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Queenstown to Queenstown Southern Journey

14 nights, Queenstown to Queenstown

Queenstown to Queenstown Southern Journey

Starting and finishing in the 'adventure capital' of Queenstown This comprehensive South Island itinerary visits every South Island must see location including Milford Sound, Mt Cook National Park, Christchurch, Abel Tasman National Park and Nelson, and the West Coast Glaciers.

Tour map

Included in this New Zealand self drive holiday

Real Journeys Milford Wandere boat cruising Milford Sound
Nelsons' coastal road with cafes and restaurants
The Tranz Alpine Scenic Train heading towards the Southern Alps
Lupins in bloom near Lake Tekapo, Mackenzie Country
Tour map
 

Day 1 - Welcome to 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!

Accommodation: Garden Court Suites and Apartments

Accommodation type: Apartments

Accommodation: Garden Court Suites and Apartments
Accommodation: Garden Court Suites and Apartments
Accommodation: Garden Court Suites and Apartments
Accommodation: Garden Court Suites and Apartments

Accommodation features

  • Check in time: 2 pm
  • Check out time: 10 am
  • Walk time to shops/restaurants: 5-10 mins
  • Parking: onsite free parking
  • Internet facilities: In room free access
  • Tea/coffee facilities in room
  • Kitchen/kitchenette in room
  • Hairdryer
  • Laundry facilities: On site
  • All rooms non smoking

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Day 2 - The day is yours to discover all the beautiful scenery and fun activities on offer in Queenstown

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.

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.

Shotover Jet - Canyon Jet Boat Ride - suggested

Shotover Jet - Canyon Jet Boat Ride
Shotover Jet - Canyon Jet Boat Ride
Shotover Jet - Canyon Jet Boat Ride
Shotover Jet - Canyon Jet Boat Ride

Shotover Jet is the only company permitted to operate in the spectacular Shotover River Canyons. It's a thrilling ride - skimming past rocky outcrops at close range in your Shotover Jet 'Big Red', as you twist and turn through the narrow canyons at breath taking speeds. And a major highlight - hold tight for the world famous Shotover Jet full 360 degree spins!

Skyline Gondola and 1 Luge Ride - suggested

Skyline Gondola and 1 Luge Ride
Skyline Gondola and 1 Luge Ride
Skyline Gondola and 1 Luge Ride
Skyline Gondola and 1 Luge Ride

450 metres above the heart of Queenstown in the Ben Lomond Scenic Reserve is the Skyline Complex. Hop aboard the gondola for awe-inspiring views of the city surrounds and award winning cuisine with view. Ride the 800 metre luge track, then for added thrill, tandem paraglide back to base.

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: Garden Court Suites and Apartments

Accommodation type: Apartments

Accommodation: Garden Court Suites and Apartments
Accommodation: Garden Court Suites and Apartments
Accommodation: Garden Court Suites and Apartments
Accommodation: Garden Court Suites and Apartments

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Day 3 - Follow the edge of Lake Wakatipu into the heart of Southland as you make your way to Te Anau

Driving distance and time: 164 kms / 102 miles : 1.9 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.

Queenstown to Te Anau

Queenstown to Te Anau
Queenstown to Te Anau
Queenstown to Te Anau
Queenstown to Te Anau

As you traverse the shores of Lake Wakatipu you'll see The Remarkables mountain range towering over your approach to the small township of Kingston. Continue towards Southland before crossing the rolling tussock-lands of Mossburn (deer capital of New Zealand) and shortly arriving into Te Anau, gateway to Fiordland National Park.

Te Anau Glowworm Caves - suggested

Te Anau Glowworm Caves
Te Anau Glowworm Caves
Te Anau Glowworm Caves
Te Anau Glowworm Caves

Begin your Te Anau Glowworm experience with a scenic cruise across lake Te Anau on board the luxury catamaran, Luminosa, to the western side of the lake. On arrival you'll enter the caves through Cavern House, where informative displays detail the history of this 12,000 year old underground network.
You'll then explore by limestone pathway while your guide points out hidden whirlpools, sculpted rock formations and a rushing underground waterfall. See a magical display of thousands of glowworms as you glide through the darkness in a small boat.

