Overview

The resort town and adventure capital of Queenstown makes a fitting kick-off point for a New Zealand 10 Day Mountains, Fiords & Glaciers Family Self Drive journey across the mountains, fiords and glaciers of South Island. Leaving Queenstown, cross Lake Wakatipu aboard the iconic TSS Earnslaw, then get on board a Nomad Safari 4WD trip and round it out with adrenaline-fuelled Shotover Jet Boat Ride.

You will then have a full day trip to Doubtful Sound to look forward to, after which you continue north to the rugged West Coast known for its magnificent glaciers and rainforests ideal for exploring. Enjoy sweeping views of the landscape from above on a scenic helicopter ride, and experience a snow landing. Afterwards, travel east to Christchurch and cross the Southern Alps on board the Tranz Alpine Scenic Train.

The enchanting Akaroa Harbour, with its bountiful wildlife, is a short distance from Christchurch and begs to be explored. Finally, continue on south to the soaring mountains and captivating glacier lake of Mt. Cook National Park before heading back to Queenstown. 

Queeenstown - Glaciers - Christchurch - Akaroa - Mt Cook - Queenstown

Map of 10 Day Mountains, Fiords & Glaciers Family Self Drive
View itinerary for day 1
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View itinerary for day 9
View itinerary for day 10
Arrive Queenstown
Explore Queenstown
Doubtful Sound Wilderness Cruise from Queenstown
Queenstown to Franz Josef Glacier
Explore the Glaciers
Franz Josef to Christchurch via Tranz Alpine Scenic Train
Christchurch to Akaroa
Akaroa to Mt. Cook National Park
Mt. Cook National Park to Queenstown
Depart Queenstown

Day 1

Arrive Queenstown

Day 2

Explore Queenstown

Day 3

Doubtful Sound Wilderness Cruise from Queenstown

Day 4

Queenstown to Franz Josef Glacier

Travel Time: 4 hrs 30 mins

Distance: 350 kms

Day 5

Explore the Glaciers

Day 6

Franz Josef to Christchurch via Tranz Alpine Scenic Train

Travel Time: 2 hrs 15 mins

Distance: 173 kms

Day 7

Christchurch to Akaroa

Travel Time: 1 hrs 20 mins

Distance: 81 kms

Day 8

Akaroa to Mt. Cook National Park

Travel Time: 4 hrs 50 mins

Distance: 380 kms

Day 9

Mt. Cook National Park to Queenstown

Travel Time: 3 hrs 10 mins

Distance: 264 kms

Day 10

Depart Queenstown

Private transfer Queenstown airport to your hotel

Welcome to Queenstown. You will be met from your flight and transferred to your Queenstown hotel.

Renowned for its adrenaline inducing activities 'Queenstown' is synonymous with adventure. Parked on the shores of Lake Wakatipu this small alpine town is nestled below soaring vistas of The Remarkables Mountain Range. While arguably the brightest gem in New Zealand’s crown, Queenstown offers far more than an action-packed getaway.

Stay 3 nights in Queenstown

Nomad Safaris, Safari of the Scenes Wakatipu Basin tour 

For those keen on the Hobbit and Lord of The Rings films, come with us for an unexpectedly delightful journey. In safari-equipped 4WD vehicles, you will be taken on a true off-road adventure.

Shotover Canyon River Jet Boat Adventure 

Riding the iconic ‘Big Red’ Jet Boat through the narrow Shotover Canyon is an exhilarating experience not to be missed. Your skilled jet boat driver pushes the boat to 85 kph, skimming across shallow water and past towering canyon walls. This 25 minute white water ride includes 360 degree spins and maximum thrills.

Board a luxury glass-roofed coach in Queenstown for a relaxing trip along the shores of Lake Wakatipu and through the countryside around Te Anau and Manapouri. From Pearl Harbour, Manapouri, you'll cruise across its picturesque Lake to the West Arm, then travel by coach over Wilmot Pass through dense rainforest. There are many opportunities along the way to examine plant life and view the spectacular scenery.

