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13 Day Southern Parks and Scenic Trains

10 nights from £1,869 per person

  • Included:
  • Accommodation
  • In resort assistance & 24 hour contact centre
Click here for Pricing & Dates

Overview

Starting and ending in Christchurch, this fantastic 12-night Independent Coach Tour takes you on a journey through some of the South Island’s classic destinations.

Railway enthusiasts will certainly love the train journeys including in this exciting itinerary. Steeped in pioneer history, the Taieri Gorge Train adds a touch of culture to the tour, whilst a trip on board the TranzApline will very quickly make you realise why this rail journey is renowned as one of the world’s best.

Other destinations include the phenomenal sights of Mt Cook and Franz Josef Glacier, as well as a few days exploring the vibrant cities of Dunedin and Queenstown. The piece de resistance has to be the Doubtful Sound Overnight Cruise, sailing through the naturally beautiful scenes and offering the chance to see bottlenose dolphins and rare penguin.

This is a wonderful opportunity to discover all New Zealand’s South Island has to offer, making plenty of like-minded friends along the way (NZ).

Highlights

  • Marvel at Doubtful Sound on an overnight cruise
  • Explore the Franz Josef Glacier
  • Discover the beautiful Mt Cook National Park
  • Delve into Dunedin’s Scottish-influenced culture
  • Board the historic Taieri Gorge Train
  • Travel on one of the world’s greatest railways, the TranzAlpine
  • Spend an adrenaline-fuelled day in Queenstown

Details

Day 1

Christchurch

Upon arrival in Christchurch, you will be met by a private driver and transferred to your hotel. Should you have time, we would recommend enjoying a double-decker bus tour of the city, learning about the fascinating pioneer history and the dreadful earthquakes in 2010 and 2011 and how they are rebuilding.

Overnight: Bella Vista Christchurch

Day 2

Mt Cook National Park

Day two involves delving into the heart of the South Island. The journey to Mt Cook National Park and its picturesque village is a very scenic one, including driving across the Canterbury Plains, a short stop in the charming town of Lake Tekapo, and a view of stunning Lake Pukaki.

You also have the option to enjoy a Glacier Explorers tour – the only one of its kind in New Zealand. Board the boat and you’ll be graced with unbeatable views of ice cliffs and icebergs, as well as the usually unseen and inaccessible glacier The Tasman.

Overnight: Mt Cook Lodge & Motels

Day 3

Aoraki-Mt Cook National Park

Standing at a whopping 3754m tall, Aoraki-Mt Cook is New Zealand’s highest mountain, which you will spend your day exploring. Head to the Visitor Centre at the southern end of Lake Pukaki to see the mountain peak in all its glory, before perhaps partaking in one of the heart-pumping activities, including a scenic flight with a glacier landing, the Mt Cook Encounter Guided Walk, and a stargazing tour of the Mt John Observatory.

Overnight: Mt Cook Lodge & Motels

Day 4

Dunedin

After a free morning, you will travel from Mt Cook Village to Dunedin, stopping along the way for a short pit-stop in Omarama, plus a scenic tour of the Whitestone Prectinct in Oamaru. You’ll also enjoy a guided walk along Koekohe Beach at Moeraki Boulders before arriving in Dunedin.

Overnight: Motel on York

Day 5

Dunedin & the Otago Peninsula

With a strong Scottish influence and beautiful rugged coastlines, Dunedin is an eclectic hub of historical and modern architecture – including the striking Railway Station. In the morning, you will explore the Saturday famer’s market for a taste of delicious handmade crepes and local honey, before embarking on a self-guided walking tour of the Street Art that adorns many parts of the city.

In the afternoon, you will enjoy a tasty tour of the Cadbury Chocolate Factory and delve into the local history at the Otago Museum. The trip to Larnach Castle is optional but highly recommended, and the Otago Peninsula is abundant in Albatross – the largest mainland colony in the world, in fact.

Overnight: Motel on York

Day 6

Taieri Gorge Train

In the morning, you will be transferred to the train station for your departure on board the Taieri Gorge Train, which is teeming in early settler history. The juxtaposition of modern carriages with panoramic windows and restored, traditional carriages make this an unforgettable train ride, and the views of pioneer stone work is also great to see. The train will either drop you off at Pukerangi or Middlemarch (depending on the day), where you will be transferred to Queenstown via Central Otago.

