The combination of TranzAlpine Train, Glaciers and Fiords offers one of the greatest lure’s of travelling in the South Island of New Zealand. The spectacular and diverse scenery around these iconic tourist attractions catches your breathe at every turn.
See our stunning glaciers, be awe-inspired by the rugged and remote landscape of Fiordland National Park, have the option of getting up close to the Glaciers of the Southern Alps, and capture your own moments with New Zealand’s greatest scenic rail journey, the TranzAlpine train.
The TranzAlpine Train, Glaciers and Fiords round trip self-drive and rail tour begins in the garden city of Christchurch, takes you down to Dunedin where a visit to the grand, architecturally designed railway station is a must-see. Marvel at the mosaic floor and the frieze of Royal Doulton porcelain in the booking hall.
From Dunedin head into the heart of Southland, either via Gore or down through Invercargill to the picturesque lakeside town of Te Anau, the gateway to Fiordland National Park where the glorious Milford Sound awaits.
The drive from Te Anau to Milford Sound is full of opportunities for sightseeing along the way. Great photo stops include Mirror Lakes, the Hollyford Valley Lookout, Monkey Creek and the Homer Tunnel.
Once you have arrived at Milford Sound its time to board your 3 hour lunchtime cruise including picnic lunch. On this three hour cruise, you won’t just see Milford Sound, you’ll experience it! Drink glacial water, touch natural artifacts and get under massive waterfalls. It’s the only cruise that includes a visit to New Zealand’s unique floating underwater observatory
Next stop is the adventure capital of the world, Queenstown where you stay for 2 nights. Are you an adrenaline junky or dare to indulge in the gourmet delights of the region? Try your hand at bungy jumping or take a thrill ride on the submersible Hydro Shark as it leaps and dives in the water. Explore the Gibbston Valley Wineries, dine at one of the many eateries and make sure you leave room for a delectable Patagonia ice-cream too. Included in your tour is a trip on the ‘Lady of the Lake’ TSS Earnslaw and a BBQ lunch at Walter Peak Station.
Leaving Queenstown on a high, a more sedate pace awaits you on the West Coast. On your way to the Glaciers you journey through Haast Pass, a pathway through the Southern Alps used by the Maori in pre-European times, before arriving at Franz Josef, your overnight stop. Included in your tour is a 2 hour scenic landscape and wildlife eco-cruise with the Southern Alps, Glaciers and lush rainforest as a your scenic backdrop.
After Franz Josef you travel to Greymouth, your point of departure for one of New Zealand’s great train journeys – The TranzAlpine! This journey will take your from lush rainforest into the Southern Alps and down into the Canterbury Plains to arrive into Christchurch.
Please contact LOCO for any pre/post travel arrangements we can help you with beyond your TranzAlpine Train, Glaciers and Fiords holiday.
LOCO Journeys can tailor-make this tour to a journey that delivers to your desired destinations, your time, budget and the train timetable.
Fully Flexible Tour
TranzAlpine Train, Glaciers & Fiords Highlights
The architectural sights and wildlife interests of Dunedin
The picturesque lakeside town of Te Anau
The stunning scenery of Milford Sound and Fiordland National Park
A trip on the TSS Earnslaw Steamship on Lake Wakatipu
The drive through the Haast Pass
Cruise Lake Mapourika with its rainforest fringed bays which reflect the surrounding Alps and Glaciers.
The magnificent ride through the Alps on the TranzAlpine Train
TranzAlpine Booking Classes
The TranzAlpine train has recently brought in two distinct service levels to their train journey. Both classes are worthy of what you pay, and both a thoroughly enjoyable way to make the most of your TranzAlpine train experience.
Scenic Class Experience
Glide through the heart of New Zealand’s beautiful scenery in Scenic Class carriages, with epic landscape views filling your window while you relax in your seat.
In Scenic Class you’ll experience spacious reclined seats with generous amounts of legroom and comfort, panoramic windows, glass shelves and skylights. And to heighten your comfort, state-of-the-art airbag suspension has been used to guarantee a smooth ride across our rugged New Zealand terrain.
While onboard, you might like a stroll to the Scenic Cafe carriage where you’ll find a great selection of hot and cold snacks, drinks and ice creams. Indulge in a freshly brewed specialty tea or barista coffee married with a sumptuous cake? Or perhaps toast your special journey with a bottle of bubbles?
The Scenic Cafe opens for coffee and breakfast before the train departs and continues serving throughout the day. You can take a seat in the Scenic Cafe carriage and feast upon the views whilst eating. But you are also welcome to return to your seat to dine and drink if you would prefer. The day is yours to do as you choose!
During the hot summer months, the Open-air Viewing Carriage is a great place to get some fresh air and enjoy the great outdoors while on the move. You can whittle away the hours chatting and gazing out upon spectacular scenery and wildlife. It is also that perfect place for capturing those magical views on camera.
Learn the stories of our land while you travel by plugging into the Scenic Class Audio Commentary at your seat. The commentary provides a seamless stream of stories, narratives and facts about the places outside your window and is available on all three Scenic Class services, including the Northern Explorer, Coastal Pacific and TranzAlpine.
Scenic Plus Class Experience
Inside the refined Scenic Plus Class carriages, it’s more than just a journey. You’ll be treated to fresh food, captivating commentary, great hosting and spectacular views, all delivered to your seat while you ease back and enjoy the journey. There really is no better way to discover New Zealand.
At the heart of the Scenic Plus experience is the refined Scenic Plus Class carriage, with huge panoramic windows, glass shelves and skylights, bathing you in those gorgeous coastal and mountain landscapes.
With freshly prepared food inspired by the fields that glide past your window and regional wines to match, you’ll be immersed in the flavours of our land. As you admire the views our Scenic Plus hosts will recount the stories and histories of the passing landscapes and landmarks.
