7 Day Alpine Express

7 Day Alpine Express

A lively independent round trip coach tour from Christchurch taking in all the southern highlights including the TranzAlpine train, a trip down the west coast from Franz Josef, a cruise on Milford Sound, a three night stopover in Queenstown, and Mt Cook.

Tour Info

Tour Type: Independent Coach Tour
From: Christchurch to Christchurch
Departures: Feb 2018 to May 2019
Price:
From (NZD) $1796 per person
Tour Operator: Relaxing Journeys
Pace: Lively
Duration: 7 Days
Tour Code: RJ206

Inclusions

6 nights accommodation
All Coach, Ferry & Rail Transport & Transfers
Optional Breakfasts
Daily Departures
Milford Sound Day Tour & Cruise (including lunch)
TranzAlpine Train Journey

* Note: Prices shown are per person (based on two people travelling). Prices are valid for travel until September 2018

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Day by Day Tour Itinerary

Day 1
Arrive Christchurch

Welcome to Christchurch, gateway to the South Island. Bordered by hills and the Pacific Ocean, it is situated on the edge of the Canterbury Plains that stretch to the Southern Alps. Despite suffering earthquake damage there is plenty to see and do. World – renowned for its beauty the gently winding Avon River is a stunning feature of the city centre.

Day 2
Christchurch - TranzAlpine Train - Franz Josef

This morning you will board the TranzAlpine Train for one of the world’s great scenic train trips that will take you across the patchwork farmland of the Canterbury Plains before a slow climb into the Southern Alps. From here you will marvel at views of the stunning Waimakiriri River gorge and alpine scenery on a series of breathtaking viaducts. After a brief stop at Arthur’s Pass you will enter one of New Zealand’s longest tunnels, the Otira Tunnel and subsequently descend through a deep valley of sub tropical rainforest over a broad shallow river into the small town of Greymouth. Join your coach in Greymouth and travel through Hokitika to Franz Josef Glacier.

Day 3
Franz Josef - Queenstown

Travelling south your journey will take you through coastal forest and windswept sand dunes, crossing Haast Pass on New Zealand’s longest single lane bridge. Travelling through Wanaka sitting at the foot of the Southern Alps your next stop is Queenstown, which is the Southern Hemisphere’s premiere four season alpine lake resort. (3 nights)

Day 4
Milford Sound Day Tour & Cruise

It’s an early start. Head off around the southern shores of Lake Wakatipu to Lake Te Anau, then into the World Heritage Fiordland National Park, a region rich with dense rainforest, lakes and waterfalls cascading from rugged mountain peaks. Journey through the Southern Alps via the Homer Tunnel, a 1.2km tunnel drilled through a solid mountain of rock. Upon arrival at Milford Sound, board your vessel for a spectacular cruise where you will see the wonders of Mitre Peak, glacier scarred rock walls that rise 1,200m vertically from the sea, and waterfalls that tumble from hanging valleys and crash into the sound far below. Board the coach for Queenstown, arriving in the evening. (L)

Day UP
Milford Sound Return Flight Upgrade Package (NZ $395pp)

Return to Queenstown on a scenic flight taking in magnificent views of the alps, glaciers, lakes and forests of Fiordland National Park – a quick and convenient way to return to Queenstown. (Duration 35mins) The flight shaves off approximately 4 hours off a return by coach. It is however very weather dependent, so if the weather doesn’t play ball, then you will need to return by coach and we will refund the upgrade price.

Day 5
Queenstown

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 tranquility 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, bungy jumping to pump your adrenalin, and offroad 4WD tours with plenty of river crossings. There are cruises on the lake and a visit to a high country sheep station, and wine tasting tours. 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.

Day 6
Queenstown - Mount Cook - Christchurch

Depart Queenstown this morning and travel north through the historic gold mining region of the Kawarau Gorge, pass through the dramatic Lindis Pass into the Mackenzie Country. Hug the shores of Lake Pukaki before arriving at the majestic Aoraki/Mt Cook Village. This region is breathtaking and full of opportunities for the outdoor enthusiast. Enjoy an optional scenic helicopter or ski plane flight (own expense), explore the treasures of New Zealand’s mountaineering history at the Sir Edmund Hillary Centre or relax over a three course lunch at the famous Hermitage Hotel (not included). This afternoon you will continue north to the glacial fed, turquoise blue Lake Tekapo where you can take the opportunity to appreciate the majestic scenery of the Southern Alps and view the solitary Church of the Good Shepherd. Continue your journey north through the vast patchwork of the Canterbury Plains before arriving at your final destination, Christchurch.

Day 7
Depart Christchurch

Sadly your trip has come to an end. We hope that you have thoroughly enjoyed your experiences in New Zealand. Today you will be met at your accommodation and transferred to the airport for your onward journey. Have a safe trip home.

