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3 Day Glacier Explorer Tour

Short on time? This 3 day tour is a great way to travel from Queenstown to Christchurch. Travelling to the West Coast, home to temperate rainforest, wild coastline and the breathtaking Glaciers. Enjoy a glacier valley walk and traversing the Southern Alps on the famous TranzAlpine Train.

3 Day Glacier Explorer Tour

A 3 day South Island tour from Queenstown to Christchurch with a day at the West Coast glaciers.

Tour Type: Independent Tours
From: Queenstown to Christchurch
Departs: Daily
Duration: 3 days
Tour Code: 3E

Regions Visited

Click on the region name to view more information about the region

Queenstown, Franz Josef, Greymouth, Christchurch

Tour Inclusions

  • All transport
  • 2 nights accommodation
  • Guided Glacier Valley Walk

Day By Day Itinerary


Leaving Queenstown, travel to the West Coast passing via the Haast Pass into Westland National Park.

Stay: Franz Josef Glacier


Today enjoy a delightful guided Glacier Valley Walk to the glacier terminal face. You will learn about the glacier’s history, see what is left behind by this majestic giant, gain an understanding of the legend of Ka Roimata o Hinehukatere (how the glacier got its name) and enjoy awesome views of the glacier. Please note this walk does not take you onto the ice. Afternoon at leisure.

Stay: Franz Josef Glacier


Travel north through lush rainforest to Greymouth where you will transfer to the TranzAlpine Train. Enjoy a remarkable train journey across the Southern Alps and across the Canterbury Plains to the “Garden City” of Christchurch.

Average Score: 5 (2 ratings)
1 - 5
Booked a tour through scenic pacific, as had organised four weeks of holiday in NZ with my dad and thought I’d have a break from organising and let someone else do it for the west coast glaciers.

Really glad I did as it was coming to the end of our holiday and it was so nice to be picked up at the accommodation at both places. It ran smoothly all the way through.

Lisa our agent, was helpful and so quick with responding to me in England,when I first enquired about booking a tour. Nothing was any problem to her and she was cheerful and full of humour all through the months of our correspondence. Our itinerary was waiting for us when we checked into accommodation in Queenstown, 4 days before our tour started. She was interested in our visit to NZ, and very enthusiastic about our tour with scenic pacific.

The coaches were clean and comfortable with informative drivers. The studio apartment in Franz Josef was gorgeous. A massive, comfortable bed and the most beautiful view from the window (bella vista apartments). It even had basic kitchen facilities. (Plug in hob, microwave, kettle, toaster and fridge).

We had a guided walk to the base of the glacier, included in the price. Excellent 3.5 hours with a fabulous guide who was really interesting (zac). Then we had free time in the afternoon, so a bit of a break before next journey.

The coach to Greymouth was excellent. The driver knew great places for refreshment stops. Really chatty fella. Then the TranzAlpine train to Christchurch was amazing.

I would recommend this trip. You can organise it yourself but I didn’t think it was any cheaper (unless you have more basic accommodation or self drive) and it was so nice to have someone else organise everything. Especially a cheerful agent like Lisa.
First the useful things- toll free number is available to call from the USA, emails are responded quickly, staff is excellent. All payments are done beforehand, a set of vouchers gets delivered to your hotel- all organized in the right order.Then the tour goes like clockwork. Detailed summary of each day is provided to you.Their website is quite detailed and you can mix and match all tours time permitting.

Sent them a brief email, followed by a quick call and Heather and Sophie got on my case. Sophie asked what I wanted to do and then came back with a detailed plan. All hotels with room details and all the excursion list was emailed to me. Sophie got all hotel bookings done per my requirements. All hotels were centrally located with excellent breakfast and good restaurants.

Our taxi or shuttle drivers showed up on time, every detail was perfect. We started from Queenstown, toured Milford Sound, went to Franz Josef, did the TranzAlpine train, went to Auckland. You have to do nothing, just book your flights and Sophie and the team will do their magic.

One part of our trip was cancelled due to weather and we got a quick refund. I made changes and cancelled one tour because FlexiTours offered a Rotorua, Waitomo, Hobbiton 1 day tour- it was handled efficiently by Sophie. It was great working with Sophie and Heather- thank you!

Prices for period 1st October 2018 to 30th September 2020

Accommodation Tourist (Motel) Quality (Hotel)  
Twin/Double $965 NZD $1,295 NZD Enquire / Book
Triple $920 NZD $1,160 NZD Enquire / Book
Single $1,225 NZD $1,885 NZD Enquire / Book

Prices are per person and in New Zealand Dollars.

Expenses of a personal nature such as meals (except where stated in the itinerary), beverages, travel insurance, laundry and optional sightseeing are not included in the tour cost.



Independent Tours are not escorted group tours - they are for independent travellers. What this means is that it is not the same group of people travelling on their own coach with a tour leader/escort looking after you. You are travelling independently. However, you are picked up and dropped off at your accommodation each morning and evening and interesting commentary is provided on many sectors.

Frequently Asked Questions – Independent Tours

What is an Independent Tour?
Independent Tours are not escorted group tours - they are for independent travellers. What this means is that it is not the same group of people traveling on their own coach with a tour leader/escort looking after you. You are traveling independently.  However, you are picked up and dropped off at your accommodation each morning and evening and interesting commentary is provided on many sectors.