When you step off the train, you will have experienced some of the best New Zealand has to offer.
Your accommodation for the TranzAlpine Train, Glaciers and Fiords self-drive tour has been based at the high quality, comfortable Bella Vista Motels in Dunedin, Te Anau, Franz Josef and Greymouth where you will receive a warm welcome.
Your stay in Queenstown has been based at the Holiday Inn Express and Suites including breakfast.
For a detailed itinerary, the TranzAlpine timetable, departure days, and TranzAlpine fare conditions, please see below.
On arrival into Christchurch Airport, you will pick up your rental car that will be with you to Greymouth. Today you have a big drive, approx 4 hours 45 minutes to Dunedin. The journey takes you via Oamaru, home to New Zealand's oldest public gardens, renowned Oamaru stone architecture, two penguin colonies and Steampunk HQ. Before reaching Dunedin, you may want to stop to visit the Moeraki Boulders, unusual spherical boulders lying along the Koehohe Beach. If feeling peckish its well worth the short drive into Moeraki to visit Fleur's Place, a rustic cafe, restaurant, bar situated right on the waterfront. Their specialty is seafood. They are not open every day so double check beforehand. Your accommodation is at the Bella Vista Motel Dunedin.
Day 2 | Dunedin - Te Anau
This morning you may want to get out and explore Dunedin. A must see is to visit the Dunedin Railway Station, with its 'gingerbread house' architecture. Step inside to marvel at the freize and mosaic floor of the booking hall. Visit the Toitu Otago Settlers Mueseum or take a drive to Larnach Castle, situated on the Peninsular. Today you have a choice to either drive through the heart of Southland, via Balclutha and Gore (approx 3 1/2 hours), or to drive the Southern Scenic route via The Catlins and Invercargill (approx 5 hours) to Te Anau. Your accommodation for the next 2 nights is at the Bella Vista Te Anau
Day 3 | Te Anau - Milford Sound - Te Anau (L)
Today you will be treated to some spectacular scenery. Your drive to Milford Sound takes approx 2 hours. Leave plenty of time to stop for photo opportunities at Mirror Lakes, the Hollyford Valley Lookout, Monkey Creek and the Homer Tunnel. Your Milford Sound cruise departs at 12.15pm and includes a picnic lunch and Milford Sound Underwater Observatory where you can experience the amazing world beneath the surface. Descend 64 steps (10 metres) underwater into a large viewing area where windows open your eyes to this underwater haven.
Day 4 | Te Anau to Queenstown
Your drive today takes approximately 2 hours to reach the alpine, lakeside town of Queenstown. You may want to spend the morning in Te Anau - take a boat trip to visit the Te Anau Glow Worms Cave or visit the Bird Sanctuary. Once in Queenstown, your accommodation for the next 2 nights is at the Holiday Inn Express and Suites. The hotel is centrally located to the many restaurants Queenstown has to offer. A popular eatery is the famous 'Ferg Burger'.
Day 5 | Queenstown (L)
Today you have the morning at leisure to explore the sights of Queenstown, whether you want to partake in some of the thrilling adventure activities such as jet boating, bungy jumping or tour the town by Segway. Otherwise you may want to cruise the shops, take a soak in the Onsen Hot Pools or enjoy a winery and cave tour at Gibbston Valley Wines. Just let LOCO journeys know and we can help you prebook in advance to avoid disappointment. At 12 noon you will be departing on the TSS Earnslaw Steamship across Lake Wakatipu to Walter Peak Station for a BBQ lunch. You have the late afternoon/evening free to check out Queenstown's restaurants and nightlife. (If you prefer to do an evening cruise on the TSS Earnslaw with evening dining just let us know at time of booking).
Day 6 | Queenstown - Franz Josef
Today after checking out of your hotel you leave Queenstown and drive via the scenic Haast Pass to Franz Josef. The drive will take approximately 4 hours 40 minutes. Depending on your arrival into Franz Josef and weather dependent you may want to enjoy a Heli ride and glacier landing. Your accommodation tonight is at the Bella Vista Franz Josef.
Day 7 | Franz Josef - Greymouth
This morning you have a 2 hour Scenic River Cruise included in your tour. Enjoy a spectacular landscape and wildlife eco-cruise with the Southern Alps, Glaciers and lush rainforest as a your scenic backdrop. Relax in comfort as you take in the views on the small personalized tour. Journey into a kiwi conservation area, enjoy old growth rainforest and spot New Zealand’s native birdlife. After your cruise, you set off for Greymouth. The drive is approximately 2 hours and takes you via Hokitika. You may want to take a drive out to view the turquoise waters of the Hokitika Gorge or stop in at West Coast Tree Top Walk and Cafe and experience life with the birds! Hokitika is a cool little town full of arts and crafts. Watch the glass blowers create art before your eyes or have a go at your own bone carving. The town is situated on the coast and is often bathed in the most beautiful sunsets. It takes only about 30 minutes from Hokitika to Greymouth and your accommodation for the night is at the Bella Vista Greymouth. There is a great restaurant down the road called Buccleugh's on High where you can head for dinner or another popular option is the Monteith's Brewery.
Day 8 | Greymouth - TranzAlpine Train - Christchurch
This morning is at your leisure to explore Greymouth. You may want to visit Shantytown Heritage Park and enjoy a Steam Train ride or drive out to Brunner Mine Site and explore the historic site on a self walking tour. You will drop your car at the rental depot at the Greymouth Railway Station for 1.30pm before boarding the TranzAlpine Train for a spectacular ride through the Southern Alps to Christchurch where your tour ends.
For more information about this tour, price queries and updates on specials, please Enquire Now.