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This highly popular New Zealand holiday package fits the best of the South Island into one exciting week. Highlights include the TranzAlpine Train, the Shotover Jet, and a Milford Sound cruise. View natural wonders such as glaciers and fiords, and stay in the buzzing resort town of Queenstown.
Read on for more details on the 7 Day Loop the South Island Package.
Arrive in Christchurch, New Zealand’s Garden City. Collect your rental car from Christchurch Airport and make your way to your 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
Travel south across the Canterbury Plains and inland towards the majestic Southern Alps. Cross the barren Mackenzie Country to reach two fantastic glacial lakes as you journey towards Mount Cook.
Mount Cook Village is nestled at the base of the Southern Alps, with stunning views of Mount Cook and the surrounding mountains. At 3,724 metres, New Zealand’s highest mountain (Aoraki / Mount Cook) is dazzling, yet there are 27 other mountains in this alpine backbone which peak at over 3,050 metres, and hundreds of others not far short of that, all making up the famous Southern Alps.
Optional Scenic Helicopter Flight with snow landing to view Mount Cook and glaciers.
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, 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 afternoon, get ready for the world’s most exciting jet boat ride with Shotover Jet!
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. 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.
Driving time Queenstown to Wanaka 70 km / 43 miles, 1 hour
Drive over the beautiful Crown Range, one of New Zealand’s highest alpine roads, and admire the fantastic views along the way. Be sure to stop at the historic Cardrona Hotel for a refreshment before your arrival into Wanaka, an alpine town boasting panoramic views, a relaxing atmosphere and myriad walking tracks.
Relax and explore Wanaka – you may want to visit Puzzling World, Wanaka’s illusional attraction, or the famous 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.
Stay 1 night in Wanaka.
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 rainforest broken by rugged coastal vistas, towards New Zealand’s most famous glaciers.
While in Franz Josef you may wish to soak in the Glacier Hot Pools, nestled in lush rainforest in a haven of natural tranquility. You can walk to the terminal face of Franz Josef Glacier to take a look at the ice, or enjoy one of the local walks. In Franz Josef township you have the chance to see New Zealand’s rarest kiwi at the West Coast Wildlife Centre, a unique and interactive experience that brings together nature, conservation, and wildlife all under one roof.
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 the TranzAlpine Train for a spectacular journey from the West Coast to the East Coast. The train travels through the spectacular Southern Alps, past gorges and river valleys, before reaching the fields of the Canterbury Plains.
Arrive back in Christchurch and make your way to your accommodation.
Stay 1 night in Christchurch.
Make your way to Christchurch Airport and depart Christchurch.
This South Island itinerary is fully customisable. In other words, you can change the inclusions, schedule, or accommodation level to suit your preferences.
If you would like to make a loop from Christchurch down to Queenstown and back, this New Zealand holiday package gives a good idea of pacing. For a more leisurely version of this itinerary, take a look at the 10 Day Loop the South Island Holiday Package.
Contact New Zealand Travel Organiser today to begin planning your South Island holiday.
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