Twin Rail Journeys of New Zealand

Duration: 13 Days

Price: from NZ$3,299

Departure From: Queenstown

Departure Date: Weekly from November 2023

Tour Type: Independent Tour

Physical Grading: 2/5


Enjoy the premier twin rail journeys of New Zealand on each island on this succinct, independent 13 day countrywide tour.

Featuring the fabulously epic Northern Explorer on the North Island between Wellington and Auckland and the famous TranzAlpine traversing the Southern Alps to Christchurch, the Twin Rail Journeys of New Zealand tour frames these premier rail experiences as the highlight of your New Zealand tour. With time spent in Queenstown, New Zealand’s tourism jewell, an enjoyable meander up the wildly brilliant West Coast, and dedicated time offered in New Zealand’s major cities of Christchurch, Wellington and Auckland, the Twin Rail Journeys of New Zealand is a kiwi highlights package you won’t forget.

Travel with the experts for a carefully curated, value-packed discovery of New Zealand’s most iconic destinations. This tour bursts with must-see sights, rich experiences and quality inclusions, all at an unbeatable price. Bucket list dreams are ticked off on this all-encompassing journeys.

Twin Rail Journeys of New Zealand Map

Twin Rail Journeys of New Zealand Highlights

  • Enjoy incredible sightseeing, travelling on the world’s most scenic rail journey, drive at your own pace through spectacular mountain and coastal scenery of New Zealand’s South Island,
  • Explore Queenstown
  • Travel on board the famous TranzAlpine
  • Cruise between Wellington and Picton on the Interislander scenic ferry
  • Take a day riding the epic Northern Explorer
  • Enjoy the flexibility of independent travel
Pancake Rocks Punakaiki
View the popular Punakaiki Pancake Rocks

Twin Rail Journeys of New Zealand – Your Scenic Train Trips

New Zealand’s scenic trains are travel experiences that are guaranteed to move you. The TranzAlpine, and Northern Explorer will offer a picture-perfect journey through the heart of New Zealand.

From sleeping volcanoes to cascading waterfalls, sparkling cities to quaint rural farmsteads, golden beaches to snow-capped mountains, the best of New Zealand’s famous scenery to your window while you sit back and relax.

Inspirational Alps
TranzAlpine Train Scenery, The Southern Alps

Your world-class rail journeys in Scenic Class carriage combine comfort and stunning views, making the train the perfect way to explore New Zealand. 

At the heart of the Scenic Class experience are spacious reclined seats, panoramic windows, glass shelves and skylights. These details bathe our carriages in light and bring New Zealand’s famous landscapes to your seat. 

Your Scenic Class carriages deliver extremely wide viewing angles by spacing the seating out. This spaciousness also creates generous amounts of legroom and comfort. The modern train carriages are complemented by an outdoor viewing carriage to grab a photo of the must-remember moments and a fully stocked cafe carriage caters for your every refreshment need.

Sit back, relax and enjoy your twin rail journeys of New Zealand through the heart of NZ.

Northern Rail Highlights LOCO Journeys
Enjoy the outdoor experience as you traverse some of New Zealand’s incredible scenery by rail.

Twin Rail Journeys of New Zealand – Optional Excursion

Each option is highly recommended to make the most of your 13 Day Twin Rail Journeys of New Zealand. Ask for more details at the time of booking.

Milford Sound Day Tour (Day 2 or 3) – Travel by luxury coach on an unforgettable journey from Queenstown into Milford Sound. Located within the World Heritage Fiordland National Park, this region is rich with dense rainforest, lakes and waterfalls cascading from rugged mountain peaks. Travel through the Southern Alps via the Homer Tunnel, a 1.2km tunnel drilled through a solid mountain of rock. Upon arrival at Milford Sound, board your Gem of The South vessel for a spectacular cruise in New Zealand’s most famous waterway. Return by coach to Queenstown. Picnic Lunch is included during your cruise today.

South Island LOCO Journeys
Milford Sound

Half Day Bike The Wineries Tour (Day 2 or 3) – This half day self-guided tour begins with an afternoon pick up from central Queenstown and a scenic transfer to the Kawarau Suspension Bridge, the home of bungy and the beginning of the Gibbston Wine Region. After bike fitting, helpful winery and trail information from your knowledgeable driver, you’re free to set off riding the Gibbston River Trail at your leisure using our informative trail map with exclusive offers to visit as many of the amazing wineries, a cheesery and brewery linked throughout this section of easy riding trail. You will be picked up from the Gibbston Tavern (or another pre-arranged point in the valley) for your relaxing vehicle transfer back to Queenstown. Total biking distance is 5-12 kms depending on how many wineries you wish to visit.

