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Canterbury Trails

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

Day 1: Christchurch to Arthur’s Pass

Depart Christchurch on the world famous TranzAlpine™ train and cross the vast expanses of the Canterbury Plains. Travel through the dramatic gorge of the Waimakariri River and enter Arthur’s Pass National Park. Here, your guide will meet you and show you some of the highlights of the national park.

In the heart of the Southern Alps, Arthur’s Pass National Park has an incredible diversity of flora and landscape. They range from eastern beech clad hills and tussock valleys to the luxuriant rain forest in the west. The highest mountains have glaciers and surrounding them are tussock basins, flowering herbs and alpine grasses. At the end of the day, head to your Arthur's Pass accommodation

 

Day 2: Arthur’s Pass to Glacier Country 

You will travel through the Arthur’s Pass National Park and depart Canterbury province for Westland (“The West Coast”). This route was originally used by the Maori to move greenstone (jade) from the west coast, and later as a link to the gold rush fields. Today will reveal great mountain valleys and you will marvel at the road as it winds its way down the spectacular Otira Gorge, a Geographer’s dream.

Follow rivers that flow to the West Coast and observe the changes to the rainforest and the many varieties of ferns that dominate this region.

Visit 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. You will then arrive at Glacier Country and a walk can be made to view the Franz Josef Glacier pushing into rainforest - truly incredible! Your overnight stay will be taken in Franz Joseph or Fox Glacier village.

 

Day 3: Glacier Country to Lake Moeraki or Haast

Explore this unique glaciated region with its glaciers pushing into regenerating 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 (optional) helicopter ride to view the Southern Alps with a snow landing on the upper reaches of the glacier is also available. (Please note that the optional helicopter trips and scenic flights are not included in the tour cost) From Glacier Country, you will travel south to Wilderness Lodge Lake Moeraki or Haast accommodation, where you will spend the night with the opportunity to observe the Fiordland Crested penguin (second rarest in the world).

Accommodation at either Haast or Lake Moeraki.

 

Day 4: Lake Moeraki/Haast to Queenstown  

Travelling south we 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.

 

Tour Inclusions:

  • Travel by deluxe mini coach
  • Picnic morning or afternoon teas
  • Café lunches on each day
  • Guided walks to explore the alpine and rainforest landscapes (as required)
  • TranzAlpine train Christchurch to Arthur’s Pass on Day 1
  • Fully escorted with local knowledgeable guide

Not included:

  • Optional activities
  • Accommodation and meals (unless otherwise stated)
  • Flights

Tour Code: SH05-N/S

Depart Christchurch at 7.30am on Day 1, finish in Queenstown at 5.30pm on Day 4

  • 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

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