Explore the Spectacular South on this signature Wellington to Queenstown rail tour. Glide through the mighty Southern Alps and along the Pacific coastline in comfort and style as we bring you on this scenic adventure of a lifetime.
The journey is part of the destination on our tours, and our Scenic trains and ferries are the ultimate way to see New Zealand.
On our Signature Spectacular South Wellington to Queenstown rail tour, your journey begins aboard the Interislander Cook Strait ferry cruising through Wellington Harbour and the magnificent Marlborough Sounds.
From Picton, you’ll voyage through vineyards and along the Pacific Coast to Kaikoura and then Christchurch aboard the Coastal Pacific train.
Your final train journey is aboard the TranzAlpine train, traversing the Southern Alps on a breathtaking journey from the east to the West Coast.
Beyond the rail head at Greymouth, you will get to explore the scenic sites of the South Island including Queenstown and Milford Sound as you complete your Wellington to Queenstown rail tour.
Wellington to Queenstown Rail Tour Highlights
Sip world-class wine among the vines in Marlborough
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
Be captivated by the storytelling of your local Tour Director along this great journey
Explore the Milford Sound aboard a scenic cruise
Admire the sparkling Lake Wakatipu aboard the historic TSS Earnslaw steamship
Wellington to Queenstown Rail Tour Included Excursions
Each option on our is included allowing you to make the most of your Wellington to Queenstown rail tour.
Wellington Introduction Tour – Your tour host will provide an intimate local view of our quaint little capital on a Wellington tour.
Marlborough Wine Experience – Get a taste of New Zealand’s world-famous wine on a relaxing wine tour.
Whale Watch Kaikoura – Head offshore for a fantastic display of Humpback whales in a stunning natural environment.
Christchurch Tramway Restaurant – Enjoy a 4-course dinner aboard Christchurch’s historic Tramway Restaurant and travel in heritage style thought the city centre.
West Coast Tree Top Walkway – Get an elevated perspective of the wild West Coast on a treetop canopy
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 – Enjoy 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 your Wellington to Queenstown rail tour, please see below.
Departure Datesfrom Wellington:
19 September 2023
31 October 2023 – SOLD OUT
21 November 2023
16 January 2023
27 January 2024 – SOLD OUT
20 February 2024
12 March 2024
2 April 2024
6 April 2024 – SOLD OUT
23 April 2024
All departure dates on this Wellington to Queenstown rail tour are guaranteedto operate
Welcome to Wellington – New Zealand’s windy capital! Wellington is known for its world-class dining, great coffee and eccentric shops. After checking into your hotel and reading your welcome letter from your Tour Director, head out and explore all that Wellington has to offer. This is the perfect opportunity to get cultured at Te Papa Museum or grab a drink at one of the many quirky bars on Cuba Street. You may even fancy a ride on the cable car! After an exciting day on the town, your tour will officially begin as you join your fellow travellers and Tour Director at this evening’s welcome dinner.
Day 2 | Wellington - InterIsland Ferry - Picton (B)
This morning you will say poroporoaki ki te motu raki (good-bye to the North Island) as you sail to the South Island, crossing the Cook Strait on the Interislander Ferry. As the shores of the North Island slowly disappear, settle down in the comfy seats in the Premium Lounge. Treat yourself to a mimosa and enjoy a hearty seafaring breakfast, but save some room for morning tea! On your journey across Cook Strait you may spot pods of dolphins playing in the wake or, if you are very lucky, a whale. Don’t spend all your time inside – as you enter the stunning Queen Charlotte Sound, enjoy the views as you cruise past the remnants of whaling stations, remote working sheep farms, pristine native bush and mussel farms. Admire the beauty of this coastal paradise as you arrive into the gateway of the South Island, Picton. Step off the Interislander Ferry and join your next world-class experience aboard a Marlborough Wine Tour.
Day 3 | Picton - Coastal Pacific - Kaikoura (B,D)
Today will be a once-in-a-lifetime experience of whale, dolphin or albatross watching! Enjoy today’s thrill of an up-close encounter with wildlife. If you would prefer to gain an aerial experience of the wildlife, why not request a plane ride to capture the true grandeur of it all? After this outstanding experience, we're sure you will be feeling peckish. Head to the beach to sample some iconic New Zealand food - you can't go wrong with the humble Kiwiana fish and chips. Work off the deep-fried delights by wandering through the wonderful array of local artisan stores and souvenir shops. In the late afternoon, your highlight day will continue as you rejoin the Coastal Pacific Train en route to Christchurch. The spectacular scenery doesn’t cease to amaze as you journey south through the rolling hills and extensive plains. Enjoy the relaxing journey with a glass of wine in hand as you indulge in a gourmet meal from the onboard scenic café. Sit back and relax for the remainder of the evening before hitting the town the following day.
