Our Southern Vista itinerary includes the famous Tranz Alpine train journey, the rugged West Coast - home of the Fox and Franz Josef Glaciers, Queenstown, a Milford Sound cruise, Dunedin, Mount Cook and of course the gateway to the South Island Christchurch. Arrive to join the “Discover Tour” on Day 8 and depart the country on Day 18. This tour stays in central visitor locations using quality accommodation. Key attractions are visited to mention a few; TranzAlpine Train journey, Queenstown, the stunning natural beauty of Milford Sound and more. City tours are included in Auckland, Rotorua, Napier, Wellington, Nelson, Christchurch, & Dunedin
- ARRIVE WELLINGTON (D)
Welcome to New Zealand! You are met on arrival at the Wellington International Airport before being transferred to your hotel.
- WELLINGTON – NELSON (BD)
Today begins as you cruise the Wellington Harbour out onto the Cook Strait on the Interislander and through New Zealand’s only true sounds, the picturesque Marlborough Sound into Picton. The bustling port of Picton is the terminal for inter-island ferries, and gateway to the ‘Mainland’, the South Island’s self-proclaimed nickname. Reboarding the coach continue to tour through to Pelorous Bridgewhere you can walk through the Beech and Podocarp Forest as well as view the many sculptured boulder’s in the Pelorous River. Continuing on for a tour of Nelson – this being our first city of New Zealand.
- NELSON – CHRISTCHURCH (BD)
After departing Nelson this morning, you pass through Brightwater, the birth place of Lord Rutherford, the New Zealand science pioneer who split the atom. Then travel through the Golden Downs Forest to Murchison, through the Maruia Forest, over the Lewis Pass and then into Hanmer Springswhere there is time to soak in the mineral pools (at own expense) before joining
the upper reaches of the Canterbury Plains. On arrival in to Christchurch, enjoy the sights of the ‘Garden City’ also known as “the most English city outside of England”, en-route to your accommodation.
- CHRISTCHURCH – FRANZ JOSEF (BD)
From Christchurch traverse the Southern Alps aboard the famous Tranz-Alpine rail journey to Arthurs Pass. From your carriage you’ll see the fields of the Canterbury Plains and farmland, followed by the spectacular gorges and river valleys of the Waimakariri River. Your train then climbs into the Southern Alps. Once you have crossed into the Southern Alps you are met at the village of Arthurs Pass by the coach to continue your journey to the West Coast – or just “the Coast” as locals call it – stopping in Hokitika where a visit is made to the Greenstone and Glass Blowing factories. Further south tour the Westland National Park, the home of Fox and Franz Josef Glaciers. On arrival, time is available for optional scenic flights, before continuing onto your accommodation for the night.
- FRANZ JOSEF – QUEENSTOWN (B)
Driving towards the southern end of the South Island’s West Coast Road, there is a strong sense of entering a primeval land, and a feeling of total isolation. Arriving at Haast, you are surrounded by a landscape of rainforest, wetlands, sand dunes and surf-pounded shingle beaches. This wilderness forms part of the South West New Zealand World Heritage Area, so designated because South Westland and Fiordland have some of the most dramatic forest and mountain scenery and natural resources in the world. From the Westland National Park travel through the Haast River valleys and over the Haast Pass to Makaroa and onto the upper reaches of Lake Wanaka. Travelling past Lake Hawea you reach the popularLake Wanaka, the starting point of the mighty Clutha River. This afternoon you travel via Cromwell, following the Kawerau Gorge Road, into Queenstown. Tonight is free for you to explore the local restaurants, cafes and bars.
- QUEENSTOWN (B)
Today is at leisure. Visit the Remarkable’s or Coronet Peak. Experience the thrill of a jet-boat ride along the Shotover or Kawerau Rivers. Perhaps take a scenic 4 wheel drive excursion through Skippers Canyon, it’s up to you. Your Optional Touring Booklet will give you plenty of options for how to spend your time. This evening take a cruise across Lake Wakatipu on the steamer TSS Earnslaw to Walter Peak Station to dine at the Colonel’s Homestead.
- QUEENSTOWN – MILFORD SOUNDS – TE ANAU (BD)
Leaving Queenstown you skirt the shores of Lake Wakatipu, New Zealand’s third largest lake, and travel via Te Anau to reach the beautiful Eglinton Valley. Then climb to Homer Tunnel before descending through the spectacular Cleddau Canyon to reach Milford Sound where you enjoy a cruise of the Sound. The Sound is dominated by the grandeur of Mitre Peak and the Bowen Falls. Returning to Te Anau you reach your overnight accommodation.
- TE ANAU – DUNEDIN (BD)
Departing Te Anau you travel through some of New Zealand’s most populated sheep country through to Lumsden and onto Gore before arriving in Dunedin – “the Edinburgh of the South”. Upon your arrival into Dunedin, you have the opportunity to board an optional train ride – the Taieri Gorge Train Excursion – from the historic Dunedin Railway Station. This is a scenic train ride through the spectacular Taieri Gorge to Pukerangi and return.
- DUNEDIN – OMARAMA (BD)
This morning visit Olveston House – an impressive turn-of-the-century house that is still home to all the lavish furnishings and art collections that have been collected from all corners of the world. After this, continue to take in the some more of the sights of this old Scottish City before departing for Omarama. On the way travel through Oamaru where there is time to look at the ‘White Stone City’, known as such because the old buildings were constructed with the local limestone. In 1882 New Zealand’s first shipment of frozen mutton was sourced from Totara Estate, Oamaru and sent to the other side of the world on the SS Dunedin from Port Chalmers, Otago. Oamaru is the birthplace of New Zealand's billion dollar frozen meat industry. Travelling inland through Benmore and Otematata, then through Sailors Cutting you arrive at Omarama.
- OMARAMA – CHRISTCHURCH (BD)
A day for spectacular sights! Head north to skirt the shore of Lake Pukaki to Mount Cook, New Zealand’s highest mountain. Time is available to enjoy an optional scenic flight over the ancient rivers of ice and the West Coast Glaciers (weather permitting – a highly recommended option). Travelling to Tekapo you will witness the magnificent blue waters of Lake Tekapo. Here visit the Church of the Good Shepherd and the statue of the Collie dog, before travelling the vast Mackenzie Basin, over Burke’s Pass through Fairlie, Geraldine, Ashburton and across the Canterbury Plains into Christchurch.
- Day 11 CHRISTCHURCH – HOME PORT (B)
Farewell from New Zealand, today you will be transferred from the hotel to Christchurch International Airport for your flight home.