West Coast Glacier Experience

With spectacular glaciers, coastlines and a mountain railway, New Zealand’s South Island promises adventures at every turn.

Journey Overview

With spectacular glaciers, coastlines and a mountain railway, New Zealand’s South Island promises adventures at every turn. Ride on the world-famous TranzAlpine from Christchurch to Greymouth. Come face-to-face with a dramatic glacier. And discover the adventure capital of the world, Queenstown.

Journey Highlights

  • Swim with the charismatic resident dolphins of Akaroa
  • Ride the famous TranzAlpine railway from Christchurch to Greymouth
  • Take a road trip along the untamed West Coast and inland
  • Get a taste of glacial adventure on a Franz Josef heli hike
  • Explore the world’s adventure capital, Queenstown
Itinerary

Journey Itinerary

Day 1: Arrive Christchurch

Arriving into Christchurch, meet your A&K guide and transfer by private vehicle to your luxury boutique hotel just steps away from the vibrant cultural precinct.
The George

Day 2: Christchurch – Akaroa – Christchurch

Meet your A&K representative this morning for a full day adventure to the beautiful Banks Peninsula southeast of Christchurch. Travel via the high summit route which gives glorious views of expansive farmlands, Akaroa Harbour, Lyttelton Harbour, the Canterbury Plains, Christchurch City and the distant Southern Alps as well as remote bays indenting the coastline. On arriving at the main wharf in Akaroa, you will be briefed for your Swim with the Dolphins experience, before embarking on your cruise. This once in a lifetime experience lets you swim alongside the endangered Hector’s Dolphin, the world’s rarest and smallest, allowing a unique and memorable interaction.

Afterwards, spend some time wandering around the charming 175-year-old French harbourside village of Akaroa with its museum of settlers' history, art and craft shops and studios before enjoying lunch at an award-winning café. On the journey back to Christchurch, stop in at Barry’s Bay Cheese, the last outpost of traditional cheese making on the Peninsula and the Little River Art Gallery, where contemporary works by leading and emerging New Zealand artists are exhibited as well as sculpture, ceramics and jewellery.
The George | BL

Day 3: Christchurch – Franz Josef

Today is a journey on one of the world’s most famous trains, the TranzAlpine. Ride the rails through the vast Canterbury Plains and spectacular gorges and river valleys. Climb the majestic Southern Alps to Arthur’s Pass National Park, then descend through lush beech rainforest to Greymouth. Collect your rental vehicle and head south down the Great Coast Ride alongside ancient limestone cliffs and untamed native forest to glacier country. Stop in the historic village of Hokitika for its fascinating heritage of shipwrecks, gold miners and pounamu hunters. Arrive at your lodge in the heart of West Coast glacier country.
Westwood Lodge | B

Day 4: Franz Josef

An adventure in store this morning as you head out on a unique shared heli-hike expedition on Franz Josef Glacier. Twelve kilometres long and fed by a massive 20-square-kilometre snowfield at the top of the Southern Alps, Franz Josef features ice pinnacles as high as multi-storey buildings, deep crevasses and stunning, pristine blue ice.

Take to the skies by helicopter and witness the majesty of the ice from the air. Then, land on the glacier itself and set off for your hike across the ice. Equipped with glacier boots and crampons, your guide will lead you through some of the glacier’s most stunning ice formations and pinnacles, a rare experience indeed.

Return to your lodge with the afternoon at leisure. Optional activities in the area include kayaking, soaking in the hot thermal pools, short walks or a visit to Lake Mapourika and the coastal hamlet of Okarito.
Westwood Lodge | B

Day 5: Franz Josef – Queenstown

Continue the road trip today as you make the journey to Queenstown discovering rugged wilderness along the way. Pass waterfalls and river scenery as you leave the coast behind winding your way to Queenstown, New Zealand’s adventure capital.
The Rees Hotel | B

Day 6: Queenstown

Your appreciation for the country’s landscapes continues today, with a shared journey deep into the heart of the world-renowned Mt Aspiring National Park.

Departing Queenstown for the Dart River, you will get up-close with nature on a funyak tour, paddling on the crystal clear waters in an inflatable kayak. Be spellbound by the beauty of the Dart River as well as hidden side streams, rock pools and dramatic chasms. Enjoy the peace and tranquility of this stunning area at your own pace as you float downstream before a sumptuous buffet lunch. Travel onwards to Glenorchy taking scenic back-country routes to return to your start point, passing by iconic scenes used to depict famed Middle Earth locales.
The Rees Hotel | BL

Day 7: Queenstown

A free day to explore Queenstown. Every type of adventure awaits in this world-famous alpine resort. From bungy and jet boating to horse rides, quad biking and ziplining. An exploration of the Central Otago wine region or a Milford Sound adventure. All of this, and much more, awaits.
The Rees Hotel | B

Day 8: Depart Queenstown

Farewell the adventure capital and drive to Queenstown Airport for your outbound flight.
B

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Preferred Accommodation

Preferred Accommodation

This journey features the following Preferred Accommodations:

The George, Christchurch

West Coast Glacier Experience

Located in the heart of Christchurch, The George Hotel is a small luxury boutique hotel just minutes from the city centre and main attrac ... Read more

The Rees, Queenstown

West Coast Glacier Experience

Quiet, private and sophisticated, The Rees Hotel Queenstown epitomises southern hospitality at its finest and an authentic New Zealand ex ... Read more

Journey Dates & Prices

As this suggested itinerary can be personalised to your specific requirements, it is not available for online booking.

Depending on your preferred dates and arrangements, final pricing will vary from low season to peak season travel.

Please call A&K on 1300 851 800 or send us a booking enquiry to book this journey.

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