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South Island Autumn Grand Rail Tour

Featuring Franz Josef, Milford Sound, The Catlins and Stewart Island

The Scenic South Island. Autumn provides a stunning panorama of magnificent southern mountain scenery, meandering rivers and coastal plains. Experience the scenic south in style travelling by train and luxury coach.

We travel by rail from Auckland to Wellington then also from Picton, along the Kaikoura coastline to Christchurch. We take the time to explore the City of Christchurch and the Akaroa Peninsula before we travel on the TranzAlpine Train from Christchurch to Greymouth. The West Coast, Queenstown, Te Anau, Milford Sound, Stewart Island are all included before a special day in The Catlins. Our tour is planned at a leisurely pace with frequent two night stops and our tour escort ensures your 14-day tour is relaxing, fun and hassle free.

Your travel itinerary

Thursday 14 April

Auckland – Wellington

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Board your carriage on the Northern Explorer train for the daylight journey from Auckland to Wellington. Among today’s highlights is the circular climb up the famous engineering feat – the Raurimu Spiral and enjoy spectacular views of Mt Ruapehu. Continue alongside the Rangitikei River to Palmerston North, before the scenic Kapiti Coast and the run into the capital for an overnight stay. Welcome dinner tonight.


Friday 15 April

Wellington – Picton - Blenheim

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Enjoy a morning city tour, before arriving at the ferry for an early afternoon Cook Strait crossing to the picturesque Marlborough Sounds. Arrive in Picton late afternoon and continue to Blenheim for a one night stay. 


Saturday 16 April

Blenheim - Christchurch

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A leisurely morning before a visit to the Omaka Aviation Heritage Centre in Blenheim followed by a vineyard lunch. We then continue our journey onboard the Coastal Pacific Train travelling along the picturesque Kaikoura Coast to Christchurch. We pass through Kaikoura famous for its whale watching and head inland through the rolling hill country of North Canterbury. 


Sunday 17 April


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Depart by coach for a day on Banks Peninsula. The drive through natural beauty has spectacular views overlooking bays and beaches before arriving in Akaroa. Time to enjoy the history, shops, harbour and French character. Lunch at own expense before returning to Christchurch.


Monday 18 April

Christchurch – Franz Josef

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This morning board the Tranz Alpine train to journey across the spectacular Southern Alps to the rugged West Coast. We climb the mountain range with scenic stops along the way including Arthurs Pass. We continue through the renowned rain forests and wetlands to arrive in Greymouth. Transfer to our coaches and enjoy a scenic drive to Franz Josef for our two night stay.


Tuesday 19 April

Franz Josef

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A sightseeing day to this unique part of New Zealand, passing through typical west coast bush and rain forests to Hokitika (famous for its greenstone). If you prefer an optional helicopter ride to Franz Josef Glacier and Mt Cook is available. Return to Franz Josef for dinner and a relaxing evening.

Wednesday 20 April

Franz Josef - Queenstown

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Today our journey continues south past Fox Glacier  winding through lush forests and eventually back to the coast to Haast before catapulting you into the mountains and over one of the most spectacular mountain passes, the Haast Pass. The road then continues alongside the two snow fed lakes of Wanaka and Hawea before entering the wine country at Cromwell and on into the Kawarau Gorge arriving into Queenstown late afternoon for a two night stay.


Thursday 21 April


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Today is at leisure to enjoy ‘The Jewel of the South’. Maybe take the gondola to admire the panoramic views of Lake Wakatipu or for the more adventurous a helicopter ride above Lake Wakatipu. The choices are extensive. This evening we enjoy a Lake Cruise on board the TSS Earnslaw for a special dinner at Walter Peak Station.


Friday 22 April

Queenstown – Te Anau

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After breakfast we follow Lake Wakatipu shoreline through farmland to beautiful Lake Te Anau for a two night stay. An afternoon optional tour is available to the Te Anau Glow Worm Caves. 


Saturday 23 April

Milford Sound Cruise

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Drive through mountain beech forests framed by spectacular snow-capped mountains and through Homer Tunnel before emerging at Milford Sound for your lunch time cruise.


Sunday 24 April

Te Anau – Invercargill

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After breakfast we drive along the scenic southern route and rich Southland countryside to Invercargill. After lunch the afternoon is free. Why not discover the world class vintage truck collection at Bill Richardson Transport World, or learn about the legend of speed - Burt Munro at E Hayes Motorworks. Or simply take a stroll through the Botanical Gardens


Monday 25 April

nvercargill – Stewart Island - Invercargill

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This morning we travel to Bluff and cross Foveaux Strait by large modern catamaran to Stewart Island. Once on the island you can enjoy an optional leisurely cruise of beautiful Paterson Inlet and Ulva Island or explore the small township of Oban by foot. Return mid-afternoon to our Invercargill hotel. Dinner is included tonight.

