Queenstown to Christchurch with Milford & the Glaciers
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Get caught up in the many things that Queenstown has to offer. From bungy to canyoning to jetboating to skydiving, there is plenty for the adventurer, as well as no shortage of things to do for the more easy-going traveller as well. Great all-day activities include a trip up to Glenorchy for the Fun Yak Safari. Milford Sound is just a short flight away.
Queenstown to Te Anau
Start out with the scenic drive along Lake Wakatipu to Frankton, crossing the Kawarau River. After passing the skifields of The Remarkables you will again find yourself on the very scenic winding road adjacent to the lake. The small town of Kingston at the foot of the lake is a worthwhile short detour and the home of the historic Kingston Flyer. Continue through hilly farm country, finally arriving at the pretty lakeside town of Te Anau. Consider making a visit to Manapouri Power Station, or taking a tour of the wonderful local Glow Worm Caves. You can also experience a taste of incredible Fiordland rainforest by taking a day walk on the renowned Kepler Track.
Milford Sound Return, ex Te Anau
Take the stunning drive through giant glacier carved valleys to visit one of the most scenic spots in New Zealand, Milford Sound. Be awed and energised by the scenic beauty of the marvellous vistas here, particularly of Mitre Peak, which soars straight from the sea like a jagged tooth. Consider a scenic cruise to explore this wonderful place. In the afternoon, make your way back to Te Anau.
Te Anau to Wanaka
Depart the beautiful shores of Lake Te Anau, and make your way back through farm country to Kingston at the southern tip of Lake Wakatipu. When you’re on the road beyond Queenstown and heading towards the Crown Range, consider stopping by the historic village of Arrowtown. Gold was discovered in Arrowtown in 1861, so the town is one of delightful old cottages and fine avenues of trees making it an excellent place for a morning coffee. Stroll the historic streets before continuing over the Crown Range road the charming lakeside town of Wanaka.
Wanaka to Franz Josef
Today’s long but spectacular drive leads from drier climate on the east side of the New Zealand Alps to the green wilderness of the West Coast. Drive past Lake Wanaka and Lake Hawea, heading past Makarora and along one of the finest routes in New Zealand. Stop by some of the impressive waterfalls that line the route, making your way along the winding Haast Pass Highway as it descends down a narrow valley between towering mountains. Stop by the Department of Conservation Visitor Centre at Haast before heading up the coast to the glaciers.
Franz Josef to Punakaiki
Head north from Franz Josef amid stunning scenery to Hokitika, where you’ll find loads of pounamu (greenstone) and craft shops – along with plenty of places to eat whitebait, the tiny fish for which this area is justly renowned. Continue through Greymouth to the amazing pancake rocks of Punakaiki. You can take these in with a leisurely stroll from the roadside. Those wanting a little more can go horseriding on the beach and view them from another angle, as well as taking in much more on Punakaiki’s wonderful scenery. Nature enthusiasts can enjoy an expert guided tour taking in local flora and fauna.
Punakaiki to Christchurch
Head the short distance south to Greymouth, then make your way inland to make the climb toward the steep mountains of the New Zealand Alps. Wind your way through extraordinary scenery as you make your way through Arthur’s Pass National Park, stopping for walks and sightseeing. Continue as the route leads down to the Canterbury Plains, finally arriving at the city of Christchurch. Christchurch continues to recover from significant earthquake damage and increasingly boasts new sights and attractions for visitors. At the edge of the city is the Canterbury Museum, the Botanic Gardens, and Hagley Park, where you can enjoy punting along the Avon river. The International Antarctic Centre, near the airport, is another major Christchurch attraction, interesting for adults and kids alike. The Port Hills – formed by the crater of the huge extinct volcano – offer great views back over the city.