New Zealand
Best of Rail
16 Days

SPECIAL!
SAVE $300

*Limited offer, subject to availability.

16 days / 15 nights

The New Zealand Best Tour is a comprehensive and evenly paced tour to experience the best of New Zealand’s South Island, and includes all 3 Great New Zealand Rail Journeys.

 

  • Northern Explorer Train – Auckland to Wellington
  • Coastal Pacific Train – Picton to Christchurch
  • TranzAlpine Train – Christchurch to Greymouth

 

Featuring multiple 2 night stays to give an even pace to the travel (and not be packing/unpacking everyday).

The tour includes 2 special event dinners – the TSS Earnslaw Cruise to Walter Peak for dinner, and the exclusive dinner at Larnach Castle.

Stay 2 nights in Auckland, Stay 2 nights in Wellington and visit Te Papa & view the Gallipoli “Scale of War” exhibit, cruise cook strait to Picton, 2 nights Christchurch. Travel through Arthurs Pass, visit Shantytown goldmining village in Greymouth, Fox Glacier, 2 nights Queenstown, TSS Earnslaw cruise & Walter Peak dinner, Cruise Milford Sound, Te Anau, Invercargil & Bluff, The Catlins, 2 nights Dunedin, visit Olveston House, Larnach Castle & exclusive dinner, Mt Cook and Lake Tekapo.

LAND ONLY AUD$6499

per person, twin share, land only (no flights)

INC RETURN AIRFARE:

SAVE $300!*

SYDNEY AUD$6998

BRISBANE AUD$7098

MELBOURNE AUD$7198

NOT LISTED? ENQUIRE

*Limited offer – Discounted Total Price including airfares plus door to door service / home pickup & return.

FLIGHTS PACKAGES & 
DOOR TO DOOR SERVICE

See “Door to Door Service – Flight Options” below for details.

Solo travellers (same gender) are matched for twin share at no extra cost.

AUD $1499 Single Supplement

(to guarantee a single room)

Click section to expand details

Departure Dates

13 Sep 2023 

SOLD OUT!

04 Oct 2023 

SOLD OUT!

10 NOV 2023 

SOLD OUT!

31 Jan 2024 

SOLD OUT!

09 Feb 2024 

SOLD OUT!

23 Feb 2024 

SOLD OUT!

01 Mar 2024

SOLD OUT!

08 Mar 2024

4 LEFT!

20 Mar 2024 

SOLD OUT!

03 APR 2024 

HALF FULL!

05 APR 2024 

SOLD OUT!

17 APR 2024 

SOLD OUT!

Door to Door Service & Flight Options (including home/hotel pickup & return)

Gold Club Tours offer door to door service & transfers, as well as return flight packages which include door to door service.

COMPLIMENTARY TRANSFERS (flight packages include additional transfers/door to door service)


Tour Only – Door to Door inclusions

  Day 1

1. From your arrival flight (or nominated address) to hotel.

  Final Day

1. From your hotel to your departure flight (or nominated address). 


Flight Package – Door to Door inclusions 

  Day 1  

1. From your home (or nominated address) to your flight to New Zealand.

2. On arrival in New Zealand, you are met at airport and taken to your hotel. 

  Final Day:  

1. From your hotel to your departing flight.

2. On arrival in Australia, you are met at airport and taken to your home.

Flight Packages inc Door to Door Service Locations

Flight packages from $799 per person.
AIRFARE SPECIAL! SAVE $300!

Call or email us to check your preferred tour date – we can confirm availability and pricing. 

If your area is not listed, please contact us and we can advise you options and prices for flights and/or door to door service from your preferred location.

Return flight packages, including door to door service (home or hotel pickup & return) are listed below. Many suburbs we pickup from are not listed below. If your area falls in between the below listed and the airport, we almost certainly pickup, call or email to confirm your area is included.

EX: Sydney $799 $499! 
EX: Melbourne $999 $699! 
EX: Brisbane $899 $599! 

Flights

Flights packages are based on economy airfares. Should you wish to travel on alternative dates, times or airliers, or wish to upgrade to  business or first class, please advise and we can advise options and any pricing change (alternative flight arrangements subject to availability and confirmation – fares and arrangments are not confirmed until funds have been recieved). Typically, guests fly to the airport closest to their home return area, although this may vary in some instances, particularly in smaller and/or more remote areas. Guests who wish to have specific requests catered to, such as direct vs connecting flights, specific flight times or specific airports, alternative locations, alternative dates, etc, may incur additional charges (wherever possible we do not charge additional).

Extra Accommodation (pre and post tour options)

Gold Club Tours offer additional accommodation options for guests travelling on our tours.

