3 day TranzAlpine Glaciers and Queenstown
Christchurch to Queenstown
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Thrifty Tours

3 day TranzAlpine Glaciers and Queenstown

From Christchurch you’ll cross the Southern Alps on board the world famous Tranz Alpine Scenic Train.  On reaching the ruggedly beautiful West Coast you’ll follow the coastline south to Franz Josef where you’ll spend the next 2 nights.  From your base in Franz Josef you’ll have time to explore the pristine wilderness of Westland Tai Poutini National Park and the fabulous glaciers.  Leaving the glacier region you’ll continue south through the stunning Haast Pass to the Southern Lakes region and the ‘Adventure Capital’ of Queenstown.

Tour special blurb

Due to the impacts, COVID-19 has had on tourism numbers in New Zealand the TranzAlpine train is currently operating on a limited schedule. Some departure dates for this tour may be affected by the changes until 26 December 2022. Please contact our sales consultants to discuss whether your chosen departure is affected and see how we can adjust the itinerary to include this experience if it is.

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Quick Itinerary Details

Independent tour (bus & coach)

This suggested tour costs from NZD$1,740 per person (twin share, low season)

Starts in Christchurch, finishes in Queenstown

3 days/2 nights

Hotel 4 star

 Customisable? YES

 Viewed 165 times in the last 7 days

Tour at a glance

Day 1: Christchurch to Greymouth Tranz Alpine Scenic Train then to Franz Josef Glacier
Accommodation: Scenic Hotel Franz Josef Glacier

Day 2: Explore the West Coast Glacier region
Accommodation: Scenic Hotel Franz Josef Glacier

Day 3: Franz Josef Glacier to Queenstown

Tour full itinerary

Detailed itinerary: 3 day tour starting in Christchurch

Day 1 - Christchurch to Greymouth Tranz Alpine Scenic Train then to Franz Josef Glacier
3 day TranzAlpine Glaciers and Queenstown - Day 1
TranzAlpine Scenic Train: Christchurch to Greymouth

Your early morning departure is rewarded with incredible scenery today onboard the TranzAlpine Scenic Train, considered one of the world's great train journeys. It travels between Christchurch and Greymouth, from one coast of New Zealand to the other. 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 before descending through the lush beech rain forest to the West Coast town of Greymouth - a great base for visits to Punakaiki and the West Coast glaciers.

Greymouth Train Station to Franz Josef with Hokitika Scenic Tours

Leaving Greymouth, you will head south to Franz Josef and Glacier Country. Pass through Hokitika and continue on through Ross, a historic gold mining town where several buildings still remain intact. As you travel further down the coast you’ll also go through Hari Hari, the town where Guy Menzies, the first person to fly solo over the Tasman crash landed. Follow the coast through several small towns before catching a glimpse of the Franz Josef glacier as you arrive into the town centre.

Your accommodation: Scenic Hotel Franz Josef Glacier

Only a breath away from the Franz Josef Glacier, Scenic Hotel is located in the heart of Franz Josef Village. Here you will find all of the amenities you would expect, as well as being close to the shops, restaurants and activities on offer in the beautiful Westland region.
Day 2 - Explore the West Coast Glacier region
3 day TranzAlpine Glaciers and Queenstown - Day 2
Explore Franz Josef Glacier

Franz Josef is a small but lively town in the heart of the West Coast, known for its 12 km long glacier. Surrounded by lush rainforest-clad mountains the township has a vibrant and bustling atmosphere. To see the ice from a viewpoint you can walk along the valley floor to the viewpoint below the terminal face. However, to go on the glacier itself you must take a licensed helicopter tour.

SUGGESTED ACTIVITY - Franz Josef Glacier Helihike with The Helicopter Line

Take a scenic flight over all three Franz Josef glacier icefalls. Landing high on the glacier take a two hour guided trip through some of the most bea...

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Take a scenic flight over all three Franz Josef glacier icefalls. Landing high on the glacier take a two hour guided trip through some of the most beautiful terrain in the country. Your guide will choose the route as you go through a wonderland of blue ice and frozen pinnacles. You'll have endless views of the surrounding mountains and rainforest as well as plenty of opportunities to take photographs. Sure to be one of the most memorable experiences you have while you are in New Zealand. Should weather not be suitable to take this flight you are able to transfer your booking onto a similar tour on any of the Helicopter Line operations in Queenstown or Mt Cook.

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SUGGESTED ACTIVITY - Franz Josef Nature Tour

Nestled in thick historic West Coast forest and a stone's throw from wild black sand beaches, this is one of the world's most unusual glaciers. Beauti...

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Nestled in thick historic West Coast forest and a stone's throw from wild black sand beaches, this is one of the world's most unusual glaciers. Beautiful blue skies or magical misty rain - whatever the weather - you will feel like you are in Narnia or LOTR.
With easy walking at your pace, information on glaciology, geology, geomorphology, flora and fauna, local legends, history, and small guided groups with fantastic guides, you will experience this glacier in style and in the best hands with the only local company. Wander past glacier rivers and streams and through beautiful podocarp forest; discover hidden natural treasures such as native snails, wild native mushrooms, and dozens of species of native orchids; listen to native bird song and waterfalls; see if you can spot a Chamois or a Tahr on the huge snow-capped mountains above while drinking a cup of tea and talking one-on-one with your guide. This tour will be a highlight of your travels in New Zealand.

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Your accommodation: Scenic Hotel Franz Josef Glacier

Only a breath away from the Franz Josef Glacier, Scenic Hotel is located in the heart of Franz Josef Village. Here you will find all of the amenities you would expect, as well as being close to the shops, restaurants and activities on offer in the beautiful Westland region.

Meals included: Breakfast

Day 3 - Franz Josef Glacier to Queenstown
3 day TranzAlpine Glaciers and Queenstown - Day 3
Franz Josef to Queenstown with Glacier Shuttles

Set off from the small village of Franz Josef, set at the edge of Franz Josef Glacier (one of the world's most accessible glaciers), and travel through the remote and unspoiled scenery of the West Coast. Take the scenic Haast Pass through the Southern Alps, the southernmost pass between the East and West coasts of the South Island. See the clear and pristine waters of Lake Hawea as you travel east, passing Lake Hawea and Lake Wanaka as you continue through to New Zealand's 'Adventure Capital', Queenstown.

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3 day TranzAlpine Glaciers and Queenstown

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Remember - we can create this itinerary with any style of accommodation or customise to suit your interests and timeframe. Just contact us here.

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