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This 6-day sightseeing tour of the South Island from Christchurch uses scheduled coach and rail service with expert commentary and assistance, but no tour guide or escort. A Milford Sound cruise with onboard lunch and a Queenstown Skyline Gondola ticket are included in your itinerary; optional activities in Dunedin/Otago Peninsula and Queenstown can be added to the package on your own. You have the option of standard 3-star or superior 4-star accommodation for five nights.
Day 1: Christchurch – DunedinEmbark on your 6-day journey in the morning, riding with locals aboard an Intercity Coach with limited commentary en route to Dunedin. The bus travels south across the Canterbury Plains through seaside Timaru and historical Oamaru, arriving at your destination by early afternoon. You are collected from the coach depot and transferred to your hotel by taxi. Enjoy the remainder of the day at your leisure — perhaps explore Dunedin on foot and visit the Otago Museum or the Dunedin Chinese Garden; take a taxi to Larnach Castle and/or Olveston House; or prebook a guided wildlife trip to the Otago Peninsula to see New Zealand’s rare yellow-eyed penguins and the northern royal albatross at Taiaroa Head. Overnight: standard accommodation at the Kingsgate Hotel or superior accommodation at the Scenic Hotel Southern Cross in Dunedin Day 2: Dunedin – Taieri Gorge – QueenstownEnjoy a free morning for optional sightseeing in Dunedin. At the designated time, board the Taieri Gorge Railway at the Dunedin Railway Station. You’ll travel through some of New Zealand’s most iconic scenery en route to Pukerangi, where you’ll join a coach to Queenstown. The train portion of your journey covers the southern parts of Dunedin city, arriving at Wingatui junction. From here, the train winds across the Taieri Plains and climbs into Taieri Gorge, a narrow and deep gorge carved by the Taieri River. The passenger rail negotiates the gorge with ease as it travels through ten tunnels and over numerous bridges and viaducts, stopping or slowing down at scenic points where you can stretch your legs and take advantage of great photo opportunities. Hear entertaining live commentary about the natural and historical features. You can stand on the open-air platforms or enjoy a drink or food from the onboard cafe (own expense). Depending on your departure time, your coach transfer arrives in Queenstown in the afternoon or evening. Overnight: standard accommodation at the Blue Peaks Lodge or superior accommodation at the Copthorne Hotel and Resort Queenstown Lakefront in Queenstown Day 3: Queenstown – Milford Sound – Queenstown (L)Today’s full-day trip to Milford Sound includes a scenic cruise and lunch served on board. Departing Queenstown, your coach motors towards Te Anau pass, driving through beech forests and the Homer Tunnel until arrival at Milford Sound, part of the UNESCO-listed Fiordland National Park. The driver makes stops for short walks and photo opportunities at points of interest along the way. View majestic Mitre Peak and Bowen Falls during your cruise down the fiord to the Tasman Sea. On the return to Te Anau, your coach follows the dramatic southern shores of Lake Wakatipu to reach Queenstown in the evening. Overnight: standard accommodation at the Blue Peaks Lodge or superior accommodation at the Copthorne Hotel and Resort Queenstown Lakefront in Queenstown
Day 4: QueenstownEnjoy a free day to explore the famous alpine resort of Queenstown, with an included Skyline Gondola ticket that affords panoramic views of Lake Wakatipu and the Remarkables mountains. The activity options are endless in the ‘Adventure Capital of the World’: take a thrilling jet-boat ride, embark on a leisurely lake cruise, dare to go bungy jumping or ride on a 4WD safari, for starters (all activities are your own expense). Overnight: standard accommodation at the Blue Peaks Lodge or superior accommodation at the Copthorne Hotel and Resort Queenstown Lakefront in Queenstown
Day 5: Queenstown – Franz Josef Glacier or Fox GlacierTravel north by coach on a full-day trip through dense rainforests broken by rugged coastal vistas en route to the most popular glaciers of the Southern Alps. On arrival into Fox Glacier or Franz Josef, you’ll drop your bags at your hotel before a shuttle transfers you to a glacier viewing platform. Look in awe at these massive frozen rivers of ice, where you can also embark on a short bush walk. Your shuttle driver will discuss optional return times, depending on daylight and how long you wish to spend at the glacier. Overnight: standard accommodation at the Heartland Hotel in Fox Glacier or superior accommodation at the Distinction Te Weheka Inn in Fox Glacier Day 6: Franz Josef Glacier or Fox Glacier – ChristchurchToday’s full-day trip takes you by Intercity Coach, traveling north to Greymouth Railway Station, where you’ll catch the TranzAlpine passenger train to your final destination: Christchurch. You’ll travel by rail through the Otira Tunnel, over Arthur's Pass and across the Canterbury Plains to Christchurch, arriving in the early evening when your 6-day sightseeing tour ends. Note: The coach stops midday in Hokitika where you can purchase lunch (own expense) or visit one of the many greenstone carving centers. Lunch can also be purchased in Greymouth or aboard the train.
Round-trip transport from Christchurch
5 nights of accommodation
Milford Sound cruise including lunch
Taeri Gorge Railway
Entry/Admission - Skyline Queenstown
Food and drink (with the exception of lunch on Day 3)
Hotel pickup and drop-off
Confirmation will be received within 48 hours of booking, subject to availability
Not wheelchair accessible
20kg suitcase and 1 carry on bag allowed
Please note: Departures between May to September are subject to availability
Please Note: The Taieri Gorge Train will be replaced by a coach during the period of 1st May – 30th September
Intercity Depot, 182 Armagh St, Christchurch
Concludes at Christchurch Railway Station, Troup Drive, at approximately 6:15pm