GRAND NEW ZEALAND RAIL TOUR HOSTED
9 days/8 nights.
WINTER: Depart Auckland Thursdays June 03, September 09, October 07
SUMMER: Depart Auckland Monday November 22
Includes “Northern Explorer”, Interislander, “Coastal Pacific”, “Tranz Alpine”.
Day 1. Thursday/Monday. AUCKLAND - WELLINGTON (D)
7.45am Depart Auckland Strand Railway Station aboard the "Northern Explorer". 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 6.25pm. Transfer to your hotel. Dinner included at the hotel tonight.
Day 2. Friday/Tuesday. WELLINGTON (B)
Morning sightseeing includes Wellington's most famous sights including Mt Victoria, Guided tour of Parliament Buildings, Botanical Gardens, Cable car, Weta workshop tour, part of the Marine Drive, and Mt Victoria. Free time this afternoon to explore at your leisure including Te Papa.
Day 3. Saturday/Wednesday. WELLINGTON- PICTON (BD)
Transfer to the Interislander terminal for the 3 hour 30 minute cruise across Cook Strait and through the Marlborough Sounds to Picton. This afternoonj enjoy an eco cruise on Queen Charlotte Sound with guided stopover in Cooks Cove where Captain Cook spent some 171 days and visit his monument. One night in Picton at Picton yacht club.. Dinner included at the hotel tonight.
Day 4. Sunday/Thursday MARLBOROUGH - CHRISTCHURCH (B)
Enjoy a tour of Marlborough including Marlborough Museum to discover Marlborough's 700 year old history and visit a winery. Also visit Omaka and Peter Jackson's KNIGHTS OF THE SKY World War 1 and DANGEROUS SKIES World War 2 exhibitions and the Classic cars museum before joining the "Coastal Pacific" train for the scenic ride down the Kaikoura Coast to Christchurch arriving 6.45pm. You will be met and transferred to your accommodation.
Day 5. Monday/Friday. 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 6. Tuesday/Saturday. CHRISTCHURCH - HOKITIKA (BD)
Winter tours - Drive across the Canterbury Plains and over Arthurs Pass with spectacular views of the Pass and the opportunity for a short alpine walk and on to Shantytown and Hokitika.
Summer Tours. Transfer to the railway station and join the "Tranz Alpine" train departing 8.15am 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 try your hand at Gold Panning and ride the steam train at Shantytown. Accommodation for 2 nights at the Beachfront Hotel, overlooking the (often) wild Tasman Sea. Dinner included at the hotel tonight.
Day 7. Wednesday/Sunday. HOKITIKA (BD)
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. Free time this afternoon to explore at your leisure and enjoy the rugged West Coast beach in front of your hotel.
Day 8. Thursday/Monday. HOKITIKA - 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. You will be transferred to your hotel.
Day 9. Friday/Tuesday. CHRISTCHURCH DEPART (B)
You will be transferred to the airport for departure.