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Trip Overview

Experience the natural beauty of this amazing country with this 14-night rail adventure. From Auckland head to the volcanic heartland of Rotorua then cross to the South Island via the gorgeous water ways of the Charlotte Sound. Discover the diverse wildlife of Kaikoura before crossing the Southern Alps and stopping over at the Franz Josef Glacier. Continue south the Queenstown and the majestic Fjordland before visiting the breath-taking Mount Cook. This two-week adventure is surely at the top of many bucket lists!

Highlights

  • Discover the thermal wonder of Rotorua, and the magical Waitomo Caves. 
  • Learn more about the rich Maori heritage and culture 
  • Travel the spectacular scenery onboard three scenic railways: The Northern Explorer, The Coastal Pacific and The Tranz-Alpine 
  • Cruise the famous waterways of Queen Charlotte and Milford Sounds 
  • Spot Whales, Dolphins, Sea Lions and Penguins in peaceful Kaikoura  
  • Get some breath-taking photos of the beautiful Mount Cook 

 

 

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 Rotorua 
  • 1 night's hotel accommodation with breakfast in Wellington 
  • 1 night's hotel accommodation with breakfast Kaikoura 
  • 1 night's hotel accommodation with breakfast in Christchurch 
  • 1 night's hotel accommodation with breakfast in Franz Josef 
  • 4 nights hotel accommodation with breakfast in Queenstown 
  • Seats aboard the Interislander ferry from Wellington to Picton 
  • Sightseeing tour of Rotorua and a traditional Maori evening excursion 
  • Sightseeing tour of Waitomo Caves 
  • Whale Watching cruise from Kaikoura 
  • Half day city tour of Queenstown 
  • Milford Sound day trip 
  • Mount Cook excursion 
  • 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 and 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. We accept all major credit and debit cards.

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 

Enjoy a half day city tour this morning, taking in the sights and learning the history of this historic sea-faring city.  Taste an authentic Flat White coffee and stroll along the beach in Devonport, then enjoy some stunning views from Mt Victoria.  In the afternoon continue to explore the city independently, and a trip up the Sky Tower in the evening is certainly a highlight.  (Overnight Auckland) B   

 

DAY 3 - AUCKLAND/WAITOMO CAVES/ROTORUA 

Leave Auckland this morning on a half day tour by sightseeing coach to Rotorua including a guided tour through the world-famous Waitomo Glow-worm Caves with their amazing stalactites and stalagmites.  Enjoy a silent boat ride through the Glow-worm Grotto - a subterranean cavern lit up by the lights of thousands of tiny glow-worms.  Lunch is provided, and on arrival into Rotorua check-in to your hotel for a 2-night stay.  

 

With a unique thermal and volcanic landscape, living Maori culture, natural hot springs and bubbling mud pools, Rotorua is one of New Zealand's best known and most popular destinations.  Rotorua forms part of the geologically active ‘Pacific Rim of Fire' and evidence of the bubbling thermal activity just under the earth's crust is surprisingly evident throughout the city.  (Overnight Rotorua) B/L     

DAY 4 - ROTORUA 

This morning enjoy a coach tour of the Rotorua area, which includes Te Puia Whakarewarewa Thermal Reserve - home of the Pohutu Geyser and the Maori Arts and Crafts Institute where young Maori are taught the carving and weaving skills of their ancestors, the Agrodome where you will learn about rural life and Rainbow Springs with its crystal clear streams and pools teeming with trout as well as the nocturnal Kiwi house and Tuatara display. 

 

Later, experience the warmth of the Maori people during an evening of ceremonial rituals, powerful cultural performance, storytelling and hangi dinner.  Enter a replica pre-European Maori village, see the hangi pit opened and enter the ancestral Meeting House to enjoy a powerful cultural performance featuring tribal songs, myths, legends and dance including the vigorous haka.   Enjoy a hangi buffet dinner (Maori feast) cooked the traditional Maori way in an earth oven before retiring to your hotel.  (Overnight Rotorua) B/D 

 

DAY 5 - ROTORUA/HAMILTON/WELLINGTON 

This morning you will be driven by private car to Hamilton from where you will depart aboard the Northern Explorer Train* to Wellington.  Travel through the rolling countryside of the North Island, past volcanic mountains and the lush farmlands of the Manawatu Region.  On arrival into Wellington you will be transferred to your hotel for an overnight stay.  (Overnight Rotorua) B 

 

**Please note this rail service only runs Monday, Thursday and Saturday.   

 

DAY 6 - WELINGTON TO KAIKOURA 

Enjoy breakfast before heading to the ferry terminal, then cross the Cook Strait and majestic Queen Charlotte Sound onboard the Interislander ferry service to Picton.  Here head to the station for the scenic Coastal Pacific Train* to Kaikoura where you will be shuttled to your hotel.   

