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10 Day Southern Icons Independent Coach Tour

Days
10

Pricing From
$3387

South Island
Book Now

Overview

10 Day Southern Icons new zealand independent coach tour mapThe 10 Day Southern Icons Independent Coach Tour is one of our most popular tours, visiting some of the best attractions in South Island of New Zealand. Explore famous locations like the Milford Sound and Franz Josef Glaciers, plus get on board the famous TranzAlpine Train.

Flexible Itineraries and Daily Departures

Our New Zealand Independent coach tours can be adapted or extended according to your requirements. You can start anytime and if you want to stay longer at any place on the itinerary, let us know, ALL itineraries can be amended.

If you do not find a Tour that suits you, just ask us to provide you with a personalised coach touring holiday.

Looking for a fully escorted coach tour? Check out our guided departures here!

Southern Icons Independent Coach Tour

TranzAlpine Train

Southern Icons Independent Coach Tour

Milford Sound Cruise

Southern Icons Independent Coach Tour

Mt Cook National Park

Southern Icons Independent Coach Tour

Larnach Castle, Dunedin

Itinerary

Open All
Day 1Arrive in Christchurch

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

SUGGESTED ACTIVITY - Christchurch Hop On Hop Off City Tour - 24 hour ticket
Discover the true magic of city sightseeing on-board this city tour bus. With a mix of open and closed top buses, you will ride in comfort and style, enjoying spectacular views. Join friendly local guides as they take you on a journey of discovery through Christchurch. Listen to "live" entertaining and informative commentary and learn about the fascinating history, from pioneering days to modern times.

Day 2Christchurch to Mt. Cook National Park

Christchurch to Mt. Cook National Park 

Today you head into the heart of the South Island. Crossing the vast Canterbury Plains you head into Mackenzie country. Ascending Burkes Pass, you'll enter New Zealand's high country. The picturesque town of Lake Tekapo, is the first of the large Southern Lakes on your journey and enjoy a short stop here to enjoy the picturesque lake and one of the most photographed buildings in the country, the Church of the Good Shepherd. Continue onto Lake Pukaki and on clear days you will be rewarded with spectacular views of Mt Cook, towering over the lake. The spectacular scenic drive along the lake delivers you into the heart of the national park and Mt. Cook Village. Please note there are no food or shops at Mount Cook you will need to stock up prior to arriving in Mount Cook if you wish to self cater.

Edmund Hillary Alpine Centre Explorer Pass

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.

Day 3Mt. Cook to Dunedin

SUGGESTED ACTIVITY - 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.

Mt Cook to Dunedin with Iconic

In the afternoon you will be picked up from your accommodation in Mt Cook Village for the journey through to Dunedin. Along the way you stop for a short break in Omarama, then onto Oamaru for a scenic tour of the historic Whitestone Prectinct. You will then enjoy a guided walk along Koekohe Beach at Moeraki Boulders before reaching Dunedin, where you will be dropped off at your accommodation.

Day 4Explore Dunedin

Otago Peninsula Wildlife full day tour including Larnach Castle

Enjoy a scenic Otago Peninsula tour by bus seeing various species of wading birds in their natural habitats. Experience a guided tour at the Royal Albatross This premier package includes the full Otago Harbour and Taiaroa Head wildlife cruise, scenic Otago Peninsula bus tour, and guided tours of the Royal Albatross Colony, the Yellow Eyed Penguin Reserve and a visit to wading bird habitats. Also includes a tour of Larnach Castle, one of Dunedin's great landmarks.

Day 5Dunedin to Te Anau

SUGGESTED ACTIVITY - Larnach Castle and Gardens
Larnach is New Zealand's only Castle, built in 1871 by politician and merchant, William Larnach, a man of great vision who helped shape New Zealands early history. It was built for William's beloved first wife Eliza, it took 200 workmen three years to build the shell and a further twelve years were spent by master craftsman to embellish the interior. It's located high up on the Otago Peninsula and looks down on Dunedin city giving beautiful views. The gardens have International Garden of Significance status and have a unique collection of specialised areas for you to explore. The Ballroom cafe is a fantastic place to rest and reflect on all you have seen while enjoying a delicious range of refreshments. As with the entire castle, the ballroom had an interesting and varied history prior to its beautiful restoration, uses ranged from a lunatic asylum, antique sales room to the penning of sheep.

