Overview

Discover the stunning Akaroa Harbour and its fascinating wildlife, and view Mt. Cook National Park’s glacier lake and mountains before journeying south to spend 3 nights in the resort town of Queenstown on this 10 Day Fiords, Glaciers and Mountain Adventure Family Self Drive tour. Cruise on Lake Wakatipu aboard the TSS Earnslaw, experience adrenaline rush on a jet boat ride on the Shotover River and a 4WD trip with Nomad Safaris.

Look forward to an exciting full day trip on the Doubtful Sound, a real highlight of this tour, then proceed north to the West Coast for an encounter with its extraordinary glaciers and rainforest, and experience a snow landing after a scenic helicopter flight. Cross the Southern Alps aboard TranzAlpine Scenic Train on your way back to Christchurch.

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"Just a quick note to say we had a wonderful trip.  Thanks for your wonderful arrangements.   It made our trip stress free.  We felt like VIPs just walking in places and giving our names and being handed keys or put on boats and buses!   I accidentally left my itinerary at the desk at one of the hotels.  When I went back to get it the next morning the lady there had paged through it, not knowing what it was.  She was impressed with how well it was organized.   I have to agree. We hope to visit New Zealand again next year.  We definitely feel comfortable booking with you again."

- Stacie S.

Christchurch - Akaroa - Mt Cook - Queenstown - Doubtful Sound - Franz Josef - TranzAlpine Train - Christchurch

Map of 10 Day Fiords, Glaciers and Mountain Adventure Family Self Drive
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View itinerary for day 10
Arrival in Christchurch
Christchurch to Akaroa
Akaroa to Mt. Cook National Park
Mt. Cook National Park to Queenstown
Explore Queenstown and surrounds
Doubtful Sound Wilderness Cruise from Queenstown
Queenstown to Franz Josef Glacier (via Wanaka)
Explore the Glaciers
TranzAlpine Train from Greymouth to Christchurch
Depart Christchurch

Day 1

Arrival in Christchurch

Day 2

Christchurch to Akaroa

Travel Time: 1 hr

Distance: 71 kms

Day 3

Akaroa to Mt. Cook National Park

Travel Time: 4 hrs 45 mins

Distance: 383 kms

Day 4

Mt. Cook National Park to Queenstown

Travel Time: 3 hrs

Distance: 256 kms

Day 5

Explore Queenstown and surrounds

Day 6

Doubtful Sound Wilderness Cruise from Queenstown

Day 7

Queenstown to Franz Josef Glacier (via Wanaka)

Travel Time: 4 hrs 40 mins

Distance: 350 kms

Day 8

Explore the Glaciers

Day 9

TranzAlpine Train from Greymouth to Christchurch

Travel Time: 2 hrs 10 mins

Distance: 170 kms

Day 10

Depart Christchurch

Private transfer Christchurch airport to your accommodation
On arrival you will be met by a private driver and delivered to your Christchurch accommodation.

Welcome to Christchurch City
Christchurch, New Zealand's garden city is steadily being transformed into a vibrant urban destination. Encompassing a large green belt, it is known for its wide tree lined avenues and lush gardens. Take the double decker hop on/hop off bus for an easy way to see the sights - or ride a historic tram across town to the renowned botanic gardens and the unique cardboard Transitional Cathedral.

Stay 1 night Christchurch

Collect your rental car

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.

Just on the other side of the Port Hills is Lyttelton, a busy port town that was crucial to the development of Christchurch and the Canterbury Plains. Following the road around the beautiful natural harbour the names, such as Magazine Bay, Battery Point, Corsair Point and Governers Bay, remind of the importance the navy placed on this harbour.

The Harbour itself is teeming with wildlife and a nature cruise is a must do activity. One of the world's smallest and rarest dolphins, hectors dolphin, are often seen and cruises also offer excursions with the chance to swim amongst them.

Included - Akaroa Harbour Nature Cruise

Stay 1 night Akaroa

Today you head into the heart of the South Island. Crossing the vast Canterbury Plains along the inland scenic route the first township of Geraldine offers an ideal refreshment stop before you head into Mackenzie country.

Passing through places such as Beautiful Valley, Burkes Pass and onto the high country plateau and the picturesque town of Lake Tekapo, the first of the large Southern Lakes.

Lake Pukaki is just another 30 minutes from Lake Tekapo and its from here you can be rewarded with spectacular views the full length of the lake and into Mt. Cook National Park. 

Included - 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 - the gliding capital of New Zealand. Continue on over the Lindis Pass, one of New Zealand’s highest roads with a summit of 971 metres. Arrive in the quaint village of Tarras, then continue on a short way to the historic Bendigo Reserve, one of Otago’s original gold mining settlements.

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

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

Stay 3 nights Queenstown

Nomad Safaris, Safari of the Scenes Wakatipu Basin tour

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 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. You'll also see fur seals basking on the rocks and if you're lucky - 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.'

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 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

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 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. Known for its Greenstone (Pounamu) this seaside town has a rich history dating back to the 1860’s. Head to the coast and take in the endless sea-views or pick up a souvenir at one of the many craft shops. 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.

INCLUDED: Tranz Alpine Scenic train Greymouth to Christchurch
On arrival into the Christchurch train station you will be met by a private transfer driver and taken to your accommodation.

Stay 1 night Christchurch

Private transfer to Christchurch airport
You will be collected from your accommodation and a private transfer will deliver you to Christchurch airport in time for your departing flight.

Day 1, Arrival in Christchurch

Arrival in Christchurch

Private transfer Christchurch airport to your accommodation
On arrival you will be met by a private driver and delivered to your Christchurch accommodation.