Once at Doubtful Sound you'll head out on the catamaran, Commander Peak, for a 3 hour cruise that reaches to the Tasman Sea. On board there is excellent viewing of waterfalls, rainforest and mountains. An interesting on board commentary keeps you informed and on the return journey, the vessel's engines are turned off and visitors are treated to the ‘Sound of Silence.'

Collect your rental car 

Queenstown to Franz Josef Glacier (via Wanaka) 

From Queenstown you'll cross the Crown Range - the highest sealed road in New Zealand - to arrive in the Alpine town of Wanaka, gateway to Mt Aspiring national park. Skirting the shores of both Lake Wanaka and Hawea, you will enter the small town of Makarora. Stop at Blue Pools for a ten minute minute walk through native beech forest to a glacier-fed swimming hole. Continue on through the remote seaside settlement of Haast before heading up the wild West Coast - a 600 km stretch of bush and native rainforest. Fox Glacier welcomes you first, a short drive from Franz Josef township.

Stay 2 nights in Franz Josef (or Fox Glacier)

Twin Glaciers Scenic Helicopter Flight 

Take a spectacular scenic flight over two of New Zealand's most famous glaciers. Land at the head of one and view the incredible sight of this frozen river as it winds its way through ancient carved valleys.

Glacier Hot Pools 

Nestled within the lush rainforest surrounds, the Glacier Hot Pools is a haven of tranquility. Unwind in one of the three main pools or relax in a secluded private oasis. Temperatures range from 36 to 40 degrees and the water comes directly from a glacial stream. Wash off the day and rejuvenate in this unique forest paradise.

Franz Josef to Greymouth Train Station 

Today you’ll head north through the historic gold mining region of Hokitika. Continue on to Greymouth, the largest town on the West Coast and the starting point for the next leg of your journey - the Tranz Alpine Scenic Train. Drop your rental car at the Greymouth Train Station depot located inside the train station building before boarding your train to Christchurch.

Tranz Alpine Scenic train Greymouth to Christchurch 

Considered one of the world's great train journeys, the Tranz Alpine scenic train takes you from Greymouth to Christchurch. You'll travel across the South Island through the Arthur's Pass National Park from the west coast to the east.

On arrival into the Christchurch train station you will be met by a private transfer driver and taken to your accommodation.

Stay overnight in Christchurch

Collect your rental car this morning

The Banks Peninsula offers a great contrast to the South Island's largest city. Just around a 1 1/2 hours drive from the city centre are rolling green hills, streams, golden sand beaches and small settlements that offer a unique insight into New Zealand's history and development.

The Harbour itself is teeming with wildlife and a nature cruise is a must do activity. 

Akaroa Harbour Nature Cruise 

A leisurely 2 hour cruise in the sheltered Akaroa Harbour. The highlight of this trip is undoubtedly the sighting of one of the world's smallest and rarest dolphins, the Hector's or New Zealand Dolphin. 

Stay overnight in Akaroa

Today you head into the heart of the South Island. In Mt. Cook Village a myriad of activities are available from glacier landings by ski plane or helicopter, kayaking on a glacial lake and a host of walks to suit all abilities and time frames. At The Hermitage Hotel the Sir Edmund Hillary Alpine Centre is a must see.

Glacier Explorers Mt. Cook 

Experience 500 year old icebergs up-close on the Mt Cook terminal lake. See towering ice cliffs and floating icebergs from the safety of a specially designed boat. These boats provide a safe way to view unseen and inaccessible areas of New Zealand's largest glacier - The Tasman.

SUGGESTED ACTIVITY - Edmund Hillary Alpine Centre Explorer Pass 

 

Stay overnight at Mt Cook

Leaving the alpine region of Mount Cook, you'll travel through lakeside, goldmining towns and quaint villages. Approaching Queenstown, the Remarkables mountain range comes into view as you arrive into the adventure capital of New Zealand.

