Trip Overview…

Explorer the adventurous side of New Zealand on this 10-night rail holiday. Starting at the top of the North Island, experience the otherworldly magic and history of Rotorua before heading south to the capital city Wellington. Cross the majestic Cook Strait onboard the Interislander ferry, then follow the beautiful coastline to Christchurch onboard the Coastal Pacific train. The Tranz-Alpine train from here to Greymouth is rightly often listed as one of the most scenic train journeys in the world, and to end the day in the shadows of the Franz Josef Glacier make this a day to remember. Continue travelling south to the outdoor mecca of Queenstown and tour the magnificent Fjordland and Doubtful Sound before getting the chance to admire Mount Cook, New Zealand’s highest peak en-route to Christchurch.

Package Includes

Highlights

  • The vibrant and cosmopolitan city of Auckland
  • Wonder at the landscape and rich Maori heritage of Rotorua
  • Admire the spectacular scenery aboard 3 world class scenic railways: The Northern Explorer, The Coastal Pacific and the Tranz-Alpine
  • Experience perhaps the worlds most breath-taking ferry crossings aboard the Interislander ferry
  • Discover New Zealand’s amazing Fjordland reqion with a cruise along Doubtful Sound
  • Marvel at the breath-taking beauty of Mount Cook and the Southern Alps

Rail & Hotel Included:

  • 2 nights hotel accommodation with breakfast in Auckland
  • 2 nights hotel accommodation with breakfast in Wellington
  • 2 nights hotel accommodation in Christchurch
  • 1 night’s hotel accommodation with breakfast in Franz Josef
  • 3 nights hotel accommodation with breakfast in Queenstown
  • All rail and coach journeys as per the itinerary
  • All hotel and station transfers as per the itinerary

Tours & Inclusions:

  • Seats aboard the Interislander ferry from Wellington to Picton
  • Small group day trip from Auckand to Rotorua and Waitomo Caves
  • One Hour guided tour of Te Papa in Wellington
  • Small group morning city tour of Queenstown
  • Small group day trip to Doubtful Sound
  • Private airport transfers

At a glance

11 days
Departing May 22 – Sep 23
From AUD$
5334
pp

Your Itinerary

DAY 1 – AUCKLAND

Welcome to New Zealand! On arrival you will be met at the airport by a private driver and taken to your hotel to check in.  Once settled, head out to enjoy this vibrant and beautiful city.  (Overnight Auckland) B

DAY 2 – ROTORUA DAY TRIP

This morning depart Auckland by coach and travel south over the Bombay Hills into the fertile farmlands of the Waikato Valley to Waitomo for a guided tour of the famous Waitomo Caves to discover an ancient underground labyrinth of limestone caves and grottos.  See the fascinating limestone formations of stalagmites, stalactites and columns that have formed over thousands of years then enjoy a silent boat ride on an underground river into the starry wonderland of the magnificent Glow-worm Grotto.  Later this morning continue across picturesque farmland and over the bush-clad Mamaku Ranges to the thermal wonderland of Rotorua. On arrival see New Zealand’s agricultural industry in action with a sheep shearing display and sheep dog trials at the Agrodome, plus an organic farm tour.  Then continue to Te Puia with its geysers and boiling mud pools for which this thermal area is famous. Following your guided tour of Te Puia, sit back and enjoy a Maori cultural performance. Return to Auckland in the late afternoon. The tour includes morning snack, lunch and afternoon snack all served on board the coach.  (Overnight Auckland) B

DAY 3  AUCKLAND TO WELLINGTON

This morning you are transferred to the train station and depart Auckland on the Northern Explorer Train.*  Enjoy a full day of travel through the rolling countryside of the Central North Island, over the Raurimu Spiral (an engineering feat of its time), past the three volcanic mountains of the Tongariro National Park and across the Central Plateau then through the farmlands of the Manawatu Region and on to Wellington, the capital city and Seat of Parliament.  Upon arrival you will be transferred to your hotel, then head out to enjoy your evening. (Overnight Wellington) B

**Please note that the Northern Explorer only operates on Monday, Thursday and Saturday.

DAY 4  WELLINGTON

Enjoy a 1 hour guided tour of  Te Papa – New Zealand’s National Museum viewing the highlights related to New Zealand’s history and natural environment, including the colossal squid.  Then enjoy your day exploring this historic city.  You may wish to ride the Cable Car to Kelburn then stroll through the Botanical Gardens and Lady Norwood Rose Garden, join a walking tour that takes you to some of the best cafés and coffee houses the city has to offer, visit Katherine Mansfield’s birth place, take a tour of Parliament Buildings. There are also guided tours to places of interest and history, the seal colony or Lord of the Rings sites used in the movie trilogy.  (Overnight Wellington) B

DAY 5  WELLINGTON TO CHRISTCHURCH

Following breakfast, you are transferred to the ferry terminal for one of the most beautiful boat journeys in the world.  The Interislander crossing from Wellington to Picton on the South Island navigates the Cook Strait and the scenic Queen Charlotte Sound in roughly 3.5hrs.  On arrival there is plenty of time to board the famous Tranz Coastal Pacific Train* south.  The tracks run along a thin ledge of land pinned between the blue waters of the Pacific Ocean and the rugged ranges to Kaikoura, where the mountains meet the sea then travel across the farmlands of the North Canterbury Plains and the Waipara wine district, where the micro climate of the area makes it ideal for growing grapes.  On arrival you will be taken from the station to your hotel by shared transfer to enjoy your evening. (Overnight Christchurch) B

**The Coastal Pacific is a seasonal train, running from Spring (October) through to Autumn (April).  Between April-October, the rail service will be replaced by coach. 