4.7/5.0

There are 25 reviews of this tour from past clients of Relaxing Journeys, averaging 4.7 out of 5.

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Tour Reviews

3
14/02/2017
Well organised tour with good accommodation. Great sights coach is good with very informative drivers. Only problem is, each stop is very short. More time required especially the Lake Tekapo stop because it's very beautiful. Rainforest Retreat at Franz Josef doesn't have air con so its pretty warm. Might be nice to have a couple of meals included during the travelling on the coach.
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5
09/09/2016
Everything that was organised went smoothly. I think the tour we chose was good for us, not having been to NZ before. Everything was planned out perfectly and we had a great time. The only negatives were despite indicating that Tash was a vegan, and even reiterating this with the actual cruise company the night before, she was not allocated a vegan meal on the Milford Sound Cruise. I think this was probably an issue with the cruise company though. Otherwise it was a great way to see the South Island of NZ!
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5
03/02/2016
The whole tour ran very smoothly. Everything was right on time, high quality.
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5
31/01/2015
Overall the Alpine Express tour was a great add and possibly the best part of our Auckland to circle Australia cruise vacation. We chose to start our Alpine Express tour in Queenstown and add a free day to start and end with 2 nights in Auckland. Every step of the itinerary occurred as planned. Many of the best sites of South Island are between the cities and the excursions and day trips got us to everywhere we wanted to go. There were enough stops for photos and toilet/coffee/lunch breaks. The Independent Coach experience was comfortable, informative, on time and very easy to get on and off. All of the motels and apartments were convenient to walk to local attractions, restaurants and shopping. They all were clean and comfortable and included a kitchenette with a small refrigerator, microwave, coffee pot and in most cases a cook top. All provided toiletries and ample towels. We enjoyed every day and each was different making it impossible to rank the activities. The 'must dos' were the Milford Sound cruise and the TranzAlpine train from Christchurch to Greymouth. Our Tour Consultant Mani, was helpful and easy to work with. The activity that was rained out was quickly refunded.
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5
23/10/2014
We returned home yesterday after a few days in Sydney. Everything on the tour went great including the hotels, sightseeing tours, and all of the travel connections and arrangements. We had no problems at all and everything happened as planned.
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5
19/04/2014
The trip was arranged in great in detail which is far more than we expected. The accommodation was literally minutes away from the transport pick-up point and town centre. Transport was perfectly on time and we even got a taxi from Tarras to Wanaka which is a luxury. The lake room in lake Tekapo Lodge was superb, unbeatable accommodation we've ever seen. We customized the trip a lot to meet our needs, and Leanne and her team at Relaxing Journeys have done tremendous jobs to do that, thanks to you all. We will definitely book through you again.
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4
11/03/2014
We were very impressed with the excellent service provided by yourselves at Relaxing Journeys. You were flexible and supportive throughout the process of booking and of making adjustments. All pick up and reception points were equally impressive. Formalities were minimal and the voucher system worked a treat! Accommodation was good throughout and accommodation staff always helpful. Coach drivers were a great source of information and kept us entertained on long journeys. I'd just make a small point that sometimes it was difficult for us to follow 'kiwi' drivers when they spoke quickly and quietly! The only disappointment was the return journey to Christchurch which included a relatively short stop at Mount Cook. We appeared not to be fully informed of the options available in the short time we had there. This could have included mention of the excellent Visitor Centre which I discovered shortly before the coach left. I realise this may not be possible, as it is a scheduled passenger service, but a stop of 2 to 3 hours would have allowed for a trip to a glacier or a visit to the on site museum. However, in overall terms this is a minor point. We are very happy to recommend Relaxing Journeys for their excellent, superbly efficient, hassle free, service.
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5
03/01/2014
The tour and accommodation was excellent. All transfers were efficient and the commentaries were very educational. To do it again, I would spend 2 nights in Christchurch at the beginning of the tour, visit the Museum, Gondola, Botanical Gardens and Akaroa, then proceed on the Alpine Express. I'd have 1 night at Franz Josseph, 2 nights in Queenstown and stay 2 nights at Te Anau or Milford to explore the Fiordlands in depth and finally would fly out of Queenstown, rather than return to Christchurch via Mt Cook. This leg was a very long drive and once you've been to Fiordlands, for myself at least, I didn't think Mt. Cook was necessary. Overall, it was a very professional exercise and everything was taken care of, so I could just relax and enjoy the beautiful countryside. Thank you for your excellent service.
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5
26/12/2013
The tour was superb thank you. We had a fabulous time and everything ran so smoothly throughout.
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4
06/10/2013
