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Similar itineraries

9 Day Top of the South Island Rail Experience

9 days starting in Christchurch, finishing in Christchurch
Accommodation style: Hotel 4 star

South Island Scenic Rail, Flights & Cruise Tour

13 days starting in Christchurch, finishing in Christchurch
Accommodation style: Hotel 4 star

Northern Explorer Rail, Sail and Heli Tour

13 days starting in Auckland, finishing in Auckland
Accommodation style: Boutique lodges & hotels

 

18 Day South to North Road & Rail Tour

Christchurch to Auckland, 18 days 17 nights self drive tour, staying in Hotel 4 star

18 Day South to North Road & Rail Tour
18 Day South to North Road & Rail Tour
18 Day South to North Road & Rail Tour
18 Day South to North Road & Rail Tour

Tour map

Discover New Zealand by rail with this 18 day northbound exploration of New Zealand's scenery and transport history. Begin with a trip on the world renowned TranzAlpine train across the Southern Alps to the West Coast. Enjoy a vintage rail experience, and ride on the Taieri Gorge Railway with its multitude of bridges, viaducts and tunnels. At the top of the South Island, delve into the regions rich mining history, then journey to Mt. Cook National Park for a spectacular scenic flight over the snow-capped mountains. Finish your journey with a trip on the Northern Explorer train from Wellington to Auckland and marvel at the engineering feat of the Raurimu Spiral.

The approximate total driving distance and time for this itinerary is: 2210 kms / 1370 miles, 27.2 hours

You can expect to spend around NZ$319 in fuel cost on this itinerary based on an intermediate sized car.

 

Day 1

Arrive Christchurch City

Private transfer Christchurch airport to your accommodation

On arrival you will be met by a private driver and delivered to your Christchurch accommodation.

Itinerary information by APP & in country support

Access to our exclusive New Zealand Touring APP. The APP includes your full itinerary and reservation details, all available online and offline as well as lots of other great information such as restaurant guides, weather forecasts and local activity suggestions. Instant itinerary updates and changes are available and it's easy to keep in touch with us. The App is free and easy to download on your mobile using Android or IOS.You also have access to our free call number and after-hours service if you require support while on tour.

Welcome to Christchurch City

Welcome to Christchurch City
Welcome to Christchurch City
Welcome to Christchurch City
Welcome to Christchurch City

Christchurch, New Zealand's garden city is steadily being transformed into a vibrant urban destination. Encompassing a large green belt, it is known for its wide tree lined avenues and lush gardens. Take the double decker hop on/hop off bus for an easy way to see the sights - or ride a historic tram across town to the renowned botanic gardens and the unique cardboard Transitional Cathedral.

Your accommodation - Distinction Hotel Christchurch

Style: Hotel 4 star

Accommodation features

  • Check in time: 3 pm
  • Check out time: 10 am
  • Walk time to shops/restaurants: 10-15 mins
  • Parking: valet paid parking NZ$20-NZ$30 per 24 hrs
  • Internet facilities: On site free access
  • Restaurant on site
  • Breakfast service available
  • Dinner service available
  • Bar on site
  • Tea/coffee facilities in room
  • Room service available
  • Hairdryer
  • Laundry facilities: On site
  • Gym/fitness centre
  • All rooms non smoking
Distinction Hotel Christchurch
Distinction Hotel Christchurch
Distinction Hotel Christchurch
Distinction Hotel Christchurch
 

Day 2

Today take the world renowned Tranz Alpine Scenic Train to Greymouth, Visit Shantytown and then onto Franz Josef

Driving distance and time: 167 kms / 104 miles : 2.0 hours

 

Times are based on averages for this specific route and allow for stops. Use these times as guidelines and to assist in the planning for your day.

 

Private transfer to Christchurch train station

A private transfer will collect you this morning and deliver you to Christchurch train station in time for your train journey.

TranzAlpine Scenic Train: Christchurch to Greymouth

TranzAlpine Scenic Train: Christchurch to Greymouth
TranzAlpine Scenic Train: Christchurch to Greymouth
TranzAlpine Scenic Train: Christchurch to Greymouth
TranzAlpine Scenic Train: Christchurch to Greymouth

Your early morning departure is rewarded with incredible scenery today onboard the TranzAlpine Scenic Train, considered one of the world's great train journeys. It travels between Christchurch and Greymouth, from one coast of New Zealand to the other. From your carriage you'll see the fields of the Canterbury Plains and farmland, followed by the spectacular gorges and river valleys of the Waimakariri River. Your train then climbs into the Southern Alps before descending through the lush beech rain forest to the West Coast town of Greymouth - a great base for visits to Punakaiki and the West Coast glaciers.

Today collect your rental vehicle for your Fine Tours New Zealand holiday

Today collect your rental vehicle for your Fine Tours New Zealand holiday
Today collect your rental vehicle for your Fine Tours New Zealand holiday
Today collect your rental vehicle for your Fine Tours New Zealand holiday
Today collect your rental vehicle for your Fine Tours New Zealand holiday

Collect your rental vehicle for your Fine Tours New Zealand holiday.  You can choose from an extensive range of late model cars and 4WD vehicles, from Europcar, Budget or Hertz.

