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Canterbury Trails

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

Southern Alps to Wild West Coast: A Private Four-Day Odyssey

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

Day 1: Queenstown to Franz Josef Glacier

Your adventure begins in the heart of Queenstown, where your knowledgeable guide will collect you from your accommodation. We'll journey through the historic gold-mining village of Arrowtown, known for its charming streets and rich history, before ascending the rugged and remote Crown Range.

Next, we'll skirt the shores of Lake Hāwea and Lake Wānaka, soaking in the breathtaking alpine scenery. Then, we'll traverse the dramatic Haast Pass, witnessing a remarkable transformation from the dry tussock lands of Otago to the lush rainforests of the West Coast.

Descend into the Haast River valley, where cascading waterfalls and the untamed power of the river create a captivating spectacle. Our destination for the night is Franz Josef Glacier, where you'll witness the impressive sight of a massive glacier descending into a vibrant rainforest.

Day 2: Franz Josef to Arthur's Pass National Park

After further exploring Franz Josef and perhaps visiting Fox Glacier and the reflective waters of Lake Matheson, we'll journey north, observing the ever-changing rainforest landscape and the diverse fern varieties that thrive in this region.

We'll stop in Hokitika, a former gold rush town now renowned for its bustling art and craft shops showcasing greenstone (pounamu) and gold treasures.

Continue north, following rivers that flow to the West Coast. This route was originally used by Māori to transport precious greenstone and later became a link to the gold rush fields.

As you travel through Arthur's Pass National Park, you'll enter Canterbury and observe the transition from rainforest to eastern beech-clad hills and tussock valleys. Stop at Castle Hill, a fascinating limestone outcrop and sacred Māori site, before settling into the comfortable Wilderness Lodge for two nights.

Day 3: 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.

Day 4: Arthur's Pass to Marlborough via Kaikōura

We'll head north through the mountains towards the coast, arriving in Kaikōura, where the mountains meet the sea. Here, you may have the opportunity for a scenic flight (optional) to witness the majestic whales that frequent this coastal haven year-round.

Enjoy lunch at a seaside bistro and wine tasting before your guide drops you off at your accommodation in Marlborough, concluding your unforgettable Canterbury Trails adventure.


Tour Inclusions:

  • Travel by luxury vehicle
  • Picnic morning or afternoon teas
  • Café lunches on each day
  • 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-S/N

  • 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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