New Zealand +64 9 930 7682 or within Australia Toll Free # 1800 953 040 info@kiwiexcursions.co.nz

NEW ZEALAND BEST OF RAIL – 15 DAYS

AUD $5999 per person (based on sharetwin)

 

 

Travelling Solo? NO EXTRA COST  (Matched Twin with same gender fellow guest or purchase single supp for private room) 

 

Single Supplement AU $1350 (for solo travellers desiring private room)

Dates:  03 Apr 2019, 24 Apr 2019.

Incl:  Return Airfares inc Taxes, Free Home Pickup, All Dinners, Cooked Breakfasts, Sights & Admissions (optionals at guests own expense) 

Rail Journeys: Northern Explorer (Auckland to Wellington), Coastal Pacific Train (Picton to Christchurch),

Tranz Alpine Train (Christchurch to Greymouth via Arthurs Pass/Southern Alps), Taieri Gorge Railway (Dunedin).

Free Home Pickup/Return & Return Airfares from Sydney – other areas please enquire

All rooms with private bathrooms

Day 1 – Arrive Auckland                  (D)

 

Today, you picked up from your home address and transferred to the airport for your flight to New Zealand.

On arrival at Auckland airport you will be met and transferred to your hotel.

Enjoy the remainder of your time to either relax & unwind, or perhaps do a little exploring around the city of Auckland.

This evening, enjoy dinner and meet your tour leader & your travelling companions.

 

* Should you wish to extend you time in Auckland, please enquire and Kiwi Excursions can arrange date changes for flights, as well as additional nights accommodation, and additional tours such as Rotorua geothermal sights & Hobbiton. (additional charges will apply for extra accommodation & tours)

Day 2 – Auckland / Northern Explorer Train / Wellington         (BD)

 

This morning we have an early breakfast, before we depart to join the Northern Explorer Train.  Journey through the heart of the North Island, passing through the Tongariro National Park and Ohakune. 

Enjoy fantastic views from the Overlander’s panoramic windows or perhaps venture out to the open air viewing deck.  See magnificent views of the volcanic plateau, Mount Ruapehu and the world famous Raurimu Spiral, as well as stunning river gorges.   

Upon arrival at Wellington, we take you to your hotel.  This evening enjoy dinner with your tour group in the hotel’s restaurant.

 

Stay:  Thorndon Hotel (or similar)

Day 3 – Wellington (BD)

 

This morning we visit Te Papa and view the “Scale of War” exhibit. This is a world renowned exhibition produced with Peter Jackson & Weta Workshop detailing New Zealand’s role in the Galipoli Campaign.

At the conclusion of our time at Te Papa, we enjoy a tour of Wellington’s sights including Mt Victoria, the Beehive and the Botantic Gardens. After the tour, the rest of your day in Wellington is free for youto explore or relax.

Stay:  Thorndon Hotel (or similar)

 

Day 4 – Wellington / Christchurch  via Cook Strait & Queen Charlotte Sound & Coastal Pacific Train     (BD)

 

After breakfast this morning, we depart the hotel for the interislander ferry and farewell Wellington. Travel across across Cook Strait and enter Queen Charlotte Sound and cruise this idyllic & tranquil waterway to the busy and scenic little fishing town of Picton. Lunch is available onboard (at your own expense).

On arrival in Picton, you will join the Coastal Pacific Train to travel the eastern seaside of the South Island. Pass through the seaside town of Kaikoura, before arriving in Christchurch.

On arrival in Christchurch you are met and transferred to your hotel. This evening, enjoy dinner in the hotel’s restaurant and with your tour leader & your travelling companions.

 

Stay:  Pavilions Hotel (or similar)

Day 5 – Christchurch                    (BD)

 

After breakfast this morning, enjoy a tour of some of the well known city sights that Christchurch is famous for. At the conclusion of the city sights tour, the remainder of the day is at leisure. Your tour leader can assist you with lunch recommendations & booking optional excursions and activities. Kiwi Excursions can arrange for bookings in advance to be made prior to leaving home to avoid disappointment. 

