Southern Panorama

10 Days 2 Countries 7 Cities

Journey into New Zealand's South Island and discover Christchurch, Franz Josef and Queenstown.

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About this trip

South Island shows you its dramatic best, with towering Mount Cook, the Franz Josef Glacier, the TranzAlpine train and a cruise on the Milford Sound all vying for top spot. 

You'll enjoy Insider moments like… tearing yourself away from the unique Pancake Rocks and blowholes of Punakaiki, then drifting off to Tasman Sea breezes at an exclusive waterfront resort, with equally stunning National Park views behind you.


Trip type: Country Explorer i

Trip code: ZRQC

9 Nights

accommodation

17 Meals
  • 9 hot buffet breakfasts.

  • 7 dinners.

  • 1 Be My Guest lunch.

On-trip Transport

All transport shown.

Highlights

What's Included

Sightseeing Highlights

    • City tour in Dunedin.

    • Cruise on Milford Sound.

    • See spectacular sights in Fiordland National Park en route to Milford Sound.

    • View the Southern Alps from the TranzAlpine train.

    • Visit Franz Josef Glacier, historic Arrowtown, and the Pancake Rocks and Blowholes at Punakaiki.


What's Included

Dining

    • 9 hot buffet breakfasts.

    • 7 dinners.

    • 1 Be My Guest lunch.


What's Included

Travel Highlights

    • Luxury air-conditioned coach with WiFi in most regions or alternative transportation (such as rail journeys)

    • Cherry-picked hotels, all tried and trusted

    • Hand-picked Insider Experiences

    • Optional Experiences and free time

    • Porterage, local tips and charges

    • Must-see sightseeing and surprise extras

    • An expert Travel Director and separate Driver, Driver Guide only on Mini-Stays

    • All hotel charges and local taxes

    • Airport transfers on the first and last day of your guided holiday

    • VIP entry to many sights


    Airport Transfers

  • Specific transfer information can be found on the airport transfers page


Southern Panorama

Your Itinerary

1. Arrive Christchurch

Welcome to Christchurch, New Zealand's Garden City. Flights can arrive any time prior to 4pm and you will be transferred from the airport to your Christchurch hotel. After you check-in, you may wish to stretch your legs and take a walk around Cathedral Square or visit the Re:Start Mall. This evening, meet your fellow passengers and Travel Director at a Welcome Reception and then enjoy dinner together at your hotel.

Meal(s)
Welcome Reception
Dinner
Hotel
Novotel

2. Christchurch - Punakaiki

First up this morning you will board the TranzAlpine train and head out through the Southern Alps to Arthurs Pass. This spectacular train journey dates back to 1914, and is rated as one of the world's most scenic train trips. The train forges through tunnels and over viaducts with panoramic views of snow-capped peaks, icy rivers, beech forests, gorges and river valleys. Then, journey up the West Coast to Punakaiki, where you'll view the Pancake Rocks and blow holes. Tonight dinner with wine is at your hotel, then fall asleep to the sound of the surf crashing on the beach, as we overnight in our eco-friendly resort.

Meal(s)
Buffet Breakfast
Dinner with wine
Hotel
Punakaiki Resort

3. Punakaiki - Franz Josef

This morning travel down the West Coast to Hokitika. As well as being one of the few West Coast communities to embrace its coastal landscape, Hokitika struck it rich in the resources stakes. Here you will visit a pounamu factory (native greenstone or jade), for the chance to see a Local Specialist at work creating intricate pieces of jewellery and art. Maori tradition says it is bad luck to buy pounamu for yourself, so if you fancy a trinket of your own, make sure you have someone there to purchase it for you. Your final destination for today is the extraordinary rivers of ice that make up Franz Josef Glacier. You may want to get up close and personal with the glaciers on an Optional Experience helicopter flight. Your flight will hover over the snow face, and may land high up in the valley so that you can walk across the ice fall - subject to weather conditions. Tonight, enjoy dinner at your hotel.

Meal(s)
Buffet Breakfast
Dinner with wine
Hotel
Scenic Franz Josef Glacier

4. Franz Josef - Queenstown (2 Nights)

If weather conditions are unfavourable on Day 3, you will get another chance to fly up to the glaciers this morning. If you aren't flying, you might want to take a stroll through the small but lively Franz Josef village. Then you will head out of Franz following an ancient greenstone trail. View the sheer drop of Thunder Creek Falls and the grand sight of Mt Hooker, flanked on three sides by extensive glaciers. Travel over Haast Pass, marking a change from the rainforest marvel of the wild West Coast to the alpine scenery of the Southern Lakes. From here you will travel further into Central Otago and view Lake Wanaka, where the shoreline is charmingly lined by poplars and willows, followed by the vivid blue waters of Lake Hawea. It is a day of gorgeous lakes, as after Hawea you will travel over to Cromwell, situated next to the sparkling pristine waters of Lake Dunstan. Stop in at a local orchard for a taste of some of the town's delicious stone fruit. Later, you will stop and visit the faithfully restored gold mining settlement of Arrowtown. As you amble down the beautiful tree-lined avenues, past the 19th century wooden buildings, you will feel like you have stepped into a movie set. Then it's on to Queenstown, the adventure capital of New Zealand!

