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Trip Overview

Discover the most popular sights and journeys of this amazing country with this 9-night rail adventure. Begin in Auckland before travelling the length of the volcanic North Island to Wellington, the capital city. Cross the Cook Strait and navigate the beautiful Charlotte Sound before enjoying some wonderful Pacific views on The Coastal Pacific Train to Christchurch. Cross the Southern Alps aboard the legendary Tranz-Alpine Train en-route to spending a night near Franz Josef Glacier. Then head on to Queenstown, the home of bungy jumping and enjoy a day discovering the natural beauty of Milford Sound with its breath-taking Fjords and amazing wildlife. This is one holiday you will never forget!

Highlights

  • Discover the rich maritime history and the home of the Flat White coffee in cosmopolitan Auckland
  • Admire the spectacular scenery aboard 3 world class scenic railways: The Northern Explorer, The Coastal Pacific and the Tranz-Alpine
  • Have your camera ready for the world’s most breath-taking ferry crossings aboard the Interislander ferry.
  • Enjoy New Zealand’s number one destination on a full day tour of Milford Sound and the dramatic Fjordland National Park.

PACKAGE ALSO INCLUDES:

  • All rail and coach journeys as per the itinerary
  • All hotel and station transfers as per the itinerary
  • 2 nights hotel accommodation with breakfast in Auckland
  • 2 nights hotel accommodation with breakfast in Wellington
  • 1 night’s hotel accommodation with breakfast in Christchurch
  • 1 night’s hotel accommodation with breakfast in Franz Josef
  • 3 nights hotel accommodation with breakfast in Queenstown
  • Seats aboard the Interislander ferry from Wellington to Picton
  • Half day city tour of Auckland
  • One Hour guided tour of Te Papa in Wellington
  • Morning city tour of Queenstown
  • Day trip to Milford Sound including Fjord cruise
  • Private airport transfers
Trip Map

Why Not...

Extend your trip or try this package in reverse. Call a Rail Expert for details.

Disclaimer:

Prices are per person, based on double occupancy. Prices do not include rail from your hometown. Package prices are subject to change without notice, and all reservations are based upon availability at the time of booking. Single occupancy supplements will apply for solo travelers. 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. We accept all major credit and debit cards. Activities referenced in the itinerary during free time are for suggested purposes only and are not included. Seasonal activity (if applicable): During the off-season, some tours may not be available. In this case, a similar tour will be substituted. Passports are required when traveling outside the United States including crossing the Canadian border.

DAY 1 - AUCKLAND 

Welcome to New Zealand!  Make your way from the airport to your hotel via a private transfer, then head out to explore the city.  (Overnight Auckland) B   

 

DAY 2 - AUCKLAND 

This morning enjoy a half day tour of Auckland City. This tour is designed to explore the history and sights as well as see how Aucklanders live and play. You will cross the Harbour Bridge, enjoy a stroll on a beach and coffee in Devonport and enjoy the stunning panoramic views from Mt Victoria.  Visit Westhaven Marina, one of the largest marinas in the Southern Hemisphere followed by the Auckland Fish Market and the Viaduct Harbour.  The remainder of the day is at your leisure.  (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 - 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 

Today depart on a Queenstown Highlights small group tour of Queenstown, which takes you up Queenstown Hill to enjoy the panoramic views, out to the Kawarau Bridge where you can see the daring bungy jump off the bridge towards the river below then enjoy wine tasting at Gibbston Valley, one of the most southern wineries in the world and lastly visit quaint Arrowtown, which was a bustling town in the 1860's gold-rush era.  Take the remainder of the day at leisure to enjoy the many activities and attractions available in the area.  You may wish to experience a thrilling ride on a jetboat, drive out to quaint Arrowtown which was a rip-roaring town in the 1860's gold rush, cruise the lake on the vintage steamer, parasail on the lake, join a 4WD tour onto a rural property with panoramic views across the valley, or a guided bush walk.  (Overnight Queenstown) B 

 

DAY 9 - MILFORD SOUND DAY TRIP 

Its an early start today, but so very worth it.  You will be collected from the hotel for a full day tour by coach travelling around the eastern shores of Lake Wakatipu and across the picturesque Southland countryside to Te Anau and into the dramatic landscape of the Fiordland National Park to Milford Sound.  Stop at the Mirror Lakes to see the near perfect reflections of the mountains in the calm waters then take a short walk to the Chasm and see where the waters disappear into the rocks before arriving in Milford Sound.  Cruise the fiord past Mitre Peak to the Tasman Sea enjoying the stunning scenery of cascading waterfalls, dense rainforest, steep cliff faces and marine life that inhabits these waters.  Picnic box lunch is included, and your nature guide will give a commentary on the interesting features of the area.  Return to Queenstown in time for dinner (Overnight Queenstown) B/L 

 

DAY 10 - END OF TOUR 

Have breakfast at your hotel before being driven to the airport to continue your travels elsewhere.  B 

 

Grand Millennium Hotel Auckland

Grand Millennium Hotel Auckland

The Grand Millennium Auckland boasts an excellent location in the city center, close to Queen Street and Viaduct Harbour with some of the city's finest finest dining, shopping and entertainment venues at your doorstep.The Grand Millennium prides itself on providing excellent service with sylish rooms and fantastic facilities including heated pool, multiple options for onsite dining, Concierge, gym and complimentary wifi.

Distinction Christchurch Hotel

Distinction Christchurch Hotel

The recently renovated Distinction Christchurch is ideally positioned in the heart of the city in the buzzing Cathedral Square, just a few minutes walk to the Avon River, Botanical Gardens & Cashel Mall. This elegant hotel boasts spacious, modern accomodations with onsite dining, free high speed wifi, brand new gym and many fantastic in-room amenities.

James Cook Hotel Grand Chancellor Wellington

James Cook Hotel Grand Chancellor Wellington

The James Cook Hotel Grand Chancellor is located in the heart of Wellington's city center and features two onsite restaurants, onsite spa, complimentary gym and guest yoga as well as 24 hour room service, Concierge and complimentary wi-fi. The hotel is walking distance to many fantastic attractions including the cable car and famous Lambton Quay - on the "golden mile" of shopping in Wellington.

Scenic Hotel Franz Josef

Scenic Hotel Franz Josef

In the heart of the village and edge of the Westland World Heritage Park, the Scenic Hotel Franz Josef Glacier is only a breath away from the spectacular Franz Josef Glacier. Our hotel offers an exceptional restaurant and bar, private hot pools and luxury spa as well as free wifi and concierge service.

Scenic Suites Queenstown

Scenic Suites Queenstown

Take in the picturesque beauty from this luxurious Queenstown hotel. Enjoy the comfort and impressive style of the hotel then head out to explore the many attractions Queenstown has to offer.

Scenic Suites Queenstown provides one of the most sought after locations for Queenstown hotels. The hotel’s elevated position gives fantastic views of the Southern Alps and over Lake Wakatipu. It’s hard to go past Scenic Suites Queenstown with its convenience and quality of four-star apartment style accommodation.

Select Your Departure Date

For more information or to make a reservation, call our Rail Vacation Experts at:
1 (800) 268-7252
Disclaimer:

Prices are per person, based on double occupancy. Prices do not include rail from your hometown. Package prices are subject to change without notice, and all reservations are based upon availability at the time of booking. Single occupancy supplements will apply for solo travelers. 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. We accept all major credit and debit cards. Activities referenced in the itinerary during free time are for suggested purposes only and are not included. Seasonal activity (if applicable): During the off-season, some tours may not be available. In this case, a similar tour will be substituted. Passports are required when traveling outside the United States including crossing the Canadian border.

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