 

Stay:  Pavilions Hotel (or similar)

Day 6 – Christchurch / Arthur’s Pass  Greymouth                                      (D)

 

After breakfast this morning, we depart the hotel to join the Tranz Alpine train, regarded as one of the top rail journeys in the world. Head up into the Southern Alps. View dramatic alpine scenery – mountain peaks, rugged gorges & rivers. Stop at Arthur’s Pass, the alpine village in the centre of the Alps. Then to Greymouth, the regions chief commercial centre. A short drive will take us to “Shantytown”, a fascinating reconstructed gold mining town, where you can still actually pan for gold, and a reminder of New Zealand’s West Coast’s turbulent nineteenth century gold-mining past. Get into the cab of a steam train, with the Train Driver and see how it all happens, this is your chance! You get to see it all going on, shovel coal in the fire, pull the horn, and see the action up close. Hear and see the fire roar, taste the steam, and get a bit of coal dust on your jeans. Then to our hotel to freshen up before dinner.

Stay:  Kingsgate Hotel (or similar)

Day 7: Greymouth / Fox & Franz Josef Glaciers                                (B,D)

 

We leave Greymouth this morning and drive south along the coastal road which boasts wonderful panoramic views of alpine scenery and dense native forests as we head towards glacier country. We will stop at Lake Matheson (weather permitting, please note the lake is approximately 1km walk each way from the coach parking area) noted for its magnificent mirror-like reflections of the Southern Alps. We then continue on to Franz Josef and Fox Glaciers. These twin rivers of ice are unique, as nowhere in the world outside the polar regions, are glaciers found so close to sea level. At Franz Josef Glacier (weather permitting), you have the opportunity to take an optional scenic flight over these spectacular ice-flows.

Stay:  Heartland Fox Glacier or Heartland World Heritage Hotel (or similar)

Day 8: Fox & Franz Josef Glaciers / Queenstown                                 (B,D)

 

Continuing south, we will pass isolated and lovely Bruce Bay before reaching the small settlement of Haast. Leaving the coast today we will travel inland past Thunder Creek Falls to the “Gates of the Haast”.

Then it is a steep climb, following the ancient Maori Greenstone Pilgrimage route through the Haast Pass, and down to the shores of the milky, glacier-fed Lakes of Hawea and Wanaka, to arrive in the picturesque township of Wanaka.

We then travel through rich farmlands to join the Clutha River where it enters the Kawarau Gorge and continue past the most southerly vineyard in the world to make a stop at the Kawarau Bridge. This is the now world-famous place where you may be tempted to try “bungy jumping”, diving from the Kawarau Bridge towards the river 150 feet below, with a giant rubber band tied around your ankles! The final stop before reaching Queenstown will be made at the historic and picturesque Arrowtown, where you will see many of the original wood and stone buildings from the “gold rush” years still in use.

There will be time to browse around before rejoining the coach for the short drive to Queenstown, where we will stay two nights.

 

Stay: Holiday Inn Queenstown (or similar)

Day 9: Queenstown                    (B,D)

 

Today, the entire day is at leisure for you to enjoy the many scenic delights of this world-famous alpine resort.  Perhaps you would like to take a thrilling and adrenaline-pumping jetboat ride on the Shotover River, experience the exhilaration of white water rafting or explore the remote Skippers Canyon.  Wherever your interests may lie, we guarantee that Queenstown has something for you!   Your tour leader can assist you in planning your day & making arrangements.

We recommend that you book in optional excursions in advance to avoid disappointment. All optional excursions subject to availability & at guests own expense.

This evening, we will board the vintage steamship T.S.S. Earnslaw for a delightful cruise across Lake Wakatipu to Walter Peak, a high country sheep station. There is time to inspect the sheep and highland cattle before relaxing in the Colonel’s Homestead and enjoying some friendly Kiwi hospitality and a sumptuous dinner.

 

Stay: Holiday Inn Queenstown (or similar)

Day 10: Queenstown / Milford Sound  / Te Anau                          (B,D)

 

This morning we drive along Lake Wakatipu to Lake Te Anau and enter Southland. Here, outstanding scenery greets us as we continue through the beech forests of the Eglington Valley with its steep walls, grassy floor and exquisite mirrorlakes before entering the rugged grandeur of the Hollyford Valley. We pass through Cascade Creek and the hand-hewn Homer Tunnel, stopping at The Chasm, before continuing on through the glacial formations of the Cleddau Valley and descend to Milford. Here we boardour boat and follow the deep icy blue waterway to explore the hidden depths of Milford Sound. There is plenty of time to admire the intricately carved deep fiord and rock walls and the most memorable of them all – Mitre Peak, which at 6,000 feet is the tallest peak in the world rising directly from the bottom of the ocean. We cruise by tumbling waterfalls of Lady Bowen falls, Stirling Falls and many others as we journey to the hidden mouth of the Sound and out to the Tasman Sea. Watch out for the schools of playful dolphins that surf the bow wave of the boat and spot the seals basking in the sun on the rocky shores. Then out coach will take us back to our hotel in Te Anau, the South Island’s largest lake.

