Sir Edmund Hilary Explorer

Rail and Coach Tour Christchurch to Wellington

Deal Details

Travel Dates

29 Oct 22 - 10 Nov 22

Sale Ends

Oct 20, 2022

Priced From

$6,950 per person


tranzalpine from greymouth

A journey of a lifetime from Christchurch via Arthur’s Pass, Franz Josef, Te Anau, Milford Sound, Queenstown, Dunedin, Aoraki/Mt Cook, Kaikoura and Marlborough before the home stretch to Wellington, using a combination of Train & Luxury Coach; Accommodation of at least 4-star rated properties; Meal inclusions: • 12 cooked breakfasts • 10 sumptuous dinners • High Tea at Larnach Castle • Gourmet BBQ lunch at Walter Peak Homestead. Other included lunches: Milford Sounds, Invercargill, Oamaru, Timaru, Christchurch and Kekerengu.

Attractions that are included: • TranzAlpine Rail Journey • Franz Josef Hot Pools • Walter Peak Homestead • Cruise Lake Wakatipu on the TSS Earnslaw • Arrowtown Lakes District Museum • Milford Sound Day Trip & Cruise • Takahe Sanctuary • High Tea & Castle Tour at Larnach Castle • Celebrity guest speaker, Peter Hillary • Sir Edmund Hillary Alpine Centre at Aoraki/Mt Cook • Tram ride in Christchurch • International Antarctic Centre • Visit to The Store, Kekerengu • Cruise on the Interislander Ferry 

Heritage rail highlights: A return journey between Kingston & Fairlight on the iconic Kingston Flyer steam train will the icing on the cake for all rail fans. From Invercargill to Kaikoura, your rail journey continues with two magnificent heritage 1950’s DA locomotives in an impressive & powerful double-header formation. From Kaikoura to Marlborough, you will be hauled under a full head of steam by the historic WW1 memorial steam locomotive Ab608 Passchendaele, named in honour of our fallen soldiers at The Battle of Passchendaele in 1917.

Package includes 2x complimentary beverage vouchers to be enjoyed on board each heritage train day. A fleet of luxury coaches will escort the train throughout the journey, providing seamless transfers to your accommodation and excursions. You will be accompanied by experienced Tour Leaders who are there to guide and assist you throughout your journey.



Day 1   Saturday 29th October 2022
Christchurch - Arthur's Pass - Franz Josef
There is an optional pre-tour Registration at the Novotel Cathedral Square Hotel to meet your fellow explorers and tour guides from 2:30pm – 5:30pm on 28th October.
Your journey begins at Christchurch Railway Station, where the iconic TranzAlpine awaits. Often regarded to be one of the world’s great train journeys for the scenery through which it passes. The journey is 223 kilometres one-way, taking almost five hours. You will see epic vistas, travel the edges of the ice-fed Waimakariri River, traverse the majestic Canterbury Plains and Southern Alps, and see miles of native beech forest. Luxury coaches await in Greymouth to transport you to your hotel in the ruggedly beautiful Franz Josef. Finish your day with some well-deserved pampering at the local Glacier Hot Pools.
Passengers stay at the Scenic Hotel Franz Josef.

Day 2  Sunday 30th October 2022
Franz Josef - Queenstown
Wake up to enjoy the option for a helicopter tour of the Franz Josef glacier. Leaving Franz Josef, we travel along the West Coast through the Haast Pass, journeying through native beech forest and over the Southern Alps. This remote area has a ruggedly beautiful landscape of vast rainforests, gushing waterfalls and snow-capped mountains. Continuing through Makarora on the border of Mount Aspiring World Heritage Park, we pass by the crystal-clear waters of Lake Wanaka, Lake Hawea and Lake Dunstan. The adventure playground of Queenstown then awaits! Cap off a special day as we take in The Remarkables Mountain Range and the view of Lake Wakatipu from the hotel.
Passengers stay at in the Novotel Lakeside Hotel in Queenstown, centrally located on the shores of Lake Wakatipu.

Day 3  Monday 31st October 2022

Wake up to join a lake cruise on board the historic TSS Earnslaw, the 1912 Edwardian steamboat, which takes us across Lake Wakatipu to Walter Peak High Country Farm for a gourmet BBQ lunch. Enjoy an afternoon visit to the historic and picturesque goldmining town, Arrowtown, with a visit to the Lakes District Museum. 
Passengers stay at in the Novotel Lakeside Hotel in Queenstown, centrally located on the shores of Lake Wakatipu.

Day 4  Tuesday 1st November 2022
Queenstown - Kingston - Te Anau
Departing Queenstown, we continue to the village of Kingston which is nestled on southernmost end of Lake Wakatipu. Here, the iconic Kingston Flyer Steam Train awaits to take you on a memorable journey between Kingston & Fairlight. Then, we enter the Fiordland National Park district, continuing to traverse the Southern Scenic Route, our journey calls in to visit the Takahe Bird Sanctuary. Takahe are the stars of the show and meeting these prehistoric-looking characters is a ‘must do’ for Fiordland visitors. The sanctuary is a large part of the success of the Takahe Recovery Programme. We spend a couple of awe-inspiring days experiencing the wonders of Te Anau and Milford Sound.
Passengers stay at Distinction Hotel Luxmore.

