Country
New Zealand
Duration
15 Days/14 Nights
Travel Type
Rail & Hotels
 

Grand rail explorer

This once-in-a-lifetime rail holiday will combine three iconic train journeys with five days of driving the untamed West Coast from Queenstown, home to giant glaciers, waterfalls and blowholes. Traverse the South Island’s breathtaking landscapes aboard the TranzAlpine, one of the world’s great train journeys from Greymouth to Christchurch. Journey along the spectacular coastline from Christchurch to Picton aboard the Coastal Pacific before cruising the Cook Strait to New Zealand’s capital city of Wellington. Explore the rural heart of the North Island as you step aboard the historic Northern Explorer to Auckland before collecting another car and heading to Northland. After a 3-night stay in the Bay of Islands, you head back to Auckland which concludes your iconic New Zealand rail holiday.

Inclusions

Accommodation for 14 nights in double occupancy
5-day car hire from Queenstown Airport to Greymouth Station including insurance
Private transfers between train stations, hotels and ferry terminals
Milford Sound Cruise with a packed lunch and transfers from Queenstown
TranzAlpine Rail Journey from Greymouth to Christchurch
Coastal Pacific Rail Journey from Christchurch to Picton
Interislander Ferry Journey from Picton to Wellington
Northern Explorer Rail Journey from Wellington to Auckland
4-day car hire from Auckland City and return including insurance
Hole in the Rock Cruise ex Paihia

Exclusions

International and domestic flights – Electronic Travel Authority for New Zealand : An NZeTA request costs NZD $17 on our free mobile app, or NZD $23 if completed online https://nzeta.immigration.govt.nz/ – Optional excursions – Meals – Beverages – Items of a personal nature – Gratuities to hotel personnel, guides and drivers.

1

DAY 1 QUEENSTOWN

Arrive into Queenstown, collect your luggage and pick up your rental car. Make your way to your accommodation for the first nights of your South Island holiday.

Accommodation : Queenstown for 2 nights

2

DAY 2 QUEENSTOWN

Today, join your guided coach tour to Milford Sound. You wind your way south around the edge of Lake Wakatipu towards Te Anau and Fiordland National Park. The first stop will be a morning tea break at Te Anau before travelling onto Milford. There are various photo stops on your way into the Sound. Mitre Peak will greet on arrival into Milford Sound and your tour connects with a boutique small boat cruise. Enjoy your packed lunch box on-board while cruising past sheer cliff faces and cascading waterfalls. You journey back to Queenstown in the comfort of your guided coach arriving back about 7.30pm.

Meals : Lunch

3

DAY 3 QUEENSTOWN – FRANZ JOSEF GLACIER

After breakfast, check out of your accommodation. Heading out of town, make a stop in Arrowtown, a quaint historic village with crafts and boutique shops before leaving the Southern Lakes region. Travel north over the Crown Range, through Wanaka and up to Glacier Country. Enjoy the diverse landscapes of the rugged west coast where beaches meet rainforests.

Accommodation : Franz Josef for 2 nights

4

DAY 4 FRANZ JOSEF GLACIER

The day is yours to explore. From hiking to scenic helicopter flights there are many options on offer to experience the beauty of the Glaciers. A visit to the West Coast Life Centre is highly recommended. This is an indoor, all-weather attraction that offers an insight of bringing nature, conservation and wildlife together.

5

DAY 5 FRANZ JOSEF GLACIER – CHRISTCHURCH VIA THE TRANZALPINE

This morning you depart Franz Josef for Greymouth. As you move north along the coastline, Hokitika is worth a morning tea stop. A short drive north is Greymouth, here you will drop off your car before boarding the TranzAlpine train to Christchurch. This scenic journey takes you through Arthurs Pass and the Canterbury Plains before arriving at Christchurch.

Accommodation : Christchurch for 2 nights

6

DAY 6 CHRISTCHURCH

Enjoy a day in the garden city. Take a stroll along the Avon River, head out to the Port Hills and up the Gondola, take a tram around the city and discover the rebuild and rejuvenation of Christchurch.

