hokitika. Known for its Greenstone (Pounamu) this seaside town has a rich history dating back to the 1860’s. Head to the coast and take in the endless sea-views or pick up a souvenir at one of the many craft shops. Continue on to Greymouth, the largest town on the West Coast and the starting point for the next leg of your journey - the Tranz Alpine Scenic Train. Drop your rental car at the Greymouth Train Station depot located inside the train station building before boarding your train to Christchurch.
 

Monteiths Brewery Personalised Bottle & Tour - suggested

Monteiths Brewery Personalised Bottle & Tour
Monteiths Brewery Personalised Bottle & Tour
Monteiths Brewery Personalised Bottle & Tour
Monteiths Brewery Personalised Bottle & Tour

From humble origins in 1868, the Monteith's family-owned Phoenix Brewery became the West Coast's most popular brewery for its strong tasting, full-bodied ale. The Phoenix Brewery later merged with a group of small breweries to form Westland Brewing Company, predecessor to today's Monteith's Brewing Company. In this informative brewery experience, you will learn about the heritage and traditions of the brewing business. Witness the making of a fine beer in open fermenters by coal-fired boilers, using only the finest ingredients. Watch the brewers carefully hand craft the beer in small batches to develop the full natural flavours. When each batch is ready, the brewers employ a brilliant time honoured tradition for quality control - they taste it.

On completion, you will receive a tasting a 3 beers of your choice from the tap at the Brewery bar, plus your very own personalised Monteith's 500ml bottle with your name on it - a personalised endorsement from the head brewer himself.

TranzAlpine Scenic Train: Greymouth to Christchurch

TranzAlpine Scenic Train: Greymouth to Christchurch
TranzAlpine Scenic Train: Greymouth to Christchurch
TranzAlpine Scenic Train: Greymouth to Christchurch
TranzAlpine Scenic Train: Greymouth to Christchurch

Considered one of the world's greatest train journeys, the TranzAlpine scenic train travels both ways from one coast of New Zealand to the other. From your carriage you'll see the vast windswept Canterbury Plains, spectacular gorges, river valleys and native beech rainforest. A highlight for many is the crossing of the Southern Alps, passing through Arthur's Pass National Park, before descending to the Canterbury Plains and arriving in Christchurch.

Private transfer Christchurch train station to your accommodation

On arrival into the Christchurch train station you will be met by a private transfer driver and taken to your accommodation.

Accommodation: The George Hotel, Christchurch

Accommodation type: Luxury Lodges & hotels

Meals included: Breakfast

Accommodation: The George Hotel, Christchurch
Accommodation: The George Hotel, Christchurch
Accommodation: The George Hotel, Christchurch
Accommodation: The George Hotel, Christchurch

Accommodation features

  • Check in time: 2 pm
  • Check out time: 11 am
  • Walk time to shops/restaurants: 5-10 mins
  • Parking: onsite free parking
  • Internet facilities: In room free access
  • Restaurant on site
  • Bar on site
  • Tea/coffee facilities in room
  • Room service available
  • Hairdryer
  • Laundry facilities: On site
  • Laundry facilities: Drycleaning service available
  • Gym/fitness centre
  • All rooms non smoking

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Day 10 - Today you'll enjoy a scenic drive through Canterbury and the MacKenzie Country to Mt Cook National Park

Driving distance and time: 350 kms / 217 miles : 4.1 hours

Times are based on averages for this specific route and allow for stops. Use these times as guidelines and to assist in the planning for your day.

Collect your rental car

Collect your rental car
Collect your rental car
Collect your rental car
Collect your rental car

Our rental car range includes the latest vehicles from the top suppliers. Insurance is included with a small excess or deductible. All airport fees, additional driver fees and unlimited kilometres are also included. To help you navigate your way around New Zealand all rentals also come with GPS. Our range included small compact cars to mid-size saloons to large 4WD and people movers.

Christchurch to Mt. Cook National Park

Christchurch to Mt. Cook National Park
Christchurch to Mt. Cook National Park
Christchurch to Mt. Cook National Park
Christchurch to Mt. Cook National Park

Today you’ll cross the vast Canterbury plains into the heart of the South Island. Stretch your legs in Geraldine before continuing into Mackenzie Country. Climbing Burkes pass you'll come to the picturesque lakeside town of Tekapo.

Follow the road and see the spectacular Aoraki Mt Cook (New Zealand's tallest mountain) from the shores of Lake Pukaki, known for its turquoise blue color. Continue along the lake to your final destination Mt Cook Village.

Choose to view the Mt Cook National Park by a ski plane, or land on one of the glaciers in a helicopter. Find your sense of adventure and Kayak on a glacial lake or test your legs on one of the many walking tracks in and around the village. Before leaving, a visit to the Sir Edmund Hillary Centre is a must do.

Edmund Hillary Alpine Centre Explorer Pass - suggested

Edmund Hillary Alpine Centre Explorer Pass
Edmund Hillary Alpine Centre Explorer Pass
Edmund Hillary Alpine Centre Explorer Pass
Edmund Hillary Alpine Centre Explorer Pass

Located inside the Hermitige Hotel, the Sir Edmund Hillary Alpine Centre pays tribute to humanitarian, ambassador and one of the world's greatest explorers, Sir Edmund Hillary.  The centre showcases the Aoraki Mount Cook region and its people within a comprehensive museum as well as a 126-seat custom-designed theatre and Digital Dome Planetarium.

