3 day West Coast Explorer Queenstown to Christchurch
South Island Self Drive from Queenstown to Christchurch
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New Zealand tour itinerary name and information

3 day West Coast Explorer Queenstown to Christchurch

Explore Wanaka and the West Coast Glaciers before taking the Tranz Alpine train to Christchurch.

Tour summary and feature

South Island Self Drive

This suggested tour costs from NZD$594 per person (twin share, low season)

Starts in Queenstown, finishes in Christchurch

3 days/2 nights

Hotel 3 star

 Rental car insurance included: Fully inclusive with variable excess/deductible

 Rental car inclusions: GPS navigation, unlimited kms, airport/ferry terminal fees, additional drivers

 Viewed 62 times in the last 7 days

Tour at a glance

At a glance - 3 day West Coast Explorer Queenstown to Christchurch

Day 1: Arrive into Queenstown, collect your rental car and head to Wanaka. Accommodation: Wanaka Hotel
Driving distance and time (approximate) for this leg: 61 kms / 38 miles : 1.0 hours

Day 2: Wanaka to Fox Glacier. Accommodation: Heartland Hotel Fox Glacier
Driving distance and time (approximate) for this leg: 254 kms / 158 miles : 2.9 hours

Day 3: Fox Glacier to Greymouth, Tranz Alpine Train to Christchurch where your tour concludes.
Driving distance and time (approximate) for this leg: 197 kms / 122 miles : 2.5 hours

Tour full itinerary

Detailed itinerary: 3 day tour starting in Queenstown

Day 1 - Arrive into Queenstown, collect your rental car and head to Wanaka

3 day West Coast Explorer Queenstown to Christchurch - Day 1
Welcome to Queenstown

Collect your rental car on arrival into the airport and then spend the rest of the day exploring Queenstown.

Collect your rental car

This tour can be priced with any of the rental cars available in our fantastic range, from economy hatchbacks to prestige saloons and SUV's.

Queenstown to Wanaka

Leaving Queenstown you'll drive over New Zealand's highest sealed road, the Crown Range before arriving into the resort town of Wanaka.

Your accommodation: Wanaka Hotel

Wanaka Hotel consists of Double, Twin and Triple Hotel Rooms. Many with a view of the Lake, also available are Economy Rooms great value for up to 4 people in the same room. All rooms have en suite bathroom, TV and Wifi.

Driving distance and time (approximate) for this leg: 61 kms / 38 miles : 1.0 hours

Day 2 - Wanaka to Fox Glacier

3 day West Coast Explorer Queenstown to Christchurch - Day 2
Wanaka to Fox Glacier

The route follows the shores of Lakes Wanaka and Hawea before you enter the township of Makarora, the gateway to Mt. Aspiring National Park and the Blue Pools here are a wonderful 30 minute walk through pristine native beech forest. Descending into Mt. Aspiring National Park and towards the Haast Pass, crashing rivers and waterfalls are around every corner. Crossing the Haast River you are now truly on the wild West Coast, a 600 kilometre stretch of bush, rainforest and podocarp forest. Fox Glacier welcomes you to the glacier region and Franz Josef township is just a further 45 minutes. A great way to experience the glaciers is with The Helicopter Line. The mighty Fox is the largest and longest of the magnificent West Coast glaciers. It is remarkable in that it ends in temperate rainforest, 250 metres above sea level and a mere twelve kilometres from the sea. There are more 3,000m (10,000ft) peaks at the head of the Fox Glacier than in any other valley in New Zealand. The Fox Glacier, like all glaciers, advances and retreats. Evidence of the latest surge forward can be seen in the bulging lower ice fall. Alpine Guides' access onto the lower parts of the glacier is via a secret track that climbs through regenerating native forest (forest previously wiped out by earlier glacial advances). From the track, you have stunning views into the upper parts of the glacier. The Township offers an excellent selection of cafés as well as breathtaking views of New Zealand's highest peaks Mounts Cook and Tasman in the right conditions. Lake Matheson, the famous reflection lake, is a five minute drive west of Fox Township. Historic Gillespie's Beach, a wilderness of crashing surf and distant snow capped mountains, known for its seal colony and colourful gold mining history, is 25 minutes west by car.

SUGGESTED ACTIVITY - Twin Glacier Scenic Helicopter Flight with The Helicopter Line

Explore the glacial icefalls of not one but two glaciers - Fox Glacier and Franz Josef Glacier. Discover up close their neve and unusual ice formations - landing on the snowfields is a highlight and will make for superb photos, snowballs and memories. A 30 minute flight with snow landing. 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's operations in Queenstown or Mt Cook.

Your accommodation: Heartland Hotel Fox Glacier

The Heartland Hotel Fox Glacier is nestled at the base of the majestic Southern Alps, in the Westland World Heritage Park. Originally built in 1928 it has been refurbished to retain its charming atmosphere.

Meals included: Breakfast

Driving distance and time (approximate) for this leg: 254 kms / 158 miles : 2.9 hours

Day 3 - Fox Glacier to Greymouth, Tranz Alpine Train to Christchurch where your tour concludes

3 day West Coast Explorer Queenstown to Christchurch - Day 3
Fox Glacier to Greymouth Train Station

The drive north from Fox and Franz Josef takes you through the historic gold mining region of Ross and the town of Hokitika, a great place to explore the craft stores, in particular the jade or greenstone. The largest town on the West Coast, Greymouth is also the starting point for the Tranz Alpine Scenic Train.  Drop your rental car at the Greymouth Train Station depot located inside the train station building.

SUGGESTED ACTIVITY - Monteiths Brewery Personalised Bottle & Tour

From humble origins in 1868, the Monteith's family-owned Phoenix Brewery became the West Coast's most popular brewery for its strong tasting, full-bodied ale. The Phoenix Brewery later merged with a group of small breweries to form Westland Brewing Company, predecessor to today's Monteith's Brewing Company. In this informative brewery experience, you will learn about the heritage and traditions of the brewing business. Witness the making of a fine beer in open fermenters by coal-fired boilers, using only the finest ingredients. Watch the brewers carefully hand craft the beer in small batches to develop the full natural flavours. When each batch is ready, the brewers employ a brilliant time honoured tradition for quality control - they taste it.

On completion, you will receive a tasting a 3 beers of your choice from the tap at the Brewery bar, plus your very own personalised Monteith's 500ml bottle with your name on it - a personalised endorsement from the head brewer himself.

TranzAlpine Scenic Train: Greymouth to Christchurch

Considered one of the world's great train journeys, the TranzAlpine Scenic Train takes you from Greymouth to Christchurch. You'll travel across the South Island from the west to the east coast through Arthur's Pass National Park. From the comfort of your carriage see lush beech forest, deep river valleys and the spectacular peaks of the Southern Alps. Descend to the windswept Canterbury Plains before arriving in the city of Christchurch.

Driving distance and time (approximate) for this leg: 197 kms / 122 miles : 2.5 hours

Tour quick quote

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