GPS navigation system

Use the latest GPS technology as you tour New Zealand. Your portable GPS features a simple touch screen interface with automatic route calculation and turn-by-turn voice-prompted directions including street name announcement. The automotive-grade GPS unit is easy to use and has multiple language options.

Shantytown Heritage Park Experience

Shantytown Heritage Park Experience
Shantytown Heritage Park Experience
Shantytown Heritage Park Experience
Shantytown Heritage Park Experience

Shantytown is a faithfully restored replica of an 1860's West Coast gold mining town. It is a living monument to the hardy pioneers who forded the wildly exotic rivers and streams and scrambled through the rugged subtropical rainforest in search of their fortunes. A 20 minute ride on one of the original bush steam trains takes you deep into gold country. Among the collection of pioneer relics and Kiwiana that has come to comprise Shantytown's unique and valuable collection are some true gems. This vast and significant collection is housed in over 30 historic buildings, enabling you to wander your way through the town as interlopers into a bygone era. You'll also get to try your hand at gold-panning under the helpful tuition of the highly experienced gold claim staff.

Greymouth to Franz Josef

Greymouth to Franz Josef
Greymouth to Franz Josef
Greymouth to Franz Josef
Greymouth to Franz Josef

Leaving Greymouth today you will head south to Franz Josef and Glacier Country. Pass through Hokitika and be sure to take a detour to the spectacular Hokitika Gorge, a turquoise coloured river surrounded by native bush-clad cliffs. Continue on through Ross, a historic gold mining town where several buildings still remain intact. As you travel further down the coast you’ll also go through Hari Hari, the town where Guy Menzies, the first person to fly solo over the Tasman crash landed. Follow the coast through several small towns before catching a glimpse of the Franz Josef glacier as you arrive into the town centre.

Your accommodation - Scenic Hotel Franz Josef Glacier

Style: Hotel 4 star

Meals included: Breakfast

Accommodation features

  • Check in time: 2 pm
  • Check out time: 10 am
  • Walk time to shops/restaurants: 2-5 mins
  • Parking: onsite free parking
  • Internet facilities: In room free access
  • Restaurant on site
  • Bar on site
  • Tea/coffee facilities in room
  • Hairdryer
  • Laundry facilities: On site
  • All rooms non smoking
Scenic Hotel Franz Josef Glacier
Scenic Hotel Franz Josef Glacier
Scenic Hotel Franz Josef Glacier
Scenic Hotel Franz Josef Glacier
 

Day 3

Today take scenic helicopter flight over Franz & Fox Glacier

Twin Glacier Scenic Helicopter Flight with The Helicopter Line

Twin Glacier Scenic Helicopter Flight with The Helicopter Line
Twin Glacier Scenic Helicopter Flight with The Helicopter Line
Twin Glacier Scenic Helicopter Flight with The Helicopter Line
Twin Glacier Scenic Helicopter Flight with The Helicopter Line

Take a spectacular scenic flight over two of New Zealand's most famous glaciers. Land at the head of one and view the incredible sight of this frozen river as it winds its way through ancient carved valleys. Should weather not be suitable to take this flight you are able to transfer your booking onto a similar tour on any of the Helicopter Line's operations in Queenstown or Mt Cook.

Explore Franz Josef Glacier

Explore Franz Josef Glacier
Explore Franz Josef Glacier
Explore Franz Josef Glacier
Explore Franz Josef Glacier

Franz Josef is small but lively town in the heart of the West Coast, known for its 12 km long glacier. Surrounded by lush rainforest-clad mountains the township has a vibrant and bustling atmosphere. To see the ice up close walk along the valley floor to the terminal face without a guide. However, to go on the glacier itself you must take a licensed helicopter tour.

Your accommodation - Scenic Hotel Franz Josef Glacier

Style: Hotel 4 star

Meals included: Breakfast

 

Day 4

Drive Franz Josef to Queenstown through Mt. Aspiring National Park & Lake Wanaka

Driving distance and time: 344 kms / 213 miles : 4.6 hours

 

Times are based on averages for this specific route and allow for stops. Use these times as guidelines and to assist in the planning for your day.

 

Franz Josef to Queenstown (via Wanaka)

Franz Josef to Queenstown (via Wanaka)
Franz Josef to Queenstown (via Wanaka)
Franz Josef to Queenstown (via Wanaka)
Franz Josef to Queenstown (via Wanaka)

Heading south you pass through the second glacier town of Fox Glacier. A short side trip to view the glacier is easy before heading along the coast and more classic West Coast bush scenery. At Knights Point Lookout elephant seals can often be seen basking on the sandy beaches at the far end of the point. Crossing the massive Haast River you turn inland and head into the valley climbing through mountains littered with waterfalls.The Haast Valley offers a spectacular view of the river and its enormous power. The Blue Pools near Makarora are a great 30 minute walk. Lakes Wanaka and Hawea guide you into the township of Wanaka before you head over New Zealand's highest sealed road, Crown Range Road before dropping into Queenstown. This drive should be planned as a whole day to really enjoy the scenery and to allow time to explore the walks, and many stops en route.

