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Great New Zealand Cruise & Rail Experience: Auckland to Christchurch

Duration
16 Days
Prices From:
US$ 6,533

This escorted experience is perfect for train buffs. Travel on coaches, cruises and enjoy iconic New Zealand rail journeys while staying in comfortable accommodation. The journey will take you from Auckland and geothermal centre of Rotorua, to the capital of Wellington before moving onto the South Island and exploring famous Milford Sound.


This 16-day tour takes you across New Zealand by boat and rail, offering a complete portrait of this amazing country.

Your journey across New Zealand’s waters and rails begins in Auckland, which is consistently rated one of the most livable cities on the planet. Auckland is about as pretty as a city can get. It’s framed between two natural harbours that form the rocky isthmus upon which the city stands. Climb the Sky Tower to view the harbours from high above, or visit the Auckland Museum to learn about the city’s history. From Auckland, take a journey aboard a restored steam engine, the Glenbrook Vintage Steam Train, enjoying the picturesque Franklin countryside as people would have 100 years ago. Then board the Ipipiri for an overnight cruise across Waitemata Harbour and the Hauraki Gulf.

Return to land and head south to Rotorua, a geothermal marvel that’s one of New Zealand’s main tourist hubs. In Rotorua you can see mud pools, hot springs, and Pohutu Geyser, which can shoot water 30 metres high. Also take the opportunity to learn about traditional Maori life at the Whakarewarewa village and visit the nearby Hobbiton movie set if you’re a film buff. Head onto Taumarunui to ride a decommissioned railway line and explore the tunnels, bridges, and towns of Whanganui National Park.

Onward to Wellington, the capital of New Zealand and its second largest city. Visit the Fell Locomotive Museum to a see Locomotive H 199, the last engine of its kind remaining in the world. Then ride the red Wellington Cable Car to the Botanical Gardens and look out over Cook Strait. If you want to learn about the nation’s history, visit one of the city’s many museums, such as the national museum, Te Papa Tongarewa. Then board the Interislander ferry to cross the Cook Strait and reach the South Island. Board the Coastal Pacific Train in Picton and make your way down to Christchurch, the South Island’s largest city.

Christchurch is still rebuilding from the earthquakes of 2010 and 2011 that devastated most of its historical sites. While the city remains in the process of redevelopment, it’s still very much worth visiting, with the Botanical Gardens remaining a great highlight. Once you’ve soaked in the city’s atmosphere, board the TranzAlpine Train to head across the Canterbury Plains and the Southern Alps to the incredible Franz Josef Glacier.

Continue to Queenstown on the shores of Lake Wakatipu in the Southern Alps, where you can satisfy your wildest outdoor ambitions. If you want to sky dive from airplanes, bungie jump from bridges, or jet-ski across waters, this is the place to be. Head to Skippers Canyon for outdoor adventure or visit the nearby film sets from The Lord of the Rings. Take a break from adventure by slowing down the pace at the many vineyards or golf courses around the valley.

Pass onto Milford Sound, one of the top travel destinations on the planet. This fjord in southwestern New Zealand is a stunning waterway that culminates in Mitre Peak (Rahotu), the most photographed mountain in the country. Explore Milford Sound and the surrounding Fjordland National Park before heading to Te Anau, the second largest lake in New Zealand. Pass into the harbour of Dunedin before visiting Mount Cook, the highest mountain in New Zealand, and Lake Tekapo before returning to Christchurch for your flight home.


 

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Duration
16 Days
Prices From:
US$ 6,533

Itinerary View Trip Map

Day 1

Auckland

Arrive in Auckland and be transferred to your hotel. This evening, enjoy a feature Welcome Dinner as you get to know your Tour Director and your fellow travelers.

Freedom of Choice - Sightseeing
Perhaps take a cruise on Waitemata Harbour, head off on a Waiheke Island wine tour, or explore the fantastic Auckland Museum. Alternatively, get up close to marine life at Kelly Tarlton's Sea Life Aquarium, set off on a Wilderness Adventure into the Waitakere Rainforest, or take a trip to the harbourside suburb of Devonport.

