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FROM $5,629

New Zealand Grand Rail Explorer from Queenstown Including Air from Vancouver

Explore New Zealand on the Grand Rail Explorer, a unique holiday with self-driving, train trips, and guided tours. See giant glaciers, waterfalls and Queenstown's blowholes. Traverse the South Island on TranzAlpine and Coastal Pacific. Discover the heart of the North Island with Northern Explorer before heading to Northland. Enjoy a 3-night stay in the Bay of Islands before returning to Auckland.

New Zealand Grand Rail Explorer from Queenstown Including Air from Vancouver

- SUBJECT TO AVAILABILITY
Various departure dates - see details below
Solo pricing on request
- Airfare also available from Toronto or Montreal – ask for pricing
DEPARTURE DATE: September 14, 2024
Countries Visited: New Zealand

OVERVIEW

This once-in-a-lifetime rail holiday will combine three iconic train journeys with five days of driving the untamed West Coast from Queenstown, home to giant glaciers, waterfalls and blowholes. Traverse the South Island’s breathtaking landscapes aboard the TranzAlpine, one of the world’s great train journeys from Greymouth to Christchurch. Journey along the spectacular coastline from Christchurch to Picton aboard the Coastal Pacific before cruising the Cook Strait to New Zealand’s capital city of Wellington. Explore the rural heart of the North Island as you step aboard the historic Northern Explorer to Auckland before collecting another car and heading to Northland. After a 3-night stay in the Bay of Islands, you head back to Auckland which concludes your iconic New Zealand rail holiday.

Travel Dates & Pricing

TRAVEL DATEPRICETYPE
September 14, 2024from $5,629 CADPer Person
September 28, 2024from $6,179 CADPer Person
October 5, 2024from $6,079 CADPer Person
October 12, 2024from $6,079 CADPer Person
October 19, 2024from $6,079 CADPer Person
November 2, 2024from $6,219 CADPer Person
November 9, 2024from $6,219 CADPer Person
November 16, 2024from $6,219 CADPer Person
November 23, 2024from $6,219 CADPer Person
November 30, 2024from $6,219 CADPer Person
December 7, 2024from $6,149 CADPer Person

What's Included

  • Return flights from Vancouver, and domestic flight with Air New Zealand (also available from Toronto or Montreal – ask for pricing)
  • Accommodation for 14 nights (2 night Queenstown, 2 night Franz Josef, 2 night Churchill, 3 night Wellington, 1 night Auckland, 3 night Pahia, 1 night Auckland )
  • 5-day car hire from Queenstown Airport to Greymouth Station including insurance
  • Private transfers between train stations, hotels and ferry terminals
  • Milford Sound Cruise with a packed lunch and transfers from Queenstown
  • TranzAlpine Rail Journey from Greymouth to Christchurch
  • Coastal Pacific Rail Journey from Christchurch to Picton
  • Interislander Ferry Journey from Picton to Wellington
  • Northern Explorer Rail Journey from Wellington to Auckland
  • 4-day car hire from Auckland City and return including insurance
  • Hole in the Rock Cruise ex Paihia
  • Taxes

Itinerary

DAYDATEPLACE
1Sat Sep 14QUEENSTOWN
2Sun Sep 15QUEENSTOWN
3Mon Sep 16QUEENSTOWN – FRANZ JOSEF GLACIER
4Tue Sep 17FRANZ JOSEF GLACIER
5Wed Sep 18FRANZ JOSEF GLACIER – CHRISTCHURCH VIA THE TRANZALPINE
6Thu Sep 19FRANZ JOSEF GLACIER – CHRISTCHURCH VIA THE TRANZALPINE
7Fri Sep 20CHRISTCHURCH
8Sat Sep 21CHRISTCHURCH – WELLINGTON
9Sun Sep 22WELLINGTON
10Mon Sep 23WELLINGTON – AUCKLAND
11Tue Sep 24AUCKLAND – PAIHIA
12Wed Sep 25PAIHIA
13Thu Sep 26PAIHIA
14Fri Sep 27PAIHIA – AUCKLAND
15Sat Sep 28AUCKLAND

DAY 1 – QUEENSTOWN

Arrive into Queenstown, collect your luggage and pick up your rental car. Make your way to your accommodation for the first nights of your South Island holiday.
Accommodation : Queenstown for 2 nights

DAY 2 – QUEENSTOWN

Today, join your guided coach tour to Milford Sound. You wind your way south around the edge of Lake Wakatipu towards Te Anau and Fiordland National Park. The first stop will be a morning tea break at Te Anau before travelling onto Milford. There are various photo stops on your way into the Sound. Mitre Peak will greet on arrival into Milford Sound and your tour connects with a boutique small boat cruise. Enjoy your packed lunch box on-board while cruising past sheer cliff faces and cascading waterfalls. You journey back to Queenstown in the comfort of your guided coach arriving back about 7.30pm.
Meals : Lunch

