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Canterbury Trails

Christchurch-West Coast-Queenstown: Private Two Day Tour

Southern Alps to Wild West Coast: A Private Two-Day Glacier and Rainforest Adventure

Embark on an exclusive small-group journey (maximum 8 guests) from Christchurch to Queenstown, traversing the dramatic landscapes of New Zealand's South Island. This private tour offers an intimate and personalized experience, allowing you to discover the hidden gems of Arthur's Pass National Park, the rugged West Coast, and the awe-inspiring glaciers of Glacier Country.

Day 1: Christchurch to Glacier Country via TranzAlpine Train

Your adventure begins aboard the world-renowned TranzAlpine train, departing from Christchurch and winding through the vast Canterbury Plains. As you cross the dramatic Waimakariri River gorge, you'll enter the pristine wilderness of Arthur's Pass National Park. Your knowledgeable guide will meet you here, unveiling 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:

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.

Franz Josef Glacier: A Natural Wonder:

As you reach Glacier Country, prepare to be awestruck by the Franz Josef Glacier. Embark on a guided walk through the rainforest, culminating in a breathtaking view of the glacier as it descends into the lush vegetation—a truly unforgettable sight. You'll spend the night in the nearby village, surrounded by the tranquility of this glacial wonderland.

Day 2: Glacier Country to Queenstown

Delve deeper into this unique glaciated region, where glaciers carve their way through regenerating temperate rainforest. Enjoy short walks to experience the rainforest firsthand, with the glacier and its sculpted landscape as a dramatic backdrop.

Soar Above the Southern Alps (Optional):

For an even more exhilarating experience, you can choose to embark on a scenic helicopter flight over the Southern Alps, complete with a snow landing on the glacier's upper reaches (additional cost).

Haast Pass and Beyond:

Your journey continues south, following the Haast River valley and witnessing the dramatic transition from dense rainforest to the drier tussock lands of Otago as you ascend the Haast Pass. Take short walks on remote beaches, admire cascading waterfalls, and marvel at the power of the Haast River as it surges through the Gates of Haast (weather dependent).

Lakes Wanaka and Hawea:

After crossing the Haast Pass, the road skirts the headwaters of Lake Wanaka, then reveals the stunning Lake Hawea as you ascend a ridge. Follow the shoreline of this pristine lake until you reach the charming village of Wanaka.

Arrival in Queenstown:

Your adventure concludes with a journey over the rugged Crown Range, and, time permitting, a visit to the quaint gold mining village of Arrowtown. Finally, you'll arrive in Queenstown, where your knowledgeable guide will ensure you are comfortably settled into your accommodation, leaving you with cherished memories of a truly extraordinary journey.

Tour Inclusions:

  • Travel by deluxe mini coach
  • Picnic morning or afternoon teas
  • Café lunches on each day
  • Fully escorted with local knowledgeable guide

Not included:

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


Tour Code: SH03-N/S

What our customers are saying..

  • 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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