Meal Plan Highlight Dinner
Duration1 Night
Accommodation

Amora Hotel Auckland

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    Amora Hotel Auckland



    Amora Hotel Auckland is a luxury hotel suited to both leisure and business travellers. The hotel is ideally positioned amongst the magnificent park surroundings close to the main business district and within walking distance of major shopping and entertainment areas. There are 149 beautifully appointed ...

    Amora Hotel Auckland is a luxury hotel suited to both leisure and business travellers. The hotel is ideally positioned amongst the magnificent park surroundings close to the main business district and within walking distance of major shopping and entertainment areas. There are 149 beautifully appointed rooms and suites.

    Facilities

    • Bar(s)
    • Business Centre
    • Concierge
    • Currency Exchange
    • Daycare/Babysitting Service
    • Laundry/Dry Cleaning Service
    • Parking
    • Pool (s)
    • Reception (24 hrs)
    • Restaurant(s)
    • Room Service
    • Spa(Hot-tub)/Jacuzzi
    • Wheelchair Accessible Rooms

    More Details

Day 2

Auckland, Glenbrook Vintage Steam Train, Ipipiri Overnight Cruise

Experience a different side to Auckland with unique experiences.

Signature Experience
In Glenbrook this morning, board the Glenbrook Vintage Railway. Lovingly restored, you’ll enjoy a journey through the beautiful rural Franklin countryside aboard this historic steam train.

Signature Experience
This afternoon, head towards Viaduct Harbour to board your Huaraki Blue Overnight cruise. Glide past Auckland's iconic highlights, including the Harbour Bridge, Bean Rock Lighthouse and Devonport, as you sail out across the Waitemata Harbour towards the Hauraki Gulf.

Meal Plan Breakfast and Dinner
Duration1 Night
Day 3

Hauraki Blue, Auckland, Rotorua

Enjoy breakfast on board your ship then relax on deck and take in the scenery while you cruise back to port in Auckland. Disembark and board a coach for your journey to Rotorua.

Signature Experience
For this evening's feature dinner, immerse yourself in Maori culture as you enjoy a traditional Hangi Feast and performance.

Meal Plan Breakfast and Highlight Dinner
Duration2 Nights
Accommodation

Holiday Inn Rotorua

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Location View map
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    Holiday Inn Rotorua



    Overlooking the famous Whakarewarewa Thermal Reserve and Historic Village, the Holiday Inn Rotorua is the ideal base from which to discover this thermal wonderland. See and experience the beauty of Maori culture, spectacular geysers and boiling mud pools.

    Overlooking the famous Whakarewarewa Thermal Reserve and Historic Village, the Holiday Inn Rotorua is the ideal base from which to discover this thermal wonderland. See and experience the beauty of Maori culture, spectacular geysers and boiling mud pools.

    Facilities

    • Bar(s)
    • Concierge
    • Conference Facilities
    • Daycare/Babysitting Service
    • Gift Shop
    • Gym/Fitness Centre
    • Internet Access
    • Laundry/Dry Cleaning Service
    • Parking
    • Pool (s)
    • Reception (24 hrs)
    • Room Service
    • Wheelchair Accessible Rooms

    More Details

Day 4

Rotorua, Freedom of Choice

Set your own pace today thanks to our sightseeing options. Afterwards, enjoy time at leisure.

Freedom of Choice - Sightseeing
Perhaps experience the icons of Rotorua at the famed Agrodome Farm Show, then make your way to Rainbow Springs Nature Park to see a working kiwi nursery and visit the fascinating Te Puia Thermal Reserve. Alternatively, take a Hobbiton Movie Set tour for an enthralling insight into the making of the Lord of the Rings trilogy. Perhaps drive through forest and farmland to visit New Zealand's largest boiling mud pool and colourful hot springs; discover the local art, history and culture at Rotorua Museum; or explore Redwood Tree-walk with a Maori guide.

