Rail Spectacular - 18 Days… (trip)

Rail Spectacular - 18 Days Auckland to Christchurch

  • Auckland Airport, Auckland, New Zealand
  • Family & Friends
New Zealand, Australia and Pacific

from $6,315* per person18 DaysYear-round
Comfort accommodations Exertion level: 3
Operator: First Light Travel New Zealand 12 people max
Escorted holidays with passengers accommodated at superior, first class properties comprise First Light Travel flagship products and range in length from shorter duration tours starting at three days up to comprehensive tours of 31 days.

Tour Directors rich in cultural and historical knowledge. Experienced drivers focused on getting you where you’re going safely. Quality accommodation. Hearty breakfasts, delicious three course dinners and delectable buffets. The opportunity to strike up friendships with like-minded holiday makers from New Zealand, Australia and overseas. A flexible itinerary that ensures you see all the sights, as well as providing you with all the free time you need to make your holiday yours alone. That’s the First Light Travel difference.

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Locations visited/nearby

New Zealand, Australia and Pacific

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Special information

  • This is a custom departure, meaning this trip is offered on dates that you arrange privately with the provider. Additionally, you need to form your own private group for this trip. The itinerary and price here is just a sample. Contact the provider for detailed pricing, minimum group size, and scheduling information. For most providers, the larger the group you are traveling with, the lower the per-person cost will be.
  • Family oriented trip.


Arrive Auckland

‘Haere Mai’ … welcome to New Zealand

After we transfer you from the airport, settle into your hotel, then see Auckland your way - visit the Sky Tower, Viaduct Harbour or explore the Waitemata Harbour by ferry. A welcome drink with your Tour Director and travel companions ends the day.
ACCOMMODATION: Mercure, Auckland. (D)
Auckland - Bay of Islands

Over the Auckland Harbour Bridge and through Orewa and the scenic Hibiscus Coast. Walk amongst the Kauri trees at Parry Kauri Park. You’ll have time to explore Whangarei, the northern-most city in New Zealand. Visit historic Kawakawa, the Train Town, one of the few towns in the world with a railway track running through the middle of the main street, for a nostalgic look at the Gabriel. Later, travel by coach to Paihia and the beautiful Bay of Islands. Enjoy a scenic cruise through the Bay of Islands to Cape Brett and the famous ’Hole in the Rock’. Explore Urupukapuka Island on your return to Paihia.
ACCOMMODATION: Copthorne Hotel & Resort (Garden View), Bay of Islands, 2 nights. (B,D)
Bay of Islands ‘Free Time’

We board The Overlander to journey through the heart of the North Island. Travel along the Waikato River with stunning views of lush farmland - New Zealand’s longest - to the Waitomo Caves for a guided tour and to discover the amazing Glow Worm Grotto. Then it’s on to Rotorua. On our orientation tour you’ll soak up views of Lake Rotorua. Tonight experience a traditional Maori Hangi feast and concert.
ACCOMMODATION: Ibis, Rotorua, 2 nights. (B,HD)
Bay of Islands - Auckland

Visit the historic Waitangi Treaty Reserve. You’ll have time on your own to take in highlights such as the magnificent Maori War Canoe (Waka) and Marae (Meeting House). Be inspired by the lush farmland scenery on your way back to Auckland.
ACCOMMODATION: Mecure, Auckland. (B,D)
Auckland - Rotorua

Board the Overlander to journey through the heart of the North Island. Travel along the Waikato River to the Waitomo Caves for a guided tour and to discover the amazing Glow Worm Grotto. Then it’s on to Rotorua. On your orientation tour you’ll soak up views of Lake Rotorua. Tonight experience a traditional Maori Hangi feast and concert.
Hotel: Ibis, Rotorua, 2 nights. (B,HD)

This morning it’s time to visit the Agrodome Sheep Show then a guided tour of the Geothermal Reserve. (B)
Rotorua - Wellington

Travelling from the mountains to the sea, today we’ll see Lake Taupo, the Huka Falls, the alpine scenery of Mt. Ruapehu. We board The Overlander at Taumarunui. Take in the lush forest, farmland and stunning alpine views as we cross the volcanic plateau of the central North Island. Traverse gorges, sprawling plains then enter the world famous Raurimu Spiral.
Hotel: Mercure, Wellington, 2 nights. (B,D)

