Christchurch to Queenstown
From Christchurch to Queenstown via the West Coast and South Island mountains. The South Island of New Zealand is one of the world’s most beautiful playgrounds.
The stunning sights let you adventure in absolute beauty. This trip’s going to start off in Christchurch’s vibrant surroundings then heads west to Greymouth via Arthur’s Pass before ducking down to Queenstown and back up to Christchurch. Get ready to have your breath taken away over and over again.
Location start and finish:
Christchurch to Lake Tekapo
Christchurch, Greymouth, Queenstown, Lake Tekapo
Witness a city in transition
The earthquakes that struck Christchurch in 2010-2011 were devastating for the people of the Garden City. But the spirit that locals showed has been reflected in the way the city has been rebuilt and transformed. Through community involvement with some of the world’s best planners it’s now an ever-changing modern city with fresh ideas. Make sure you check out Re:START – the outdoor retail and cafe precinct built out of shipping containers. Take a punt down the stunning Avon River too which the new city plan is set up around. The New York Times recently put it at number 2 on its ’52 places to go in 2014’ list – don’t miss out.
A stunning journey west
From Christchurch head across the South Island through Arthur’s Pass – it’s a stunning road that’ll let you marvel at some extreme engineering and epic mountain views, forest scenery and majestic rivers. You’ll find lots of little walks just up the road for you to head to and explore the mountain side beauty. Look out for New Zealand’s most inquisitive alpine parrot, the kea.
The historic west coast
Next we’re off to Greymouth – the West Coast’s largest town. The town has a proud history of gold-mining which you can appreciate in the local museum or nearby Shantytown. You’re bound to hear a tale or two in the local brewery too, which is something of a legend around these ways. If your legs aren’t too worn out from trekking through Arthur’s Pass then hiking the Elizabeth track is well worth it.
Next it’s down the West Coast to the Fox Glacier. Walking on a glacier is truly one of the more memorable outdoor experiences you can have. The Fox Glacier is the best place to experience glacier hiking in New Zealand because of the easy access and safe routes. The glacier’s only 6km (4 miles) from Fox Glacier township so it’s just a short trip to the access track, and only a 45 minute walk up to the terminal face where we fit our crampons on to follow our guide out onto the ice. There are no helicopters or cable cars required, it’s an easy half day trip to experience the glacier and we are back in town for lunch!
Feel the energy of Queenstown
You’ve probably heard every traveller you’ve met bang on about how great Queenstown is – the thing is, it’s all true. The place offers an incredible amount of outdoor activities that’ll keep you entertained and exhilarated. Take the gondola, throw yourself off a bridge, go paragliding, tackle rivers and then reflect on your adventures in one of the lively town bars. Fuel all the action with a trip to Ferg Burger – you might just eat the best burger of your life!
The return trip past Lake Tekapo
It’s back up to Christchurch now, but not before stopping in at the beautiful Lake Tekapo. This point in the trip is a perfect time to take a breather and take in your beautiful surroundings. Gaze out over the turquoise lake towards the Southern Alps with an ice cream in hand and you’ll realise what we’re talking about. Stay a night here and have a stargaze too – the place is a UNESCO Dark Sky Reserve.