10 Day New Zealand Rail Expedition

See the spectacular sights of a number of different national parks on board the TranzAlpine train, the Coastal Pacific and the Northern Explorer as you make your way from Queenstown to Auckland.

10 Day New Zealand Rail Expedition

From Queenstown, enjoy the spectacular West Coast glacier region before traversing the Southern Alps on the TranzAlpine Train. Skirt the edges of the Pacific Ocean on the Coastal Pacific train and savor the sights of the volcanic mountain in the central North Island aboard the Northern Explorer before reaching Auckland.

Tour Type: Rail Tour
From: Queenstown to Auckland
Departs: Daily
Duration: 10 days
Tour Code: RT10RE

Regions Visited

Click on the region name to view more information about the region

Queenstown, Franz Josef, Hokitika, Punakaiki, Greymouth, Christchurch, Kaikoura, Wellington, Tongariro National Park, Auckland

Tour Inclusions

  • All transport & transfers
  • 9 nights accommodation
  • Superior accommodation includes breakfast
  • Pancake Rocks tour
  • TranzAlpine train
  • Christchurch tram
  • Christchurch double decker bus tour
  • Coastal Pacific train
  • Whale Watch tour
  • Interislander ferry
  • Northern Explorer train
  • Guided walk, Tongariro National Park

Day By Day Itinerary

DAY 1: QUEENSTOWN / FRANZ JOSEF

Travel by coach from Queenstown through to Wanaka. From there, follow the shore line of Lakes Hawea and Wanaka into the wilderness of Mt Aspiring National Park and later the wilderness of the World Heritage Park and Haast Pass. The native bush rolls over the hills as you make your way through the Tasman Sea coastline and Franz Josef Glacier.

Stay: Franz Josef

DAY 2: FRANZ JOSEF / HOKITIKA

Leaving Franz Josef travelling north, past the many black water lakes and rainforest. Travel through the quaint West Coast towns of Whataroa, Harihari and Ross before arriving into Hokitika alongside the Tasman Sea. Time today to explore this seaside town, with its glass blowing and Pounamu (Jade) carving.

Stay: Hokitika

DAY 3: HOKITIKA / PUNAKAIKI / CHRISTCHURCH - TRANZALPINE TRAIN
South Island tours

Today is actioned packed. Tour the scenic coast road to Punakiki where you have time to explore the pancake rocks. These limestone formations and blowholes create spectacular formations against the backdrop of the Tasman sea.

Back in Greymouth in ample time for your TranzAlpine train journey. Sit back and relax as you cruise past holiday settlements, farmlands, crossing rivers and the main divide to Arthur’s Pass. Cross viaducts, travel through tunnels and across the Canterbury plains before arriving into Christchurch

Stay: Christchurch

DAY 4: CHRISTCHURCH AT LEISURE
Christchurch, South Island Tours

Enjoy the South Islands largest city today with an open pass travelling on the historic Christchurch tram – you can hope on and off at your leisure.

Enjoy a city tour in a double decker coach with full commentary giving you a feel for the garden city.

Stay: Christchurch

DAY 5: CHRISTCHURCH / KAIKOURA - COASTAL PACIFIC TRAIN

Board the Coastal Pacific Train at Christchurch’s award winning railway station. Travel through fertile farmlands and over rolling hills before hugging the Pacific Coastline to the seaside village of Kaikoura.

Join a whalewatch boat excursion where you can view magnificent whales, marvel at the abundance of birdlife and the stunning scenic coastline.

Stay: Kaikoura

DAY 6: KAIKOURA / WELLINGTON - COASTAL PACIFIC TRAIN

Hug the coastline as you make your way north from Kaikoura to Picton. Keep an eye out for the seals basking on the rocks. Travel inland through the vineyards of the Marlborough area before arriving into Picton where you board the Interislander ferry. Cruise through the iconic Marlborough Sounds and Cook Strait to arrive in Wellington.

Stay: Wellington

DAY 7: WELLINGTON / NATIONAL PARK - NORTHERN EXPLORER TRAIN

Enjoy the North Island’s diverse landscapes on board the Northern Explorer. As you travel north, you have views of the Tasman Sea and Kapiti Island before heading into the heartland of the Volcanic Plateau.

