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6 Day South Island Explorer

6 days 5 nights
Christchurch to Christchurch
from NZD$1,862pp
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See the South Island by coach and railway on this 5-day tour, travelling round-trip from Christchurch. Hear informative commentary on your sightseeing coach, gaze at the scenic Southern Alps while aboard the TranzAlpine train, and visit the World Heritage–listed Fiordland on a Milford Sound cruise with lunch. Overnight stays in Fox Glacier and Queenstown allow for plenty of free time to explore New Zealand’s magnificent glaciers and national parks before you return to Christchurch through the beautiful region of Mount Cook.

Tour full itinerary
Itinerary
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Day One - Travel to Greymouth by Tranz Alpine train and then on to Fox Glacier with Intercity coaches
Tour day 1
6 Day South Island Explorer - Day 1
TranzAlpine Scenic Train: Christchurch to Greymouth

Your early morning departure is rewarded with incredible scenery today onboard the TranzAlpine Scenic Train, considered one of the world's great train journeys. It travels between Christchurch and Greymouth, from one coast of New Zealand to the other. From your carriage you'll see the fields of the Canterbury Plains and farmland, followed by the spectacular gorges and river valleys of the Waimakariri River. Your train then climbs into the Southern Alps before descending through the lush beech rain forest to the West Coast town of Greymouth - a great base for visits to Punakaiki and the West Coast glaciers.

Greymouth to Fox Glacier with GreatSights

Your coach to Franz Josef Glacier departs from the Greymouth Railway Station. The journey to the Glaciers is southward through the lush bush covered landscape at the base of the Southern Alps. A refreshment stop in Hokitika allows you to stretch your legs around the town centre. Further south you pass through the township of Ross which was the centre of one of New Zealand's richest alluvial goldfields in the late 1800s. Further along, travelling down the West Coast enjoy the beautiful landscape of vast rainforests, gushing waterfalls and snow-capped mountains before arriving in the small village of Fox Glacier.

Accommodation: Heartland Hotel Fox Glacier
Accommodation type: Hotel 3 star
Meals included: Breakfast
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.

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Day Two - Free day to explore Fox Glacier
Tour day 2
6 Day South Island Explorer - Day 2
Fox Glacier

The mighty Fox is the largest and longest of the magnificent West Coast glaciers. Remarkably, it ends in temperate rainforest, 250 metres above sea level only twelve kilometres from the sea.

There are more peaks at the head of the Fox Glacier than in any other valley in New Zealand.

The Fox Glacier, like all glaciers, advances and retreats. Evidence of the latest surge forward can be seen in the bulging lower ice fall. Alpine Guides has access onto the lower part of the glacier via a secret track that climbs through regenerating native forest. From the track, you will have stunning views into the upper parts of the glacier. Fox Glacier township is the more "laid back" of the twin Glacier Country townships of Fox and Franz Josef, and people often comment on having chosen Fox for its relaxed atmosphere.

An excellent selection of cafés and a wide range of accommodation complement are available.  The township enjoys breathtaking views of New Zealand's highest peaks - Mount Cook and Mount Tasman. Lake Matheson, the famous reflection lake, is a five minute drive west of Fox Township and historic Gillespie's Beach, known for its crashing surf and distant snow capped mountains,  is only 25 minutes west by car.

 

Accommodation: Heartland Hotel Fox Glacier
Accommodation type: Hotel 3 star
Meals included: Breakfast
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.

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Day Three - Travel from Fox Glacier to Queenstown by coach
Tour day 3
6 Day South Island Explorer - Day 3
Fox Glacier to Queenstown with GreatSights

Travel from the remote splendour of Fox Glacier to the exciting adventure playground that is Queenstown on this journey. Step on board a luxury coach in the small village of Fox Glacier on New Zealand's West Coast and travel through lush native rainforest and along the untamed rocky coastline. Journey through the Haast Pass, the southernmost pass between the South Island's two coasts, surrounded by native beech forest, waterfalls and crystal-clear rivers. On the other side of the Southern Alps, enjoy picture-postcard views of vibrant blue glacier-fed lakes like Lake Hawea, Lake Wanaka and Lake Dunstan. Your day tour concludes late afternoon in world famous Queenstown.

