COASTAL PACIFIC UPDATE
Work is continuing at pace on the reinstatement of the Main North Line following November’s Kaikoura earthquake. Parts of the line are open for freight goods and crews are working fast in both directions but higher safety standards and ongoing seismic events mean that passenger services will be delayed longer than freight. Because of this, it is unlikely that the Coastal Pacific will operate this summer season (September 2017-April 2018).
The Coastal Pacific will be back to service as early as possible for the 2018/2019 season and it is hoped the season will be extended if possible. This could mean an earlier start date than September 2018. We will continue to keep you updated as a return to service date becomes clearer. In the meantime we can book coach transportation for you between Picton and Christchurch.
Take an unforgettable journey into the heart of Milford Sound, New Zealand's most famous tourist destination. You'll experience the world-famous fiord in all its natural glory – surrounded by dense rainforest, glacier-carved valleys and beautiful waterfalls.
Leaving Queenstown, travel in comfort along the shores of Lake Wakatipu and into southern farmland to Lake Te Anau, the largest lake in the South Island. After a morning tea stop (own expense), travel along the lake and into Fiordland National Park. Enter the picturesque Eglinton Valley, a place of ancient alpine forest and gushing waterfalls and one of only a few road-accessible glacier valleys in New Zealand, and take advantage of the photo opportunities on offer along the Milford Road, like the stunning Mirror Lakes, where on a calm day the surrounding mountain ranges are perfectly reflected in the still waters, and Knobs Flat, where glaciers have carved their mark on the terrain.
Your glass-roof coach will provide amazing views of the dramatic skyline as you cross the Main Divide of the Southern Alps, with stunning mountain peaks all around. Stop at Monkey Creek and sample some of the purest water in the world (but watch out for cheeky kea - native mountain parrots!). Travel under the mountains through the Homer Tunnel, a 1.2km passageway drilled into solid rock, then experience The Chasm, a short but impressive walk over footbridges spanning a series of powerful, swirling waterfalls and rapids.
At Milford Sound, board your 1 hour 45 minute cruise and set off to explore the region that Rudyard Kipling called the Eighth Wonder of the World. Travel the length of the fiord and out to the Tasman Sea, gliding past glacier-scarred rock walls and waterfalls that tumble through valleys and crash into the sea far below. Lush native forest clings to steep cliffs, while wildlife including seals, penguins and dolphins are regular visitors to the icy waters. Mountain ranges surround the fiord, including Mitre Peak which rises dramatically from the depths to a height of 1,692 metres above sea level.
Along the way your captain will provide lively and informative commentary. Your cruise will take place on a modern, purpose-built catamaran with large viewing windows, outdoor decks, panoramic views and warm indoor seating. Translation sheets are provided in Japanese, German, Spanish, French, Korean and Mandarin.
After your cruise, return to Queenstown by coach. Alternatively, book a scenic flight option (optional extra) and wing your way back high over the mountains, lakes and rivers of the South Island.
Useful info: Milford Road stops including Mirror Lakes, Knobs Flat, Monkey Creek and the Chasm are dependent on weather and road conditions.
Free WiFi available on board GreatSights coach