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New Zealand by Rail, Cruise and Coach

from £4840 excluding flights

  • 18 nights
  • Jan-May, Sep-Dec
Home Destinations Australasia New Zealand New Zealand by Rail, Cruise and Coach

Highlights

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Take an overnight cruise on Milford or Doubtful Sound

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Travel on the TranzAlpine and Pacific Coastal railways

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Enjoy a traditional Maori hangi and concert in Rotorua

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Explore the stunning Bay of Islands

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Cruise Lake Wakatipu on the vintage steamship TSS Earnslaw

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3 levels of touring style available

Why this trip...

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How you travel

This holiday features transport that is an integral part of the overall experience

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Expertly guided

In-depth knowledge and expertise will enrich your experience on this trip

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Like-minded travellers

Share your travel experiences with fellow travellers

Overview

The journey is as important as the destination on this escorted group tour, which features 3 unforgettable rail journeys and 4 scenic cruises, as well as a wealth of included activities and attractions.

Starting in Auckland, you’ll discover classic highlights across both islands, travelling in comfort on your preferred level of touring – this itinerary is available as a Signature or Ultimate tour. Whichever option you choose, you can be sure of a relaxing introduction to New Zealand, in the company of an experienced guide and with like-minded fellow travellers.

Travelling in style by coach, rail and boat, this itinerary follows a classic touring route that includes the glorious Bay of Islands, thermal Rotorua, Fiordland and the West Coast glaciers, as well as the cities of Auckland, Wellington, Christchurch and Dunedin.

The rail journeys are truly diverse – experience the romance of the bygone era on an operating steam railway, keep your eyes peeled for marine wildlife from the Pacific Coastal and witness the magnificent Southern Alps from the TranzAlpine, rated as one of the world’s great train journeys.

For a different perspective take to the water, cruising around the sub-tropical Bay of Islands, crossing the scenic Cook Strait separating North and South Islands, stepping back in time on a vintage steamship and spending a night in the heart of Fiordland with an overnight cruise on Milford or Doubtful Sound.

Itinerary

Upon arrival in Auckland you will be met and transferred to your hotel. The rest of the day is at leisure to explore the City of Sails, with its many museums and the attractive Viaduct Harbour.

Today enjoy an Auckland city sights tour before travelling to the Parry Kauri Park to see a magnificent example of a Kauri Tree. Continue through Whangarei to the Bay of Islands. This afternoon enjoy a guided tour of the Waitangi Treaty Grounds, the location of the signing of the treaty between the Maori tribes and the British.

Today is a free day. Choose from the many optional activities available, including the Cape Reinga coach trip via Ninety Mile Beach or a spectacular scenic flight. This evening is also free and you may like to enjoy a relaxing dinner cruise (optional).

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This morning travel aboard a luxury catamaran to Cape Brett and the famous Hole in the Rock. Keep an eye out for marine wildlife before returning to Paihia. Continue south via Whangarei and the Parry Kauri Museum to Auckland’s north shore, where you will see stunning views of Rangitoto Island, Auckland Harbour and the Hauraki Gulf.

This morning travel to Glenbrook Vintage Railway for a nostalgic 15km trip on a beautifully restored vintage steam train, including morning tea.

Signature Tour
Continue to Rototua, renowned for its geothermal activity and Māori culture.

Ultimate Tour
Travel through magnificent countryside of rolling hills to Rotoura where you will visit the National Kiwi Hatchery for a unique behind the scenes tour.

Begin with a Gondola ride to the Stratosfare Restaurant where a buffet breakfast and spectacular views are on offer. There is also time for a luge ride! Travel to the Agrodome where you see a shearing display and sheep dog trial. Enjoy some free time this afternoon before travelling out to see the boiling mud pools and awesome geysers that Rotorua is famous for. This evening experience an entertaining Maori Hangi and Concert.

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Travel along the Thermal Explorer Highway to spectacular Huka Falls then continue to Lake Taupo for some free time to enjoy this scenic lakeside town. In the afternoon travel via Tongariro National Park and the snow-capped peaks of Mt Ruapehu and Mt Tongariro. Continue south along the Kapiti Coast to Wellington.

A highlight this morning will be time to explore Te Papa, New Zealand’s fabulous National Museum, and the exhibits that embrace both Maori and European views. Reboard your coach for an extensive city tour. Enjoy some leisure time this afternoon. This evening is also free to dine out at one of the many fine local restaurants.

