9 Day Southern Alps & Fiords

9 Day Southern Alps & Fiords

The tour name says it all, this itinerary allows you to experience spectacular mountain vistas, centuries old glaciers and the Milford Sound based deep inside the Fiordland National Park.

Book your self drive tour this month and receive an Earlybird Discount of 10%. Make full payment by 31 July 2018 to qualify or receive a discount of 7.5% if you pay by 30 September 2018.

Tour Info

Tour Type: Self Drive Tours
From: Christchurch to Christchurch
Departures: May 2018 to April 2019
Price:
From (NZD) $1896 per person
Tour Operator: Relaxing Journeys
Pace: Relaxing
Duration: 9 Days
Tour Code: GNSAF

Inclusions

8 nights accommodation
Rental vehicle of your choice including airport collection charges
Coast to coast TranzAlpine Train journey through the Southern Alps
Milford Sound Scenic Coach & Cruise
Tasman Glacier Explorer Boat Excursion
Shuttle transfers on Day 1 & 2.
Travel wallet, comprehensive customised itinerary, bound map book, accommodation & activity vouchers and local travel guides

Book your self drive tour this month and receive an Earlybird Discount of 10%. Make full payment by 31 July 2018 to qualify or receive a discount of 7.5% if you pay by 30 September 2018.

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Day by Day Tour Itinerary

Day 1
Arrive Christchurch

On arrival in Christchurch you will be met and transferred by shuttle to your accommodation. Located on the east coast of the South Island, Christchurch – just like the rest of New Zealand – is a city of contrasts and has a unique blend of historic charm and exciting city life. Following the 2011 earthquake, Christchurch has re-emerged as a vibrant, ever-changing city. Why not sit back and relax as you pass the trailing willows and leafy banks of the stunning Christchurch Botanic Gardens while punting down the river Avon? The city centre is small enough to be negotiated on foot, with the advantage of being perfectly flat.

Your choice of accommodation

Day 2
Christchurch - Glaciers

This morning you will be transferred by shuttle from your accommodation to Christchurch rail station where you will join the TranzAlpine train (said to be one of the great train journeys in the world) which journeys across Arthur’s Pass to Greymouth on the West Coast, viewing the alpine scenery en-route. On arrival in Greymouth collect your rental car and make your way down the coast to Franz Josef. The Fox and Franz Josef glaciers are without doubt the greatest lure of this region. Nestled on the edge of the rainforest and descending 2500m in 13kms, these great cascading frozen rivers are only 6kms from the Tasman Sea and in this respect are unique. They are also amongst the fastest moving glaciers in the world, Franz Josef glacier is known to move up to 5m per day on occasions. (2 nights)

Your choice of accommodation

Day 3
Glaciers

Today is at your leisure to explore the area. Franz Josef Glacier was first explored in 1865 by geologist Julius von Haast, who named it after the Austrian emperor. The glacier is five kilometres from the town of the same name, and a 20 minute walk will take you to its terminal face. From the glacier car park, you can hike to a choice of lookout points for a bigger view of this awesome river of rice. If you want to actually make contact with the glacier, take a guided ice walk or a heli-hike. Aerial sightseeing is another option.

Your choice of accommodation

Day 4
Glaciers - Queenstown

Journey today to Queenstown, the resort town of Queenstown is sophisticated and fantastically scenic. Its lake and mountain landscape is suited to almost any kind of adventure; but Queenstown is just as well known as a place for indulgence. The area’s history is intertwined with gold. In 1862, two sheep shearers struck it rich at the edge of the Shotover River. The ensuing gold rush town was named Queenstown because ‘…it was fit for Queen Victoria’. (3 nights)

Your choice of accommodation

Day 5
Milford Sound Day Tour

Today we’ve included the Milford Sound Nature Cruise. Travel by luxury coach on an unforgettable journey from Queenstown into Milford Sound. Upon arrival at Milford Sound, board our vessels, the Milford Mariner or Milford Wanderer which are designed along the lines of traditional trading scows; purpose built to operate in the fiords and offering a laid back, extended, 2.5 hour cruise. Explore dramatic, moody Milford Sound, New Zealand’s most famous waterway. Throughout your cruise, our nature guide provides an engaging commentary about the magnificent scenery and wildlife (English only). Keep a look out for dolphins, seals and penguins. Return by coach to Queenstown or weather permitting, you can choose to fly back to Queenstown.