7

DAY 7 CHRISTCHURCH – WELLINGTON

An early start today as you catch the Coastal Pacific train from Christchurch to Picton. This rail journey hugs the coastline offerings views of the Waipara wine region, the seaside town of Kaikoura and into iconic Marlborough wineries. Picton is where you will board the Interislander ferry for the 3-hour sailing across the Cook Strait to the North Island and capital city of Wellington.

Accommodation : Wellington for 3 nights

8 - 9

DAYS 8 - 9 WELLINGTON

The next two days are at leisure in Wellington. Some highlights not to be missed are the National Museum Te Papa, Weta Workshop tour and Zealandia Eco Sanctuary. Courtney Place and Cuba Street are home to a great array of restaurants, cafes, and bars.

10

DAY 10 WELLINGTON – AUCKLAND

Leaving Wellington, you board the Northern Explorer train and travel almost the length of the North Island to Auckland. Experience the extremes of New Zealand’s scenery, from the sparkling Kapiti coast to the volcanic peaks of the Central Plateau and the fertile farmlands of the Waikato.

Accommodation : Aukland for 1 night

11

DAY 11 AUCKLAND – PAIHIA

Depart Auckland and head north. Located an hour north of Auckland and just outside Matakana is Sculptureum, a world-class tourist attraction that you may like to include on your travels. With six art galleries, three sculpture-filled gardens, a vineyard, Rothko Restaurant and Sculptureum Kitchen at 8 Wired Barrelworks, there’s something for everyone. As you continue north, check into your accommodation in Pahia for the next few nights.

Accommodation : Pahia for 3 nights

12

DAY 12 PAIHIA

This morning you board your cruise in Paihia and take in the stunning views as you glide out through the islands and along the Rakaumangamanga Peninsula to Cape Brett, where a historic lighthouse keeps watch over Piercy Island/Motukōkako, or as it is popularly known the ‘Hole in the Rock’.
According to Māori legend, local warriors used to paddle through the Hole in the Rock in their canoes before departing for battle. Drops of water from the cave roof above were considered a good omen. If conditions permit, your skipper will expertly guide the ship through the narrow space... and if you get dripped on, consider yourself lucky!
Keep an eye out for dolphins, whales and other marine life during your cruise, and have your camera ready as we get you up close to the action.

13

DAY 13 PAIHIA

This morning is free to relax. You may want to explore the Paihia village or take a drive to Kerikeri, only 30 minutes away. The Stone Store in the Kerikeri basin is well worth the visit for the historic significance. There are different fruit orchards and a chocolate factory on the way into Kerikeri that might be of interest to the foodies.

Accommodation :

14

DAY 14 PAIHIA – AUCKLAND

Depart Paihia and head back to Auckland. Before reconnecting with Highway 1 you may want to visit the Kauri Museum at Matakohe. Once back in Auckland check into your accommodation for the last night of your holiday. There are many restaurants to explore in the Viaduct area.

Accommodation : Auckland for 1 night

15

DAY 15 AUCKLAND

Your journey of New Zealand comes to an end today. Check out of your accommodation, meet your driver who will take you to the airport to board your flight to Vancouver. Arrive on the same day as you cross the International dateline back.

HOTEL OPTIONS OR SIMILAR

Queenstown

Holiday Inn Remarkables Park 3*

Franz Josef

58 On Cron 3*

Christchurch

Ramada Suites 3*

Wellington

Travelodge Wellington 4*

Auckland

The Chancellor On Hobson Auckland City 3*

Paihia

Scenic Hotel Bay of Islands 4*

Rates in CA$, per person, starting from, in double occupancy 

Land Only
Fixed departures 2024
September 16 3749
September 30 4299
October 7, 14, 21 4199
October 28, 
November 4, 11, 18, 25
December 2
4339
December 9 4269
Single room supplement, or single passenger On request
Note: Seasonal surcharges may apply.

**Prices in this document are for information only; they were issued at press time, for the current year. Please note that due to exchange rates and temporary promotions, they can increase or decrease at any time. Contact your travel agent for the price and promotion of the moment. Prices include the contribution of customers to the Compensation Fund for clients of Quebec travel agents.

Grand Rail Explorer – Detailed itinerary
Grand Rail Explorer – Detailed itinerary