Tour 406 BEST OF NEW ZEALAND RAIL TOUR
Depart Auckland every Monday year round.from 12 October, 2020. (Minimum 2 passengers)
Commence Christchurch every Thursday year round from 09 October, 2020. (Minimum 2 passengers)
Unsolicited comment from past passengers.
Day 1. Monday. AUCKLAND - WELLINGTON
7.45am Depart Auckland Strand Railway Station aboard the "Northern Explorer". (Transfers provided from inner city accommodation). Depart Papakura 8.40am, Hamilton 10.15am, and Otorohanga 10.54am.
Sit back and relax and enjoy the scenes of suburban Auckland and rural Waikato dairy farmland on the way to Otorohanga. Continue through the central North island including the famed Raurimu Spiral, a major engineering feat, and through the Tongariro National Park with magnificent views of the central North Island volcanoes in fine weather. Arrive Wellington early evening. You will be met and transferred to your accommodation.
Day 2. Tuesday. WELLINGTON (B)
Morning sightseeing includes Wellington's most famous sights including Mt Victoria, Parliament Buildings,part of the Marine Drive, and a ride on the cable car
Optional full day LORD OF THE RINGS tour including city sights and Weta workshop, home of the "Lord of the Rings", "Hobbit" and other great films. Also visit some of the film sites in Wellington including Weathertop, Dunharrow Plateau, Frodo Tree, Race to the Ferry, Shellob's Lair Rock, Helms Deep, Minas Tirith, River Anduin, Gardens of Isengard, Rivendell, Fords of Isen and much more. Picnic lunch included by the river at Rivendell! - extra cost $100
Day 3. Wednesday. WELLINGTON - PICTON - CHRISTCHURCH (B)
Transfer to the Interislander terminal for the 3 hour 40 minute cruise across Cook Strait and through the Marlborough Sounds to Picton. Join the "Coastal Pacific" train for the scenic ride down the Kaikoura Coast to Christchurch arriving early evening. You will be met and transferred to your accommodation.
Day 4. Thursday. CHRISTCHURCH (B)
We have left today free for your own activities. Your hotel is in the centre of the city. Optional tours are available of the city, Port Hills, Hanmer Springs, Akaroa, etc. We recommend a visit to the Orana Wildlife Park and Antarctic Centre.
Day 5. Friday CHRISTCHURCH - HOKITIKA (B)
Transfer to the railway station and join the "Tranz Alpine" express for one of the most scenic rail journeys in the world across the Canterbury Plains and climbing through the foothills of the Southern Alps criss crossing the Waimakariri River on the way to Arthurs Pass for a brief break. Travel through the Otira tunnel and descend into the rainforest of the West Coast. Pass Lake Brunner and the Grey River and arrive Greymouth 1.05pm. You will be met by your local guide and after a short tour of Greymouth including a tour of Monteiths Brewery and try your hand at Gold Panning and ride the steam train at Shantytown. Head south to enjoy a tour of introduction to Hokitika. Catch up on Hokitika in its prime during the gold rush era and even a bit of "Luminaries" lore. Accommodation for 3 nights at the Beachfront Hotel, overlooking the (often) wild Tasman Sea. Support one of the local restaurants or dine at the hotel.
Day 6. Saturday HOKITIKA (B)
This morning we go back to nature at the Hokitika Gorge for a short walk among the breathtaking scenery and enjoy a leisurely Eco boat cruise on the Lake Mahinapua waterways originally used by pioneers, gold diggers, and early explorers. Continue to the West Coast Treetop walkway for an exhilirating treetop adventure high in the ancient Rimu and Kamahi trees with great views (weather permitting) of Lake Mahinapua, Southern Alps, and Tasman Sea. The afternoon is free to explore at your leisure and enjoy the rugged West Coast beach in front of your hotel.
Day 7. Sunday. HOKITIKA (B)
Free day - optional day tour to the gold fields at Ross, Franz Josef Glacier, and Lake Matheson - exra cost $250. During the season (November - March) option to do the amazing White Heron eco sanctuary cruise at Okarito.
Day 8. Monday HOKITIKA - GREYMOUTH - PUNAKAIKI - CHRISTCHURCH (B)
Drive north to Greymouth and continue through the coal mining towns of the area to the amazing Punakaiki Rocks in the Paparoa National Park. Explore the area and return to Greymouth to rejoin the "Tranz Alpine" for your journey across the Southern Alps to Christchurch arriving at 6.31pm. You will be transferred to your hotel
Day 9. Tuesday. CHRISTCHURCH DEPART (B)
You will be transferred to the airport for departure.