Southern Alps & Lakes -

self drive tour 

9 Days  from $1,697 Per Person

From Christchurch journey south through the Mackenzie high country, past Lake Tekapo, before arriving into Mt. Cook National Park. Next relax in Queenstown before heading to the West Coast Glaciers. Return to Christchurch aboard the world famous Tranz Alpine Scenic Train. 

ITINERARY

DAY 1. Arrive into the 'Garden City' of Christchurch

Christchurch, New Zealand's garden city, is steadily being transformed into a vibrant urban destination. Encompassing a large green belt, it is known for its wide tree lined avenues and lush gardens. A great way to explore is to take the double decker hop on/hop off bus for an easy way to see the sights - or ride a historic tram across town to the renowned botanic gardens and the unique cardboard Transitional Cathedral.

DAY 2. Explore Christchurch

Following the 2011 earthquake that razed its centre and much of the outlying suburbs, Christchurch is well into a billion-dollar makeover. Go punting on the Avon River, catch the gondola to the rim of an extinct volcano or see the world's only Cardboard Cathedral.

Drive an hour in any direction to ski, mountain bike, wine taste, whale-watch, bungy jump or play golf. Visit the International Antarctic Centre or  take the winding Port Hills road to the French settlement of Akaroa and tour the vines in Waipara for a authentic New Zealand wine-tasting experience.

Inclusions: ​​

  • 8 nights in 3.5* to 4.5* Motel style accommodation, Twin Share

  • Rental Car Hire, small compact car

  • Rental Car Insurance with variable excess

  • Tranz Alpine train from Greymouth to Christchurch 

DAY 3. Christchurch to Mt. Cook National Park

 Today you'll drive through the heart of the South Island, crossing the vast Canterbury plains. Catch your breath in Geraldine before continuing through Fairlie. Ascending Burkes pass you'll come to the picturesque lakeside town of Tekapo.
Follow the road and take in the view of Aoraki Mt Cook (New Zealand's tallest mountain) from the shores of Lake Pukaki, known for its glacier fed turquoise blue color. Continue along the lake to your final destination Mt Cook Village. Please note there are no food or shops at Mount Cook so you will need to stock up prior to arriving if you wish to self cater.

DAY 4. Mt. Cook National Park to Queenstown

Leaving the alpine region of Mount Cook, you'll travel through the lakeside town of Twizel, then a little further to Omarama - the gliding capital of New Zealand. Continue on over the Lindis Pass, one of New Zealand's highest roads with a summit of 971 metres. Arrive in the quaint village of Tarras, then continue on a short way to the historic Bendigo Reserve, one of Otago's original gold mining settlements.

Follow the road to Cromwell, and keep going through the sheer cliffs of the Kawarau Gorge towards the Gibbston Valley, one of New Zealand's premier wine growing regions. See the historic Kawarau Bridge where you can bungy jump or relax and watch others take the plunge. Approaching Queenstown, the Remarkables mountain range comes into view as you arrive into the adventure capital of New Zealand.

DAY 5. Explore Queenstown and surrounds

 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. Ride on the 100 year old Steamship - the TSS Earnslaw -  to Walter Peak Station for dinner and a farm tour. Browse the waterfront cafes, take a leisurely lakeside stroll or ride the gondola for breathtaking views. Check out nearby historic Arrowtown, visit the Fjordland National Park or jump aboard one of many dedicated LOTR tours. And after all of that - if you do really want the adrenaline rush Queenstown is known for, take your pick from the Goldfields Jet, Bungy jump, Zipline or Heli-ski. 

DAY 6. Queenstown to Franz Josef Glacier (via Wanaka)

 From Queenstown you'll cross the Crown Range - the highest sealed road in New Zealand - to arrive in the Alpine town of Wanaka, gateway to Mt Aspiring National Park. Skirting the shores of both Lake Wanaka and Hawea, you can stop at Blue Pools for a 1 hour return walk through native beech forest to a glacier-fed swimming hole. Continue on through the remote seaside settlement of Haast before heading up the wild West Coast - a 600 km stretch of bush and native rainforest. Fox Glacier welcomes you first, then comes your destination for the night - Franz Josef township.

DAY 7. Explore Franz Josef Glacier

 Franz Josef is a small but lively town in the heart of the West Coast, known for its 12 km long glacier. Surrounded by lush rainforest-clad mountains the township has a vibrant and bustling atmosphere. To see the ice from a viewpoint you can walk along the valley floor to the terminal face without a guide. However, to go on the glacier itself you must take a licensed helicopter tour.

DAY 9. Depart Christchurch

DAY 8. Drive north along the stunning West Coast Road to board the TranzAlpine train to Christchurch

 Today you’ll head north along the coast to Greymouth where you will drop your rental car at the Train Station depot before the next leg of your journey, the Tranz Alpine Scenic Train to Christchurch.

Considered one of the world's great train journeys, the TranzAlpine takes you across the South Island from the west to the east coast through Arthur's Pass National Park. From the comfort of your carriage see lush beech forest, deep river valleys and the spectacular peaks of the Southern Alps. Descend to the windswept Canterbury Plains before arriving in the city of Christchurch.

2021 DEPARTURES

Subject to COVID19 restrictions.

Long Train Ride
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Nelson Lakes National Park Lake Rotoiti

TERMS & CONDITIONS

 Price based on Twin Share accomodation & is correct as at April 2020. Price subject to availability and change. Car rental requires a valid full ( unrestricted) drivers license as a condition of pick up. Prices are based on Travel in February 2020, valid for travel from 1 Oct 2020 to 31 March 21. 

To speak to one of our consultants,  call us on 1300784475

Little Bird Travel Website 

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©2019 by Little Bird Travel. Part of Directional Tourism Group (We are proud members of ATAS 13104)

Nelson Lakes National Park Lake Rotoiti