Join us on this week long guided scenic Christchurch to Queenstown rail tour, through the mighty Southern Alps, to the wild West Coast before experiencing the beauty of Queenstown.
On our classic Alpine Highlights Tour, your journey begins aboard the world-famous TranzAlpine, traversing the rugged cliffs of the Waimakariri River gorge on your ascent into the Southern Alps.
From Arthur’s Pass, you will descend through the century-old Otira tunnel that stretches 8.5km beneath the great divide. On the far side, you’ll wind through the lush green scenery of West Coast on your way past Lake Brunner and onto Greymouth.
Lastly, for your Christchurch to Queenstown rail and road tour, from Greymouth you will travel by luxury bus along the famous Great Coast Road – one of the most beautiful roads in the world.
Christchurch to Queenstown Rail Tour Highlights
Experience the Southern Alps by world-renowned TranzAlpine train journey
Uncover the home of the sacred pounamu, mesmerising blue lakes, and ancient forests on the West Coast
Discover Haast Pass on a unique Kiwi-style Road Trip adventure
Explore city and town life in Christchurch, Greymouth and Queenstown
Be captivated by the storytelling of your Local Tour director along this Christchurch to Queenstown rail journey
Christchurch to Queenstown Rail Tour Optional Excursions
Each option on our is highly recommended to make the most of your Christchurch to Queenstown rail tour. Ask at the time of booking.
TSS Earnslaw Dinner Cruise – Voyage across the pristine Lake Wakatipu with its stunning mountain backdrop for a sumptuous BBQ dinner at Walter Peak and a steamship cruise.
Milford Sound Day Tour – Add New Zealand’s most popular day out to your trip and explore the beauty of Fiordland and the irrepressible Milford Sound.
For a detailed itinerary, departure details, and booking conditions for the Christchurch to Queenstown rail tour, please see below.
Kia Ora! Welcome to Christchurch – New Zealand’s Garden City! The largest city in the South Island, Christchurch is known for its historical earthquake in 2011 and how it rebuilt itself into a charming, multicultural city that blends modern architecture and technology with the existing 19th-century Anglican ‘gothic revival’ architectural influence. After checking into your hotel and reading your welcome letter from your Tour Director, head out and explore all that Christchurch has to offer. This is the perfect opportunity to wander through the enticing stalls at Riverside Market or explore the botanical gardens before heading to the art gallery, museums and other city attractions. After an exciting day on the town, your journey will officially begin as you join your fellow travellers and Tour Director at this evening’s welcome reception.
Day 2 | Christchurch - TranzAlpine - Punakaiki (B)
The moment has come to experience the world-famous TranzAlpine scenic train journey through the Southern Alps, emerging in the West Coast! On this fantastic escape, you will see epic vistas, soar on the edges of the ice fed Waimakariri River, traverse through the Great Divide, and experience ever-changing landscapes. The natural scenery isn’t the only marvel, though. The TranzAlpine passes through the Otira Tunnel, a true engineering marvel of 100 years! Once you arrive at the West Coast, a private coach will take you even further off the beaten track to Punakaiki, where you will explore curious limestone rock formations and blowholes.
Day 3 | Greymouth - Franz Josef Glacier (B)
This morning, you start your West Coast adventure by visiting one of the South Island’s most popular activities– the Treetop Aerial Walkway. This elevated adventure will get you acquainted with the locals – the ancient Rimu and Kamahi trees. After your sky-high experience, continue south into Glacier Country. Franz Josef Glacier is quite special in that it survives in the warm coastal rainforest temperatures. With a short walk to a viewpoint, you'll get a fantastic view of the vast valley, as well as a sneak peek of Franz Josef Glacier itself. If you would prefer to get up close, we recommend booking an optional helicopter flight. This will ensure you are getting the best possible view of this natural wonder. After your glacial experience and checking into the hotel, you’ll have some free time to enjoy Franz Josef town. Indulge in a little retail therapy, a helicopter flight, nature walk or tap into some natural tranquillity at the local hot pools.
Day 4 | Franz Josef Glacier - Queenstown (B)
Today you will be exploring the mountainous Haast Pass. With changing landscapes around every bend, this journey to Queenstown will be one of the most scenic drives you may ever take. Marvel at the beaches, crystal blue lakes and rivers, mountain peaks, lush vineyards, charming plains and stunning glaciers as your Tour Director guides you between local hidden gems. Emerging on the other side of the pass, explore a local fruit hotspot before exploring the cobblestone streets of the historic goldmining settlement of Arrowtown. After an exciting plunge into the history of this gold rush village, you will arrive in the world-famous resort town of Queenstown!
Day 5 | Queenstown (B)
Enjoy a free day to explore everything Queenstown has to offer. Today we highly recommend you join an excursion to the 8th Wonder of the World - it truly is a remarkable experience. Milford Sounds/ Piopiotahi is a scenic escape approximately three hours from Queenstown. The natural landscape will engulf you as you waltz through plunging valleys and towering peaks. Take this encounter to the next level by booking a return visit by plane or helicopter and soar like the Piopio (ancient bird) back to Queenstown. Whether you’ve decided to hop aboard the steamship lake cruise on the iconic TSS Earnslaw, or marvel at the power of ancient roaring rivers - tonight you have a free evening to indulge in Queenstown's exciting nightlife. Sip cocktails and indulge in the sparkling views of Lake Wakatipu.
Day 6 | Queenstown (B,D)
Queenstown truly has something for everyone. Personalise your day to be as active or relaxed as you’d like. Whether it’s exploring Walter Peak on a horse trekking adventure, joining the historic steamship across Lake Wakatipu or sipping wine in Gibbston Valley, there is no shortage of activities to delight your senses. 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 7 | Queenstown (B)
Your journey will end after enjoying a final breakfast with your fellow travellers. If you have more travelling you want to udnertake, let us know at the time of booking and we can make this happen for you.
For more information about this tour, price queries and updates on specials, please Enquire Now.