5 Day Auckland to Christchurch Rugged Terrain Tour

Experience diverse train journeys enjoying some rugged terrain out the panoramic windows as you travel from Auckland to Christchurch on the Northern Explorer and TranzAlpine trains.

5 Day Auckland to Christchurch Rugged Terrain Tour

Enjoy the rugged terrain views as you pass the beautiful volcanic peaks of the Central Plateau, the mighty Pacific Ocean as you head down the east coast and cross the main divide all while aboard three different locomotives.

Tour Type: Rail Tour
From: Auckland to Christchurch
Departs: Daily
Duration: 5 days
Tour Code: RT5RT

Regions Visited

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

Wellington, Martinborough, Picton and Marlborough Sounds, Christchurch, Greymouth, Punakaiki, Hokitika

Tour Inclusions

  • All transport & transfers
  • 4 nights accommodation
  • Superior accommodation includes breakfast
  • Northern Explorer train
  • Martinborough wine tour
  • Interislander ferry
  • Coastal Pacific train
  • Tranz Alpine train
  • Punakaiki Pancake Rocks tour
  • Hokitika Gorge scenic tour

Day By Day Itinerary


The Northern Explorer train leaves from the heart of downtown, Auckland’s Britomart station. Travel from Auckland heading south through the vegetable basket – Pukekohe with its fertile dark soils. Follow the Waikato River through the dairy farms and onto the King Country. To reach the Central plateau you will make your way up the famous Raurimu Sprial, engineered in 1898 to make the 139 metre ascent. Cross rivers, plains and travel along side the Tasman Sea before arriving into wellington, New Zealand’s capital city.

Stay: Wellington

Greytown Village Artisan Tour

You will be collected from your accommodation this morning for a fantastic day out in Martinborough.

Travel by commuter train from downtown Wellington to Featherston. Meet your guide, visit four wineries, enjoy gourmet cuisine and stunning country side views. Your guide will get you back to Featherston railway station in time for your train journey back to Wellington.

Stay: Wellington


From Wellington, board the Interislander ferry. The ferry journey takes you out of Wellington Harbour, through Cook Straight before making your way through the Tory Channel and Queen Charlotte Sound – noted as one of the most beautiful ferry crossings and an iconic New Zealand experience.

Arriving into Picton to connect with the Coastal Pacific Train. Sit back and relax as you move smoothly through the wineries and farmlands of Marlborough before hitting the pacific coastline as you follow the narrow path between the coastline and the mountains to Kaikoura. The journey continue south through the rolling hills of North Canterbury, crossing braided rivers before arriving into Christchurch.

Stay: Christchurch


Board the famous TranzAlpine train. Travel across the fertile patchwork plains of Canterbury and through small rural service towns, making your way up the main divide. Travel over viaducts and cross rivers as you descend into the west Coast through the Otira tunnel and later into Greymouth.

Visit the wondrous limestone sediment rocks at Punakaiki. On the stormy day the blowholes will put on a show for you. From these pancake like rocks make your way back to Hokitika, in time to see the sun setting over the Tasman Sea.

Stay: Hokitika


This morning you are in for a treat as you travel off the beaten track to Hokitika Gorge. After an easy walk to the viewing platform, look down to the stunning Hokitika Gorge and the azure blue water. For those that wish you can continue to the swing bridge.

Back at Greymouth, re-board the TranzAlpine train for your journey back to Christchurch where your journey ends.

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Prices valid from 1st October 2020

Accommodation Standard Superior  
Twin/Double $2,453 NZD $2,699 NZD Enquire / Book
Triple $2,374 NZD $2,592 NZD Enquire / Book
Single $2,998 NZD $3,350 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.

5 Day Auckland to Christchurch Rugged Terrain Tour

Tour Type: Rail Tour Tour Code: RT5RT From $2,374 Per Person Departs: Daily Experience diverse train journeys enjoying some rugged terrain out the panoramic windows as you travel from Auckland to Christchurch on the Northern Explorer and TranzAlpine trains. Enquire about this tour

Where this tour will take you...