7 Day South Island Explorer Tour

Enjoy wonderful views of Marlborough Sounds via the Interislander ferry, watch the whales in Kaikoura, free time in Queenstown and visit the glacier region before ending your tour in Christchurch via the TranzAlpine train.

7 Day South Island Explorer Tour

Beginning in Wellington, this great 7 day tour includes a mix of South Island activities as well as time at leisure in Queenstown for you to choose your own adventures. Visit Kaikoura, the Otago Lakes District and the glacier region before ending your tour in the "Garden City" of Christchurch.

Tour Type: Rail Tour
From: Wellington to Christchurch
Departs: Daily
Duration: 7 days
Tour Code: RT7S

Regions Visited

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

Wellington, Picton & Marlborough Sounds, Kaikoura, Christchurch, Queenstown, Haast, Franz Josef, Greymouth

Tour Inclusions

  • All transport & transfers
  • 6 nights accommodation
  • Kaikoura Whalewatch cruise
  • Transfer to view transfer

Day By Day Itinerary

DAY 1 - WELLINGTON / PICTON / KAIKOURA
South Island Tours

Board the Interislander ferry for your scenic cruise across Cook Strait. The 92 km, three hour journey between Wellington and Picton is one of New Zealand’s most iconic tourist experiences, and acknowledged as one of the most spectacular cruises in the world as you pass through the beautiful Marlborough Sounds.

On arrival into Picton, connect with the Coastal Pacific train*. Sit back and enjoy the scenery as you travel through Blenheim and the rugged Kaikoura coastline before arriving into the quaint township of Kaikoura.

Stay: Kaikoura

* Travel may be by coach if the Coastal Pacific train is not operating

DAY 2 - KAIKOURA / CHRISTCHURCH
Kaikoura Day Tour

This morning you will enjoy a 3 hour cruise with Kaikoura Whale Watch to marvel at the giant sperm whale and the dusky dolphin. Kaikoura Whale Watch has won many international awards for tourism excellence and marine conservation.

You then have free time until your mid afternoon departure on the Coastal Pacific train*. Relax and enjoy your journey southward to Christchurch. After following the coastline for a short distance the train turns inland travelling through the mixed cropping farming areas of North Canterbury and the rapidly expanding vineyard areas of Waipara.

Stay: Christchurch

* Travel may be by coach if the Coastal Pacific train is not operating

DAY 3 - CHRISTCHURCH / QUEENSTOWN
New Zealand Tours

Travel through the Canterbury Plains and into the MacKenzie Country before reaching the stunning shores of Lake Tekapo. Enjoy a relaxing break which gives you time for lunch and photo opportunities of the vivid turquoise water of the lake. Your journey continues over the mighty Lindis Pass and through the Kawarau Gorge before reaching Queenstown late afternoon.

Stay: Queenstown

DAY 4 - QUEENSTOWN AT LEISURE
4 Day Southern Alps Tour

Spend a day relaxing in vibrant Queenstown. There are many activities / sightseeing opportunities available. From highlight tours visiting the best of the region, wine tours, thrill-seeking activities, Lord of the Rings tours to simply relaxing on the shores of stunning Lake Wakatipu. There is something for everyone. Please ask us about optional activities – we are happy to include these into your package.

Stay: Queenstown

DAY 5 - QUEENSTOWN AT LEISURE
Walter Peak Tours

Today you have a second day at leisure in Queenstown. Perhaps take a cruise across Lake Wakatipu to Walter Peak or venture out of Queenstown for the day. A trip to Milford or Doubtful Sound will truly excite the eyes and leave you with a magical day of memories for years to come.

Stay: Queenstown

DAY 6 - QUEENSTOWN / FRANZ JOSEF
9 Day Southern Wonders Guided Tour

Leaving Queenstown we travel to the West Coast passing through Cromwell, Wanaka and Hawea before climbing over the Haast Pass into the Westland National Park. The Haast Pass is our southern most pass that traverses the Southern Alps linking the East Coast with the West Coast. On arrival into Franz Josef you will collected from your accommodation for a short visit to view the glacier.

Stay: Franz Josef

DAY 7 - FRANZ JOSEF / GREYMOUTH / CHRISTCHURCH
New Zealand Tours

Travel north through lush rainforests and spectacular scenery to Greymouth where we transfer on to the world famous TranzAlpine train. A remarkable journey of little more than four hours from the West Coast to the East Coast including the beautiful rainforest of the Arthur’s Pass National Park. Pass through the Southern Alps via the Otira Tunnel, cross massive viaducts over the Waimakariri Gorge descending to the fertile farmlands of the Canterbury Plains and on to the “Garden City” of Christchurch.

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Prices valid from 1st October 2020

Accommodation Standard Superior  
Twin/Double $1,992 NZD $2,593 NZD Enquire / Book
Triple $2,097 NZD $2,433 NZD Enquire / Book
Single $2,801 NZD $3,863 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.

7 Day South Island Explorer Tour

Tour Type: Rail Tour Tour Code: RT7S From $1,992 Per Person Departs: Daily Enjoy wonderful views of Marlborough Sounds via the Interislander ferry, watch the whales in Kaikoura, free time in Queenstown and visit the glacier region before ending your tour in Christchurch via the TranzAlpine train. Enquire about this tour

Where this tour will take you...