Wine & Food Sampler (Day 2 or 3) – This half day wine and food experience delivers an unforgettable taste of Central Otago’s wine region, showcasing its superb local produce. Your winery lunch consists of several tasting dishes each perfectly matched by the Chief Winemaker and Head Chef, using estate wines and fresh local produce. Enjoy wine tasting and presentations at 3 wineries, generally visiting one larger well-known winery and two boutique style wineries. An underground wine cave tour & tastings gives you inside information about our great wines and the Central Otago wine industry.

Fox Glacier & Mount Cook Helicopter Ride from Fox Glacier (Day 4) – Fly over the legendary Fox Glacier and snowfields and discover the crevasses and ice forms being exposed below you. Land in the snow above the icefalls of the glacier and experience the magnitude of the scenery surrounding you. Then let the impressive presence of Aoraki/Mount Cook amaze you as you explore its majestic west face, before descending into the valleys below.


Twin Glacier Helicopter Ride from Franz Josef (Day 5) – Fly over two of New Zealand’s most famous glaciers and land at the head of either the Franz Josef or Fox Glacier. View the incredible natural phenomenon of the glacier as it winds slowly down the carved valleys from its origin in the mountains high above you.

Discover Christchurch Morning Tour (Day 7) – Experience the grand architecture, beautiful gardens and scenic view points on a half-day city tour of Christchurch. The tour commences in the central city of Christchurch and covers the area which was completely devastated by the Christchurch earthquakes in February 2011. The guide will explain both the history of the city and the effects of the earthquake, you will see for yourself both the destructive powers of nature and the rebuild taking place. On leaving the inner city, the tour travels to Mona Vale a historic homestead and gardens. We then travel to the Sign of the Takahe, an historic building with a lookout providing spectacular views over the city, Canterbury Plains and to the Southern Alps. The tour then travels via the Port Hills and Lyttleton Harbour by way of the Sign of the Kiwi and Governors Bay to the Port of Lyttleton. The tour proceeds through the Lyttleton harbour tunnel to the seaside suburb of Sumner and cave rock before returning to the central city where the tour will conclude. This sightseeing tour of Christchurch offers complimentary pick ups and drop off anywhere within Christchurch City

Akaroa Day Tour Including Harbour Cruise and Lunch (Day 7) Visit the beautiful unspoilt old French whaling depot of Akaroa. Stop at the Hill Top to experience panoramic views of Akaroa Harbour and visit the Cheese Factory at Barry’s Bay to sample some fine New Zealand cheeses. In the afternoon enjoy a 2 hour harbour cruise on the Canterbury Cat, sightseeing dolphins, penguins and seals.


Tram Restaurant Four Course Dinner (Day 7) – Experience the luxury of our 36 seater air-conditioned, colonial style dining tram and be treated to the finest service, cuisine and beverages New Zealand has to offer. Incorporate fabulous dining with a sightseeing tour showcasing Christchurch’s inner city vibrancy and heritage – truly a mix of the old and the new. The Christchurch Tramway Restaurant dinner tour is a unique activity not to be missed.

Lord of the Rings Full Day Tour (Day 9) – Starting on Mt Victoria with a visit to the lookout then onto locations used in the Trilogy like the Outer Shire, Hobbiton Woods & Dunharrow. Then out to the Hutt Valley to Kaitoke Regional park, the location of Rivendell. Along the way visiting Isengard, Fords of Isen, the River Anduin and past the quarry where Helms Deep & Minas Tirith were filmed. The Full day tour also includes an Orc sized picnic lunch or café lunch plus a visit to the famous Weta Cave and now including the Weta Workshop tour.

Auckland Wine Country with Lunch (Day 12) – The wineries of Kumeu, West Auckland date back to the 1930s when wine families of Croatian origin established winemaking in the area. These families are still living and working in the area today, making some of New Zealand’s most renowned wines. These vineyards contrast with the spectacular coastal scenery of the area. Your first tasting is at award-winning Soljans Vineyard. By skillfully marrying traditional with modern techniques, they produce stylish, richly flavoured wines. Enjoy lunch at Soljans Winery restaurant which has been built with sunshine in mind and serves Mediterranean-style food with a New Zealand twist, showcasing fresh seasonal produce from around the region. Next to tempt the taste buds is Coopers Creek, who offers an extensive range of wines for every unique taste and occasion. Your journey then takes you to one of the few mainland gannet nesting sites in the world situated on the cliff-tops overlooking the Tasman Sea. Here you get a close-up of gannet behaviour without disturbing their environment. The views extend for miles along the wild, black, iron sand beach of Muriwai. Your final tasting is at West Brook Winery. The West Brook cellar door looks across an idyllic duck pond and terraced picnic area to row after row of vines. The wines reflect true varietal character and their unique regional origins.

Enjoy the option for a West Auckland Wine Tour

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

Departure dates from Queenstown:

  • 5th, 12th, 19th & 26th November 2023
  • 3rd & 10th December 2023
  • 7th, 14th, 21st & 28th January 2024
  • 4th, 11th, 18th & 25th February 2024
  • 3rd, 10th, 17th March 2024

If these departure dates don’t suit your preferred travel itinerary, please let us know and we may be able to work around your ideal date. The 13 day Twin Rail Journeys of New Zealand tour is an Independent Tour and this means a certain level of flexibility can be delivered to make it work. As long as you are flexible, the itinerary can be too!

