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The 7 Day Iconic South Island Coach Tour Package is a comprehensive, highly recommended New Zealand South Island tour.
On your loop from Christchurch to Christchurch, visit highlights such as Queenstown, Milford Sound, and Franz Josef Glacier. Experience the iconic Shotover Jet and TranzAlpine Train and indulge in an unforgettable scenic helicopter flight with a glacier landing.
Read on for full details of this top-rated New Zealand South Island tour.
Arrive in Christchurch, New Zealand’s Garden City. Make your way into Christchurch (please enquire for transport options).
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.
Experience the beauty and grandeur of the Southern Alps on a sightseeing day tour to Mount Cook.
Leaving Christchurch in the morning, travel through the fertile farmland of the Canterbury Plains to the shores of the stunning, glacier-fed Lake Tekapo, where you can view the solitary Church of the Good Shepherd and take in the sights of the spectacular Southern Alps. Then continue to the location of New Zealand’s tallest mountain, Aoraki / Mount Cook, situated in a national park and UNESCO World Heritage site. Rising to 3,754 metres high, Aoraki certainly lives up to its name, which in Māori can be translated as ‘cloud piercer’. Legend tells of a young boy named Aoraki who was stranded with his brothers when their canoe struck a reef. As it tilted, the brothers climbed to the high side, where they were frozen by the south wind and turned into stone. Aoraki and his brothers now form the Southern Alps.
Enjoy a three-course lunch (optional extra) at the famous Hermitage Hotel in Mount Cook Village. After lunch you’ll have time to explore the village and soak up the view.
The tour continues south, past Lake Pukaki and through the tawny tussock of the Mackenzie Country. En route, enjoy afternoon tea (own expense) in the quaint village of Omarama and if time permits, visit the Jones Family Orchard near Cromwell. Your tour concludes in the evening upon reaching Queenstown, the adventure capital of New Zealand. Includes pick up and drop off at your accommodation.
Stay 3 nights in Queenstown.
Today, get ready for the world’s most exciting Jet Boat ride! 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! Includes shuttle transportation to Shotover Jet base.
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 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. Disembark at Walter Peak High Country Farm, where you will enjoy a stunning four course meal. An entertaining after-dinner farm show provides a glimpse into high country farming life. On your return cruise, relax with a drink from the bar or join a fun sing-along with the ship’s pianist.
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. 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, towering snow capped mountains, cascading waterfalls, hanging valleys and wildlife… words just don’t do it justice, you have to see it for yourself! 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 delivers you back to your Queenstown accommodation.
Take a sightseeing day tour from Queenstown to Franz Josef and discover the wild beauty of New Zealand’s West Coast.
Leaving Queenstown, travel by luxury coach through the stunning scenery of the South Island. Your driver guide will provide entertaining commentary and point out sites of interest as you pass by the crystal-clear waters of Lake Dunstan, Lake Wanaka and Lake Hawea.
After a morning tea break in Makarora on the border of Mount Aspiring World Heritage Park, you’ll travel through the Haast Pass, journeying through native beech forest and past the Southern Alps, before emerging on the West Coast. This remote area has a ruggedly beautiful landscape of vast rainforests, gushing waterfalls and snow-capped mountains.
Skirt the coast and see waves crashing on rocky beaches before returning inland. Pass tree-fringed lakes and stop at a boutique salmon farm on the Paringa River before arriving in the afternoon at the small village of Franz Josef. From here you can explore the world famous Franz Josef Glacier.
The German explorer Julius von Haast named the Franz Josef Glacier after Emperor Franz Joseph I of Austria. Located in Westland Tai Poutini National Park, it is approximately 12 kilometres (7.5 miles) long. Includes pick up and drop off from your accommodation.
Stay 2 nights in Franz Josef.
Today, enjoy a 20 minute scenic helicopter flight sweeping above Westland National Park as you explore Franz Josef before landing in the snow to enjoy exceptional views of the majestic Southern Alps.
Train travel Greymouth to Christchurch 223 km / 138 miles, 4.5 hours
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.
Stay 1 night in Christchurch.
Make your way to Christchurch airport (please enquire for transport options) for your departure flight.
Our coach tour packages are independent and fully customisable. In other words, you will join group tours for each coach trip between destinations, but the rest of your time is free to explore at your leisure.
In addition, you have the option to add, remove, or swap out activities based on your preference.
Once you enquire, one of our travel consultants will reach out to you and work with you to plan your itinerary. We will ensure your holiday package matches exactly what you are looking for.
Contact New Zealand Travel Organiser today to begin planning your South Island tour.