Dunedin accommodation to coach stop transfer
You will be collected from your accommodation and transferred to the coach stop in time for your departure.

Dunedin to Te Anau by Intercity coach

Enjoy this scenic coach trip across the magnificent Southland Countryside from the Edinburgh of the South, Dunedin, to Te Anau, gateway to Fiordland National Park

Private Transfer - Te Anau Coach Depot to Accommodation

On arrival min Te Anau, you will be met by a representative from Trips and Tramps and transferred to your Te Anau accommodation. Please advise your driver your transfer is pre-paid.

Day 6Milford Sound Nature Cruise

Milford Sound Nature Cruise with return luxury coach transfers from Te Anau, and onto Queenstown
From Te Anau, you travel by coach along the spectacular Milford Road. Photo stops are made on the way into Milford, with additional photo stops and a short walk on the return journey. Real Journeys experienced drivers enjoy sharing their knowledge of the area. On reaching Milford Sound, you join a Nature Cruise for a leisurely cruise the full-length of Milford Sound to the Tasman Sea. The cruise provides excellent viewing opportunities and plenty of time is available to enjoy waterfalls, rainforest, mountains and wildlife. A nature guide provides fascinating interpretation throughout the cruise. Lunch options and complimentary tea and coffee are available on board the vessel.

Milford Sound

Milford Sound is the best known of the sounds that lie throughout Fiordland National Park and is also the only fiord accessible by road. Sheer cliffs starting hundreds of metres below the waters surface rise spectacularly to the sky. It is 16 kilometres from the head of the fiord to the open sea and Real Journeys cruise ships will take you there and back comfortably in around 2 hours. Dolphins and seals can often be seen, and following a large downpour the waterfalls that line the fiords are magnificent, particularly the 146 metre high Stirling Falls.

The cruise

An extended and leisurely cruise of Milford Sound on board a modern vessel, purpose built for operating in a fiord environment. Designed along the lines of a traditional trading scow, they have real character. These relaxing cruises have special appeal for the independent traveller and an on board nature guide provides detailed interpretation and commentary. There is plenty of time available to explore points of interest and to view the stunning scenery, including waterfalls, rainforest and the towering peaks. Keep a lookout for dolphins, seals and penguins. Includes picnic boxed lunch.

Day 7Free Day in Queenstown

Although celebrated as New Zealand's ‘adventure capital’ Queenstown offers far more than a fast paced action-packed holiday. 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. Head down the Gibbston valley wine trail to sample some of the region’s best Pinot or catch a ride on the 100 year old Steamship - the TSS Earnslaw - to Walter Peak Station for dinner and a farm tour. Browse the waterfront cafes and have lunch at Michelin star chef Josh Emett's ‘Rata.’ Check out nearby historic Arrowtown and enhance your experience with a four wheel drive trip to Macetown. Take a leisurely lakeside stroll or ride the gondola for breathtaking views. Venture further afield into the Fiordland National Park or head over the Crown Range to Wanaka. Drive through Lord Of The Rings country - or for the really fanatic, jump aboard one of many dedicated LOTR tours. And after all of that - if you do really want the adrenaline rush Queenstown is known for, take your pick from the Shotover Jet, Nevis Bungy, Canyon Swing, Zipline, Luge or White Water rafting.

SUGGESTED ACTIVITY - 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.

SUGGESTED ACTIVITY - Skyline Gondola, Kiwi Haka and Buffet Dinner
Located 450 metres above the heart of Queenstown is the Skyline Gondola complex. Take in the awe-inspiring views as you ride the fully enclosed gondola car to the viewing decks, restaurant and gift shop complex. See a traditional Maori Haka performance followed by a gourmet buffet dinner at the Stratosfare restaurant. Inspired by iconic kiwi fare as well as international cuisine, there is something for everyone when you dine up here.

