This 10-day city and coastal highlights tour will take you on a journey through the North and South Island by Auckland to Christchurch rail lines. Experience this great New Zealand adventure from coast to coast.
Boarding in Auckland, your first few days on your Auckland to Christchurch rail tour are aboard our Northern Explorer train travelling through the volcanic heart of the North Island. Cruising between islands, the Interislander journey takes a leisurely course around Wellington Harbour and through the magnificent Marlborough Sounds to Picton.
From Picton, you’ll voyage through vineyards and along the Pacific Coast to Kaikoura and then Christchurch, the Garden City aboard the Coastal Pacific train.
Whales, dolphins, and sea life – spend a day by the ocean in Kaikōura
Delight in exploring the North Island’s volcanic Central Plateau
Explore New Zealand’s city culture and history in Auckland, Wellington, and Christchurch
Marvel at the diverse scenery from your train seat on your Auckland to Christchurch rail adventure
Be captivated by the storytelling of your tour director throughout your great journey
Auckland to Christchurch Rail Tour Optional Excursions
Each option on our is highly recommended to make the most of your Auckland to Christchurch rail highlights tour. Ask at the time of booking.
Ohakune Adventures – Choose from renting an E-Bike, or horse trekking and have fun exploring the Ruapehu region.
Whale Watch Kaikoura – Head offshore for a fantastic display of Humpback whales in a stunning natural environment.
TranzAlpine Train – Many would argue your journey is not complete without experiencing New Zealand’s premier rail trip. Add a day return ride to your tour from Christchurch once you have completed your Auckland to Christchurch rail journey.
For a detailed itinerary, departure details, and booking conditions for your Auckland to Christchurch rail tour, please see below.
Welcome to Auckland, New Zealand’s City of Sails! Auckland is known for its multi-cultural hub of food, music, arts, and culture. Your great journey will officially begin the moment you check into your hotel room. After reading your welcome letter from your Tour Director, head out and explore all that Auckland has to offer. This is the perfect opportunity to visit the Sky Tower or shop along bustling Queen Street. You may even fancy a drink in one of the charming bars or eateries of Vulcan Lane. After an exciting day on the town, join your fellow travellers as well as the Tour Director at this evening’s welcome reception.
Day 2 | Auckland - Northern Explorer Train - Ohakune (B,D)
Today you will marvel at rural New Zealand’s lush landscapes from the comfort of your seat onboard the Northern Explorer scenic train journey. From the green pastures of the Waikato to the icy mountain streams of Ruapehu, you won’t want to miss a moment. If you are interested in culture and history, enjoy the audio commentary as you cross historic viaducts and traverse up the Raurimu Spiral. This experience is one like no other. For the next two nights, you will stay in Ohakune. This charming town is the adventure base for the Tongariro National Park - home to three volcanic mountains. Tongariro National Park is also recognised by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site. Join your fellow travellers for dinner.
Day 3 | Ohakune (B)
Today is free for you to discover one of Ohakune’s exciting excursions. Choose from the many optional activities on offer and personalise your perfect holiday. Perhaps join a horse trekking experience that takes you along expansive hills, mountains, rivers and into the native bush. If you're after an active day, why not explore Ohakune’s historical cycle trail? Rent e-bikes and discover old viaducts, tunnels, old settlers’ camps and reclaimed native forests along the Old Coach Road!
Day 4 | Ohakune - Northern Explorer Train - Wellington (B)
After breakfast, we begin our day by travelling to the Tūroa ski field. You won't want to leave this mini excursion to Middle Earth without a panoramic photo in hand! Joining the Northern Explorer train once again, you will wave goodbye to Ohakune as you settle into your uber-comfortable seat. Don’t get too comfortable though; dramatic rivers, gorges and ravines are just around the bend! Stretch your legs and explore the open-air carriage to acquire the best view on the train. As you glide through rich green farmland and past a dramatic coastline, why not indulge in a treat from our onboard licensed café? All too soon the train will arrive into Wellington leaving the picturesque Porirua Harbour behind. You have arrived at Wellington Railway Station which is just a stone’s throw from downtown, the Beehive and Parliament Buildings. Welcome to New Zealand’s windy capital! You won't want to waste a moment of time after checking into the hotel - your evening is free to explore this award-winning culinary capital from Queen's Wharf, Cuba Street and beyond.