On a clear day you will be able to view, Tongariro, Ngauruhoe and Ruapehu active volcanoes which form the Tongariro National Park. Disembark the train at National Park.

Stay: National Park

DAY 8: NATIONAL PARK AT LEISURE
North Island Tours

This morning enjoy an easy relaxed stroll through parts of the Tongariro National Park on a sunrise walk.

This afternoon travel to Ruapehu Ski area and travel up the Sky Waka gondola, enjoying the views from the mountain without having to exert yourself climbing the mountain.

Stay: National Park

DAY 9: NATIONAL PARK / AUCKLAND - NORTHERN EXPLORER TRAIN

Farewell to National Park and the mountains, as you complete your Wellington to Auckland train journey. Cross the Waikato River, meandering its way through the farmlands. Enjoy the green pastures of the dairy-lands, through Otorohonga and the rolling Bombay Hills before arriving into New Zealand’s largest city, Auckland.

Stay: Auckland

DAY 10: FAREWELL FROM AUCKLAND
Auckland City Sights and Harbour Cruise Tour

Time reflect on your rail travels as you are transferred from you hotel to Auckland airport in for your departure flight.

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Prices valid from 1st October 2020

Accommodation Standard Superior  
Twin/Double $3,190 NZD $4,126 NZD Enquire / Book
Triple $3,028 NZD $3,741 NZD Enquire / Book
Single $4,316 NZD $5,762 NZD Enquire / Book
Prices are per person and in New Zealand Dollars.

Frequently Asked Questions – Rail Tours

What is a Rail Tour?
Our rail tours are designed to make the most of New Zealand’s intricate Scenic Rail network. As New Zealand’s passenger rail services are limited, we have taken the worry out of the logistics. We have connected the dots for you, so you can travel by rail as much as possible during your time on tour. Our packages include the iconic Northern Explorer, Coastal Pacific and TranzAlpine train journeys. Where possible we have added in some local gems operated by volunteers with in certain regions – all our rail tours have been created with the ferroequinologist in mind. Essentially it’s a very relaxing way to travel.

What dates do your tours depart?
Due to train timetables, rail journeys leave on specific days of the week. Most major services run at least 3 times a week, so let us know your arrival date and we will work out the day your tour will start.  All tours are subject to availability at time of booking.

What is included in the tour cost?
All tours include transfers, rail journeys, car hire (if required), accommodation and sightseeing activities where specified. A detailed travel wallet with your travel vouchers and comprehensive itinerary will be sent to you or delivered to your pre tour accommodation for you to collect on check in.

What is not included in the tour cost?
Expenses of a personal nature such as meals (except where stated in the itinerary), beverages, travel insurance, laundry and optional sightseeing (except where stated in the itinerary) are not included in the tour cost.

What services are provided on the rail journeys?
The major rail services (Great Journeys of New Zealand), offer a buffet dining car providing drinks, tea and coffee, snacks and meals. Bathrooms are also provided. You can upgrade (additional cost) to “Scenic Plus”. This upgrade includes a fully serviced carriage with local cuisine. Please advised us should you wish to upgrade.

Do the local trains run by volunteers offer services on the excursion train?
All these services are round trip excursions, there will be a local café and restrooms usually at the starting pointing and sometimes both ends of the track. Parking is available at these stations. Note: These services are usually historical trains and are short excursions.

What is required to hire a vehicle within New Zealand?
A valid driver’s licence in English is required to hire a rental vehicle within New Zealand.  Please note drivers must be over 21 years to hire a vehicle. If you are aged between 21 – 25 years, a young driver surcharge is applicable. We recommend all clients have a credit card for car rental, the card number is then held for a bond. All vehicles are automatic transmission, we do not offer manual transmissions. Winter conditions may see the need to hire snow chains.

I am travelling alone – can I pay the triple or twin share rate and be linked with other travellers?
No, unfortunately. You must pay the single room – per person cost.

I am travelling with children, what price will I pay?
Please contact us for information on child fares, as these vary based on the specific product you require. Some sightseeing activities are unsuitable for children.

Are any meals included in the tour cost?
Our Superior and Premium accommodation option includes breakfast. No other meals are included in the tour cost except where stated in the itinerary.