Your choice of accommodation

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.

Your choice of accommodation

Day 6
Queenstown

Today is at your leisure to explore Queenstown and the surrounding areas. Adventure activities include snow sports, bungy jumping, jet boating, horse trekking and river rafting. Indulgent experiences include exceptional food and wine, lake cruises, spa treatments, boutique shopping and leisurely games of golf.

Your choice of accommodation

Day 7
Queenstown - Mount Cook

The village of Mount Cook is a comfortable haven in one of the most unforgiving parts of New Zealand. On every side, the Southern Alps scrape the sky. Even in summer, the weather can change in the blink of an eye. You don’t have to be a mountaineer to interact with the stunning scenery; there are various alpine walks beginning near the village, all about three hours return. Flight-seeing, tours to the Tasman Glacier and heli-skiing (in winter) are other ways to optimise your time here.

Your choice of accommodation

Day 8
Mount Cook - Christchurch

This morning enjoy a glacier tour from the terminal lake of the Tasman Glacier. Very few glaciers terminate into lakes and even fewer are readily accessible to travellers. By boat, you explore the huge dripping iceface of New Zealand’s largest glacier. Watch and listen to the ice melting before your eyes in this tranquil glacial lake nestled in the Southern Alps of New Zealand. Afterwards journey onwards through the Canterbury Plains to Christchurch.

Your choice of accommodation

Day 9
Depart Christchurch

Today your holiday comes to an end, please return your rental car to the depot at Christchurch airport prior to your departure flight.

Your choice of accommodation

4.5/5.0

There are 28 reviews of this tour from past clients of Relaxing Journeys, averaging 4.5 out of 5.