Day 5 | Wellington (B,D)
The perfect day does exist – and it includes exploring Wellington! Today is free for you to experience vibrant Wellington as you please. Start by joining our Wellington City introduction tour and then heading off to explore Cuba street’s cafes, bookstores and eccentric shops. Get cultured at the Te Papa Museum or Zealandia to uncover the rich stories of Aotearoa New Zealand. You won’t get bored with the plethora of activities on offer. From urban eco-sanctuary, cable cars, botanical gardens and more, the list goes on! If you need any suggestions or recommendations, just reach out to your experienced Journey Director.
Day 6 | Wellington to Blenheim (B)
This morning you will say Haere ra to Te Ika a Maui (good-bye to the North Island) as you sail to the South Island, crossing the Cook Strait on the Interislander ferry. As the shores of the North Island slowly disappear, enjoy a hearty seafaring breakfast on board. Around mid-day, you will be spoiled with harbour views entering the Queen Charlotte Sound. Admire the beauty of this coastal paradise as you arrive at the gateway of the South Island, Picton. Step off the Interislander Ferry and join your next world-class experience on a Marlborough Wine Tour!
After enjoying a delightful breakfast, the morning is yours to explore sunny Blenheim. Enjoy the roses at Upton Oaks Garden or perhaps learn a thing or two about aviation at the Omaka Aviation Heritage Centre. You’ll hear the hoot of the Coastal Pacific train as it pulls in to bring you on yet another scenic experience. This time – along the rugged coastline of the South Island. On this train journey, you will glide across remote beaches, between mountains and sea, on a timeless voyage of breath-taking beauty. Keep an eye out for the fur seals lazing on the rocks! Once in Kaikoura, the evening will be yours to enjoy some iconic kai moana (seafood) at one of the well-known restaurants.
Today will be a once-in-a-lifetime experience. You will have the opportunity to go whale watching! Enjoy today’s optional thrill of an up-close encounter with the world's largest-toothed predator, the Giant Sperm Whale. Want to get an aerial experience of the wildlife? Why not request a plane or helicopter ride to capture the true grandeur of it all? Whether you have decided to go llama trekking or swimming with the dolphins and seals, we're sure you will be feeling peckish. Head to the beach to sample some iconic New Zealand food - you can't go wrong with the humble Kiwiana fish and chips. Work off the deep-fried delights by wandering through the wonderful array of local artisan stores and souvenir shops. In the late afternoon, your journey will continue, once again, on the Coastal Pacific Train en route to Christchurch, or “The Garden City”. The spectacular scenery doesn’t cease to amaze as you journey south through the rolling hills and flat plains. Enjoy the relaxing journey with a glass of wine in hand from the scenic café.
Day 9 | Christchurch (B,D)
Christchurch, the hub for South Island exploration is also a wonderful city that blends modern architecture and technology with the existing 19th-century Anglican influence. Often remembered for its earthquake in 2011, the city is still rebuilding itself into a multi-cultural haven. So, without further delay, jump on the historic tram to learn the history, tales and culture of Ōtautahi Christchurch. Enjoy your free time as you explore the Arts Centre, Quake City Museum, Antarctic Centre, and botanical gardens. Ride on the city tram to uncover Christchurch's great history. There is also a multitude of delicious cafes tucked into quaint side streets we're sure you will love. If you are in the mood for something different, set off for Akaroa, an ‘incroyable’ French coastal settlement just outside the city. This evening is your final hurrah as you enjoy a farewell dinner. This is the perfect time to reminisce and share photos and phone numbers with your new friends.
Day 10 | Christchurch (B)
Your journey will end after enjoying a final breakfast with your fellow travellers. Should you wish to extend your stay and enjoy a return journey on the TranzAlpine, please let us know at the time of booking.
For more information about this tour, price queries and updates on specials, please Enquire Now.