Meal Plan Breakfast
Day 5

Rotorua, Rail Cruising Experience, Tongariro National Park

Travel to Tongariro National Park for a night at the historic and iconic Chateau Tongariro Hotel.

Signature Experience
Travel to Taumarunui where your rail cart awaits for a self-drive rail cruising experience along a decommissioned railway line. Hop aboard and travel through tunnels, over bridges and past a collection of charming towns at your own pace on a leisurely discovery through the landscapes of Whanganui National Park. Experience the beauty of the North Island as the rolling green hills brush gently by, and take some time out over a picnic lunch.

Meal Plan Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner
Duration1 Night
Accommodation

Chateau Tongariro Hotel Mount Ruapehu

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    Chateau Tongariro Hotel Mount Ruapehu



    The Chateau Tongariro Hotel sits nestled in the shadow of three towering active volcanoes and at the very foot of the majestic and sacred Mount Ruapehu. It is located within a 10 minute drive of the Whakapapa Ski Area and within easy reach of day ...

    The Chateau Tongariro Hotel sits nestled in the shadow of three towering active volcanoes and at the very foot of the majestic and sacred Mount Ruapehu. It is located within a 10 minute drive of the Whakapapa Ski Area and within easy reach of day walks, local trout fishing, fantastic alpine golf courses, and many other exciting activities. The hotel has 115 rooms each with its own unique view of the surrounding countryside, Mt Ruapehu, Mt Tongariro or Mt Ngauruhoe.

    Facilities

    • Conference Facilities
    • Games Room
    • Gym/Fitness Centre
    • Pool (s)
    • Restaurant(s)
    • Sauna
    • Tennis

    More Details

Day 6

Tongariro National Park, Fell Locomotive Museum, Wellington, Freedom of Choice

Today's journey takes you to the town of Featherston. Delight in a relaxing afternoon tea before rejoining your coach and travelling to Wellington, New Zealand's vibrant capital city by the water.

Signature Experience
Explore the fascinating Fell Locomotive Museum, home to H199, the only locomotive of its type in the world.

Freedom of Choice - Dining
Choose where to dine from a selection of restaurants for tonight’s feature dinner.

Meal Plan Breakfast and Highlight Dinner
Duration2 Nights
Accommodation

Amora Hotel Wellington

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    Amora Hotel Wellington



    The Amora Hotel Wellington is a superbly located hotel in the heart of Wellington. Facing Wellington's waterfront, with magnificent views of Wellington's CBD and harbour and easy access to Lambton Quay, Te Papa and the Cable Car, Wellington's best attractions are right at the hotels ...

    The Amora Hotel Wellington is a superbly located hotel in the heart of Wellington. Facing Wellington's waterfront, with magnificent views of Wellington's CBD and harbour and easy access to Lambton Quay, Te Papa and the Cable Car, Wellington's best attractions are right at the hotels doorstep. Amora Hotel Wellington offers some of the most spacious guest rooms and suites in Wellington.

    Facilities

    • Bar(s)
    • Business Centre
    • Concierge
    • Conference Facilities
    • Currency Exchange
    • Day Spa
    • Laundry facilities
    • Parking
    • Reception (24 hrs)
    • Restaurant(s)

    More Details

Day 7

Wellington

After breakfast, set off on a tour taking you to the city's best-loved landmarks and sights, including New Zealand's national museum - Te Papa Tongarewa. Afterwards, ride Wellington's iconic Cable Car, gaining a fresh perspective as you gaze out across this spectacular coastal city. The afternoon and evening have been left free for you to enjoy discovering Wellington at your own pace.

Meal Plan Breakfast
Day 8

Wellington, Picton, Coastal Pacific Train, Christchurch

Enjoy dinner with your fellow travellers in Christchurch tonight.

