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New Zealand by Rail

15-day tailor-made rail holiday from £4,150 pp incl. flights


Short description

Showcase New Zealand's natural beauty and city greats with this ultra-flexible rail journey


  • Sit back and relax as you experience the best of New Zealand by rail
  • Explore the volcanic sights of the North Island
  • Cross the Cook Strait on the scenic Interislander Ferry
  • Follow the scenic coast from the winelands of Marlborough to vibrant Christchurch
  • Take in the towering Southern Alps aboard the iconic TranzAlpine Express

In Brief

  • 2 Nights Auckland
  • 2 Nights Wellington
  • 2 Nights Marlborough
  • 2 Nights Kaikōura
  • 3 Nights Christchurch


Recommended for:
History & culture | May holidays | Natural world | November holidays | Rail holidays

Explore New Zealand in comfort, without the need for a car. Starting in Auckland, you’ll chart a route through the North Island’s rolling greenery and volcano-dotted national parks, arriving in the capital, Wellington. Then, after a ferry hop across the Cook Strait, it’s the turn of the South Island as you link the Marlborough wine region with Kaikoura’s marine wildlife and the small-city charms of Christchurch. Along the way, you’ll travel in style aboard the Northen Explorer, The Coastal Pacific and the world-renowned TransAlpine Express.

Day by day itinerary

Days 1-2
Depart UK

Begin your holiday in style with included VIP airport lounge access before your to New Zealand, arriving in Auckland on day three.

Days 3-4

Spend two days acclimatising after your long flight. Here, you'll have a chance to explore the North Island's main city's many attractions – there's the famous Sky Tower, well-heeled Viaduct Harbour and a range of charming neighbourhoods such as Ponsonby, rich with cafés, bars and restaurants to suit all tastes and budgets, or maybe make the short journey to Waiheke Island, the second-largest island in New Zealand's stunning Hauraki Gulf. With its beautiful beaches, forests, vineyards and olive groves, Waiheke is a wonderful introduction to laid-back North Island life.

Stay: Heritage Auckland (Superior)

Meals: B

Day 5
Auckland to Wellington (The Northern Explorer)

The Northern Explorer departs Auckland at 0745 arriving Wellington at 1825

Travel through over 400 miles of majestic scenery as you travel between Auckland and Wellington one of the world's great train journeys. Through the quaint farmsteads and river valleys of King Country and Rangitikei, across the vast plains of Waikato and Manawatu, beneath the imposing peaks of Ruapehu and Tongariro; the Northern Explorer journeys through the heart of the North Island providing incredible views of New Zealand's scenic diversity in a single day-long adventure.

Stay: QT Museum Wellington (Superior)

Meals: B

Day 6

Wellington, arguably the country's most fashionable centre. It's home to a wide selection of restaurants, cafés, microbreweries, film studios, art galleries and museums, including Te Papa, the official Museum of New Zealand. We recommend an optional WETA Workshop - 'There and Back Again' tour which visits the multi Academy Award-winning company behind Lord of the Rings, Avatar, King Kong and The Hobbit. Filled with props, models and weaponry, this tour gives you a behind-the-scenes glimpse into how these movies were made.

Stay: QT Museum Wellington (Superior)

Meals: B

Day 7
Wellington to Picton (The Interislander Ferry)

The Interislander Ferry departs Wellington at 0900 and arrives at Picton at 1230

Connect between islands aboard the Interislander Cook Strait ferry. Cruising between sparkling Wellington and picturesque Picton, you'll soon see why it is heralded as one of the most beautiful ferry journeys in the world. You will head into the sanctuary of the Marlborough Sounds for an idyllic retreat from the bustle of modern life, with a water transfer to your accommodation for the next two nights, located at the head of Endeavour Inlet in the Marlborough Sounds. We recommend booking a table at Furneaux Restaurant, where you can indulge in sumptuous Marlborough food paired with local wine while enjoying the awe-inspiring scenery and unobstructed views

Stay: Furneaux Lodge, Marlborough Sounds (Superior)

Meals: B

Day 8
Marlborough Sounds

Furneaux Lodge is surrounded by a number of bush walk options for all abilities. Follow the Queen Charlotte Track to Ship Cove to the north, or Punga Cove to the south. Alternatively choose from a range of tours, from wine tours of the Marlborough region to indulge in world-renowned sauvignon blanc wines and experience sounds scenery, or join a Greenshell Mussel Cruise featuring freshly steamed mussels paired with the regions wines, or join The Mail Run Cruise and become a "sea postie" delivering the mail surrounding by the beauty of the Marlborough Sounds.

