Enliven your senses on this four-day escape through towering mountains and lush green valleys to the glacial West Coast.
Experience the grandeur of New Zealand's natural beauty. Be immersed in glacial views and outstanding personalized service. Relax on an immaculate adventure where all the details are taken care of for you.
- Soar over the Southern Alps to glaciers and mountains for a magical snow landing
- Savour the flavours of our land with the TranzAlpine Scenic Plus Dining Experience
- Encounter an exclusive interaction with New Zealand’s rarest kiwi bird
- Soak in the dramatic scenery and stunning blue waters of Hokitika Gorge
- Relax amidst pure natural luxury at the 5-star Te Waonui Forest Retreat
Premium Glacier Escape Itinerary
- Scenic Plus Dining Experience (aboard TranzAlpine train)
- Five-course Degustation Meal at Canopy Restaurant
- 5-Star Accommodation at Te Waonui Forest Retreat
- TranzAlpine train
- West Coast Treetop Walkway
- Greymouth to Hokitika
- Hokitika to Franz Josef
- 5-Star Accommodation
- "The Grand Tour" - Heli-Tour including Fox and Franz Josef Glacier, Aoraki/Mt Cook & Mt Tasman and a snow landing
- 5-Star Accommodation
- West Coast Wildlife Centre VIP Backstage Pass Tour
- Westland Wonderland 40-minute HELIMAX movie
- Breakfast at hotel
- Lunch and dinner aboard the TranzAlpine
- Guided Tour of Hokitika Gorge
- TranzAlpine Scenic Plus Train Journey
Day 1 Overview
Day 1 begins with a spectacular TranzAlpine train journey from Christchurch to Greymouth where our Scenic Plus dining experience will tantalise your taste buds whilst mountain views astonish your eyes.
Arriving in Greymouth, you will be greeted by your Scenic transfer to head to Hokitika for an intimate stroll amidst the ancient forest canopy on the West Coast Treetop Walkway.
From Hokitika, your scenic transfer continues to Franz Josef where your rainforest accommodation awaits, the five-star Te Waonui Forest Retreat.
Your day will be completed in style, with a phenomenal five-course Degustation Meal at The Canopy Restaurant at the hotel.
Accommodation & Dining
TranzAlpine Scenic Plus Dining Experience
Your great journey begins aboard the world-famous TranzAlpine scenic train where you'll enjoy the hospitality and flavours of our Scenic Plus dining experience, served in an exclusive carriage, serviced by a unique custom-built kitchen carriage and specially trained hosts.
Regionally inspired, our Scenic Plus dining experience transforms the world you see through your window into a delicious menu of authentic New Zealand dishes.
Beginning with freshly baked breads, local preserves, and barista made coffee, your journey through the flavours of our land starts the moment you take your seat. And while the patchwork paddocks of the Canterbury Plain roll past your window, breakfast will be served.
Enjoy morning tea amongst the mountains of Arthur's Pass, where the peaks of the Southern Alps pierce the horizon in all directions. Take lunch alongside immaculate Moana, where the forest-clad mountains reflect in the silent waters of Lake Brunner.
Throughout the journey, as the scenery transforms outside your window, so will the flavours upon your palate. And whenever you wish to complement your visual and taste sensations, you can stroll to the exclusive open-air viewing carriage and feel the touch of fresh mountain air upon your skin and breathe in the aromas of the surrounding world.
West Coast Treetop Walkway
Wander amidst the branches of ancient native Rimu and Kamahi trees on the incredible West Coast Treetop Walkway experience.
Rising 20m into the canopy of Hokitika's temperate rainforest, the 450m long walkway gives you an intimate perspective of the treetop ecosystem. Through a series of informative boards and interactive displays dotted along the walkway, you'll learn all about the ancient forest and its native inhabitants, which include rare indigenous birds such as Korimako, Tui, and Kereru.
You'll also discover how Māori used native flora for medicinal purposes, the ecosystem of the forest, and more about New Zealand's delightful wildlife.
The zenith of this educational tree-top nature trail is the Hokitika Tower which rises above the canopy, a dizzying 47m above the ground. From the top, you can see the coast and neighbouring wetlands, where kōtuku are often seen.
Day 2 Overview
Enjoy a stunning breakfast among the trees between at the retreat.
Come mid-morning, it'll be time to take flight on a 40-minute guided Heli-Tour featuring Fox and Franz Josef Glaciers and the surrounding mountains.
The afternoon and evening are yours to spend as you please. Investigate the charming town of Franz Josef, book a treatment at Amaia Spa within the retreat, relax with a glass of wine and share all the amazing aerial photos you've just taken. The choices are yours.
Accommodation & Meals Included
Grand Tour Heli Flight
Ascend into the skies for a heavenly experience.
Your morning activity is an inspiring Heli-Tour of Fox and Franz Josef glaciers and beyond. From the unique aerial perspective that can only be afforded by a helicopter, your pilot will talk you through the facets and features of New Zealand's two famous glaciers.
Descending and hovering low over these remarkable geological formations, you will get an intimate understanding of the glacial environment. You will even land on the glacier and walk upon the virgin snow, and breathe in the icy air.
Then, rising high above the mountain peaks, you'll get an astonishing appreciation for how these massive ice sheets have carved and shaped the West Coast environment. Your tour will continue over Aoraki/Mount Cook, Mount Tasman and the Tasman glacier, with incredible views across the Southern Alps and the rugged West Coast.