Accommodation: Heartland Hotel Queenstown
Accommodation type: Hotel 3 star
The Heartland Hotel Queenstown is the ideal place to stay if you want to be close to all the action of Queenstown's main centre, yet be elevated enough to take advantage of the spectacular views over Lake Wakatipu to the mountains.

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Day Four - Day tour into Milford Sound
Tour day 4
6 Day South Island Explorer - Day 4
Milford Sound Cruise and coach tour from Queenstown

Return luxury coach transport from Queenstown to Milford Sound, with a 1 hour 40 minute Cruise along the full length of the fiord. On boarding a Real Journeys luxury glass-roofed coach in Queenstown or Te Anau, 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 modern, spacious vessel for a leisurely cruise in the fiord. The cruise provides excellent viewing opportunities and plenty of time is available to enjoy waterfalls, rainforest, mountains and the wildlife. During the cruise your friendly crew provide commentaries in several languages and point out the sights such as Mitre Peak and the Pembroke Glacier.

Accommodation: Heartland Hotel Queenstown
Accommodation type: Hotel 3 star
Meals included: Lunch
The Heartland Hotel Queenstown is the ideal place to stay if you want to be close to all the action of Queenstown's main centre, yet be elevated enough to take advantage of the spectacular views over Lake Wakatipu to the mountains.

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Day Five - Travel from Queenstown to Christchurch via Mount Cook
Tour day 5
6 Day South Island Explorer - Day 5
Queenstown to Christchurch with GreatSights (Includes Lunch)

Travel to the foothills of New Zealand's highest mountain, Aoraki / Mount Cook, on a full-day sightseeing tour from Queenstown to Christchurch. Setting off from Queenstown, travel through ruggedly beautiful landscape and over the Lindis Pass into the Mackenzie Country. Enter the amazing Aoraki / Mt Cook National Park, home to New Zealand's highest mountain, where there is time to stop for lunch and a chance to enjoy the amazing alpine scenery. During your stop at Mount Cook Village, enjoy a delicious lunch at the famous Hermitage Hotel. In the afternoon, travel past Lake Pukaki to Lake Tekapo, where you can view the solitary Church of the Good Shepherd against the backdrop of this vivid blue glacier-fed lake. Then continue through the diverse farmland of the Canterbury Plains to Christchurch, the Garden City, where your tour concludes.

Accommodation: Heartland Hotel Cotswold
Accommodation type: Hotel 3 star
The Heartland Hotel Cotswold is just a few minutes walk to boutique shopping at Merivale and Hagley Park. The distinctive architecture of the Heartland Hotel Cotswold reflects Christchurch's image as the most English of cities outside of England.

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Day Six - The final morning of your tour, explore Christchurch or head to your next destination
Tour day 6
SUGGESTED ACTIVITY - Christchurch Pass Combo - Gondola, Punting, Tram & Gardens Tour

Experience 4 of Christchurch's iconic attractions throughout your stay in New Zealand. The Christchurch Pass gives you the Gondola, Tram, Punting on the Avon River and the Caterpillar Botanic Gardens Tour. Each attraction does not have to be visited on the same day that your pass is purchased, which offers great flexibility. Take in the breathtaking views of the Christchurch Cityscape, Canterbury Plains, Southern Alps and the dramatic hills of the Banks Peninsula when you ride the Gondola. Your Christchurch Pass includes return transport from the City centre to the Gondola. The historic Tram is a delightful way to explore the changing face of Christchurch city. Punting on the Avon River will allow you to admire Christchurch's beautiful Botanic Gardens as you glide in a handcrafted flat bottomed boat, propelled by a skilled punter in traditional Edwardian attire. The Caterpillar Botanic Gardens Tour will take you on a fully guided journey to view some of New Zealand's native and exotic flora.

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