SUGGESTED ACTIVITY - Skyline Gondola and Luge 

TSS Earnslaw cruise to Walter Peak including gourmet BBQ dinner and a farm tour 

Go back in time on this return trip to Walter Peak High Country Farm aboard the historic TSS Earnslaw steamship. On disembarking, you’ll be escorted through the beautiful lakeside gardens to the charming Colonel's Homestead. Here you’ll enjoy a Gourmet BBQ dinner which your chef will prepare in front of you. 

Stay overnight in Queenstown

Your final morning in Queenstown before driving to the airport and catching your next flight.

Depending on when your flight departs you might have time for one last Queenstown adventure before dropping your car off at the airport and catching your flight.

Day 1, Arrive Queenstown

Arrive Queenstown

Private transfer Queenstown airport to your hotel

Welcome to Queenstown. You will be met from your flight and transferred to your Queenstown hotel.

Renowned for its adrenaline inducing activities 'Queenstown' is synonymous with adventure. Parked on the shores of Lake Wakatipu this small alpine town is nestled below soaring vistas of The Remarkables Mountain Range. While arguably the brightest gem in New Zealand’s crown, Queenstown offers far more than an action-packed getaway.

Stay 3 nights in Queenstown

Day 2, Explore Queenstown

Explore Queenstown

Nomad Safaris, Safari of the Scenes Wakatipu Basin tour 

For those keen on the Hobbit and Lord of The Rings films, come with us for an unexpectedly delightful journey. In safari-equipped 4WD vehicles, you will be taken on a true off-road adventure.

Shotover Canyon River Jet Boat Adventure 

Riding the iconic ‘Big Red’ Jet Boat through the narrow Shotover Canyon is an exhilarating experience not to be missed. Your skilled jet boat driver pushes the boat to 85 kph, skimming across shallow water and past towering canyon walls. This 25 minute white water ride includes 360 degree spins and maximum thrills.

Day 3, Doubtful Sound Wilderness Cruise from Queenstown

Doubtful Sound Wilderness Cruise from Queenstown

Board a luxury glass-roofed coach in Queenstown for a relaxing trip along the shores of Lake Wakatipu and through the countryside around Te Anau and Manapouri. From Pearl Harbour, Manapouri, you'll cruise across its picturesque Lake to the West Arm, then travel by coach over Wilmot Pass through dense rainforest. There are many opportunities along the way to examine plant life and view the spectacular scenery.

Once at Doubtful Sound you'll head out on the catamaran, Commander Peak, for a 3 hour cruise that reaches to the Tasman Sea. On board there is excellent viewing of waterfalls, rainforest and mountains. An interesting on board commentary keeps you informed and on the return journey, the vessel's engines are turned off and visitors are treated to the ‘Sound of Silence.'

Day 4, Queenstown to Franz Josef Glacier

Queenstown to Franz Josef Glacier

Travel Time: 4 hrs 30 mins

Distance: 350 kms

Collect your rental car 

Queenstown to Franz Josef Glacier (via Wanaka) 

From Queenstown you'll cross the Crown Range - the highest sealed road in New Zealand - to arrive in the Alpine town of Wanaka, gateway to Mt Aspiring national park. Skirting the shores of both Lake Wanaka and Hawea, you will enter the small town of Makarora. Stop at Blue Pools for a ten minute minute walk through native beech forest to a glacier-fed swimming hole. Continue on through the remote seaside settlement of Haast before heading up the wild West Coast - a 600 km stretch of bush and native rainforest. Fox Glacier welcomes you first, a short drive from Franz Josef township.

Stay 2 nights in Franz Josef (or Fox Glacier)

Day 5, Explore the Glaciers

Explore the Glaciers

Twin Glaciers Scenic Helicopter Flight 

Take a spectacular scenic flight over two of New Zealand's most famous glaciers. Land at the head of one and view the incredible sight of this frozen river as it winds its way through ancient carved valleys.

