8 days/7 nights SOUTHERN HIGHLIGHTS PLUS TOUR (ITIN 24)
- Tranz- Alpine train journey
- Jungle Boat Cruise
- Dragons Cave Rafting
- Guided Rainforest Ecology Walk
- Paparoa Limestone National Park
- Shantytown and Pancake Rocks options
- Hot Rock White Water Rafting
- Alpine Thermal Hot Pools
- Scenic Alpine Helicopter Flight
- Guided walk on an advancing Glacier
- Gondola Ride
- Maori Haka & Kiwi Dinner
Arrive in Christchurch where we will transfer you to your accommodation. Relax with your own free time in New Zealand’s Garden City. Ask at reception about any shows or plays that are on this evening in the city and they will also point you in the direction of a good restaurant. We recommend that you visit the International Antarctic Centre or the newly built Christchurch Art Gallery. How about a punt on the Avon? (These tours are at your own cost).
Accommodation in Christchurch
You will be collected from your accommodation for transfer to the Christchurch Railway Station by shuttle bus. Your Tranz-Alpine Train departs to our Wild West Coast at 8:10 am.
Leaving from Christchurch, crossing the huge and fertile patchwork farmlands of the Canterbury Plains, the Tranz-Alpine winds its way over massive viaducts, through spectacular gorges and river valleys, before tracking across the country’s greatest mountain range, the Southern Alps. Following rivers and skirting lakes, it descends through lush rainforest to the Tasman Sea and the town of Greymouth. Make sure you have had lunch on the train as as soon as you arrive, we will whisk you away for your afternoon adventure activity.
You will be met at the Greymouth Railway Station and will be accompanied to your accommodation. Our guide will be standing near the baggage claim area next to our shuttle vehicle. S/he will take your luggage and transfer you to your accommodation before or after your afternoon tour dependent on time.
Your tour departs from our Wild West Adventures base (in the town centre next to Mc Donald’s). Today, we take you on a relaxing cruise where you can paddle or drift amongst the giants of NZ’s rain forest following the route of ‘Te Ara Pounamu’-the Greenstone Pathway. This is part of the trail used by ancient Maori Greenstone/Jade traders on their way to the West Coast Jade fields. This gentle flat water float trip through some of the World's most hauntingly beautiful rainforest scenery teaches you how we preserve the delicate balance between one of Nature's oldest ecosystems and today’s modern use of this environment. Here you can experience absolute silence which is only broken by the occasional birdcall. You’ll enjoy a cup of Manuka Bush tea, glass of wine or fruit juice as you learn about the life and legends of the native Maori People. Have fun trying some traditional Maori flax weaving (which you can then take home with you) as you drift through the forest or stop off for an intimate forest walk during the cruise. Touch the silence only broken by the occasional bird call. The dark waters are tinged with tannin from the rainforest giving you an eerie feeling of timelessness and spirituality. You will leave with a sense of rejuvenation from your visit with nature today. The whole trip from Greymouth return is about 3 hours.
Accommodation in Greymouth.
You choose which tour you would like to do today.
If you want to experience another adventure packed activity, how about joining the Dragons Black Water Cave Tubing with Glow-worms Tour?
If you'd rather explore an 1860’s gold rush town, we can arrange a visit to Shantytown for you and continue the day with a relaxing walk in the Paparoa National Park.
Option One: Dragons Black Water Cave Tubing with Glow-worms
Set in a beautiful rainforest canyon, you’ll be left in awe floating through a galaxy world of glow-worms. Start with a short bush walk you’ll then have fun running the gentle rainforest river rapids, take a ride down the eye bulge rock hydroslide into the cave entrance and finish with a heart stopper cliff jump! Everything is optional, decide what to do as you go.
You’ll also get a pleasure spa package after your adventure, which includes:
Option Two: Shantytown & Paparoa Limestone National Park
- Relax in a hot spa for as long as you want
- Enjoy a delicious glass of NZ wine or beer whilst soaking
- Be refreshed with a huge muffin and hot tea/coffee/chocolate
- Say hello to Mum, or brag to your kids or friends with unlimited internet use at our cave rafting base.
A Shantytown visit includes a ride on a fully restored steam train, panning for gold and experiencing an 1860’s gold rush town in action. This is followed by a tour to the Paparoa National Park. Pick up point is from your accommodation.
We travel from Greymouth north along the stunning Coast Road to Punakaiki, being the Maori word for “food basket” and the home of the fascinating Pancake Rocks. As near as possible to high tide, take a stroll around the Pancake Rocks Walkway to see the unique rock structures layered here 30 million years ago. Watch the roaring Geysers that heave their way from the Ocean floor up out through the Rock Blowholes.
Take time also to view the award winning audio visual show at the Visitors Centre and to browse around some of New Zealand’s finest craft displays.
Other options you can do with your guide whilst on tour are:
(1) Take a short easy interpretative Rain Forest walk where you will learn about the ecology of NZ’s temperate flora and how the local Maori people gleaned their food and medicine from the forest.
(2) Beach combing for NZ Jade. This wild landscape is the home of NZ’s Pounamu-the Jade/Greenstone treasured by the Maori people.
Walk along a secluded beach beside the thundering Tasman Sea surf in a search for your own souvenir piece of this treasured gemstone.