Accommodation: Lakefront Lodge

Accommodation type: Motels - premium

Accommodation: Lakefront Lodge
Accommodation: Lakefront Lodge
Accommodation: Lakefront Lodge
Accommodation: Lakefront Lodge

Accommodation features

  • Check in time: 2 pm
  • Check out time: 10 am
  • Walk time to shops/restaurants: 5-10 mins
  • Parking: onsite free parking
  • Internet facilities: In room free access
  • Breakfast service available
  • Kitchen/kitchenette in room
  • Hairdryer
  • All rooms non smoking

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Day 4 - Journey along the magnificent Milford Road on your way to Milford Sound

Driving distance and time: 233 kms / 145 miles : 3.6 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.

Te Anau to Milford Sound and return to Te Anau

Te Anau to Milford Sound and return to Te Anau
Te Anau to Milford Sound and return to Te Anau
Te Anau to Milford Sound and return to Te Anau
Te Anau to Milford Sound and return to Te Anau

Travelling to Milford Sound, you’ll see beautiful and iconic scenery. From crystal clear lakes and towering mountains to glacier formed meadows and lush rainforest, this area is unlike anywhere else. Stop for a stroll through native beech forest on the Chasm Walk, a scenic track to several powerful waterfalls. Continue on through the Homer Tunnel an engineering marvel at 1219 metres long. Arriving into the village of Milford, you will be greeted with an amazing view of Mitre Peak. A day cruise into the heart of the sound with Real Journeys is not to be missed. You’ll learn about how this magnificent area was formed and experience the wonder of the falls that line the Fiord.

Milford Sound Nature Cruise

Milford Sound Nature Cruise
Milford Sound Nature Cruise
Milford Sound Nature Cruise
Milford Sound Nature Cruise

A two and a half hour nature cruise of spectacular Milford Sound. On board one of three purpose built vessels you'll experience tumbling waterfalls, towering peaks, lush rainforest and native wildlife. Learn about the region, its history and natural surroundings while enjoying a delicious picnic lunch. As you cruise, keep an eye out for dolphins, seals and penguins - frequent visitors to the fiord. Includes picnic boxed lunch.

Accommodation: Lakefront Lodge

Accommodation type: Motels - premium

Meals included: Lunch

Accommodation: Lakefront Lodge
Accommodation: Lakefront Lodge
Accommodation: Lakefront Lodge
Accommodation: Lakefront Lodge

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Day 5 - Head back towards Queenstown through the Kawarau Gorge and Central Otago where you will cross the Lindis Pass and head into the Mackenzie Country

Driving distance and time: 419 kms / 260 miles : 4.8 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.

Te Anau to Mt. Cook National Park

Te Anau to Mt. Cook National Park
Te Anau to Mt. Cook National Park
Te Anau to Mt. Cook National Park
Te Anau to Mt. Cook National Park

Crossing the rolling tussock lands you pass through Mossburn, the deer capital of New Zealand. Following Lake Wakatipu north the Remarkable mountain range towers over you as you approach the adventure capital of Queenstown, before heading east over the historic Kawarau Bridge and if you haven’t already done so you can take a bungy jump from the bridge, or sit back and watch others throw themselves off.  For a more sedate activity, the Gibbston Valley which borders the Kawarau River has many vineyards which are open for tastings. 

The Kawarau Gorge guides you towards Cromwell and for more wine tastings a side trip to Bannockburn is a must, with many award winning vineyards and winery restaurants to enjoy. Cromwell sits at the head of the Kawarau Gorge and the historic old town is well worth the visit, the buildings are now home to quaint shops and cafes. The old town buildings were relocated from the valley that now sits deep under Lake Dunstan. Continue along Lake Dunstan until you reach the historic and scenic Bendigo Reserve, which was one of Otago’s original gold mining settlements.  Well marked paths will guide you to the remains of stone cottages and other buildings from this bygone era.

The Lindis Pass is one of New Zealand’s highest roads with the summit reaching 971 metres. The tussock covered hills offer an unusual contrast as you pass from Central Otago into the Mackenzie Basin. The towns of Omarama and Twizel are the last stops before you arrive at Lake Pukaki and take the Mt. Cook Highway along the shores to the village. In Mt. Cook Village a myriad of activities are available scenic ski plane or helicopter flights with glacier landings to kayaking on a glacial lake and a host of walks to suit all abilities. At The Hermitage Hotel the Sir Edmund Hillary Alpine Centre is a must see. Please note there are no food or shops at Mount Cook you will need to stock up prior to arriving in Mount Cook if you wish to self cater.