Glacier Hot Pools 

Nestled within the lush rainforest surrounds, the Glacier Hot Pools is a haven of tranquility. Unwind in one of the three main pools or relax in a secluded private oasis. Temperatures range from 36 to 40 degrees and the water comes directly from a glacial stream. Wash off the day and rejuvenate in this unique forest paradise.

Day 6, Franz Josef to Christchurch via Tranz Alpine Scenic Train

Franz Josef to Christchurch via Tranz Alpine Scenic Train

Travel Time: 2 hrs 15 mins

Distance: 173 kms

Franz Josef to Greymouth Train Station 

Today you’ll head north through the historic gold mining region of Hokitika. Continue on to Greymouth, the largest town on the West Coast and the starting point for the next leg of your journey - the Tranz Alpine Scenic Train. Drop your rental car at the Greymouth Train Station depot located inside the train station building before boarding your train to Christchurch.

Tranz Alpine Scenic train Greymouth to Christchurch 

Considered one of the world's great train journeys, the Tranz Alpine scenic train takes you from Greymouth to Christchurch. You'll travel across the South Island through the Arthur's Pass National Park from the west coast to the east.

On arrival into the Christchurch train station you will be met by a private transfer driver and taken to your accommodation.

Stay overnight in Christchurch

Day 7, Christchurch to Akaroa

Christchurch to Akaroa

Travel Time: 1 hrs 20 mins

Distance: 81 kms

Collect your rental car this morning

The Banks Peninsula offers a great contrast to the South Island's largest city. Just around a 1 1/2 hours drive from the city centre are rolling green hills, streams, golden sand beaches and small settlements that offer a unique insight into New Zealand's history and development.

The Harbour itself is teeming with wildlife and a nature cruise is a must do activity. 

Akaroa Harbour Nature Cruise 

A leisurely 2 hour cruise in the sheltered Akaroa Harbour. The highlight of this trip is undoubtedly the sighting of one of the world's smallest and rarest dolphins, the Hector's or New Zealand Dolphin. 

Stay overnight in Akaroa

Day 8, Akaroa to Mt. Cook National Park

Akaroa to Mt. Cook National Park

Travel Time: 4 hrs 50 mins

Distance: 380 kms

Today you head into the heart of the South Island. In Mt. Cook Village a myriad of activities are available from glacier landings by ski plane or helicopter, kayaking on a glacial lake and a host of walks to suit all abilities and time frames. At The Hermitage Hotel the Sir Edmund Hillary Alpine Centre is a must see.

Glacier Explorers Mt. Cook 

Experience 500 year old icebergs up-close on the Mt Cook terminal lake. See towering ice cliffs and floating icebergs from the safety of a specially designed boat. These boats provide a safe way to view unseen and inaccessible areas of New Zealand's largest glacier - The Tasman.

SUGGESTED ACTIVITY - Edmund Hillary Alpine Centre Explorer Pass 

 

Stay overnight at Mt Cook

Day 9, Mt. Cook National Park to Queenstown

Mt. Cook National Park to Queenstown

Travel Time: 3 hrs 10 mins

Distance: 264 kms

Leaving the alpine region of Mount Cook, you'll travel through lakeside, goldmining towns and quaint villages. Approaching Queenstown, the Remarkables mountain range comes into view as you arrive into the adventure capital of New Zealand.

SUGGESTED ACTIVITY - Skyline Gondola and Luge 

TSS Earnslaw cruise to Walter Peak including gourmet BBQ dinner and a farm tour 

Go back in time on this return trip to Walter Peak High Country Farm aboard the historic TSS Earnslaw steamship. On disembarking, you’ll be escorted through the beautiful lakeside gardens to the charming Colonel's Homestead. Here you’ll enjoy a Gourmet BBQ dinner which your chef will prepare in front of you. 

Stay overnight in Queenstown

Day 10, Depart Queenstown

Depart Queenstown

Your final morning in Queenstown before driving to the airport and catching your next flight.

