Experience

New Zealand rail journey

22 days from £5,095pp

Offer highlights

Breathtaking scenery, enthralling views and picturesque mountains are waiting for you in the 'Youngest Country on Earth'. Take inspiration from Channel 5's World Most Scenic Railway Journeys, and head out to New Zealand to take in everything this enchanting country has to offer. 

 

  • Bay of Islands
  • Auckland, Wellington and Queenstown
  • 2 vintage railway excursions
  • Cruise around Milford Sound
  • Te Anau Lakes and Caves
  • Journeys on the Northern Explorer, TranzAlpine and Coastal Pacific trains

Itinerary

Day 1-3 - Departing from London we fly via Singapore to Auckland, arriving mid-morning on Day 3 and transferring to our hotel. The rest of the day is at leisure before we enjoy dinner together tonight.

Day 4- Waitangi Treaty House. Today we travel northwards through scenic farmland to Paihia, located in the truly magnificent Bay of Islands. Here we visit the Waitangi Treaty House, where in 1840 Maori and British people reached a historic agreement which effectively marked the birth of New Zealand.

Day 5 – Bay of Islands. After a leisurely morning, we enjoy a cruise around the bay, passing golden beaches. Later we continue up to the rugged Cape Brett and make a stop on Russell Island. Known in the 1800s ominously as the 'Hell Hole of the Pacific, it was a bustling base for whalers and seamen.

Day 6 – Auckland. This morning we drive south back to Auckland, the country's largest city, known as the 'City of Sails' for the number of yachts that take to the waters around it. The city dates back to around 1350, when it was inhabited by the Maori people, but little recorded history survives before January 1832 when Joseph Brooks Weller bought the area that is now Auckland. Auckland is also the largest in New Zealand, being home to around 30% of the population of the whole country. We explore Auckland on a sightseeing tour, taking in the Hauraki Gulf and the volcanic islands that are characteristic of this beautiful area. We then visit the iconic Auckland War Memorial Museum.

Day 7 – Rotorua. This morning we take a trip on the Glenbrook Vintage Railway, which opened in 1922 and ran for 45 years before closing in 1967. Today, the line is operated by steam enthusiasts and caters to around 30,000 tourists every season. We then travel across the Bombay Hills, through Waikato Valley to Rotorua, the Maoris spiritual home. We visit the Rainbow Springs Wildlife and Nature Park. We spend two nights in Rotorua at the Sudima Hotel Lake Rotorua.

Day 8 – Wai-O-Tapu. We visit Wai-O-Tapu (Sacred Waters) to see the Lady Knox Geyser volcano. Here we marvel at the rainbow-coloured pools and former mud volcano, where you can hear the unique sound of erupting, boiling mud.

Day 9-10- Northern Explorer to Wellington. Transferring to Hamilton, we take the Northern Explorer train for a journey through King Country. We view the spectacular scenery from panoramic windows including the peaks of Tongariro National Park, Mount Ruapehu and stunning river gorges. On Day 10 we enjoy a sightseeing tour of Wellington. We drive along pretty Oriental Bay to Mount Victoria for stunning views and see the Parliament Buildings.

Day 11- Today we take the Interislander ferry across Cook Strait to Picton on the South Island. On arrival in Picton we board the Coastal Pacific train for a scenic journey to Christchurch via Blenheim, the Marlborough wine region and down the Pacific Coast through Kaikoura.

Day 12-13- We cross Canterbury Plains through Timaru and Oamaru, stopping at Moeraki to see the mysterious spherical boulders scattered on the beach. We check-in at the Scenic Hotel for two nights. On Day 13 your morning is free to explore Dunedin. In the afternoon we follow the trail of 19th-century gold miners to the goldfields of Central Otago on the Taieri Gorge Railway in carriages dating back to the 1920s.

Day 14- Te Anau. Today we travel to Te Anau, nestled by the serene waters of Lake Te Anau, the second-longest lake in New Zealand. We cruise across the lake for a guided tour of the Te Anau Caves, with their subterranean limestone caverns and magical glow worm grotto.

Day 15- We travel into the Fiordland National Park for a cruise on stunning Milford Sound. Lush rainforests cling precariously to the fiord's cliffs and the cruise takes us past magnificent waterfalls and out to the Tasman Sea. We enjoy a buffet lunch on board the ship.

Day 16- This morning we travel to Queenstown, a popular destination loved by outdoor enthusiasts thanks to the magnificent surrounding scenery. Here we enjoy a ride on the Skyline Gondola, which offers a wonderful panorama.

Day 17-18-Today we enjoy a sightseeing tour, driving across Shotover River to historic Arrowtown, the site of a major gold rush in the 1860s and a 'Lord of the Rings' film location. We continue to Gibbston Valley Winery for a tour of the cellars and wine tasting. Day 18 is at leisure, relaxing in Queenstown overlooked by Lake Wakatipu.

Day 19-Travelling past Lake Wanaka, we descend to the Haast River. Continuing through the native rainforest by coach, we pass Fox Glacier before reaching the Franz Josef Glacier. An overnight stay and dinner at the Scenic Hotel Franz Josef Glacier allow us to view the glacier or to take a helicopter flight to the snowfield (payable locally).

Day 20- We visit Hokitika, the centre for New Zealand jade, before boarding our TranzAlpine train bound for Christchurch, at the township of Arthur's Pass. On arrival we take a guided tour of the city, spending our last night at the Quality Hotel Elms and enjoying a farewell dinner together.

Day 21-22- On our final day in New Zealand, we visit the International Antarctic Centre, before transferring to the airport for our flight home, which lands in London mid-morning on Day 22.

What's included

·        Standard class rail

·        Heritage rail excursions

·        18 nights of hotel accommodation

·        13 breakfasts, 1 lunch and 4 dinners

·        Cruises on Milford Sound and in the Bay of Islands

·        An escorted experience and all travel arrangements

·        Return flights from London Heathrow

When can I go?

This offer is based on departing on 15th November 2020. For alternative dates, please speak to your Personal Travel Consultant. 

 

Ready to book your New Zealand adventure? Get in touch with your Personal Travel Consultant.

Terms and conditions

Subject to terms and conditions, and availability. Prices subject to change, correct at time of publishing.

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