If you crave adventure and appreciate the beauty of nature, this four-day Milford Sound adventure itinerary is perfect for you. Highlights of this itinerary include a scenic railroad journey on the TranzAlpine express, a trip to the Franz Josef Glacier, your choice of adrenaline-pumping activities in Queenstown, and finishing up with a relaxing journey to Milford Sound.
Christchurch – Greymouth – Franz Josef– Queenstown – Milford Sound
Day 1: Christchurch – Greymouth
Travel time: 4.5 hours
The perfect starting point for your exploration of the South Island’s mountains and rainforests is Christchurch, where the TranzAlpine express departs early morning for one of the most scenic railroad journeys in New Zealand. Travel through Canterbury Plains farmland and along the sparkling waters of the Waimakariri River. You’ll travel through the breath-taking Southern Alps and chiselled alpine landscape, through rolling hills of dense native forestland before arriving at your destination, Greymouth.
Arriving in Greymouth just after 1pm, get stuck into some thrilling activities such as forest quad biking or surfing. Or, if you you’re really game you could attempt the Rainforest Zipline Sky Ride! You’ll reach speeds of up to 65km an hour on an exhilarating flying fox experience through a canyon and over a river. Spend the night in Greymouth before travelling to the Franz Josef Glacier the following day.
Day 2: Greymouth – Franz Josef
Travel time: 2 hours 15 minutes
Greymouth – Franz Josef
From Greymouth travel south to the Franz Josef Glacier. You simply cannot escape the striking scenery on the two hour drive from Greymouth to the Franz Josef Glacier. One side of the road you are treated to breath-taking views of the wild Tasman Sea while on the other side are cliffs covered in dense green rainforest.
Franz Josef Glacier
You can spend most of the day marvelling at the Franz Josef Glacier. This incredible ice river tumbles down steep valleys and rainforests, abruptly stopping just before sea level. It’s easily accessed by foot and there are a wide range of adventure activities you can do while admiring the beauty of such a natural phenomenon. A guided tour, an air-safari or a heli-hike are some of the things you could do here. Stay the night in one of the many accommodation facilities in the Glacier Country, there’s something to suit different budgets and tastes.
Day 3: Franz Josef to Queenstown
Travel time: 4.5 hours
Franz Josef – Queenstown
It’s a long drive to Queenstown so stop for a break somewhere like Haast or Makaroa. Haast offers plenty of adventure activities such as scenic flights through the region where an abundance of waterfalls and hanging lakes are hidden, as well as jet boating, kayaking and hunting.
Haast – Queenstown
Carry on to the adventure capital of the world, Queenstown, where you’ll be spoiled for choice with an abundance of adrenaline-pumping, heart-pounding activities. Home of the original AJ Hackett Bungy, throwing yourself off the Kawarau Bridge now seems fairly mild in comparison to some of the other crazy activities in Queenstown.
You could try the Hydro Attack Boat trip and Shark Ride, take a thrilling jet-boat ride into two scenic rivers, challenge yourself to a white water rafting course on the Kawarau and Shot over rivers or scale a rock face with Via Ferrata.
Day 4: Queenstown to Milford Sound and back
Travel time: 8 hours
Today you’ll conclude your Milford Sound adventure by finally making the unforgettable journey to Milford Sound. After spending the past three days immersed in wild and thrilling activities, you’ll be ready to sit back and relax on a sightseeing tour of Milford Sound. You can spend more time relaxing and admiring the stunning view rather than navigating the mountainous highways.