We have set pricing for guests to stay pre-tour or post-tour at:

 

Locations

  • Auckland
  • Wellington
  • Christchurch
  • Other locations on request

Pricing

  • Room only – AUD $220
  • Including Breakfast – AUD $250    (breakfast included for 1 or 2 guests)  

If you wish to arrange accommodation at another location that is not listed here, please contact us.

Tour Itinerary

Day 1

Arrive Auckland

Welcome to New Zealand!

Today you have a complimentary transfer to your hotel – either from your inbound flight arriving in Auckland, or from your nominated Auckland address. If you are already in Auckland, you are welcome to a complimentary transfer to your hotel.

The rest of the day is at leisure, and this evening have dinner with your new travelling companions who have arrived.

 

 

Stay: Holiday Inn Auckland or Rydges Auckland (or similar)

Day 2

Northern Explorer Train to Wellington

This morning you depart your hotel to join the Northern Explorer Train for Wellington.

Travel through the heart of the North Island, passing through the Tongariro National Park and Ohakune.  Enjoy fantastic views from the panoramic windows or perhaps venture out to the open air viewing deck.  See magnificent views of the volcanic plateau, Mount Ruapehu and the world famous Raurimu Spiral, as well as stunning river gorges. Upon arrival at Wellington, you are taken to your hotel. This evening, enjoy dinner with your tour group in the hotel’s restaurant.

 

Stay: Rydges Hotel Wellington (or similar)

Day 3

Wellington, Te Papa “Gallipoli – The Scale of War"

This morning we visit Te Papa museum and view the “Scale of War” exhibit. This is a world renowned exhibition produced by Peter Jackson & Weta Workshop detailing New Zealand’s role in the Gallipoli Campaign. At the conclusion of our time at Te Papa, we enjoy a tour of Wellington’s sights including Mt Victoria, the Beehive and the Botanic Gardens. After the tour, the rest of your day in Wellington is free for you to explore or relax.

 

Stay: Rydges Hotel Wellington (or similar)

Day 4

Cook Strait, Picton, Coastal Pacific Train to Christchurch

After breakfast this morning, we depart the hotel for the interislander ferry and farewell Wellington. Travel across across Cook Strait and enter Queen Charlotte Sound and cruise this idyllic & tranquil waterway to the busy and scenic little fishing town of Picton.  Lunch is available onboard (at your own expense).  On arrival in Picton, you will join the Coastal Pacific Train to travel the eastern seaside of the South Island. Pass through the seaside town of Kaikoura, before arriving in Christchurch. As we arrive after 7pm, we enjoy dinner this evening onboard the train. On arrival in Christchurch you are met and transferred to your hotel. 

 

Stay: Pavillions Hotel (or similar)

Day 5

Christchurch

After breakfast this morning, enjoy a tour of some of the well-known city sights that Christchurch is famous for. At the conclusion of the city sights tour, the remainder of the day is at leisure. Your tour leader can assist you with lunch recommendations and optional excursions.

 

Stay: Pavillions Hotel (or similar)

Day 6

TranzAlpine Train via Arthurs Pass, Greymouth, Hokitika

After breakfast this morning, we depart the hotel to join the Tranz Alpine train, which is regarded as one of the top rail journeys in the world. Head up into the Southern Alps and view dramatic alpine scenery – mountain peaks, rugged gorges and rivers. Stop at Arthur’s Pass, the alpine village in the centre of the Alps. Then to Greymouth, the region’s chief commercial centre. A short drive will take us to Shantytown, a fascinating reconstructed gold mining town, where you can still actually pan for gold. Travel back in time to a reminder of New Zealand’s West Coast’s turbulent nineteenth century gold-mining past. This is your chance to get into the cab of a steam train with the Train Driver and see how it all happens! You get to see it all going on, shovel coal in the fire, pull the horn, and see the action up close. Hear and see the fire roar, taste the steam, and get a bit of coal dust on your jeans. Then we head on to Hokitika where we stay this evening.

Stay: Beachfront Hotel (or similar)

Day 7

Hokitika to Fox Glacier

We leave Hokitika this morning and drive south along the coastal road which boasts wonderful panoramic views of alpine scenery and dense native forests, as we head towards glacier country. We will stop at Lake Matheson (weather permitting, note lake is approximately 1km walk each way from coach parking area) noted for its magnificent mirror-like reflections of the Southern Alps. We then continue on to Franz Josef and Fox Glaciers. These twin rivers of ice are unique, as nowhere in the world outside the polar regions are glaciers found so close to sea level. 

Optional Helicopter - Scenic Flight & Glacier Landing

AUD$295 per person

Take in the grandeur of Fox Glacier on a 20 minute trip. Land on the snow plains of the Fox Glacier, jump out and take it all in. Includes scenic helicopter flight, Snow landing atop the Glacier, Informative pilot commentary.

