Enjoy 7 days exploring New Zealand's south island. Head to Christchurch and drive via Arthurs Pass to the rugged west coast and Punakaiki, Greymouth and Franz Josef. Perhaps a half or full day Glacier hike. Over the Haast pass, Lake Wanaka and onto Queenstown. Head to Christchurch and drive via Arthurs Pass to the rugged west coast and Punakaiki, Greymouth and Franz Josef. On to Queenstown and all the activities available.
- Round-trip International Economy airfare from Los Angeles
- Add-on airfares available from other cities
- Domestic New Zealand flights
- 7 Days medium automatic vehicle
- 6 nights accommodation, Arthurs Pass x1, Punakiaki x1, Fox Glacier x1, Queenstown x2
- ** Sightseeing options and packages are available **
Day 1 - Depart US
Ask about our options with Premium Economy and Business class airfare.
Day 2 - Cross International Date line
Day 3 - Arrive Christchurch - Arthurs Pass
Arrive Auckland and connect to Christchurch. Collect your medium automatic vehicle.
From here, enjoy 7 days exploring New Zealand’s south island. Hit the highlights or go off the beaten path. This deal is designed to give you maximum freedom to explore on your own with the reassurance of having a clean comfortable bed at night.
Christchurch to Arthurs Pass
The road follows the Waimakariri and Bealey Rivers down to the skiing areas of Porter Heights and Craigieburn. Lakes Pearson and Grasmere are photo opportunities along the way. Rural serenity and friendly towns lead you across the Canterbury Plains to Christchurch. You’ll pass Kirwee, Darfield, Sheffield and Springfield.
Day 4 - Arthurs Pass to Punakaiki
Arthurs Pass to Greymouth
The route known as Arthur’s Pass was first used by Maori tribes crossing to the west coast to find pounamu (jade). Today it’s a sophisticated mountain pass, memorable for its scenery as well as its breathtaking civil engineering. The settlement of Arthur’s Pass is a base for climbing, hiking, hunting and skiing adventures in the adjacent national park. There’s a good choice of shorter walks. Native birds commonly seen include the kea, tui and bellbird. Classic west coast river and forest scenery leads you east. Rushing water, impressive bridges and tiny towns gradually give way to the misty mountains of the Southern Alps. Greymouth has a long gold mining history. It’s the largest town on the west coast and is known for its awesome seascapes.
Day 5 - Punakaiki - Fox Glacier
Greymouth to Hokitika
The road between Greymouth and Hokitika provides great views of the wild west coast. Detour to the beach and breathe the salt spray air. Driftwood is the ornamentation of choice for west coast beaches – every shape, size and colour.
Hokitika to Franz Josef
Hokitika was first settled in 1860, after the discovery of gold on the west coast. It still has the feel of a ‘frontier town’, and there are some lovely old buildings to admire. Greenstone (NZ jade) is the town’s treasure these days – watch it being carved. You might also want to investigate the museum and do the historical walk. The road to the glaciers is rural, but with a wild streak. The farmland is trying to turn back into forest, and the beauty of the rivers is raw and primeval. At Ross there’s a goldfield walkway to explore, or enjoy a picnic by the shores of Lake Ianthe.
Franz Josef to Fox Glacier
The Fox and Franz Josef Glaciers are unique relics of the last ice age. Mighty rivers of solid white, tumbling down ice-hewn rock valleys, they are classically beautiful in the glacial sense. Nowhere else in the world have glaciers advanced so close to the sea at this latitude. While in the area, you can choose from a wide range of adventure activities.
- Flying Fox Helihike
The fly-in, fly-out helihike combines the excitement of walking on the Fox Glacier with the thrill of helicopter flights. By flying in you are able to access and explore a part of the glacier where its forces work hardest and often create spectacular ice caves and arches. Equipped with leather boots and other equipment, you board the helicopter for your first flight over the pinnacles of the lower icefall. Here, the ice is in constant motion. Take in views of the dramatic upper icefall and Victoria Falls, which is the melt river of the hidden Victoria glacier, before landing. Your landing site on the ice is a remote and exceptionally beautiful part of the glacier. At this stage, your guide outfits you with crampons, specially designed for these ice conditions and you follow the ice steps cut by your guide as you explore the amazing formations and ice caves which are only seen here
- Fox Trail Terminal Face Walk
This is an informative and leisurely trip to the dynamic face of the glacier. It is here that the Fox River emerges from the ice and where ice collapses are often heard and seen. This trip is for people with limited time or for those who would find the walks onto the glacier too strenuous. Although you will not walk on the glacier your guide will take you to the final resting place of the ice that has travelled 12 kilometres from the base of the Southern Alps, all the way to the river valley floor.
Day 6 - Fox Glacier to Queenstown
Fox Glacier to Haast
Just north of Haast is Lake Moeraki, a peaceful forest lake with good fishing – a 40 minute walk takes you to the penguin colony at Monro Beach. Next is pretty Lake Paringa, where you can enjoy a delicious meal of salmon at the salmon farm.