Click here for alternate New Zealand tours

Tour Inclusions

  • Sightseeing and tours as indicated in the itinerary.
  • 12 nights accommodation in 3-4 star hotels and motels
  • Travel on board the twin scenic trains – Northern Explorer and TranzAlpine,
  • Cruise between Wellington and Picton on the Interislander scenic ferry
  • Enjoy the flexibility of independent travel
  • 3 days Toyota Corolla car rental (automatic, unlimited kilometres)

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 | Arrive Queenstown
Welcome to Queenstown! On arrival, please make your way to the starting point hotel. After check-in, you can head out and explore town. Check in & arrival information. Queenstown airport is located approximately 9kms from town. A taxi or Uber to your hotel should cost approximately NZD 35-40. You can opt to increase your car rental to 6 days and collect your vehicle today at the airport. Please consider that traffic and parking in Queenstown can be troublesome - particularly in the warmer months. Car parking is available at the hotel at NZD 24 per day (payable directly to the hotel if required) Hotel check in is at 2pm. Should you arrive earlier than this, hotel staff will do all possible to check you in as soon as possible. If your room is not available before check-in time, you are welcome to leave your luggage in storage and explore the surrounding area.
Today is at your leisure to do as little or as much as you want. With literally hundreds of activities to choose from, Queenstown will sure have something to offer you. From helicopter rides, to hiking, fishing, winery visits, cycling...cycling through wineries and so on you will find it hard to settle for just one of them.
Today is free for you to explore Queenstown at your own pace. Please refer to the optional activities that are available for you to enjoy.
Today, collect your vehicle and start the driving portion of your holiday as you drive up the western coast of New Zealand. This trip tracks down the West Coast through the breathtaking Haast Pass and to Glacier country. Fox Glacier and Franz Josef allow you to see two glaciers in one day. The Fox and Franz Josef Glaciers are unique relics of the last ice age. Mighty rivers of solid white, tumbling down ice-hewn rock valleys, they are classically beautiful in the glacial sense. Nowhere else in the world have glaciers advanced so close to the sea at this latitude. This afternoon you may want to consider the below helicopter ride over Fox Glacier & Mount Cook. This activity starts from the town of Fox Glacier, which is approximately 37km (45'-1hr drive) from the town Franz Josef - your final destination tonight. These activities require a minimum of 3 travellers to run and are weather dependent. Your flight time may vary from 4pm this afternoon to 9am tomorrow morning. On arrival in Franz Josef make your way to your hotel for check in and enjoy the remainder of the day at leisure.
Today continue driving north to Punakaiki and explore the Pancake Rocks and blowholes Punakaiki is famous for. Approximate driving distance: 222kms, 4hrs
Start with an easy drive south until arriving in Greymouth. On arrival in Greymouth, drop your car before boarding the TransAlpine train to Christchurch. Car hire depots are located next to the train station. Considered one of the world's greatest train journeys, this journey you’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 train has panoramic windows, open-air view carriage, a fully licenced cafe plus commentary allowing you to connect the scenery all around you. On arrival in Christchurch, disembark your scenic train and make your way to your hotel. We recommend a short taxi service which can be found easily when exiting the station. Approximate driving distance: 50km, 1.5hrs
Enjoy a free day at leisure to explore Christchurch at your own pace.
A big day of stunning landscapes is ahead of you today. This morning, make your way to Christchurch intercity bus station and board your bus to Picton. A taxi ride from the hotel should cost approximately NZD 40. The bus ride to Picton takes approximately 4.5 hours Upon arrival at Picton, make your way to the central wharf which is only metres away from the train stop (your luggage will be checked in from Christchurch through to Wellington) and board the Interislander ferry to Wellington. Connecting the North Island and South Island together since 1962, the Interislander ferry service is New Zealand's original Cook Strait ferry. Sailing between Picton and Wellington several times a day, the Interislander journey is considered one of the most beautiful ferry journeys in the world and one of New Zealand's most iconic experiences.
Enjoy a free day at leisure to explore Wellington at your own pace
Today is free for you to continue to enjoy Wellington at leisure.
Today make your way to the station for your train journey to Auckland. Sit back and relax as you take in the stunning scenery along the way. On arrival in Auckland, please make your way to your centrally located hotel.
Today, enjoy Auckland at your own pace.
Today your Rail Journey of New Zealand tour comes to an end! At the appropriate time today make your way to the airport or continue your onward journey. Alternatively, contact us if you wish to extend your stay in Auckland as we can help you make arrangements for additional accommodation.

For more information about this tour, price queries and updates on specials, please Enquire Now.