At Franz Josef Glacier or Fox Glacier (weather permitting), you have the opportunity to take an optional scenic flight over these spectacular ice-flows. This evening, we dine at a local restaurant.

 

Stay: Bella Vista Fox Glacier (or similar)

Day 8

Fox Glacier to Queenstown

This morning we enjoy breakfast at a local cafe, before we farewell Fox Glacier. Continuing south, we will pass isolated and lovely Bruce Bay before reaching the small settlement of Haast. Leaving the coast today, we will travel inland past Thunder Creek Falls to the “Gates of the Haast.” Then it is a steep climb, following the ancient Maori Greenstone Pilgrimage route through the Haast Pass, and down to the shores of the milky, glacier-fed Lakes of Hawea and Wanaka, to arrive in the picturesque township of Wanaka.

We then travel through rich farmlands to join the Clutha River where it enters the Kawarau Gorge and continue past the most southerly vineyard in the world to make a stop at the Kawarau Bridge. This is the now world-famous place where you may be tempted to try bungy jumping, diving from the Kawarau Bridge towards the river 150 feet below, with a giant rubber band tied around your ankles! The final stop before reaching Queenstown will be made at historic and picturesque Arrowtown where you see many of the original wood and stone buildings from the “gold rush” years still in use. There will be time to browse around before rejoining the coach for the short drive to Queenstown, where we will stay for two nights.

 

Stay: Heritage Hotel Queenstown (or similar)

Day 9

Queenstown, Cruise on TSS Earnslaw & Dinner 

at Walter Peak

Today, the entire day is at leisure for you to enjoy the many scenic delights of this world-famous alpine resort. Perhaps you would like to take a thrilling and adrenaline-pumping jetboat ride on the Shotover River, experience the exhilaration of white water rafting or explore the remote Skippers Canyon. Wherever your interests may lie, we guarantee that Queenstown has something for you. Your tour leader can assist you in planning your day and making arrangements. 

Optional Helicopter - Scenic Flight & Alpine Landing

AUD$295 per person

Enjoy spectacular views of majestic Queenstown on a 20 minute trip. Includes an alpine landing, jump out and take it all in. Includes: Scenic helicopter flight, alpine landing, Informative pilot commentary.

This evening, we will board the vintage steamship T.S.S. Earnslaw for a delightful cruise across Lake Wakatipu to Walter Peak, a high country sheep station. There is time to inspect the sheep and highland cattle before relaxing in the Colonel’s Homestead and enjoying some friendly Kiwi Hospitality and a sumptuous dinner, which is one of the culinary highlights of the tour.

 

Stay: Heritage Hotel Queenstown (or similar)

Day 10

Queenstown, Milford Sound Cruise, Te Anau

This morning we drive along Lake Wakatipu to Lake Te Anau and enter Southland. Here, outstanding scenery greets us as we continue through the beech forests of the Eglington Valley with its steep walls, grassy floor and exquisite mirror-like lakes before entering the rugged grandeur of the Hollyford Valley. We pass through Cascade Creek and the hand-hewn Homer Tunnel, stopping at The Chasm, before continuing on through the glacial formations of the Cleddau Valley and descending to Milford. Here, we board our boat and follow the deep icy blue waterway to explore the hidden depths of Milford Sound. There is plenty of time to admire the intricately carved deep fiord and rock walls, and the most memorable of them all: Mitre Peak. Sitting at 6,000 feet, it is the tallest peak in the world rising directly from the bottom of the ocean. We cruise by tumbling waterfalls of Lady Bowen falls, Stirling Falls and many others as we journey to the hidden mouth of the Sound and out to the Tasman Sea. Watch out for the schools of playful dolphins that surf the bow wave of the boat and spot the seals basking in the sun on the rocky shores. Then our coach will take us to our hotel in Te Anau, home of the South Island’s largest lake.

 

Stay: Distinction Luxmore Te Anau (or similar)

Day 11

Te Anau, Bluff, Invercargill

This morning, we drive along Lake Manapouri, said to be New Zealand’s most beautiful lake, before crossing the rich and fertile country of Southland. Invercargill boasts being both the southernmost & westernmost city in New Zealand, and is essentially the gateway to Bluff, home of its namesake: the world-famous Bluff oysters. Bluff oysters are widely regarded as the finest in the world! Enjoy a brief tour of Bluff and Invercargill, before having free time.

Stewart Island Optional Excursion

We recommend booking early to avoid disappointment. All optional excursions are subject to availability. Excursions include return flights to Stewart Island & return transfers.

