When you embark on your Alpine journey with us you will be visiting a triangle of South Island treasure. From Christchurch through Mt Cook to Queenstown you will experience, literally, the highs and lows of the crispy white peaks of Mt Cook National Park to the pristine beauty of the calm cool waters ofMilford Sound at the lower end of the South Island.
From there we take you across the Southern Alpine ranges, to the West Coast, where you will view the awesome ancient glaciers that seemingly glide down the hills, on route to the gravel beds of the local Waiho and Fox Rivers. The area surrounding the two glaciers is part of Te Wahipounamu, a World Heritage Site park.
Continuing to Greymouth where you will depart for Christchurch on the famous TranzAlpine Express, where you can sit back, relax and take in the stunning scenery while being thrilled by a 240ft climb up the Staircase Viaduct.
This is a trip not to be missed if you want adventure and spectacular scenery.
Additional Nights – Available to any destination of your choosing. You can add an extra night for a competitive rate. If you would like to extend your tour, please advise your consultant when making your booking. We definitely recommend that you spend extra nights prior to and after your tour to explore the gateway destinations, as these provide many unique attractions worth going the extra mile for.
All our New Zealand coach tours can be adapted to your individual specifications. If a tour does not entirely suit you, we can provide a personalised coach touring holiday that fits you like a glove. All you need to do is let us know what you want to do, and we will organise it for you.
Transfers are included between your accommodation and transport on the Tour. If you need to we can book your pre-tour arrangements or you can make your own way to the Tour departure location.
The tours operate every day and use routine train, ferry and motor coach services. All hotel, motel accommodation, transportation and essential sightseeing are pre-arranged for you.
Are meals included on your Tours?
Hotel and Motel accommodation on the tour are not inclusive of meals. There are many local restaurants and cafe’s from which you can sample, for your dining pleasure. Breakfast options are available to you and these can be provided on enquiry with your consultant.
Is there a Tour Guide travelling with us on the trip?
As you will be travelling independently, on scheduled coach and rail services, this is an unescorted tour. Unless otherwise stated your tour drivers will provide commentary for you to enjoy while you relax in comfort.
Can you tell me the difference between Silver and Bronze accommodation.
With Silver accommodation your stay will be in selected hotels or motor inns that are centrally located. They have a selection of bars and restaurants for your perusal, and deluxe rooms with the facilities expected of superior accommodation. With Bronze accommodation your stay will be in motels or hotels centrally located at your destination. Some of the motel accommodation will provide kitchen facilities, TV, radio etc.
Do I have to carry my own bags or will somebody do it for me?
With Gold and Silver hotels accommodation a porter will be able to assist you with your bags. Bronze accommodation does not have porters, but should you need assistance your driver will be happy to help.
I am travelling alone but I do not want to pay the single room supplement. Can you find me a roommate?
Regrettably we are unable to match you up with another traveller as the occurrence of another person travelling on the same tour with the same dates and class as you is extremely unlikely.
Where do your tours depart from?
The Auckland coaches depart from the Intercity terminal, at Sky City , Hobson Street . Auckland trains depart from the Britomart railway station. The Christchurch coaches depart from the Intercity Terminal at 118 Bealey Ave (between Colombo St and Durham St intersections). Christchurch trains depart from the Addington railway station at Clarence Street in Riccarton.
In the morning you will board a Great Sights coach to Mount Cook and Queenstown. Travel through the outskirts of Christchurch to the fertile Canterbury Plains on the way to Geraldine where we stop for morning tea.
Continue on, travelling through the tussocky Mackenzie country, settled by hardy Scottish immigrants through to Lake Tekapo to view the solitary Church of the Good Shepherd. The monument nearby serves as a memorial to the collie dog who was responsible for herding huge flocks of sheep on the steep farmland surrounding the area.
Continue along the edge of the azure blue Lake Pukaki to follow the Tasman River to Mt. Cook, the highest mountain in Australasia.
