Arrive in Christchurch, New Zealand’s Garden City. Collect your rental car from the airport and make your way to your Christchurch accommodation.
Discover the vibrant and picturesque garden city, renowned for its natural beauty, lively entertainment scene, and strong cultural heritage. With its stunning botanical gardens and tree-lined avenues, Christchurch is both a sophisticated city and beautiful place to relax.
Your options include visiting the Canterbury Museum where you can find rare Maori artefacts; the stories behind them will fascinate you. The museum has a frequent range of special exhibitions, a café and a gift shop for you to browse. Other recommended activities include the Christchurch Gondola, Tramway, Punting on the Avon River and the Botanical Gardens Tour.
Stay 1 night in Christchurch.
Driving time Christchurch to Lake Tekapo 230 km / 143 miles, 3.5 hours
Depart Christchurch and travel south across the Canterbury Plains and inland towards the Southern Alps to reach Lake Tekapo an amazing turquoise blue lake. Tekapo presents many world class attractions from the famous Church of the Good Shepherd, to scenic flights exploring NZ’s highest mountains and largest glaciers; including Mount Cook, Tasman, Fox and Franz Josef Glaciers.
Stay 1 night in Lake Tekapo.
Driving time Lake Tekapo to Queenstown 254 km / 158 miles, 3.5 hours
Venture past Lake Pukaki a picturesque turquoise glacial lake, before you travel through the dramatic Lindis Pass which links the Mackenzie Basin with Central Otago. Queenstown awaits you, New Zealand’s adventure capital.
In the evening relive the elegance of turn-of-the-century travel with a cruise aboard the vintage steamship TSS Earnslaw, the only coal fired passenger carrying vessel still operating in the southern hemisphere. Step aboard – watch the stokers fueling the fireboxes and hear the hiss of the steam engines working as the TSS Earnslaw takes you on a nostalgic cruise over beautiful Lake Wakatipu to Walter Peak High Country Farm where you will enjoy a stunning gourmet BBQ dinner. An entertaining after dinner farm show provides a glimpse into high country farming life. Then on your return cruise, relax with a drink from the bar or join a fun sing-along with the ship’s pianist.
Stay 2 nights in Queenstown.
Enjoy a scenic coach journey through heartland New Zealand to reach Milford Sound. The Milford Road (between Te Anau and Milford) is one of the finest alpine drives in the world. The scenery is exceptional, ranging from broad grassy flats, dense rainforest, and towering mountains through to glacial lakes and alpine herb fields. No other road in Fiordland offers such a diverse glimpse into New Zealand’s alpine zone. Your luxury coach has been purpose built for travelling the Milford Road, incorporating the latest technology for comfort and safety. The seats are tiered and angled towards the windows to maximise your views, and the expansive glass roof provides breathtaking sights of the snow-capped peaks. The schedule includes plenty of time for short nature walks and photo opportunities along the way.
Upon reaching Milford Sound you will enjoy a 2.5 hour Milford Sound Nature Cruise. With specialist nature guides on board, Real Journeys Nature Cruises offer a close-up experience of Milford Sound’s rainforest, soaring rock walls, and wildlife. Throughout the cruise, the guides share stories of the fiord’s history and are happy to answer your questions. After your cruise relax while your coach cruises through stunning scenery delivering you back to your Queenstown accommodation.
Driving time Queenstown to Wanaka 70 km / 43 miles, 1 hour
Drive over the Crown Range, one of New Zealand’s highest alpine roads, and admire vistas from fantastic viewing points. Be sure to stop at the historic Cardrona Hotel for a refreshment before your arrival into Wanaka, boasting panoramic views and a relaxing atmosphere.
Enjoy Warbirds Practice Day. A special World War I centenary celebration on the Wanaka lakefront will be free for locals and visitors. The aim is to educate new generations about the role aircraft and New Zealand pilots played in the Great War 100 years ago. Come and see these extraordinary aircraft flying over Lake Wanaka.
Stay 4 nights in Wanaka.
Package includes a Silver Single Day Pass, which can be booked for today or the following day. The Silver Pass provides tiered seating for the Airshow along the runway, with onsite amenities but with no covered facility. Refreshments include a selection of different coffee and food stalls with tasty morsels, craft beers and wine, within 50 metres of the stand (own cost). Please enquire for upgrade options.
Today the choice is yours, enjoy the last day of Warbirds Over Wanaka or relax and explore Wanaka.
Relax and explore Wanaka – you may want to visit Puzzling World, Wanaka’s illusional attraction, or the National Toy and Transport Museum. Other options include strolling along one of Wanaka’s stunning walking tracks, relaxing on the lake’s edge or browsing through Wanaka’s boutique shops.
You could also visit Rippon Vineyard and Tasting Room to sample local wines, or catch a film at Cinema Paradiso, Wanaka’s quirky local theatre.
Driving time Wanaka to Franz Josef 285 km / 177 miles, 4 hours
Discover the Haast Pass Highway where there are many short walks and natural attractions to view along the way. Continue north, through dense rain forest broken by rugged coastal vistas, towards New Zealand’s glaciers. In the afternoon add on a scenic helicopter flight sweeping above Westland National Park as you explore Franz Josef Glacier before landing in the snow.
Stay 1 night in Franz Josef.
Driving time Franz Josef to Greymouth 180 km / 112 miles, 2.5 hours
Train travel Greymouth to Christchurch 223 km / 138 miles, 4.5 hours
Drive north to reach Greymouth where you will drop off your rental car and board your TranzAlpine Train which journeys from the West to East Coast. Board the TranzAlpine – from your carriage you’ll see lush beech rain forest, the spectacular Southern Alps, the gorges and river valleys of the Waimakariri River, followed by the fields of the Canterbury Plains and picturesque farmland. All carriages include both one way seating and tabled group seating, allowing you to experience the amazing views while enjoying the company of other passengers on-board. An open air viewing carriage allows you to get even closer to the stunning scenery. The trip is 223.8 kilometres long and takes just 4.5 hours. There are 16 tunnels and 5 viaducts, the highest being the ‘Staircase’ standing at 73 metres. Arrive in the garden city of Christchurch.
Stay 1 night in Christchurch.
Depart Christchurch at your leisure.
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