This morning take the Interislander Ferry across the Cook Strait and enjoy the magnificent views as you travel through the Marlborough Sounds to Picton. On arrival on the South Island board the Coastal Pacific, a truly spectacular rail journey that showcases the Kaikoura mountain ranges on one side and the rugged scenic coastline on the other. Enjoy a two-night stay in the garden city of Christchurch.

Marlborough Sounds
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This morning you will visit the International Antarctic Centre in Christchurch. This afternoon enjoy a city sightseeing tour or make use of your included tram pass.

This morning board the TranzAlpine, one of the great train journeys of the world. Travel over massive viaducts, river valleys and spectacular gorges as you ascend to Arthur’s Pass located in the centre of the Southern Alps. Board your coach and travel to Hokitika, famous for its Greenstone before arriving at Franz Josef where time is available to experience a scenic flight (optional, weather permitting) over the spectacular glaciers.

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Franz Josef Glacier
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See the snow capped peaks of the Southern Alps as you travel south via the Haast Pass, an area of stunning beauty before arriving into picturesque Queenstown, a year round resort situated on the shores of magical Lake Wakatipu. This evening is free and you may choose to dine at one of the many fine restaurants.

Today is a free day for you to explore Queenstown. Your Tour Guide and Coach Captain are available to assist with the many options available. This evening board the vintage steamship TSS Earnslaw and cruise across Lake Wakatipu to Walter Peak Station. Sit back and relax, as you are treated to a gourmet barbeque dinner prepared at the Colonel’s Homestead. After dinner enjoy a short farm tour then reboard the TSS Earnslaw for a sing along by the piano on your return cruise.

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Today you will travel via Te Anau to Fiordland for a memorable overnight cruise on Milford or Doubtful Sound.

Milford Sound – Signature Tour
Follow the Milford Road north from Te Anau to Milford Sound, where you will board the Milford Mariner for your unforgettable overnight cruise. There is plenty of time to view the fiord’s spectacular waterfalls, rainforest, mountains and wildlife – you are bound to encounter seals and if lucky perhaps dolphins and penguins too. As evening falls enjoy a freshly prepared buffet dinner.

Doubtful Sound – Ultimate Tour
Enjoy a picnic lunch as you cruise across the glacial Lake Manapouri from Te Anau to Wilmot Pass. A short ride over pass brings you to Doubtful Sound, where you will board the Fiordland Navigator for a magical overnight experience. As you cruise through the pristine beauty of Doubtful Sound, naturalist guides will provide commentary and point out the resident wildlife. When evening falls enjoy a delicious carvery buffet freshly prepared by the onboard chef.

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Start the day with a hearty breakfast before spending time exploring more of this stunning fiord. After disembarkation retrace your journey back to Te Anau for an overnight stay.

Today you will travel via Gore and Balclutha to Dunedin, famous for its stunning Edwardian and Victorian architecture dating back to the gold rush of the 1800’s. Dunedin is known as New Zealand’s oldest university city.

Travel along the Otago Peninsula to Larnach Castle for a guided tour and sumptuous Devonshire tea. This afternoon enjoy a city tour of Dunedin. Tonight a Scottish evening will be presented comprising of bagpipes, great food and a Haggis Ceremony.

This morning visit Olveston House, a prestigious historic home before travelling to Oamaru, famous for its limestone. This evening enjoy a farewell dinner with your new found friends.

Time to say goodbye today. You will be transferred to the airport for your flight home after a memorable New Zealand holiday.

Your Choice of Touring Styles

Signature | Ultimate

This holiday is available in 2 different levels of touring style, as detailed below. Whichever option you choose, one simple price is inclusive of all transfers and transportation, comprehensive sightseeing, and some meals, with the services of a professional Coach Captain throughout.

Signature Coach Tours

Sit back and relax on a spacious, specially designed 32-seater coach, accompanied by a Coach Captain and Tour Guide. These traditional-style tours include 4* accommodation.

Ultimate Small Group Tours

Aimed at the discerning traveller, the purpose-built Ultimate coach features just 20 luxury leather seats and offers a level of comfort unparalleled by any other vehicle touring in New Zealand. These small group holidays include 4.5* accommodation and the services of an experienced Coach Captain.