Day 8Queenstown to Franz Josef Glacier

Queenstown to Franz Josef Glacier
Depart Queenstown by coach passing through Cromwell, Wanaka and Hawea before travelling over the magnificent Haast Pass into Westland. On arrival transfer to your accommodation. A local shuttle is available to take you to the glacier base where you can enjoy some short walks and magnificent views. Perhaps take a scenic helicopter flight for the ultimate view. Spectacular photo opportunities abound of these huge ice masses. Watch out for keas (native parrots) and their inquisitive cheeky play.

Glacier Valley shuttle
You will be met at your accommodation by a representative from Glacier Valley Eco Tours and taken on a short tour to view the glacier. Your shuttle vehicle will transfer you up the Franz Josef valley to the road end. Here you will have the opportunity to walk to view the glacier from a viewing platform. Or enjoy one of the short walks available in this area. You will be returned to your accommodation by the Glacier Valley Eco Tours shuttle.

Day 9Franz Josef to Christchurch via TranzAlpine Train

Franz Josef to Greymouth Train Station
This morning travel north through the small townships of Whataroa and Harihari. Stop at the Bushman's Centre for refreshments and a chance to experience a bit of West Coast humour. Continue through the township of Ross, which in the late 1800s was the centre of one of New Zealand's richest alluvial goldfields. In 1903 the largest gold nugget ever found in New Zealand was discovered at Jones Creek, not far from the town centre. It weighed 2807 grams. The New Zealand Government later purchased the nugget and presented it as a coronation gift to King George V. On arrival into Hokitika there is time to purchase lunch, walk around the town centre, to view the greenstone factories, visit the woodworking studio, or just relax and enjoy the windswept coast. Hokitika is the administrative and commercial centre for this part of Westland. The major primary industry is timber milling. Dairy and sheep farming, commercial fishing, white baiting and eel processing being the other major industries. Continue onto Greymouth Railway Station from where you catch the world famous Tranz Alpine train across the Southern Alps 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.

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.

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

Day 10Depart 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.

PRICE PER PERSON (TWIN SHARE)

  • 3-Star Accommodation: from NZ$3,387*

* PLEASE NOTE

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.

Prices quoted are per person and are room only. Prices do not include meals. Twin share is based on 2people traveling together and sharing one rooms. Single room and triple share prices are available.

PAYMENT

  • Deposit: 20% of the package cost or NZ$250 per person (whichever is the greater) at time of booking
  • Full Payment: 60 Days before travel
  • Airfares (if applicable): Paid in full no more than 6 days after 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

Itinerary

Open All
Day 1Arrive in Christchurch

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

SUGGESTED ACTIVITY - Christchurch Hop On Hop Off City Tour - 24 hour ticket
Discover the true magic of city sightseeing on-board this city tour bus. With a mix of open and closed top buses, you will ride in comfort and style, enjoying spectacular views. Join friendly local guides as they take you on a journey of discovery through Christchurch. Listen to "live" entertaining and informative commentary and learn about the fascinating history, from pioneering days to modern times.

Day 2Christchurch to Mt. Cook National Park

Christchurch to Mt. Cook National Park 

Today you head into the heart of the South Island. Crossing the vast Canterbury Plains you head into Mackenzie country. Ascending Burkes Pass, you'll enter New Zealand's high country. The picturesque town of Lake Tekapo, is the first of the large Southern Lakes on your journey and enjoy a short stop here to enjoy the picturesque lake and one of the most photographed buildings in the country, the Church of the Good Shepherd. Continue onto Lake Pukaki and on clear days you will be rewarded with spectacular views of Mt Cook, towering over the lake. The spectacular scenic drive along the lake delivers you into the heart of the national park and Mt. Cook Village. Please note there are no food or shops at Mount Cook you will need to stock up prior to arriving in Mount Cook if you wish to self cater.