Signature Experience
This morning, say goodbye to the North Island as you board the Interislander ferry and cruise from Wellington Harbour across the Cook Strait and through the natural beauty of the Marlborough and Queen Charlotte sounds to Picton.

Signature Experience
Board the Coastal Pacific Train in Picton. Enjoy a thrilling journey past the picturesque landscapes of the rugged east coast to the South Island's largest city, Christchurch.

Meal Plan Breakfast and Dinner
Duration1 Night
Accommodation

Commodore Hotel Christchurch Airport

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    Commodore Hotel Christchurch Airport



    Situated on Christchurch's Memorial Avenue on an idyllic seven acres of land featuring award-winning native New Zealand gardens, Commodore Hotel Christchurch Airport is just minutes away from the Christchurch International Airport and ten minutes into the centre of Christchurch. The hotel features 137 guest accommodation ...

    Situated on Christchurch's Memorial Avenue on an idyllic seven acres of land featuring award-winning native New Zealand gardens, Commodore Hotel Christchurch Airport is just minutes away from the Christchurch International Airport and ten minutes into the centre of Christchurch. The hotel features 137 guest accommodation rooms, conference and meeting facilities and extensive free parking.

    Facilities

    • Business Centre
    • Concierge
    • Conference Facilities
    • Currency Exchange
    • Gym/Fitness Centre
    • Internet Access
    • Laundry facilities
    • Laundry/Dry Cleaning Service
    • Mail and Postal Facilities
    • Multi-lingual Staff
    • Parking
    • Pool (s)
    • Restaurant
    • Room Service
    • Sauna
    • Secretarial Service
    • Spa(Hot-tub)/Jacuzzi

    More Details

Day 9

Christchurch, TranzAlpine Train, Franz Josef

Signature Experience
Board the TranzAlpine train for what is renowned as one of the world’s greatest rail adventures. Head to the open-air viewing platform and enjoy stunning views as you journey through the striking patchwork farmlands of the Canterbury Plains. Follow the Waimakariri River and travel across the magnificent Southern Alps within Arthur's Pass National Park. Disembark at Greymouth.

Signature Experience
From Greymouth, travel by coach along the dramatic New Zealand west coast to Franz Josef, where you'll have the opportunity to take in the dramatic terrain and icy surrounds of the striking Franz Josef Glacier.

Meal Plan Breakfast and Dinner
Duration1 Night
Accommodation

Scenic Hotel Franz Josef Glacier

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    Scenic Hotel Franz Josef Glacier



    Scenic Hotel Franz Josef Glacier sits at the edge of the Westland World Heritage Park and it is just moments from one of New Zealand's most spectacular natural attractions, the Franz Josef Glacier. The hotel is in a premium location, making it the perfect place ...

    Scenic Hotel Franz Josef Glacier sits at the edge of the Westland World Heritage Park and it is just moments from one of New Zealand's most spectacular natural attractions, the Franz Josef Glacier. The hotel is in a premium location, making it the perfect place to base yourself while exploring the magnificent Westland region.

    Facilities

    • Bar(s)
    • Conference Facilities
    • Internet Access
    • Laundry facilities
    • Reception (24 hrs)
    • Restaurant(s)
    • Spa

    More Details

Day 10

Franz Josef, Queenstown, Freedom of Choice

Enjoy a day of breathtaking scenery as you travel along the Haast River to Queenstown.

Freedom of Choice - Dining
For your feature dinner tonight, choose from a selection of restaurants.

Meal Plan Breakfast and Highlight Dinner
Duration2 Nights
Accommodation

Novotel Queenstown Lakeside

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    Novotel Queenstown Lakeside



    Located in the very heart of Queenstown, overlooking Lake Wakatipu, Novotel Queenstown Lakeside is within a stone's throw from a range of fabulous stores, restaurants, bars and nightclubs. If you wish to venture a little further into this unspoiled Southern Lakes Region of New Zealand, ...

