New Zealand Rail Experience

15 Day Tour

Price on Request

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Departure dates on request

OVERVIEW

Take advantage of travelling through New Zealand on some of the many preserved rail sites with vintage locomotives that are located throughout the country.

Sun 03 Nov Welcome to New Zealand
After completing entry formalities depart Customs and enter the Main Arrivals Hall, turn immediately left and make your way to the Pre-Booked Transport and Groups area, where you will be met by your driver. He/she will be standing with a signboard displaying your name and will provide you with the travel documents and vouchers for your New Zealand tour.

Transfer by private car and driver from the airport to the hotel.

Normal check in time applies but the hotel will store your luggage until your room becomes available.

Auckland is a vibrant cosmopolitan city with a busy nightlife, world-class restaurants, bush-clad mountain ranges and diverse neighbourhoods to explore. The Waitemata Harbour is a mecca for sailors, and the popularity of sailing on the harbour has led to the affectionate term, ‘City of Sails’.

Rydges Auckland offers cosy accommodation in close proximity to the city centre – just a short stroll to the Viaduct Harbour, Auckland’s stunning waterfront, which features a vibrant and diverse array of restaurants and bars. All rooms have LCD televisions, high-speed broadband and Wi-Fi.

Accommodation: Rydges Auckland (2 Nights)
Superior King Room
Includes: Full Breakfast

Mon 04 Nov  Auckland (B)
Breakfast at the hotel.
This morning 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.
Afternoon at leisure.

Tue 05 Nov (B,L,D) Auckland / Waitomo / Rotorua
Breakfast at the hotel.
Enjoy a half day tour by sightseeing coach from Auckland to Rotorua including a guided tour through the world famous Waitomo Glowworm Caves with their amazing stalactites and stalagmites. Enjoy a silent boat ride through the Glowworm Grotto - a subterranean cavern lit up by the lights of thousands of tiny glowworms. A picnic style lunch is served onboard the coach en route.

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.

The region is also renowned for Maori cultural activities, adrenalin charged pursuits and a variety of family friendly attractions.

This evening experience the warmth of the Maori people during an evening of ceremonial rituals, powerful cultural performance, storytelling & hangi feasting. Enter a replica pre-European Maori village, see the earth being scraped carefully away from the hangi pit 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 traditional hangi buffet dinner (Maori feast) cooked the traditional Maori way in an earth oven before farewelling your hosts and returning to your accommodation. Return hotel transfers included – other travellers will be on board.

Accommodation: Ibis Rotorua (1 Night)
Lakeview Rooms
Includes: Full Breakfast

Wed 06 Nov (B) Rotorua / Hamilton
Breakfast at the hotel.
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 Kiwihouse and Tuatara display. 12.30pm tour concludes.

In the later afternoon depart Rotorua onboard a scheduled coach and travel through to Hamilton. Make your own way to the hotel (suggest local taxi – not included).
Ibis Hamilton Tainui is at the gateway to the Waikato region commanding a unique location on the banks of the Waikato River. Offering well appointed rooms with city or river views, modern conference facilities and restaurant with balcony and views perfect for al fresco dining.

Accommodation: Ibis Tainui Hamilton (1 night)
Run of House
Includes: Full Breakfast

Thu 07 Nov (B) Hamilton / Wellington
Breakfast at the hotel. Make your own way to the Hamilton Railway station (suggest local taxi – not included).

10.15 am Depart Hamilton on the Northern Explorer Train travelling through the rolling countryside of the Central North Island, over the Raurimu Spiral (an engineering feat of its time), past the 3 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 arriving at 6.25pm.

On arrival transfer by Shared Shuttle from the Wellington Railway Station to the hotel.

Wellington - a capital city of natural beauty, heritage architecture, art and culture. Wedged between bush-clad hills and a splendid natural harbour, Wellington enjoys an incomparable setting of ever-changing moods. On a clear day, the harbour sparkles but the arrival of southern storms can bring amazingly dramatic seas and winds. A vibrant city with a buzzing art, music, theatre and restaurant scene, designer and boutique shopping, Wellington is also home to the New Zealand Parliament and the national museum, Te Papa.

Located in the heart of the city near the bustle of Lambton Quay and walking distance to Parliament, TSB Arena, Westpac Stadium and Te Papa. Visit Vivant Restaurant and Bar for breakfast, lunch and dinner; situated on the ground floor.

Accommodation: Ibis Wellington (2 Nights)
Run Of House Room
Includes: Full Breakfast

Fri 08 Nov Wellington
Breakfast at the hotel.
Day at leisure - you may wish to enjoy the view across the harbour and city from Mt Victoria, ride the Kelburn Cable Car (not included), take a tour of Parliament Buildings or enjoy some time at Te Papa – the national museum with an interactive difference. 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 (available at extra cost). You may also wish to visit the Lady Norwood Rose Garden, the Botanical Gardens and Otari-Wilson’s Native Bush where native flora was developed from an original piece of bushland. There are native species from all over New Zealand being preserved for future generations showing how it can be used for landscaping purposes. Admissions not included.

