Overview

Starting in Queenstown, make your way to the West Coast and get up close to the fascinating glaciers. Here you will spend two nights, giving you enough time to take one of the many guided walk options or scenic flights. Departing Greymouth, you board the TranzAlpine Scenic Train to Christchurch where you enjoy a full day’s tour of this inspiring city.

Afterward, head south to Mt. Cook National Park, famous as the training ground of Sir Edmund Hillary for his climb at Mt. Everest. Make your way back to Queenstown, enjoying some downtime to reflect on your travel and to engage in one of the many activities this adventure capital is famous for.

Itineraries

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

Queenstown - Franz Josef - Christchurch - Aoraki/Mt. Cook - Queenstown

Map of 9 Day Southern Explorer Self Drive from Queenstown
View itinerary for day 1
View itinerary for day 2
View itinerary for day 3
View itinerary for day 4
View itinerary for day 5
View itinerary for day 6
View itinerary for day 7
View itinerary for day 8
View itinerary for day 9
Arrive Queenstown
Queenstown to Franz Josef Glacier
Explore Franz Josef Glacier
Franz Josef - Tranz Alpine Train - Christchurch
Explore Christchurch
Christchurch to Mt. Cook National Park
Mt. Cook to Queenstown
Explore Queenstown and surrounds
Depart Queenstown

Day 1

Arrive Queenstown

Day 2

Queenstown to Franz Josef Glacier

Travel Time: 4hrs 25min

Distance: 344 kms

Day 3

Explore Franz Josef Glacier

Day 4

Franz Josef - Tranz Alpine Train - Christchurch

Travel Time: 2 hrs 10 mins

Distance: 170 kms

Day 5

Explore Christchurch

Day 6

Christchurch to Mt. Cook National Park

Travel Time: 4 hrs 10 mins

Distance: 350 kms

Day 7

Mt. Cook to Queenstown

Travel Time: 3 hrs

Distance: 256 kms

Day 8

Explore Queenstown and surrounds

Day 9

Depart Queenstown

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

Welcome to Queenstown
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. 

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

Stay 1 night Queenstown

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, then comes your destination for the night - Franz Josef township.

Stay 2 nights Franz Josef Glacier

Franz Josef is small but lively town in the heart of the West Coast, known for its 12 km long glacier. Surrounded by lush rainforest-clad mountains the township has a vibrant and bustling atmosphere. To see the ice up close walk along the valley floor to the terminal face without a guide. However, to go on the glacier itself or get within 100m you must take a licensed tour. Strap on some crampons and give it a go with Franz Josef Glacier Guides or take the easier option and book in a helicopter landing instead. Whichever way you choose to ascend, once on top you’ll have the chance to explore the crevasses, caves and ice flows.

SUGGESTED ACTIVITY - Franz Josef Glacier Valley Walk

SUGGESTED ACTIVITY - Twin Glaciers Scenic Helicopter Flight

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. 

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 2 nights Christchurch

Collect your rental car

Explore Christchurch City
Following the 2011 earthquake that razed its centre and much of the outlying suburbs, Christchurch is well into a billion-dollar makeover. In the middle of the Canterbury Plains, bordering the pacific ocean, New Zealand’s newest city is an ideal gateway to exploring the middle of the South.

SUGGESTED ACTIVITY - Christchurch Grand Tour

Today you’ll drive through the heart of the South Island, crossing the vast Canterbury plains. Catch your breath in Geraldine before continuing through Fairlie. Ascending Burkes pass you'll come to the picturesque lakeside town of Tekapo.

Follow the road and take in the view of Aoraki Mt Cook (New Zealand's tallest mountain) from the shores of Lake Pukaki, known for its glacier fed turquoise blue color. Continue along the lake to your final destination Mt Cook Village.

SUGGESTED ACTIVITY - Glacier Explorers Mt. Cook

Stay 1 night Mt. Cook

Leaving the alpine region of Mount Cook, you'll travel through the lakeside town of Twizel, then a little further to Omarama. Continue on over the Lindis Pass and arrive in the quaint village of Tarras, then continue on a short way to the historic Bendigo Reserve.

Follow the road to Cromwell, and keep going through the sheer cliffs of the Kawarau Gorge towards the Gibbston Valley. Approaching Queenstown, the Remarkables mountain range comes into view as you arrive into the adventure capital of New Zealand.

Stay 2 nights 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. 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.

Explore Queenstown and surrounds
 Settled on the shores of Lake Wakatipu beneath a soaring panorama of the Remarkables Mountain Range, this alpine town is surrounded by a plethora of historic, gastronomic and scenic wonders.

SUGGESTED ACTIVITY - Dart River Wilderness Safari

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

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

Welcome to Queenstown
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. 

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

Stay 1 night Queenstown

Day 2, Queenstown to Franz Josef Glacier

Queenstown to Franz Josef Glacier

Travel Time: 4hrs 25min

Distance: 344 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, then comes your destination for the night - Franz Josef township.

Stay 2 nights Franz Josef Glacier

Day 3, Explore Franz Josef Glacier

Explore Franz Josef Glacier

Franz Josef is small but lively town in the heart of the West Coast, known for its 12 km long glacier. Surrounded by lush rainforest-clad mountains the township has a vibrant and bustling atmosphere. To see the ice up close walk along the valley floor to the terminal face without a guide. However, to go on the glacier itself or get within 100m you must take a licensed tour. Strap on some crampons and give it a go with Franz Josef Glacier Guides or take the easier option and book in a helicopter landing instead. Whichever way you choose to ascend, once on top you’ll have the chance to explore the crevasses, caves and ice flows.