Overnight: Blue Peaks Lodge

Day 7

Queenstown

The day is free for you to explore New Zealand’s adventure capital. There are plenty of activities to choose from, including a wine trail in Gibbston Valley, a boat trip on board the vintage TSS Earnslaw to Walter Peak Station for a gourmet dinner, a four-wheel drive to Macetown, a fun Lord of the Rings tour, the Nevis Bungy, or just a simple stroll along the waterfront.

Overnight: Blue Peaks Lodge

Day 8

Doubtful Sound Overnight Cruise

On the way to your overnight cruise, you will travel along the shores of Lake Wakatipu, perhaps stopping at the Kingston Township for a ride on the classic steam train The Kingston Flyer (offered during the summer months) before arriving in Manapouri.

At 12.30 you will depart Manapouri for a short cruise across Lake Manapouri, before hopping on a coach travelling over Wilmot Pass to Deep Cove, where you will board your overnight cruise.

The Doubtful Sound Overnight Cruise on board the Fiordland Navigator is truly spectacular. Offering a special dinner, bed and breakfast experience, you’ll be well fed as you sail through the beautiful Doubtful Sound. The spacious deck is perfect for watching the picturesque landscapes and wildlife go by, including fur seals, dolphins, and sometimes even rare penguins, and there’s ample opportunity to kayak.

Overnight: Fiordland Navigator

Day 9

Manapouri to Queenstown

At midday, your cruise will arrive back at Manapouri, where you will embark on a coach trip back to Queenstown.

Overnight: Blue Peaks Lodge

Day 10

Franz Josef Glacier

Your journey to Franz Josef Glacier will include the wonderful sights of Wanaka, Cromwell and Hawrea before travelling over the Haast Pass into Westland. A local shuttle will take you to the glacier base for a scenic short walk, or you could hop on a scenic helicopter flight for an entirely unique view. Keep an eye out for keas – New Zealand’s native parrot.

Overnight: Punga Grove Motel & Suites

Day 11

Franz Josef Glacier

Franz Josef, a small yet vibrant town, is your base for today. There’s a great opportunity to walk along the valley floor without a guide, but to really delve into the glacier’s beauty we’d recommend taking a guided tour with the Franz Josef Glacier Guides, or book a fun helicopter landing. Fancy putting your feet up instead? Take a visit to the Glacier Hot Pools, featuring three main pools with water coming directly from a glacial stream.

Overnight: Punga Grove Motel & Suites

Day 12

Greymouth Train Station by Intercity Coach

There’s plenty to see on your journey to Greymouth Train Station, including stopping at the Bushman’s Centre for refreshments, and eating lunch in Hokitika before exploring the area’s rugged coastlines and quaint town centre.

Once at Greymouth Train Station, you will board the TranzAlpine – one of the greatest rail journeys in the world – and travel across the Southern Alps to Christchurch.

Overnight: Bella Vista Christchurch

Day 13

Christchurch

Your tour ends here. You’ll be privately transferred to Christchurch airport for your onward flight. 

  • 12 nights’ accommodation
  • Transport onboard a coach
  • Private train station transfers
  • Private airport transfers
  • TranzApline train from Greymouth to Christchurch
  • Taieri Gorge Train Journey
  • Doubtful Sound Overnight Cruise

What’s Not Included

  • Optional excursions: Christchurch Double-Decker Bus Tour, Glaciers Explorer Tour, Mt Cook Encounter Guided Walk, stargazing tour of the Mt John Observatory, Mt Cook Ski Planes, Larnach Castle, Queenstown activities, The Kingstone Flyer, scenic helicopter ride over Franz Josef Glacier, Franz Josef Glacier Guides tour, Franz Josef Glacier Helihike

Book today

Talk to our travel experts for more information and to book or tailor-make your holiday.

01342 310 5819am - 9pm Mon - Sun

Chris

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Hannah was very helpful and made the decision making easier. We both thoroughly enjoyed our holiday and all the staff were extremely professional and efficient. - Peter Stanton

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