New Zealand by Rail and Road
From Auckland To Wellington, Picton, Blenheim, Christchurch, Greymouth, Dunedin, Middlemarch, Queenstown. - 16 Nights
- Departing from:
- Wellington, Picton, Blenheim, Christchurch, Greymouth, Dunedin, Middlemarch, Queenstown.
- 16 Nights
- Travel Dates:
- 11/11/23 to 27/11/23
- 13/04/24 to 29/04/24
- Offer Expires:
- Tour Operator:
- Railway Adventures
- Reference Code:
Price per person
New Zealand has enjoyed a rail renaissance in recent years with large investments being made into new rolling stock, upgraded track and better on-board services. This has helped elevate it to a rail travel Mecca. There are also vibrant heritage train and vintage transport operations all over this great country and so, you have the ideal destination for rail and culture travelling. On this all-encompassing adventure, you are treated to some of the best rail, road, and water journeys to be had anywhere in the world. And you can be assured that the destinations at the end of the line are as superb as the journey getting there. There are highlights galore on this classic adventure and chartering our own trains at Glenbrook, Weka Pass will be very special outings as will our time at the historic Ferrymead Heritage Park just south of Christchurch on the glorious South Island. It was here in 1863 that a short section of broad-gauge track was opened to the public and the story of one of the world’s most interesting railway systems began.
Day 1 • Saturday:
Arrive in Auckland and this evening join Allan and your fellow travellers for a welcome reception, dinner and drinks at the hotel.
Overnight: The SkyCity Hotel, Auckland (D)
Day 2 • Sunday:
After breakfast at the hotel, embark on a morning sightseeing tour of Auckland, exploring its history, character and of course the famous harbour. After lunch, we’ll head south out of town to Glenbrook for a special steam train charter on the Glenbrook Vintage Railway to the historic harbour town of Waiuku. The one-hour round trip includes a private visit to the workshop and complimentary afternoon tea.
As the sun sets, we return to our hotel by coach for an evening at leisure.
Overnight: The SkyCity Hotel, Auckland (B, L)
Day 3 • Monday:
AUCKLAND – WELLINGTON
An early start this morning as we board the Northern Explorer Train to Wellington. We travel south and discover the breathtaking mountain landscapes from the vantage point of our panoramic carriage. This train trip takes us through green farmland and bush, past little country towns and along rocky coasts, and showcases examples of iconic engineering’s, such as the Raurimu Spiral. The journey past Tongariro National Park, with its three spectacular volcanic mountains – Tongariro, Ngāuruhoe, and Ruapehu – is a highlight of the trip.
We’ll finish our journey in Wellington, check in to our hotel and enjoy dinner together at the hotel.
Overnight: Rydges Hotel, Wellington (B, D)
Day 4 • Tuesday:
Today we embark on a full-day excursion of this wonderful capital city, including a chance to ride the historic Wellington Cable Car (which is actually a funicular railway) from the heart of the city centre, up through the hillside terraced houses of Kelburn to the lookout perched high above the city. Here we take some time to explore the 25ha Wellington Botanic Gardens and possibly enjoy lunch at the café. You might also like to visit the nifty Cable Car Museum.
An early afternoon visit to the wonderful Te Papa Museum reveals the history and culture of this magnificent country. The museum showcases Māori and Pacific cultural treasures, New Zealand’s extraordinary natural world and its most important works of art. Dinner is at your leisure tonight. And for an evening treat, you may want to make a stop at the Carter Observatory and its “Space Place.”
Overnight: Rydges Hotel, Wellington (B)
Day 5 • Wednesday:
WELLINGTON – BLENHEIM
This morning is yours at leisure before we head to the airport for our short flight across the sounds to Blenheim. On arrival transfer to a local winery for a wine tasting before we check-in to our hotel with an afternoon at leisure to explore the town. This evening enjoy dinner at the hotel.
Overnight: Chateau Marlborough, Blenheim (B, D)
Day 6 • Thursday:
This morning we will enjoy a cruise from Picton, up through the beautiful Queen Charlotte Sound to stop at the historical Ship Cove. Named by Captain James Cook in 1770 when his ship The Endeavour anchored here to replenish supplies of food, water and wood. It became a favourite anchorage of Captain Cook and he returned here a further four times between 1770 and 1777. The vessel will cruise via Endeavour Inlet to view Furneaux Lodge and Punga Cove Resort before returning to Picton.
