ITINERARY / SCHEDULE
DAY 1 - Christchurch (Arrival)
Arrive Christchurch airport, collect your rental car and drive to hotel.
Hotel check in time 1400pm. Free at own leisure.
Christchurch city promises an eclectic mix of historic elegance and contemporary culture. As the gateway to the South Island, it's a must on any itinerary.
Visit the Re Start container mall, the transitional Cardboard Cathedral, and some of the many pop up restaurants and bars. Contemporary art galleries, boutique shops and open-air markets add to Christchurch’s creative vibe. Other popular activities include the International Antarctic Centre, Orana Wildlife Park and/or driving through the Port Hills for stunning views of the city and coast.
NOTE: If to add Tranz Alpine Train (optional) - Arrive Christchurch airport, passengers will be met by our local representative and privately transferred to your hotel. Hotel check in time 1400pm. Free at own own leisure.
Hotel Standard Hotel : The Ashley hotel or similar
DAY 2 - Christchurch - Arthur's Pass (147km) - Hokitika (99km) - Fox Glacier (157km)
Setting out from Christchurch, you will first traverse the expansive Canterbury Plains, stretching from north to south as far as the eye can see. The road slowly begins to wind its way up into the foothills of the Southern Alps. The scenery changes constantly as you drive around a hill, over a mountain pass, across a river, past lakes, ski fields and unique geological features.
Reaching Arthur’s Pass Village is your halfway point to the West Coast. This little village nestled in alpine grandeur is National Park HQ and a departure point for many walking trails through the Southern Alps. Just 5km up the road from Arthur's Pass Village you will come to the Otira lookout.
As you drive west and down from the mountains, you will witness an abrupt change of vegetation. Suddenly it’s greener and lush rainforests replace the barren eastern side of the divide. You’re now on the West Coast – a region that has some of New Zealand’s best remaining stands of native forest and a wealth of rare wildlife.
The road between Greymouth and Hokitika provides great views of the wild west coast.
The Fox and Franz Josef Glaciers are unique relics of the last ice age. Mighty rivers of solid white, tumbling down ice-hewn rock valleys, they are classically beautiful in the glacial sense. Nowhere else in the world have glaciers advanced so close to the sea at this latitude.
*Add - Tranz Alpine Train, Christchurch to Greymouth*
Hotel Standard Hotel : Heartland Hotel Fox Glacier
DAY 3 - Fox Glacier
A full day at leisure to explore this magnificent glacier region. Entry to the Glacier Hot Pools at Franz Josef is included.
New Zealand's most unique hot pools experience, in the heart of the rainforest. Nestled in lush rainforest, the Glacier Hot Pools is a haven of natural tranquility. A perfect way to unwind and experience a blissful state of pure relaxation after travelling along Te Tai o Poutini (The West Coast).
Named after Sir William Fox, New Zealand’s Prime Minister from 1869 to 1872, Fox Glacier describes both the glacier and the nearby village. To see the glacier, you can walk to the terminal face, arrange an ice-hiking adventure or book a sightseeing flight. Close to Fox Glacier is beautiful Lake Matheson, one of the most photographed lakes in New Zealand. On a clear day it reflects Mount Cook. Fox Glacier township has a good range of shops and eateries.
Franz Josef Glacier was first explored in 1865 by geologist Julius von Haast, who named it after the Austrian emperor. The glacier is five kilometres from the town of the same name, and a 20 minute walk will take you to its terminal face. From the glacier car park, you can hike to a choice of lookout points for a bigger view of this awesome river of ice. If you want to actually make contact with the glacier, take a guided ice walk or a heli-hike. Aerial sightseeing is another option. There's a range of natural attractions in close proximity to Franz Josef Glacier Village. Lose yourself in the rainforests, waterfalls, and lakes. In the town you’ll find places to eat, or relax at the glacier hot pools or explore the wildlife centre. At nearby Lake Mapourika there are kayaks for hire.
*Add - Heliservices One Glacier with snow landing 20mins*
*Add - Terminal Face Walk*
Hotel Standard Hotel : Heartland Hotel Fox Glacier or similar
DAY 4 - Fox Glacier - Wanaka (284km)
Travel down the West Coast past spectacular mountain ranges, native forests and lakes to the Haast Pass, gateway to the World Heritage Westland National Park. Continue around the shores of Lake Hawea to arrive in Wanaka early afternoon.
Lake Wanaka’s spectacular location at the foot of the Southern Alps with the wilderness of the Mt Aspiring National Park nearby makes it a magnet for outdoor lovers the world over. In winter, skiers flock to Wanaka from all over the world for superb skiing and snowboarding at Cardrona and Treble Cone, cross-country skiing at Snow Farm and heli-skiing high in the Harris Mountains. But Wanaka is much more than a winter destination. Year round activities include fishing, hiking, canyoning, climbing and skydiving.