A break is taken in Mount Cook for you to enjoy a little leisure time in this alpine paradise. Stroll around one of the several marked walking tracks, or take the opportunity to have lunch. A series of flight sightseeing options are available in the Mt. Cook region which covers twelve major glaciers and 200km of New Zealand’s finest alpine scenery, a truly memorable experience.
Then you will travel back down the Tasman Valley, past Glentanner Park as you head towards Twizel and onto Omarama. A short refreshment stop is made here before continuing on over the Lindis Pass to Tarras. Follow the shores of Lake Dunstan to Cromwell and into the Kawarau Gorge to arrive in Queenstown in the early evening.
In the morning you will board your Great Sights coach to Milford Sound.
Journey along the edge of Lake Wakatipu, through Kingston and Mossburn in to Te Anau, through the Eglinton Valley to the Mirror Lakes, before following the “Avenue of the Disappearing Mountain”, past Cascade Creek and Lake Gunn and on to The Divide. Proceed through the Hollyford Valley to the Homer Tunnel, a man-made tunnel cut out of the rock wall, to emerge into the Cleddau Valley, and on to Milford Sound.
Join your Milford Sound Cruise to explore the wonder of this majestic fiord while your buffet lunch is served on board. Cruise past Mitre Peak one of the highest mountains in the world which rises directly from the ocean floor. View Stirling and Bowen Falls as your cruise takes you out to the mouth of the Pacific Ocean, passing the lonely lighthouse at the mouth of the sound. Spot seals and watch out for dolphins who surf the bow wave of the boat.
After your cruise, re-board your coach to enjoy the scenery as you return to Queenstown.
Note: An optional scenic return flight to Queenstown is available which can be organised with the Coach driver on the day of your cruise
Today is completely at your leisure to enjoy the many sights of this alpine resort situated on the shores of Lake Wakatipu.
Queenstown offers something for everyone – you can enjoy the quiet beauty and tranquillity of this mountain retreat and enjoy several walking trails in the town area.
For sheer excitement there is white-water rafting, helicopter rides, the famous jet boats and bungy jumping to pump your adrenalin.
There are cruises on the lake, visits to high country sheep stations. You can visit nearby Arrowtown where the main street has been preserved since the 1860’s gold rush days and you can try your luck and pan for gold in the adjacent Shotover River.
Leaving Queenstown on your Intercity Coach, we follow the Frankton arm to the source of the Kawarau River. Here the road twists and coils its way through the formidable Kawarau gorge, until its union with the Clutha River at Cromwell.
From Cromwell you turn north along the Clutha river valley, passing Queensbury and Luggate before reaching beautiful Lake Wanaka. Now the road crosses to the scorched flanks of Lake Hawea before returning to the eastern shores of Lake Wanaka and on into the thick beech forests around Makarora. This is the heart of Mt Aspiring National Park and you climb up to the Gates of Haast with spectacular views of Mt Brewster and the many rivers and waterfalls of this rocky terrain.
The ancient greenstone trail then drops down to Pleasant Flat and Haast town ship. The drive takes you along the rugged and wild west coast, crossing the Karangarua and Cook rivers, and passing tranquil Lakes Paringa and Moeraki, where the graceful white heron is often seen.
Magnificent Mt Tasman imposes to your right as you enter glacier country, where massive blocks of ice sweep kilometres down the valleys in their slow motion journey to the sea.
Fox Glacier to Greymouth
Leaving the Glaciers behind the dense rain forests line the road as we travel north along the narrow coastal plain between the mountains and the sea. Picturesque lakes nestled in the bush lead to more open farmland north of Hari Hari and Ross. Hokitika was once a seaport and a city based on gold mining. Then we cross the Arahura River, the main source of New Zealand’s Greenstone (Nephrite Jade) before arriving in Greymouth.
Leaving Greymouth on the world renowned Tranzalpine train, we travel through the Otira tunnel to emerge at Arthurs Pass, the base for the National Park of the same name. We follow the Waimakariri river down to Cass and then travel through the Craigeburn State Forest park to rejoin the river and then on to Springfield. The sheep and grain growing country of the Canterbury Plains is soon crossed to our destination, Christchurch, arriving early evening.