14 Day Southern Loop
14 Day Southern Loop
Step outside your comfort zone and experience a New Zealand that is magnificent and wild. From the world renowned TranzAlpine train, to the cool blue splendour of glacial towers with stops at Punakaiki, the spectacular Abel Tasman National Park, New Zealand's whale watching capitol - Kaikoura as well as Queenstown in between.
|Tour Type:||Independent Coach Tour|
|From:||Christchurch to Christchurch|
|Departures:||Jan 2019 - March 2020|
|Price:||From (NZD) $3721 per person|
|Tour Operator:||Relaxing Journeys|
|13 nights accommodation|
|All Coach, Ferry & Rail Transport & Transfers|
|Abel Tasman National Park Walk & Cruise (including lunch)|
|Doubtful Sound Day Tour & Cruise (including lunch)|
|2 x Journeys on the TranzAlpine Train|
Prices are per person based on twin-share, and are subject to availability. Prices are correct at the time of submission but are subject to change without notice. Valid for travel January 2019 – March 2020. Blackout periods may apply. A non-refundable deposit of $500 per person is required at time of booking.
Click here for our full terms and conditions.
Day by Day Tour Itinerary
“Haere Mai” Welcome to Christchurch – the Garden City. Disembark, pass through customs, collect your luggage and meet our representative that will transfer you to your accommodation. It’s time to start your holiday. What should you do with the rest of the day? Take it slow, sit back and relax, we suggest punting down the River Avon through the stunning Christchurch Botanic Gardens.
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 north to Punakaiki which is best known for its Pancake Rocks and Blowholes – make some time to see these spectacular sights this afternoon or tomorrow morning.
The Truman Track is a short walk worth doing while you’re here – nearing the coast it passes through typical West Coast flax flats before emerging onto a sprawling headland with stunning views up and down the local shoreline.
This afternoon board your coach for your northbound journey to Nelson where you will enjoy two wonderful nights in this tranquil destination. The road to Nelson hugs the coast, providing spectacular views of wild beaches and the tempestuous Tasman Sea. Arrive in the evening. (2 nights)
Drive through Motueka to Kaiteriteri and board your boat. Relax in style, as you cruise the stunning golden inlets of the Abel Tasman coast. Laze on an idyllic beach or choose a walk exploring the beaches and forests. There are various trails available, ranging from 2 to 6 hours long. Rejoin your cruise back to Kaiteriteri and return to your hotel late afternoon. (L)
Today is another day of exciting and beautiful scenery as you board your coach to travel through vineyards, rolling hillsides and along the Kaikoura Coast. Around 15 minutes north of Kaikoura, stop at the Ohau Stream for a short bush walk to a small waterfall. In winter months, watch out for frolicking baby seals!
Most of the day today is free for you to explore Kaikoura. Kaikoura translates to ‘meal of crayfish’ and it is crayfish for which the region has traditionally been famous, these days it has become equally notable for the abundance of other marine mammals and birdlife. Conditions permitting you may like to take a cruise to view the whales or perhaps take it one step closer and enjoy a swim with the dolphins.
For land lovers there are plenty of exciting activities to enjoy including horse trekking and a number of walks that explore the shore or go deep into the surrounding native bush. In town you’ll find beautifully restored old buildings housing artists and craftspeople as well as enough tasteful seafood dishes to sink a ship. This afternoon board your coach and continue your journey south into Christchurch
Depart Christchurch and head south through the vibrant seaside town of Timaru and onto Oamaru known for their creamy limestone buildings. Pass Moeraki Beach where you can stop to view the mysterious, spherical, 60 million year old boulders. Arrive early afternoon.
Dunedin is a vibrant university city with a proud Scottish legacy. What will you do first this afternoon? There are two self-guided heritage walks available that will show you the highlights of Dunedin’s architecture.
Travel through the historic goldfields of Central Otago to Queenstown, a beautiful alpine resort town and regarded as one of New Zealand’s premier holiday destinations. (3 nights)
Today is completely at your leisure to enjoy the many sights of this alpine resort town situated on the shores of Lake Wakatipu. Queenstown offers something for everyone – you can enjoy the quiet beauty and tranquility of this mountain retreat as well as 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 as well as 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 panning for gold in the adjacent Shotover River.
You will be collected from your accommodation this morning and travel by coach to Manapouri. Your Doubtful Sound Wilderness Excursion begins as you cruise the crystal clear waters of Lake Manapouri, a stunning lake renowned for its numerous islands and deserted beaches. Then it’s over Wilmot Pass, on one of New Zealand’s remotest and prettiest sub-alpine roads, stopping along the way to experience some of Fiordland’s densest rainforest as well as viewing Doubtful Sound glistening far below.
On reaching Deep Cove, you will board your vessel for a cruise that takes in the most dramatic scenery of Doubtful Sound. Nature guides provide an engaging commentary and point out the highlights. Keep a look out for wildlife as bottlenose dolphins frequently swim alongside the vessel, fur seals bask on the rocks around the fiord and rare penguins can at times be observed. After your cruise, reboard your coach and travel back to Queenstown. (L)
Depart Queenstown this morning, and journey north to glacier country, where picturesque mountains and azure lakes will have you reaching for your camera at every turn. Travel along the shores of Wanaka and Lake Hawea to the Haast Pass, gateway to World Heritage Westland National Park. Then continue up the West Coast past spectacular mountain ranges, native forests and lakes to Franz Josef Glacier. (2 nights)
Today you have a whole day at leisure. While glaciers around the world are retreating, the Fox and Franz Josef glaciers still flow almost to sea level. Perhaps enjoy a guided walk, a heli-hike or a scenic flight from the Franz Josef township. Easy unguided walks to the foot of the glaciers pass along ancient river valleys, and when you stand close to the foot of these glaciers their sheer enormity will leave you humbled.
If you’d prefer a relaxing day, head to the Franz Josef Glacier Hot Pools that are nestled amongst the lush rainforest of the glacier country or meander through the village where you will find a wonderful selection of gifts, artwork, merchandise and cafes.
Treat yourself and upgrade your accommodation in Franz Josef to the 5 star Te Waonui Forest Retreat, a luxury lodge hotel nestled amongst native West Coast rainforest. Our upgrade package includes luxurious accommodation, dinner on the first night – an indulgent 5 course degustation menu in The Canopy Restaurant, and a la carte breakfast both mornings. We’ve also included a stunning Franz Josef Heli Hike to help you make the most of your time in the region. Ask us for a price!
Board your coach and head north through Hokitika and into the small town of Greymouth where you will stop to stretch your legs before boarding the renowned TranzAlpine Train for one of the world’s great scenic train trips to Christchurch. Experience the beautiful Lake Brunner, spectacular viaducts, 8.6kms in the lengthy Otira Tunnel, ice – fed rivers, patchwork farmland and the tussock landscape of the Canterbury Plains. Arrive at approximately 6:05pm in our most ‘English’ of cities, 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.
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Step outside your comfort zone and experience a New Zealand that is magnificent and wild. From the world renowned TranzAlpine train, to the cool blue ... Read More
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