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Southern Walking Highlights and the Routeburn Track

Christchurch to Christchurch, 12 days 11 nights self drive tour, staying in Hotel 4 star

Southern Walking Highlights and the Routeburn Track
Southern Walking Highlights and the Routeburn Track
Southern Walking Highlights and the Routeburn Track
Southern Walking Highlights and the Routeburn Track

Tour map

Starting and finishing in Christchurch, this tour includes walking forays into spectacular locations including a guided walked in Mt. Cook National Park, where Sir Edmund Hillary prepared to conquer Mt. Everest. Head south to Queenstown where you will embark on a three day guided walk of the Routeburn Track. From Queenstown head north to the West Coast glacier region where you will experience the remarkable thrill of walking on a glacier, and enjoy an amazing scenic flight over the mountain-tops before returning to Christchurch on board the TranzAlpine scenic train.

The approximate total driving distance and time for this itinerary is: 1126 kms / 698 miles, 13.8 hours

You can expect to spend around NZ$163 in fuel cost on this itinerary based on an intermediate sized car.

 

Day 1

Arrive Christchurch City, transfer to hotel and rest of day at leisure

Private transfer Christchurch airport to your accommodation

On arrival you will be met by a private driver and delivered to your Christchurch accommodation.

Your tour documentation pack and support

Your tour documentation pack and support
Your tour documentation pack and support
Your tour documentation pack and support
Your tour documentation pack and support

Once you touch down in New Zealand your detailed tour pack will be hand delivered by one of our trusted representatives. The pack contains everything you need for the duration of your stay. It will include a comprehensive, printed and bound version of your itinerary as well as clear driving instructions and maps for each leg of your journey. It also contains all the reservation details for your accommodation and activities - along with relevant brochures and information. While in New Zealand we offer 24 hour support - details on how to contact us at any time will be well documented.

Welcome to Christchurch City

Welcome to Christchurch City
Welcome to Christchurch City
Welcome to Christchurch City
Welcome to Christchurch City

Christchurch, New Zealand's garden city is steadily being transformed into a vibrant urban destination. Encompassing a large green belt, it is known for its wide tree lined avenues and lush gardens. Take the double decker hop on/hop off bus for an easy way to see the sights - or ride a historic tram across town to the renowned botanic gardens and the unique cardboard Transitional Cathedral.

Your accommodation - The George Hotel, Christchurch

Style: Luxury Lodges & hotels

Accommodation features

  • Check in time: 2 pm
  • Check out time: 11 am
  • Walk time to shops/restaurants: 5-10 mins
  • Parking: onsite free parking
  • Internet facilities: In room free access
  • Restaurant on site
  • Bar on site
  • Tea/coffee facilities in room
  • Room service available
  • Hairdryer
  • Laundry facilities: On site
  • Laundry facilities: Drycleaning service available
  • Gym/fitness centre
  • All rooms non smoking
The George Hotel, Christchurch
The George Hotel, Christchurch
The George Hotel, Christchurch
The George Hotel, Christchurch
 

Day 2

Your rental car is delivered and then drive Christchurch to Mt Cook

Driving distance and time: 350 kms / 217 miles : 4.1 hours

 

Times are based on averages for this specific route and allow for stops. Use these times as guidelines and to assist in the planning for your day.

 

Today collect your rental vehicle for your Fine Tours New Zealand holiday

Today collect your rental vehicle for your Fine Tours New Zealand holiday
Today collect your rental vehicle for your Fine Tours New Zealand holiday
Today collect your rental vehicle for your Fine Tours New Zealand holiday
Today collect your rental vehicle for your Fine Tours New Zealand holiday

Collect your rental vehicle for your Fine Tours New Zealand holiday.  You can choose from an extensive range of late model cars and 4WD vehicles, from Europcar, Budget or Hertz.

GPS navigation system

Use the latest GPS technology as you tour New Zealand. Your portable GPS features a simple touch screen interface with automatic route calculation and turn-by-turn voice-prompted directions including street name announcement. The automotive-grade GPS unit is easy to use and has multiple language options.

Christchurch to Mt. Cook National Park

Christchurch to Mt. Cook National Park
Christchurch to Mt. Cook National Park
Christchurch to Mt. Cook National Park
Christchurch to Mt. Cook National Park

Today you'll drive through the heart of the South Island, crossing the vast Canterbury plains. Catch your breath in Geraldine before continuing through Fairlie. Ascending Burkes pass you'll come to the picturesque lakeside town of Tekapo. Follow the road and take in the view of Aoraki Mt Cook (New Zealand's tallest mountain) from the shores of Lake Pukaki, known for its glacier fed turquoise blue color. Continue along the lake to your final destination Mt Cook Village. Please note there are no food or shops at Mount Cook you will need to stock up prior to arriving in Mount Cook if you wish to self cater.