I enjoyed the places that I visited on this tour, in particular the TranzAalpine train journey and the Milford Sound cruise. I would recommend independent tours for people travelling with another person/group. I was on my own and thought there would be some people on the same itinerary, which wasn't the case. It would have been better if dinners were included in the price. One of the stops was Franz Josef, and I arrived about 5.20 in the evening. I found out later (after 6) that to see the glacier you have to walk for an hour and 1/2- so it would be good to have this information in advance (on the itinerary) or arrange it so that you arrive earlier in Franz Joseph and have sufficient time to do the walk. The hotels were all of a good standard and the buses were efficient at pick ups and gave some entertaining commentary. Thank you! (Ed. Thanks for your comments, Esther. We always recommend an extra day in Franz Josef, if you have the time - the weather can interrupt activities and sightseeing on the West Coast, so it always a good idea to have an extra day up your sleeve to to ensure you don't miss a Glacier walk or Heli-Hike).
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5
27/05/2013
Thank you for organizing for us a wonderful journey of the South Island. We had an awesome time and a relaxing honeymoon. 'Relaxing Journeys' as the name states, everything was taken care of and we felt absolutely relaxed. Both of us enjoyed the scenery and the rides. The itinerary was well planned too. Customer service was excellent when on one of the days the Milford Sound trip was cancelled due to the snowfall and that's the only time I had to call the office to change it to the following day. Everything went smoothly and we will definitely be coming back to NZ and we will definitely recommend Relaxing Journeys to my friends. Thank you once again.
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4
22/04/2013
My boyfriend and I just returned from the five day Alpine Explorer trip. We had an amazing time. Everything (from hotels to pick ups) was so well planned out for us and we ran into no problems. We saw a lot of the South Island in such a short time which was great. I was also worried about the long bus rides but the drivers made sure we took plenty of stops and gave some commentary to make the rides go by faster. The only problem we had with the trips is that we wish we would've had more time to spend at some of the short stops - but we understand that we needed to get to places on time. Otherwise we loved it and I would definitely recommend this tour to anyone looking to visit the South Island of New Zealand.
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5
12/04/2012
We thoroughly enjoyed our 5 day tour of the South Island. Having minimal time in your beautiful country, we decided to opt for coach travel rather than driving ourselves. The added bonus was that the drivers were well-informed about the terrain and locals and we learnt more than we could have from reading any travel manuals. Brian had a wonderful sense of humour as well as superb local knowledge. The transportation arrangements were flawless - all pickup & drop offs were on time and each leg of the journey had adequate comfort stops. One downside is that food in NZ is very expensive (we're seniors) and we only got to stop near one supermarket on route. One place (with the giant ant near Greymouth) had terrible food (burnt pancakes) and has a hide to serve food at all. The food on the cruise @ Milford Sound was pretty ordinary too. The accommodation was comfortable and the breakfasts very good. Our travel consultant, Toni was very helpful answering all our queries and giving suggestions for accommodation in Christchurch. I would highly recommended Relaxing Journey to anyone who has limitied time.
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5
25/02/2012
I loved this trip! It packed a lot into a few days and gave a great flavour of the South Islands taking in all the important sights. It was good to be based for 3 nights in Queenstown and the day at leisure there mid tour was a welcome break from all the travelling. I really didn't mind the long journeys though, even the epic trip to Milford Sound - amazing scenery on the way there and lots of interesting stops. The cruise on the fjord itself was just awesome and we were blessed with great weather. All the drivers were helpful and gave really interesting commentaries. Hotels were all very pleasant and whole trip was really well orgnaised and went really smoothly. Shame about the rain on the last couple of days - but I still had a really greta time.
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5
25/12/2011
I had a great time on my South Island journey. I was especially pleased with the logistic arrangements, everything was so handy and I havew to say it is very useful for travellers who don't want to drive on their own but still manage to travel from point to point. Thanks Toni for the expertise & advice. It was actually my first time using an on-line service to plan the tour from overseas. Everything went so well and I enjoyed it very much. I'd recommend your service to my friends!
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5
15/11/2011
We thoroughly enjoyed the tour. We didn't know what to expect, but the tour seemed to cover the places that we could have hoped to see in the south island. We were particularly pleased with the Milford Sound portion of the tour. If we come back to New Zealand, we will definitely keep Relaxing Journeys in mind.
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4
16/07/2011
