South island Glacier adventure
On this 6-day glacier journey across some of the South Island's most spectacular places, go from east to west and back. Travel from Christchurch to the wild West Coast, home of the Franz Josef and Fox Glaciers, through Arthur's Pass. Explore Queenstown's action-packed attractions, as well as the summits of Aoraki Mt Cook and the Tasman Glacier, before returning to Christchurch through the Canterbury Plains.
Day 1: Christchurch to Greymouth via Arthur's Pass
Today's journey takes you across the huge Canterbury Plains, via wide rivers, stunning lakes, and into the majestic Southern Alps, whether you're driving or taking the train. The small settlement of Arthur's Pass, located around the halfway mark, is a great spot to stretch your legs. Take a hike along one of the many hiking routes in the lovely National Park. The terrain becomes greener as you descend the western slopes of the Southern Alps, with lush rainforest replacing the drier eastern slopes. You've arrived on New Zealand's rugged West Coast. Greymouth, the region's major town, is known for its breathtaking views, local brewery tours, bicycle paths, and gold rush history.
TranzAlpine: Scenic Train Christchurch - GreymouthTranzAlpine: Scenic Train Christchurch - Greymouth, Addington, Christchurch, New Zealand
Day 2: Greymouth to Fox Glacier
The scenic drive between Hokitika and Greymouth offers breathtaking views of the West Coast. Pounamu, the town's greatest gem, is on display in Hokitika's studios and galleries (NZ jade). The stone comes from the nearby Arahura River, and artists may be seen cutting and polishing it all over town. Franz Josef and Fox Glaciers are located further south. These huge rivers of solid ice are ice age relics and some of the world's most accessible glaciers. Choose from a variety of exciting adventure activities (mostly involving glaciers and mountains). Popular activities include guided treks, heli-hikes, and beautiful flights above the glaciers.
Fox GlacierFox Glacier, New Zealand
Day 3: Fox Glacier to Queenstown
As you go to Queenstown today, there are many intriguing locations to see. Haast has a Wild West vibe to it, with the surrounding ranges being a popular hunting destination. Explore the region's wilderness aboard a river safari jet boat. You'll head north from here, passing via Haast Pass on your way to Mount Aspiring National Park and Wanaka municipality. Wanaka's quirky Paradiso Cinema and unusual Puzzling World are well worth a visit. It's only a short drive from Wanaka to Queenstown.
Moke LakeMoke Lake, Otago, New Zealand
Day 4: Spend the day in Queenstown
Queenstown, which sits on the edge of Lake Wakatipu, is bustling with adventure activities. This is the ideal location to try bungy jumping, as the sport was founded here and there are numerous locations throughout the region where you may do it. Jet boating, skydiving, zip line, rafting, and mountain biking are some of the other adventure activities available. There are also numerous walking and hiking routes in the area, many of which provide amazing 360-degree views of Lake Wakatipu and the surrounding alpine terrain. Queenstown is a skiing paradise in the winter (June to October), with The Remarkables and Coronet Peak ski areas within easy reach.
GlenorchyGlenorchy, New Zealand
Day 5: Queenstown to Aoraki Mount Cook
You'll go north today to New Zealand's highest peak. You'll pass through Omarama, which is known for its famed Northwest Arch phenomena, which can take glider pilots up to 10,000 meters. From here, the route heads north, passing through Twizel and around the beautiful Lake Pukaki on its way to Aoraki Mount Cook National Park. This location was previously utilized as a training ground by Edmund Hilary, and the park continues to attract mountain climbers from all around Australasia. Aoraki Mount Cook offers a range of hiking trails, many of which are only a few hours long, in addition to boat journeys to the Tasman Glacier. Other popular activities include heli-skiing, heli-hiking, and aerial sightseeing.
Mount Cook National ParkMount Cook National Park, Canterbury, New Zealand
Day 6: Aoraki Mount Cook to Christchurch
Lake Tekapo's turquoise color is caused by small, glacier-ground rock particles suspended in the water. On the lake's edge, the Church of the Good Shepherd is a superb photo opportunity. Alternatively, go fishing, kayaking, cycling, or horseback riding to learn more about the region. The magnificent journey to Christchurch from here takes you out of the Mackenzie Country and across the Canterbury Plains, which are like a patchwork quilt. Take some time to explore some of the rural communities you'll pass through on your journey. Finish your tour in Christchurch with a supper at one of the city's many wonderful restaurants or a stroll through the beautiful botanical gardens.
Lake TekapoLake Tekapo, New Zealand
More from this author
Have Story To Share?
Blog with Trip.Social
Reach new audiences and maximize your potential.