Your accommodation - Hermitage Hotel, Aoraki Wing Premium

Style: Hotel 4 star

Meals included: Breakfast, Dinner

Accommodation features

  • Check in time: 2 pm
  • Check out time: 10 am
  • Parking: onsite free parking
  • Internet facilities: In room free access
  • Internet facilities: On site free access
  • Restaurant on site
  • Bar on site
  • Tea/coffee facilities in room
  • Hairdryer
  • All rooms non smoking
Hermitage Hotel, Aoraki Wing Premium
Hermitage Hotel, Aoraki Wing Premium
Hermitage Hotel, Aoraki Wing Premium
Hermitage Hotel, Aoraki Wing Premium
 

Day 3

Explore Mt Cook National Park

Mount Cook Encounter Guided Walk

Mount Cook Encounter Guided Walk
Mount Cook Encounter Guided Walk
Mount Cook Encounter Guided Walk
Mount Cook Encounter Guided Walk

The Mount Cook Encounter Walk is an 8km guided tour of the Hooker Valley, providing breath-taking views of some of New Zealand's highest and most enthralling peaks. Your knowledgeable and enthusiastic guide will talk about the unique flora and fauna of the region and the local history as you trek through this amazing landscape.  From The Hermitage Hotel, head to the White Horse Hill camping ground. The journey takes in the poignant Alpine Memorial and passes over the turbulent Hooker River twice by swing bridge to unsurpassed vistas of Aoraki Mount Cook's south face and the surrounding glaciers and mountains, then continue to the terminal lake of the Hooker Glacier.  A Packed lunch is included on this full day walk.

Your accommodation - Hermitage Hotel, Aoraki Wing Premium

Style: Hotel 4 star

Meals included: Breakfast, Dinner

 

Day 4

Scenic drive Mt. Cook to Queenstown

Driving distance and time: 257 kms / 159 miles : 3.0 hours

 

Times are based on averages for this specific route and allow for stops. Use these times as guidelines and to assist in the planning for your day.

 

Mt. Cook National Park to Queenstown

Mt. Cook National Park to Queenstown
Mt. Cook National Park to Queenstown
Mt. Cook National Park to Queenstown
Mt. Cook National Park to Queenstown

Leaving the alpine region of Mount Cook, you'll travel through the lakeside town of Twizel, then a little further to Omarama - the gliding capital of New Zealand. Continue on over the Lindis Pass, one of New Zealand’s highest roads with a summit of 971 meters. Arrive in the quaint village of Tarras, then continue on a short way to the historic Bendigo Reserve, one of Otago’s original gold mining settlements.

Follow the road to Cromwell, and keep going through the sheer cliffs of the Kawarau Gorge towards the Gibbston Valley, one of New Zealand's premier wine growing regions. See the historic Kawarau Bridge where you can bungy jump or relax and watch others take the plunge. Approaching Queenstown, the Remarkables mountain range comes into view as you arrive into the adventure capital of New Zealand.

Your accommodation - Millennium Hotel Queenstown

Style: Hotel 4 star

Meals included: Breakfast

Accommodation features

  • Check in time: 2 pm
  • Check out time: 10 am
  • Walk time to shops/restaurants: 10-15 mins
  • Parking: onsite paid parking NZ$10-NZ$15 per 24 hrs
  • Internet facilities: In room free access
  • Internet facilities: On site free access
  • Restaurant on site
  • Breakfast service available
  • Dinner service available
  • Bar on site
  • Tea/coffee facilities in room
  • Room service available
  • Hairdryer
  • Laundry facilities: On site
  • Gym/fitness centre
  • All rooms non smoking
Millennium Hotel Queenstown
Millennium Hotel Queenstown
Millennium Hotel Queenstown
Millennium Hotel Queenstown
 

Day 5

Explore Queenstown today. Attend RouteburnTrack briefing this afternoon

Enjoy your free day exploring Queenstown and the surrounding countryside

Enjoy your free day exploring Queenstown and the surrounding countryside
Enjoy your free day exploring Queenstown and the surrounding countryside
Enjoy your free day exploring Queenstown and the surrounding countryside
Enjoy your free day exploring Queenstown and the surrounding countryside

Although celebrated as New Zealand's ‘adventure capital’ Queenstown offers far more than a fast paced action-packed holiday. Settled on the shores of Lake Wakatipu beneath a soaring panorama of the Remarkables Mountain Range, this alpine town is surrounded by a plethora of historic, gastronomic and scenic wonders.