TSS Earnslaw cruise to Walter Peak including gourmet BBQ dinner and a farm tour

TSS Earnslaw cruise to Walter Peak including gourmet BBQ dinner and a farm tour
TSS Earnslaw cruise to Walter Peak including gourmet BBQ dinner and a farm tour
TSS Earnslaw cruise to Walter Peak including gourmet BBQ dinner and a farm tour
TSS Earnslaw cruise to Walter Peak including gourmet BBQ dinner and a farm tour

Go back in time on this return trip to Walter Peak High Country Farm aboard the historic TSS Earnslaw Steamship. You'll be greeted off the boat and guided through beautiful lakeside gardens to the charming homestead. Here you'll enjoy a Gourmet BBQ dinner which your chef will prepare in front of you. The seasonal menu includes an expansive array of local produce, including succulent meats cooked on the outdoor rotisserie and a selection of delicious vegetables and salads. Finish your meal with an irresistible dessert, New Zealand cheeses and freshly brewed tea and coffee. After dinner, an entertaining and informative demonstration gives you a glimpse of life in the high country. On your cruise home, enjoy the camaraderie of a singalong with the ship's pianist or breathe in the fresh night air as you watch the lights of Queenstown draw nearer.

Your accommodation - Heritage Hotel Queenstown

Style: Hotel 4 star

Meals included: Breakfast

Accommodation features

  • Check in time: 2 pm
  • Check out time: 10 am
  • Walk time to shops/restaurants: 10-15 mins
  • Parking: onsite free parking
  • Internet facilities: In room free access
  • Restaurant on site
  • Breakfast service available
  • Bar on site
  • Tea/coffee facilities in room
  • Room service available
  • Hairdryer
  • Swimming pool
  • Gym/fitness centre
  • All rooms non smoking
Heritage Hotel Queenstown
Heritage Hotel Queenstown
Heritage Hotel Queenstown
Heritage Hotel Queenstown
 

Day 5

A free day to explore and enjoy Queenstown. This evening take the TSS Earnslaw across Lake Wakatipu

Enjoy your free day exploring Queenstown and the surrounding countryside

Enjoy your free day exploring Queenstown and the surrounding countryside
Enjoy your free day exploring Queenstown and the surrounding countryside
Enjoy your free day exploring Queenstown and the surrounding countryside
Enjoy your free day exploring Queenstown and the surrounding countryside

Although celebrated as New Zealand's ‘adventure capital’ Queenstown offers far more than a fast paced action-packed holiday. Settled on the shores of Lake Wakatipu beneath a soaring panorama of the Remarkables Mountain Range, this alpine town is surrounded by a plethora of historic, gastronomic and scenic wonders.Head down the Gibbston Valley wine trail to sample some of the region’s best Pinot or catch a ride on the 100 year old Steamship - the TSS Earnslaw -  to Walter Peak Station for dinner and a farm tour. Browse the waterfront cafes and have lunch at Michelin star chef Josh Emett's ‘Rata.’ Check out nearby historic Arrowtown and enhance your experience with a four wheel drive trip to Macetown.Take a leisurely lakeside stroll or ride the gondola for breathtaking views. Venture further afield into the Fiordland National Park or head over the Crown Range to Wanaka. Drive through Lord Of The Rings country - or for the really fanatic, jump aboard one of many dedicated LOTR tours. And after all of that - if you do really want the adrenaline rush Queenstown is known for, take your pick from the Shotover Jet, Nevis Bungy, Canyon Swing, Zipline, Luge or Heli-ski.

TSS Earnslaw cruise to Walter Peak including gourmet BBQ dinner and a farm tour

TSS Earnslaw cruise to Walter Peak including gourmet BBQ dinner and a farm tour
TSS Earnslaw cruise to Walter Peak including gourmet BBQ dinner and a farm tour
TSS Earnslaw cruise to Walter Peak including gourmet BBQ dinner and a farm tour
TSS Earnslaw cruise to Walter Peak including gourmet BBQ dinner and a farm tour

Go back in time on this return trip to Walter Peak High Country Farm aboard the historic TSS Earnslaw Steamship. You'll be greeted off the boat and guided through beautiful lakeside gardens to the charming homestead. Here you'll enjoy a Gourmet BBQ dinner which your chef will prepare in front of you. The seasonal menu includes an expansive array of local produce, including succulent meats cooked on the outdoor rotisserie and a selection of delicious vegetables and salads. Finish your meal with an irresistible dessert, New Zealand cheeses and freshly brewed tea and coffee. After dinner, an entertaining and informative demonstration gives you a glimpse of life in the high country. On your cruise home, enjoy the camaraderie of a singalong with the ship's pianist or breathe in the fresh night air as you watch the lights of Queenstown draw nearer.

Your accommodation - Heritage Hotel Queenstown

Style: Hotel 4 star

Meals included: Breakfast, Dinner

 

Day 6

Today head to the 'Edinburgh of the South', Dunedin

Driving distance and time: 274 kms / 170 miles : 3.3 hours

 

Times are based on averages for this specific route and allow for stops. Use these times as guidelines and to assist in the planning for your day.

