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 Mount Cook Village 332 km / 206 miles, 4 hours
Depart Christchurch and travel south to Mount Cook. This far-reaching road adventure takes you from sea level to the mountains. You will begin with the flat green tranquillity of the Canterbury Plains, but it won’t be long before you climb through the tussocky wilds towards the Southern Alps.
You will pass an amazing smoky turquoise lake, which is called Lake Tekapo, take a break in Lake Tekapo if you wish and visit the most photographed church in New Zealand – the famous Church of the Good Shepherd. Other attractions in Lake Tekapo include the spa complex Tekapo Springs and of course the world-famous Mt John Observatory. Continue your travels across the barren Mackenzie Country to reach Mount Cook.
You might like to add on a Mount Cook Helicopter Tour this afternoon on your arrival into Mount Cook Village.
Stay 1 night in Mount Cook.
Driving time Mount Cook Village to Queenstown 262 km / 163 miles, 3.5 hours
Venture past Lake Pukaki, a picturesque turquoise glacial lake. Along the way, you have the option to visit the High-Country Salmon Farm – floating on the glacial waters of Wairepo Arm, High Country Salmon is ideally situated on State Highway 8 just south of the town Twizel. You will have the opportunity to purchase salmon, feed the fish, and relax and take in the beautiful scenery. The friendly team at High Country Salmon are happy to answer questions and help you select from their range (fillets, whole fish, sashimi and hot and cold smoked salmon).
Continue your journey as you travel through the dramatic Lindis Pass which links the Mackenzie Basin with Central Otago. Stop in Cromwell if you wish, where you can visit orchards and fruit farms to buy some delicious fresh fruit, fruit ice creams, juices and ciders. Continue on to Queenstown, New Zealand’s stunning alpine resort and adventure capital.
Stay 3 nights in Queenstown.
Today, get ready for the world’s most exciting jet boat ride! Shotover Jet is the only company permitted to operate in the spectacular Shotover River Canyons. It’s a thrilling ride – skimming past rocky outcrops at close range in your Shotover Jet ‘Big Red,’ you will twist and turn through the narrow canyons at breathtaking speeds. And a major highlight – hold tight for the world-famous Shotover Jet full 360º spins!
In the afternoon, choose from an exciting range of optional activities including rafting, scenic flights, 4WD safaris, winery tours and more. If you are searching for information regarding the best New Zealand hikes to add to your holiday, check out our Comprehensive List of New Zealand’s Greatest Hikes.
Your adrenaline will be racing today as you gear up for a 9,000 ft tandem skydive! It takes a certain kind of person to jump from an aircraft into thin air. It takes courage—and a bit of craziness! After a 15 minute scenic flight to altitude, you will nudge towards the edge of the plane before taking the plunge! Harnessed by space age materials to an experienced qualified Jumpmaster, you step out of that aircraft door and for some 60 seconds you plummet towards the ground at 200 kph – Terminal Velocity.
Keep your head up, smile at your skydive photographer and take in the stunning surroundings. After an exhilarating freefall, you will experience a 5-minute parachute ride, floating safely back down to the skydive drop zone.
*Option to upgrade to 12,000 ft or 15,000 ft tandem skydive options.
Driving time Queenstown to Milford Sound 287 km / 178 miles, 4 hours
Journey alongside Queenstown’s stunning Lake Wakatipu and then through lush green farmland to reach Te Anau, the gateway to Fiordland National Park.
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.
Once in Milford Sound, embark on an overnight adventure for a truly immersive Milford Sound experience. Begin your overnight trip with a full length cruise of Milford Sound accompanied by a specialist nature guide. The atmosphere on board is friendly and relaxed, and you’ll quickly get to know your crew and fellow travellers.
As you explore the fiord, keep a lookout for wildlife, especially fur seals basking on the rocks. In the late afternoon, take a guided walk on a section of the world-famous Milford Track or explore the shoreline by tendercraft (small boat) with our nature guide. If you’re feeling brave, you can even go swimming in the fiord’s pure, cold waters.
As the shadows deepen, the Milford Wanderer will return under sail (weather permitting) to sheltered Harrison Cove for the night. Enjoy a three-course meal in the cosy saloon, order drinks from the fully licensed bar and relax in the company of like-minded travellers. After dinner, you may want to check out the stars in the incredible inky blackness of the remote Fiordland night sky. When you’re ready, retire to a comfortable cabin.
