Skip to content
Skip to product information

Canterbury Trails

Christchurch-Arthurs Pass-West Coast Glaciers-Queenstown: Private Three Day Tour

West Coast Wonders to Alpine Majesty: A Private Three-Day Journey from Christchurch to Queenstown

Embark on an exclusive private tour from Christchurch to Queenstown, delving into the dramatic landscapes of New Zealand's South Island. This personalised tour unveils the hidden gems of the West Coast, the awe-inspiring glaciers of Franz Josef, and the rugged beauty of the Southern Alps.

Day 1: Christchurch to Franz Josef via TranzAlpine Train

Your journey begins aboard the world-renowned TranzAlpine train, departing from Christchurch and winding through the vast Canterbury Plains. Upon arrival in Arthur's Pass National Park, your knowledgeable guide will meet you, showcasing the park's natural wonders through short walks amidst towering mountains, lush forests, and rushing rivers.

Journey to the West Coast:

Descending from the Southern Alps, you'll enter the wild and untamed West Coast region. Follow the path of the ancient Māori, who once traversed this route to gather precious greenstone (pounamu), and later, the gold miners seeking their fortunes. Marvel at the spectacular Otira Gorge, a geological masterpiece, as the road winds its way through the rainforest, showcasing the diverse ferns that thrive in this region.

Explore Hokitika and Glacier Country:

In Hokitika, once the capital of Westland and a bustling gold mining town, you'll discover a vibrant hub of art and craft shops, where greenstone and gold still play a significant role. Continue south, witnessing the remnants of the last Ice Age in the form of kettle lakes, formed by melting ice sheets.

As you arrive in Glacier Country, the majestic Franz Josef Glacier awaits. Your guide will drop you off at your pre-booked accommodation, nestled in the nearby village, where you can relax and rejuvenate for the next day's adventures.

Day 2: Glacier Country Immersion

Today is yours to explore the wonders of this glaciated landscape. Choose from a variety of exhilarating activities, such as a scenic helicopter flight with a snow landing atop the glacier or a fixed-wing flight for a bird's-eye view (optional, additional cost).

Alternatively, immerse yourself in the rainforest's tranquil beauty with a walk around the serene Lake Matheson, known as the "mirror lake" for its stunning reflections of Mount Cook and Mount Tasman on clear days. Or, venture to the secluded coastal village of Ōkārito, a haven for birdlife, and explore the lagoon by eco-boat tour or kayak (own expense).

Day 3: Glacier Country to Queenstown

Your journey south continues through the mighty Haast River valley, witnessing the dramatic transition from dense rainforest to the drier tussock lands of Otago as you ascend the Haast Pass. Take in the breathtaking scenery, including waterfalls and the majestic Gates of Haast gorge.

The road then skirts the headwaters of Lake Wānaka, revealing the stunning Lake Hāwea as you crest a ridge. From the charming village of Wānaka, you'll travel over the rugged Crown Range, a historic gold mining area, before reaching the quaint village of Arrowtown. Finally, you'll arrive in Queenstown, where your knowledgeable Canterbury Trails guide will bid you farewell.


  • Travel by luxury vehicle
  • Picnic morning or afternoon teas, days 1 and 3
  • Café lunches on day 1
  • Guided walks to explore alpine and rainforest landscapes (as required)
  • TranzAlpine train Christchurch to Arthur’s Pass on day 1
  • Fully escorted with a local knowledgeable guide

Not included:

  • Guest accommodations, breakfasts, evening meals, or optional activities

Tour Code: SH04-N/S



Depart Christchurch at 7.30am on Day 1, finish in
Queenstown at 5.30pm on Day 3


  • Carbon Positive

    125% of emissions offset through the planting of native trees

  • Love this place

    Our guides will show you why they love what they do - looking after their guests in this magnificent country

  • Still have questions

    Contact us below for any queries or to lock in a booking

Interested in booking?

Contact our Customer Service Team

Error Message required.