Day 1… Marlborough (Nelson/Blenheim/Picton) to Punakaiki
Your guide will collect you from your accommodation and head via Nelson Lakes to Paparoa National Park and the West Coast. Travelling through the Buller Gorge we head towards the west coast and gold mining country. Our destination is Punakaiki, famous for its Pancake Rocks and blowholes. We will explore these fascinating layering rock formations and take a short walk to the beach before heading to your overnight accommodation
Day 2… Punakaiki to Glacier Country
Heading along the wild west coast road we head south for Hokitika, once the capital of Westland and a roaring gold mining town, now a bustling centre of art and craft shops where greenstone and gold feature.
As you journey south you will see the West Coast forests and further evidence of the last Ice Age in the kettle lakes created by the melting ice sheets. Explore this unique glaciated region with its glaciers pushing into re-generating temperate rainforest and happening on a Pacific Island – truly very special! Short walks can be made to experience the rainforest with the glacier in the background and it’s shattered, glacier formed landscape. Overlooking this are the Southern Alps and the high peaks of Mt Cook and Mt Tasman.
An exciting helicopter ride to view the Southern Alps with a snow landing on the upper reaches of the glacier is also available. Your overnight stay will be in Franz Joseph or Fox Glacier village
Day 3: Franz Josef to Queenstown
After exploring both Franz Josef Glacier, Fox Glacier and Lake Matheson we continue south to reach the mighty Haast River Valley. Following the Haast Highway, observe how the landscape again changes dramatically as the road climbs over the Haast Pass from the dense rain forest of the West Coast to the drier tussock lands of Otago.
After the Haast Pass, the road skirts first alongside Lake Wanaka and then making a slight turn and rising over a ridge, Lake Hawea is before you. The road follows the shoreline of this lake and then you reach Wanaka village. From Wanaka, head over the rugged and remote Crown Range, the site of gold diggings in the 1860’s and arrive in quaint old gold mining village of Arrowtown. It is then a short drive to your Queenstown accommodation where your Canterbury Trails guide will bid you farewell.
Please note this tour can begin in Queenstown and finish in Marlborough