My partner and I took the five-day tour of the South Island, beginning and ending in Christchurch. We enjoyed every second of it, and would definitely recommend it to others. The pacing was excellent. After two long coach journeys on the first two days, the rest day in Queensland was necessary and well timed. We enjoyed walking the beautiful city and were glad that the ride up in the Skyline gondola was included in the package. The inclusion of the Tranzalpine railway was also important, both because of the spectacular journey but also because it offered some welcome variety to the method of transportation. The island is simply amazing, as I'm sure you don't have to be told. Even though the tour was relatively short, we feel that we managed to experience in full the variety of landscapes - plains, snowy mountains, fiojdland, rainforest - that the island has to offer. The coach drivers/guides were also very knowledgeable and interesting. Special mention goes to the driver on our first day from Christchurch to Queenstown, David, who knows a huge amount about farming and spoke with passion about the Canterbury Plains - this made what was potentially the least dramatic part of the tour surprisingly interesting. In short, we wouldn't have changed a thing, and would like to compliment your company on the construction of the tour. It is expensive, but my partner and I both agreed at the end that it offered value for money overall. We would certainly book with your company again.
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5
25/08/2010
Our tour went really well. I travelled with my daughter. As far as I was concerned everything went very smoothly. Enquiry and booking process was excellent. Follow up for receiving duplicate travel documents was excellent. Bus trips - a little too much commentary for my liking. Especially on way to Milford Sound it was 4 hours non - stop. Returning was hoping for a little peace and quiet but got a documentary on a hydro-electric scheme (boring and loud) but then a good movie - The Whale Rider - was excellent choice. Good rest and meal stops especially the salmon farm/cafe on day 4 (I think it was). Accommodation was fine (thankyou for guaranteeing a mountain view room at Queenstown as requested). Also it was goood to have the same accommodation for 3 nights, rather than a different hotel every night. That was one reason I chose this tour. Suggestion - perhaps provide info on taxi and bus shuttle services available at end of trip in Christchurch, so know how we are getting into town centre. Overall excellent - would recommend. I hope to be back to see those places I missed this time!
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5
02/02/2010
My wife, daughter, & I had a great time in New Zealand! Many thanks to Toni, who coordinated our itinerary. Toni recommended visiting just the South Island instead of trying to see North & South Island during our short 8-day vacation. She was exactly right when she told us that New Zealand was much larger than envisioned and we would not enjoy it spending all our time on a bus. While the 8-day South Island Alps tour was 'taxing,' it enabled us to experience a significant portion of South Island. All travel & hotel aspects of the trip were well coordinated. However, if I had to do it again, I would limit my entire week to just Queenstown... which offers something for everyone (at least in my group). ;-) New Zealand is absolutely beautiful, and the people were great. The weather was gorgeous the entire week (dry & 86 degrees farenheit, even in the mountains), which presented our greatest headache... trying to figure out what to pack when coming from the snow & cold. All the hotels were very conveniently located and within walking distance of major attractions and restaurants. The bus service was timely and the drivers were very informative. We averaged about 30 - 35 people per 50-passenger bus; so, we had room to stretch out. The alpine train was relaxing. We spent so much time talking with the groups around us that we didn't really enjoy the passing scenery as the time flew by. All-in-all, a fantastic vacation. If we had to do it again, we would spend all of our time in Queenstown, where we could 'unpack' and enjoy more of the activities. We would also choose a different hotel there, perhaps the Copthorne or Sofitel. Thanks again! (RJ - These comments have been edited for length).
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5
30/11/2009
We enjoyed everything about our trip with Relaxing Journeys from start to finish. The only bad thing, was that it was to short! So that means we will be back to New Zealand and booking with you again to see more of your beautiful country!
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5
07/10/2009
My parents had a great time and loved the experience it was the best part of their world trip thank you so much.
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4
11/09/2009
The tour overall was very good! All tour connections including coach and hotel were very organised. It's very good that I didn't have to worry about pick up times, locations and buses. The South Island is amazing. It was a very relaxed and exciting tour.
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4
30/10/2008
Hi Just a quick feedback on the two tours we booked with your team whilst in NZ. Both were excellent. So a BIG THANK YOU for making my mum's birthday a memorable time. In particular, we really liked the little bi-plane ride back from Milford Sound to Queenstown.
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5
14/08/2008
I just wanted to let you know that my wife and daughter, Hiromi and Nozomi Nakamura had a wonderful time in New Zealand. If there is another chance, I am sure I will try some of your other tours. Thanks.
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5
02/12/2005
New Zealand is one of the best countries we have ever visited. The country is truly beautiful, the facilities are great, and the people are the most genuine, friendly and warm we have ever met in the world. Keep up the marvellous work & thank you.
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Enquire about our 7 Day Alpine Express

7 Day Alpine Express
Independent Coach Tour
Tour Code: RJ206
From (NZD) $1796 per person
Enquire Now
Departures: Feb 2018 to May 2019
Rating:
25 reviews (4.7/5)

A lively independent round trip coach tour from Christchurch taking in all the southern highlights including the TranzAlpine train, a trip down the we... Read More

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7 Day Alpine Express
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