Edmund Hillary Alpine Centre Explorer Pass

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.

Day 3Mt. Cook to Dunedin

SUGGESTED ACTIVITY - 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.

Mt Cook to Dunedin with Iconic

In the afternoon you will be picked up from your accommodation in Mt Cook Village for the journey through to Dunedin. Along the way you stop for a short break in Omarama, then onto Oamaru for a scenic tour of the historic Whitestone Prectinct. You will then enjoy a guided walk along Koekohe Beach at Moeraki Boulders before reaching Dunedin, where you will be dropped off at your accommodation.

Day 4Explore Dunedin

Otago Peninsula Wildlife full day tour including Larnach Castle

Enjoy a scenic Otago Peninsula tour by bus seeing various species of wading birds in their natural habitats. Experience a guided tour at the Royal Albatross This premier package includes the full Otago Harbour and Taiaroa Head wildlife cruise, scenic Otago Peninsula bus tour, and guided tours of the Royal Albatross Colony, the Yellow Eyed Penguin Reserve and a visit to wading bird habitats. Also includes a tour of Larnach Castle, one of Dunedin's great landmarks.

Day 5Dunedin to Te Anau

SUGGESTED ACTIVITY - Larnach Castle and Gardens
Larnach is New Zealand's only Castle, built in 1871 by politician and merchant, William Larnach, a man of great vision who helped shape New Zealands early history. It was built for William's beloved first wife Eliza, it took 200 workmen three years to build the shell and a further twelve years were spent by master craftsman to embellish the interior. It's located high up on the Otago Peninsula and looks down on Dunedin city giving beautiful views. The gardens have International Garden of Significance status and have a unique collection of specialised areas for you to explore. The Ballroom cafe is a fantastic place to rest and reflect on all you have seen while enjoying a delicious range of refreshments. As with the entire castle, the ballroom had an interesting and varied history prior to its beautiful restoration, uses ranged from a lunatic asylum, antique sales room to the penning of sheep.

Dunedin accommodation to coach stop transfer
You will be collected from your accommodation and transferred to the coach stop in time for your departure.

Dunedin to Te Anau by Intercity coach

Enjoy this scenic coach trip across the magnificent Southland Countryside from the Edinburgh of the South, Dunedin, to Te Anau, gateway to Fiordland National Park

Private Transfer - Te Anau Coach Depot to Accommodation

On arrival min Te Anau, you will be met by a representative from Trips and Tramps and transferred to your Te Anau accommodation. Please advise your driver your transfer is pre-paid.

Day 6Milford Sound Nature Cruise

Milford Sound Nature Cruise with return luxury coach transfers from Te Anau, and onto Queenstown
From Te Anau, you travel by coach along the spectacular Milford Road. Photo stops are made on the way into Milford, with additional photo stops and a short walk on the return journey. Real Journeys experienced drivers enjoy sharing their knowledge of the area. On reaching Milford Sound, you join a Nature Cruise for a leisurely cruise the full-length of Milford Sound to the Tasman Sea. The cruise provides excellent viewing opportunities and plenty of time is available to enjoy waterfalls, rainforest, mountains and wildlife. A nature guide provides fascinating interpretation throughout the cruise. Lunch options and complimentary tea and coffee are available on board the vessel.

Milford Sound

Milford Sound is the best known of the sounds that lie throughout Fiordland National Park and is also the only fiord accessible by road. Sheer cliffs starting hundreds of metres below the waters surface rise spectacularly to the sky. It is 16 kilometres from the head of the fiord to the open sea and Real Journeys cruise ships will take you there and back comfortably in around 2 hours. Dolphins and seals can often be seen, and following a large downpour the waterfalls that line the fiords are magnificent, particularly the 146 metre high Stirling Falls.