Glacier Explorers Mt. Cook - suggested

Glacier Explorers Mt. Cook
Glacier Explorers Mt. Cook
Glacier Explorers Mt. Cook
Glacier Explorers Mt. Cook

Experience 500 year old icebergs up-close on the Mt Cook terminal lake. The Glacier Explorers tour is the only one of its kind in New Zealand - and one of only three in the world! Very few glaciers terminate into lakes and even fewer of them are accessible. See towering ice cliffs and floating icebergs from the safety of a specially designed boat.  These boats provide a safe way to view unseen and inaccessible areas of New Zealand's largest glacier - The Tasman.

Accommodation: Mt Cook Lodge & Motels

Accommodation type: Motels - premium

Accommodation: Mt Cook Lodge & Motels
Accommodation: Mt Cook Lodge & Motels
Accommodation: Mt Cook Lodge & Motels
Accommodation: Mt Cook Lodge & Motels

Accommodation features

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

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Day 6 - Today you'll enjoy a scenic drive through the MacKenzie Country and the Canterbury Plains

Driving distance and time: 192 kms / 119 miles : 2.2 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.

Mt. Cook National Park to Geraldine

Mt. Cook National Park to Geraldine
Mt. Cook National Park to Geraldine
Mt. Cook National Park to Geraldine
Mt. Cook National Park to Geraldine

Your first stop today should be the visitor centre on the southern shores of Lake Pukaki. As well as a great presentation detailing the formation of the region over thousands of years, you are also often rewarded with uninterrupted views of the peak of Mt. Cook. Lake Tekapo, the northern most of the large Southern Lakes also displays the reflective quality that Pukaki has making the waters a bright turquoise on certain days. This busy little township is home to some of the most photographed subjects in the country, the Church of the Good Shepherd and the Collie Dog statue. It's a great place to take a scenic flight, enjoy a guided horse trek, a boat trip on the pristine lake or just marvel at the magnificent views. From here you descend from the high country through Burkes Pass and into rich farmland. Beautiful Valley guides you to the town of Geraldine.

Accommodation: Scenic Route Motor Lodge Geraldine

Accommodation type: Motels - economy

Accommodation: Scenic Route Motor Lodge Geraldine
Accommodation: Scenic Route Motor Lodge Geraldine
Accommodation: Scenic Route Motor Lodge Geraldine
Accommodation: Scenic Route Motor Lodge Geraldine

Accommodation features

  • Check in time: 2:30 pm
  • Check out time: 10 am
  • Walk time to shops/restaurants: 5-10 mins
  • Parking: onsite free parking
  • Internet facilities: In room paid access
  • Breakfast service available
  • Kitchen/kitchenette in room
  • Hairdryer
  • Laundry facilities: On site
  • All rooms non smoking

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Day 7 - Cross the Canterbury Plains to Christchurch

Driving distance and time: 168 kms / 104 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.

Explore Christchurch City

Explore Christchurch City
Explore Christchurch City
Explore Christchurch City
Explore Christchurch City

Following the 2011 earthquake that razed its centre and much of the outlying suburbs, Christchurch is well into a billion-dollar makeover. In the middle of the Canterbury Plains, bordering the pacific ocean, New Zealand’s newest city is an ideal gateway to exploring the middle of the South.

Go punting on the Avon River, take a historic tram ride, catch the gondola to the rim of an extinct volcano or do all three! See the world's only Cardboard Cathedral and for nature enthusiasts - wander the renowned Christchurch Botanic Gardens. 

Drive an hour in any direction to ski, mountain bike, wine taste, whale-watch, bungy jump or play golf. Visit the International Antarctic Centre or take a day to go on safari at Orana Wildlife Park. Take the winding Port Hills road to the French settlement of Akaroa and tour the vines in Waipara for a authentic New Zealand wine-tasting experience.

