14 Day New Zealand Rail & Self-Drive
New Zealand’s remarkable landscape is ideal for traversing by train. Sit back in comfort and take in the diverse terrain sliding by on our renowned scenic rail journeys.
from NZ$2,125 pp - Twin Share
- 13 nights accommodation
- 8 days car rental
- Airport and railway transfers
- Northern Explorer train journey
- Interislander Ferry crossing
- Taieri Gorge Railway train journey
- Milford Sound nature cruise
- TranzAlpine train journey
- Please note that self-drive holidays depart on rolling start dates.
On arrival in Auckland, a transfer will take you to your hotel. Why not acquaint yourself with the city by taking a stroll around Viaduct Harbour, or visit Auckland Museum for a peep into the stories of our past. A fantastic destination for the evening is the Sky Tower, where you can take in breathtaking views of the city and surrounds with visibility up to 80km in every direction. You could even stay for a unique dining experience at Orbit, the revolving restaurant situated at the top of the tower.
Today is free to fully immerse yourself in the dynamic city, or perhaps venture a little further afield. Only a 40 minute ferry ride away, Waiheke Island is a great place to spend a day exploring. Let the experienced and passionate guides of Ananda Tours give you a taste of the island’s boutique wine industry, then meander your way around the village with its charming shops and top-notch eateries. Alternatively, you may like to join a day tour to Bay of Islands, Coromandel Peninsula, or Waitomo Glowworm Caves.
You will be transferred to Britomart Transport Centre this morning to board the Northern Explorer train. A superb way to experience North Island’s diverse range of scenery, the journey will take you through rolling farmland and native bush, along rocky coasts, and across major rivers. The highlight of the trip is Tongariro National Park, with its three spectacular volcanic mountains – Tongariro, Ngāuruhoe, and Ruapehu – and extreme landscape. Upon your arrival in Wellington, a transfer will be waiting to take you to your hotel.
The capital and its surrounds offer a tremendous range of activities – from culture and art in the city’s theatres and galleries, to wildlife encounters and waterfront walkways. The thriving metropolis is home to fantastic shopping, gourmet food, and colourful citizens. A visit to our national museum – Te Papa – is highly recommended, as is a ride on the historic Wellington Cable Car for panoramic views of the city and harbour. For a day out of town, take a tour of the nearby Wairarapa wine region, internationally renowned for its world-class pinot noir.
A transfer will take you from your hotel to the Interislander Ferry terminal. Over the three hour voyage to Te Waipounamu (South Island) you will cruise out of Wellington Harbour, cross Raukawa Moana (Cook Strait), and sail through the beautiful Marlborough Sounds. Collect your rental car when you disembark in Picton, and drive south through Nelson Lakes National Park to Christchurch.
Travel down along the east coast to Dunedin, stopping for a short walk to the Moeraki Boulders. This extraordinary natural feature is rich in Māori legend, and believed to be around 60 million years old. In the city, you might like to try your luck at the boutique casino, or visit the Speight’s Brewery for a tour of this local institution finished off with an evening meal.
Enjoy a trip on the Taieri Gorge Railway, a journey through unique scenery and heritage accessible only by train. Cross the fertile Taieri Plains before climbing into the gorge, famous for its sheer cliff faces and sudden ravines framing the Taieri River. You will learn the history of the hardy pioneers via live commentary and marvel at the examples of the skillful work left in their wake. Take some time before or after your excursion to admire the fully-restored Dunedin Railway Station, with its grand scale and ornate interior.
Follow the Southern Scenic Route out of Dunedin and venture off the beaten track to travel through the ancient Catlins, a wild and enchanting corner of Aotearoa (New Zealand). Te Anau is located on the shores of our largest southern glacial lake, and is the gateway to Fiordland National Park.
Head into Milford Sound, where you will board the vessel for your nature cruise. See waterfalls cascading from sheer rock faces as high as 1,000m, lush rainforests clinging precariously to the cliffs, and the seals, penguins, and dolphins that frequent the waters. This trip is an absolute highlight of any New Zealand visit. Drive back through Te Anau and up to Queenstown.
Jump boots first into our adventure capital and try the thrill of jet boating, bungy jumping, or any of the other action-packed pursuits on offer. To get up close and personal with the amazing scenery of the region, consider a wine tour or 4WD safari. Another way to spend the day is with a trip to picturesque Arrowtown, only a pleasant 20 minute drive away. Once a bustling gold mining settlement, Arrowtown is now a friendly village with heritage buildings and a tree-lined main street full of intriguing shops and excellent eateries.
Enjoy further leisure time to explore Queenstown. Why not indulge in a visit to Onsen Hot Pools, an experience that’s all about relaxation. Immerse yourself in the views, the pure waters, and the fresh mountain air, as your mind and body unwind in the private pools overlooking the Shotover River canyon. This evening, consider riding the Skyline Gondola up to Stratosfare, where you will dine overlooking the twinkling lights of Queenstown. Alternatively, cruise across Lake Wakatipu on the TSS Earnslaw steamship for dinner at Colonel’s Homestead.
Travel over the magnificent Crown Range as you make your way to the lakeside town of Wanaka, where we recommend a visit to offbeat Puzzling World, or a scenic flight in a vintage Tiger Moth aircraft for the more adventurous. Continue north over Haast Pass to the rugged West Coast. On arrival in Fox Glacier, it is a short but beautiful walk to the glacier’s terminal face. If you have a bit more time, you could take a guided walk or heli-hike onto the glacier itself.
Make your way up the coast to Greymouth, where you will return your vehicle to the depot before boarding the TranzAlpine train. This is one of the world’s finest scenic rail journeys, and you will be faced with epic and changing landscapes at every turn. Cross the fertile farmlands of the Canterbury Plains as you coast into Christchurch.
Enjoy some free time before your transfer takes you to Christchurch Airport for your onward travel.
Please Note: Prices are per person twin/double share and subject to availability. For other room types or more information please enquire.
– Kirra Tours July Special Offer is valid for Travel 01 Aug to 30 Sep 17. Travel available at other times at additional cost. $200pp savings still applies.
– Prices are per person, twin/double share and subject to availability. Prices were correct at the time of submission (FEB17) but are subject to change without notice. Valid for travel 01 May – 30 September 2017. Blackout periods and surcharges may apply. Car hire excess fees of NZ$3000 + GST applies. This will be imprinted on a credit card upon collecting the vehicle. Excess reduction options are available at an additional cost per day. Airport/Ferry pick up fee of NZ$45+ GST applies. This must be paid direct in New Zealand. Car parking fees may apply in some locations. Please enquire for more information.