 

Queenstown to Dunedin

Queenstown to Dunedin
Queenstown to Dunedin
Queenstown to Dunedin
Queenstown to Dunedin

Your route today is a historic one with many small towns along the way. Go through the Kawarau Gorge and stop at one of its renowned wineries. The gorge is also home to the world's first commercial bungy jumping operation and a viewing platform lets you watch others as you build the courage to try it yourself - or not! A little further you'll come to Cromwell, sitting beside the man-made Lake Dunstan - created when the valley was flooded in 1992 as part of the hydro electric scheme. As a result, much of the original town is now submerged, but several historic buildings were relocated to 'Old Cromwell Town'.

Continue on through the Otago Goldfields. Pass the townships of Alexandra, Lawrence and Roxburgh - once with booming populations three times their current at the height of the 1800's gold-rush. Many of the old settlements remain and are worth a look if you can spare the time. Alexandra in more recent times has become the 'stone fruit capital' of New Zealand - named for its ideal fruit growing climate.  As you drive further south the landscape changes to rolling hills and windswept farmland - melding fluidly with the rugged coast of Dunedin, your destination for the night.

Your accommodation - Distinction Dunedin Hotel

Style: Hotel 4 star

Meals included: Breakfast

Accommodation features

  • Check in time: 2 pm
  • Check out time: 10 am
  • Walk time to shops/restaurants: 2-5 mins
  • Parking: valet paid parking NZ$20-NZ$30 per 24 hrs
  • Internet facilities: In room free access
  • Restaurant on site
  • Bar on site
  • Tea/coffee facilities in room
  • Hairdryer
  • Laundry facilities: In room
  • Gym/fitness centre
  • All rooms non smoking
Distinction Dunedin Hotel
Distinction Dunedin Hotel
Distinction Dunedin Hotel
Distinction Dunedin Hotel
 

Day 7

A return trip on the Taierir Gorge Historic Railway

Taieri Gorge Railway: Dunedin to Pukerangi and Return

Taieri Gorge Railway: Dunedin to Pukerangi and Return
Taieri Gorge Railway: Dunedin to Pukerangi and Return
Taieri Gorge Railway: Dunedin to Pukerangi and Return
Taieri Gorge Railway: Dunedin to Pukerangi and Return

The Taieri Gorge train is Dunedin's prestige tourist train operating from the historic Railway Station. The trip takes you on a journey through the rugged and spectacular Taieri River Gorge, across wrought iron viaducts and through tunnels carved by hand more than 100 years ago. With full commentary, photographic stops, comfortable heating in winter and on board refreshments the train offers year round, all-weather entertainment.

Your accommodation - Distinction Dunedin Hotel

Style: Hotel 4 star

Meals included: Breakfast

 

Day 8

Today head through the Waitaki Valley and to Mt. Cook National Park

Driving distance and time: 317 kms / 196 miles : 3.7 hours

 

Times are based on averages for this specific route and allow for stops. Use these times as guidelines and to assist in the planning for your day.

 

Dunedin to Mt. Cook National Park

Dunedin to Mt. Cook National Park
Dunedin to Mt. Cook National Park
Dunedin to Mt. Cook National Park
Dunedin to Mt. Cook National Park

Heading north from Dunedin your first stop should be Moeraki to explore the famous and unique boulders strewn on the beach. Another worthwhile stop is Fleurs in the township, one of the finest cafes in New Zealand. Before heading inland along the Waitaki Valley you pass through the historic township of Oamaru and its Stone buildings. Take time to head into the old quarter and if your timing is right you may get to see some of the local resident little blue penguins. The Waitaki Valley makes a large contribution to New Zealand's electricity supply with its 3 hydro dams. Arriving into Omarama you are now truly in the high country but don't think these vast empty lands are useless, these are some of the country's most productive merino sheep stations. The turquoise waters of Lake Pukaki guide you the final 45 minutes to Mt. Cook Village. Please note there are no food or shops at Mount Cook you will need to stock up prior to arriving in Mount Cook if you wish to self cater.

Your accommodation - Hermitage Hotel, Aoraki Wing Premium

Style: Hotel 4 star

Meals included: Breakfast, Dinner

Accommodation features

  • Check in time: 2 pm
  • Check out time: 10 am
  • Parking: onsite free parking
  • Internet facilities: In room free access
  • Internet facilities: On site free access
  • Restaurant on site
  • Bar on site
  • Tea/coffee facilities in room
  • Hairdryer
  • All rooms non smoking
Hermitage Hotel, Aoraki Wing Premium
Hermitage Hotel, Aoraki Wing Premium
Hermitage Hotel, Aoraki Wing Premium
Hermitage Hotel, Aoraki Wing Premium
 

Day 9

This morning take a breath-taking ski plane flight, then continue across the Canterbury Plains to Christchurch

Driving distance and time: 327 kms / 203 miles : 3.7 hours

 

Times are based on averages for this specific route and allow for stops. Use these times as guidelines and to assist in the planning for your day.

