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Canterbury Trails

Marlborough - Kaikoura - Arthurs Pass - West Coast - Queenstown: Private Four Day Tour

Alpine Vistas to Glacial Wonders: A Private Four-Day South Island Odyssey

Embark on an exclusive journey from Marlborough to Queenstown, traversing the dramatic landscapes of New Zealand's South Island. This personalised tour unveils the coastal charm of Kaikōura, the alpine majesty of Arthur's Pass National Park, the rugged beauty of the West Coast, and the awe-inspiring glaciers of Franz Josef.

Day 1: Marlborough to Arthur's Pass via Kaikōura

Your adventure begins in the picturesque Marlborough region, where your knowledgeable guide will whisk you away on a scenic drive south along the east coast. Arrive in Kaikōura, where the mountains meet the sea, and seize the opportunity for a breathtaking scenic flight (optional) to witness the majestic whales that frequent this coastal haven year-round.

After a delightful lunch at a seaside bistro, we'll venture inland towards the Southern Alps, reaching Arthur's Pass National Park. Here, you'll discover a diverse landscape of beech forests, tussock valleys, and snow-capped peaks. Take a fascinating walk amongst the limestone outcrops of Castle Hill, a sacred Māori site, before settling into the comfort of Wilderness Lodge for the next two nights.

Day 2: Arthur's Pass Immersion

Today is yours to choose your own adventure. Embark on a guided walk through the park's diverse terrain, learning about its unique flora and fauna, or simply relax and soak in the stunning alpine vistas. The choice is yours.

Day 3: Arthur's Pass to Glacier Country

Journey through the heart of Arthur's Pass National Park, following the historic route once used by Māori to transport precious greenstone (pounamu) and later by gold miners seeking their fortunes. Marvel at the spectacular Otira Gorge as the road winds its way down into the lush rainforest of the West Coast.

We'll visit Hokitika, a former gold mining town and now a bustling centre of art and craft shops where greenstone and gold still feature prominently. As you continue south, witness the remnants of the last Ice Age in the form of kettle lakes, formed by melting ice sheets.

Arrive in Glacier Country and embark on a guided walk to view the Franz Josef Glacier, where ice descends into the vibrant rainforest – a truly incredible sight. Your overnight stay will be in Franz Josef village, nestled in the heart of this glacial wonderland.

Day 4: Franz Josef to Queenstown

After exploring the wonders of Franz Josef and Fox Glaciers, including the serene Lake Matheson, known for its mirror-like reflections of Aoraki/Mount Cook and Mount Tasman, your journey continues south. We'll traverse the mighty Haast River valley, witnessing the dramatic transition from dense rainforest to the drier tussock lands of Otago as we ascend the Haast Pass.

The road then skirts alongside Lake Wānaka and Lake Hāwea, offering stunning views of these alpine lakes. We'll continue along the shoreline to Wānaka village, then cross the rugged Crown Range, a historic gold mining area, before reaching the charming village of Arrowtown. Finally, you'll arrive in Queenstown, where your knowledgeable Canterbury Trails guide will bid you farewell, leaving you with cherished memories of a truly extraordinary adventure.


Tour Inclusions:

  • Travel by luxury vehicle
  • Picnic morning or afternoon teas, days 1,3 and 4
  • Café lunches on day 1,3 and 4
  • Guided walks to explore the alpine and rainforest landscapes (as required)
  • Fully escorted with local knowledgeable guide

Not included:

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

Tour Code: SH06-N/S

  • 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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