*Option to upgrade to Private Double or Twin Cabin with shared facilities.
Stay 1 night aboard the Milford Wanderer.
Driving time Milford Sound to Wanaka 343 km / 213 miles, 5 hours
In the morning, fuel up for the day with a hearty breakfast before heading back out to the Tasman Sea (depending on the weather of course) to explore the fiord further. Return to Milford midmorning.
Drive through historic Central Otago—past farmland, orchards and vineyards—to reach Wanaka, an alpine paradise with views so good it’s hard to put down your camera.
Stay 2 nights in Wanaka.
Relax and explore Wanaka today – you may want to visit Puzzling World, Wanaka’s illusional attraction, or the National Toy and Transport Museum. Visit Rippon Vineyard and Tasting Room to sample local wines, or catch a film at Cinema Paradiso, Wanaka’s quirky local theatre. You may also want to take a look around Wanaka’s boutique shops, stroll around the lake’s edge, or indulge in one of the many activities on offer.
Driving time Wanaka to Franz Josef 285 km / 177 miles, 4 hours
Enjoy the journey up the West Coast to reach Franz Josef. There are many short walks and viewing points to take in along the Haast Pass Highway, which will help break up the journey—a scenic walk to the Blue Pools is highly recommended. Other points of interest along the way are Ship Cove and Bruce Bay. Continuing along the West Coast, you may like to visit to Lake Matheson near Fox Glacier, where you can take a 20-minute walk (one-way) to the jetty, to admire the reflected views of the Southern Alps on the surface of the lake.
Stay 2 nights in Franz Josef.
Today, experience a fantastic
After a thrilling flight high above the rugged terrain, you will land on the glacier, ready to undertake a two hour guided glacier hike. Your friendly guide will lead you through some of the most pristine and awe-inspiring glacier scenery in the world. They will choose your route carefully as you go and, with an eye out for the most spectacular ice formations, you’ll soon be making your way through an extraordinary landscape of towering peaks and glistening blue ice. Each departure is a true voyage of exploration. There are so many changing features that the guides always find something new.
Driving time Franz Josef to Hokitika 138 km / 86 miles, 2 hours
Enjoy your journey along the West Coast, stopping at towns of interest such as Franz Josef, before continuing on to Hokitika, famous for its arts and crafts. Watch a masterpiece being crafted from gold, molten glass, paua or bone, or carve your own creation from wood or jade (pounamu). Take in Hokitika’s natural beauty, enjoy its expansive beach or venture down one of the many walking and mountain biking tracks.
Stay 1 night in Hokitika.
Driving time Hokitika to Greymouth 40 km / 24 miles, 45 minutes
Continue your journey up the West Coast to Greymouth. Greymouth is the largest town on the West Coast, with around 13,000 people calling it home. This hardy town has a history of jade hunting, gold mining and dramatic river floods.
In the afternoon, join On Yer Bike for an action-packed adventure. A magical mix of mud, water and inviting trails will give you a satisfying taste of real off-roading on a 4WD Quad Bike. After some sound advice and guidance from your tour guide, you’re off on your own to tackle the puddles, hills and rainforest tracks. Your expert guide will lead the way, stopping at various points of interest. Explore this enchanted place deep in the forest.
Stay 1 night in Greymouth.
Driving time Greymouth to Hanmer Springs 213 km / 132 miles, 3 hours
Travel on to Hanmer Springs, a year-round holiday destination offering a variety of outdoor activities, great cafés and of course the Hanmer Springs Thermal Pools & Spa. Visitors have been travelling to bathe in the rejuvenating hot mineral pools for over 120 years! Relax in open-air thermal public and private pools and de-stress with spa therapies.
Alternatively, you might like to experience a Hanmer Springs Bungy Jump! At 35 metres high it allows you enough time to experience the range of emotions, from sheer terror to pure elation in the seconds it takes you to plummet towards the river.
Stay 1 night in Hanmer Springs.
Driving time Hanmer Springs to Christchurch 140 km / 86 miles, 2 hours
At your leisure, journey back to Christchurch. Relax and explore the city in the afternoon, and raise a glass to a fantastic holiday!
Stay 1 night in Christchurch.
Drop off your rental car at Christchurch Airport and depart Christchurch.
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