 

Glacier Explorers Mt. Cook

Glacier Explorers Mt. Cook
Glacier Explorers Mt. Cook
Glacier Explorers Mt. Cook
Glacier Explorers Mt. Cook

Experience 500 year old icebergs up-close on the Mt Cook terminal lake. The Glacier Explorers tour is the only one of its kind in New Zealand - and one of only three in the world! Very few glaciers terminate into lakes and even fewer of them are accessible. See towering ice cliffs and floating icebergs from the safety of a specially designed boat.  These boats provide a safe way to view unseen and inaccessible areas of New Zealand's largest glacier - The Tasman.

Mt. Cook National Park to Christchurch

Mt. Cook National Park to Christchurch
Mt. Cook National Park to Christchurch
Mt. Cook National Park to Christchurch
Mt. Cook National Park to Christchurch

Leaving Mount Cook national park, travel a short distance before stopping at the visitor centre on the southern shores of Lake Pukaki. Learn about the formation of the region and take in the spectacular views of Mt. Cook. Lake Tekapo also displays the same reflective qualities of Lake Pukaki - making the waters a bright turquoise. You’ll go through the small town of Tekapo, home to some of the most photographed subjects in the country, the Church of the Good Shepherd and the Collie Dog statue. It's a great place to take a scenic flight, enjoy a guided horse trek, a boat trip on the pristine lake or just marvel at the magnificent views. From here you travel through Burkes Pass and into the rich farming valley that surrounds Geraldine. Continue on across the vast Canterbury Plains to arrive in Christchurch City, your destination for the night.

Your accommodation - Distinction Hotel Christchurch

Style: Hotel 4 star

Meals included: Breakfast

 

Day 10

From Christchurch travel to the thermal retreat of Hanmer Springs

Driving distance and time: 122 kms / 76 miles : 1.4 hours

 

Times are based on averages for this specific route and allow for stops. Use these times as guidelines and to assist in the planning for your day.

 

Christchurch to Hanmer Springs

Christchurch to Hanmer Springs
Christchurch to Hanmer Springs
Christchurch to Hanmer Springs
Christchurch to Hanmer Springs

The drive north from Christchurch to Hanmer takes you through some fine rolling farmland and North Canterbury's major wine region, the Waipara Valley before heading inland towards Hanmer Springs.

Your accommodation - Heritage Hanmer Springs

Style: Hotel 4 star

Meals included: Breakfast

Accommodation features

  • Check in time: 2 pm
  • Check out time: 10 am
  • Walk time to shops/restaurants: 1-2 mins
  • Parking: onsite free parking
  • Internet facilities: In room free access
  • Restaurant on site
  • Breakfast service available
  • Bar on site
  • Tea/coffee facilities in room
  • Room service available
  • Hairdryer
  • Swimming pool
  • All rooms non smoking
Heritage Hanmer Springs
Heritage Hanmer Springs
Heritage Hanmer Springs
Heritage Hanmer Springs
 

Day 11

Travel the Lewis Pass to the remarkable Punakaiki Rocks

Driving distance and time: 256 kms / 159 miles : 3.1 hours

 

Times are based on averages for this specific route and allow for stops. Use these times as guidelines and to assist in the planning for your day.

 

Hanmer Springs to Punakaiki via the Lewis Pass

Hanmer Springs to Punakaiki via the Lewis Pass
Hanmer Springs to Punakaiki via the Lewis Pass
Hanmer Springs to Punakaiki via the Lewis Pass
Hanmer Springs to Punakaiki via the Lewis Pass

Heading north west from Hanmer Springs and onto the Lewis Pass the landscape changes to a sub alpine zone with large forests of red and silver beech. Near the summit a short walking track, the Tarn Nature Walk, is an ideal place to break your journey. Maruia Springs has been attracting travellers for years and the natural hot springs are now located within an authentic Japanese themed resort. Reefton sprung to life in the 1870's when gold was discovered (as did many other West Coast towns) but the mining here was so successful and the town became so prosperous that it became the first place in Australasia to have electric lighting. The visitor centre tells a great tale and also has a replica gold mine. Continuing onto Greymouth and then a short drive along the wild west coast to Punakaiki. Punakaiki is most famous for the Pancake Rocks and Blowholes. Visitors are often less aware of the great many other experiences available. Located in the heart of the Paparoa National Park, the area offers guided beach, forest and mountain walks, canoeing, wildlife, horse trekking, surfing, gemstone hunting, caving and climbing, heritage sites. There are taverns, cafés and restaurants, and a great range of accommodation. The area also boasts a vibrant arts and crafts community and a cooperative gallery.

Your accommodation - Punakaiki Resort

Style: Hotel 4 star

Meals included: Breakfast

Accommodation features

  • Check in time: 2 pm
  • Check out time: 10 am
  • Walk time to shops/restaurants: 10-15 mins
  • Parking: onsite free parking
  • Internet facilities: On site paid access
  • Restaurant on site
  • Bar on site
  • Tea/coffee facilities in room
  • Room service available
  • Laundry facilities: On site
  • All rooms non smoking
Punakaiki Resort
Punakaiki Resort
Punakaiki Resort
Punakaiki Resort
 

Day 12

Travel from Punakaiki on to Nelson

Driving distance and time: 249 kms / 155 miles : 2.9 hours

 

Times are based on averages for this specific route and allow for stops. Use these times as guidelines and to assist in the planning for your day.