Accommodation: Hermitage Hotel, Aoraki Wing Premium Plus

Accommodation type: Hotel 4 star

Meals included: Breakfast, Dinner

Accommodation: Hermitage Hotel, Aoraki Wing Premium Plus
Accommodation: Hermitage Hotel, Aoraki Wing Premium Plus
Accommodation: Hermitage Hotel, Aoraki Wing Premium Plus
Accommodation: Hermitage Hotel, Aoraki Wing Premium Plus

Accommodation features

  • Check in time: 2 pm
  • Check out time: 10 am
  • Parking: onsite free parking
  • Internet facilities: In room free access
  • Internet facilities: On site free access
  • Restaurant on site
  • Bar on site
  • Tea/coffee facilities in room
  • Hairdryer
  • All rooms non smoking

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Day 11 - Explore Mt Cook National Park by air with the ultimate scenic flight to the Tasman Glacier

Aoraki-Mt. Cook National Park

Aoraki-Mt. Cook National Park
Aoraki-Mt. Cook National Park
Aoraki-Mt. Cook National Park
Aoraki-Mt. Cook National Park

At 3754 metres Aoraki-Mt. Cook is New Zealand's highest mountain, located deep in the heart of the Southern Alps. From the Visitor Centre at the southern end of Lake Pukaki, you will be rewarded with magnificent views of this immense peak. As well as its impressive beauty, Mt. Cook National Park is also home to a huge range of awe-inspiring sights and activities. Take to the air with Mt. Cook Ski Planes for a scenic flight that includes a glacier landing. At around 27 kilometres long the Tasman Glacier is New Zealand's longest and a Glacier Explorers tour will give you the opportunity to see its unique features.

There are many short hikes in and around the park and these are well signposted. For a fascinating guided tour the Mt. Cook Encounter Guided Walk is a must-do and those with an interest in the night sky should take a stargazing tour of the Mt. John Observatory. The region is considered to have one of the clearest night skies in the world and is one of the few gold-rated dark sky reserves worldwide.

The Hermitage Hotel complex offers fine dining, multiple cafes and a bar. Visit the Sir Edmund Hillary Alpine Centre for insight into this region's mountain climbing history. You'll also learn of Sir Ed's incredible achievements and his dedication to helping others around the world.

Mt. Cook Ultimate Scenic Helicopter Flight with Heliworks

Mt. Cook Ultimate Scenic Helicopter Flight with Heliworks
Mt. Cook Ultimate Scenic Helicopter Flight with Heliworks
Mt. Cook Ultimate Scenic Helicopter Flight with Heliworks
Mt. Cook Ultimate Scenic Helicopter Flight with Heliworks

Take this 55 minute flight over one of New Zealand's most spectacular locations. See Aoraki Mount Cook and the incredible scenery surrounding it including hanging glaciers calved icebergs, rivers of ice, the rainforests of the West Coast the renowned Tasman Glacier and Terminal Lake. You’ll also land on the Glacier itself - a huge highlight of the flight.

Short walks in and around Mt. Cook Village

Short walks in and around Mt. Cook Village
Short walks in and around Mt. Cook Village
Short walks in and around Mt. Cook Village
Short walks in and around Mt. Cook Village

There are many short scenic walks beginning in and around the Mt. Cook Village, suitable for all ages and abilities. Located within the Mount Cook Village is the Department of Conservation information centre, where updates on the track conditions and suitability is available as well as information on the history of the area and its wildlife.

Below is a snapshot of some of the walks available:

 - Bowen Bush Walk  - 10 minute return

 - Glencoe Walk - 10 minute return

 - Red Tarns Track - Two hour return

 - Kea Point Walk - Two hour return

 - Hooker Lake - Four hour return

Accommodation: Hermitage Hotel, Aoraki Wing Premium Plus

Accommodation type: Hotel 4 star

Meals included: Breakfast, Dinner

Accommodation: Hermitage Hotel, Aoraki Wing Premium Plus
Accommodation: Hermitage Hotel, Aoraki Wing Premium Plus
Accommodation: Hermitage Hotel, Aoraki Wing Premium Plus
Accommodation: Hermitage Hotel, Aoraki Wing Premium Plus

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Day 12 - Scenic drive through the arid lands of the MacKenzie Country to Queenstown

Driving distance and time: 257 kms / 159 miles : 3.0 hours

Times are based on averages for this specific route and allow for stops. Use these times as guidelines and to assist in the planning for your day.

Mt. Cook National Park to Queenstown

Mt. Cook National Park to Queenstown
Mt. Cook National Park to Queenstown
Mt. Cook National Park to Queenstown
Mt. Cook National Park to Queenstown

Leaving the alpine region of Mount Cook, you'll travel through the lakeside town of Twizel, then a little further to Omarama - the gliding capital of New Zealand. Continue on over the Lindis Pass, one of New Zealand's highest roads with a summit of 971 metres. Arrive in the quaint village of Tarras, then continue on a short way to the historic Bendigo Reserve, one of Otago's original gold mining settlements.

Follow the road to Cromwell, and keep going through the sheer cliffs of the Kawarau Gorge towards the Gibbston Valley, one of New Zealand's premier wine growing regions. See the historic Kawarau Bridge where you can bungy jump or relax and watch others take the plunge. Approaching Queenstown, the Remarkables mountain range comes into view as you arrive into the adventure capital of New Zealand.

Accommodation: Sofitel Queenstown

Accommodation type: Luxury Lodges & hotels

Meals included: Breakfast

Accommodation: Sofitel Queenstown
Accommodation: Sofitel Queenstown
Accommodation: Sofitel Queenstown
Accommodation: Sofitel Queenstown

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Day 13 - Depart Queenstown today

Driving distance and time: 8 kms / 5 miles : 0.2 hours

Times are based on averages for this specific route and allow for stops. Use these times as guidelines and to assist in the planning for your day.

Depart Queenstown today

Explore more of Queenstown before dropping your rental car at the airport depot and continuing your onward journey.

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