Depending on when your flight departs you might have time for one last Queenstown adventure before dropping your car off at the airport and catching your flight.

Additional Information

Pricing

Cost per Person

 Twin/DoubleFamily Share**
Motel Accommodation from NZ$3,443* per person from NZ$4,879* per person

** Family share is based on 2 adults and 2 children (5-14 years)

* PLEASE NOTE

Price is per person and based on two adults travelling together and sharing a rental car and accommodation.

Prices are estimates only, and are subject to availability and exchange rates when booking, seasonal or holiday price surcharges (such as Christmas/New Year and Easter); as well as special events that may be on. Please forward a request and we will be happy to forward a quote.

Payment

  • Deposit: 20% of the package cost or NZ$250 per person (whichever is the greater) at time of booking
  • Full Payment: 45 Days before travel
  • Airfares (if applicable): Paid in full at the time of booking

Cancellation Charges

  • Cancellation Fees up to 100% can apply after booking. Extra deposits or full payment may be requested to cover these charges prior to booking
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Includes

Includes:

9 nights accommodation

  • 3 nights Queenstown
  • 2 nights Franz Josef/Fox Glacier
  • 1 night Christchurch
  • 1 night Akaroa
  • 1 night Mt Cook
  • 1 night Queenstown

Rental Car Hire

  • Rental car insurance included: Fully inclusive with variable excess/deductible.
  • Rental car inclusions: GPS navigation. unlimited kms,airport/ferry terminal fees, additional drivers.

Private airport and train station transfers

Safari of the Scenes, Wakatipu Basin

Shotover Jet Boat Ride

Doubtful Sound Wilderness Cruise

Twin Glaciers Scenic Helicopter Flight

Entry to Glacier Hot Pools

Tranz Alpine Train from Greymouth to Christchurch

Akaroa Harbour Nature Cruise

Glacier Explorers Tour, Mt Cook

TSS Earnslaw Cruise and Dinner at Walter Peak Station

Options

Itineraries

All itineraries can be amended or combined with other itineraries. Please advise amendments when requesting a quote.

Travel Insurance

If you are going overseas, then travel insurance is a necssity. Compare rates and polices online and get a free travel insurance quote.

Accommodation

There is a choice of accommodation available on all packages, which depending on locations, includes motels, 3 star hotels, 4 star hotels, boutique lodges & hotels and luxury lodges and hotels. We are happy to quote on alternate accommodation requests.

Airfares

International flights can be included from Australia for all Australian residents.

Optional Extras

Edmund Hillary Alpine Centre Explorer Pass, Mt Cook

A tribute to New Zealand's Sir Edmund Hillary - humanitarian, ambassador and one of the world's greatest explorers - the centre showcases the Aoraki Mount Cook region and its people within a comprehensive museum as well as a 126-seat custom-designed theatre and Digital Dome Planetarium.

Skyline Gondola and Luge, Queenstown

In the heart of Queenstown, located 450 metres above town in Ben Lomond Scenic Reserve is the Skyline Complex. Catch a gondola to the summit for awe-inspiring views and delicious local fare with view. Ride the 800 metre luge track, then for added thrill, choose to tandem paraglide back to base.

Highlights

From Queenstown

Safari of the Scenes, Wakatipu Basin

For those keen on the Hobbit and Lord of The Rings films, come with us for an unexpectedly delightful journey. In safari-equipped 4WD vehicles, you will be taken on a true off-road adventure. Experienced guides will take you on a breathtaking excursion through diverse scenery around the Wakatipu Basin. See historic Arrowtown and go over the Arrow River, as well as experiencing the truly remarkable views of the lake and mountain surround from the Skippers Canyon Saddle.

Shotover Jet Boat Ride

Riding the iconic ‘Big Red’ Jet Boat through the narrow Shotover Canyon is an exhilarating experience not to be missed. Your skilled jet boat driver pushes the boat to 85 kph, skimming across shallow water and past towering canyon walls. This 25 minute white water ride includes 360 degree spins and maximum thrills.