Stay: Kingsgate Hotel Te Anau or Village Inn Te Anau (or similar)

Day 11: Te Anau / Invercargill    (B,D)

 

This morning, we drive along the Lake Manapouri, said to be New Zealand’s most beautiful lake, before crossing the rich and fertile country of Southland.

Invercargill boasts being both the southernmost & westernmost city in New Zealand, and is essentially the gateway to Bluff, home of it’s namesake, the world famous Bluff oysters. Bluff oysters are widely regarded as the finest in the world! Enjoy a brief tour of Bluff & Invercargill, before having free time for the remainder of the day.

Your tour leader can assist you in planning your day & making arrangements.

Stay:  Invercargill Ibis Hotel (or similar)

Day 12: Invercargill / The Catlins / Dunedin                                         (B,D)

 

This morning we depart Invercargill for Dunedin, via the magnificent coastal vistas of the Catlins, famed for the wildlife, forests & rugged natural beauty.

Late this afternoon, we arrive at the traditionally “Scottish City” of Dunedin – quaint, friendly and once New Zealand’s hub of commerce. During the gold rush years, Dunedin was New Zealand’s largest and most prosperous city and is home to New Zealand’s first university.

We will stop at the Olveston House, a 35 room Jacobean mansion that allows an intimate view of the life of a prosperous Dunedin merchant and his family in Edwardian times. The mansion houses a treasure of Georgian and Victorian furniture, paintings, silver, china and glasswarem with a notable oriental collection.

Also visit Larnach Castle an imposing stone mansion, which was constructed in 1871 by William Larnach, a former government minister. Your guide will inform you of the dark Larnach secrets as you are escorted through the mansion to view the ornately furnished rooms and halls.

Stay: Wains Hotel (or similar)

13: Dunedin – Taieri Gorge Railway                                                            (B,D)

 

Today we travel on the Taieri Gorge Railway – one of the top rail experiences in New Zealand. We depart from the Dunedin Railway Station, a beautiful example of gothic architecture which Otago is famous for, and also New Zealand’s most photographed building. Travel aboard the vintage and wondefully preserved & maintained carriages out of Dunedin and up into the Otago Mainland.

Enjoy fascinating commentary during the journey, before returning to the Dunedin Railway Station where ou are either returned to your accommodation or left free to enjoy the exlporing sights of the city – perhaps take a short walk up to the Octagon, the commercial heart of the city and home to many restaurants & pubs.

 

Stay:  Wains Hotel (or similar) 

Day 14: Dunedin / Mt Cook / Omarama                                      (B,D)

 

Today’s coach journey is highlighted by magnificent mountains, crystal clear lakes and man-made wonders as we pass the hydro dams at Waitaki and Aviemore and on to Mt Cook National Park, home of New Zealand’s highest mountain. This afternoon is at leisure in Mount Cook for optional flightseeing by plane or helicopter over majestic Mount Cook and breathtaking Fox, Franz Josef and Tasman Glaciers (weather permitting). We then travel on to Omarama where we will stay overnight.

Stay: Countrytime Omarama (or similar)

Day 15: Omarama / Christchurch                                                              (B,D)

 

Sadly, this is the last day of our tour. This morning our tour will continue to beautiful Lake Tekapo, where a stop is made to view the Church of the Good Shepherd.  Crossing Burkes Pass we travel through the sheep stations and tussock-covered lands of the MacKenzie Country and across the colourful patchwork quilt of the Canterbury Plains, the country’s largest wheat producing area before arriving in Christchurch, the second largest metropolitan area in New Zealand.

On arrival at Christchurch, you will be transferred to your departing flight. You are then met at the destination airport and transferred back to your home address.