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Thrifty Tours

5 day Southern Highlights with Milford Sound

Enjoy 5 days exploring New Zealand's South Island with this excellent independent coach touring itinerary. Journey from Christchurch in a loop around the South Island, visiting all the must see destinations and enjoying a selection of exciting activities along the way. Cruise through Milford Sound with Real Journeys, visit the spectacular Mt. Cook National Park, explore the West Coast glacier region, and travel through the Southern Alps on the stunning TranzAlpine scenic train route.

Tour special blurb

Please note: The TranzAlpine train is currently operating on a reduced schedule and some departure dates for this tour may be affected. However if you are unable to select an alternate date our team of NZ experts can re-arrange these itineraries to accommodate. Just get in touch with us tell us what you need.

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About this NZ Road Trip

Seat-in-Coach Touring

This suggested tour costs from NZD$2,980 per person (twin share, low season)

Starts in Christchurch, finishes in Christchurch

5 days/4 nights

Motels

 Customisable? YES

 Viewed 19 times in the last 7 days

price pp from

NZD$2,980

twin share/double
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Detailed itinerary for this New Zealand Road Trip

Day 1 - Christchurch to Mt Cook National Park to Queenstown

5 day Southern Highlights with Milford Sound - Day 1
Christchurch to Queenstown Small Group Tour via Aoraki/Mount Cook and Lake Tekapo

This small group, fully-guided day trip combines all of the key highlights in the area with the famous Lake Tekapo, Aoraki/Mount Cook National Park and Tasman Glacier. The ultimate way to get from Christchurch to Queenstown. Led by famously passionate tour guides, notorious for bringing your journey to life by sharing their stories and rich background knowledge and run in modern, comfortable minibuses packed with extras ensuring your comfort and safety.

Your accommodation: Blue Peaks Lodge

Blue Peaks Lodge offers well equipped self contained rooms with a fantastic location overlooking Queenstown and is just an easy five minutes walk to the Queenstown lakefront.

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Day 2 - Free day to explore Queenstown

5 day Southern Highlights with Milford Sound - Day 2
Free day in Queenstown

Although celebrated as New Zealand's ‘adventure capital’ Queenstown offers far more than a fast paced action-packed holiday. Settled on the shores of Lake Wakatipu beneath a soaring panorama of the Remarkables Mountain Range, this alpine town is surrounded by a plethora of historic, gastronomic, and scenic wonders.
Head down the Gibbston wine trail to sample some of the region’s best Pinot or catch a ride on the 100 year old Steamship - the TSS Earnslaw -  to Walter Peak Station for dinner and a farm tour.
Browse the waterfront cafes and have lunch at Michelin star chef Josh Emett's ‘Rata' or simply take a leisurely lakeside stroll or ride the gondola for breathtaking views.

SUGGESTED ACTIVITY - Shotover Jet Canyon Jet Boat Ride

Shotover Jet is the only company permitted to operate in the Shotover River Canyons. It's a thrilling ride! Skim past rocky outcrops at close range in your Shotover Jet 'Big Red', as you twist and turn through the narrow canyons at breathtaking speeds. And a major highlight - hold tight for the world-famous Shotover Jet full 360-degree spins!

SUGGESTED ACTIVITY - Queenstown Skyline Gondola Ride

Hop aboard the Skyline Gondola - the steepest cable car lift in the Southern hemisphere! From which you can take in the awe-inspiring views of this spectacular landscape. Sit back and relax as you enjoy panoramic views of The Remarkables, Walter Peak, Cecil Peak, Coronet Peak and the magnificent Lake Wakatipu.

Your accommodation: Blue Peaks Lodge

Blue Peaks Lodge offers well equipped self contained rooms with a fantastic location overlooking Queenstown and is just an easy five minutes walk to the Queenstown lakefront.

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Day 3 - Milford Sound day tour with Real Journeys

5 day Southern Highlights with Milford Sound - Day 3
Milford Sound Cruise and coach tour from Queenstown

Return luxury coach transport from Queenstown to Milford Sound, with a 1 hour 40 minute Cruise along the full length of the fiord. On boarding a Real Journeys luxury glass-roofed coach in Queenstown or Te Anau, you will enjoy a relaxing trip along the shores of Lake Wakatipu and through the rolling countryside to Te Anau. The coach driver provides an informative commentary. After a morning tea break in Te Anau, where you have the option of purchasing refreshments, the coach continues along the spectacular Milford Road. There is time for photo stops and short walks along the way. On reaching Milford Sound, you board the modern, spacious vessel for a leisurely cruise in the fiord. The cruise provides excellent viewing opportunities and plenty of time is available to enjoy waterfalls, rainforest, mountains and the wildlife. During the cruise your friendly crew provide commentaries in several languages and point out the sights such as Mitre Peak and the Pembroke Glacier.

Your accommodation: Blue Peaks Lodge

Blue Peaks Lodge offers well equipped self contained rooms with a fantastic location overlooking Queenstown and is just an easy five minutes walk to the Queenstown lakefront.

Meals included: Lunch

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Day 4 - Queenstown to Franz Josef Glacier

5 day Southern Highlights with Milford Sound - Day 4
Queenstown to Franz Josef with Glacier Shuttles

Leaving Queenstown, travel past picturesque scenery of massive mountain peaks and crystal-clear blue lakes. Travel across the Haast Pass to the other side of the Southern Alps, the landscape changes dramatically. Welcome to the wild and wonderful West Coast, a remote and unspoiled region. Wind your way past native rainforest, rocky coastlines and powerful waterfalls. Your journey concludes in the village of Franz Josef, your base for exploration of the area.

Glacier Valley Shuttle

You will be met at your accommodation by a representative from Glacier Shuttles and taken on a short tour to view the glacier. Your shuttle vehicle will transfer you up the Franz Josef valley to the road end. Here you will have the opportunity to walk to view the glacier from a viewing platform. Or enjoy one of the short walks available in this area. You will be returned to your accommodation by the Glacier Valley Shuttles.

Your accommodation: Punga Grove Motel & Suites

Punga Grove is right in the heart of Franz Josef Glacier village and offers affordable and stylish accommodation in a beautiful rainforest setting.

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Day 5 - Franz Josef to Greymouth train station, TranzAlpine train to Christchurch

5 day Southern Highlights with Milford Sound - Day 5
Franz Josef to Greymouth Train Station with Hokitika Scenic Tours

Today you’ll head north through the historic gold mining region of Hokitika. Known for its Greenstone (Pounamu) this seaside town has a rich history dating back to the 1860’s. Continue on to Greymouth, the largest town on the West Coast and the starting point for the next leg of your journey - the TranzAlpine Scenic Train.

TranzAlpine Scenic Train: Greymouth to Christchurch

Considered one of the world's great train journeys, the TranzAlpine Scenic Train takes you from Greymouth to Christchurch. You'll travel across the South Island from the west to the east coast through Arthur's Pass National Park. From the comfort of your carriage see lush beech forest, deep river valleys and the spectacular peaks of the Southern Alps. Descend to the windswept Canterbury Plains before arriving in the city of Christchurch.

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