DAY 3 – QUEENSTOWN – FRANZ JOSEF GLACIER

After breakfast, check out of your accommodation. Heading out of town, make a stop in Arrowtown, a quaint historic village with crafts and boutique shops before leaving the Southern Lakes region. Travel north over the Crown Range, through Wanaka and up to Glacier Country. Enjoy the diverse landscapes of the rugged west coast where beaches meet rainforests.
Accommodation : Franz Josef for 2 nights

DAY 4 – FRANZ JOSEF GLACIER

The day is yours to explore. From hiking to scenic helicopter flights there are many options on offer to experience the beauty of the Glaciers. A visit to the West Coast Life Centre is highly recommended. This is an indoor, all-weather attraction that offers an insight of bringing nature, conservation and wildlife together.

DAY 5 – FRANZ JOSEF GLACIER – CHRISTCHURCH VIA THE TRANZALPINE

This morning you depart Franz Josef for Greymouth. As you move north along the coastline, Hokitika is worth a morning tea stop. A short drive north is Greymouth, here you will drop off your car before boarding the TranzAlpine train to Christchurch. This scenic journey takes you through Arthurs Pass and the Canterbury Plains before arriving at Christchurch.
Accommodation : Christchurch for 2 nights

DAY 6 – CHRISTCHURCH

Enjoy a day in the garden city. Take a stroll along the Avon River, head out to the Port Hills and up the Gondola, take a tram around the city and discover the rebuild and rejuvenation of Christchurch.

DAY 7 – CHRISTCHURCH – WELLINGTON

An early start today as you catch the Coastal Pacific train from Christchurch to Picton. This rail journey hugs the coastline offerings views of the Waipara wine region, the seaside town of Kaikoura and into iconic Marlborough wineries. Picton is where you will board the Interislander ferry for the 3-hour sailing across the Cook Strait to the North Island and capital city of Wellington.
Accommodation : Wellington for 3 nights

DAYS 8 – 9 – WELLINGTON

The next two days are at leisure in Wellington. Some highlights not to be missed are the National Museum Te Papa, Weta Workshop tour and Zealandia Eco Sanctuary. Courtney Place and Cuba Street are home to a great array of restaurants, cafes, and bars.

DAY 10 – WELLINGTON – AUCKLAND

Leaving Wellington, you board the Northern Explorer train and travel almost the length of the North Island to Auckland. Experience the extremes of New Zealand’s scenery, from the sparkling Kapiti coast to the volcanic peaks of the Central Plateau and the fertile farmlands of the Waikato.
Accommodation : Aukland for 1 night

DAY 11 – AUCKLAND – PAIHIA

Depart Auckland and head north. Located an hour north of Auckland and just outside Matakana is Sculptureum, a world-class tourist attraction that you may like to include on your travels. With six art galleries, three sculpture-filled gardens, a vineyard, Rothko Restaurant and Sculptureum Kitchen at 8 Wired Barrelworks, there’s something for everyone. As you continue north, check into your accommodation in Pahia for the next few nights.
Accommodation : Pahia for 3 nights

DAY 12 – PAIHIA

This morning you board your cruise in Paihia and take in the stunning views as you glide out through the islands and along the Rakaumangamanga Peninsula to Cape Brett, where a historic lighthouse keeps watch over Piercy Island/Motukōkako, or as it is popularly known the ‘Hole in the Rock’.
According to Māori legend, local warriors used to paddle through the Hole in the Rock in their canoes before departing for battle. Drops of water from the cave roof above were considered a good omen. If conditions permit, your skipper will expertly guide the ship through the narrow space… and if you get dripped on, consider yourself lucky!
Keep an eye out for dolphins, whales and other marine life during your cruise, and have your camera ready as we get you up close to the action.

DAY 13 – PAIHIA

This morning is free to relax. You may want to explore the Paihia village or take a drive to Kerikeri, only 30 minutes away. The Stone Store in the Kerikeri basin is well worth the visit for the historic significance. There are different fruit orchards and a chocolate factory on the way into Kerikeri that might be of interest to the foodies.

DAY 14 – PAIHIA – AUCKLAND

Depart Paihia and head back to Auckland. Before reconnecting with Highway 1 you may want to visit the Kauri Museum at Matakohe. Once back in Auckland check into your accommodation for the last night of your holiday. There are many restaurants to explore in the Viaduct area.
Accommodation : Auckland for 1 night

DAY 15 – AUCKLAND

Your journey of New Zealand comes to an end today. Check out of your accommodation, meet your driver who will take you to the airport to board your flight to Vancouver. Arrive on the same day as you cross the International dateline back.

Sounds Like Your Kind of Trip?
Contact Us For More Information!

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