 

Stay: Ascot Park Hotel (or similar)

Day 12

Invercargill, The Catlins, Dunedin

This morning, we depart Invercargill for Dunedin via the magnificent coastal vistas of the Catlins, famed for the wildlife, forests and rugged natural beauty. Late this afternoon, we arrive at the traditionally “Scottish City” of Dunedin – quaint, friendly and once New Zealand’s hub of commerce. During the gold rush years, Dunedin was New Zealand’s largest and most prosperous city and is home to New Zealand’s first university. We will stop at the Olveston House, a 35 room Jacobean mansion that allows an intimate view of the life of a prosperous Dunedin merchant and his family in Edwardian times. The mansion houses a treasure of Georgian and Victorian furniture, paintings, silver, china and glassware with a notable oriental collection.

 

Stay: Dunedin Leisure Lodge (or similar)

Day 13

Dunedin, Larnach Castle Dinner

Today, we enjoy a day at leisure in Dunedin to explore – perhaps take a short walk up to the Octagon, the commercial heart of the city and home to many restaurants and pubs. You may choose to visit the Speights Brewery or the Otago Settlers Musuem, or a trip out to some of the amazing wildlife sites & reserves on the Otago Peninsula (your tour leader will be able to assist you with arrangements, admissions and transport are at additional expense).

This evening, we visit Larnach Castle, an imposing stone mansion that was constructed in 1871 by William Larnach, a former government minister. Your guide will inform you of the dark Larnach secrets as you are escorted through the mansion to view the ornately furnished rooms and halls. Here, we are privileged to enjoy an exclusive sumptuous dinner at the castle.

 

Stay: Dunedin Leisure Lodge (or similar)

Day 14

Dunedin, Mt Cook

Today’s coach journey is highlighted by magnificent mountains, crystal clear lakes and man-made wonders as we pass the hydro dams at Waitaki and Aviemore, and on to Mt Cook National Park, home of New Zealand’s highest mountain. This afternoon is at leisure in Mount Cook for optional flightseeing by plane or helicopter over majestic Mount Cook and breathtaking Fox, Franz Josef and Tasman Glaciers (weather permitting). Tonight we stay at the iconic Hermitage Hotel in Mt Cook.

 

Stay: The Hermitage Hotel (or similar)

Day 15

Mt Cook, Tekapo, Christchurch

Today we depart for Christchurch. We travel to beautiful Lake Tekapo, where a stop is made to view the Church of the Good Shepherd. Crossing Burkes Pass, we travel through the sheep-stations and tussock-covered lands of the MacKenzie Country and across the colourful patchwork quilt of the Canterbury Plains, the country’s largest wheat producing area, before arriving in Christchurch, the second largest metropolitan area in New Zealand. On arrival at Christchurch, you will check into your hotel for the evening.

 

Stay: Pavilions Hotel (or similar)

Day 16

Depart Christchurch

Sadly, this is the last day of our tour. A complimentary transfer to your nominated address is included. For guests who have purchased a flight package, you are at leisure to enjoy the day until the time for your transfer to the Christchurch airport to join your departing flight. On arrival at your destination airport you are met and returned to your home.

Tour Inclusions

Tour Highlights

Tour Reviews

Tour Leader

4.74

313 Reviews

1 Comments

I’ve been to 7 guided tours & Leanne & Robin were the best tour guides I ever had – They both worked hard, have patience of an angel.

Emelda Cole, Red Beach, Auckland

Accommodation

4.61

312 Reviews

1 Comments

The rooms were all wonderful

Sue Wood, Invercargill

Breakfasts

4.72

304 Reviews

1 Comments

Really good variety everywhere we stayed & good quality food. If we needed something extra more than helpful to do so. Always with a smile.

Jim & Anna Niven, New Lynn, Auckland

Dinners

4.72

304 Reviews

1 Comments

Again WOW!! All hotel meals fabulous – Walter Peak – another level & lovely @ Larnach Castl

Leigh Murdoch, Papamoa, Bay of Plenty

Tour Vehicles

4.72

304 Reviews

1 Comments

Very comfortable coach, smooth riding & no road noise. Great windows.

Rosalie Ross, Tikipunga, Whangarei

Included Activities & Admissions

4.72

304 Reviews

1 Comments

All these activities were a bonus to our tour and greatly enjoyed. To have them built in was great. We just went with the flow.

Wendy Franklin, Warkworth

Home Pickup

4.72

304 Reviews

1 Comments

Appreciated the professionalism and quality vehicles used.

Brian & Diane Stevens, Pukekohe, Auckland

Home Dropoff

4.72

304 Reviews

1 Comments

Over & above as we had extended our holiday by a week & still got the pick up & drop off – The BEST service ever.

Raewyn Morris, Howick, Auckland

Value For Money

4.72

304 Reviews

1 Comments