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Tour Reviews

5
12/12/2017
A great mix of train, coach and car. The tour covers the key parts of the South Island. Really liked the trip to the farm with lovely location and a great meal. The location of the motel in Queenstown was great because of the walking access to the town centre. All the pick ups were all on time. Superbly organised. The maps were great, did not need a GPS. The weather also was good at the rights times. Would highly recommend this tour.
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5
01/11/2017
Everything was great. My wife and I would like to offer a few suggestions. It would have been very helpful to have driving directions such as take route 8 and drive through town and take the roundabout. Tou supplied an excellent atlas. Perhaps the routes could have been highlighted. That being said we did not get too badly lost. Also would it be possible to have options such as upgrade to a lake view. Thank you
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5
01/10/2017
Loved our holiday. New Zealand is a beautiful country with lots to see and do for the outdoors kind of person. Will definitely be back to spend a bit more time next time. Loved it!!
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0
24/06/2017
Toni Harris thoughtfully planned everything at a pace where we don't exhaust ourselves. That to me is a well deserved pat on the back for her. Plus she's so patient with my questions which sometimes seems silly but she answers in a way that I feel I can ask anything. Well done.
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5
02/03/2017
We thoroughly enjoyed our short trip in the South Island, what a sensational part of the world. Wish we had more time there. The holiday went like clockwork, all bookings fell into place, our 2 bedroom accommodation perfect for our needs and in great locations. This is our second holiday booked with Relaxing Journeys and we can't speak highly enough of the whole package. We have recommended them to anyone we know thinking of booking a New Zealand holiday. Thank you Mani for your assistance and excellent service.
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5
17/02/2017
Our holiday flowed seamlessly, not a single hitch, and the NZ South Island was simply stunning. We are coming back for sure, and would highly recommend this tour to anyone who loves natures beauty, and magnificent landscapes.
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5
17/02/2017
Good itinerary. Terrific drives and wonderful scenery. Though a lot of driving for a solo driver. Motels generally excellent. But the Quest in Auckland not so good.
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3
26/12/2016
The overall pre trip organization and communication was excellent. Car pickup easy and excellent vehicle (Rav 2) provided. The SatNav system as an extra is essential but not very good quality. All hotels were ready for us. It would have helped to have been given some direction out of Christchurch on the first day. The hotel on the second night in Wanaka was poor and I think you shouldn't use it for your clients in future. As we see it, the tour involves far too much driving and not enough time to look around. On the first day of driving (mostly at 100-120 km/hr!) it took 9 hours from hotel to hotel with only a few photo breaks. This was a common occurrence. In fact the 9 hour drive is quite boring as well as tiring. Usually the estimated times given on the schedule for driving each day were shorter than the true travelling time. I think it would be far better for you for the 9 day tour to be based out of Queenstown (i.e. fly into Queenstown) and have at least two nights in each chosen hotel. This would allow you to add destinations further south of Te Anau such as Dunedin. Most of the highlights suggested for each day on our schedule were unachievable, even though we left each hotel at 8.30-9.00 am every time. We were really looking forward to the Alpine train trip but found it underwhelming. Another reason to delete Christchurch from the itinerary. The last day when the car is returned is slightly stressful and it would help to provide a final day checklist before returning the car: Fill tank, return or mail SatNav system, allow time to get tickets for train and also to return the car. The car desk at Greymouth is very busy as passengers on the incoming train are queued up waiting to get their new rental at the same time as we are returning our vehicle. Need to allow at least one hour before train boarding time. Having said all this, NZ was beautiful and we had a great time. I just hope these comments help and are not seen as being critical. We returned very happy but next time would do things differently taking into account what I've mentioned above.