    Located in the very heart of Queenstown, overlooking Lake Wakatipu, Novotel Queenstown Lakeside is within a stone's throw from a range of fabulous stores, restaurants, bars and nightclubs. If you wish to venture a little further into this unspoiled Southern Lakes Region of New Zealand, you will discover some of the finest outdoor leisure activities in the world. Novotel Queenstown Lakeside has 204 guestrooms, all with balconies and stunning scenic views.

    Facilities

    • Bar(s)
    • Concierge
    • Daycare/Babysitting Service
    • Internet Access
    • Laundry facilities
    • Parking (Valet)
    • Restaurant(s)
    • Room Service
    • Spa

    More Details

Day 11

Queenstown, Freedom of Choice

Enjoy the day in Queenstown.

Freedom of Choice - Sightseeing
Lord of the Rings fans will jump at the chance to visit key filming locations, while thrill seekers can try a ride on the famous Shotover Jet Boat, a Skippers Canyon adventure or a river safari along the Dart River. Why not tour the country's premier wine-producing region and savour the local offerings? Nature enthusiasts may enjoy a 4WD experience at Mt Nicholas or a bird walk through the surrounding wilderness.
A cruise on Lake Wakatipu is also on offer.

Meal Plan Breakfast
Day 12

Queenstown, Milford Sound

Embark on one of the most scenic drives today as you journey along the Milford Road and into the heart of Fiordland National Park. Keep your camera at the ready as you wind down the Eglinton and Hollyford valleys, then drive through the Homer Tunnel to be met by the sight of Mitre Peak, the iconic backdrop to Milford Sound. This evening, arrive drive at the lakeside settlement of Te Anau.
Distinction Te Anau Hotel and Villas.

Signature Experience
Cruise along the full length of beautiful fiord Milford Sound, located deep within Fiordland National Park.

Signature Experience
In Te Anau tonight, enjoy a feature Taste of Fiordland Dinner.

Meal Plan Breakfast and Highlight Dinner
Duration1 Night
Accommodation

Milford Mariner

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Location View map
  • Milford Mariner



    For the ultimate Milford Sound experience, spend the night aboard the Mariner and wake up to the dawn of a new day in one of the most beautiful places on earth. Depart from the Milford Sound wharf in the late afternoon and cruise the full ...

    For the ultimate Milford Sound experience, spend the night aboard the Mariner and wake up to the dawn of a new day in one of the most beautiful places on earth. Depart from the Milford Sound wharf in the late afternoon and cruise the full length of Milford Sound accompanied by a specialist nature guide. They'll explain the history and geology of the area and be on hand to answer your questions. The cruise style is relaxed, allowing plenty of time to view the fiord's spectacular waterfalls, rainforest, mountains and wildlife - you're bound to encounter seals and if you're lucky maybe dolphin and penguins.

    Facilities

    • Dining Area
    • Dining Area

    More Details

Day 13

Te Anau, Taieri Gorge Railway, Dunedin

Leave the Fiordland region this morning and travel to Dunedin on the east coast of New Zealand.

Signature Experience
Step aboard the Taieri Gorge Railway and journey through the beautiful Southland countryside.

Meal Plan Breakfast and Dinner
Duration1 Night
Accommodation

Scenic Hotel Southern Cross Dunedin

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Location View map
  • starstarstar

    Scenic Hotel Southern Cross Dunedin



    Dunedin's largest hotel proudly stands in the heart of the city. Dating back to 1883, this landmark building now blends Dunedin's distinctive charm and heritage with the modern day comforts guests demand. The uniqueness of the historic parts of the hotel, and their commitment to ...

    Dunedin's largest hotel proudly stands in the heart of the city. Dating back to 1883, this landmark building now blends Dunedin's distinctive charm and heritage with the modern day comforts guests demand. The uniqueness of the historic parts of the hotel, and their commitment to excellent customer service will ensure you have a memorable stay.

