Travel from the ‘Garden City’ of Christchurch to the South Island’s West Coast on the TranzAlpine rail service, one of the world’s top scenic rail journeys.
Get acquainted with New Zealand’s Garden City from the water of Christchurch’s iconic Avon River. Board a small wooden punting boat as an Edwardian punter glides you down the river past the city’s spectacular botanic gardens.
Or if you prefer to stay on dry land, explore the Central City by the Christchurch Tram. Stop off for a bite to eat at the Riverside Market - an indoor market linked to a vibrant network of boutique retail, restaurants, cafes and bars.
Christchurch and West Coast
Climb aboard the TranzAlpine rail service, one of the world’s great scenic train trips. The spectacular 4.5 hour journey travels from Christchurch, through the Southern Alps, to Greymouth on the West Coast.
Franz Josef and Fox Glaciers
Less than 200km south of Greymouth, the small towns of Franz Josef and Fox Glacier are home to the spectacular Franz Josef and Fox Glaciers. These impressive glaciers descend from the Southern Alps into temperate rainforest, just 300 metres above sea level. Explore Franz Josef Glacier Valley by foot, arrange an ice-hiking adventure on either glacier, or book a sightseeing flight.
Nearby Lake Matheson is one of the most photographed lakes in New Zealand. Its mirror-like reflections are truly spectacular. Explore the area on one of the enjoyable walks around the lake.
West Coast and Queenstown
Travel south to Queenstown through the towns of Haast and Wanaka.
Adrenaline junkies can indulge in a wide range of adventure activities in Queenstown, including bungy jumping, sky diving, jet boating, white water rafting and hang gliding. In winter, Queenstown is a snow lover’s paradise. There are six ski fields nearby offering opportunities for snow sports including skiing, snowboarding, snowshoeing and tubing.
Those after a more relaxing experience can head to nearby wineries in the Gibbston Valley for tastings or a delicious alfresco lunch.
Queenstown and Mount Cook
Fans of The Lord of the Rings film trilogy will recognise much of Queenstown and the surrounding area as the epic backdrop for scenes from all three movies. Join a tour to visit Middle Earth locations such as Lothlorien, the Misty Mountains, Isengard and the Dead Marshes.
Travel three and a half hours north from Queenstown to New Zealand’s highest mountain, Aoraki/Mount Cook. The trip offers breathtaking scenery as the road meanders alongside the Southern Alps and picturesque lakes.
Mount Cook and Christchurch
Join a Glacier Explorers tour from Aoraki/Mount Cook to Tasman Glacier, New Zealand’s longest and largest glacier. There are flightseeing options over the glacier and nearby Southern Alps, and many walking trails to explore around Mount Cook National Park.
The hot pools overlooking Lake Tekapo on the way to Christchurch are a great way to relax and unwind before continuing your journey.
Once you’ve reached Christchurch, enjoy a delicious meal and a few drinks at one of the city’s many restaurants and bars. Experience one of the city’s newest and hippest venues such as Revival Bar - a unique venue made from shipping containers and suitcases.
On your way to the airport to catch your flight home or connecting flight to Auckland, consider visiting the International Antarctic Centre, located next to Christchurch International Airport. You will have the chance to view penguins, ride the amphibious all-terrain Hagglund vehicle and learn all about the icy continent in the centre’s indoor snow and ice experience.