Overnight: Chateau Marlborough, Blenheim (B)
Day 7 • Friday:
BLENHEIM – CHRISTCHURCH
This morning we start our explorations of the region with a visit to the Omaka Aviation Heritage Centre, a world-class active museum that tells the story of aviation during two world wars, the time in which the most intense period of aviation development took place. There is time around town for a spot of lunch before we venture back on the rails.
The Tranz-Pacific train pulls into Blenheim in the early afternoon transporting us south to Christchurch, gliding breathtakingly close to the Pacific Ocean on a railway where the roaring sea on one side meets enormous bush-clad mountains on the other. The train traverses the stunning Kaikōura Coastline, famous for its marine mammals and whale-watching, and the impressive rail and road reconstruction after the massive earthquake damage of 2016. We continue along the dramatic coast and then meander through the idyllic Canterbury Plains, enjoy dinner on board before we arrive in Christchurch in the evening. We transfer to our hotel home for the next five nights.
Overnight: Rydges Latimer, Christchurch (B, D)
Day 8 • Saturday:
This morning after breakfast we explore the city of Christchurch on a guided tour. Christchurch lost many of its heritage buildings and churches in the devastating earthquakes in 2011 and 2012, but it’s being rebuilt, and the city is as vibrant as ever. We’ll pay a visit to the innovative Cardboard Cathedral, as well as the moving “185 Empty Chairs” Earthquake Memorial. We’ll then spend some time at the Canterbury Museum and finish up the tour with a visit to Quake city, an interesting look at the infamous earthquake and its impact on the city.
To cap off the day you have an excursion on the Heritage Tram which rolls along around the old tram network in the heart of the city. The rest of the afternoon and evening are at your leisure.
Overnight: Rydges Latimer, Christchurch (B)
Day 9 • Sunday:
Today we take a morning tour to the interesting town of Lyttelton a port town with a long history. Christchurch’s first European settlers landed here in 1850 before trekking over the Port Hills to establish their new home. A community of nearly 3,000, brimming with bohemian artists, cafés, quirky shops and restaurants. There’s also a wonderful historic steam Tug to explore and you have some free time for lunch before taking a tour to the wonderful Ferrymead Heritage Park where you can go back in time and soak up the atmosphere of this living museum. Ferrymead is located on the formation of New Zealand’s first railway and there are rail displays and trams that run each day to a heritage village where the rail workshops and rolling stock are displayed, along with heritage trolley buses, aircraft, fire engines and other items.
The rest of the afternoon and evening is free to enjoy the hotel and the surrounds of the fair city of Christchurch.
Overnight: Rydges Latimer, Christchurch (B, L)
Day 10 • Monday:
CHRISTCHURCH – GREYMOUTH – CHRISTCHURCH
This morning we board the TranzAlpine train to Greymouth on the West Coast. This is described as one of the great railway journeys of the world, traversing the Staircase Gorge, Waimakariri River, Arthur’s Pass, and the depths of the Otira Tunnel (New Zealand’s 3rd longest, running under the Southern Alps for over 8.5km). Enjoy some time in Greymouth for a wander and some lunch before returning to Christchurch, arriving in the early evening. Dinner tonight is at the hotel.
Overnight: Rydges Latimer, Christchurch (B, D)
Day 11 • Tuesday:
CHRISTCHURCH – WEKA PASS – CHRISTCHURCH
Today presents the opportunity to explore the northern region of the Canterbury Plains with an excursion on the charming Weka Pass railway. We visit a winery for lunch and then our trusty coach takes us to the departure point at Glenmark Station. From here our heritage diesel train rolls along the plains and then tackles the one in fifty grade (2%) ascent on a scenic line that was originally built in the 1880s to service the rich agriculture communities of the region. Our train arrives at Waikari station where you have a break to look around the village and the train is turned for the return journey. Back in Christchurch, you have the evening at leisure.