Christchurch Gondola - suggested

Christchurch Gondola
Christchurch Gondola
Christchurch Gondola
Christchurch Gondola

In the Heathcote Valley, just fifteen minutes from the heart of Christchurch city, ride the Christchurch Gondola for nearly a kilometre to the collapsed rim of an extinct volcano - which exploded six million years ago.  Take in the panoramic 360-degree views of the central city, Lyttelton Harbour, Banks Peninsula, Canterbury Plains and the distant peaks of the Southern Alps.  Wander the summit complex and choose one of many nature walks or visit the Time Tunnel - a dramatic reconstruction of the history of the Port Hills and Christchurch.

International Antarctic Centre General Admission - suggested

International Antarctic Centre General Admission
International Antarctic Centre General Admission
International Antarctic Centre General Admission
International Antarctic Centre General Admission

The International Antarctic Centre aims to recreate the atmosphere and environment of Antarctica, providing visitors with an interactive, fun and educational experience. Feel the full Four Seasons of Antarctica, where you'll experience a custom-built snow and ice experience, then warm up in the Scott Base interior exhibit, a replica Antartic field camp or other informative displays in the gallery. You'll also learn about life in modern day Antarctica, view real little blue penguins and experience a thrilling ride in a Hagglund all terrain vehicle.

Geraldine to Christchurch

Geraldine to Christchurch
Geraldine to Christchurch
Geraldine to Christchurch
Geraldine to Christchurch

From the rural hub of Geraldine follow the inland scenic route through rural South Canterbury. Along the way, the Curio shop at Mayfield is worth a look if you enjoy antiques and oddities. Further along the way, the café at Stavely is famed for its sausage rolls, great for a refreshment stop. The Rakaia Gorge is spectacular and well worth taking time to stop and enjoy the views on either side of the Rakaia Bridge. Carrying on the scenic route you will pass through tiny villages such as Windwhistle, Glenroy and Glentunnel that guide you towards Darfield, a larger agricultural service centre and then onto the city of Christchurch.

Accommodation: The Towers on the Park

Accommodation type: Motels - premium

Accommodation: The Towers on the Park
Accommodation: The Towers on the Park
Accommodation: The Towers on the Park
Accommodation: The Towers on the Park

Accommodation features

  • Check in time: 2 pm
  • Check out time: 10 am
  • Walk time to shops/restaurants: 5-10 mins
  • Parking: onsite free parking
  • Tea/coffee facilities in room
  • Laundry facilities: On site
  • Laundry facilities: Drycleaning service available

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Day 8 - Board the Coastal Pacific Train to Picton

Driving distance and time: 0 kms / 0 miles : 0.0 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.

Coastal Pacific Train: Christchurch to Picton

Coastal Pacific Train: Christchurch to Picton
Coastal Pacific Train: Christchurch to Picton
Coastal Pacific Train: Christchurch to Picton
Coastal Pacific Train: Christchurch to Picton

The Coastal Pacific train journey travels between Christchurch, the South Island's largest city and the delightful port of Picton. This journey is a scenic feast of New Zealand, with the Kaikoura mountain ranges on one side of your train and the rugged Pacific Ocean coastline on the other. Along the way you pass though the town of Kaikoura world famous for its resident whale population and its whale watching tours.
Travel through some of New Zealand's finest horticultural and farmland areas, and see amazing wildlife such as dolphins, seals and penguins from the comfort of your train carriage.
One of the world's most scenic train journeys, the Coastal Pacific travels through 22 tunnels and crosses 175 bridges. As on The TranzAlpine, The Coastal Pacific includes an open air viewing carriage where all your senses are awakened with the clean, fresh, sea air.

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.

Accommodation: Harbour View Motel

Accommodation type: Motels - economy

Accommodation: Harbour View Motel
Accommodation: Harbour View Motel
Accommodation: Harbour View Motel
Accommodation: Harbour View Motel

Accommodation features

  • Check in time: 2 pm
  • Check out time: 10 am
  • Walk time to shops/restaurants: 2-5 mins
  • Parking: onsite free parking
  • Internet facilities: In room free access
  • Tea/coffee facilities in room
  • Kitchen/kitchenette in room
  • Hairdryer
  • Laundry facilities: On site
  • All rooms non smoking

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Day 9 - Travel from the Pacific Ocean to Tasman Bay and the idyllic Abel Tasman National Park

Driving distance and time: 104 kms / 65 miles : 1.6 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.