SUGGESTED ACTIVITY - Franz Josef Glacier Valley Walk

SUGGESTED ACTIVITY - Twin Glaciers Scenic Helicopter Flight

Day 4, Franz Josef - Tranz Alpine Train - Christchurch

Franz Josef - Tranz Alpine Train - Christchurch

Travel Time: 2 hrs 10 mins

Distance: 170 kms

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. 

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 2 nights Christchurch

Day 5, Explore Christchurch

Explore Christchurch

Collect your rental car

Explore Christchurch City
Following the 2011 earthquake that razed its centre and much of the outlying suburbs, Christchurch is well into a billion-dollar makeover. In the middle of the Canterbury Plains, bordering the pacific ocean, New Zealand’s newest city is an ideal gateway to exploring the middle of the South.

SUGGESTED ACTIVITY - Christchurch Grand Tour

Day 6, Christchurch to Mt. Cook National Park

Christchurch to Mt. Cook National Park

Travel Time: 4 hrs 10 mins

Distance: 350 kms

Today you’ll drive through the heart of the South Island, crossing the vast Canterbury plains. Catch your breath in Geraldine before continuing through Fairlie. Ascending Burkes pass you'll come to the picturesque lakeside town of Tekapo.

Follow the road and take in the view of Aoraki Mt Cook (New Zealand's tallest mountain) from the shores of Lake Pukaki, known for its glacier fed turquoise blue color. Continue along the lake to your final destination Mt Cook Village.

SUGGESTED ACTIVITY - Glacier Explorers Mt. Cook

Stay 1 night Mt. Cook

Day 7, Mt. Cook to Queenstown

Mt. Cook to Queenstown

Travel Time: 3 hrs

Distance: 256 kms

Leaving the alpine region of Mount Cook, you'll travel through the lakeside town of Twizel, then a little further to Omarama. Continue on over the Lindis Pass and arrive in the quaint village of Tarras, then continue on a short way to the historic Bendigo Reserve.

Follow the road to Cromwell, and keep going through the sheer cliffs of the Kawarau Gorge towards the Gibbston Valley. Approaching Queenstown, the Remarkables mountain range comes into view as you arrive into the adventure capital of New Zealand.

Stay 2 nights Queenstown

Day 8, Explore Queenstown and surrounds

Explore Queenstown and surrounds

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. 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.

Explore Queenstown and surrounds
 Settled on the shores of Lake Wakatipu beneath a soaring panorama of the Remarkables Mountain Range, this alpine town is surrounded by a plethora of historic, gastronomic and scenic wonders.

SUGGESTED ACTIVITY - Dart River Wilderness Safari

Day 9, Depart Queenstown

Depart Queenstown

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/Double
Motel Accommodation from NZ$1,939* per person

* PLEASE NOTE

Price is based on two adults sharing a rental car and accommodation (twin/double-share).

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
Currency Converter

Includes

Includes:

8 nights accommodation

  • 1 night Queenstown
  • 2 nights Franz Josef Glacier
  • 2 nights Christchurch
  • 1 night Mt Cook
  • 2 nights 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

Tranz Alpine Train from Greymouth to Christchurch

Safari of the Scenes Wakatipu Basin tour

Options

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

Christchurch Grand Tour

Hop aboard the Grand Tour luxury coach for an interactive guided journey around Christchurch. See the best of this port city including beautiful parks, gardens, seaside suburbs and hills. You will learn about its history and future plans for the well under way multi-billion dollar rebuild following the devastating earthquakes of 2010 and 2011. Included in the tour are four of Christchurch's premier attractions - punting on the Avon, the Caterpillar Botanic Gardens tour, the Christchurch Gondola and a hop-on hop-off ticket for the heritage Tram.

Monteiths Brewery Personalised Bottle & Tour, Greymouth

From humble origins in 1868, the Monteith's family-owned Phoenix Brewery became the West Coast's most popular brewery for its strong tasting, full-bodied ale. The Phoenix Brewery later merged with a group of small breweries to form Westland Brewing Company, predecessor to today's Monteith's Brewing Company. In this informative brewery experience, you will learn about the heritage and traditions of the brewing business. Witness the making of a fine beer in open fermenters by coal-fired boilers, using only the finest ingredients. Watch the brewers carefully hand craft the beer in small batches to develop the full natural flavours. When each batch is ready, the brewers employ a brilliant time honoured tradition for quality control - they taste it.

From Franz Josef

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.

Glacier Valley Walk

On this relaxing walk, you'll wander through regenerating rainforest alongside the Waiho Riverbed, following the path of the glacier as it winds its way through the landscape. Learn about the glacier's history and role in shaping this remarkable area. As you approach the terminal face, you'll have the chance to venture beyond the public barriers and see this magnificent river of ice up close. You'll also have the chance to access exclusive trails and hear the Maori legend of Ka Roimata O Hine Hukatere.

Glacier Explorers, 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.

From Queenstown

Dart River Wilderness Safari

Take a one and a half hour jet boat safari through the remote wilderness of Mt Aspiring National Park. Home to towering mountains, alpine bush, glacial lakes and icy rivers, this spectacular trip is considered one of the most scenic in the world. Following your boat journey, take a 40 minute walk through ancient beech forests over 80 million years old. Learn about the area and its history before taking a four wheel drive coach on a 50 minute journey to the isolated hamlet of Paradise - home to many Lord of the Rings filming locations.

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. 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.

Highlights

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.

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. 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.

Book now, pay later No credit card required

9 Day Southern Explorer Self Drive from Queenstown

Fields marked with * are required

If you see this field, please leave it blank and invest in CSS support.

Your Details

(e.g +44 208 123456)

Additional Extras

Accommodation & Transport

Flights

Other Passengers

Please list the full name(s) of each passenger travelling with you.

General Information

Please specify if you wish to include any tour options or extra days & if you have any special requirements. e.g dietary, physical, medical; and (if available) advise arrival and departure flight details in New Zealand.