 

Punakaiki to Nelson

Punakaiki to Nelson
Punakaiki to Nelson
Punakaiki to Nelson
Punakaiki to Nelson

Heading North a worthwhile divert is to Cape Foulwind just south of Westport. Home to a seal colony and the short walk provides some spectacular scenery. Driving along the Buller Gorge enjoy some wonderful scenery as you follow this magnificent river. The first major town (by this regions standard) is Inangahua and a small museum tells of the earthquake that hit the region in 1968 leaving 70% of the buildings damaged or inhabitable. Further along the river one of the must stop places is Whites Creek and New Zealand's longest swing bridge. Crossing the river you get magnificent views of the gorge and once on the other side there are short bush walks, jet boat rides and some of the historic gold mining remnants. The town of Murchison is a quiet place and a great lunch stop. Underneath its sleepy farming facade is an adventurers paradise with white water rafting, kayaking, 4WD trips and some great trout fishing. Continuing to follow the river you then enter the Kahurangi National Park region and the Nelson Lakes. Trees, rivers and valleys accompany you now as you head into the suburb of Richmond and then Nelson City.

Your accommodation - Rutherford Hotel Nelson

Style: Hotel 4 star

Meals included: Breakfast

Accommodation features

  • Check in time: 2 pm
  • Check out time: 10 am
  • Walk time to shops/restaurants: 5-10 mins
  • Parking: onsite paid parking NZ$10-NZ$15 per 24 hrs
  • Internet facilities: In room paid access
  • Restaurant on site
  • Breakfast service available
  • Bar on site
  • Tea/coffee facilities in room
  • Room service available
  • Hairdryer
  • Laundry facilities: Drycleaning service available
  • Swimming pool
  • Gym/fitness centre
  • All rooms non smoking
Rutherford Hotel Nelson
Rutherford Hotel Nelson
Rutherford Hotel Nelson
Rutherford Hotel Nelson
 

Day 13

Explore Nelson and visit the WOW Car Museum

Explore the Nelson and Abel Tasman region

Explore the Nelson and Abel Tasman region
Explore the Nelson and Abel Tasman region
Explore the Nelson and Abel Tasman region
Explore the Nelson and Abel Tasman region

Nelson is a great city to explore on foot. Visit the historic areas, the famous Cathedral or relax and enjoy the atmosphere at one of the many cafes on Trafalgar Street. Nelson is also noted for its many artists, and galleries displaying their work can be enjoyed by following one of the Art trails listed locally. Around 45 minutes drive away is Abel Tasman National Park. The region offers countless opportunities to explore for visitors of every age and capability, from enjoying the golden sand beaches and clear warm waters to guided kayaking trips viewing seals and dolphins, to exploring some of New Zealand's finest walking tracks.

World of WearableArt (WOW) and Classic Cars Museum - suggested activity

World of WearableArt (WOW) and Classic Cars Museum - suggested activity
World of WearableArt (WOW) and Classic Cars Museum - suggested activity
World of WearableArt (WOW) and Classic Cars Museum - suggested activity
World of WearableArt (WOW) and Classic Cars Museum - suggested activity

The World of WearableArt™ and Classic Cars Museum is an iconic ‘must see’ Nelson visitor attraction that celebrates two distinctly different passions. A world class collection of classic cars can be viewed alongside incredible wearable works of art from all around the globe. This unique visitor attraction means you can enjoy the special World of WearableArt™ experience even if you can't make it to the annual performance.  All the garments on display have performed on stage in the annual WOW® Awards. The magical experience of the annual awards show is brilliantly translated to the gallery setting by the use of superb music, specially sequenced lighting and a cleverly introduced element of movement. Here you will truly appreciate the intricate detailing of these incredible creations up close.

The car collection represent years of passionate sourcing from around the world and New Zealand. These cars are some of the most sought after models in Classic Motoring, presented to the highest standard, with some having undergone extensive restoration. As well as being classic examples of automotive technology, these cars tell an important story about the twentieth century. They represent the spectrum of automotive history, design and craftsmanship.  This is one of Australasia’s largest private collections. The museum’s distinctive building features a six-metre high metallic aluminium ribbon wall that is based on a dynamic wand and silk taper performance in a previous WearableArt™ show. The aluminium fabric flows and twists like the original fabric. The museum also includes a café with fine food made fresh every day and superb locally roasted coffee which you can enjoy inside or out beside their tranquil pool.

Your accommodation - Rutherford Hotel Nelson

Style: Hotel 4 star

Meals included: Breakfast

 

Day 14

A picturesque trip along Queen Charlotte Drive to Blenheim, then maybe visit the local vineyards or Omaka Aviation Centre

Driving distance and time: 131 kms / 82 miles : 2.0 hours

 

Times are based on averages for this specific route and allow for stops. Use these times as guidelines and to assist in the planning for your day.