(3) Myths and Legends Cavern Tour. Step into a forgotten world of caves misted with time and ancient Maori legends. You will be led through the mysterious regions between oral history and myth. Follow the footsteps of Maori warriors and the early European explorers as you learn about Maori underworld legends & you explore this historic site.
(4) Self guided Gentle Canoe Trip-at a small extra cost. Paddle gently up the Pororari Limestone Gorge on a river of crystal clear water into one of this countries most scenic and awe-inspiring canyon landforms. Suitable for beginners and more experienced alike.
Make the most of the rest of your day to explore the local art galleries, souvenir shops, museum or Regent Theatre for the latest movies.
Accommodation in Greymouth
Today, we head south visiting the Bushman’s Centre on the way before our Hot Rock White Water Rafting adventure.
Soak up the heat with your travelling partner or friends in the hot pools sipping from a glass of champagne. The stunning mountain peaks & forests together with some great rafting will make it a memorable day.
Your adventure starts with a guided one and a half hour walk along an alpine valley with beautiful views passing through stunning rain forests.
We supply you with all the gear you’ll need including foot wear for the trail which in places is rough underfoot. You’ll get the level of raft fun you want by choosing the grade of white water you wish and with choosing smaller rafts with more bounce or taking a larger raft if you want to be more sedate-you can decide on your level of adrenaline.
Accommodation at Franz Josef
- You’ll learn about rainforest ecology & medicines on the way to the start of your action rafting adventure.
- You’ll enjoy your lunch in this World Heritage wilderness setting before gearing up to go on the river.
- We make sure you’ll be confident on the river with full pre-trip safety training and you’ll get the amount of fun you want by running all the rapids or by taking a more sedate route.
- To top off a great rafting trip you’ll enjoy champagne and cuddle in the hot spas right where you get off the river!
- You'll get 1 ¼ hours ‘on-the-river’ with 3 x grade 3 rapids & 10 grade 2 rapids.
Today you are booked onto a heli-hike departing at 9.00 am but it is worth checking in earlier to see if the weather is going to allow the helicopter to fly. Check-in at the Alpine Adventure Centre Building on the Main Road. You are in a small village so things are easy to find and you will see their base building as a natural wood two storey building which is well sign posted. The guiding company may want to change your flight time to make use of a break in the weather.
This morning at Franz Josef Glacier, you take a half day guided glacier walk. This is known as a heli- hike because you will be flying to the glacier neve (near the top) by helicopter for a frolic around the ice caves and lakes found in this pristine area. The famous West Coast Glacier is accessible to visitors, with a walkway to within a few hundred metres of the imposing ice face. With nailed boots and an alpenstock you will be guided onto the ice to view the amazing crevasses, ice cliffs and caves. Take in the spectacular view of the ice masses as they crawl down the mountains towards the lush fringes of native forest.
After lunch you will have your own free time to choose whatever you want to do. We suggest a relaxing afternoon in the hot pools, a scenic walk along one of the beautiful tracks at Franz Josef or a visit to the Department of Conservation very informative I'Site in the village.
Accommodation at Franz Josef
Travel on the Intercity Coach from Franz Josef to Queenstown departing from the bus stop on the main street of Franz Josef. Check-in is across the road from the Glacier Guides Buildind. It is important that you check in 15 mns early for the Intercity Coach Service-there is no need for a ticket or voucher as we've organised all of your transport for you.
Journey into South Westland and through the Haast Pass Route. Today you will be able to enjoy some views of the grandeur of our Alpine Waterfalls. This is a land of contrasts with majestic mountains on one side of the road and a rugged untamed coast on the other. Arrive in Queenstown early evening. Queenstown has a great night life with many night clubs and local bars.
Accommodation in Queenstown
This whole day is yours to enjoy all that Queenstown has got to offer. Just make sure you're back on time for your Maori evening of entertainment.
Queenstown is situated next to Lake Wakatipu which provides stunning backdrops to a town with everything to provide you with a great day. Queenstown is a compact leisure paradise with all activities within easy reach of the town centre. It has a reputation as the adventure capital with a huge selection of breathtaking activities. Whether it’s jumping off bridges, flying from mountains, surfing the boiling rapids or powering through canyons by high-speed jet boat there’s plenty on offer to use up that excess adrenaline. Beautiful long walks, interesting cultural history and a delicious wine trail. Activities done today are at your own extra expense.
We have arranged for an interesting evening with a Maori Concert Party and traditional Hangi Feast for dinner. You will be picked up by the Haka Pa courtesy vehicle at your accommodation. Take warm clothes and walking shoes as there is a 40 min outdoor tour included in the evening.
Accommodation in Queenstown
Check-in at the Intercity Coach Depot called “The Station” on the corner of Shotover & Camp Streets in the town centre. Today you will travel by coach on through the rugged and beautiful scenery of Otago with its great rock stacks via Lake Tekapo, across to the Canterbury plains and back to Christchurch.
Your tour finishes on arrival in Christchurch.
If you're not flying out, tonight's accommodation in Christchurch is at your own cost. However, we can arrange this for you if you wish.
Feel free to use our travellers help free phone at anytime during your trip: 0508 2 86877 on contact us if you have any enquiries.