Day 4 | Kaikoura - Coastal Pacific - Christchurch (B)
Today will be a once-in-a-lifetime experience of whale watching! Enjoy today’s thrill of an up-close encounter with the world's largest-toothed predator, the Giant Sperm Whale. If you would prefer to gain an aerial experience of the wildlife, why not request a plane or helicopter ride to capture the true grandeur of it all? After this outstanding experience, we're sure you will be feeling peckish. Head to the beach to sample some iconic New Zealand food - you can't go wrong with the humble Kiwiana fish and chips. Work off the deep-fried delights by wandering through the wonderful array of local artisan stores and souvenir shops. In the late afternoon, your journey will continue, once again, on the Coastal Pacific Train en route to Christchurch, or “The Garden City”. The spectacular scenery doesn’t cease to amaze as you journey south through the rolling hills and flat plains. Enjoy the relaxing journey with a glass of wine in hand from the scenic café. Sit back and relax for the remainder of the evening before hitting the town the following day.
Day 5 | Christchurch (B,D)
Christchurch, the hub for South Island exploration, is also a wonderful city that blends modern architecture and technology with 19th-century Anglican 'gothic revival' architectural influence. Often remembered for its earthquake in 2011, the city is rebuilding itself into a multicultural haven. Today you are free to explore the museums, Riverside Markets, Punting on the Avon, Gondola and botanical gardens. There is also a multitude of delicious cafés tucked into quaint side streets we're sure you will love. This evening, you will re-join your fellow travellers for a special dinner on Christchurch’s historic dinner tram. Enjoy a wonderful circuit of the city while indulging in fantastic conversation and seasonal cuisine.
The moment has come to experience the world-famous TranzAlpine 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 on the West Coast, a private coach will take you even further off the beaten track to Punakaiki Pancake Rocks. Here you will explore curious limestone formations and blowholes before finishing your day in the ocean-front town of Hokitika.
Day 7 | Hokitika - Franz Josef Glacier (B,D)
This morning, you’ll 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 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 indulging in the local activities and retail therapy in Franz Josef’s souvenir shops, join your group for an impeccable highlight meal at Te Waonui Forest Retreat.
Day 8 | Franz Josef Glacier - Queenstown (B)
Today you will explore the Haast Pass. With changing landscapes around every bend, this journey of about five hours to Queenstown, will be one of the most scenic drives you may ever take. While aboard an exciting river boat and private coach, marvel at the beaches, crystal blue lakes and rivers, mountain peaks, lush vineyards, charming plains and majestic glaciers as your Tour Director guides you between local hidden gems. Stop in unique locations that only locals know about. Emerging on the other side of the pass, explore the local fruit hotspot – Mrs. Jones’ Fruit Stall before exploring the cobblestone streets 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 9 | Queenstown - Milford Sound - Queenstown (B,L)
Make sure you charge your camera before you set off on today’s adventure. Today you’re heading to Milford Sound/ Piopiotahi to be engulfed in towering peaks and waltz through plunging valleys. After travelling through native rainforests, meadows, and past beautiful reflective pools, you will join your cruise in Milford Sound. Enjoy one of the most stunning natural features New Zealand has to offer. Aboard the cruise, you will meander down the sound to experience the rumble of Bowen and Stirling Falls as they plummet from glacial hanging valleys. Marvel at the sheer pinnacle of Mitre Peak, rising from the deep waters of the fjord. Or, if you’d like to soar like the Piopio (ancient bird), why not elevate your day by booking a flight into the Sound by plane? After this adventure, you will be heading back to Queenstown for a relaxing evening.
Day 10 | 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, hopping on the gondola for inspiring views, or sipping wine in Gibbston Valley, there is no shortage of activities to delight your senses. Enjoy a ‘final hurrah’ this evening as we board the TSS Earnslaw Steamship Cruise, dinner, and show. Reflect on your great adventure with your fellow travellers as you cruise to your dining experience at Walter peak overlooking the beautiful Table Bay. Sit back and watch a true Kiwi experience as you learn about sheep shearing and dog herding in this beautiful setting. This evening will truly encapsulate your great journey as a truly New Zealand highlight. Not ready to call it a night? Sip cocktails and indulge in Queenstown’s exciting nightlife alongside the sparkling Lake Wakatipu.
Day 11 | Queenstown (B)
Your journey will end after enjoying a final breakfast with your fellow travellers.
For more information about this tour, price queries and updates on specials, please Enquire Now.