Overnight: Rydges Latimer, Christchurch (B, L)
Day 12 • Wednesday:
CHRISTCHURCH – WAITAI – DUNEDIN
We farewell Christchurch today and travel down the coast to Dunedin by coach. On the way, we’ll pause to visit a couple of heritage towns and some interesting railway museums, including the Plains Railway. The Plains boasts a rare operating Rogers steam locomotive built in the USA in 1887. At the Pleasant Point Railway near Timaru, you will get to ride on their short section of track and enjoy a country-style lunch at the railway.
A bit further down the coast is the town of Oamaru, the largest town of the Waitaki District with some of the Southern Hemisphere’s most complete Victorian streetscapes and 19th-century architecture with a wonderful collection of charming Whitestone buildings. We’ll arrive in Dunedin in the late afternoon and check in to our centrally located hotel. Dunedin is New Zealand’s largest city by area and perhaps the most spectacular in terms of divergent landscapes. After freshening up we’ll have dinner at the hotel’s signature restaurant.
Overnight: Scenic Hotel Southern Cross, Dunedin (B, L, D)
Day 13 • Thursday:
This morning we enjoy a coach tour of the city, beginning with a visit to the historic Larnach Castle and Gardens, situated overlooking Otago Harbour. We’ll then look over the opulent railway station and other landmarks in the city before settling in for a local lunch.
The rest of the afternoon and evening are at leisure to explore the charming city on your own.
Overnight: Scenic Hotel Southern Cross, Dunedin (B, L)
Day 14 • Friday:
DUNEDIN – GORE – QUEENSTOWN
Our journey to Queenstown today takes us on an interesting loop of the Southern region of the South Island. Stopping at Mandeville near Gore to visit the Croydon Aviation Heritage Centre which houses vintage operational aircraft from the iconic De Havilland Aircraft Factory. This nationally significant museum is dedicated to preserving and celebrating New Zealand’s civil aviation heritage featuring the stories of pioneer aviators and their equally colourful machines. After time for lunch, we continue past Kingston at the southern shores of Lake Wakatipu before continuing around the lake and into Queenstown. Our hotel for the next three nights is conveniently located and after time to relax your dinner will be hosted at the hotel.
Overnight: Crown Plaza, Queenstown (B, D)
Day 15 • Saturday:
After a leisurely breakfast at the hotel, we set out to explore the Queenstown area with a visit to Arrowtown, a historic gold-mining village that has retained around 70 authentic buildings, monuments and features from the gold rush era. Enjoy lunch at leisure in one of the many delightful local restaurants or cafes.
Arrive back in Queenstown in the early afternoon. The town offers many activities such as jet boating, wine tours, and flights to spectacular Milford Sound and the Fiordland National Park or take the gondola to the Skyline Restaurant for mighty alpine and lake views. The evening is at leisure.
Overnight: Crown Plaza, Queenstown (B)
Day 16 • Sunday:
This morning is at leisure.
At Lunch, we’ll regroup for an unforgettable Steamship cruise across Lake Wakatipu on the TSS Earnslaw built in 1912 and maintained to its original condition. Today it’s the only coal-fired steamship in operation in the southern hemisphere and the oldest freshwater steamship in the world. She has featured in several movies too! This cruise is described as “undoubtedly one of the best ways to experience Queenstown’s famed scenic beauty”. Have a drink at the bar and view the steam engines operating. On arrival on the distant shore stroll the gardens of the Colonel’s Homestead at Walter Peak before enjoying an amazing BBQ lunch on this last day of the New Zealand experience.
This evening we will re-group for light snack and Farewell drinks.
Overnight: Crown Plaza, Queenstown (B, L)
- 16 nights’ accommodation in comfortable, 3- or 4-star hotels including breakfast
- All excursions and entrance fees to attractions, as listed in the itinerary
- Charter of the Glenbrook Vintage Railway and Pleasant Point Railway
- Complimentary drinks with welcome and farewell dinners
- Comprehensive sightseeing with expert local guides and your experienced and knowledgeable host
- Luxury chartered coach, with luggage transport throughout the tour
- Meals as per itinerary, 6 Lunches and 7 Dinners
- Drinks with meals (except for welcome and farewell dinners)
- Excursions/entrances listed as optional in the itinerary
- Items of a personal nature (eg. telephone, laundry, mini-bar)
- Transport to/from New Zealand for tour start and end
- Travel insurance