 

Nelson to Blenheim via Queen Charlotte Drive

Nelson to Blenheim via Queen Charlotte Drive
Nelson to Blenheim via Queen Charlotte Drive
Nelson to Blenheim via Queen Charlotte Drive
Nelson to Blenheim via Queen Charlotte Drive

From city of Nelson you drive along the coast of Tasman Bay towards the Bryant Range. The highway between Nelson and Picton also crosses the Pelorus River and just at this junction is the famous and historic Pelorus Bridge. From here there are a number of forest walks with the most popular the 30 minute loop through beech, rimu and totara forest to the swing-bridge. Starting in the town of Havelock the Queen Charlotte Drive travels the Marlborough Sounds coastline towards the port town of Picton. Magnificent views of the sounds can be had from many vantage points so allow plenty of time to enjoy the scenery. If you can spare the time take the narrow windy road to Portage along Mahau Sound and Kenepuru Sound with their bush clad hillsides and secluded sandy coves. Picton the busy port town of Picton, and its here from that the Interislander ferries arrive and depart. The small town centre has plenty of shops and cafes and the waterfront area is a very pleasant place to spend a few hours watching the activity of the ships. The Edwin Fox Maritime Centre on the wharf is worth a visit with the star attraction being the vessel the Edwin Fox, reputably the 9th oldest ship in the world. Just 30 minutes south is Blenheim siting right at the heart of the New Zealand's largest wine producing region, Marlborough, and is ideally located to enjoy an afternoon sampling of the local produce.

Omaka Aviation Heritage Centre

Omaka Aviation Heritage Centre
Omaka Aviation Heritage Centre
Omaka Aviation Heritage Centre
Omaka Aviation Heritage Centre

Omaka Aviation Heritage Centre houses a display like no other and you don't have to be an aviation buff to enjoy it! Human stories from the Great War come to life in a theatrical treatment, which is innovative and visually stunning. Captivating scenes depict the aircraft in context, some recreating actual incidents. The rare memorabilia is worthy of any national collection and ranges from beautifully crafted 'trench art' through to personal items belonging to the famous Red Baron himself.

Your accommodation - Chateau Marlborough

Style: Hotel 4 star

Meals included: Breakfast

Accommodation features

  • Check in time: 2 pm
  • Check out time: 11 am
  • Walk time to shops/restaurants: 1-2 mins
  • Parking: onsite free parking
  • Internet facilities: In room free access
  • Restaurant on site
  • Bar on site
  • Tea/coffee facilities in room
  • Kitchen/kitchenette in room
  • Laundry facilities: On site
  • Swimming pool
  • All rooms non smoking
Chateau Marlborough
Chateau Marlborough
Chateau Marlborough
Chateau Marlborough
 

Day 15

Blenheim to Wellington including the Interislander Ferry across the Cook Straight

Driving distance and time: 27 kms / 17 miles : 0.4 hours

 

Times are based on averages for this specific route and allow for stops. Use these times as guidelines and to assist in the planning for your day.

 

Blenheim to Picton

Blenheim to Picton
Blenheim to Picton
Blenheim to Picton
Blenheim to Picton

The short drive from Blenheim to Picton takes you through more wine growing regions and the valley to the west of the Robertson Range. Picton is a port town and its here that the Interislander ferries arrive and depart. The town centre is quite small with plenty of shops and cafes and the waterfront area is a very pleasant place to spend a few hours watching the activity of the ships. The Edwin Fox Maritime Centre on the wharf is worth a visit with the star attraction being the vessel the Edwin Fox, reputably the 9th oldest ship in the world. The hills to the west of Picton are the start of Queen Charlotte Drive, a very picturesque road to Havelock and Nelson that winds its way along the shores of the sounds.

Interislander Ferry Picton to Wellington with exclusive access to the Premium Plus Lounge

Interislander Ferry Picton to Wellington with exclusive access to the Premium Plus Lounge
Interislander Ferry Picton to Wellington with exclusive access to the Premium Plus Lounge
Interislander Ferry Picton to Wellington with exclusive access to the Premium Plus Lounge
Interislander Ferry Picton to Wellington with exclusive access to the Premium Plus Lounge

The 92 km journey between Picton and Wellington takes around 3 hours and has been described as 'one of the most beautiful ferry rides in the world'. Around one hour of the cruise takes you through the Marlborough Sounds. This region of bush covered mountains, small islands, crystal clear waters and secluded bays is a true photographic opportunity. From the Cook Strait spectacular views of the Kaikoura Ranges on the South Island can be enjoyed and dolphins and many sea birds are often seen. After crossing the strait you approach Wellington Harbour and pass many interesting points such as Pencarrow Head on top of which is New Zealand's oldest lighthouse (1859). Red Rocks is home to a seal colony and Oterangi Bay is the site which recorded the countries highest ever wind speed of 268 kph (167 mph).When you're not out on the deck enjoying the amazing views, you can retreat to the exclusive premium plus lounge which is the most comfortable and relaxing way to travel across the Cook Strait. You'll enjoy complimentary beverages, light snacks, lunch or breakfast, internet access, magazines and newspapers and the most comfortable seating, so you can sit back and enjoy the journey.

