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5-Day South Island Tour from Christchurch

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    What to Expect
    Begin your 5-day exploration of New Zealand's South Island with hotel pickup in Christchurch. Peer through the windows of your comfortable coach at the vivid scenery while you journey through the foothills of the Southern Alps. Your guide makes a stop at Mt Cook for lunch (own expense) before your first night in Queenstown, including free time to explore at your leisure.
    After a memorable cruise on Milford Sound, nestled in the UNESCO-listed Fiordland National Park, you’ll drive along Haast Pass to Westland National Park, another World Heritage site. The rugged West Coast route takes you past soaring mountain ranges, native forests and lakes to the must-see Franz Josef Glacier, where you’ll spend the night with scenic views.
    On the final day, you’ll travel to the reconstructed gold-rush town of Shantytown. Conclude your South Island tour with a train trip from Greymouth aboard the TranzAlpine Express. The route takes you over the Southern Alps through Arthur's Pass to Christchurch, renowned as one of the world’s top 10 train journeys.
    Day 1: Christchurch / Mt Cook / Queenstown
    Travel through the rich pastoral farm land of the Canterbury Plains and the ever-changing spectacular scenery of the foothills of the Southern Alps. Continue traveling across Burkes Pass before descending to the stunning glacial fed Lake Tekapo and visiting the Church of the Good Shepherd which stands on the foreshore. From here you travel up the western side of Lake Pukaki to arrive at Mt Cook, New Zealand's highest mountain. Stop at Mt Cook for lunch (additional at own expense) where you will be mesmerized by the surroundings of this truly unique region. Cross the Lindis Pass, leaving the MacKenzie Country and travel along the Kawerau Gorge before arriving in Queenstown.
    Overnight Accommodation: Heartland Hotel Queenstown (or similar).

    Day 2: Milford Sound Day Excursion
    Travel along the edge of Lake Wakatipu beneath the rugged Remarkables to Te Anau, the 'Gateway to Fiordland National Park'. On entering the Fiordland National Park you pass through the Eglinton Valley. See ancient beech forest, stunning waterfalls and the famous Mirror Lakes where you will pause for a photo stop. Continue through the upper Hollyford Valley, past the stunning Christie Falls and enter the 1.2 km Homer Tunnel, drilled through the solid rock of a mountain. On exiting the Homer Tunnel prepare for the breathtaking impact of the Cleddau Valley and the descent into Milford Sound. On arrival, take an unforgettable cruise on the majestic Milford Sound where you will see the wonders of Mitre Peak and rock walls scarred by glaciers which rise to 1200m vertically from the sea. Then reboard the coach for the return journey to Queenstown. Optional lunches onboard the cruise are available.
    Overnight Accommodation: Heartland Hotel Queenstown (or similar).

    Day 3: At Queenstown
    Enjoy a free day in Queenstown.
    Overnight Accommodation: Heartland Hotel Queenstown (or similar).

    Day 4: Queenstown / Franz Josef Glacier
    Travel along the shores of Lake Wanaka and Hawea to the Haast Pass, the most stunning highway in New Zealand and gateway to World Heritage Westland National Park. Initially the pass travels through the treeless grasslands of Central Otago, then at the highest point, the majestic peaks of the Southern Alps and the rivers and rainforests of Westland dominate the landscape. Continue to travel up the West Coast past spectacular mountain ranges, native forests and lakes to the Fox and Franz Josef Glaciers. The Franz Josef Glacier is 11 kilometers in length and more than 7,000 years old. Its terminal face creaks and arches over the cave from which the river emerges, pale with powdered rock and can advance or retreat at over a meter per day. This living 'river of ice' is a must see for any visitor to New Zealand.
    Overnight Accommodation: Scenic Hotel Franz Josef Glacier (or similar).

