NEW ZEALAND HOSTED GRAND RAIL TOUR INCLUDING BEST OF THE WEST COAST. 10 days. 

17 day tour includes Tekapo, Mt Cook, Queenstown, Milford Sound cruise, Te Anau, Doubtful Sound overnight cruise

Departs November 04, 2024. March 17 2025.

ITINERARY 

Includes shared shuttle home pickup  from Orewa to Pukekohe, plus Bay of Plenty, and Waikato to Auckland Strand, Papakura, Hamilton, or Otorohanga railway station.

Day 1. Monday.   AUCKLAND - WELLINGTON  

Transfer to your nearest railway station.  

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 and travel south 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  in the central city.

Day 2.  Tuesday.    WELLINGTON. (B)

Explore the capital city on our included tour. Visit Oriental Bay  and enjoy part of the beautiful Marine Drive.  Enjoy a guided tour of  Weta Workshop and visit Seatoun and  Mt Victoria for a panoramic view over the city, guided tour of Government House (subject to approval at the time),  the Botanical Gardens (optional cable car ride - extra expense), Zealandia Eco reserve and a guided tour of Parliament Buildings. (Tour ends at Parliament Building. If you do not wish to enjoy the tour of Parliament our vehicle can drop you off at your hotel or Te Papa). Free time 

Day 3. Wednesday.   WELLINGTON - PICTON. (B)

Transfer to the Interislander terminal and depart at 8.45am  for the 3 hour 30 minute cruise across Cook Strait and through the Marlborough Sounds to Picton arriving 12.30pm. This afternoon visit the "Edwin Fox" ship restoration project and enjoy a mail boat cruise of the Marlborough Sounds. Depart Picton at 1.30pm and return about 5.30pm. Cruise the Sounds delivering the mail to the local residents and learn the history from the skipper. Enjoy about 15 minutes at Ship Cove where Captain Cook spent much time. Overnight Picton Yacht Club, or Scenic Marlborough hotels. 

Day 4. Thursday.     BLENHEIM - KAIKOURA   (BD)

Visit the Marlborough Museum, Aviation Heritage Museum, and a winery for some wine tasting. Join  the "Coastal Pacific" train at Blenheim departing at 2.05pm for the scenic ride down the Kaikoura Coast to Kaikoura  arriving 4.25pm. Transfer to our accommodation. Seafood dinner tonight.

Day 5.  Friday.    KAIKOURA - CHRISTCHURCH.  (B)

Free morning to explore and enjoy Kaikoura and visit the seal colony. Optional whale watch cruise or flight or Dolphin cruise. Depart Kaikoura 4.25pm aboard the "Coastal Pacific"  to continue our journey south to Christchurch arriving at 7.30pm.

Day 6. Saturday.   CHRISTCHURCH. (BD)

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. Optional visit to Ferrymead's collection of trams and trains.

Enjoy the tramcar dinner tonight

Day 7. Sunday.          CHRISTCHURCH - HOKITIKA

7 day tour ends with checkout this morning. Transfer to the airport provided.

Transfer to the rail station.

8.15am.  Depart Christchurch railway station aboard the  "Tranz Alpine" express for one of the most scenic rail journeys in the world across the Canterbury Plains 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 visit Shantytown. Ride the train, pan for gold, and recapture something of the atmosphere of the gold rush era. On to Hokitika and catch up on Hokitika in its prime during the gold rush

Accommodation and breakfast at the Beachfront Hotel, Hokitika.

Day 8.  Monday.        HOKITIKA - REEFTON - DENNISTON - WESTPORT - PUNAKAIKI     (B)

Drive north to Reefton. Visit the Reefton Distillery Co with a little tasting and the Bearded Mining Company for a visit to a recreated miners hut and cup of billy tea. Drive to the Denniston lookout and on to Denniston to see the famous incline and discover the history of the area,. See the Banbury Drystone Arch and the historic mine workshop. Visit the Westport coal museum and Cape Foulwind seal colony before arriving at the Scenic Punakaiki Hotel.

Day 9.  Tuesday.                PUNAKAIKI -  GREYMOUTH  - CHRISTCHURCH  (B)

We visit the historic gold mining town of Charleston for a ride on the Nile River railway through the rainforest. Explore the Punakaiki Rocks10 and Paparoa National Park. 

Return to Greymouth for a short tour and time to explore. Rejoin  the "Tranz Alpine" train departing 2.05pm to recross the Southern Alps to Christchurch where arrival is scheduled for 7pm. You will be transferred back to your accommodation.

Day 10. Wednesday.    CHRISTCHURCH - LAKE TEKAPO  OR MOUNT COOK.      (B)

10 day tour ends at checkout. we will transfer you to the airport.

We drive across the Canterbury Plains to Lake Tekapo with time to see the sheep dog monument and church of the Good Shepherd before continuing along the shores of Lake Pukaki to the Hermitage in the heart of the Mt Cook National Park.  Free time for helicopter or ski plane flights,  alpine walks. Accommodation at the Hermitage hotel with breakfast.

Prefer to stay at Tekapo for the Dark Sky experience (sorry we cannot guarantee clear skies)? No problem. Cost remains the same with accommodation and breakfast at Bluewater Resort. 

Day 13. Thursday.     TEKAPO OR MOUNT COOK TO QUEENSTOWN.   (B)

Drive through the Mckenzie Country and over the Lindis Pass to the fruit growing region of Cromwell then on to Queenstown.

Day 14. Friday.     QUEENSTOWN - Free day    (BD)

Free day for your own activities 

This evening cruise across Lake Wakatipu to Walter Peak sheep station for a barbecue dinner.

Day 15.  Saturday        QUEENSTOWN - DOUBTFUL SOUND    (BD)

Transfer to Manapouri and cruise across the bush clad Lake Manapouri to the West Arm. Drive across Wilmot Pass, and join our cruise ship  "Fiordland Navigator, or "Milford Wanderer".  Sail mid afternoon. Doubtful Sound is much more extensive than Milford Sound. . Anchor overnight in a quiet bay. Optional evening exploring by kayak or ships tender to get up close and personal with the Fiords. 

Day 16. Sunday.    DOUBTFUL SOUND - QUEENSTOWN. Includes Kingston Flyer. (B)  

Disembark after breakfast and drive to Kingston to join the historic "Kingston Flyer' steam train for a 3 hour round trip journey and return to Queenstown.

Day 17. Monday. You will be transferred to the airport for departure or why not extend your stay and cruise Milford and/or Doubtful Sounds.

 

 

  

 

 

NEW ZEALAND HOSTED GRAND RAIL TOUR

7 days/6 nights. End Christchurch day 7

10 days/9 nights including Best of the West Coast. End Christchurch day 10

17 days/16 nights including Tekapo, Mt Cook, Queenstown, Milford Sound cruise, Te Anau, Doubtful Sound overnight cruise

Departs November 04, 2024. 17 March 2025.

Any monday (except maintenance days) for miimum of 4 at same price.

Includes “Northern Explorer”, Interislander, Picton,  Marlborough Sounds cruise, Aviation Heritage Park,  “Coastal Pacific”,  Kaikoura - whale watch or Dolphin cruise option, “Tranz Alpine”, Shantytown train. Nile River Railway. 17 day tour includes Mt Cook, Queenstown, Milford Sound, Te Anau, Doubtful Sound overnight cruise, Kingston Flyer 

 

Tour cost per person

7 day tour finishing Christchurch Sunday day 7...    2 per room $3,200. Single room $3,990

10  day tour finishing in Christchurch day 10.. 2 per room $4,990.  Single room   $6,400

17 days Grand Rail and Sail tour.. End Queenstown day 17. 2 per room $6,500. Single room $8,800

Tour cost includes (17 Days)

**  Shared shuttle from anywhere between Orewa and Pukekohe and in the Waikato and Bay of Plenty, including Tauranga, to your nearest rail station.  (departure day only)

**  All travel by Northern Explorer, Interislander, Coastal Pacific, Tranz Alpine, Nile River

** 2 nights in Wellington with tour of the city including Weta workshop

** 1 night in Picton or Blenheim with admissions to "Edwin Fox", Marlborough Sounds cruise to Ship Cove, Omaka  Aviation Heritage Museum, and wine tasting.

** 1 night in Kaikoura with optional whale watch cruise or flight

**  2 nights in Christchurch

** 1 night in Hokitika, 1 night at Punakaiki

**   Locally hosted tour on the West Coast by driver escorted mini or midi bus including Shantytown, Hoklitika,  Reefton, Denniston, Punakaiki, 

** 1 night in Christchurch

** Small group driver escorted tour Christchurch, Mt Cook, Queenstown, 

** 3 nights in Queenstown

** Overnight cruise on Doubtful Sound with transfers from Queenstown. 

 

 Fares home are not included.

 

 

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