Head down the Gibbston valley wine trail to sample some of the region’s best Pinot or catch a ride on the 100 year old Steamship - the TSS Earnslaw -  to Walter Peak Station for dinner and a farm tour. Browse the waterfront cafes and have lunch at Michelin star chef Josh Emett's ‘Rata.’ Check out nearby historic Arrowtown and enhance your experience with a four wheel drive trip to Macetown.

Take a leisurely lakeside stroll or ride the gondola for breathtaking views. Venture further afield into the Fiordland National Park or head over the Crown Range to Wanaka. Drive through Lord Of The Rings country - or for the really fanatic, jump aboard one of many dedicated LOTR tours. And after all of that - if you do really want the adrenaline rush Queenstown is known for, take your pick from the Shotover Jet, Nevis Bungy, Canyon Swing, Zipline, Luge or Heli-ski.

Europcar rental car drop off Queenstown accommodation

This evening leave your rental car keys with the reception at your accommodation. Make sure you take any items such as Kruse, GPS etc with you and that car fuel tank is full. The next morning Europcar staff will collect the rental car from your accommodation.

Routeburn Track Guided Walk Briefing

Today there is a pre-walk briefing for Routeburn Track walkers at 3:45pm at the Ultimate Hikes Centre in Queenstown, it is compulsory to attend.  The briefing will cover everything you need to know to prepare for your hiking adventure.

Your accommodation - Millennium Hotel Queenstown

Style: Hotel 4 star

Meals included: Breakfast

 

Day 6

First day on the Routeburn Track takes you through to Lake Mackenzie

Routeburn Track 3 day Guided Walk

Routeburn Track 3 day Guided Walk
Routeburn Track 3 day Guided Walk
Routeburn Track 3 day Guided Walk
Routeburn Track 3 day Guided Walk

The Routeburn Track traverses wild and scenic mountain country between the Hollyford and Dart Valleys at the base of New Zealand's Southern Alps. Since the 1880's the Routeburn Track has proved to be one of the most accessible and popular journeys into New Zealand's forests and mountains. The Routeburn Track passes through two national parks, Fiordland and Mount Aspiring, and is part of Te Wahipounamu, South West New Zealand World Heritage Area.The area is a haven for native birdlife: the Robin; Fantail; Parakeet; Bellbird; Yellowhead and watch out for the resident Kea at Routeburn Falls! The variety of landscapes will astound you: mountainous peaks; sheer rock faces; alpine basins; pristine lakes; cascading waterfalls; luxuriant forest; turquoise rivers and million dollar views around every corner.

The Routeburn Track Guided Walk is a 3 day / 2 night Queenstown to Queenstown all-inclusive guided walk traversing New Zealand's Southern Alps. The package includes all transport, accommodation, meals, snacks, backpacks and rain jackets.Accommodation is inluxury lodges and you will be led by expert Ultimate Hikes guides.

Day 1 Queenstown to the Divide to Lake Mackenzie

Day 1 Queenstown to the Divide to Lake Mackenzie
Day 1 Queenstown to the Divide to Lake Mackenzie
Day 1 Queenstown to the Divide to Lake Mackenzie
Day 1 Queenstown to the Divide to Lake Mackenzie

14km (8.7miles) 5-6 hours walking

Your adventure begins with a coach ride from Queenstown to the Divide on the scenic Milford Road. Begin your hike up a well-graded trail until you get above bush line, then take a side trip up to Key Summit. Descend to Lake Howden for lunch, before continuing steadily upwards to the magnificent Earland Falls. Further along the trail, the snow-capped peaks and glaciers of the Darran Range come into view before you make your descent to Lake Mackenzie Lodge. (Includes lunch and dinner).

Your accommodation - Routeburn Track Lodges

Style:

Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Routeburn Track Lodges
Routeburn Track Lodges
Routeburn Track Lodges
Routeburn Track Lodges
 

Day 7

Fantastic mountain views today and tonight you stay at the Routeburn Falls Lodge

Day 2 Lake Mackenzie to Routeburn Falls via Harris Saddle

Day 2 Lake Mackenzie to Routeburn Falls via Harris Saddle
Day 2 Lake Mackenzie to Routeburn Falls via Harris Saddle
Day 2 Lake Mackenzie to Routeburn Falls via Harris Saddle
Day 2 Lake Mackenzie to Routeburn Falls via Harris Saddle

