​Trail of the Luminaries

​​11 Days

​​​​​Discover New Zealand’s colourful goldrush heritage, primeval rainforests and ancient glaciers as you navigate the narrow slither of the South Island’s West Coast. Then head north from the alpine charms of Queenstown to the Aoraki MacKenzie Dark Sky Reserve.

Discover New Zealand’s colourful goldrush heritage, primeval rainforests and ancient glaciers as you navigate the narrow slither of the South Island’s West Coast. Then head north from the alpine charms of Queenstown to the Aoraki MacKenzie Dark Sky Reserve.

Day 1 Christchurch

 Start your South Island journey in Christchurch. A transfer will take you to your hotel on arrival.

This vibrant city embraces the art of rejuvenation and reinvention in a multitude of ways. Green space and the lazy curve of the Avon River sit side by side with state-of-the art design, architecture and modern street art. 

Accommodation: 4* Distinction Christchurch

Days 2-3 TranzAlpine to the West Coast (40 kms)

Board the famed TranzAlpine train this morning for an epic journey across the spine of the South Island. From the gentle patchwork fields of the Canterbury Plains you’ll plunge through the very heart of the Southern Alps ascending the high plains of Craigieburn, crossing viaducts whilst immersed in some of New Zealand’s most dramatic landscapes.

On arrival in Greymouth collect your rental car and make the short drive south to Hokitika. This very cool little West Coast town is where you’ll hear stories of fortune hunters, ships wrecked on the notorious ‘Hokitika Bar’ and find galleries filled with pounamu (greenstone) and works of art.

Accommodation: 5* Rimu Lodge (BB)

Days 4-5 Fox Glacier (157 kms)

From gold rush era to a landscape millions of years in creation. Make your way south through the emerald green rainforest to glacier country. In Franz Josef you’ll find a vast glacier of the same name, where you can walk to within 750m of its face.

Your base is Fox Glacier, 25 minutes south of Franz Josef, perfect for exploring this World Heritage Wilderness Area. 

Accommodation: 4.5* Distinction Fox Glacier Te Weheka (BB)

Days 6-8 Queenstown (327 kms)

Take your time with the drive today, the scenery is simply quite outstanding. From the West Coast you’ll head inland through the Mount Aspiring National Park and over the Crown Ranges before dropping down in to Queenstown. We’ve included a 4WD small group experience with a local operator to the historic gold mining town of Macetown, long since abandoned you’ll pan for gold and get a true off-road experience. Queenstown is known for high-octane, adrenalin fuelled adventures but it’s also a place of remarkable scenery, world-class wineries and access to some of the most spectacular scenery on earth.

Accommodation: 4.5* Queenstown Park Boutique Hotel (BB)

Days 9-10 Aoraki Mount Cook (221 kms) 

Leave Queenstown by way of Arrowtown, a delightfully quirky and charming gold rush village tucked beneath the peaks of the Southern Alps. The town was settled in the height of the Otago gold rush and many of the buildings still remain including the Chinese settlement built on the banks of the river.

From here head through the magnificent Lindis Pass to the Aoraki Mount Cook National Park. Sitting within the southern hemisphere’s only dark sky reserve the night skies are, as you can imagine, quite incredible.. Visit the Sir Edmund Hillary Centre and the mighty Tasman Glacier before enjoying a guide through the stars from the comfort of your lodge. 

Accommodation: 4.5* Lakestone Lodge (BB)

Day 11 Departure

  • What's Included?

    Accommodation as detailed or similar on a room only basis unless otherwise shown

    Car rental

    4WD Macetown Tour

  • Please Note:

    This fly-drive tour can operate in either direction and can be tailor-made to your own requirements.