Hotel Standard Hotel : Wanaka Hotel or similar
DAY 5 - Wanaka - Queenstown (96km)
Wheel out in the morning and visit Puzzling World, located in the heart of the breathtaking Southern Lakes region of the South Island of New Zealand, Puzzling World is set amongst 7 acres of rolling lawns, trees and gardens at the entrance to Wanaka, 2kms from the lakefront.
Puzzling World is designed to fascinate families, children and adults of all ages... allow 1 to 2 hours for your visit.
Continue to Queenstown at your leisure. May stop for lunch in Arrowtown – a quaint historic gold mining village. A short drive from Arrowtown is spectacular Lake Hayes - enjoy an easy walk around the lake.
Spend the evening strolling by the lake, take the gondola up to Bob’s Peak for panoramic views or enjoy the boutique shops and cafés. Queenstown is a relatively small town so walking is a great way to get around.
Hotel Standard Hotel : Heartland Hotel or similar
DAY 6 - Queenstown
Today explore Queenstown itself or choose to visit Milford Sound (optional) for the day.
There’s something for everyone in the Queenstown region. Those after an adrenaline rush can enjoy the many adventure activities on offer – bungy jumping, rafting, jet boating and skydiving remain firm favourites. If you are looking for something more mellow, consider a day walk on one of the many scenic hiking trails, trout fishing, wine tasting or day tour. Fans of The Lord of the Rings should explore the many local filming locations from the movies with a guided tour.
Many activities and attractions offer transfer options to and from accommodation, to make transport easier.
*Add - activities and/or attractions in Queenstown*
Kawarau Bridge Bungy 43m
NZONE Tandem Skydive 15,000ft - 60 seconds freefall
Shotover Jetboat Ride
Walter Peak Electric Trail Bikes Adventure
Hotel Standard Hotel : Heartland Hotel or similar
DAY 7 - Queenstown - Mt Cook (291km)
Leaving Queenstown, travel north through the historic gold mining region of the rugged Kawarau River Gorge and past Cromwell, famed for its fruit-growing. Skirting the shores of Lake Dunstan, cross the Lindis Pass to Omarama for morning tea (own expense). Travel north to Twizel and carry on to Mt Cook Village; the drive will quite literally amaze you. The road follows the turquoise shores of Lake Pukaki. Continue through the rugged high country landscape of the Mackenzie Basin to arrive at Mount Cook Village, where you can gaze up at the 3,724 metre-high mountain Aoraki / Mount Cook, an important landmark in Māori mythology.
There are numerous ways to explore the National Park, whether you want the thrill of an Argo tour or a short walk.
An activity not to be missed is Glacier Explorers, which take you to the terminal lake of New Zealand’s longest glacier, The Tasman Glacier. A boat takes passengers out onto the lake; the icebergs are constantly changing and you’ll most like get the chance to taste ice that is more than 1000 years old.
If the weather isn’t all that nice for outdoor adventures then check out the Sir Edmund Hillary Alpine Centre, a great museum and 3D movie theatre showing a variety of programs and movies throughout the day. At night time the Stardome experience is also popular.
*Add - Big Sky Stargazing*
*Add - Tasman Glacier Boat Trip*
*Add - Tasman Valley 4WD Tour*
Hotel Standard Hotel : Mt Cook Lodge & Motels or similar
DAY 8 - Mt Cook - Christchurch (331km)
Today you travel back to Christchurch via Lake Tekapo, Geraldine and Ashburton.
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 - it's one of the most popular photo spots in this area.
Geraldine is home to the famous Barkers of Geraldine, a store offering delicious jams, chutneys and syrups; try a sample or buy a gift pack to take home. The town also boasts two chocolate shops which are well worth a visit.
Take the time to explore the bustling farming town of Ashburton. If gardens are your thing you can’t miss Trots Garden, a Garden of National Significance graded by The Royal Institute of Horticulture. Lake Hood, on the outskirts of Ashburton, enjoy coffee or dining at the lakefront restaurant and watch the world go by.
Once back in Christchurch, take the time to find out what makes this ever-evolving city unique. Christchurch is brimming with innovativeness and creativity as it rebuilds after the earthquakes of 2011. Visit the transitional Cathedral made of cardboard, or the pavilion made from pallets which hosts events most days of the week. The city boasts new and diverse restaurants, cafes, bars and night clubs.
And of course Christchurch's iconic activities are still a favourite, showing off its old-English charm. Visit the stunning botanic gardens, enjoy a relaxing punt on the Avon River, and ride the historic tram.
*Add - Christchurch Tramway Restaurant*
Hotel Standard Hotel : The Ashley hotel or similar | Superior Hotel : Chateau on the Park or similar
DAY 9 - Christchurch (Departure)
Your arrangements conclude today. Hotel check out time 1000am.
Your rental car should be dropped off at the airport, by the same time as it was picked up on Day 1, to avoid any additional charges.
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Standard Hotels & Rental Car of Holden Commodore or similar (FDAR)
Standard Hotels & Rental Car of Kia Carnival or similar (PVAR)