Is Halal and other speciality food available in New Zealand? 
Along with a small population of Muslims, New Zealand has an increasing number of Muslim visitors. Halal food and restaurants are now found in many areas of the country, let us now if you require this and we will compile a list for you. We can also offer advice in regards to Vegan and other special requirements.

Can I add in additional nights to a tour?
Yes you can. All tours are very flexible. Please ask one of our Travel Consultants for extra nightly rates.

What is the difference between the two tour types Standard, Superior Tours?
Standard:  Motor Lodge, apartment style accommodation, self-contained accommodation, ensuite bathrooms. Your rental car is a small compact car.

Superior: 4 star hotel accommodation, includes breakfast. Your rental car is a mid-size car.

Note all accommodation is reviewed regularly by staff, we have high standards and good relationships with all our providers.

What if I cannot find exactly what I am looking for on the website?
Let us know what is on your wish list to see and do and we are more than happy to help you plan a customised tour.

How much luggage can I take on my tour?
Each passenger may take 2 pieces of luggage (max 25kg each). For safety reasons, each passenger is limited to one carry on item (max 5kg). We also advise you check the maximum baggage allowance with your chosen airline.

How do I make a payment for a tour?
For bookings made more than 30 days prior to travel, Pacific Travel require a deposit of NZ$50 per person. This deposit is non-refundable. Balance of payment is due 30 days prior to travel. For bookings made 30 days or less prior to travel, full payment is required at the time of booking. Visa & MasterCard are accepted forms of payment. A 2.5% Credit Card Fee applies to all payments by credit card. You may pay via direct bank transfer to avoid the credit card fee. Bank details will be on your booking advice. All prices advertised are in New Zealand dollars and are GST inclusive.

What is your cancellation policy?
If after your booking has been confirmed you wish to cancel, the following cancellation fees will apply:
Cancellations 30 or more days prior to travel: Your deposit.
Cancellations 0 – 29 days prior to travel: no refund.
Booking amendments made by you. An amendment fee may be charged, to cover our administration and communication costs. We may also need to pass on any amendment/cancellation fees imposed by our suppliers.

Conditions of travel
Pacific Travel reserves the right to alter fares, amend itineraries, book alternative accommodation or to cancel tours. Pacific Travel Ltd shall not be held responsible for any loss or damage to luggage or personal effects and/or damage resulting in death or personal injury, which may arise whilst travelling with Pacific Travel Ltd or its nominated suppliers. All transportation, both land and sea, is subject to the terms and conditions of the company providing the transport, some of which limit or exclude liability. These are available from the carriers concerned on request.

Will I need travel insurance?
We strongly recommend you purchase travel insurance. Factors may arise that require you to cancel or amend your holiday, so it is essential you are covered for any costs that may be incurred. We recommend purchasing your travel insurance locally at the same time as you book your tour and flights. Pacific Travel Ltd does not sell travel insurance.

Do I need to tip in New Zealand?
If you wish to reward someone for a job well done it is always much appreciated.

Do I need a visa to visit New Zealand?
Most visitors to New Zealand do not require a visa to enter for the purpose of a holiday or vacation under the visa waiver program. If you do need a visa to visit New Zealand then you should contact the New Zealand consulate in your home country well before your departure date. We recommend you also check with your local travel agent or airline for any visa requirements to New Zealand particularly if you are passing through Australia. Information on the New Zealand Electronic Travel Authority (NZeTA) can be found here: https://www.immigration.govt.nz/new-zealand-visas/apply-for-a-visa/about-visa/nzeta

What currency is used in New Zealand?
The New Zealand dollar is the only legal tender in New Zealand. View a guide between your local currency and the New Zealand dollar. Please note: Your tour and all purchases using a credit card in New Zealand will be charged in New Zealand Dollars (NZD) at the current exchange rate at the time of purchase.

10 Day New Zealand Rail Expedition

Tour Type: Rail Tour Tour Code: RT10RE From $3,028 Per Person Departs: Daily See the spectacular sights of a number of different national parks on board the TranzAlpine train, the Coastal Pacific and the Northern Explorer as you make your way from Queenstown to Auckland. Enquire about this tour

Where this tour will take you...