Meal(s)
Buffet Breakfast
Hotel
Millennium

5. Queenstown Sightseeing

Today your choice of sightseeing: ride the Shotover Jet, join a wine tour, play 9 holes of golf, take the gondola to the Skyline Restaurant for dinner or perhaps take a 4WD minibus through Skippers Canyon. This evening cruise across Lake Wakatipu aboard the TSS Earnslaw to Walter Peak High Country Farm for a gourmet barbecue Regional Meal at the Colonel's Homestead. An entertaining farm show provides a glimpse into high-country farm life. Return to Queenstown to sample the festive nightlife.

Meal(s)
Buffet Breakfast
Regional Meal

6. Queenstown - Te Anau

Today is one of those days where you will want to have your camera battery charged, and ready to go. And you will probably want to have a spare battery or two on hand… just in case. From the beautiful sights of Queenstown, you will travel out to the spectacular scenes of Milford Sound. You will stop at Mirror Lakes where, as the name suggests, you can see the stunning mountain scenery perfectly reflected in the waters of the lakes. Then on to the Homer Tunnel, man's attempt to master the sheer rocky ranges, still left rough-hewn around the edges. As you emerge out the other side of the tunnel, you are presented with one of the world's most dramatic alpine drives, down through the Cleddau Valley. You will have a stop at the Chasm, where the roaring Cleddau River has carved its way through solid rock, and then it's on to Milford Sound, where you will cruise the waters of this natural wonder. Your cruise meanders down the sound, taking in the Bowen and Stirling Falls as these plummet from glacial hanging valleys sharply into the sea, and the sheer pinnacle of Mitre Peak, rising from the deep waters of the fiord. After leaving Milford Sound, you will journey through the Fiordland National Park and out to Te Anau on one of the most scenic roads you could hope for. Travel through native rainforests, beech forests, alluvial flats and meadows. This evening after dinner with wine at your hotel you may consider an Optional Experience out across the lake to visit the Te Anau Glow Worm Caves.

Meal(s)
Buffet Breakfast
Dinner with wine
Hotel
Distinction

7. Te Anau - Dunedin

You may want to take an early morning walk along the shoreline of the South Island's biggest lake, before you depart the township of Te Anau this morning. The heavily forested, rugged mountains of Fiordland National Park turn into rolling, grassy hills as you meander your way down to the city of Dunedin. Dunedin, also known as the Edinburgh of the South, has strong connections to its northern hemisphere sister city, even down to sharing many of the same street names - so take a wander down George Street, noting Dunedin's Scottish ancestry. This afternoon your choice of sightseeing: tour Larnach Castle, New Zealand's only castle, ride the historic Taieri Gorge Railway, take the Monarch Wildlife Cruise, or tour Cadbury World or Speight's Brewery. Tonight, enjoy dinner with wine at your hotel.

Meal(s)
Buffet Breakfast
Dinner with wine
Hotel
Scenic Southern Cross

8. Dunedin - Twizel

This morning you have some free time in Dunedin. You may wish to roam around the beautiful grounds of New Zealand's first university, Otago. From Dunedin you will then travel through to the township of Oamaru, with its stately tree-lined streets and its famous white limestone buildings. As well as shipping limestone to the bigger cities of Auckland, Wellington, Christchurch and Dunedin for construction of their Town Halls and various churches, Oamaru locals made sure that their own town represented the best in limestone building the mid-late 1800s had to offer. Then you will journey along the Waitaki River, for a photo stop at the Waitaki Hydro Power Scheme and Benmore Dam. The Waitaki River marks the boundary between the regions of Canterbury and Otago, and with its large catchment it is an ideal source of hydro-electric power. Your day finishes in the heart of the Mackenzie Country at Twizel.