Haast to Wanaka
Lake Hawea is the first scenic highlight of your journey, followed closely by the northern end of Lake Wanaka. The famous ‘bra fence’ is impossible to miss – it started as a joke, but it’s become a local legend. At the wilderness town of Makarora you can fuel up and refresh before you take on the dramatic twists and turns of the Haast Pass. Enjoy waterfalls and river scenery as you arrive in rainforest country.
Wanaka to Queenstown
The shortest route to Wanaka is over the Crown Range Road. It’s a challenging drive, but the views are amazing and you’ll probably encounter friendly keas (mountain parrots). More conservative drivers can take the route that runs beside the Shotover River, Lake Dunstan and the Clutha River. The vineyards of the Gibbston area and bungy jumpers at the Kawarau River Bridge are interesting distractions along the way.
Days 7 & 8 - Queenstown
Explore Queenstown at your leisure or consider adding one of our tour options - Some of our favorites (additional cost):
- Milford Fly Cruise Fly/Dart River Safaris Combo
Join your Milford Sound Scenic Flights crew at Queenstown Airport, Sir Henly Wigley Dr, Frankton, to commence a full day Milford Fly Cruise Fly/Dart River Safaris Combo tour. Fly from Queenstown to magnificent Milford to enjoy a launch cruise travelling the full length of Milford Sound. Return by scenic flight landing at Glenorchy to join Dart River Safaris to journey into the untouched wilderness of a World Heritage Area before coaching back to Queenstown. Tour concludes approximately 10 hours after commencement, at Queenstown Airport.
- Milford Sound Nature Cruise
An on board nature guide with specialist knowledge of the region's history, flora and fauna provides detailed interpretation in English with a roving microphone. There is plenty of time available to explore points of interest and view the spectacular alpine scenery including waterfalls, rainforest and the towering peaks; and keep a lookout for wildlife including seals, dolphins and penguins when in season. Coach or flight transfers available.
- Appellation Central Wine Tours
Appellation Central offers guided tours showcasing Central Otago's fine wine and cuisine. These tours venture into the heartland of Central Otago visiting vineyards in Gibbston, Bannockburn and Cromwell. Small groups and custom fit minibuses ensure a relaxed and interactive day out from Queenstown and a great way to experience Central Otago.
- Nomad Safari - Skippers Canyon
A half-day heritage tour that follows the rugged and once treacherous Skippers Road. Hacked by hand into the sheer cliff sides of the Shotover River Valley. Navigate this awe-inspiring canyon and visit many historic sites such as the Skippers Suspension Bridge, township of Skippers, and the restored school house - gain a real insight into the local heritage through photos and histories of life in this tough environment.
- Queenstown Rafting Triple Challenge - Shotover Jet,Helicopter & WhiteWater Rafting
The Ultimate Adventure. Begin with the shotover jet, speed through rocky canyons and experience the Hamilton 360 spins. Climb aboard a helicopter for a spectacular flight into Skippers Canyon. Land at Deep Creek and meet your rafting guide, peaceful waters at first before hearing the roar of the"mother" section.
- Zipline Ecotour
Commence an ecotour on Queenstown's original zipline course and the perfect starter to your adventure experience. Comprised of four ziplines, starting and finishing at the top of the Skyline gondola, the tour is designed to start low and slow and gradually build your confidence as it gets progressively longer, higher and faster. All ages love the interaction this guided aerial tour has to offer.
Day 9 – Depart Queenstown
Drop off Rental Car at Queenstown Airport and take flight via Auckland
||Now-31 March 2018|
* Peak Season 1Dec17-28Feb18 pricing - Availability very restricted, package pricing may be higher Dec-Feb period, depending on availability
Daily departures, this package is an independent itinerary with flexible departures (not a group tour), the above costs apply for travel within each date band when you depart & return within these dates, ask an Aspire Down Under consultant for a quote when your travel dates cross over the date bands.
Additional departure gateways & pricing
- Add on airfare is available from most major airports - ask an Aspire consultant for a quote from your local airport.
- Houston - $220 additional
- Seattle - $300 additional
- Denver - $300 additional
- Portland, OR - $300 additionall
- Dallas - $350 additional
- Chicago - $400 additional
- New York - $450 additional
- Boston - $450 additional
- Washington, DC - $450 additional
Optional Activities, Extensions or Add-Ons & pricing:
- Upgrade to premium economy from $750 per person each way
- Upgrade to business class from $1,950 per person each way
- Can take the upgrade one way or round trip and combine premium/business classes on same ticket
All upgrades are subject to availability, upgrade cost may be higher depending on availability
Package from pricing is based on double occupancy (2 people sharing a room) from Los Angeles or San Francisco for purchase by 31 December, 2017. Ask an Aspire consultant for pricing for other travel dates. Add-on fares are available from other cities. Certain blackout dates apply on the accommodation and tour value add offers - check with your Aspire consultant. Seats are limited and may not be available on every flight. Hotels are subject to availability. All prices reflect a discount for purchases made by cash/wire transfer/check, please see terms and conditions for credit card payments. There are no discounts for payment made by credit cards. Cancellation penalties and other restrictions apply. Free Fiji offer only applies when package is for 2 people, not valid for single travelers.