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The Ultimate Coach

The Ultimate Coach is in a class of its own. This full size coach (13.5 metres long) which would normally house 48 seats has been reconfigured with only 20 luxury leather seats, offering maximum space and comfort as well as a more intimate small group touring experience. Travel in business-class style as you enjoy the extensive onboard features:

  • 20 luxury leather fully reclining seats adjustable headrest & calf support
  • Panoramic viewing, air-conditioning and seat belts
  • Wood grain timber tray table with built in cup holder
  • Seat side personal storage area providing easy access to your travel bag
  • Personal audio control unit with multiple music channels & set of headphones
  • Individual USB point for charging your camera, mobile phone and iPod
  • Stylish centre galley area equipped with refrigerated drinking fountain and fridge
  • Complimentary daily on board Wi-Fi allowance
  • Onboard restroom
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Ultimate Tour Extras

As part of the Ultimate Small Group Tours experience you will receive a number of exclusive extras:

  • A deluxe Travel Set including Travel Bag & Ticket Wallet
  • Complimentary pre dinner drink at the welcome dinner
  • Cloth bag including boxed mints & complimentary bottle of water
  • An intimate farewell dinner including selected beverages

Accommodation Options

Accommodation for this itinerary is based on your choice of touring level:

Signature – 4 star hotels and an overnight cruise on board the Milford Mariner, Milford Sound

Ultimate – 4.5 star hotels and an overnight cruise on board the Fiordland Navigator, Doubtful Sound

  • distinction te anau hotel and villas exterior
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Prices and Departures

Price from £4840 excluding flights

Airfares start from around £825 per person and are quoted separately to the holiday price.
When enquiring, our Travel Specialists will provide the best fare possible from your preferred airline / airport.
Note: Airfares tend to be cheaper the earlier you book.

What's Included

  • Hotel accommodation for 17 nights (standard hotels for Signature Tours, Superior hotels for Ultimate tour)
  • All breakfasts, 14 dinners, 2 lunches, 2 morning teas
  • Transportation in specially configured coach
  • 3 rail journeys *
  • 4 cruises, including overnight on Milford Sound (Signature tour) or Doubtful Sound (Ultimate tour)
  • All attractions and activities as detailed in the itinerary (unless specified as optional)
  • Professional Coach Captain; plus Tour Leader on Signature Tour
  • 24 hour emergency assistance from our team during your holiday
  • No surcharge guarantee
  • Full financial protection

Signature Tour

From prices per person, based on 2 sharing a room with private bathroom

Departure Duration Twin price (pp)
21 Nov 2023 18 nights £4,990
30 Dec 2023 18 nights £4,990
18 Jan 2024 18 nights £4,990
18 Feb 2024 18 nights £4,990
30 Mar 2024 18 nights £4,990
24 Apr 2024 18 nights £4,840
12 Sep 2024 18 nights £5,450
01, 09 Oct 2024 18 nights £5,600
11, 26 Nov 2024 18 nights £5,600
11 Dec 2024 18 nights £5,650
04, 17, 24 Jan 2025 18 nights £5,600
18 Feb 2025 18 nights £5,600
30 Mar 2025 18 nights £5,600
06 Apr 2025 18 nights £5,600
21 Apr 2025 18 nights £5,450

Ultimate Tour

From prices per person, based on 2 sharing a room with private bathroom

Departure Duration Twin price (pp)
14, 20, 28 Nov 2023 18 nights £6,150
18 Dec 2023 18 nights £6,200
06, 11, 14, 26 Jan 2024 18 nights £6,150
10, 26 Feb 2024 18 nights £6,150
08, 15, 28 Mar 2024 18 nights £6,150
02, 15 Apr 2024 18 nights £6,150
03 May 2024 18 nights £6,000
05, 19, 21 Sep 2024 18 nights £6,775
05, 10, 28 Oct 2024 18 nights £6,925
14, 20 Nov 2024 18 nights £6,925
04 Dec 2024 18 nights £6,925
18 Dec 2024 18 nights £7,000
06, 11, 26 Jan 2025 18 nights £6,925
10, 17, 26 Feb 2025 18 nights £6,925
08, 16, 29 Mar 2025 18 nights £6,925
02, 15 Apr 2025 18 nights £6,925

* Due to timetable scheduling or nominated maintenance days as applied by the rail company, some departures may not include the advertised rail journey as part of the tour itinerary. These dates are subject to change and will be advised when possible at the time of booking.

Tailor made trips

As independent destination specialists, we are able to tailor make holidays to suit you, be that customising the itineraries shown on this website or creating something bespoke.

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Travelling sustainably

We believe travel is about finding the right balance between minimising our impact on the environment and broadening minds through new experiences and cultural interaction.