Sat 09 Nov (B) Wellington / Picton / Christchurch
Breakfast at the hotel.
Shared shuttle transfer from the hotel to the Wellington Interislander ferry terminal.

Depart Wellington on the Interislander Ferry cruising across Cook Strait and through the scenic Queen Charlotte Sound to the South Island.

Depart Picton on the Coastal Pacific Train travelling 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. Arrive Christchurch.

On arrival transfer by Shared shuttle from the Christchurch Railway Station to the hotel.

Stretching from the Pacific Ocean to the Southern Alps, Canterbury is a land of plains and peaks, small coastal, alpine and rural towns and a city rebuilding itself. Christchurch has emerged revitalized following the earthquake that devastated much of the city in February 2011. The destruction of several landmark historic buildings has led to the development of new city plans, a bold public art programme and innovative use of space.

Ibis Christchurch is centrally located in the heart of Christchurch; only a couple of minutes walk to the famous Cathedral Square - the historic heart of the city, or 10 minutes to explore rich culture at Canterbury Museum and the beautiful Botanic Gardens.

Accommodation: Ibis Christchurch (2 Nights)
Standard King Room
Includes Breakfast

Sun 10 Nov (B) Christchurch
Breakfast at the hotel.
This join a fully guided coach tour of the city which shows off the best things to do in Christchurch. Included is Punting on the Avon - punting on the beautiful Avon River is an iconic Christchurch attraction not to be missed. The waters of the Avon ripple by as you sit back on deep cushioned seats in a classic punt while your Edwardian-dressed punter guides you quietly on a 30 minute ride past trailing willows, woodlands, leafy banks and the sights of the garden city of Christchurch. Botanic Gardens Tour - The Christchurch Botanic Gardens were established in 1863, and host without a doubt the finest collection of exotic and indigenous plants to be found anywhere in New Zealand. While on our shuttle discover the natural beauty, history and culture of this central city oasis while at the same time being taken around the gardens in any weather in comfort and style. Ride the Christchurch Gondola into the air nearly a kilometre to the Crater Rim of the Port Hills. Experience the Time Tunnel, a dramatic reconstruction of the history of the Port Hills and Christchurch. Then you will be delivered to one of the Christchurch Tram stops and where you can explore the city centre on the Trams at your leisure. Here you will have as much time as you wish to ride the Trams to see the changing face of the city and listen to our drivers’ interesting and informative commentaries. You can also get on and off the Trams at any of our 17 stops to visit nearby attractions such as New Regent Street and the Transitional ‘Cardboard’ Cathedral.

Mon 11 Nov (B) Christchurch / Greymouth / Franz Josef
Breakfast at the hotel.
Shared shuttle transfer from the hotel to Christchurch Railway Station.

Depart Christchurch on 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 on to the gold and coal mining town of Greymouth (approx 4 and 1/2 hours).

On arrival board a scheduled coach travel down the coastline with the Tasman Sea to the west and the Southern Alps rising in the east. Travel south 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.

The Scenic Hotel Franz Josef Glacier is situated in the village of Franz Josef on the edge of the Westland World Heritage Park, making its location just moments from one of New Zealand’s most visited natural attractions, the Franz Josef Glacier. Stay in either the Douglas or Graham wings, and enjoy the beautiful surroundings within Franz Josef village. The hotel is handy to all visitor amenities in the village and close to local attractions.

Accommodation: Scenic Hotel Franz Josef Glacier (1 Night)
Graham Wing Room
Includes: Full Breakfast

Tue 12 Nov (B) Franz Josef / Queenstown
Breakfast at the hotel.
Depart Franz Josef by scheduled coach and 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.

Shared shuttle transfer from the coach stop to your accommodation.

Surrounded by majestic mountains and set on the shores of crystal clear Lake Wakatipu, the natural beauty and the unique energy of the Queenstown region create the perfect backdrop for a holiday full of adventure, exploration or relaxation. As well as the proclaimed ‘adventure capital of NZ’, the resort town of Queenstown is sophisticated and fantastically scenic. Its lake and mountain landscape is suited to almost any kind of adventure; but Queenstown is just as well known as a place for indulgence, for wine and cuisine and for gold-mining history.

Heartland Hotel Queenstown is situated just above the town centre and only a few minutes walk to the town centre. The hotel's elevated position provides spectacular views over Lake Wakatipu and the mountains.

Accommodation: Heartland Hotel Queenstown (3 Nights)
Standard Lakeview Room with Air Con
Includes: Full Breakfast

Wed 13 Nov (B) Queenstown
Breakfast at the hotel.
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, take a guided bush walk, enjoy a scenic flight over the area, take a cycling tour from the Mavora Lakes to Walter Peak, try horse riding, play a round of golf or enjoy the challenge of white water rafting, join a winery tour to some of the most southern vineyards in the world, ride the aerial gondola to Bob’s Peak for the panoramic view across the lake to the mountains, join a 4WD tour into the home of ‘Middle Earth’ where much of the filming was done for ‘Lord of the Rings’ or if you dare - try bungy-jumping (all at extra cost).