Stewart Island’s densely forested hills, tiny population and untouched coastline of rocky outcrops and creamy golden sand beaches make it a natural refuge for marine and bird life and a wonderful destination for people who value nature and wild places.


Tuesday 26 April

Invercargill – Catlins - Dunedin

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After breakfast we drive through the Catlins. Highlights include podocarp forests, rugged coastlines, hidden lakes and stunning waterfalls. The natural landscapes are enthralling. We continue north to Dunedin to our inner city hotel and our farewell dinner. 


Wednesday 27 April

Dunedin - Home

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After a leisurely morning we depart for Dunedin airport to fly home



λ 13 nights hotel accommodation 

λ Cooked breakfasts daily

λ Six lunches and 13 dinners

λ All sightseeing and entrance fees as specified

λ Commentaries provided by your drivers and guides

λ Comfortable air-conditioned coaches with panoramic windows

λ One way airfare from Dunedin to Auckland (other destinations please ask)

λ All gratuities are included

λ Northern Explorer Train

λ Coastal Pacific Train

λ Trans Alpine Train

λ Inter Islander Ferry

λ Walter Peak Station Gourmet BBQ - Queenstown

λ Lunchtime scenic cruise of Milford Sound

λ Stewart Island day tour experience


Cost Per Person *
Auckland - Auckland
Twin ShareSingle 
   $ 5,259  $ 6,663

*This is a cash price. Credit cards will incur a 2% fee
*Itinerary and costs subject to change, airline and fuel charges and currency fluctuations prior to final payment


λ Domestic travel insurance – please ask us for a quote

λ Items of a personal nature

Booking Conditions

λ A non-refundable deposit of $500 per person will secure a place on the tour  

λ FULL PAYMENT is due no later than 01 March 2022

λ Bookings made after 01 March 2022  must be paid in full at time of book


λ Deposit – non refundable

λ After 01 March 2022     – the tour is non refundable

λ If the tour is cancelled due to covid 19 Government travel restrictions and a refund is available, Pukekohe Travel reserves the right in addition to any supplier imposed fees, to charge a service and administrative fee of $350 per person.

Travel Insurance

We strongly advise all participants to take out suitable domestic travel insurance to cover cancellation costs. Please ask us for a quote


Optional Tours

The optional tours have always proved popular


April 2022

Tuesday 19 Franz Josef and Fox Glacier Helicopter Flight, $280 per person

Imagine flying the entire length of the Fox Glacier and there is time for a glacier snow landing before descending the Glacier Valley, with the mountains behind.  


Thursday 21  Queenstown Helicopter Flight 

$280 per person

Look down on spectacular scenery as you cross Lake Wakatipu with a special landing during the flight. Continue over Ben Lomond and the famous historic Skippers Canyon. See the renowned steep canyon walls of the Shotover River and fly past Coronet Peak and the Wakatipu Basin. 


Friday 22 Te Anau Glow Worm Caves $99 per person

Described by the Sydney Morning Herald as “one of the most unusual limestone cave experiences on the planet’, the Te Anau Glow Worm Caves is a must-do for anyone visiting 



Monday 25 Ulva Island Walk 

$145 per person

Ulva Island (Te Wharawhara), is renowned for its diverse and abundant birdlife with a forest dominated by Rimu, Southern Rata and Kamahi, surrounded by marine reserve. After a lot of hardwork this 267 hectare island is now predator free, allowing the bird and plant life to thrive. Please note a good standard of fitness and mobility is essential. The walk is for 45 minutes in the bush.


Monday 25 Stewart Island Village and Bays Tour  $55 per person  

Gain an entertaining insight into New Zealand’s southernmost community, and learn about the history and environment of Stewart Island. You will have plenty of time to get off the bus for photo stops and short walks. Highlights include a visit to the gateway of Rakiura National Park, beautiful Horseshoe Bay and Observation Rock.


These optional tours attract a separate charge and can be included at time of final payment (see booking form)


Health and Fitness

λ To ensure the tour is enjoyable for the whole group, a good standard of fitness is required with the ability to walk 400 metres unaided

λ Mobility frames are not practical or permitted


Advantages of joining our South Island Autumn Tour

Hassle Free

Our experienced tour escort allows you to sit back and relax. No tipping is expected and our family friendly manner makes this a tour to remember..


Our Accommodation 

Accommodation has been carefully selected on location, a high standard of comfort and friendly, helpful service. Rooms have single, twin or double beds, en-suite bathroom, television, radio, telephone and generally have tea and coffee making facilities.


Travelling alone

We will do our utmost to match suitable participants in share accommodation to avoid the single room supplement.  For those who prefer, we have rooms for sole use.


Extend my holiday please

Yes, it is possible to extend your holiday at the end of the tour.

Note: Pukekohe Travel reserves the right to correct errors and omissions on our website without recourse.
* Itinerary subject to change