Private transfer Wellington ferry terminal to hotel

You will be met on arrival into Wellington and transferred to your hotel.

Your accommodation - Distinction Wellington Century City Hotel

Style: Hotel 4 star

Meals included: Breakfast

Accommodation features

  • Check in time: 3 pm
  • Check out time: 11 am
  • Walk time to shops/restaurants: 2-5 mins
  • Parking: onsite paid parking NZ$20-NZ$30 per 24 hrs
  • Internet facilities: In room free access
  • Tea/coffee facilities in room
  • Kitchen/kitchenette in room
  • Hairdryer
  • Laundry facilities: On site
  • Swimming pool
  • Gym/fitness centre
  • All rooms non smoking
Distinction Wellington Century City Hotel
Distinction Wellington Century City Hotel
Distinction Wellington Century City Hotel
Distinction Wellington Century City Hotel
 

Day 16

Explore Wellington, the museums and cable car are great attractions

Wellington's museums - suggested activity

Wellington's museums - suggested activity
Wellington's museums - suggested activity
Wellington's museums - suggested activity
Wellington's museums - suggested activity

Te Papa

Te Papa means 'our place' and is considered to be the 'museum of New Zealand'. The building opened in 1998 and since then has shown millions of visitors it's fascinating and unique collection of New Zealand's art, history, memorabilia, natural wonders, treasures and stories as well as hosting many international displays. One of the finest collections of Maori artefacts can be found here as well as displays dedicated to the many different cultures that make up New Zealand's current population. Make sure you allow enough time to explore museums many floors. The museum is open 10am to 6pm and is free to visit. A small fee may be applicable to some short term visiting displays.

Museum of Wellington City & Sea

Housed in the iconic Bond Store on Wellington’s waterfront, the Museum of Wellington is dedicated to the preservation and study of Wellington’s rich social and cultural history. It provides a backdrop for the permanent display of the people and events that have made Wellington what it is today. The Museum’s atmosphere is thick with history. The Bond Store dates back to 1892, when it was a cargo warehouse and head office of the Harbour Board. Careful restoration has preserved the building’s striking facade, as well as solid timber beams and the original flooring inside. The latest technology is used to further stimulate your senses. Traditional displays sit alongside interactive exhibits, holographs and a giant cinema screen that stretches the length and breadth of an entire wall, a feature unique in Australasia. The collection includes over 95,000 items. Open 10am to 5pm entry is free. 

Your accommodation - Distinction Wellington Century City Hotel

Style: Hotel 4 star

Meals included: Breakfast

 

Day 17

Today you take the Northern Explorer train journeys from Wellington to Auckland

Driving distance and time: 0 kms / 0 miles : 0.0 hours

 

Times are based on averages for this specific route and allow for stops. Use these times as guidelines and to assist in the planning for your day.

 

Private transfer to Wellington train station

You will be collected from your hotel and transferred to Wellington train station to meet your train.

The Northern Explorer Scenic Train: Wellington to Auckland

The Northern Explorer Scenic Train: Wellington to Auckland
The Northern Explorer Scenic Train: Wellington to Auckland
The Northern Explorer Scenic Train: Wellington to Auckland
The Northern Explorer Scenic Train: Wellington to Auckland

The Northern Explorer is a journey through the heart of the North Island, travelling between Wellington, New Zealand's arts and culture capital and Auckland, New Zealand's largest city. Along the way you pass the Central North Island ski towns of National Park and Ohakune. You also see fantastic views of New Zealand farmland, the volcanic plateau, Mount Ruapehu, the world famous Raurimu Spiral, and stunning river gorges - all from panoramic windows or open air viewing decks. All carriages feature large panoramic windows giving sweeping views of the magnificent North Island. The Observation Carriage includes a mix of seating including lounge-style seating. The lounge-style seating is arranged at the very rear of this glass-backed carriage enabling you to enjoy a totally unique Northern Explorer experience.

Private transfer Auckland train station to hotel

A private transfer will meet you from your train and drive you to your Auckland accommodation.

Your accommodation - M Social Hotel Auckland

Style: Hotel 4 star

Meals included: Breakfast

Accommodation features

  • Check in time: 3 pm
  • Check out time: 11 am
  • Walk time to shops/restaurants: 2-5 mins
  • Parking: onsite paid parking NZ$35-NZ$45 per 24 hrs
  • Internet facilities: In room free access
  • Restaurant on site
  • Includes continental breakfast
  • Breakfast service available
  • Dinner service available
  • Bar on site
  • Tea/coffee facilities in room
  • Hairdryer
  • Gym/fitness centre
  • All rooms non smoking
M Social Hotel Auckland
M Social Hotel Auckland
M Social Hotel Auckland
M Social Hotel Auckland
 

Day 18

Depart Auckland today

Transfer to Auckland airport

Transfer to Auckland airport
Transfer to Auckland airport
Transfer to Auckland airport
Transfer to Auckland airport

You will be collected from your Auckland hotel and transferred to the airport to meet your departing flight.