Thu 14 Nov (B,L) Milford Sound day excursion
Breakfast at the hotel. 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 arriving approx 8.30pm (scenic flights from Milford Sound to Queenstown available at extra cost).

Fri 15 Nov Queenstown / Dunedin
Breakfast at your accommodation. Transfer by shared shuttle to the coach stop.
Depart Queenstown onboard a scheduled coach and travel through the Central Otago and across the rolling countryside to Dunedin, a city proud of its Scottish Heritage.

Shared shuttle transfer from the coach stop to the hotel.

Dunedin sits at the head of the magnificent Otago Harbour. Founded in 1848 by Scottish settlers Dunedin was envisaged as the "Edinburgh of the South". The influence of its Scottish heritage is still strongly evident. She is a city of gracious dignity and charm, characterised by the permanence of many handsome stone buildings and historical monuments.

This small hotel is located close to the Octagon, which is the heart of Dunedin City, and just minutes walk away from the city's attractions, shops and historic Dunedin Railway Station.

Accommodation: The Victoria Hotel Dunedin (2 nights)
Superior Room
Includes: Full Breakfast

Sat 16 Nov (B) Dunedin
Breakfast at the hotel. Depart Dunedin from the historic Dunedin Railway Station on board the Taieri Gorge Excursion train for a scenic rail journey into the spectacular Taieri Gorge to Pukerangi and return. Travel deep into the hills behind Dunedin following the trail of 19th century gold miners to the gold fields of Central Otago. Experience the dramatic changes in scenery from a bustling city to the remote hinterland regions, marvel at graceful wrought iron viaducts spanning deep ravines and admire skilfully crafted stonework on bridges and tunnels.

Remainder of the day at leisure - you may wish to visit the Toitu Settlers Museum where much of the history of the original inhabitants of the area is located, take a tour of the Speights Brewery, visit the Art Gallery, enjoy time at the Otago Museum with its Butterfly House, wander around the Octagon (the very heart of the city), or perhaps take a guided tour of Olveston, which is a fine example of an Edwardian home and the lifestyle of that era. Out on the Otago Peninsula you may wish to enjoy Larnach’s Castle and gardens, see the Royal Albatross Colony (the only mainland colony in the world), visit the rare Yellow-Eyed Penguins Colony or visit the interesting Marine Studies Centre. There are also some lovely gardens to enjoy such as the authentic Chinese Gardens, Botanical Gardens (New Zealand’s first) and Glenfalloch Woodland Garden.  All activities/tours at extra cost.

Sun 17 Nov (B) Depart New Zealand
Breakfast at the hotel.
Normal check out time applies at the hotel.
Shared shuttle transfer from the hotel to Dunedin Airport.
Check in for your onward flight.
Depart New Zealand (flights not included).

PRICES ON APPLICATION

This Holiday is based on either Combined Rail with self Drive Rental Vehicle or Private Car & Driver/Guide (or a combination). Rates vary frequently, depending on your hotels choice, number of people in your party and period of your trip.
We work with the highest quality hotels of different styles in each area – which, in some cases, may mean the 'authentic' rather than the obviously luxurious – and we do not always opt for the obvious. So it’s a matter of working out what’s right for you, based upon your tastes and the experience you want.

All the holidays have been carefully crafted by our experts. However, we understand that every travel experience should be as unique and individual as each traveller.

Our specialists are looking forward to hearing from you so that we can custom design a tour to your individual specifications.

INCLUDES:

  • Meet & Greet assistance on arrival at Auckland Airport
  • Touring/transport on a seat in coach/train basis as specified (non-smoking services)
  • Transfer by private car & driver / shuttle as specified
  • Accommodation:
  • 14 nights hotel accommodation in rooms with en-suite bathroom and tea/coffee making facilities – rooms on Run of House basis unless specified with breakfast
    - Total 14 nights
  • Meals only as specified and indicated by (B) Breakfast (CB) Continental Breakfast (L) Lunch (D) Dinner
  • Interislander Ferry – foot passengers only
  • Tranz Alpine / Coastal Pacific / Northerner rail service – seat in train basis – one class only – non-smoking service
  • Sightseeing activities and admission fees as specified
  • GST at 15% (government imposed tax and subject to change without notice)

DOES NOT INCLUDE:

  • Meals except as specified and indicated by (B) Breakfast (L) Lunch (D) Dinner
  • Wine or other beverages with meals
  • Use of rooms before/after normal check in/out times
  • Items of a personal nature eg; laundry, phone calls, emails, internet access, excess baggage etc
  • Additional or suggested sightseeing arrangements
  • Special Event Surcharges
  • International airfares
  • Domestic airfares
  • Any credit card or bank fees

New Zealand Rail Experience - 15 Days
Take advantage of travelling through New Zealand on some of the many preserved rail sites with vintage locomotives that are located throughout the country. (Code TTNZ)