Enjoy a city tour of Wellington. Visit Te Papa, the Museum of New Zealand. Later you’ll visit the Silverstream Railway in Upper Hutt to view some of the preserved New Zealand railways and industrial steam and diesel locomotives. Enjoy a short steam train ride and tour through their restoration factory. (B)
Wellington - Christchurch

This morning you’ll cruise the Cook Strait into tranquil Queen Charlotte Sound. At Picton board the Tranz Coastal and journey down the East Coast of the South Island. Travel over 100 kilometres pinned between the Pacific Ocean and the rugged Kaikoura Ranges. Next we head through the Canterbury Plains en route to Christchurch.
ACCOMMODATION: Ibis Hotel, Christchurch. (B)
DAY 10
Mt. Cook

We begin the day with a ride on the Christchurch Tram. Continuing our travels we see Lakes Tekapo and Pukaki, visit the Church of the Good Shepherd and soak up the spectacular alpine scenery of Mt. Cook National Park. If you like take a scenic flight over Mt. Cook (weather permitting).
ACCOMMODATION: MacKenzie Country Inn, Standard Rooms, Twizel. (B,D)
DAY 11

En route to Dunedin we’ll see the famous white limestone buildings of Oamaru. Board the historic Seasider train at Palmerston for the journey through to Dunedin. This afternoon join the historic Taieri Gorge Railway for your second train journey through rugged, spectacular scenery only accessible by train. Cross stone work bridge, ride through tunnels and over iron latticework viaducts built in the 1880’s.
ACCOMMODATION: Kingsgate, Dunedin. (B,D)
DAY 12
Dunedin - Te Anau

Take a guided tour of New Zealand’s only castle - Larnach Castle and its gardens. Then we head off across rich fertile, sheep-filled farming land on the way to Te Anau, on the shores of Lake Te Anau. Tonight you can choose to travel by boat to the Te Anau Glow Worm Caves.
ACCOMMODATION: The Village Inn, Te Anau. (B,D)
DAY 13
Milford Sound

Be awe-struck by the magnificence of the Fiordland National Park, not only a World Heritage Park but also New Zealand’s largest. Amazing nature and photo opportunities await us as we see rainforest, ancient glaciers, mountain ranges and the hand-made Homer Tunnel. Mirror Lake. Pop’s Lookout. Cleddau Valley and the Chasm. Mitre Peak. Bowen Falls. Cruise on Milford Sound. Continue to Queenstown. Your dinner option tonight is the sensational Skyline Restaurant on Bob’s Peak via the Southern Hemisphere’s steepest Gondola! A bonus Kiwi Haka Maori Show makes for a top night.
Hotel: Heartland Hotel, Queenstown, 2 nights. (B)
DAY 14
Queenstown ’Free Time’

Explore action adventure Queenstown your way. Take it easy with a wine or garden tour. Or go wild with jet boat rides or white water rafting. Just be back in time for dinner and a sheep shearing demonstration at Walter Peak Sheep Station. We travel there and back across Lake Wakatipu via the TSS Earnslaw, New Zealand’s oldest steamship. (B,HD)
DAY 15
Queenstown - Fox Glacier

First stop. Arrowtown, on the Arrow River. Second stop Cromwell and its sensational stone fruit. Then it’s a trio of lakes – Lake Dunstan, Lake Hawea, Lake Wanaka. Through the Haast Pass, you’ll view Thunder Creek Falls and enjoy a rainforest walk. Final stop, majestic Fox Glacier. Take the opportunity for an optional scenic flight over the glacier (weather permitting).
ACCOMMODATION: Heartland Hotel, Fox Glacier. (B,D)
DAY 16
Punakaiki - Greymouth

We depart for Hokitika, home of the native greenstone (jade) for a factory visit and jewellery demonstration. Later you’ll view the Pancake Rocks and Blowholes at Punakaiki before continuing to Greymouth, the largest town on the West Coast.
ACCOMMODATION: Kingsgate Hotel, Greymouth. (B,D)
DAY 17
TranzAlpine - Christchurch

Visit the historic village of Shantytown for a ride on the vintage steam train. At Greymouth, board the TranzAlpine, one of the top 6 train journeys in the world, to travel through the Southern Alps to Christchurch.
ACCOMMODATION: Ibis, Christchurch. (B,D)
DAY 18
Depart Christchurch

’Free Time’ in Christchurch until we transfer you to Christchurch Airport for your onward flight. (B)

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