Welcome to Christchurch City
Christchurch, New Zealand's garden city is steadily being transformed into a vibrant urban destination. Encompassing a large green belt, it is known for its wide tree lined avenues and lush gardens. Take the double decker hop on/hop off bus for an easy way to see the sights - or ride a historic tram across town to the renowned botanic gardens and the unique cardboard Transitional Cathedral.

Stay 1 night Christchurch

Day 2, Christchurch to Akaroa

Christchurch to Akaroa

Travel Time: 1 hr

Distance: 71 kms

Collect your rental car

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.

Just on the other side of the Port Hills is Lyttelton, a busy port town that was crucial to the development of Christchurch and the Canterbury Plains. Following the road around the beautiful natural harbour the names, such as Magazine Bay, Battery Point, Corsair Point and Governers Bay, remind of the importance the navy placed on this harbour.

The Harbour itself is teeming with wildlife and a nature cruise is a must do activity. One of the world's smallest and rarest dolphins, hectors dolphin, are often seen and cruises also offer excursions with the chance to swim amongst them.

Included - Akaroa Harbour Nature Cruise

Stay 1 night Akaroa

Day 3, Akaroa to Mt. Cook National Park

Akaroa to Mt. Cook National Park

Travel Time: 4 hrs 45 mins

Distance: 383 kms

Today you head into the heart of the South Island. Crossing the vast Canterbury Plains along the inland scenic route the first township of Geraldine offers an ideal refreshment stop before you head into Mackenzie country.

Passing through places such as Beautiful Valley, Burkes Pass and onto the high country plateau and the picturesque town of Lake Tekapo, the first of the large Southern Lakes.

Lake Pukaki is just another 30 minutes from Lake Tekapo and its from here you can be rewarded with spectacular views the full length of the lake and into Mt. Cook National Park. 

Included - Glacier Explorers Mt. Cook

Stay 1 night Mt Cook

Day 4, Mt. Cook National Park to Queenstown

Mt. Cook National Park 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 - the gliding capital of New Zealand. Continue on over the Lindis Pass, one of New Zealand’s highest roads with a summit of 971 metres. Arrive in the quaint village of Tarras, then continue on a short way to the historic Bendigo Reserve, one of Otago’s original gold mining settlements.

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

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

Stay 3 nights Queenstown

Day 5, Explore Queenstown and surrounds

Explore Queenstown and surrounds

Nomad Safaris, Safari of the Scenes Wakatipu Basin tour

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 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 6, 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. You'll also see fur seals basking on the rocks and if you're lucky - 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.'

Day 7, Queenstown to Franz Josef Glacier (via Wanaka)

Queenstown to Franz Josef Glacier (via Wanaka)

Travel Time: 4 hrs 40 mins

Distance: 350 kms

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 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

Day 8, 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. 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 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 9, TranzAlpine Train from Greymouth to Christchurch

TranzAlpine Train from Greymouth to Christchurch

Travel Time: 2 hrs 10 mins

Distance: 170 kms

Franz Josef to Greymouth Train Station
Today you’ll head north through the historic gold mining region of Hokitika. Known for its Greenstone (Pounamu) this seaside town has a rich history dating back to the 1860’s. Head to the coast and take in the endless sea-views or pick up a souvenir at one of the many craft shops. 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.

INCLUDED: Tranz Alpine Scenic train Greymouth to Christchurch
On arrival into the Christchurch train station you will be met by a private transfer driver and taken to your accommodation.

Stay 1 night Christchurch

Day 10, Depart Christchurch

Depart Christchurch

Private transfer to Christchurch airport
You will be collected from your accommodation and a private transfer will deliver you to Christchurch airport in time for your departing flight.

Additional Information

Pricing

Cost per Person

 Twin/DoubleFamily**
Motel Accommodation from NZ$3,790* per person from NZ$2,735* per person

**Family rate based on 2 adults and 2 children (5-14 years) and a compact SUV (CFAR)

*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

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

 8 days 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

TranzAlpine Train

Akaroa Harbour Nature Cruise

Glacier Explorers Tour, Mt Cook National Park

Shotover jet boat ride

TSS Earnslaw cruise and dinner at Walter Peak high country farm

Safari of the Scenes Wakatipu Basin tour

Doubtful Sound Wilderness Cruise

Entry to Glacier Hot Pools

Twin Glaciers Scenic Helicopter Flight

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 resident

Highlights

Christchurch - Akaroa - Mt Cook - Queenstown - Doubtful Sound - Franz Josef - TranzAlpine Train - Christchurch

From Akaroa

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. 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. These friendly and inquisitive mammals meet the boat most days throughout the year and their calves can be seen between October and March. Also on the trip you will catch glimpses of the White Flippered Blue Penguin, the smallest penguin in the world. There are many different bird species in the harbour, including five different cormorant species and the chance of sighting the endangered yellow-eyed penguin. You'll also see the New Zealand Fur Seal sunning themselves on the harbours rocks near the entrance at Seal Bay and you also get to stop at Lucas Bay to see at a salmon farm where thousands of salmon from fingerlings to adult fish are farmed in a series of cages. This is where the world-famous 'Akaroa Salmon' are raised.

From Mt Cook

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

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

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 & 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.

Nomad Safaris, Safari of the Scenes Wakatipu Basin tour, Queenstown

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 Canyon River Jet Boat Adventure, Queenstown

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

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.

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 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 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.
From the comfort of your carriage see lush beech forest, deep river valleys and the spectacular peaks of the Southern Alps. Descend to the windswept Canterbury Plains before arriving in the city of Christchurch.

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10 Day Fiords, Glaciers and Mountain Adventure Family Self Drive

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