 

Kaikoura, meaning “to eat crayfish”, is a coastal town known for its abundant wildlife and its sperm whale population, which are spotted 95% of the year.  The Kaikoura Peninsula Walkway winds from the town centre to lookout points at Point Kean. Close by, the rock platforms are home to a colony of New Zealand fur seals. The 1800s Fyffe House is a cottage built on a foundation of whalebones, with displays on the town's whaling past. (Overnight Kaikoura) 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 7 - WHALE WATCHING IN KAIKOURA - CHRISTCHURCH 

Today head out on the Pacific Ocean to enjoy a Whale Watch experience by modern purpose-built catamaran and enjoy an exciting close-up encounter with the Giant Sperm Whale in their natural environment.  The upwelling of nutrient rich waters around Kaikoura support an abundant and diverse fauna of vertebrates, fish and marine mammals.  At times you may also see Dusky Dolphins and the rare Hector Dolphins, NZ fur seals, sea lions and a large variety of seabirds including the smallest of the penguins, the little Blue Penguin.  Spend around three hours on the water before heading back to land to collect your bags and boarding the Coastal Pacific Train* again, heading through the rich Waipara wine district to Christchurch.  (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 8 - CHRISTCHURCH TO FRANZ JOSEF 

Transfer by shared shuttle from the hotel to the railway station, then depart Christchurch on the spectacular Tranz Alpine train to Greymouth.  Travel over gorges on viaducts that were an engineering feat of their time then after a short stop at Arthur's Pass, climb the Southern Alps and pass through the 8kms Otira Tunnel before arriving at the old mining town.  From here you'll ride the comfortable coach service down the Tasman Sea coastline to Franz Josef. The landscape here 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.  On arrival settle into your hotel for an overnight stay.  (Overnight Franz Josef) B 

DAY 9 - FRANZ JOSEF/QUEENSTOWN 

Depart Franz Josef this morning again by coach, heading south to Queenstown.  The journey passes through dense forest then crosses the Southern Alps via the Haast Pass and through the Kawarau Gorge.  Queenstown is blessed with being surrounded by majestic mountains and being set on the shores of Lake Wakatipu and has made a name for itself as being the adventure capital of New Zealand! On arrival you will be taken to your hotel for the next three nights. (Overnight Queenstown) B 

 

DAY 10 -QUEENSTOWN 

Discover more about Queenstown on a guided tour this morning, with panoramic views from Queenstown Hill and some wine tasting at Gibbston Valley.  After lunch enjoy the remainder of the day at your own leisure. (Overnight Queenstown) B 

 

DAY 11 - MILFORD SOUND DAY TRIP 

This morning 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 by coach in the evening or take the option of a scenic flights from Milford Sound to Queenstown (at an extra cost).  (Overnight Queenstown) B 

 

DAY 12 - QUEENSTOWN 

Enjoy a day of leisure in the adventure capital of New Zealand, and perhaps try one of the many activities available.  Whether its bungy jumping, 4WD exploration of Middle Earth or a vintage steam cruise on Lake Wakatipu there is something for everyone here!  (Overnight Queenstown) B 

 

DAY 13 - QUEENSTOWN/MOUNT COOK/CHRISTCHURCH 

Setting off from Queenstown, travel by luxury air-conditioned coach through the ruggedly beautiful landscape and over the Lindis Pass into the Mackenzie Country.  Stop off at Aoraki Mount Cook National Park, home to New Zealand's highest mountain where there is time to stop for lunch (included) 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, and head to your hotel for your final night.  (Overnight Christchurch) B 

 

DAY 14 - END OF TOUR 

Enjoy breakfast at your hotel before taking your car the airport for your flight home, or to continue your travels elsewhere. B 

 

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

 

DISCLAIMER: 

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. We accept all major credit and debit cards. Railbookers UK Trading Ltd is a member of ABTA (Y6401) and holidays including flights are ATOL protected, number 7579. 

 

Alternative hotels may be available. 

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.

Novotel Rotorua

Novotel Rotorua

Check in to comfort with the lake at your doorstep at Novotel Rotorua Lakeside Hotel. Rejuvenate in the spa's natural geothermal mineral pools and experience a delicious Maori hangi at Matariki. Your room is a calm haven with earthy colours, wood furniture and picture windows to make the most of the spectacular scenery at Novotel.

Conveniently located in the heart of Rotorua township, Novotel Rotorua Lakeside is the perfect base to see all that New Zealand's geothermal capital has to offer. Take a short stroll to the lakefront.

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 holiday experts at:
1 (800) 268-7252
Disclaimer:

Prices are per person and 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. We accept all major credit and debit cards.

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