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7-Day South Island Coastal Splendor Tour from Christchurch

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Highlights
    What to Expect
    Experience South Island highlights of this 7-day round-trip tour from Christchurch, which includes a wilderness cruise on Milford Sound, a sightseeing tour of the Scottish-influenced city of Dunedin and seasonal viewing of the royal albatross colony at the Otago Peninsula. Enjoy train trips aboard the Taieri Gorge and TranzAlpine railways, and journey up the scenic west coast with views of the Southern Alps. You’ll have free time to spend during overnight stays in Dunedin, Franz Josef Glacier and Queenstown.
    Itinerary
    Day 1: Christchurch / Dunedin
    This morning, travel by coach or train for your journey to Dunedin. Head south through the Canterbury Plains and onto Dunedin, which boasts some of the most beautiful architecture in New Zealand.

    Overnight Accommodation: Scenic Hotel Dunedin City or similar

    Day 2: Dunedin
    Board a double decker bus this morning for a one and a half hour tour of Dunedin's historic sights. This afternoon, you will be taken on a tour of the Otago Peninsula including the renowned Royal Albatross Colony (seasonal due to Albatross breeding).

    Overnight Accommodation: Scenic Hotel Dunedin City or similar

    Day 3: Dunedin / Queenstown
    Today, board the Taieri Gorge Train and enjoy the rugged, unspoiled landscape of Otago with the opportunity for sightseeing stops along the way. Experience the breathtaking views of this historic journey to Pukerangi where you will board your coach and continue the journey to Queenstown, adventure capital of New Zealand.

    Overnight Accommodation: Heartland Hotel Queenstown or similar

    Day 4: 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 5: At Queenstown
    Enjoy a free day in Queenstown.

    Overnight Accommodation: Heartland Hotel Queenstown or similar

    Day 6: 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 7: 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, you journey over the Southern Alps on the world famous Tranzalpine Train, through lush beech forests and past serene lakes, over massive viaducts, through the stunning Waimakariri Gorge and across the fertile farmlands of the Canterbury Plains to Christchurch.
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