South Island New Zealand road trip with glaciers

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    Take scenic hikes around Lake Wanaka | Travel Nation
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    Cruise through New Zealand's stunning fjords | Travel Nation

    Cruise through New Zealand's stunning fjords

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    Take a hike on Franz Josef Glacier | Travel Nation

    Splash out on a heli-hike to Fox Glacier

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    See the beautiful lupins of Lake Tekapo | Travel Nation
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    Don't forget your camera for the drive along Milford Road!

    Don't forget your camera for the drive along Milford Road!

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    Be surrounded by breath taking views at Milford Sound | Travel Nation

    Soak up the breathtaking views at Milford Sound

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    Go jet-boating on the Shotover River in Queenstown | Travel Nation

    Go jet-boating on the Shotover River in Queenstown

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    Live it up in scenic Queenstown | Travel Nation

    Soak up the scenery in Queenstown

Trip ideas

Duration(in days): 8

From: Christchurch

To: Christchurch



Exc. International flights (per person, based on 2 sharing)

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See more ideas for: New Zealand

    Embark on a spectacular 8-day south island New Zealand road trip starting in Christchurch. Follow the shores of Lake Tekapo and drive past Mount Cook on the road to Queenstown. Get your adrenaline thrills with a jet boat ride and a nature cruise through the tranquil Milford Sounds. Join a tour along the face of the Franz Josef glacier before driving up the west coast to take the iconic TranzAlpine train through spectacular alpine scenery and back to Christchurch.

    This itinerary can be tailored to suit your requirements please contact one of our consultants to start planning your dream trip.


    • Visit the solitary ‘Church of the Good Shepherd’ in Lake Tekapo
    • Journey through the scenic Southern Alps
    • Cruise through the spectacular Milford Sounds
    • Get your thrills with a jet boat ride in the Shotover River canyon
    • Take a guided Glacier Valley Walk alongside the mighty Waiho River
    • Relax in the glacier hot pools at Franz Josef Glacier
    • Admire the ever-changing scenery on board the TranzAlpine train to Greymouth


    Itinerary in brief:

    • 1 night Christchurch
    • 3 nights Queenstown
    • 2 nights Franz Josef
    • 1 night Christchurch


    Day 1: Arrive Christchurch

    On arrival into Queenstown you will be met and taken by private transfer to your accommodation, located close to the airport.

    Day 2: Christchurch to Queenstown

    The car hire depot is located in Christchurch airport so you will make your own way there this morning to collect your rental car.

    From here your drive will pass through diverse farmlands with a chance to stop off at the pretty ‘Church of the Good Shepherd’, a beautiful little church that cuts a lone figure on the shores of Lake Tekapo.

    This afternoon you’ll continue to Queenstown enjoying spectacular views of the Southern Alps along the way. On arrival into Queenstown check into your hotel, the rest of the day is yours at leisure.

    Day 3: Milford Sounds Cruise

    We’ve included a full day excursion to Milford Sounds today. This scenic fjordland is rich in dense rainforest with glacier carved valleys and cascading waterfalls. Journey through the Southern Alps past Eglinton Valley’s ancient alpine forest before boarding your nature cruise to see the wonders of Mitre Peak.

    Day 4: Queenstown

    Make your way to downtown Queenstown for your transfer to the Shotover River.  As Queenstown is renowned for its adventure sports, we’ve included a Shotover River jet boat ride through the canyon so you can get your dose of adrenalin! However, if you’d prefer a different excursion, speak to your consultant who will be able to offer you a more laid back alternative.         

    The afternoon is free at leisure to enjoy the many activities Queenstown has to offer.   

    Day 5: Queenstown – West Coast glaciers

    It’s back on the road today as you make your way to the west coast glaciers. Today’s drive will be one to remember as you pass by some of the most magnificent scenery in New Zealand; this remote region has breath-taking landscapes of vast rainforests and snow-capped mountains.

    The drive to Franz Josef should take around 4 and a half hours, (although do factor in more time for photography breaks!) On arrival check into your hotel and enjoy the rest of the day at leisure.

    Day 6: West coast glaciers

    This morning, we’ve included a spectacular glacier walk on the Franz Josef glacier. Make your own way to the starting point of the tour and meet your expert guide who will take you for a Glacier Valley Walk alongside the mighty Waiho River bed. You’ll follow the glacier’s path of retreat gaining some insight into the glacier’s history as you walk. You’ll be rewarded with spectacular views of the rapidly changing face of the glacier as you come to the end of the valley.

    After the tour, you’ll have a chance to relax in the glacier hot pools; a haven of natural tranquillity, and a perfect way to unwind after your valley walk.   

    Day 7: West coast glaciers to Greymouth - Tranzalpine to Christchurch

    It’s now time to head north, your drive will take you along the rugged west coast up to Greymouth, just over 4 hours away. Be sure to stop in Punakaiki on the way to check out the Pancake Rocks – a formation that has been sculpted over time by the surging sea.

    After dropping your car off at the train station in Greymouth, board the TranzAlpine train for your final journey into Christchurch. This railway is famous for its spectacular mountain scenery as it passes through the Alps so there will be plenty of opportunities to capture these spectacular images as you travel.

    On arrival into Christchurch you will be met and taken to your hotel by shared transfer. 

    Day 8: Depart Christchurch

    Make your own way to the airport today to connect with your onward travel plans.


    New Zealand is a year round destination and there is always something to see and enjoy whatever time you decide to travel. High season runs from December to February (summer), prices will be at a premium at these times and availability limited so it is advisable to book in advance. March to April and September to November can be a great time to travel as the weather is fine and the crowds fewer. Low season is May to August (winter) for most of New Zealand, this is however the best time for skiing and so ski towns such as Queenstown will be at their busiest.

    This itinerary is purely a suggestion, and can be tailor-made to your requirements, so please contact us with your dates and requests and we’ll put together a bespoke quotation for you.

    What's included
    • 7 nights accommodation
    • 5 days car hire inc. Full insurance
    • Milford Sounds day excursion
    • Shotover jet boat excursion
    • Franz Josef glacier walk & hot pools        
    • Tranzalpine rail journey – Greymouth to Christchurch
    Not included
    • Flights
    • Any meals not mentioned
    • Any excursions not mentioned
    • Personal expenses
    • Tips & gratuities

    7 nights in 3* standard accommodation. 

    Hotels in this category include:

    • Sudima Hotel Christchurch Airport

    • Punga Grove, Franz Josef

    • Tanoa Aspen hotel, Queenstown