Day 5  Wednesday 2nd November 2022
Te Anau - Milford Sound - Te Anau
Traveling along the Milford Road (between Te Anau and Milford) is one of the finest alpine drives in the world. The scenery is exceptional, ranging from broad grassy flats, dense rainforest and towering mountains through to glacial lakes and alpine herb fields. A day tour to Milford Sound offers some of the most spectacular natural scenery to be viewed anywhere in the world. Board the coach and travel through stunning scenery along the Milford Road and into Fiordland, where your cruise boat awaits you. The tour includes a cruise around the fiord so you can experience its wonders up close and see landmarks like Mitre Peak and amazing wildlife, such as dolphins and seals. Cruise the inner most reaches of Milford Sound to the open Tasman Sea and back. A one-day itinerary is enough to see all the beautiful views along the way, take a scenic cruise around the fiord, and get back to Te Anau in time for dinner.
Passengers stay at Distinction Hotel Luxmore.

Day 6  Thursday 3rd November 2022
Te Anau - Dunedin
Depart Te Anau for Invercargill, where we will discover the beginning of the main rail trunk line. Here you will board vintage carriages and be hauled north by two heritage 1950’s DA locomotives in an impressive double-header formation in their dramatic racing colours. The train winds its way towards the town of Gore, and then turns towards the coast on the way to Dunedin.
Passengers will stay at Scenic Hotel Southern Cross which is Dunedin’s most established hotel, nestled in the heart of the city.

Day 7  Friday 4th November 2022
Situated on the picturesque Otago Peninsula, Larnach Castle is one of New Zealand’s premier visitor attractions. Lovingly restored by the Barker Family, the Castle and surrounding grounds are at the heart of the Dunedin visitor experience. Arrive in time for refreshing high tea in the Ballroom Café followed by a guided garden tour. In the afternoon, there is the option to explore the ‘hidden’ underground Fort Taiaroa - the fort was established over 100 years ago to counter the threat of invasion from Tsarist Russia and is located underneath the Albatross colony. This is the only mainland breeding colony of Royal Albatross in the world.
Passengers will stay at Scenic Hotel Southern Cross which is Dunedin’s most established hotel, nestled in the heart of the city.

Day 8  Saturday 5th November 2022
Dunedin - Aoraki/Mt Cook
Departing from Dunedin by rail, we continue to hug the coast towards Oamaru. We then detour inland by luxury coach via Omarama and Pukaki towards the spectacular Aoraki / Mt Cook. Here, we find the home of the tallest mountain in New Zealand, which helped Sir Edmund Hillary to develop his climbing skills in preparation for the conquest of Mt Everest. Recognised as part of the Te Wahipounamu UNESCO World Heritage Area, the National Park is a breath-taking environment of glaciers, terminal lakes, turbulent rivers and Australasia’s tallest peak, the mighty Aoraki / Mt Cook soaring above at 3,724 metres. There is the option after dinner to enjoy star-gazing at the Planetarium, digitally immersed in what has been voted the world’s largest “International Dark Sky Reserve”.
Passengers will stay at the iconic Hermitage Hotel with majestic mountain views.

Day 9  Sunday 6th November 2022
Aoraki/Mt Cook
Enjoy a leisurely morning and then a visit to the Sir Edmund Hillary Alpine Centre, which is a tribute to New Zealand’s global icon as well as discovering New Zealand’s colourful transport, climbing and hotel history. Followed by a scenic drive through the National Park surrounded by the silent splendour of the Southern Alps. Afternoon optional activities include a glacier helicopter tour or a scenic flight with expert pilots navigating their way over a glacial lake, passing soaring mountain tops over NZ’s longest glacier - the 600 metre thick, Tasman Glacier. Dinner that evening is with celebrity guest speaker, Peter Hillary, son of Sir Edmund Hillary.
Passengers will stay at the iconic Hermitage Hotel with majestic mountain views.

Day 10  Monday 7th November 2022
Aoraki/Mt Cook - Christchurch
A morning departure from the hotel leaving Aoraki/Mt Cook by coach, we journey back to the coast via the Fairlie & Tekapo to meet the train in Timaru and continue north by rail to Christchurch. After check-in, be collected at your hotel by a privately chartered Tram for a historic tram journey around the city before dinner.
Passengers will stay at the centrally located Novotel Cathedral Square.

Day 11  Tuesday 8th November 2022
Christchurch - Kaikoura
A morning visit to explore modern day Antarctica at the International Antarctic Centre and experience a taste of this unique and breath-taking continent – just like the explorers before you. Departing Christchurch, our destination is Kaikoura, home of resident whales, where the guardians of the seas – the mountains of the Southern Alps – rise majestically from the deep trenches of the Pacific Ocean. Several different species of whale can be seen off the coast of Kaikoura at different times of the year, and most of the time, the huge resident Sperm Whales can be sighted. The ocean trench just off the coast means sperm whales are often seen close to shore.
Passengers will stay at the newly opened Sudima Hotel, taking in spectacular views of the Kaikoura Esplanade.

Day 12  Wednesday 9th November 2022
Kaikoura - Picton
Wake up to optional excursions for whale, dolphin and seal watching (by boat or plane). We then introduce you to the star of the tour, the historic WW1 memorial steam locomotive Ab608 Passchendaele, (named in honour of our fallen soldiers at The Battle of Passchendaele in 1917.) It is “all aboard” and we continue to take in the spectacular coastal journey as we depart Kaikoura. We steam ahead for Kekerengu where we disembark for lunch overlooking the Pacific Ocean at “The Store”. Then onwards north via the Dashwood Pass and Awatere Valley into Blenheim – the famous Marlborough wine region boasting over 100 vineyards.
Passengers to stay at the Picton Yacht Club Hotel (or equivalent) situated on the Waikawa Bay Marina.

Day 13  Thursday 10th November 2022
Picton - Wellington
On the final day of the tour, wake up to a magnificent sunrise over the Marlborough Sounds. One of the most picturesque ferry crossings in the world awaits. We weave our way through the Queen Charlotte Sound and cruise across the Cook Strait to the harbour city of Wellington.

Tour ends in Wellington.

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