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Grand Tour of New Zealand

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Discover the best of New Zealand’s North & South Islands on this comprehensive tour

You are viewing the 2021 itinerary. Select your departure year
20212022
19 days From $5,495 per person

2021 Tour code: GR-NZSA-21

About the tour

Enthralling scenery and breathtaking views are found at every turn in the 'Youngest Country on Earth'. Discover steaming geysers, picturesque mountains, bottomless fjords and lush forests on this tour showcasing the beauty of New Zealand's North and South Islands.

Highlights

What’s included

Itinerary

Day 1 - Auckland

Meet your group and Tour Manager in Auckland, at the Grand Millennium Hotel and enjoy the rest of the day to settle in at leisure. Tonight, we enjoy dinner together.

Day 2 - Waitangi Treaty House

Today we travel northwards through scenic farmland to Paihia, located in the truly magnificent Bay of Islands. Here we visit the Waitangi Treaty House, where in 1840 Maori and British people reached a historic agreement that effectively marked the birth of New Zealand.

Day 3 - Bay of Islands

After a leisurely morning, we enjoy a cruise around the bay, passing golden beaches. Later we continue up to the rugged Cape Brett and make a stop on Russell Island. Known in the 1800s ominously as the 'Hell Hole of the Pacific', it was a bustling base for whalers and seamen.

Day 4 - Auckland, the ‘City of Sails’

This morning we drive south back to Auckland, the country's largest city, known as the 'City of Sails' for the number of yachts that take to the waters around it. The city dates to around 1350, when it was inhabited by the Maori people, but little recorded history survives before January 1832 when Joseph Brooks Weller bought the area that is now Auckland. Auckland is also the largest city in New Zealand, being home to around 30% of the population of the whole country. We explore Auckland on a sightseeing tour, taking in the Hauraki Gulf and the volcanic islands that are characteristic of this beautiful area. We then visit the iconic Auckland War Memorial Museum.

Day 5 - Rotorua

This morning we take a trip on the Glenbrook Vintage Railroad, which opened in 1922 and ran for 45 years before closing in 1967. Today, the line is operated by steam enthusiasts and caters to around 30,000 tourists every season. We then travel across the Bombay Hills, through Waikato Valley to Rotorua, the Maoris spiritual home. We visit the Rotorua Museum, which gives an insight into the region's history and culture. We spend two nights in Rotorua at the Sudima Hotel Lake Rotorua.

Day 6 - Wai-O-Tapu

We visit Wai-O-Tapu (Sacred Waters) to see the Lady Knox Geyser volcano. Here we marvel at the rainbow-colored pools and former mud volcano, where you can hear the unique sound of erupting, boiling mud.

Day 7-8 - Northern Explorer to Wellington

Transferring to Hamilton, we take the Northern Explorer train for a journey through King Country. We view the spectacular scenery from panoramic windows including the peaks of Tongariro National Park, Mount Ruapehu, and stunning river gorges. On Day 8 we enjoy a sightseeing tour of Wellington. We drive along beautiful Oriental Bay to Mount Victoria for stunning views and see the Parliament Buildings.

Day 9 - To the South Island by ferry

Today we take the Interislander ferry across Cook Strait to Picton on the South Island. On arrival in Picton, we board the Coastal Pacific train for a scenic journey to Christchurch via Blenheim, the Marlborough wine region and down the Pacific Coast through Kaikoura.

Days 10-11 - Dunedin and the Taieri Gorge

We cross Canterbury Plains through Timaru and Oamaru, stopping at Moeraki to see the mysterious spherical boulders scattered on the beach. We check-in at the Scenic Hotel for two nights. On Day 11 your morning is free to explore Dunedin. In the afternoon we follow the trail of 19th-century gold miners to the gold fields of Central Otago on the Taieri Gorge Railroad in carriages dating back to the 1920s.

Day 12 - Te Anau

Today we travel to Te Anau, nestled by the serene waters of Lake Te Anau, the second-longest lake in New Zealand. We cruise across the lake for a guided tour of the Te Anau Caves, with their subterranean limestone caverns and magical glow worm grotto.

Day 13 - Milford Sound

We travel into the Fiordland National Park for a cruise on stunning Milford Sound. Lush rainforests cling precariously to the fiord's cliffs and the cruise takes us past magnificent waterfalls and out to the Tasman Sea. We enjoy a buffet lunch on board the ship.

Day 14 - To Queenstown

This morning we travel to Queenstown, a popular destination loved by outdoor enthusiasts thanks to the magnificent surrounding scenery. Here we enjoy a ride on the Skyline Gondola, which offers a wonderful panorama.

Days 15-16 - Queenstown and Lake Wakatipu

Today we enjoy a sightseeing tour, driving across Shotover River to historic Arrowtown, the site of a major gold rush in the 1860s and a 'Lord of the Rings' film location. We continue to Gibbston Valley Winery for a tour of the cellars and wine tasting. Day 16 is at leisure, relaxing in Queenstown overlooked by Lake Wakatipu.

Day 17 - Franz Josef Glacier

Traveling past Lake Wanaka, we descend to the Haast River. Continuing through the native rainforest by coach, we pass Fox Glacier before reaching the Franz Josef Glacier. An overnight stay and dinner at the Scenic Hotel Franz Josef Glacier or Quality Hotel Elms allows us to view the glacier or to take an optional helicopter flight to the snowfield (payable locally).

Day 18 - The TranzAlpine

We visit Hokitika, the center for New Zealand jade, before boarding the TranzAlpine train for Christchurch at the township of Arthur's Pass. On our last night we stay at the Sudima Hotel and enjoy a farewell dinner together.

Day 19 - The Journey Home

On our final day in New Zealand we visit the International Antarctic Center, before transferring to the airport where you are free to catch your flight home.

Additional information

Departure times

Departure times vary based on selected rail vacation. This information will be provided in your final documents. For more information please speak with your rail specialist.

Mobility information

Due to the nature of our tours they are generally unsuitable for those with restricted mobility. If you’d like to discuss any particular vacation with us in this respect, then please don’t hesitate to call us.

Hotels

Grand Millennium Auckland

Grand Millennium Auckland, Auckland

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Quality Hotel Elms

Quality Hotel Elms, Christchurch

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Scenic Hotel Dunedin City, Dunedin

Scenic Hotel Dunedin City, Dunedin

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Scenic Hotel Franz Josef Glacier, Franz Josef

Scenic Hotel Franz Josef Glacier, Franz Josef

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Kingsgate Hotel Autolodge, Paihia

Kingsgate Hotel Autolodge, Paihia

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Heartland Hotel

Heartland Hotel, Queenstown

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Sudima Hotel Lake Rotorua, Rotorua

Sudima Hotel Lake Rotorua, Rotorua

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Distinction Luxmore Hotel, Te Anau

Distinction Luxmore Hotel, Te Anau

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Novotel Wellington, Wellington

Novotel Wellington, Wellington

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Trains

Coastal Pacific
Glenbrook Vintage Railway
Northern Explorer
Taieri Gorge Railway
TranzAlpine

Enhance your holiday

Extend your holiday

Singapore
Global Rail Adventures Brochure

Global Rail Adventures Brochure

The definitive guide to our 2021/22 Global Rail Adventures

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