    Day 5: Franz Josef / Greymouth / Arthur's Pass / Christchurch
    Today you continue to travel along the rugged West Coast to Shantytown, a faithful reconstruction of a Westland Gold Rush town. From Shantytown, travel to Greymouth, the center for thousands of diggers during the historic gold strikes of the 1860's. From Greymouth, journey over the Southern Alps, through Arthur's Pass and onto Christchurch by the famous TranzAlpine Express. This journey is renowned as one of the top ten train journeys in the world.
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    Reviews (54)
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    All reviews inclement weather fantastic tour the bus new zealand milford sound leisure pickup coach trips road scenery
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    1 - 5 of 7 reviews
    Reviewed May 25, 2019

    This was the most flexible tour I've ever seen. If you can't find exactly what you want, just let them know and I'm confident they will work it out exactly as you want. I appreciated that everyone on the tour seemed to have a different...More

    Date of experience: April 2019
    Thank ExcelDream
    Canterburyleisure, Digital Marketing Manager at Leisure Tours, responded to this reviewResponded May 26, 2019

    Thank you for the great review. I'm glad you enjoyed your time on our 5 day South Island tour. Yes, it has been excellent weather recently down south - particularly in Milford Sound which has had incredible weather over the past few weeks. Thank you...More

    Reviewed May 12, 2019

    Comfortable coach. Came on time.Only drawback was the pickup at Queenstown was at the bus stop near the Hotel rather than from the hotel lobby. Inclement weather can make the wait at the busstop uncomfortable.The coach driver guide Stuart on the Christchurch to Queenstown run...More

    Date of experience: April 2019
    Thank lancelotte f
    Canterburyleisure, Digital Marketing Manager at Leisure Tours, responded to this reviewResponded May 27, 2019

    Thanks for the great review. I'm pleased to hear you had a nice time on your 5 Day South Island Tour. And it's great to hear you enjoyed the commentary from your guides from Christchurch to Queenstown and on the Milford Sound Nature Cruise. I'll...More

    Reviewed November 11, 2018

    As 1st timers to NZ we had completed the Auckland to Wellington Northern Explorer scenic rail-trip and then The Interislander Ferry to Picton before starting on this prearranged 5-day tour. A bucket-list life-time experience that every eager tourist should experience. The weather was great and...More

    Date of experience: November 2018
    3  Thank G9240TTcharlesp
    Canterburyleisure, Digital Marketing Manager at Leisure Tours, responded to this reviewResponded February 4, 2019

    Excuse the late reply. We didn't get a notification about this review and I've only just seen this now. Any way, I just want to say thank you very much for the kind words. Our south island package tours are becoming some of our most...More

    Reviewed April 21, 2018

    Coming from Australia, they said New Zealand is a small country. Don’t be fooled, it’s much larger than you think. And it packs an even larger visual punch. Be prepared for some long road trips on comfortable buses with a magnificent train ride back to...More

    Date of experience: April 2018
    5  Thank Michael D
    Canterburyleisure, Manager at Leisure Tours, responded to this reviewResponded April 25, 2018

    Thank you taking the time to provide a detailed description of the five day tour and it is pleasing to hear that you found that everything meet and possibly exceeded your expectations. It is great to get feedback like this from our customers so others...More

    Reviewed March 28, 2018

    We totally enjoyed our tour of the South Island with Canterbury Leisure Tours. The itinerary was delivered to our hotel in Christchurch as promised. We were promptly picked up for all of our connections. The bus drivers were for the most part friendly, informative and...More

    Date of experience: January 2018
    2  Thank specialedwanderer
    Canterburyleisure, Manager at Leisure Tours, responded to this reviewResponded April 6, 2018

    Thank you for taking the time to submit your review. Your feedback is important to us to ensure we meet and where possible exceed our customers expectations. It is very pleasing to hear to you enjoyed both the arrangements we made for you, together with...More

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    Questions & Answers
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    April 20, 2019|
    AnswerShow all 2 answers
    Response from G9240TTcharlesp | Reviewed this property |
    Yes You will most probably have to pay a special child fare for a seat in the bus. But in most cases, e.g. lodging, there will either be a special rate for under 12 or maybe even a free bed if sharing a room with parents.
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