NZ Rail and Cruise Discovery

Duration: 19 Days

Price: NZ$11,095

Departure From: Christchurch

Departure Date: Spring/Summer 23/24

Tour Type: Escorted Tour

Meal Plan: B&B and selected Meals

Physical Grading: 2/5


Join us on this comprehensive 19 day land, New Zealand rail and cruise journey which really does allow you to discover New Zealand.

With a comprehensive itinerary that starts in the Garden City Christchurch, you will enjoy premier experiences by New Zealand rail and cruise the famous New Zealand fiords. Complemented by first class hotels, an experienced tour guide, luxury vehicles, this trip wraps everything neatly into an ideal holiday for rail-fans and their companions.

SAVE $1,000 per couple contact us to find out how

All the major sightseeing locations throughout New Zealand are included, as your New Zealand Rail and Cruise Discovery touches cities, mountains, vintage railways and sea throughout this wonderful journey.

New Zealand Rail and Cruise Discovery map

New Zealand Rail and Cruise Discovery Highlights

  • Cruise the full length of pristine Milford Sound.
  • Be wowed by a Doubtful Sound overnight cruise and stay onboard your boat
  • Enjoy an Akaroa nature cruise and look out for the rare Hector’s dolphins.
  • Ride the famous TranzAlpine train from Christchurch to Greymouth.
  • Take a journey to the natural preserve of Stewart Island
  • Immerse yourself in Maori culture over a magical evening at Te Pa Tu.
  • Visit the Fell Locomotive Museum in Featherston
  • Board the vintage Glenbrook steam train
The idyllic Stewart Island

TranzAlpine Train Journey

Travelling from Christchurch to the West Coast by train on your New Zealand Rail and Cruise Discovery couldn’t be easier or more beautiful. Weaving between the peaks of the Southern Alps, soaring over breathtaking viaducts, meandering along the banks of the braided Waimakariri River, descending through the 8.5km long Otira tunnel into the lush river valleys of the West Coast. It’s all ahead of you and the TranzAlpine train is rated among the most beautiful train journeys in the world.

Springfield Station
The TranzAlpine Train

With spacious carriages and huge panoramic windows, you can sit back and enjoy New Zealand’s most spectacular scenery and the sociable environment of the train. Spend time with old friends or make new friends and see the best of New Zealand at the same time. Upon your arrival on the West Coast, you’ll be energised and ready to explore.

One unique feature of the great New Zealand rail journeys is the ability to step outside and enjoy the great New Zealand outdoors while you travel in the open-air viewing carriage. Feel the breeze ruffling your hair, the tingling kiss of fresh mountain air. Smell the forest aromas and the cool morning dew. Feel immersed in the landscapes and soak in the views. The open-air viewing carriage brings you true outdoor experiences while you travel through the land.

Onboard the TranzAlpine

For a detailed itinerary, departure details, and booking conditions for your New Zealand Rail and Cruise Discovery tour, please see below.

Departure Dates from Christchurch:

  • 11 November 2023
  • 25 November 2023 – SOLD OUT
  • 9 December 2023 – SOLD OUT
  • 6 January 2024
  • 20 January 2024
  • 3 February 2024
  • 16 February 2024 – SOLD OUT
  • 2 March 2024
  • 16 March 2024
  • 6 April 2024

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Tour Inclusions

  • Sightseeing and tours as indicated in the itinerary.
  • 30 meals as indicated in the itinerary
  • 17 nights accommodation in premium hotels
  • 1 night aboard your boat on Doubtful Sound
  • Travel on board the scenic trains, the Coastal Pacific and famous TranzAlpine,
  • Cruise between Wellington and Picton on the Interislander scenic ferry
  • Enjoy the services of a tour leader and the company of your travelling companions.

Pricing Notes

  • Advertised price based on per person, twin share
  • Prices quoted are for full payment at the time of booking
  • A single supplement is available
  • Price is subject to change unless paid in full
  • Full terms and conditions will be advised at the time of booking.

