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New Zealand Rail Tour with Maher

Duration: 12 Days

Price: $6,305 NZD

Departure From: Auckland

Departure Date: 12 November 2021

Tour Type: Escorted Tour

Meal Plan: B&B and selected meals

Physical Grading: 2


Join escorted tour specialists Maher as they take you on their New Zealand rail tour. From Auckland to Christchurch via Wellington, you will enjoy a 12 day journey on board some of NZ’s most famous rail experiences.

You begin your tour in Auckland where you climb aboard the Northern Explorer. Experience the extremes of New Zealand’s scenery, from the
fertile farmlands of Waikato to the volcanic peaks of the Central Plateau and the sparkling Kapiti coast. After two nights in the Capital City, your tour joins the Interislander ferry service across the Cook Strait to Picton. It is considered one of the most beautiful ferry journeys in the world!

After an overnight stop in Blenheim, it is time for our next rail journey – the Coastal Pacific train which takes you along rugged coastlines, across remote beaches, between mountains and sea, on a timeless journey of breathtaking beauty. You stay two nights in Christchurch before heading to Hanmer and then Hokitika for overnight stays prior to joining our final rail journey, the TranzAlpine. During our journey we’ll see epic vistas, travel the edges of the ice-fed Waimakariri River, traverse the Southern Alps, and see miles of native beech forest. The tour concludes with another night in Christchurch.

New Zealand Rail Tour Highlights

  • Rail travel in Scenic Class on Northern Explorer & TranzAlpine
  • Scenic Plus Class on Coastal Pacific
  • Interislander Ferry, including Premium Lounge Access
  • Two nights Chateau Tongariro including The Rail River Run tour with Forgotten World Adventures
  • Wellington City Tour, including Weta Workshop & Zealandia
  • Lunch at Wither Hills Winery
  • Omaka Air Museum, Blenheim
  • Christchurch Gondola & Willowbank Wildlife Reserve
  • Weka Pass Railway
  • Hokitika Treetops Walkway
New Zealand Railway Adventure

Coastal Pacific Scenic Plus Class Experience

Inside the refined Scenic Plus Class carriages, it’s more than just a journey. You’ll be treated to fresh food, captivating commentary, great hosting and spectacular views, all delivered to your seat while you ease back and enjoy the journey. There really is no better way to discover New Zealand. 

At the heart of the Scenic Plus experience is the refined Scenic Plus Class carriage, with huge panoramic windows, glass shelves and skylights, bathing you in those gorgeous coastal and mountain landscapes. 

Scenic Plus Class

With freshly prepared food inspired by the fields that glide past your window and regional wines to match, you’ll be immersed in the flavours of our land. As you admire the views and savour the flavours, your Scenic Plus hosts will recount the stories and histories of the passing landscapes and landmarks. 

When you step off the train, you will have experienced some of the best New Zealand has to offer. 

Contact us for a detailed New Zealand Rail Tour with Maher brochure which we are happy to email to you.

Click here for alternate New Zealand rail tours.

For a detailed itinerary, departure details, and booking conditions, please see below.

Tour Inclusions

  • First Class hotel accommodation for 11 nights
  • Northern Explorer, Coastal Pacific and TranzAlpine rail journeys
  • Interisland ferry
  • Sightseeing and entrance fees as indicated in the itinerary
  • Tips and gratuities to local guides, drivers, train staff etc.
  • Deluxe air-conditioned coach transportation
  • Baggage handling of one suitcase per person
  • Meals as indicated within the itinerary; 11 breakfasts (B), 3 lunches (L) and 7 dinners (D)
  • Services of a Maher Tours Leader

Pricing Notes

  • Advertised price based on per person, twin share
  • Pricing is for departure on 12 November 2021
  • Non-refundable deposit of $1,000 per person is due at time of booking
  • Full balance of tour payment due 45 days prior to departure
  • A single supplement is available for $1,850.00NZD,
  • Price is subject to change unless paid in full