Nelson Winery and Craft Brewery Tour - suggested

Nelson Winery and Craft Brewery Tour
Nelson Winery and Craft Brewery Tour
Nelson Winery and Craft Brewery Tour
Nelson Winery and Craft Brewery Tour

A fun and informative tour through two of Nelson's Craft breweries. Go behind the scenes and see how beer is made, as well as learning about the history of hop growing in Nelson and sampling a wide range of naturally brewed beers and ciders. You'll also visit two award winning vineyards where you'll meet the owners and winemakers themselves.

Picton to Nelson via Queen Charlotte Drive

Picton to Nelson via Queen Charlotte Drive
Picton to Nelson via Queen Charlotte Drive
Picton to Nelson via Queen Charlotte Drive
Picton to Nelson via Queen Charlotte Drive

Queen Charlotte Drive travels the Marlborough Sounds coastline between Picton and Havelock. Magnificent views of the sounds can be had from many vantage points so allow plenty of time to enjoy the scenery. If you can spare the time take the narrow windy road to Portage along Mahau Sound and Kenepuru Sound with their bush clad hillsides and secluded sandy coves.

The small port town of Havelock has a great variety of cafes and restaurants to choose from so plan your journey to arrive in time for lunch. The highway between Nelson and Picton also crosses the Pelorus River and just at this junction is the famous and historic Pelorus Bridge. From here there are a number of forest walks with the most popular the 30 minute loop through beech, rimu and totara forest to the swing-bridge.

Crossing the Bryant Range you arrive onto Tasman Bay and the city of Nelson.

Accommodation: The Hotel Nelson

Accommodation type: Hotel 3 star

Accommodation: The Hotel Nelson
Accommodation: The Hotel Nelson
Accommodation: The Hotel Nelson
Accommodation: The Hotel Nelson

Accommodation features

  • Check in time: 2 pm
  • Check out time: 10 am
  • Walk time to shops/restaurants: 15-20 mins
  • Parking: onsite free parking
  • Internet facilities: In room free access
  • Restaurant on site
  • Breakfast service available
  • Bar on site
  • Tea/coffee facilities in room
  • Room service available
  • Laundry facilities: On site
  • Laundry facilities: Drycleaning service available
  • Swimming pool

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Day 10 - Explore Abel Tasman National Park, home to golden sands, pristine waters and playful wildlife

Nelson City

Nelson City
Nelson City
Nelson City
Nelson City

Nelson City Centre is a vibrant hub of cafes, restaurants, bars and shops. Along the waterfront you’ll find many fine restaurants, specialising in seafood and fresh produce. Its close proximity to Abel Tasman National Park is one of Nelson's great advantages to visitors, and it’s pristine waters, beautiful native bush and golden beaches make this an adventure seeker's paradise.

The vibrant Nelson City centre offers an abundance of cafes, restaurants, bars and shops and along the waterfront you will find many fine restaurants specialising in seafood to enjoy. Founded in 1841 by the New Zealand Company the region today still boasts many remarkable buildings from these early days, however it is its close proximity to Abel Tasman National Park that is one of Nelson's greatest advantages to visitors. The pristine waters, beautiful native bush and golden beaches make this an adventure seeker's paradise. Nelson is also famous for its art and crafts and you will find many local offerings - including the world famous Hoglund glass works.

Explore the Nelson and Abel Tasman region

Explore the Nelson and Abel Tasman region
Explore the Nelson and Abel Tasman region
Explore the Nelson and Abel Tasman region
Explore the Nelson and Abel Tasman region

Nelson is a great city to explore on foot. Visit the historic areas, the famous Cathedral or relax and enjoy the atmosphere at one of the many cafes on Trafalgar Street. Nelson is also noted for its many artists, and galleries displaying their work can be enjoyed by following one of the Art trails listed locally. Around 45 minutes drive away is Abel Tasman National Park. The region offers countless opportunities to explore for visitors of every age and capability, from enjoying the golden sand beaches and clear warm waters to guided kayaking trips viewing seals and dolphins, to exploring some of New Zealand's finest walking tracks.