    Facilities

    • Bar(s)
    • Business Centre
    • Conference Facilities
    • Daycare/Babysitting Service
    • Gym/Fitness Centre
    • Internet Access
    • Laundry facilities
    • Laundry/Dry Cleaning Service
    • Parking
    • Parking (Valet)
    • Reception (24 hrs)
    • Restaurant(s)
    • Room Service
    • Wheelchair Accessible Rooms

    More Details

Day 14

Dunedin, Seasider Train, Mt Cook

Travel to Oamaru, then head north to see the unusual Moeraki Boulders.

Signature Experience
Board the Seasider train and travel along Otago Harbour before climbing the gentle slopes of Port Chalmers on the Pacific coast

Signature Experience
View Australasia's highest mountain, Aoraki - Mt Cook, and the alpine scenery in World Heritage-listed Mt Cook National Park.

Meal Plan Breakfast and Dinner
Duration2 Nights
Accommodation

The Hermitage Aoraki Mount Cook

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    The Hermitage Aoraki Mount Cook



    Discover the spectacle and drama of New Zealand's Aoraki Mount Cook National Park from the splendour and comfort of The Hermitage Aoraki Mount Cook. The Hermitage, located within Aoraki Mt Cook National Park, has a range of accommodation types available. The main hotel complex contains ...

    Discover the spectacle and drama of New Zealand's Aoraki Mount Cook National Park from the splendour and comfort of The Hermitage Aoraki Mount Cook. The Hermitage, located within Aoraki Mt Cook National Park, has a range of accommodation types available. The main hotel complex contains 164 rooms, while 32 Motel and 20 Chalet self-contained units are located 200-800m away in the village. From an intrepid journey through glacial valleys to a mouth-watering culinary dining adventure, The Hermitage Hotel is the perfect place to base your adventure and discover why this region has endeared itself to Kiwi adventure seekers for so long.

    Facilities

    • Bar(s)
    • Conference Facilities
    • Currency Exchange
    • Lounge(s)
    • Parking
    • Restaurant(s)
    • Wheelchair Accessible Rooms

    More Details

Day 15

Mt Cook, Freedom of Choice

Enjoy a full day at Mt Cook. Tonight enjoy a feature dinner.

Freedom of Choice - Sightseeing
Perhaps visit the Sir Edmund Hillary Alpine Centre, including a visit to the planetarium and a stargazing session with an astronomer. You may like to join a guided nature walk. Or, during summer, board a MAC boat on the Tasman Glacier Terminal Lake.

Meal Plan Breakfast and Highlight Dinner
Day 16

Mt Cook, Lake Tekapo, Depart Christchurch

Drive along the shores of Lake Pukaki to Lake Tekapo. Visit the tiny Church of the Good Shepherd then continue to Christchurch airport, where your tour ends.

Meal Plan Breakfast

Other Information

DEPARTURES: 

2017: Oct 10, 24; Nov 14, 21
2018: Jan 9, 16, 23; Feb 6, 20, 27; Mar 13, 27

PRICE INCLUDES:

  • Arrival & departure transfers in New Zealand
  • Travel aboard a spacious, luxurious coach
  • Nightly accommodation as indicated
  • Dedicated APT Tour Director and professional Driver
  • The additional services of expert local guides in select locations
  • All sightseeing, excursions & entrance fees as outlined

PRICE EXCLUDES:

  • Travel insurance
  • International and domestic airfare & airfare taxes
  • Visa fees if applicable
  • Meals and beverages not mentioned
  • Gratuities
  • Items of a personal nature

TERMS AND CONDITIONS:

Prices are "from" per person based on twin/double share accommodation and for travel in low season. Seasonal surcharges and blackout dates may apply. Limited seat/spaces and all pricing is subject to change and availability. Rates for single or triple travellers are available on request - please inquire.

TB AUSTRALAUC0717CO: NRC17
27 Mar 2018
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