Christchurch to Mt Cook Depart Christchurch and head across the Canterbury Plains to the foothills of the Southern Alps. Your journey will take you across the wide expanse of the plains and then across the Rakaia River and it’s gorge.
Heading south you will travel alongside the foothills and through small picturesque country towns. Cross Burke’s Pass and enter the high country of the MacKenzie Plains, named after a sheep rustler. Pass Lake Tekapo and Lake Pukaki, examples of turquoise coloured high country lakes before turning towards Mt Cook National Park.
At 3754 metres, New Zealand’s highest mountain, Aoraki Mount Cook is dazzling and there are 20 other mountains in this alpine backbone which peak at over 3000 metres. Hundreds of others are not far short of that, all making up the famous Southern Alps.
At Mt Cook National Park, walks can be made to experience the alpine vistas and explore the national park. A walk can be made to view the Tasman Glacier, the longest glacier in the world that exists in a temperate zone (and on a Pacific Island!).
Mt Cook to Queenstown If desired, time can be allowed for walks or perhaps a glacier flight with a landing on the Tasman Glacier.
Depart Mt Cook and travel south through the Mackenzie Country to Omarama (world renowned as a gliding centre) and from where a view can be made of the “Clay Cliffs” – an example of NZ’s “badlands”. From here you will travel over the Lindis Pass and view a dramatic change in the landscape as you head through Otago province to Queenstown.
A stop can be made in the Kawarau Gorge to view the bungy bridge (where it all started!) or perhaps visit one of the Kawarau wineries. Visit Arrowtown (historic old gold-miner’s village) and then head to Queenstown where a familiarization tour of the town can be made.
Your Canterbury Trails guide will bid you farewell at the conclusion of the day at your Queenstown accommodation.
Please note that this tour can be started in Queenstown and finished in Christchurch.