15km (9.4miles) 5-6 hours walking

You leave the emerald waters of Lake Mackenzie; climb the zigzag above the bush line and cross the Hollyford face with its dramatic alpine landscape. After crossing the Harris Saddle and skirting Lake Harris, you descend into an immense alpine basin, which is alive with summer flowers. Continue to Routeburn Falls Lodge. (Includes breakfast, lunch and dinner)

Your accommodation - Routeburn Track Lodges

Style:

Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

 

Day 8

Descend to the forested lowlands, before you return by coach to Queenstown

Day 3 Routeburn Falls to Routeburn Road End to Queenstown

Day 3 Routeburn Falls to Routeburn Road End to Queenstown
Day 3 Routeburn Falls to Routeburn Road End to Queenstown
Day 3 Routeburn Falls to Routeburn Road End to Queenstown
Day 3 Routeburn Falls to Routeburn Road End to Queenstown

 10 km (6.1 miles) 3-4 hours walking

The trail descends from the Routeburn Falls to the alpine meadows of the Routeburn Flats. Pass crystal clear river pools and enter the forested gorge, opening to the lowlands. Coach back to Glenorchy for your group photo and then on to Queenstown, arriving at 4.00pm.

That evening you meet at a Queenstown restaurant for a celebration dinner at 6.30pm where you will be presented with your group photo and certificate of achievement. (Includes breakfast, lunch and celebration dinner)

Your accommodation - Millennium Hotel Queenstown

Style: Hotel 4 star

Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

 

Day 9

Rental car delivered then drive Queenstown to Franz Josef Glacier

Driving distance and time: 350 kms / 217 miles : 4.6 hours

 

Times are based on averages for this specific route and allow for stops. Use these times as guidelines and to assist in the planning for your day.

 

Today collect your rental vehicle for your Fine Tours New Zealand holiday

Today collect your rental vehicle for your Fine Tours New Zealand holiday
Today collect your rental vehicle for your Fine Tours New Zealand holiday
Today collect your rental vehicle for your Fine Tours New Zealand holiday
Today collect your rental vehicle for your Fine Tours New Zealand holiday

Collect your rental vehicle for your Fine Tours New Zealand holiday.  You can choose from an extensive range of late model cars and 4WD vehicles, from Europcar, Budget or Hertz.

Queenstown to Franz Josef Glacier (via Wanaka)

Queenstown to Franz Josef Glacier (via Wanaka)
Queenstown to Franz Josef Glacier (via Wanaka)
Queenstown to Franz Josef Glacier (via Wanaka)
Queenstown to Franz Josef Glacier (via Wanaka)

From Queenstown you'll cross the Crown Range - the highest sealed road in New Zealand - to arrive in the Alpine town of Wanaka, gateway to Mt Aspiring national park. Skirting the shores of both Lake Wanaka and Hawea, you will enter the small town of Makarora. Stop at Blue Pools for a ten minute walk through native beech forest to a glacier-fed swimming hole. Continue on through the remote seaside settlement of Haast before heading up the wild West Coast - a 600 km stretch of bush and native rainforest. Fox Glacier welcomes you first, then comes your destination for the night - Franz Josef township.

Your accommodation - Scenic Hotel Franz Josef Glacier

Style: Hotel 4 star

Meals included: Breakfast

Accommodation features

  • Check in time: 2 pm
  • Check out time: 10 am
  • Walk time to shops/restaurants: 2-5 mins
  • Parking: onsite free parking
  • Internet facilities: In room free access
  • Restaurant on site
  • Bar on site
  • Tea/coffee facilities in room
  • Hairdryer
  • Laundry facilities: On site
  • All rooms non smoking
Scenic Hotel Franz Josef Glacier
Scenic Hotel Franz Josef Glacier
Scenic Hotel Franz Josef Glacier
Scenic Hotel Franz Josef Glacier
 

Day 10

Explore the west Coast Glacier region

Franz Josef Glacier Helihike

Franz Josef Glacier Helihike
Franz Josef Glacier Helihike
Franz Josef Glacier Helihike
Franz Josef Glacier Helihike

After a thrilling scenic flight, high above the rugged terrain, you will land on the glacier, ready to undertake a three hour guided glacier hike. Your friendly guide will lead you through some of the most pristine and awe-inspiring glacial scenery in the world. Your guide will choose your route carefully as you go and, with an eye for the most spectacular ice formations, you’ll soon be making your way through an extraordinary landscape of towering peaks and glistening blue ice.Following on from your Heli Hike enjoy access to Franz Josef Glacier Hot Pools, the perfect end to an unforgettable day.