DAY 6  CHRISTCHURCH TO FRANZ JOSEF

After breakfast you are transferred to the station from where you will depart onboard the Tranz Alpine train for a scenic rail journey through the splendour of the Southern Alps to the West Coast. Travel over gorges on viaducts that were an engineering feat of their time then after a short stop at Arthur’s Pass, pass through the 8kms Otira Tunnel continuing to the gold and coal mining town of Greymouth.  Here, you change onto a scheduled coach service to Franz Josef.  The journey takes you along the Tasman coastline to the west and Southern Alps rising in the east.  The landscape is dominated by the national park’s two largest glaciers, Franz Josef Glacier and Fox Glacier, the only glaciers in the world that descend into lowland rainforest.  (Overnight Franz Josef) B

DAY 7 – FRANZ JOSEF TO QUEENSTOWN

Enjoy breakfast at your hotel before departing Franz Josef by public scheduled coach service to Queenstown.  Travel south through the dense South Westland forests crossing fast running streams and pretty bush fringed lakes.  At Haast the road turns inland crossing the Southern Alps via the Haast Pass and skirts glacial Lake Wanaka then Lake Hawea. On a clear day there are splendid views across the lake to Mt Aspiring.  Travel through the Central Otago sheep, cattle and fruit growing area, and scene of a major gold rush last century. Continue through the rock hewn Kawarau Gorge to the resort town of Queenstown.  On arrival transfer to your hotel to settle in, then enjoy the evening exploring.  (Overnight Queenstown) B

DAY 8 – QUEENSTOWN

Learn more about this picturesque town on a small group tour this morning, including the climb up Queenstown Hill for some breath-taking panoramic views, then enjoy the rest of the day at your own leisure.  (Overnight Queenstown) B

DAY 9 – DOUBTFUL SOUND DAY TRIP

Depart Queenstown by coach to Manapouri. Cruise across the crystal waters of Lake Manapouri to West Arm before boarding a coach and crossing the alpine route of Wilmot Pass through some of Fiordland’s most dense rainforest.  On reaching Deep Cove, board a modern catamaran vessel, the Patea Explorer for a three-hour cruise exploring the waterways of this serene and isolated fiord.  There is plenty of time available to explore points of interest and view the spectacular alpine scenery including waterfalls, rainforest and mountains all the way out to the Tasman Sea.  Return to Queenstown in the early evening and enjoy your final night here.  (Overnight Queenstown) B/L

DAY 10 QUEENSTOWN/MOUNT COOK AND CHRISTCHURCH

Setting off from Queenstown this morning, you will travel by luxury air-conditioned coach through ruggedly beautiful landscape and over the Lindis Pass into the Mackenzie Country.  When you arrive at Aoraki Mount Cook National Park, home to New Zealand’s highest mountain, there is time to stop for lunch (own cost) and a chance to enjoy the amazing alpine scenery.  According to Maori legend, the boy Aoraki and his brothers once hit a reef in their canoe. When they climbed to the higher side of the tilting vessel, the cold south wind froze them, turning them into stone.  Aoraki and family now form the Southern Alps, which you will see in all their glory on this tour.  During your stop at Mount Cook Village there is also the opportunity to take a scenic flight over this spectacular region (additional cost, weather permitting – this flight can be arranged with your driver guide on the day).  In the afternoon, travel past Lake Pukaki to Lake Tekapo, where you can view the solitary Church of the Good Shepherd against the backdrop of this vivid blue glacier-fed lake.  Continue through the diverse farmland of the Canterbury Plains to Christchurch, the Garden City, where your tour concludes.  (Overnight Christchurch) B

DAY 11 – END OF TOUR

Following breakfast, you will be taken to the airport by private car for your flight home. B

MEAL GUIDE: B – BREAKFAST, BR – BRUNCH, L – LUNCH, AT – AFTERNOON TEA, D -DINNER

Prices are subject to availability, based on two people sharing a standard twin or double room. Prices are subject to change. Single occupancy supplements will apply for solo travellers. Hotel and room facilities vary and may be subject to additional fees. Some hotels require payment of local city taxes on arrival. Please call for pricing.
Price based on May – Sep 2022 departure
RAIL BOOKINGS
Maximum Flexibility
With Maximum Flexibility, we give travellers who book new reservations through 30 September 2021, the option to change their travel dates or cancel their rail holiday up to 5 days prior to departure without incurring any change or cancellation fees. Any existing reservations can be rescheduled up to 5 days prior to departure without incurring any change or cancellation fees.
Customers will be issued a future travel credit, which is valid for 24 months and can be used toward a new reservation with any of our brands, destinations, and itineraries for any travel date and length of trip without penalty*.
*Additional restrictions may apply for any rail vacations that include Cruises, Belmond, Rocky Mountaineer, Golden Eagle Luxury Trains, Journey Beyond Rail Expeditions, The Blue Train, El Transcantábrico, Tsars Gold, or other luxury trains. Please be aware that certain arrangements may not be amended after they have been confirmed and any alteration could incur a cancellation charge of up to 100% of that portion of the travel arrangements.
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