Seals, Beach Cruise and Walk Including Picnic Lunch - suggested

Seals, Beach Cruise and Walk Including Picnic Lunch
Seals, Beach Cruise and Walk Including Picnic Lunch
Seals, Beach Cruise and Walk Including Picnic Lunch
Seals, Beach Cruise and Walk Including Picnic Lunch

Experience the best of Abel Tasman on this combined beach cruise and walk tour. You will first take a cruise into the Tonga Island Marine Reserve, where you will pause to watch the antics of the Resident Fur Seal Colony. After landing at the historic Tonga Quarry Beach, take a two hour, fifteen minute walk over forested land and around the spectacular Bark Bay Estuary - renowned for its cascading waterfalls. You will then region the cruise at the sheltered golden cove on Medlands Beach.

Accommodation: The Hotel Nelson

Accommodation type: Hotel 3 star

Accommodation: The Hotel Nelson
Accommodation: The Hotel Nelson
Accommodation: The Hotel Nelson
Accommodation: The Hotel Nelson

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Day 11 - Travel through the Nelson Lakes and Kahurangi National Park regions towards Greymouth

Driving distance and time: 276 kms / 171 miles : 3.3 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.

Nelson to Greymouth

Nelson to Greymouth
Nelson to Greymouth
Nelson to Greymouth
Nelson to Greymouth

Leaving Nelson today pass through the suburb of Richmond before travelling through the Nelson Lakes and Kahurangi park region. Trees, rivers and valleys accompany you as you head towards the town of Murchison - a great place to stop for lunch. Continuing on to Westport, you’ll drive along the Buller Gorge and see some magnificent scenery as you follow the river.

Crossing the river you’ll get magnificent views of the gorge, while the other side brings many short bush walks, jet boat rides and historic gold mining remnants. Travel through several small towns including Reefton, the first town in Australasia to have electric lighting, before heading down the West Coast to Greymouth, your destination. 

Shantytown Heritage Park Experience

Shantytown Heritage Park Experience
Shantytown Heritage Park Experience
Shantytown Heritage Park Experience
Shantytown Heritage Park Experience

Shantytown is a faithfully restored replica of an 1860's West Coast gold mining town. It is a living monument to the hardy pioneers who forded the wildly exotic rivers and streams and scrambled through the rugged subtropical rainforest in search of their fortunes. A 20 minute ride on one of the original bush steam trains takes you deep into gold country. Among the collection of pioneer relics and Kiwiana that has come to comprise Shantytown's unique and valuable collection are some true gems. This vast and significant collection is housed in over 30 historic buildings, enabling you to wander your way through the town as interlopers into a bygone era. You'll also get to try your hand at gold-panning under the helpful tuition of the highly experienced gold claim staff.

Accommodation: Charles Court Motel, Greymouth

Accommodation type: Motels - economy

Accommodation: Charles Court Motel, Greymouth
Accommodation: Charles Court Motel, Greymouth
Accommodation: Charles Court Motel, Greymouth
Accommodation: Charles Court Motel, Greymouth

Accommodation features

  • Check in time: 2 pm
  • Check out time: 10 am
  • Parking: onsite free parking
  • Breakfast service available
  • Tea/coffee facilities in room
  • Kitchen/kitchenette in room
  • Laundry facilities: On site
  • Swimming pool
  • Childrens playground

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Day 12 - Drive the beautiful road trip to Franz Josef and enjoy a glacier helihike

Driving distance and time: 167 kms / 104 miles : 2.0 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.

Greymouth to Franz Josef

Greymouth to Franz Josef
Greymouth to Franz Josef
Greymouth to Franz Josef
Greymouth to Franz Josef

Leaving Greymouth today you will head south to Franz Josef and Glacier Country. Pass through Hokitika and be sure to take a detour to the spectacular Hokitika Gorge, a turquoise coloured river surrounded by native bush-clad cliffs.

Continue on through Ross, a historic gold mining town where several buildings still remain intact. As you travel further down the coast you’ll also go through Hari Hari, the town where Guy Menzies, the first person to fly solo over the Tasman crash landed. Follow the coast through several small towns before catching a glimpse of the Franz Josef glacier as you arrive into the town centre.

Franz Josef Glacier Helihike with The Helicopter Line

Franz Josef Glacier Helihike with The Helicopter Line
Franz Josef Glacier Helihike with The Helicopter Line
Franz Josef Glacier Helihike with The Helicopter Line
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.

Accommodation: Bella Vista Franz Josef

Accommodation type: Motels - economy

Accommodation: Bella Vista Franz Josef
Accommodation: Bella Vista Franz Josef
Accommodation: Bella Vista Franz Josef
Accommodation: Bella Vista Franz Josef

Accommodation features

  • Check in time: 2 pm
  • Check out time: 10 am
  • Walk time to shops/restaurants: 1-2 mins
  • Walk time to shops/restaurants: 2-5 mins
  • Parking: onsite free parking
  • Internet facilities: On site paid access
  • Breakfast service available
  • Tea/coffee facilities in room
  • Kitchen/kitchenette in room
  • Hairdryer
  • All rooms non smoking

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Day 13 - Allow plenty of time for the drive today as there are some amazing photo opportunities on the way

Driving distance and time: 344 kms / 213 miles : 4.3 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 Queenstown (via Wanaka)

Franz Josef to Queenstown (via Wanaka)
Franz Josef to Queenstown (via Wanaka)
Franz Josef to Queenstown (via Wanaka)
Franz Josef to Queenstown (via Wanaka)

Heading south you pass through the second glacier town of Fox Glacier. A short side trip to view the glacier is easy before heading along the coast and more classic West Coast bush scenery. At Knights Point Lookout elephant seals can often be seen basking on the sandy beaches at the far end of the point. Crossing the massive Haast River you turn inland and head into the valley climbing through mountains littered with waterfalls.

The Haast Valley offers a spectacular view of the river and its enormous power. The Blue Pools near Makarora are a great 30 minute walk. Lakes Wanaka and Hawea guide you into the township of Wanaka before you head over New Zealand's highest sealed road, Crown Range Road before dropping into Queenstown. This drive should be planned as a whole day to really enjoy the scenery and to allow time to explore the walks, and many stops en route.

Accommodation: Garden Court Suites and Apartments

Accommodation type: Apartments

Accommodation: Garden Court Suites and Apartments
Accommodation: Garden Court Suites and Apartments
Accommodation: Garden Court Suites and Apartments
Accommodation: Garden Court Suites and Apartments

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Day 14 - This morning visit the Lord of the Rings locations with Nomad Safaris then take some time to explore at your leisure

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.

Safari of the Scenes Wakatipu Basin Tour

Safari of the Scenes Wakatipu Basin Tour
Safari of the Scenes Wakatipu Basin Tour
Safari of the Scenes Wakatipu Basin Tour
Safari of the Scenes Wakatipu Basin Tour

For those keen on the Hobbit and Lord of The Rings films, come with us for an unexpectedly delightful journey. In safari-equipped 4WD vehicles, you will be taken on a true off-road adventure. Experienced guides will take you on a breathtaking excursion through diverse scenery around the Wakatipu Basin. See historic Arrowtown and go over the Arrow River, as well as experiencing the truly remarkable views of the lake and mountain surround from the Skippers Canyon Saddle.

Dart River Wilderness Jet - suggested

Dart River Wilderness Jet
Dart River Wilderness Jet
Dart River Wilderness Jet
Dart River Wilderness Jet

An hour and a half of thrilling high-speed wilderness jet boating skimming across the clear waters of the Dart River into the Te Waipounamu World Heritage Area. Hear about flora, fauna and history on a 30-minute rolling forest walk with your friendly guide. On a backroad tour of Paradise immerse yourself in scenes and backdrops from The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit movies. Learn about the Pounamu (Greenstone) that made the Dart River a key trading route for early Māori. Tales of early settlers who carved rich farms from the rugged landscape.

Accommodation: Garden Court Suites and Apartments

Accommodation type: Apartments

Accommodation: Garden Court Suites and Apartments
Accommodation: Garden Court Suites and Apartments
Accommodation: Garden Court Suites and Apartments
Accommodation: Garden Court Suites and Apartments

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Day 15 - Depart Queenstown

Driving distance and time: 1 kms / 1 miles : 0.0 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.

Depart Queenstown today

Drop your rental car at the Queenstown airport today and farewell New Zealand.

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