Tour Itinerary

Day 1 | Christchurch (D)
Be met on arrival and transferred to your hotel. Later, meet our crew at the welcome dinner, a Canterbury Feast celebrating local produce at the hotel.
Travel an hour and a half south east of Christchurch to the Banks Peninsula town of Akaroa, known for its mix of 19th-century British and French colonial history and architecture. Today we join a two-hour Akaroa Nature Cruise to view these magical mammals and the rugged coastline. Historic Akaroa’s waters are a playground for the smallest and rarest of dolphins, the Hector's dolphins. After your Signature Experience cruise, explore Akaroa eateries for lunch (own expense), then head back to your Christchurch hotel.
Today, you ride aboard the iconic TranzAlpine train from Christchurch to Greymouth, considered one of the world’s great rail journeys. Enjoy awe-inspiring views as you cross the Southern Alps from the east coast to the west. After your arrival in Greymouth, board a coach for a scenic trip down the west coast to glacier country, and the lovely town of Franz Josef.
Enjoy spectacular views as you drive today towards New Zealand’s adventure capital Queenstown. The Haast Pass follows a trail traditionally used by Maori people in search of greenstone or jade, and cuts through a stunning mountain landscape highlighted by waterfalls, rushing rivers and lakes.
Choose from a host of exciting sightseeing opportunities today. Visit filiming locations from The Lord of the Rings; enjoy a cruise on Lake Wakatipu; take a Skippers Canyon adventure; join a river safari along Dart River; or enjoy a winery tour.
Travel from Queenstown along the incredibly scenic Milford Road through Fiordland National Park to join your Signature Experience cruise. Marvel at the spectacle of Milford Sound on a cruise of its full length. Cruise beneath tall cliffs on the flanks of Mitre Peak, get close to tumbling waterfalls, and view seals, penguins and a variety of seabirds. Later, return to the lovely lakeside town of Te Anau, where you savour a special Taste of Fiordland dinner featuring local specialties.
Take the short drive from Te Anau to lakeside Manapouri, where you join your Signature Experience cruise. Remote and mysterious Doubtful Sound is one of Fiordland’s most magical places. Step aboard your ship here for an unforgettable overnight cruise to discover rugged peaks, hidden islets and pristine rainforests.
Disembark your overnight cruise and head for Invercargill. On arrival in the early afternoon, choose to explore the township, or take in the included visit to Bill Richardson Transport World. Alternatively, you may decide to relax at the hotel. Visit Bill Richardson Transport World in Invercargill, which houses an amazing collection of classic cars and trucks, from Model-T Fords to VW Kombis and a spectacular 1940 Dodge Airflow Texaco tanker. There are more than 300 vehicles on show, the largest private collection of its type in the world.
Drive by coach from Invercargill to the coastal town of Bluff for your Stewart Island Signature Experience. Travel by ferry from Bluff to Stewart Island. Head off on the Stewart Island Village and Bays Tour and gain an entertaining insight into New Zealand’s southernmost community, learning about its history and environment. The tour lasts for 90 minutes, after which there is another hour and a half of free time to explore.After your exploration, return by ferry to Bluff in the late afternoon and take a coach transfer back to Invercargill for dinner.
Travel from Invercargill to Balclutha, then veer briefly southwest onto the Southern Scenic route towards the Carlins Coast. View the historic Nugget Point Lighthouse; Nugget Point was so named by Captain Cook owing to its gold-nugget-reminiscent oceanic rock formation. Then travel north to the Otago Peninsula to visit an albatross colony and enjoy spectacular views of the land and seascapes. You arrive in Dunedin in time for an afternoon tour of the local sights.
Head north through stunning countryside to Aoraki Mount Cook National Park, the centrepiece of which is New Zealand’s highest mountain peak. Tonight, enjoy a buffet dinner in your hotel’s Alpine Restaurant.
Today you head back to Christchurch, stopping en route to view the much-photographed Church of the Good Shepherd in Tekapo. Enjoy a city sights tour on arrival in Christchurch.
Enjoy a rail journey along the rugged east coast to Picton. Join the Coastal Pacific train at Christchurch Station, and ride all the way to beautiful Picton in the Marlborough Sounds region. Take the afternoon ferry across Cook Strait to Wellington, enjoying stunning views of the Marlborough and Queen Charlotte Sound as you begin your journey.
After a short city tour, head to the Fell Locomotive Museum for your Signature Experience. The Fell Locomotive Museum houses H199, the only locomotive of its kind remaining in the world. It was built to withstand the steep gradients on the famous Rimutaka Incline, and used an ingenious method of four grip wheels on a raised central track. Once complete, travel onwards towards the pretty lakeside town of Taupo. En route, visit the spectacular Huka Falls.
This morning board your 53ft Luxury Catamaran named 'Tiua' which translates in Maori to 'Move with the Wind'. Cruise out to Ngatoroirangi Mine Bay Maori Rock Carvings on Lake Taupo which has been hailed as one of New Zealand’s most extraordinary contemporary Maori artworks. Towering 14-metres above the deep water of Lake Taupo, artist Matahi Brightwell's carvings have become one of the North Island’s biggest attractions. Once completing your Signature Experience on Lake Taupo, you then travel onwards to the geothermal wonderland of Rotorua. Upon arrival visit Redwoods Treewalk where you will be immersed in 120 year old giant Redwood trees with a unique birds eye perspective of the forest floor and treetops above. This evening experience true Maori culture at your Signature Experience Te Pa Tu. Tonight, enjoy an indulgent traditional Maori feast and performance of Haka, song and storytelling at Te Pa Tu (Maori Village). Over a magical evening, you will be welcomed with a Haka powhiri (cultural welcome) and then treated to further captivating performances while enjoying seasonal canapes, chef selected aperitifs and a seasonal three-course dinner.
Today is a leisure day. Perhaps experience one of New Zealand’s best-loved attractions, the Agrodome, with its entertaining sheep shearing demonstration, dog trials and animal nursery; followed by a visit to the Te Puia Thermal Reserve.; Alternatively, choose to visit Wai-O-Tapu, or experience Middle-earth during a tour of the Hobbiton Movie Set. The afternoon is free for you to explore at your leisure.
Enjoy a ride on the heritage Glenbrook Steam train before heading to Auckland, New Zealand’s largest city.
This morning select your activity from our Freedom of Choice offerings. These include: a Ted Ashby Auckland Harbour Cruise, an All Blacks Experience, Unleashed – A Weta Workshop Experience, Te Wao Nui – The Living Realm at Auckland Zoo, and a Bush and Beach Wilderness Adventure. Enjoy the afternoon at leisure. Tonight, we gather at our hotel for a farewell dinner.
Today your tour ends. A transfer will take you to Auckland Airport. If you want to complete all of New Zealand's Great Train Journeys, considering taking the Northern Explorer to Wellington. Talk to your LOCO Journeys consultant at the time of booking.

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