The cruise

An extended and leisurely cruise of Milford Sound on board a modern vessel, purpose built for operating in a fiord environment. Designed along the lines of a traditional trading scow, they have real character. These relaxing cruises have special appeal for the independent traveller and an on board nature guide provides detailed interpretation and commentary. There is plenty of time available to explore points of interest and to view the stunning scenery, including waterfalls, rainforest and the towering peaks. Keep a lookout for dolphins, seals and penguins. Includes picnic boxed lunch.

Day 7Free Day in Queenstown

Although celebrated as New Zealand's ‘adventure capital’ Queenstown offers far more than a fast paced action-packed holiday. 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. Head down the Gibbston valley wine trail to sample some of the region’s best Pinot or catch a ride on the 100 year old Steamship - the TSS Earnslaw - to Walter Peak Station for dinner and a farm tour. Browse the waterfront cafes and have lunch at Michelin star chef Josh Emett's ‘Rata.’ Check out nearby historic Arrowtown and enhance your experience with a four wheel drive trip to Macetown. Take a leisurely lakeside stroll or ride the gondola for breathtaking views. Venture further afield into the Fiordland National Park or head over the Crown Range to Wanaka. Drive through Lord Of The Rings country - or for the really fanatic, jump aboard one of many dedicated LOTR tours. And after all of that - if you do really want the adrenaline rush Queenstown is known for, take your pick from the Shotover Jet, Nevis Bungy, Canyon Swing, Zipline, Luge or White Water rafting.

SUGGESTED ACTIVITY - 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.

SUGGESTED ACTIVITY - Skyline Gondola, Kiwi Haka and Buffet Dinner
Located 450 metres above the heart of Queenstown is the Skyline Gondola complex. Take in the awe-inspiring views as you ride the fully enclosed gondola car to the viewing decks, restaurant and gift shop complex. See a traditional Maori Haka performance followed by a gourmet buffet dinner at the Stratosfare restaurant. Inspired by iconic kiwi fare as well as international cuisine, there is something for everyone when you dine up here.

Day 8Queenstown to Franz Josef Glacier

Queenstown to Franz Josef Glacier
Depart Queenstown by coach passing through Cromwell, Wanaka and Hawea before travelling over the magnificent Haast Pass into Westland. On arrival transfer to your accommodation. A local shuttle is available to take you to the glacier base where you can enjoy some short walks and magnificent views. Perhaps take a scenic helicopter flight for the ultimate view. Spectacular photo opportunities abound of these huge ice masses. Watch out for keas (native parrots) and their inquisitive cheeky play.

Glacier Valley shuttle
You will be met at your accommodation by a representative from Glacier Valley Eco Tours and taken on a short tour to view the glacier. Your shuttle vehicle will transfer you up the Franz Josef valley to the road end. Here you will have the opportunity to walk to view the glacier from a viewing platform. Or enjoy one of the short walks available in this area. You will be returned to your accommodation by the Glacier Valley Eco Tours shuttle.

Day 9Franz Josef to Christchurch via TranzAlpine Train

Franz Josef to Greymouth Train Station
This morning travel north through the small townships of Whataroa and Harihari. Stop at the Bushman's Centre for refreshments and a chance to experience a bit of West Coast humour. Continue through the township of Ross, which in the late 1800s was the centre of one of New Zealand's richest alluvial goldfields. In 1903 the largest gold nugget ever found in New Zealand was discovered at Jones Creek, not far from the town centre. It weighed 2807 grams. The New Zealand Government later purchased the nugget and presented it as a coronation gift to King George V. On arrival into Hokitika there is time to purchase lunch, walk around the town centre, to view the greenstone factories, visit the woodworking studio, or just relax and enjoy the windswept coast. Hokitika is the administrative and commercial centre for this part of Westland. The major primary industry is timber milling. Dairy and sheep farming, commercial fishing, white baiting and eel processing being the other major industries. Continue onto Greymouth Railway Station from where you catch the world famous Tranz Alpine train across the Southern Alps 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.

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.

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

Day 10Depart 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.

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