Stay: Furneaux Lodge, Marlborough Sounds (Superior)

Meals: B

Day 9
Picton to Kaikoura (The Coastal Pacific)

The Coastal Pacific departs Picton at 1340 and arrives into Kaikoura at 1625 

Your journey takes you through the wine growing region of Blenheim to the rugged Kaikoura mountain ranges on one side of your train, the Pacific Ocean coastline on the other with views of marine wildlife such as seals and penguins all from the comfort of your carriage. Stopping in the town of Kaikoura, you can break your journey to take in whale watching or get up and close by swimming with the dolphins.

Stay: Kaikoura Boutique Hotel, Kaikoura (Superior)

Meals: B

Day 10

Today is free for optional touring. Perhaps join a whale wildlife cruise or scenic flight, looking out for whales, seals, pods of dusky dolphins and the endangered wandering albatross, or enjoy your historic accommodation with stunning sea views, peacefully located a short walk to the towns best restaurants where you can sample local seafood, including locally farmed crayfish.

Stay: Kaikoura Boutique Hotel, Kaikoura (Superior)

Meals: B

Day 11
Kaikoura to Christchurch (The Coastal Pacific)

The Coastal Pacific departs Kaikoura at 1625 and arrives into Christchurch at 1920 

Today continue your Kaikoura experience, before boarding The Coastal Pacific in the afternoon to head south to Christchurch, for punts on the River Avon and lazing strolls through flower-filled gardens. Once you've checked into your award-winning boutique hotel, you'll have a an evening day to explore the city. Although devastated by its 2011 earthquake, it’s not difficult to see why it’s often referred to as the country’s most English city. Beautiful neo-Gothic architecture is interspersed by idyllic parks. 

Stay: The Classic Villa, Christchurch (Superior)

Meals: B

Day 12
Christchurch to Arthur's Pass to Christchurch (The Tranzalpine)

TranzAlpine departs Christchurch at 0815 arriving Greymouth 1305 returning to Christchurch at 1831 

Take the TranzAlpine for a return trip on one of the world’s great train journeys. Experience the South Island’s striking natural landscape by taking a train between Christchurch and Greymouth. Along this journey you’ll see epic vistas, travel the edges of the ice-fed Waimakariri River, traverse the Southern Alps, and see miles of native beech forest. Covering 139 miles one-way, taking just under 5 hours. You’ll traverse the majestic Canterbury Plains, to the backdrop of the mighty Southern Alps.

Stay: The Classic Villa, Christchurch (Superior)

Meals: B

Day 13

After breakfast for your final day in New Zealand, perhaps visit the International Antarctic Centre or join a city tour of Christchurch. Ride on the Christchurch Tram and seek out one of the excellent restaurants near your hotel.

Stay: The Classic Villa, Christchurch (Superior)

Meals: B

Day 14

An included transfer will see you to Christchurch airport to board your overnight flight home.

Meals: B

Day 15
Arrive UK

On arrival back into the UK, continue with your homeward journey. 



Any element of this itinerary can be adjusted to suit your needs. Just contact us to find out more.

Accommodation rating: Superior

15-day tailor-made rail holiday
from £4,150 pp incl. flights


  • Complimentary UK airport lounge access
  • Return flights between London, Auckland and Christchurch
  • Private arrival and departure airport transfers
  • Arrival and departure train station transfers
  • Water transfers from Picton to accommodation in Marlborough Sounds
  • 11 nights accommodation on a B&B basis
  • The Northern Explorer train between Auckland and Wellington
  • Inter-islander ferry between Wellington and Picton
  • The Coastal Pacific train between Picton and Kaikoura and Christchurch
  • The Tranzalpine Train return journey Christchurch to Greymouth to Christchurch

Train schedules based on travel September to May - subject to change

Terms & Conditions

Prices are per person based on two people sharing a twin/double room; prices are subject to availability and possible change; normal booking conditions apply.

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At Wexas, we specialise in bespoke travel experiences. Our itineraries are just samples of what we can arrange, and can be changed depending on your precise needs, finances and ideas by our experienced destination specialists.

Contact one of our consultants on 020 7590 0614 to discuss how we can tailor your holiday.

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