World’s Most Scenic Rail Journeys - New Zealand

Auckland at night
Christchurch Tram
View from the 'Coastal Scenic' Train - © Ramona Cazacu
Dunedin Railway Station
Milford Sound
Limestone caves and pool, Niue - © Molly Brown/shutterstock
Taieri Gorge Railway - © Steve Heap/shutterstock
TranzAlpine - © Ramona Cazacu
View from the 'TranzAlpine' Train - © Ramona Cazacu
Wellington Cable Car - © Ramona Cazacu

Holiday Highlights

  • Interislander Ferry
  • Coastal Pacific Train
  • Return trips on the TranzAlpine, Seasider and Taieri Gorge Railways
  • The unique Island of Niue
  • Time to explore Wellington, Christchurch, Dunedin, Te Anau and Auckland
  • 26 Days from £5,720 per person
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New Zealand is consistently deemed one of the most beautiful, dramatic and varied places in the world when it comes to landscapes and scenery, and it is best seen - wherever possible - by rail. This tailor made tour includes some stunning, scenic rail journeys and takes in some of New Zealand’s amazing natural wonders and even includes a stay on the unique island of Niue. This tour can be adapted to include other areas of New Zealand you may wish to visit.

Itinerary

Days 1-3 – London to Wellington

Take an overnight flight from London Heathrow to Wellington via Dubai and Sydney. Upon arrival you will be transferred to your hotel for the next 2 nights.

Day 4 – At Leisure in Wellington

A day at leisure in Wellington. Visit Te Papa, the national museum of New Zealand, with innovative and interactive exhibits showcasing New Zealand’s unique biological, geological and cultural history. Alternatively, ride the historic Wellington cable car which runs from Lambton Quay up to Kelburn.

Day 5 – On to the South Island

An early morning journey to the South Island via Interislander ferry, known as one of the most beautiful ferry journeys in the world and one of New Zealand’s most iconic experiences. Then, travel on the Coastal Pacific train which operates between the delightful port of Picton to Kaikoura – the home of whale watching – and on to Christchurch – the South Island’s largest city – for a 3-night stay.

Day 6 – At Leisure in Christchurch

Christchurch is an exceedingly diverse city with picturesque natural surroundings and a thriving art scene. Visit the 150-year-old Botanic Gardens, which offers bird watching opportunities in the Spring, or visit the Canterbury Earthquake National Memorial to honour the memory of those tragically killed in a devastating earthquake in February 2011.

Day 7 – TranzAlpine

Experience the striking natural landscape of the South Island by taking the TranzAlpine train from Christchurch to Greymouth and back. On this day trip you’ll cover 446 kilometres, see stunning vistas and travel the edges of the ice-fed Waimakariri River.

Day 8 – By Road to Dunedin

Collect your rental car and travel from Christchurch to Dunedin, your base for the next 4 nights.

Day 9 – Seasider to Waitati

A late morning trip on the Seasider train to Waitati. The cliff tops overlooking both the Pacific Ocean and Blueskin Bay are particularly delightful, and the best way to see this is by rail. Afternoon at leisure.

Day 10 – Taieri Gorge

Deemed one of Dunedin’s top attractions, the Taieri Gorge Railway travels through the ever-changing Taieri River Gorge to Pukerangi and offers spectacular views and an insight into the building of the line by New Zealand’s early pioneers.

Days 11 & 12 – At Leisure in Dunedin

A city steeped in heritage, with nature only moments from the city centre, Dunedin promises a unique and authentic experience. It is a city of firsts, as it boasts New Zealand’s first (and only!) castle – Larnach Castle and New Zealand’s first botanic garden, home to 6,800 plant species. Enjoy visits to Otago Museum, Tunnel Beach or the Otago Peninsula.

Day 13 – By Road to Te Anau

Dunedin to Te Anau, the perfect base for the glacier-carved wilderness that is Fiordland National Park, and conveniently located for visiting Milford Sound. Enjoy a 3-night stay at your lakeside accommodation.

Days 14 & 15 – At Leisure in Te Anau

Milford Sound, known internationally as the eighth wonder of the world, showcases magnificent mountains, fiords, waterfalls and wildlife such as penguins, seals and dolphins – making it well worth a visit. Te Anau’s Bird Sanctuary and Glowworm Caves are also highly recommended.

Day 16A – Back to Christchurch

Travel by road back to Christchurch, where you drop off your rental car and stay at the airport ready for an early morning flight.

Days 17A/16B – Fly to Niue

Early morning flight from Christchurch via Auckland to the Island of Niue. As Niue is separated from New Zealand by the International Date Line, you will arrive a day earlier (Day 16). Upon arrival, collect your rental car and travel by road to your accommodation for the next 4 nights, located in Tamakautoga, one of Niue’s fourteen villages.

Days 17B-19 – At Leisure in Niue

Built from volcanic rock, limestone and coral, Niue offers unique experiences in a stunning tropical setting. Whale watching opportunities are available from July to October, and there are more than 30 well-signposted ‘sea tracks’ to explore.

Days 20 & 21 – Fly to Auckland

Return your rental car to the airport before an afternoon flight back to Auckland (arriving Day 21). Upon arrival you’ll be transferred to your hotel for the next 4 nights.

Days 22-24 – At Leisure in Auckland

Three full days to explore New Zealand’s largest city, beautifully situated between two harbours. You can enjoy 360-degree views from the iconic Sky Tower or wander up the city’s tallest natural point, Mount Eden – a dormant volcano – that delivers great views.

Days 25-26 – Homeward Bound

A leisurely morning before transferring to the airport for an overnight flight back to London via Dubai, arriving late morning.

Selected Hotels

Mercure Wellington Abel Tasman, Wellington

Rendezvous Hotel, Christchurch

Distinction Dunedin Hotel, Dunedin

Distinction Hotel & Villas, Te Anau

Sudima Christchurch Airport, Christchurch

Scenic Matavai Resort, Tamakautoga, Niue

Auckland City Hotel Auckland

Please note - hotels can be subject to change

Price Includes

  • Economy flights as specified
  • Airport transfers as specified in Wellington and Auckland
  • Accommodation as specified on a bed and breakfast basis
  • Tickets for the Interislander Ferry
  • Tickets for the Coastal Pacific Train
  • Return tickets for the TranzAlpine, Seasider and Taieri Gorge Railways
  • Car hire as specified

Price per person

From £5,720 per person sharing

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Why Choose Ffestiniog Travel?

  • UK's first rail tour operator to run an overseas escorted rail holiday in 1974
  • Created for people who love rail holidays and exploring the world’s heritage railways
  • Dedicated rail holiday specialist - great destinations, sightseeing and unparalled railway content
  • Train ticket supplier for worldwide rail operators - we can plan and arrange your rail journey to anywhere
  • Knowledge of the world’s rail routes makes us leading specialists in escorted and Tailor Made rail holidays
  • Over 60% of our existing rail tour travellers return to holiday with us year after year
  • Committed to supporting rail travel and heritage railways around the world
  • Our profits support the continued preservation of the famous Ffestiniog and Welsh Highland Railways
  • Small, dedicated rail holiday travel team offering an award winning personal service

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