It might take a while for the excitement and adrenaline to dissipate once you return to earth, but the feelings and memories you experience on this tour will remain with you forever.
Explore and Relax
Spend the afternoon settling back down to life on earth.
The quaint town of Franz Josef has plenty to offer if you are looking to relax, from boutique shops and cafés to hot tubs and spa treatments. For the ultimate relaxation, try booking a spa treatment at the Amaia Spa within Te Waonui Forest Retreat.
Alternatively, if you need to work off the morning's adrenaline, an abundance of nature walks, mountain hikes, and mountain bike trails are waiting to be explored.
In the afternoon, you'll be heading to the cinema to catch a screening of the incredible Westland Wonderland – a 40-minute presentation of South West New Zealand and a bird's-eye view of the outstanding scenery of the area.
In this film, you'll discover the untouched haven of Open Bay Island off the coast of Haast and further to Cascade River on the border of Fiordland National Park.
Be inspired by this wonderful cinematic masterpiece highlighting the world-renowned UNESCO World Heritage Area that you are staying in.
Day 3 Overview
Make the most of your rainforest retreat with a leisurely breakfast in the trees (served until 9:30am).
When you are ready, it's time to stroll over to the nearby West Coast Wildlife Centre for a fully guided tour with one of the Wildlife Rangers.
In the afternoon, head to the cinema to catch a screening of the incredible Westland Wonderland HELIMAX movie.
As night falls, dinner is beckoning. Head to Canavan's Restaurant to satisfy your hunger indulging in an array of local flavours.
Accommodation & Meals Included
West Coast Wildlife Centre VIP Tour
The West Coast Wildlife Centre specialises in breeding and protecting rowi and Haast tokoeka kiwi, and this is your chance to meet one face to face in the nocturnal walk-through area.
You'll also find a fascinating glacier exhibition where you can learn all about the nooks and crevasses of the local formations and how they grow and shrink over time.
Then, with your VIP Guided Backstage Pass, go behind the scenes and join one of the centre's Wildlife Rangers on a fully guided tour. It's here that you'll discover the incubation and rearing facility and learn about the history and successes of the Operation Nest Egg program. Saving the nationally threatened Haast tokoeka and rowi kiwi birds, this program is achieving remarkable momentum in regaining the population of our cherished national icon.
The tour continues backstage in the Tuatara Encounter, where you'll have an intimate audience with a 'living fossil'. Descending from the order Sphenodontia, Tuatara have been walking the earth for 200 million years—and with all their relatives becoming extinct 60 million years ago, it has been a very lonely walk.
Day 4 Overview
After an early breakfast, you'll be greeted at the retreat by your scenic transfer.
Your first stop is Hokitika, where you'll experience a 2-hour tour of the spectacular Hokitika Gorge.
By lunchtime, you'll be checking in at Greymouth Station for the return journey aboard the TranzAlpine. But don't worry about lunch, you'll be spending the afternoon and early evening dining on the train, exploring the flavours of our land with the Scenic Plus dining experience.
By early evening, your Premium Glacier Escape will be coming to a close. The journey might be over, but the memories will be with you forever!
Words cannot describe the outstanding beauty of Hokitika Gorge.
The stunning turquoise waters are created by suspended particles of glacial silt, which result in a rich, vibrant, and almost otherworldly hue.
A breathtaking suspension spans the rocky ravine and provides an unforgettable panoramic view of the spectacular gorge and surrounding scenery.
You will never forget this remarkable place.
TranzAlpine Scenic Plus dining experience
Your Premium Glacier Escape ends in stunning style aboard the TranzAlpine train, where you'll be treated to our Scenic Plus dining experience.
Travelling from Greymouth to Christchurch, your afternoon will be spent savouring the wonderful flavours of an extraordinarily beautiful world that is gliding by your window.
Starting with an early lunch as you meander along the Grey River through Coal Creek and on to Moana, you'll be treated to local wine and flavoursome delicacies all the way to Christchurch.
With the arrival of early evening, you'll enjoy a dinner menu selected from the ingredients of Canterbury whilst feasting on the mountain vistas of Cass and Cragieburn.
While enjoying dessert alongside delectable views of the Canterbury Plains, you may find yourself reminiscing on four incredible days and wishing it could continue forever. Luckily, we have plenty more escapes by rail for you to choose your next adventure.
Included Activities & Accommodation
Be immersed in natural grandeur with these premium activities and stays showcasing the best of the West Coast
Te Waonui Forest Retreat
Sleep within the rainforest, encircled by native bush. The luxurious and welcoming Te Waonui Forest Retreat harnesses the unique synergy of nature and comfort to create total harmony.
Your stay at Te Waonui Forest Retreat will be a dream. With blissful mountains, glaciers, rivers, lakes, coastline, flora, and fauna all waiting on your doorstep, this is the perfect retreat for your Premium Glacier Escape.
Explore more West Coast escapes
Escape by rail, and discover more of the West Coast with our spectacular TranzAlpine short breaks and packages
Explore our East Coast escapes
Travel alongside the sparkling Pacific Ocean and visit some of New Zealand's best destinations with our Coastal Pacific short breaks and packages
Discover the West Coast
From idyllic lakes to geological wonders, discover why New Zealand's West Coast is such a spectacular place to visit: