TOUR 212   NEW ZEALAND INDEPENDENT  MINI RAIL TOUR  9 days 

Southbound: Depart Auckland 7.45am every Monday, Thursday, Saturday

Northbound: Commence Dunedin every Monday, Thursday, Saturday.      

This tour is flexible and we are happy to prepare a special package for you.               

Southbound itinerary      

Day 1.            AUCKLAND - WELLINGTON      
Depart Auckland 7.45am (Strand Railway Station), Papakura 8.40, and Hamilton 10.15am  aboard  the "Northern Explorer" train and travel through suburban Auckland, fertile Waikato dairy farming country, and the central North Island including the famed Raurimu Spiral, a major engineering feat. Continue 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.                    WELLINGTON                      (B)
Morning sightseeing includes Wellington's most famous sights including Mt Victoria, Parliament Buildings, part of the Marine Drive, Botanical Gardens, 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.  WELLINGTON - PICTON -  CHRISTCHURCH 

Transfer to the Interislander terminal for the 3 hour 40 minute scenic 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.  

KAIKOURA OPTION  

You are welcome to stay over in the charming seaside resort of Kaikoura if you wish with time for a whale watch cruise or flight, swim with the dolphins, visit the seal colony, or sample some of the best seafood in New Zealand including crayfish. "Coastal Pacific" arrives Kaikoura 5.10pm day 6 and departs 5.10pm day 7. Extra cost for stopover $50 plus activity fees.

Day 4.    TRANZ ALPINE EXCURSION    (B)

Transfer to the rail station to join the "Tranz Alpine Express" for one of the most scenic rail journeys in the world. Travel across the Canterbury Plains and into the foothills of the Southern Alps following the course of the Waimakariri River to Arthurs Pass. Continue through the Otira tunnel and arrival at the seaside town of Greymouth is scheduled for 1.05pm. Explore the town, visit a jade carving factory, or whatever you wish before departing at 2.05pm for the return journey. Such magnificent scenery deserves a second look., Arrival back in Christchurch is scheduled for 6.31pm and you will be transferred back to your accommodation. 

Day 4. CHRISTCHURCH    (B)               

Free day to explore Christchurch. Maybe visit the Ferrymead Museum with its historic locomotives and trams, punt on the Avon River,  enjoy the botanical gardens and museum, take a day trip to seaside Akaroa or the alpine thermal resort of Hanmer Springs or whatever you wish.  

For Lord of the Rings fans the "Edoras" tour by 4WD is a must. Depart Christchurch 9am and enjoy breathtaking alpine back country scenery, a short walk to stand on the summit of Edoras and see other Lord of the Rings sites. A selection of Movie replicas is available for photo use. Extra cost $230. 

Day 6.  CHRISTCHURCH - OAMARU - DUNEDIN     (B)
Depart Christchurch 7.45am by Intercity bus arriving in the historic centre of Oamaru late morning. Visit the Little Blue Penguin colony, ride a Penny Farthing cyle if you dare, sample the local Whitestone cheese, and enjoy the art deco revival of the historic precinct. Travel south and enjoy some beach time to explore the unique Moeraki Boulders. Arrive Dunedin early evening for 3 nights 

Day 7.          DUNEDIN     (B)
This morning enjoy a tour of Larnachs Castle and a tour of inrtoduction to the city passing the Octagon, Botanic Gardens, Otago Museum, University of Otago.  Knox Church, and the world's steepest street. 
This afternoon visit the Otago Peninsula including a tour to see the local wildlife including seals, and Yellow Eyed penguins.

Day 8. DUNEDIN - "Taeri Gorge Railway" (B)  

Make your wayto the rail station (10 minutes walk from most hotels) and enjoy a ride on the privately operated "Taieri Gorge" railway through spectacular Central Otago gold rush scenery to Pukerangi and return. Depart 9.30am and return at 1.30pm. The rest of the day is free to explore Dunedin at your leisure. 

An optional ride on the SEASIDER (normally operated by "Silver Fern" railcar) around the spectacular coastal route to Waitati and back is available daily December - March departing 2pm and returning 3.30pm. Extra cost $60.   

Day 9. DUNEDIN DEPART    (B) 

You will be transferred to the airport for departure.

9 days/8 nights Auckland - Dunedin 

6 days/5 nights Auckland - Christchurch

Southbound: Departs Auckland every Monday, Thursday, Saturday 

Northbound: Commences Dunedin every Monday, Thursday, Saturday

Includes: 

** All travel by train, Interislander, and coach from Auckland to Dunedin including

" Northern Explorer" train" Auckland to Wellington 

" Interislander" cruise from Wellington to Picton 

"Coastal Pacific" train from Picton to Christchurch 

"Tranz Alpine" train Christchurch- Greymouth - Christchurch

"Taieri Gorge Railway"

** Transfers in Wellington, Christchurch, Dunedin. 

** 8 nights accommodation and breakfast at 4 star hotels 

** Sightseeing including half day tour of Wellington, tour from Oamaru to Dunedin. Full day tour of Dunedin, and "Taieri Gorge railway"

Tour cost per person  

9 days Auckland - Dunedin or vv

2 per room    $2,360 

Single room  $3,200  

 6 days Auckland - Christchurch or vv         

2 per room   $1,690                           

Single room  $2,100 

  

ADD QUEENSTOWN 

Day 8.        DUNEDIN - QUEENSTOWN    (B)

Transfer to the rail station to join "Taieri Gorge Railway" for the scenic journey to Pukerangi and transfer by shuttle to Queenstown. You will be taken to your accommodation.

Day 9.         QUEENSTOWN             (B)
This morning visit Queenstown Hill for a panoramic view of Queenstown and Lake Wakatipu. Continue to Lake Hayes, the bungy bridge, Gibbston valley winery, and the historic gold mining settlement of Arrowtown. Explore the town and ruins of the Chinese village. 
The afternoon is free to enjoy this beautiful resort with many optional activities (extra expense) available. Ride the gondola to the Skyline restaurant and luge,enjoy an exciting (must do) jet boat ride on the Shotover River, bungy jump, white water raft, take a cruise on the historic steamer "Earnslaw" or whatever you wish.

For Lord of the Rings and Hobbit fans we recommend the tour to Glenorchy with stunning natural scenery and places where Isengard, Wizards Vale, Lothlorien Forest, Amon Hen, Misty Mountains, Ithilien, were filmed - extra expense $16

Day 10.      MILFORD SOUND EXCURSION   (BL)
A day of magnificent scenery as we drive along the shores of Lake Wakatipu and across Southland farming country to Lake Te Anau for a brief stopover then on into the heart of the Fiordland National Park travelling through the Eglinton and Hollyford Valleys. Visit the Mirror Lakes and Roaring Chasm and drive through the Homer tunnel before we arrive in Milford Sound. Board your cruise to travel the length of Milford Sound under majestic Mitre Peak. See the seal colony and Bowen Falls before retracing our steps to Queenstown. A buffet lunch is included during your cruise. 
You may stay in Te Anau and enjoy a day cruise to Doubtful Sound tomorrow rejoining us in Queenstown tuesday night if you wish. Extra cost $290 per person.

Day 11.  QUEENSTOWN DEPART.               (B)
You will be transferred to the airport for departure.  

 

WEST COAST EXTENSION. Departs Queenstown every wednesday

Day 12. Wednesday. QUEENSTOWN - WANAKA - FRANZ JOSEF GLACIER  (B)
Drive through the Kawarau Gorge to Wanaka for a brief stop with admission to amazing Puzzling World included and continue through Makarora and over the Haast Pass into the rainforest and spectacular coastline of the West Coast. Visit Shipwreck beach, beautiful Lake Matheson, Franz Josef Glacier lookout, and arrive Franz Josef Glacier late afternoon. (Some tours may stay at Fox Glacier)

Day 13. Thursday. FRANZ JOSEF GLACIER - HOKITIKA (B)
Time for a helicopter or ski plane flight or heli hike on the glacier (extra expense and weather permitting) or bush walk. Drive north to Hokitika, setting for the Booker award winning novel "The Luminaries". Overnight Hokitika or Greymouth.
Optional fabulous White Heron tour November to early march including a 20 minute jetboat cruise on the Lake Okarito lagoon and a walk through the rainforest to the bird hide. We have 30-40 minutes here to see the White Heron, Royal Spoonbill, Little Shag and other birdlife. Extra cost $135

Day 14. Friday. HOKITIKA - PUNAKAIKI ROCKS - CHRISTCHURCH. (B)
Visit the recreated gold mining village of Shantytown. pan for gold and ride the steam train into the forest. After a short tour of Greymouth continue to the Punakaiki Pancake Rocks in the Paparoa National Park. Explore the area before driving across the Southern Alps over spectacular Arthurs Pass arriivng Christchurch late afternoon.

Day 15. Saturday. CHRISTCHURCH DEPART  (B)
You will be transferred to the airport for departure                    

TOUR OPTIONS FROM AUCKLAND.       

Tour 201. WAITOMO CAVES - HOBBITON - ROTORUA.  2 days/1 night. Departs Auckland 7.45am every tuesday and thursday for the Otorohanga Kiwi House to see our native birds at feding time, a guided tour of the Waitomo Glowworm Cave, Barbecue buffet lunch at Roselands Farm restaurant, a guided tour of the Hobbiton Movie Set, overnight bed and breakfast in Rotorua, and tours of the Waiotapu and Whakarewarewa thermal areas and Maori concert before returning to Auckland.  

Bonus One free night if joining our Mini rail tour next day. 

COROMANDEL ONE DAY TOUR FROM AUCKLAND        Departs daily.       Includes Driving Creek Railway                        (Minimum 2 passengers). Cost $380 per person (L)
Enjoy a day on the Coromandel Peninsula including the historic giold mining towns of Thames and Coromandel. A highlight will be an excursion on the "Driving Creek Railway", the fulfillment of the dream of Barry Brickell, potter, environmentalist, and rail enthusiast.Ride through the regenerating native forest to the "Eyefull Tower" and back. Cross the Coromandel Peninsula and see some of our great kauri trees. Take a 90 minute round trip hike to Cathedral Cove and, subject to tide conditons, dig your own hot bath at Hotwater beach. Return to Auckland late evening. 

                   BAY OF ISLANDS                                                   Includes Bay of Islands Vintage Railway  

Departs Auckland every wednesday. Minimum 2 passengers

7.30am. depart Auckland and drive north to Kawakawa to join the Bay of Islands Vintage Railway to Taumarere and back then into the Bay of islands for a guided tour of the Waitangi Treaty grounds to see the Treaty House, carved Meeting House, and great war canoe as well as enjoy a scintillating Maori Concert and spend time in the excellent museum  portraying the events surrounding the signing of the Treaty of Waitangi. Take the ferry to historic Russell for a tour including the oldest Church in New Zealand and Flagstaff Hill before returning to Auckland about 8pm. Tour cost ;per adult  $299  

 

RAIL ROVERS: NEW ZEALAND HOSTED*  RAIL TOUR. 8 days/7 nights  (*Host may be from Wellington sunday night). Departs Auckland November 09,  December 02, 2019, and March 07 2020. Join in Auckland, Hamilton, Wellington, Blenheim, or Christchurch.

Includes "Northern Explorer" (From Auckland or Hamilton), Interislander, Coastal Pacific, Tranz Alpine, PLUS "Edwin Fox" ship restoration project in Picton, Peter Jacksons Knights of the Sky and Dangerous Skies exhibitions in Blenheim, optional whale watch cruise at Kaikoura, and comprehensive tour of the central West Coast including Greymouth, Punakaiki, Westport, Treetop Walkway, Eco boat cruise, and Hokitika including special "Luminaries" features. All dinners and breakfasts included.              

Free pick up from any accommodation in Auckland metro area bounded by Albany, Henderson, Pakuranga, and Papakura. (minimum 2 passengers)

HOSTED TOURS        

Depart Auckland Saturdays  

2019:        November 09.     December 02

2020:        March 07,  

You may join this tour in Wellington sunday afternoon or monday morning, or in Blenheim monday or tuesday, or Christchurch tuesday night or wednesday morning.  You may also return to Auckland or Wellington friday night if you wish or extend to Mt Cook, Queenstown, Dunedin, etc.       

Day 1. Saturday                                            (D)

Depart Auckland 7.45am, Papakura 8.40am, and Hamilton 10.15am aboard the "Northern Explorer" and travel 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 and transfer to our accommodation. Dinner at the hotel.

Day 2. Sunday.         WELLINGTON            (BD)
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. The afternoon is free to explore Te Papa Museum of New Zealand, The Maritime Museum, or enjoy the waterfront and cafes.  

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.

Your tour host will join you for dinner on an historic tug boat tonight - moored in Oriental Bay.

Day 3. Monday.  WELLINGTON - PICTON -   MARLBOROUGH TOUR - BLENHEIM            (BD) 
Transfer to the Interislander terminal for the 3 hour 40 minute cruise across Cook Strait and through the Marlborough Sounds to Picton. We will be met on arrival and visit the "Edwin Fox" ship restoration project. The "Edwin Fox" is the oldest merchant ship, and 9th oldest ship overall, still in existence worldwide. Continue to the Marlborough Museum and discover Marlborough's 700 year old Maori and European history. Overnight in Blenheim. Dinner at the hotel.

Day 4. Tuesday.  BLENHEIM - KAIKOURA - CHRISTCHURCH.                         (BD)
Visit Peter Jackson's KNIGHTS OF THE SKY World War 1 and DANGEROUS SKIES World War 2 exhibitions.  Drive down the scenic coast to the charming seaside town of Kaikoura for a short tour and visit to the seal colony. You have time for an optional Whale Watch cruise or flight before joining the "Coastal Pacific" train for the scenic ride down the Kaikoura Coast to Christchurch arriving early evening. We will be met and transferred to our accommodation. Dinner at the hotel.

Day 5. Wednesday   TRANZ ALPINE           (BD)

Transfer to the rail station to join the "Tranz Alpine Express, renowned as one of the most scenic rail journeys in the world. Depart at 8.15am and arrive Greymouth at 1.05pm. This afternoon take a short tour of Greymouth, Visit the beautiful Punakaiki Pancake Rocks, and catch up on the coal mining history of the area at the Coal Museum in Westport. Overnight Westport and dinner at the hotel.  

Day 6. Thursday. WESTPORT - HOKITIKA     (BLD)

Depart for Denniston, site of one of the most famous coal mining areas on the West Coast. The Brakehead  40 minute loop walk will include a viewpoint over the famous Denniston incline, Denniston's first settlement camp, the Banbury drystone arch, and the historic mine workshop site. Continue to Reefton and visit The Bearded Mining Company for a visit to a recreated miners hut and cup of Billy Tea. Watch the Blacksmith and try your hand at gold panning. A short visit to the Reefton Distillery Co  with a little tasting will whet the appetite for lunch at Monteiths Brewery. Explore the recreated gold mining village of Shantytown and ride the steam trains before gong back to nature at the Hokitika Gorge for a short walk among the breathtaking scenery. Last great experience for the day is a leisurely Eco boat cruise on the Mahinapua waterways originally used by pioneers, gold diggers, and early explorers. Arrive at our Hotel in Hokitika overlooking the rugged beach. Dinner at the hotel.   

Day 7. Friday    HOKITIKA - CHRISTCHURCH   (BD)

Our specialist local guide will join us for a walking tour of Hokitika to recapture the atmosphere of the gold rush era in Hokitika when it was the centre of the gold rush and a thriving port. We will also try and recapture the setting for the award winning novel, the "Luminaries", soon to be a major television series and visit the Holitika museum. Enjoy an ikntrioduction to West  Coast Greenstone (Jade - Pounamu). 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. return to Greymouth to rejoin the "Tranz Alpine train departing Greymouth at 2.05pm arriving Christchurch 6.31. Transfer to the hotel and dinner at the hotel.

Day 8. Saturday. CHRISTCHURCH DEPART.  (B)

Transfer will be provided to the airport by shuttle but to give you flexibility on the return the air fare is not included. You are welcome to stay over in Christchurch and visit Hanmer Springs, Akaroa, or magnificent Mt Cook, or continue to Queenstown and Dunedin.

** Tour cost per person 11 November 8 days from Auckland, Hamilton, or Otorohanga to Christchurch

2 per room     $2,990     

3 per room     $2,830

Single room    $3,680 

Tour cost includes:    

** All travel from Auckland to Christchurch by train and Interislander. 

** 7 nights accommodation, dinner, breakfast

** Arrival and departure transfers at all points including home pick up and return in Auckland

** Sightseeing tour of Wellington including Weta Workshiop and cable car ride, "Edwin Fox" ship, Aviation Museum, all sightseeing on the West Coast including Shantytown admissions. 

Tour cost from Wellington joining at hotel sunday afternoon. Dinner included 

2 Per room       $2,790 

3 per room       $2,660 

Single room      $3,480 

Tour cost from Wellington joining at Interisland terminal monday morning. 

2 per room        $2,320 

3 per room        $2,220 

Single room      $2,790      

Tour cost from Blenheim joining tuesday morning. 

2 per room        $1,950  

3 per room        $1,900

Single room      $2,330

Tour cost from Christchurch joining wednesday morning at rail station, ending friday night at rail station on return. 3 days.

2 per room        $1,140 

3 per room        $1,100

Single room      $1,340

Tour cost Christchurch joining at hotel tuesday afternoon and ending saturday morning. 5 days 

2 per room         $1,490

3 per room         $1,410

Single room        $1,890        

 

 

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