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Southern Heights Circuit including the TranzAlpine Train

5 days 4 nights
Christchurch to Christchurch
from NZD$1,890pp
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Your journey begins in Christchurch, the largest city in the South Island, from which you will depart, travelling through the Canterbury Plains to Lake Tekapo, then continuing on into the Southern Alps and Aoraki Mt Cook National Park. You will have free time to explore the region, and can even book a scenic flight (at additional expense). After, you continue on via the Lindis Pass to Queenstown, the adventure capital of the world! On the following day, chase adventure or take it slow in this idyllic alpine town, as you'll have a free day to yourself to spend as you choose. On day three, discover the beauty of Marlborough Sound. The journey to Milford Sound is just as spectacular as the destination itself, and once arriving in Milford, board a modern and spacious vessel for a leisurely cruise in the fiord. Enjoy the abundant waterfalls, sky-high mountains, lush rainforest, and if you're lucky, the playful wildlife in the sound, before eventually returning to Queenstown and your accommodation for the night. The following morning, depart Queenstown, travel through Lakes Wanaka and Hawea, the Haast Pass, over the Southern Alps to the West Coast. You'll have the evening to explore the small village of Franz Josef and the famous Franz Josef Glacier, your home for the night. On the fifth and final morning of your journey, you'll depart Franz Josef and head north along the West Coast to Greymouth, where you will board the famous TranzAlpine Train. This journey, considered one of the world's greatest rail journeys, carries you  across the South Island through Arthurs Pass National Park, before eventually descending through the windswept Canterbury Plains to Christchurch, your final destination.

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**Please Note: Some elements of this tour may only run on certain days of the week. Speak to one of our travel specialists today to find a departure date that works for you.

Tour full itinerary
Itinerary
Southern Heights Circuit including the TranzAlpine Train - Day 1
Christchurch to Queenstown via Mt Cook Day Tour with Gray Line / GreatSights

Depart Christchurch in the morning and travel through the lush farmland of the Canterbury Plains to Lake Tekapo, where you can see the iconic Church of the Good Shepherd as it stands in solitude next to the vibrant blue waters. Leaving Tekapo, continue into the Southern Alps towards Aoraki / Mount Cook National Park, home to New Zealand's tallest mountain. You will have a free time and you can take a sightseeing flight (at your own expense) enabling you experience some of the most dramatic alpine and glacier scenery. After then you will continue to Queenstown via Lindis Pass and the fruit growing area of Cromwell.

Your accommodation: Blue Peaks Lodge

Blue Peaks Lodge offers well equipped self contained rooms with a fantastic location overlooking Queenstown and is just an easy five minutes walk to the Queenstown lakefront.

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Southern Heights Circuit including the TranzAlpine Train - Day 2
Free day in Queenstown

Although celebrated as New Zealand's ‘adventure capital', Queenstown offers far more than a fast-paced, action-packed holiday. Settled on the shores of Lake Wakatipu beneath a soaring panorama of the Remarkables Mountain Range, this alpine town is surrounded by a plethora of historic, gastronomic, and scenic wonders. Whether you are looking for a scenic short walk or a longer one, you will find the perfect hike or bike trail in Queenstown. Explore Queenstown Gardens, or try out more challenging trails up to Ben Lomond Walkaway or Queenstown Hill Walking Track. Enjoy iconic views and take Queenstown Gondola up 450 metres to Bob's Peak, or ride on the 100-year-old Steamship - the TSS Earnslaw -  to Walter Peak Station for dinner and a farm tour. Browse the waterfront cafes and al fresco restaurants, try out the famous Fergburger, or grab a dessert at Patagonia Chocolates.

SUGGESTED ACTIVITY - Shotover Jet Canyon Jet Boat Ride

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

SUGGESTED ACTIVITY - Queenstown Skyline Gondola Ride

Hop aboard the Skyline Gondola - the steepest cable car lift in the Southern Hemisphere! From which you can take in the awe-inspiring views of this spectacular landscape. Sit back and relax as you enjoy panoramic views of The Remarkables, Walter Peak, Cecil Peak, Coronet Peak and the magnificent Lake Wakatipu.

Your accommodation: Blue Peaks Lodge

Blue Peaks Lodge offers well equipped self contained rooms with a fantastic location overlooking Queenstown and is just an easy five minutes walk to the Queenstown lakefront.

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Southern Heights Circuit including the TranzAlpine Train - Day 3
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.

Your accommodation: Blue Peaks Lodge

Blue Peaks Lodge offers well equipped self contained rooms with a fantastic location overlooking Queenstown and is just an easy five minutes walk to the Queenstown lakefront.
Meals included: Lunch

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Southern Heights Circuit including the TranzAlpine Train - Day 4
Queenstown to Franz Josef with Gray Line / GreatSights

Leaving Queenstown early, travel by luxury coach through the stunning scenery of the South Island. Your driver-guide will provide entertaining commentary and point out sites of interest as you pass by the crystal-clear waters of Lake Dunstan, Lake Wanaka and Lake Hawea. After a morning tea break (at own expense) in Makarora on the border of Mount Aspiring World Heritage Park, you'll travel through the Haast Pass, journeying through native beech forest and over the Southern Alps, before emerging on the West Coast. This remote area has a ruggedly beautiful landscape of vast rainforests, gushing waterfalls and snow-capped mountains. Skirt the coast and see waves crashing on rocky beaches before returning inland. You will arrive in the afternoon at the small village of Franz Josef. From here you can explore the world famous Franz Josef Glacier.

Glacier Valley Shuttle

You will be met at your accommodation by a representative from Glacier Shuttles and taken on a short tour to view the glacier. Your shuttle vehicle will transfer you up the Franz Josef valley to the road end. Here you will have the opportunity to walk to view the glacier from a viewing platform. Or enjoy one of the short walks available in this area. You will be returned to your accommodation by the Glacier Valley Shuttles.

Your accommodation: Punga Grove Motel & Suites

Punga Grove is right in the heart of Franz Josef Glacier village and offers affordable and stylish accommodation in a beautiful rainforest setting.

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Southern Heights Circuit including the TranzAlpine Train - Day 5
Franz Josef to Greymouth Train Station with Gray Line / GreatSights

This morning travel north through the small townships of Whataroa and Harihari. Stop at the Bushman's Centre for refreshments and a chance to experience a bit of West Coast humour. Continue through the township of Ross, which in the late 1800s was the centre of one of New Zealand's richest alluvial goldfields. In 1903 the largest gold nugget ever found in New Zealand was discovered at Jones Creek, not far from the town centre. It weighed 2807 grams. The New Zealand Government later purchased the nugget and presented it as a coronation gift to King George V. On arrival in Hokitika there is time to purchase lunch and explore the town centre. Hokitika is the administrative and commercial centre for this part of Westland. The major primary industry is timber milling. Dairy and sheep farming, commercial fishing, white baiting and eel processing being the other major industries. Continue onto Greymouth Railway Station from where you catch the world famous TranzAlpine train across the Southern Alps 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.

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Pure Journeys - Privacy Policy

Last review: 28 March 2024

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