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5
01/12/2016
We had second thoughts about staying at motels. But we were all pleasantly surprised with the good quality accommodation. We would rate them as very comfortable and well selected. This is our first time in South Island and the self-drive tour went so well that we felt NZ is actually Heaven on Earth. There may be no super highways or some of the motels' internet services might be slow but one must realise that it is a relaxing holiday (pun intended). The rental car was excellent. For those who can't do without internet connectivity, go get a SIM card with data plan and the coverage is actually good. Finally I may add that Mr Mani did an excellent job of getting us alternative accommodations and helping us to re-schedule the tour plan to suit our requests. The final detailed tour itinerary had very good suggestions for visits along the way which we used to plan our self-drive.
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5
25/10/2016
Overall, the ground tour planning and accuracy of tour vouchers have been extremely exacting. We didn't have to worry about our accommodation in all our stops along the duration of our 12 days self drive tour. Your company is well recognised by all the hotels and motels that we stayed during our visit. New Zealand is beautiful and should be enjoyed on a self drive tour. Immaculate road system and traffic signage is easily legible and understandable to foreign visitors...especially those coming from a commonwealth country. Our tour contact person, Ms Marie, has been a wonderful help in making our trip to NZ trouble free and a job well done!
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5
03/10/2016
Beautiful tour of (one part of) your beautiful country. All the arrangements worked smoothly and the service from Relaxing Journeys was excellent. Highly Recommended. We will be back.
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5
09/03/2016
I would definitely recommend using Relaxing Journeys to plan your holiday and will do so again when we next visit. Nothing was too much trouble; we added additional days at the beginning and end of our tour, opted for a better hotel in one of the locations and even upgraded one of the rooms at our final location half-way through the holiday. On arrival at our first hotel we received a pack which contained everything we needed for our self-drive tour; an NZ road map, leaflets, brochures, our itinerary and hotel/activity vouchers. Our 'budget' accommodation was good at each location and the tours and activities that were included were wonderful. New Zealand is a stunningly beautiful country - we could have spent many more days just exploring the areas we visited. We'll definitely be back!
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5
03/10/2015
We had a wonderful time in NZ. Everything was well thought of and Marie is such a gem. I would definitely recommend Relaxing Journeys to all of my friends. :)
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5
03/10/2015
Thank you Marie for assisting us in planning and booking our trip going to New Zealand. I had the greatest time of my life being with my friends and seeing all the wonderful sights and the most breathtaking scenery in the world. I can't wait to go back to New Zealand!
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5
16/12/2014
We really enjoyed our time in New Zealand. Using Relaxing Journeys made all the bookings very convenient, and they were very responsive with all of our questions and concerns. New Zealand is a beautiful country and I recommend this tour company for self-drive tours.
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5
18/11/2014
Now we can say Kia Ora too! We just want to say 'thank you' to you and Relaxing Journeys for organizing our amazing 9 days in the South Island of New Zealand. What a beautiful country and such lovely people everywhere! Although at the beginning we were disappointed when our Trans-Alpine train ride was cancelled half way to Greymouth at Arthur's Pass due to stormy weather, we were all picked up by bus and taken a few hours later to Greymouth where our rental car was waiting for us. When we arrived at our hotel Glacier View outside Franz Joseph, it was pouring with rain and it was already almost dark. We felt that it was a pity our hotel wasn't in town because then we probably wouldn't have minded walking around and exploring in the rain. We felt quite cut off not being in the town. Our apart/hotel in Queenstown was fabulous with everything we could've wished for and the fact that we were in the center of town, made such a huge difference.

