12-Day Grand Rail Explorer
Journey along coastal horizons, alpine peaks, and glaciers

Queenstown > Milford Sound > Franz Josef > Christchurch > Picton > Wellington > Auckland

Embark on an extraordinary rail adventure as you weave through the breathtaking landscapes of New Zealand. This unique 12-day tour blends the thrill of three iconic train journeys with the freedom of a five-day self-guided exploration along the untamed West Coast from Queenstown. Marvel at the colossal glaciers, majestic waterfalls, and mesmerizing blowholes that characterize this rugged region.

The rail journey begins aboard the renowned TranzAlpine, traversing the South Island, followed by the Coastal Pacific train along the spectacular coastline. Your train adventure moves forward aboard the historic Northern Explorer, unraveling the rural charm of the North Island. This 12-day self-guided rail holiday promises an unforgettable mix of scenic train rides and the freedom to explore the diverse landscapes and attractions that make New Zealand a truly captivating destination.

Tour Highlights

Queenstown: kick off your Grand Rail Explorer tour in the adventure capital of New Zealand where you’re spoilt for choice when it comes to adventure sports like skydiving and bungy jumps; you can also have a little less adrenaline to your day and visit the resort town’s wineries, tee off at a golf course, and unwind at onsen hot pools.
Milford Sound Cruise with lunch: an excursion to Milford Sound, a UNESCO-listed fiord in South Island known for its waterfalls, rainforests, and dramatic mountains. It’s home to penguins and fur sea colonies.
Franz Josef: after leaving Queenstown, drive off to the small town of Franz Josef; it’s the jump-off point to the glacier of the same name. You can get up close to the glacier by taking a heli-hike (helicopter ride and guided walk) or a glacier hiking trip.
TranzAlpine train journey: drive to Greymouth to board the TranzAlpine train to Christchurch; the 223km rail journey shows off the country’s Southern Alps, known for its beautiful stretch of mountain range.
Christchurch: take a self-guided tour around the Arts Centre for the many Gothic Revival buildings, stroll along the beautiful riverside Botanic Gardens, go on a chairlift ride at Christchurch Adventure Park, or take the 862-metre cable car ride up Mt. Cavendish for spectacular views of Canterbury.
Coastal Pacific Scenic Train: your second train journey from Christchurch to Picton affords you scenic views of stunning coastlines, vast plains, mountain ranges, and remote beaches.
Wellington: after taking a ferry from Picton to North Island’s Wellington, you can explore the cool capital’s food, coffee, and art scenes; satisfy your movie buff heart with visits to famous filming locations and renowned visual effects companies; have a picnic and swim at Oriental Bay beachfront; discover discover New Zealand wildlife at Zealandia, and more
Northern Explorer Scenic Train: offers unparalleled views of magnificent natural marvels through New Zealand’s North in your third rail adventure—soaring viaducts rising above tree lines, languid coastlines, and volcanic peaks
Auckland: spend your last two nights of the trip in this glittering harbour city where you can continue your adventures with a whale safari on Hauraki Gulf or go kayaking to Rangitoto Island; you can also take it slow with a food tour around the cosmopolitan city

Package Inclusions
  • 11 nights of hand-picked 3.5/4 star accommodation
  • 5 days car hire from Queenstown to Greymouth based on Hyundai i30 Auto or similar with a reduced excess
  • Milford Sound Cruise with lunch ex Queenstown
  • TranzAlpine Scenic Train from Greymouth to Christchurch
  • Coastal Pacific Scenic Train from Christchurch to Picton
  • Interislander Ferry from Picton to Wellington
  • Northern Explorer Scenic Train from Wellington to Auckland
  • Shuttle Transfers in Christchurch, Wellington & Auckland
Package Start Dates

From $2995 per person: 08 Apr 2024, 22 Apr 2024, 16 Sep 2024
From $3395 per person: 30 Sep 2024, 07 Oct 2024, 14 Oct 2024, 21 Oct 2024, 28 Oct 2024
From $3495 per person: 04 Nov 2024, 11 Nov 2024, 18 Nov 2024, 25 Nov 2024, 02 Dec 2024, 09 Dec 2024

Terms and Conditions

Pricing featured is based on 2 adults sharing and priced as per person in Australian Dollars. Pricing is correct at the time of submission but is subject to change without notice due to dynamic car hire pricing.

Valid for travel select dates in 2024.
Valid for sale until 31 Mar 2024 unless sold out prior. Due to Great Train Journeys schedules, this package must start on a Monday in Queenstown. Blockout dates may apply over special events and holiday periods.

Accommodation will be confirmed at time of booking.

Car hire based on a Compact Auto with BUDGET based on pick up Queenstown Airport on Day 1 from 9am and drop off Greymouth on Day 5 by 2pm. BUDGET inclusive policy and conditions apply. BUDGET can only be confirmed 11 months prior to travel.

Scenic Plus upgrade is available for an additional cost and can be quoted at time of enquiry.

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