TranzAlpine Itinerary


768 km


  • TranzAlpine train journey
  • Ancient glaciers
  • Adventure capital of New Zealand



Spend some time exploring vibrant Christchurch before you head across the Southern Alps to the untamed West Coast.

Discover a region where temperate rainforest meets glaciers and dramatic coastlines, explore the lakeside resort town of Wanaka, home to the Mt Aspiring National Park and experience the energy of Queenstown, New Zealand's adventure capital.

Day 1: Spend the day in Christchurch

Christchurch - Canterbury
Punting on the Avon River, Christchurch - Canterbury

By ChristchurchNZ

Christchurch - Canterbury


Stretching from the ocean to the Southern Alps.


  • Punting on the Avon River
  • World-famous Botanic Gardens
  • Mountain bike trail in the Port Hills


Enjoy shopping, art, great food & wine and stunning scenery in Christchurch.

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Spend the first day of your journey exploring the fast-changing and funky city of Christchurch, South Island's largest city.

Old English gardens contrast with pop-up bars and innovative precincts in this enduring centre.

Favourite activities include punting down the Avon River, biking in the Port Hills, visiting Sumner Beach, or taking a day trip out to the French colonial settlement of Akaroa.

For a truely magical experience try hot air ballooning over the patchwork Canterbury Plains.

Day 2: Christchurch - Greymouth via Arthurs Pass

Christchurch - Canterbury
TranzAlpine Rail Journey, Christchurch - Canterbury

By KiwiRail

West Coast


Rainforests, glaciers and geological treasures.

Enjoy Southern Alps, lakes & rivers.


  • TranzAlpine train journey
  • Arthur's Pass National Park
  • Gold mining history in Greymouth


Catch the world famous TranzAlpine scenic train from Christchurch to Greymouth or drive across the stunning Southern Alps to discover the untouched beauty of the West Coast.

Along the way take time to visit Arthur's Pass National Park, where you will discover beautiful beech forests, cheeky wildlife and dramatic landscapes. Stretch your legs with a short walk to the stunning Devil's Punchbowl Falls.

Greymouth is rich with gold mining history and a centre for pounamu (New Zealand jade), with many specialist art galleries.

Day 3: Greymouth to Fox Glacier

West Coast
Fox Glacier/Te O Tuawe Valley Walk, West Coast

By Miles Holden


  • Ancient West Coast glaciers
  • Glowworm caves
  • Lake Matheson Walk


  • By car: 2 h 40 min | 196 km via SH6
  • By bus: 4 h 10 min | by Intercity 


Rugged natural beauty, unique experiences and gold mining history.

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Head south down the Great Coast Road, one of the Top 10 Coastal Drives in the world according to Lonely Planet. Travel alongside ancient limestone cliffs, rivers, glowworm caves, mining heritage and untamed native forest to glacier country.

Fox and Franz Josef are New Zealand's most accessible glaciers. Easy walking trails to the glacier's terminal face pass through scarred ancient valleys dotted with morraines.

For the ultimate view, take a scenic heli-flight or ski plane to the glacier's top.

Day 4: Fox Glacier to Wanaka

Roy's Peak Track, Wanaka

By Miles Holden



The most tranquil set of the South Island lakes.


  • Stunning walking and hiking trails
  • Kayaking on Lake Wanaka
  • Tour wineries and a whiskey distillery


  • By car: 3 h 15 min | 262 km via SH6
  • By bus: 5 h 40 min | by Intercity

Head inland past waterfalls and river scenery as you leave the coast, taking a break to explore the Haast River Valley on a guided safari before heading to the lakeside resort town of Wanaka.

Combining small town tranquility with exciting outdoor adventure, Wanaka is a great place to visit any time of year. In winter, skiers and snowboarders head to Cardrona and Treble Cone ski fields.

Mt Aspiring National Park offers a plethora of day and short walks, the clear waters of Lake Wanaka are perfect for kayaking and the surrounding mountains offer bike trails, and climbing adventures.

Day 5: Wanaka to Queenstown

KJet, Queenstown

By KJet Queenstown



Home of the ultimate adventure bucket list.


  • Bungy, skydiving, rafting and jetboating
  • Golf courses, winery tours & hot pools
  • Skiing and snowboarding in winter


  • By car: 1 h 30 min | 112 km via SH6
  • By bus: 1 h 50 min | by Intercity

The alpine resort of Queenstown is exciting, sophisticated and fantastically scenic.

It’s the place to source almost any kind of adventure, including 4WD adventures, bungy, jet boatingrafting and river surfing.

It’s also a destination for luxury experiences – gourmet food and wine, spa treatments and leisurely games of golf.

Day 6: Explore Queenstown and surrounds.

Horse trekking in Glenorchy, Queenstown

By Miles Holden


  • Horse riding in Glenorchy
  • Gold mining heritage in Arrowtown
  • Walking and cycling trails


  • By car: 50 min | 46 km to Glenorchy
  • By : 20 min | 20 km to Arrowtown via Malaghans Rd
  • By : Visit the iSITE for local day tour options


Explore wineries, epic film locations and adventure activities.

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Spend your last day exploring the fascinating Queenstown region. 

Nearby Arrowtown is rich with gold minning history and one of New Zealand's most picturesque towns. Wander through the remains of the Chinese gold rush village, visit the Lake District Museum or pan for gold in the Arrow River.

Discover spectacular scenery and famous filming locations with a horse trek in Glenorchy or spend the day exploring the vineyards of Central Otago.

Driving in New Zealand

Important things you need to know about driving in New Zealand.

View the route below

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