All our pick-ups, whether for shuttle service or for tours from our hotels were excellent and always with a friendly smile and great sense of humour! We especially enjoyed our driver/guide on the Milford Sound tour (I think his name was John) who was hilarious and kept us entertained all the way there, throwing in his personal comments about just about everything! We were so lucky with the weather that day, it was perfect and felt that that was possibly the highlight of our trip although throughout the 9 days we were amazed at how often we would be saying 'wow' around almost every corner! Mt. Cook was great and the tour of the glacier was fascinating, although the weather was grey - it started raining as soon as we got off the boat which was quite lucky! So thank you again for making it possible for us to have 'a holiday of a lifetime'!
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5
21/03/2014
Generally everything went smoothly. We enjoyed all the accomodations, except the Novotel in Christchurch which was difficult to find. Enjoyed the excursions and somehow you managed to give us only 1 rainy morning in our 3 weeks in New Zealand. (Ed. We do our best!)
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5
25/12/2013
Very professional and well organized. Would recommend to friends.
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5
20/04/2013
We would recommend it highly.We couldn't fault anything from beginning to end. Everything just fell into place. A definite no stress holiday.
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4
12/03/2013
An excellent introduction to South Island. Everything ran like clockwork! Apart from 1st and last days in Christchurch, accommodation was excellent throughout (the Christchurch accommodation was your second choice, I think). I would have liked an extra day to explore the area between Greymouth and Franz Jozef - felt a bit rushed having to do the TranzAlpine and travel to Frans Josef in one day. But that means I'll have to go back for more!
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5
10/02/2013
Exactly what we had booked. The accommodation was excellent we particularly loved the Dairy in Queenstown. The scenery is amazing and the tours were wonderfully well organised everything happened at the time you said it would. What more can you ask. Thank you.
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5
03/02/2013
Everything was fantastic! All of the arrangements and vouchers were very smooth and there were absolutely no problems. We loved Mt. Cook, it was a real surprise. The accommodations and The Glacier Express were terrific.
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4
01/04/2012
We did a self drive tour of South Island. Hotels and car hire with guidance on tourist attractions was very helpful provided by Relaxing Journeys. All motels and accomodations were very good in quiet locations. Tours booked were excellent and all went smoothly.
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5
31/03/2012
Accomodation overall was excellent although we would have preferred the locations to be nearer the restaurants when near to towns. We were grateful for the map and all the daily advice we were given. One point however we would like to make, that after the TranzAlpine Express we were told that someone would meet us at the station in Greymouth with our hire car however after investigation we were told to go to the car hire office across the road which caused slight confusion. However overall we thought everything about the trip was brilliant. Thank you.
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4
20/12/2011
We are finally back from the splendid tour of NZ (South) and still savoring the amazing experience that we had. Your country is really wonderful and what makes it even more interesting is especially its people - they are so nice and friendly that I felt really sad leaving the place. The tour was organized splendidly and we never faced any problems anywhere. Your efforts really paid off and a big thank you for the same. The motels were very comfortable and in a word excellent. Driving was such a pleasure with hardly any traffic on the highways. We also took the helicopter ride for the glacier at Franz Joseph which was really amazing. Experiencing a polar storm in the International Antartic Centre was an exhilarating experience. We missed the cheese-making tour at Barrys Bay as we didn't know that it is done only in the morning hours. We were visiting them in the afternoon on our way back from the wonderful Akaroa cruise but I did get my bagful of hand-made cheese. We were also (un)lucky to experience a real earthquake on 28 Dec night at Christchurch without any collateral damage. I would love to come back once again, this time for North Island although I'm not so sure whether it will be as scenic and wonderful as the South. (Ed. Oh it is!)
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4
02/05/2011
Unfortunately, you cannot control the weather, but despite having only one day without some rain, we had a great time! It is difficult to choose the highlights as there were so many: Mount Cook, Milford Sound, Dart River Tour, Marlborough wine area, Picton and environs, TranzAlpine train, Akaroa, Queenstown, Franz Josef and Fox Glaciers, Pelorus Sound mail boat ride, etc. We did not go on the Tasman Glacier tour from Mount Cook as it did not return to Mount Cook until 3:00 pm and we had to travel back to Christchurch that day. It would have been helpful to know the full details prior to arriving at Mount Cook, as we did not make the decision not to go until we arrived at Mount Cook. The accommodation was generally good; sometimes old, but always clean and most proprietors were friendly and helpful. In summary, we had a great time and will return to NZ (North and South islands) again in the future to have more of a look around. When we do, we will certainly be contacting you. In addition, we feel that the self-drive option is the best way to go for us, rather than going on a coach tour. Finally, your recommendation of the Pegasus Bay Winery for a meal was very much appreciated - we had a great lunch there on our last day heading back to Christchurch. Thank you for organising a very enjoyable holiday for us.
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4
04/02/2010
The tour went very well, with no problems at all. Car reliable, accommodation clean and quiet, transfers efficient, documentation and maps useful, and arranged tours enjoyable. Would recommend as a very satisfactory way of seeing a great country.
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4
04/10/2009
Thank you for the prompt to leave feedback. From my initial contact with Craig Harris I was impressed with the personal manner and the nothing is any trouble attitude. The tour itinerary was fantastic and exceeded our expectations, leaving just enough time to recoup before the next leg of our journey. The accommodation was superb and geographically practical. The coach trip to Milford Sounds was brilliant, with the purpose built bus making the trip very comfortable. What impressed us most was the female driver, who was a wealth of information and a great driver. The Glacier cruise was another highlight, and a must for anyone visiting Mt Cook. We were very fortunate with the weather, making your beautiful landscape look even more spectacular with cloudless blue sky. The folder containing coupons and map etc was a great tool and make the trip very organized and hassle free. We received a phone call from New Zealand tourism to check on how we were doing which was a nice touch. I have recommended Relaxing journeys to everyone I have spoken to about our trip to NZ, and highlight the fact it exceeded all our expectations. I look forward to see the north Island with you help in the future.
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Optionals

New Zealand has a great deal of things to see and do, why not add one of our optional sightseeing activities to your trip. Prices are per adult (we'll adjust your quote for any children).

Enquire about our 9 Day Southern Alps & Fiords

9 Day Southern Alps & Fiords
Self Drive Tours
Tour Code: GNSAF
From (NZD) $1896 per person
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Departures: May 2018 to April 2019
Rating:
28 reviews (4.5/5)

The tour name says it all, this itinerary allows you to experience spectacular mountain vistas, centuries old glaciers and the Milford Sound based dee... Read More

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9 Day Southern Alps & Fiords
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