Travel the southern loop down the central spine of the Southern Alps and onto Westland. The TranzAlpine journey from the West Coast to Christchurch is a wonderful way to end your holiday.
Starts in Christchurch
Ends in Christchurch
Maximum 48 travellers
2019: Sept 18, Oct 30, Nov 20, Dec 4 & 19. 2020: Jan 22
Day 1: Arrive in Christchurch
You will be met at the airport with transport waiting to take you to your downtown city hotel.
Day 2: Christchurch - Lake Tekapo
Today begins with a unique experience combining history and sightseeing. Enjoy a journey in style through the changing face of Christchurch’s city centre on-board a beautifully restored heritage tram. We then visit the International Antarctic Centre before crossing the Canterbury Plains, New Zealand’s largest area of flat land, lying between the mighty Southern Alps and the Pacific Ocean. Its patchwork of agricultural activity ranges from grazing grass and wheat to herbs and sunflowers. View the tiny Church of the Good Shepherd and the Collie Dog Memorial overlooking Lake Tekapo. There is time this afternoon for some optional alpine flightseeing over the world heritage national parks of Aoraki Mt Cook and Westland Tai Poutini (subject to weather conditions).
Day 3: Lake Tekapo - Dunedin
Continue south and stop to view the Benmore Dam, one of the largest in the southern hemisphere. Travel down the Waitaki Valley to the Whitestone township of Oamaru, home to some of the best preserved heritage buildings in New Zealand. The town prospered through gold mining, quarrying and timber milling in the late 19th century and much of the wealth was spent on elegant stone buildings made from local limestone. Stop to view the mystical Moeraki Boulders before arriving at Dunedin, the Edinburgh of the South.
Day 4: Central Otago - Te Anau
This morning you will enjoy spectacular views across the Otago Peninsula as you travel to Larnach Castle. On your guided tour, learn about its tragic and mysterious history. Leaving the city behind, you head inland, crossing rich farmlands to the agricultural towns of Gore and Lumsden before arriving at the shores of Lake Te Anau, gateway to the Fiordland National Park.
Day 5: Spectacular Milford Sound
Journey into the Hollyford Valley before descending into the Cleddau Canyon. Drive through the Homer Tunnel into spectacular Milford Sound, the world renowned natural wonder dominated by Mitre Peak. Luxuriant rainforest clings to sheer rock walls and waterfalls tumble hundreds of metres to the sea below. Your vessel has purpose built observation decks and viewing lounges and as you cruise the entire length of the fiord, enjoy the onboard commentary that gives you detailed information on the region’s history, flora and fauna. View spectacular waterfalls, towering mountains, glaciers and rainforest and those with keen eyes may also see seals basking on the rocks and local pods of dolphins streaking through the Sound.
*** Overnight cruises on Milford Sound or Doubtful Sound are also available today subject to availability – ask us for details *
Day 6: Te Anau - Queenstown
Continue north to Kingston, then skirt around the shores of Lake Wakatipu to the picturesque alpine resort of Queenstown. regarded as New Zealand’s premier holiday destination. Enjoy some free time this afternoon before boarding the historic vintage steamship TSS Earnslaw for an evening cruise across the lake to Walter Peak High Country Farm. At the Colonel’s Homestead, savour a delicious gourmet barbecue dinner along with an entertaining farm demonstration.
Day 7: At Queenstown
Enjoy a free day to experience this magnificent alpine resort. Surrounded by majestic mountains, Queenstown boasts an incredible array of adventure and leisure activities in all forms, from extreme to relaxed exploration. Your Guide will be happy to advise you on all the activities and options available. You might like to experience the thrills of a jetboat ride on the famous Shotover or Dart Rivers, visit key film locations from the ‘Lord of the Rings’ trilogy, ride the Skyline gondola to the top of Bob’s Peak where both the dining and the views are unsurpassed or simply take a relaxing stroll around the tranquil shores of the lake …. your options are endless. Tonight, is free to experience one of the many amazing cafes and restaurants offering indoor and al-fresco dining.
Day 8: Queenstown - Franz Josef
This morning, we visit Arrowtown. Set beneath the rugged Crown Range, this historic village was once a haven for the gold prospectors of the 1860’s and features a fascinating collection of mining cottages with an atmosphere straight out of last century. Stop at Wanaka, a picture postcard resort on the lake’s edge with a spectacular mountain backdrop. View the untouched wilderness and pristine lakes of the Mt Aspiring and Westland National Parks before arriving on the rugged and wild West Coast, home to the twin glaciers of Fox and Franz Josef.
Day 9: TranzAlpine - Christchurch
Visit a Pounamu (also known as Greenstone or Jade) factory at Hokitika. Pounamu is considered a treasure in Maori culture and is seen as a sign of status and power. At Greymouth, we board the famous TranzAlpine Train. Renowned as one of the most scenic train journeys in the world, this coast to coast rail adventure will take you through the Southern Alps, over massive viaducts, river valleys and gorges. On arrival, enjoy a farewell dinner and drinks with your fellow travellers and relive the wonderful sights and experiences shared over the last nine days.
Day 10: Depart Christchurch
Sadly, it’s time to bid farewell to all your new friends today. You will be transferred to the airport to join your flight home.