Meal(s)
Buffet Breakfast
Dinner with wine
Hotel
MacKenzie Country Inn

9. Twizel - Christchurch

You may wish to take an Optional Experience this morning. Take in Mount Cook National Park from the air on a scenic flight out over New Zealand's highest peak, the Southern Alps and on to Franz Josef and Fox Glacier. Sweeping views across the turquoise waters of Lake Tekapo framed by a backdrop of rugged hills and snow-capped mountains provide stunning alpine photography opportunities. Later, you will visit the little stone-hewn Church of the Good Shepherd, and stop for a quick photo with the bronze statue of a collie dog, the touching tribute to the sheepdogs which helped develop the Mackenzie Country. Join us at a Be My Guest barbecue at Morelea Farm, a typical working sheep farm, where you'll get a taste of traditional New Zealand country life. You'll be welcomed into the home of Angie and Stan Taylor and their 600 acre garden. You'll have the chance to experience sheep shearing and farming demonstrations before enjoying a BBQ lunch, and wait until you try Angie's famous pavlova dessert! Listen to the family's story of growing up in rural New Zealand and their challenges of farming in the foothills of New Zealand's Southern Alps. This afternoon head through the South Canterbury country towns of Fairlie and Geraldine and out over the patchwork countryside of the Canterbury Plains into Christchurch. Enjoy a city sights tour and see how Christchurch is rebuilding after the devastating earthquakes of 2010 and 2011. Pop into the Transitional Cathedral in Latimer Square, the temporary home of the Christchurch Cathedral. It is the world's only cathedral made substantially of cardboard! Tonight, speak with your Travel Director about dining recommendations in Christchurch's inner city.

Meal(s)
Buffet Breakfast
Be My Guest Dining
Hotel
Novotel

10. Depart Christchurch

Bid farewell to your fellow travellers when your holiday concludes this morning after breakfast. You will be transferred to Christchurch Airport for your onward flight (flights anytime).

Meal(s)
Buffet Breakfast

Available Departures

Please see http://www.trafalgar.com:80/usa/tours/southern-panorama for the latest discounts & departure information.

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Highlights

What's Included

Sightseeing Highlights

    • City tour in Dunedin.

    • Cruise on Milford Sound.

    • See spectacular sights in Fiordland National Park en route to Milford Sound.

    • View the Southern Alps from the TranzAlpine train.

    • Visit Franz Josef Glacier, historic Arrowtown, and the Pancake Rocks and Blowholes at Punakaiki.


What's Included

Dining

    • 9 hot buffet breakfasts.

    • 7 dinners.

    • 1 Be My Guest lunch.


What's Included

Travel Highlights

    • Luxury air-conditioned coach with WiFi in most regions or alternative transportation (such as rail journeys)

    • Cherry-picked hotels, all tried and trusted

    • Hand-picked Insider Experiences

    • Optional Experiences and free time

    • Porterage, local tips and charges

    • Must-see sightseeing and surprise extras

    • An expert Travel Director and separate Driver, Driver Guide only on Mini-Stays

    • All hotel charges and local taxes

    • Airport transfers on the first and last day of your guided holiday

    • VIP entry to many sights


    Airport Transfers

  • Specific transfer information can be found on the airport transfers page


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The Trafalgar Experience

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Meet warm-hearted locals and like-minded travellers. Along your journey of discovery, stop to share stories and flavours with local farmers, chefs and winemakers. Pause to admire the handicrafts and rich traditions of amazing artisans. Explore the essence of Europe through captivating accounts shared by expert historians and savvy local guides.


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Southern Panorama

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10 Days, 2 Countries, 7 Cities

Southern Panorama

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Starts

Christchurch (Nz), New Zealand

Ends

Christchurch (Nz), New Zealand

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This trip is not currently available to purchase through this website.

Travel to Europe often requires an overnight flight. Please arrange your flights to arrive on or before day 1.

i Please read our Trip Notes before booking

iNotes
    • Departures between 1 Oct 2017-31 Mar 2018 are subject to price, itinerary and hotel modification.
    • *Air: Please note that airfares are not included in the prices above. Trafalgar guarantees to quote you the lowest possible airfare available to us on the day that you book.
    • This trip is operated in conjunction with our sister company and South Pacific Specialists - AAT Kings.
    • All prices are per person, double share.
    • If these dates don't suit you, this itinerary is also available in reverse. See Southern Spectacular - code ZCQR.
    • For the best savings and to avoid disappointment book early.
  • Trip prices are per person, land only, based on double occupancy and reflect applicable discount. Discounts are subject to availability and may be withdrawn at any time without notice.
  • Trip prices are correct at the time of the products going live, however are subject to confirmation at the time of booking. All trip information is correct at time of trips going live, however are subject to change - please confirm all details at time of booking.
  • For full terms and conditions, please refer to our Website Terms of Use page.
  • Double-share option not available for trips to South America, Costa Rica, Mexico, Alaska, Hawaii or for any holiday & cruise combination, or in Asia and Eastern Mediterranean except Highlights of Turkey (without cruise) & Best of Turkey. It's also not available on Small Group trips.  Guided Vacations included in this restriction are Newfoundland and Labrador (DNLA) as well as Panama, the Canal & Beyond (LPAN).  
  • For trips that are part of our Guaranteed Room Share, please note that there is a no smoking policy in all shared rooms. Solo travel is not accepted on guided Family Experiences holidays unless traveling as part of a family group. 
  • Travel to Europe often requires an overnight flight. Please arrange your flights to arrive on or before day 1.

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