Doubtful Sound Wilderness Cruise

From Pearl Harbour, Manapouri, you cruise across picturesque Lake Manapouri to West Arm and then travel by coach over Wilmot Pass through dense rainforest. There are opportunities along the way to examine the plant life and view the spectacular scenery. Once at Doubtful Sound you board the catamaran, Commander Peak, for a 3 hour cruise of beautiful Doubtful Sound to the Tasman Sea. On board there is excellent viewing of waterfalls, rainforest and mountains. Of particular interest, if sighted, are fur seals basking on the rocks, or a resident pod of bottlenose dolphins. Rare Fiordland crested penguins are sometimes encountered in the right season. An interesting on board commentary keeps you informed and on the return journey, the vessel's engines are turned off and visitors are treated to the ‘Sound of Silence'.

TSS Earnslaw Cruise and Dinner at Walter Peak Station

Go back in time on this return trip to Walter Peak High Country Farm aboard the historic TSS Earnslaw steamship. On disembarking, you'll be escorted through the beautiful lakeside gardens to the charming Colonel's Homestead. Here you'll enjoy a Gourmet BBQ dinner which your chef will prepare in front of you. The seasonal menu includes an expansive array of local produce, including succulent meats cooked on the outdoor rotisserie and a selection of delicious vegetables and salads. Finish your meal with an irresistible dessert, New Zealand cheeses and freshly brewed tea and coffee. After dinner, an entertaining and informative demonstration gives you a glimpse of life in the high country. On your cruise home, enjoy the camaraderie of a singalong with the ship's pianist or breathe in the fresh night air as you watch the lights of Queenstown draw nearer.

Explore the Glaciers

Twin Glaciers Scenic Helicopter Flight

Take a spectacular scenic flight over two of New Zealand's most famous glaciers. Land at the head of one and view the incredible sight of this frozen river as it winds its way through ancient carved valleys. Should weather not be suitable to take this flight you are able to transfer your booking onto a similar tour on any of the Helicopter Line's operations in Queenstown or Mt Cook.

Entry to Glacier Hot Pools

Nestled within the lush rainforest surrounds, the Glacier Hot Pools is a haven of tranquility. Unwind in one of the three main pools or relax in a secluded private oasis. Temperatures range from 36 to 40 degrees and the water comes directly from a glacial stream. Wash off the day and rejuvenate in this unique forest paradise.

Tranz Alpine Train from Greymouth to Christchurch

Considered one of the worlds great train journeys, the Tranz Alpine scenic train trip operates between Christchurch and Greynouth and vice versa. Crossing from the Tasman Sea through Arthur's Pass National Park to the Pacific Ocean. From your carriage enjoy views of the lush rain forest of the West Coast to the spectacular mountains of the Southern Alps. Travel through gorges and river valleys of the Waimakariri River.

Akaroa Harbour Nature Cruise

A leisurely 2 hour cruise in the sheltered Akaroa Harbour. Cruising aboard a modern catamaran, the 60 feet / 20 meter Black Cat is perfect for viewing the natural wonders of the harbour. The vessel is the largest and most luxurious on the harbour. There's lots of space on the 2 decks for unimpeded viewing and inside you will find a bar and toilets. The vessel offers comfortable, safe and stable comfort.

Glacier Explorers Tour, Mt Cook

Experience 500 year old icebergs up-close on the Mt Cook terminal lake. The Glacier Explorers tour is the only one of its kind in New Zealand - and one of only three in the world! Very few glaciers terminate into lakes and even fewer of them are accessible. See towering ice cliffs and floating icebergs from the safety of a specially designed boat. These boats provide a safe way to view unseen and inaccessible areas of New Zealand's largest glacier - The Tasman.

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10 Day Mountains, Fiords & Glaciers Family Self Drive

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