What dates do your tours depart?
The Pacific Travel Independent Iour programme operates on a daily basis (with daily departures) using the services of Great Sights, InterCity, Interislander and KiwiRail. All tours are subject to availability at time of booking.

What is included in the tour cost?
All tours 2+ days in length include coach travel, transfers, accommodation and sightseeing activities where specified. A detailed travel wallet with your travel vouchers and comprehensive itinerary will be sent to your agent prior to your departure or delivered to your pre tour accommodation for you to collect on check in.

I am travelling alone – can I pay the triple or twin share rate and be linked with other travellers?
No, unfortunately. You must pay the single room – per person cost.

I am travelling with children, what price will I pay?
Please contact us for information on child fares, as these vary based on the specific product you require. Some sightseeing activities are unsuitable for children.

Are any meals included in the tour cost?
Our Independent Tours do not include meals. There are exceptions where a picnic lunch is included on particular sectors. The coach does make various refreshment / comfort stops throughout the day where food can be purchased. Each evening you are free to relax and dine at you choice of restaurant either on site if you choose quality class, or just a short walk into town with tourist class. Many accommodation providers offer a breakfast service which can be arranged directly.

Is Halal food available in New Zealand?
Along with a small population of Muslims, New Zealand has an increasing number of Muslim visitors. Halal food and restaurants are now found in many areas of the country.

Do Independent Tours have a tour escort?
As these tours are Independent, you do not have an escort traveling with you. However all coach drivers are experienced professionals. They will share their vast knowledge of our country with you by providing an informative commentary on most routes.

Can I add in additional nights to a tour?
Yes you can. All tours are very flexible. Please ask one of our Travel Consultants for extra nightly rates.

What is the difference between quality and tourist class accommodation? 
Quality class:
 Hotel style accommodation with a restaurant on site, 4 star standard. At times 4 star motor lodges are also used. 
Tourist class: Self contained style accommodation with ensuite bathrooms and kitchenette facilities, 3.5 – 4 star standard. Breakfast provisions can be purchased from these properties but you will need to go to the town centre to purchase your evening meal. We endeavour where possible to book accommodation that is within easy walking distance of the centre of town.

What if I cannot find exactly what I am looking for on the website?
Let us know what is on your wish list to see and do and we are more than happy to help you plan a customised tour.

How much luggage can I take on my tour?
Each passenger may take 2 pieces of luggage (max 25kg each). For safety reasons, each passenger is limited to one carry on item (max 5kg). We also advise you check the maximum baggage allowance with your chosen airline.

How do I make a payment for a tour?
For bookings made more than 30 days prior to travel, Pacific Travel require a NZ$500 per person or 10% of the value of the package price (whichever is greater). This is a non-refundable deposit. Balance of payment is due 30 days prior to travel. For bookings made 30 days or less prior to travel, full payment is required at the time of booking. Visa & MasterCard are accepted forms of payment. All prices advertised are in New Zealand dollars and are GST inclusive.

What is your cancellation policy?
If after your booking has been confirmed you wish to cancel, the following cancellation fees will apply:
Cancellations 31 or more days prior to travel: Your deposit plus a further 10% of the total package price.
Cancellations 15 – 30 days prior to travel: Deposit + a further 20% of the total package price.
Cancellations 0-14 days prior to travel: 100% of total fare (no refund).
Booking amendments made by you: an amendment fee of 10% of total package price will be charged to cover our administration and communication costs. We may also need to pass on any amendment/cancellation fees imposed by our suppliers.

Conditions of travel
Pacific Travel reserves the right to alter fares, amend itineraries, book alternative accommodation or to cancel tours. Pacific Travel Ltd shall not be held responsible for any loss or damage to luggage or personal effects and/or damage resulting in death or personal injury, which may arise whilst travelling with Pacific Travel Ltd or its nominated suppliers. All transportation, both land and sea, is subject to the terms and conditions of the company providing the transport, some of which limit or exclude liability. These are available from the carriers concerned on request.

Will I need travel insurance?
We strongly recommend you purchase travel insurance. Factors may arise that require you to cancel or amend your holiday, so it is essential you are covered for any costs that may be incurred. We recommend purchasing your travel insurance locally at the same time as you book your tour and flights. Unfortunately Pacific Travel does not sell travel insurance.

Do I need to tip in New Zealand?
If you wish to reward someone for a job well done it is always much appreciated.

Do I need a visa to visit New Zealand?
Most visitors to New Zealand do not require a visa to enter for the purpose of a holiday or vacation under the visa waiver program. If you do need a visa to visit New Zealand then you should contact the New Zealand consulate in your home country well before your departure date. We recommend you also check with your local travel agent or airline for any visa requirements to New Zealand particularly if you are passing through Australia.

What currency is used in New Zealand?
The New Zealand dollar is the only legal tender in New Zealand. View a guide between your local currency and the New Zealand dollar. Please note: Your tour and all purchases using a credit card in New Zealand will be charged in New Zealand Dollars (NZD) at the current exchange rate at the time of purchase. The above currency conversion page is to be used as a guide only.