Tour Itinerary

Day 1: Arrive Auckland
Meet the group today in Auckland. Tonight, we enjoy a welcome dinner together.
This morning, we join New Zealand’s longest running passenger service, the Northern Explorer. We head south via Papakura and Hamilton before reaching Otorohanga, our final stop before we reach Tongariro National Park. We disembark early afternoon and make our way to our hotel for the next two nights, The Chateau Tongariro.
Today, we spend the day with Forgotten World Adventures, doing the The Rail River Run. Travelling along the first section of the Forgotten World Railway, between Okahukura & Tokorima, including the line’s longest tunnel (Tunnel 24 - 1.5km long); combined with a Jet Boat journey along the scenic Whanganui River, between Cherry Grove (Taumarunui) & Ohinepane. Enjoy the best of both worlds, encountering 10 tunnels and 20 bridges, as you travel 40km by rail and 23km by Jet Boat on the Whanganui River, a mixture of nostalgia and adrenaline. Lunch and afternoon tea are included today.
The morning is at leisure for you to enjoy the surroundings before we re-join the Northern Explorer train mid-afternoon. Travelling via Ohakune, Palmerston North & Paraparaumu, we arrive in Wellington just before 7.00pm. We are collected by coach and transferred to our hotel for the next two nights. We enjoy dinner together at the hotel this evening.
To quote a well-known company, Wellington is the Coolest Little Capital in the World. Famous for its food and coffee in various cafes and restaurants there is so much more to the Capital than that. We will tour some of the best attractions including Te Papa, Weta Workshop and Zealandia. The remainder of the day is at leisure.
This morning, we check out of our hotel and join the Interislander ferry service across the Cook Strait to Picton. It is considered one of the most beautiful ferry journeys in the world and one of New Zealand’s most iconic experiences. On arrival in Picton, we join our coach and make our way to Blenheim where we enjoy lunch at the Wither Hills winery – they take their name from the landmark Wither Hills range that borders their vineyards. At the conclusion, we transfer to our overnight accommodation. The rest of the evening is at leisure.
After breakfast, we pay a visit to Omaka Air Museum, a world-class destination for the appreciation of historic aircraft. Not just for enthusiasts, the centre retells the story of aviation during two World Wars, the time in which the most intense period of aviation development took place. Here we have a chance to explore the Dangerous Skies WWII exhibition along with the famous Sir Peter Jacksons collection of WWI aircrafts & artefacts in his Knights of The Sky exhibition. There is time for lunch before we climb aboard the Coastal Pacific, one of the most picturesque rail journeys in New Zealand, meandering along the Pacific coast between Blenheim and Christchurch. We travel along rugged coastlines, across remote beaches, between mountains and sea, on a timeless journey of breathtaking beauty. We explore the stunning Kaikōura Coastline, famous for its marine life and whale watching. Voyage through the vineyards of Blenheim, dripping with New Zealand’s premium crop. Canter amidst the idyllic Canterbury countryside to the Garden City of Christchurch. We spend the journey in Scenic Class, which offers panoramic windows and an open-air viewing carriage. On arrival in Christchurch, we are met by our coach and transferred to our hotel, the Sudima Christchurch City, were we spend the next two nights.
Following breakfast this morning, we take a ride on the Christchurch Gondola to experience stunning 360° views of the city, Lyttelton Harbour and beyond from the summit station situated atop the Port Hills. At the conclusion of the Gondola ride, we take a short 20-minute drive east of Christchurch to Sumner Beach for lunch (own expense); an idyllic place to spend some time in the sun away from the centre of Christchurch. Returning to Christchurch, we visit the nearby Willowbank Wildlife Reserve, New Zealand’s most comprehensive NZ themed wildlife park. Using pioneering and innovative display techniques, with an emphasis on creating a natural environment and an up-close and personal interactive experience, Willowbank showcases one of New Zealand’s best displays of native species. Willowbank was the first to open a glass-free nocturnal house for kiwi in a natural environment, guaranteeing viewings every time.
Today we remember one of New Zealand’s most tragic events with a morning tour of the Christchurch City rebuild. It has been nine years since the earthquake occurred in Christchurch on Tuesday 22 February 2011 and since this time, over 40 billion dollars has been invested into development to rebuild the once-vibrant city. From here we drive to Glenmark, where we enjoy a leisurely train ride on The Weka Pass Railway through to Waikari. The Weka Pass Railway is a historic rural railway using both vintage steam and diesel-electric locomotives through the unique limestone beauty of the Weka Pass out of Waipara, where superior weather patterns provide crystal clear air and high sunshine hours. The railway runs across flat farmland and passes a large irrigation reservoir and vineyards, before climbing by 2%, winding through the Pass. One can only marvel at the achievements of the workers who in the 1880’s moved tons of clay and limestone by hand to form all the cuttings and large embankments. Most notable are Frog Rock and Seal Rock, in the middle of DAY TO DAY ITINERARY the Weka Pass. Seashells and fossils may be seen in the walls of many cuttings. We rejoin our coach in Waikari and continue through to Hanmer Springs for an overnight stay, a picturesque alpine town best known for its natural hot pools and dazzling landscapes. There is time this afternoon to relax at the famous Hanmer Springs Thermal Pools. Every drop of thermal water is heated by Mother Nature and infused with minerals – a process that takes 173 years. Ease your aching muscles in the natural rock and Sulphur pools, while savoring the stunning backdrop.
oday our trip will take us through the red and silver beech forest as we leave Hanmer Springs before travelling through the Lewis Pass and onto the rugged natural beauty of the West Coast. We stop en route to visit the Brunner Coal Mine Memorial Site to view the historic site of the 1896 disaster. When coal ruled, this was New Zealand’s most important centre of industry, and to this day the Brunner Mine explosion remains New Zealand’s worst workplace accident. The disaster caught the attention of the whole nation and eventually led to improved workplace safety legislation and practices. Here at the Brunner Mine Site, we can walk through the industrial ruins and see some of the last remaining beehive coke ovens. We arrive in Greymouth early afternoon and visit Monteith’s Brewery to enjoy a tasting of the local produce over a delicious lunch. This brewery has been family owned since 1868 and are still brewing with the same traditions they used back then. We rejoin our coach for the short stretch through to Hokitika, where we overnight.
This morning, we visit Hokitika Gorge, a glacial river turquoise in colour surrounded by dramatic rock formations. A short walk descending through the hardwood forest leads to a swing bridge which crosses the Hokitika River and provides a postcard-worthy photo opportunity. we visit the famous Treetop Walkway, a thrilling treetop adventure among temperate rainforest giants. Experience life with the birds, high in the ancient Rimu and Kamahi tree canopy. Enjoy a leisurely walk along a steel platform 20 metres high and over 450 metres long and feel the adrenalin rush as you climb to the top of Hokitika Tower 40 metres above the forest floor. Leaving Hokitika late morning, we travel back to Greymouth, where there is time for a lunch stop before we join the TranzAlpine train midafternoon for travel through to Christchurch. The TranzAlpine is one of the world’s great train journeys covering 223 kilometres one-way, taking just under 5 hours. Along this journey you’ll see epic vistas, travel the edges of the ice-fed Waimakariri River, traverse the mighty Southern Alps, and see miles of native beech forest. Arrival time in Christchurch is approx. 6.30pm. On arrival in Christchurch, we are met and transferred to our hotel. We enjoy our final dinner together this evening.
Sadly, all good things must come to an end and it is time to bid your fellow tour members farewell. Travellers will be transferred to the Christchurch Airport domestic terminal, to join their return flights home.

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