Walking tracks in and around Franz Josef area

Walking tracks in and around Franz Josef area
Walking tracks in and around Franz Josef area
Walking tracks in and around Franz Josef area
Walking tracks in and around Franz Josef area

There are many walks and hikes in and around Franz Josef. The information below is provided by the Department of Conservation. Located in Franz Josef village is a Department of Conservation information center and you can get updates on track conditions and suitability plus you can learn about the area, its natural history and its people. Listed below are a selection of short walks but check with the Department of Conservation information center for weather conditions, track suitability and conditions  first.

Douglas Walk

The Douglas Walk is an easy one-hour forest walk that passes by the Peters Pool viewpoint and crosses several moraines before descending to the bridge across Dolly Creek on the way back to the road.

Category:  Walking track. Completion Time:  1 hr return

Franz Josef Glacier/Kā Roimata o Hine Hukatere Walk

The 40-minute walk to the terminal face of the Franz Josef Glacier follows a rocky path over riverbed. Only experienced and prepared visitors should attempt climbing on the glacier.

Category:  Walking track. Completion Time:  1 hr 30 min return

Lake Wombat Track

The Lake Wombat Track leads you through a lush rimu forest to the idyllic Lake Wombat.

Category:  Walking track. Completion Time:  1 hr 30 min

Okarito walking tracks

North of the Franz Josef Township sits the coastal settlement of Okarito and the Okarito Lagoon. The lagoon is home to more than 76 species of native birds including the kōtuku/white heron and royal spoonbills.

Category:  Walking track.

Peters Pool Walk

The spectacular view at Peters Pool includes Franz Josef Glacier/Kā Roimata o Hine Hukatere, and the Fritz Range, including Mt Moltke and Mt Roon.

Category:  Easy access walk. Completion Time:  25 min

Sentinel Rock Walk

Just a short distance south of the Franz Josef Township you will come to the Glacier and Sentinel Rock walks. The Sentinel Rock Lookout offers impressive views of the glacier, the valley and Waiho River.

Category:  Short walk. Completion Time:  20 min

Tatare Tunnels Walk

The 80-minute return Tatare Tunnels Walk follows an old 4WD road to a junction with the Callery/Waiho Walk. From there follow the track to the old water tunnels.

Category:  Walking track. Completion Time:  1 hr 20 min return

Terrace Walk

Follow the Terrace Walk as it winds through forest and goes by remnants of past gold mining operations.

Category:  Short walk. Completion Time:  30 min

Your accommodation - Scenic Hotel Franz Josef Glacier

Style: Hotel 4 star

Meals included: Breakfast

 

Day 11

Franz Josef to Christchurch Tranz Alpine Train Greymouth to Christchurch

Driving distance and time: 170 kms / 106 miles : 2.1 hours

 

Times are based on averages for this specific route and allow for stops. Use these times as guidelines and to assist in the planning for your day.

 

Franz Josef to Greymouth Train Station

Franz Josef to Greymouth Train Station
Franz Josef to Greymouth Train Station
Franz Josef to Greymouth Train Station
Franz Josef to Greymouth Train Station

Today you’ll head north through the historic gold mining region of Hokitika. Known for its Greenstone (Pounamu) this seaside town has a rich history dating back to the 1860’s. Head to the coast and take in the endless sea-views or pick up a souvenir at one of the many craft shops. Continue on to Greymouth, the largest town on the West Coast and the starting point for the next leg of your journey - the Tranz Alpine Scenic Train. Drop your rental car at the Greymouth Train Station depot located inside the train station building before boarding your train to Christchurch.  

SUGGESTED ACTIVITY - Monteiths Brewery Personalised Bottle & Tour

Monteiths Brewery Personalised Bottle & Tour
Monteiths Brewery Personalised Bottle & Tour
Monteiths Brewery Personalised Bottle & Tour
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

TranzAlpine Scenic Train: Greymouth to Christchurch
TranzAlpine Scenic Train: Greymouth to Christchurch
TranzAlpine Scenic Train: Greymouth to Christchurch
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.

Private Transfer Christchurch Train Station to Accommodation

Your private transfer driver will meet you on arrival into Christchurch train station and take you to your accommodation.

Your accommodation - The George Hotel, Christchurch

Style: Luxury Lodges & hotels

Meals included: Breakfast

 

Day 12

Depart Christchurch today

Private transfer to Christchurch airport

You will be collected from your accommodation and a private transfer will deliver you to Christchurch airport in time for your departing flight.

 
 
price from
NZ$ 7,408.00 pp (small car, low season - details)

This tour includes