The Springtime South Island Rail Tour provides a stunning panorama of magnificent southern mountain scenery, meandering rivers and coastal plains. Experience the scenic south in style travelling by train and luxury coach.
Our south island rail tour takes us by train from Auckland to Wellington then also from Picton, along the Kaikoura coastline to Christchurch. We take the time to explore the City of Christchurch and the Akaroa Peninsula before we travel on the TranzAlpine Train from Christchurch to Greymouth. The West Coast, Queenstown, Te Anau, Milford Sound, Stewart Island are all included before a special day in The Catlins.
Our south island rail tour is planned at a leisurely pace with frequent two night stops and our tour escort ensures your 14-day south island rail tour is relaxing, fun and hassle free.
South Island Rail Tour Highlights
Northern Explorer Train
Coastal Pacific Train
Trans Alpine Train
Wellington City Tour
A wonderful day to Akaroa and Banks Peninsula
Southern Alps and the rugged West Coast
West Coast Glacier experiences
Time in Queenstown and the panormaic views of Lake Wakitipu
Lake Te Anau
Bill Richardson’s Transport World, Invercargill
Lunchtime scenic cruise of Milford Sound
Stewart Island day tour experience
Enjoy the Catlins
TSS Earnslaw Cruise and gourmet BBQ dinner
Airfare from Dunedin to Auckland (and other home destinations)
South Island Rail Tour Accommodation
Accommodation has been carefully selected on location, a high standard of comfort and friendly, helpful service. Rooms have single, twin or double beds, en-suite bathroom, television, radio, telephone and generally have tea and coffee making facilities.
South Island Rail Tour Optional Extras
Franz Josef and Fox Glacier Helicopter Flight
Imagine flying the entire length of the Fox Glacier and there is time for a glacier snow landing before descending the Glacier Valley, with the mountains behind.
Queenstown Helicopter Flight
Look down on spectacular scenery as you cross Lake Wakatipu with a special landing during the flight. Continue over Ben Lomond and the famous historic Skippers Canyon. See the renowned steep canyon walls of the Shotover River and fly past Coronet Peak and the Wakatipu Basin.
Te Anau Glow Worm Caves Described by the Sydney Morning Herald as “one of the most unusual limestone cave experiences on the planet’, the Te Anau Glow Worm Caves is a must-do for anyone visiting Fiordland.
Ulva Island Explorer
With lunch included this cruise will showcase some of Paterson Inlet’s stunning scenery with its hidden coves and un-spoilt beaches. While on board, keep a look out for fur seals and penguins. Paterson inlet is home to renowned wildlife sanctuary Ulva Island and we’ll stop there for a 45 minute guided walk. (Group numbers are limited).
Stewart Island Village and Bays Tour Gain an entertaining insight into New Zealand’s southernmost community, and learn about the history and environment of Stewart Island. You will have plenty of time to get off the bus for photo stops and short walks. Highlights include a visit to the gateway of Rakiura National Park, beautiful Horseshoe Bay and Observation Rock.
These optional tours attract a separate charge and can be included at time of final payment.
For a detailed itinerary, departure details, and booking conditions, please see below.
Board your carriage on the Northern Explorer train for the daylight journey from Auckland to Wellington. Among today’s highlights is the circular climb up the famous engineering feat – the Raurimu Spiral and enjoy spectacular views of Mt Ruapehu. Continue alongside the Rangitikei River to Palmerston North, before the scenic Kapiti Coast and the run into the capital for an overnight stay. Welcome dinner tonight.
Day 2 | Wellington - Picton (B,D)
Enjoy a morning city tour of our Capital City, before free time this afternoon to explore the Wellington waterfront. Dinner in the hotel tonight.
Day 3 | Wellington - Christchurch (B)
This morning we sail on the interislander ferry, via the spectacular Marlborough Sounds to Picton. We then continue our journey onboard the Coastal Pacific Train travelling along the picturesque Kaikoura Coast to Christchurch. We pass through Kaikoura famous for its whale watching and head inland through the rolling hill country of North Canterbury.
Day 4 | Akaroa Day Trip (B,D)
Depart by coach for a day on Banks Peninsula. The drive through natural beauty has spectacular views overlooking bays and beaches before arriving in Akaroa. Time to enjoy the history, shops, the Giants Garden, harbour and French character. Lunch at own expense before returning to Christchurch.
Day 5 | Christchurch - Franz Josef (B,L,D)
This morning board the Tranz Alpine train to journey across the spectacular Southern Alps to the rugged West Coast. We climb the mountain range with scenic stops along the way including Arthurs Pass. We continue through the renowned rain forests and wetlands to arrive in Greymouth. Transfer to our coaches and enjoy a scenic drive to Franz Josef for our two night stay.
Day 6 | Franz Josef (B,D)
A sightseeing day to this unique part of New Zealand. The opportunity to explore both Franz Josef Glacier and Fox or simply a day to relax. If you prefer an optional helicopter ride to Franz Josef Glacier is available. Return to Franz Josef for dinner and a relaxing evening.
Day 7 | Franz Josef - Queenstown (B,D)
Today our journey continues south past Fox Glacier winding through lush forests and eventually back to the coast line to the last village before catapulting you into the mountains and over one of the most spectacular mountain passes, the Haast Pass. The road then continues alongside the two mountain fed lakes of Wanaka and Hawea before entering the wine country at Cromwell and on into the Kawarau Gorge arriving into Queenstown late afternoon for a two night stay.
Day 8 | Queenstown (B,D)
Today is at leisure to enjoy ‘The Jewel of the South’. Maybe take the gondola to admire the panoramic views of Lake Wakatipu or for the more adventurous a helicopter ride above Lake Wakatipu. The choices are extensive. This evening we enjoy a cruise aboard the TSS Earnslaw before a special goumet BBQ dinner at Walter Peak Station.
Day 9 | Queenstown to Te Anau (B,D)
After breakfast we follow the Lake Wakatipu shoreline through farmland to the beautiful Lake Te Anau for a two night stay. An afternoon optional tour is available to the Te Anau Glow Worm Caves.
Day 10 | Milford Sound Day Trip (B,L,D)
Drive through mountain beech forests framed by spectacular snow-capped mountains and the Homer Tunnel before emerging at Milford Sound for your lunch time cruise on the stunning fiord.
Day 11 | Te Anau to Invercargill (B,D)
After breakfast we drive along the scenic southern route and rich Southland countryside to Invercargill. After lunch the afternoon is free. Why not discover the world class vintage truck collection at Bill Richardson Transport World, or learn about the legend of speed - Burt Munro at E Hayes Motorworks. Or simply take a stroll through the botanical gardens.
Day 12 | Stewert Island Day Trip (B,D)
This morning we travel to Bluff and cross Foveaux Strait by large modern catamaran to Stewart Island. Once on the island you can enjoy an optional leisurely cruise of beautiful Paterson Inlet and Ulva Island or explore the small township of Oban by foot. Return mid-afternoon to our Invercargill hotel. Dinner is included tonight. Stewart Island’s densely forested hills, tiny population and untouched coastline of rocky outcrops and creamy golden sand beaches make it a natural refuge for marine and bird life and a wonderful destination for people who value nature and wild places.
Day 13 | Invercargill - Catlins - Dunedin (B,L,D)
After breakfast we drive through the Catlins. Highlights include podocarp forests, rugged coastlines, hidden lakes and stunning waterfalls. The natural landscapes are enthralling. We continue north to Dunedin to our inner city hotel and our farewell dinner
Day 14 | Dunedin to Auckland (B)
Leisurely morning in Dunedin before flying home. Tour Ends
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