• Escorted Tour

South Island Springtime Rail

Featuring Franz Josef & Milford Sounds

Experience the scenic south in style, travelling aboard our exclusive charter train.

Springtime provides a stunning panorama of magnificent southern mountain scenery, meandering rivers and coastal plains.

We travel by rail from Picton, along the Kaikoura coastline to Christchurch. We traverse the Southern Alps in both directions, plus ride the historic Taieri Gorge Train through the spectacular Central Otago hinterland.

Central Otago, Queenstown, Te Anau, Milford Sound are not to be missed and we take you to these special places.

Our tour escort and hosts ensure your 14-day tour is relaxing, fun and memorable.

Our New Zealand Rail Tours give you an armchair ride through some of the world’s most stunning scenery – Aotearoa

Your travel itinerary

Saturday 03 October

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.

Sunday 04 October

Wellington – Picton

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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 transfer to our central accommodation.

Monday 05 October

Picton – Blenheim - Christchurch

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A morning of sightseeing en route 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.

Tuesday 06 October

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.

Wednesday 07 October

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.

Thursday 08 October

Franz Josef - Christchurch

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We re-trace our steps along the West Coast and through the Southern Alps by train, passing through Rolleston and onto Christchurch for an overnight stay.

Friday 09 October

Christchurch - Dunedin

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A leisurely start to the day before joining our chartered train and travelling south passing through rolling farmland and coastal inlets to arrive in Dunedin late afternoon.

Saturday 10 October

Dunedin – Queenstown

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After breakfast, board the Taieri Gorge Railway for the spectacular scenic journey over viaducts and through narrow tunnels to Pukerangi.

Continue by road through vast, timeless, tundra landscapes and the ancient mountains of Central Otago before arriving in Queenstown for a two night stay.

Sunday 11 October


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Today is at leisure to enjoy ‘The Jewel of the South’ with an optional lake cruise on the historic steamship TSS Earnslaw to Walter Peak Farm.
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.

Monday 12 October

Queenstown – Te Anau

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After breakfast we head for the colourful former gold mining town of Arrowtown before following the Lake Wakatipu shoreline through farmland to the beautiful Lake Te Anau for a two night stay. An afternoon optional tour is available to the Te Anau Glow Worm Caves.

Tuesday 13 October

Milford Sound Cruise

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

Wednesday 14 October

Te Anau – Invercargill - Dunedin

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After breakfast we drive along the scenic southern route and rich Southland countryside to Invercargill. We re-join our chartered train and travel onto Dunedin.

Thursday 15 October

Dunedin - Christchurch

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Travel by our chartered train north from Dunedin via Ashburton and Timaru to Christchurch. Relax and enjoy your farewell dinner tonight to end our wonderful southern rail experience.

Friday 16 October

Christchurch – Home

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Transfer to the airport for return flights home.


  • Travel on a chartered train
  • 13 nights hotel accommodation
  • Cooked breakfasts daily
  • Eight lunches and 12 dinners
  • Morning and afternoon tea on board the trains
  • All sightseeing and entrance fees as specified
  • Commentaries provided by your escorts, drivers and guides
  • Comfortable air-conditioned coaches with panoramic windows
  • Airfares from Christchurch to Auckland and other destinations (conditions apply)
  • Luggage handling on tour
  • All gratuities are included
  • Cook Strait – Marlborough Sounds ferry trip
  • Northern Explorer Train
  • Coastal Pacific Train
  • Trans Alpine Train
  • Tairei Gorge Railway
  • Lunchtime scenic cruise of Milford Sound


Cost Per Person *
Auckland - Auckland
Twin ShareSingle 
     $ 5,799  $ 7,395

*This is a cash or cheque 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


  • Domestic travel insurance – please ask us for a quote
  • Items of a personal nature
  • Items not specified 

Booking Conditions

  • A non-refundable deposit of $500 per person will secure a place on the tour
  • FULL PAYMENT is due no later than 01 September 2020      
  • Bookings made after 01 September must be paid in full at time of booking


  • Deposit – non refundable
  • After 01 September 2020 – the tour is non refundable

Travel Insurance

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

General Information

Health and Fitness

  • At times, entering and exiting the train can be very demanding for those with limited mobility
  • 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
  • Mobility frames are not practical or permitted

Optional Tours

The optional tours have always proved popular


Wednesday 07           Fox Glacier to Mt Cook Helicopter Ride via Franz Josef, $360 per person

Imagine flying the entire length of the Fox Glacier, then soaring at eye level against the west face of Aoraki/Mount Cook. There's time for a glacier snow landing before descending the Glacier Valley, with the mountains behind.                                                                     

 Sunday 11                   Lake Wakatipu Cruise (TSS Earnslaw)          $98 per person

A three and a half hour excursion departing Steamer’s Wharf in Queenstown on the coal-fired TSS Earnslaw. Enjoy afternoon tea at Walters Peak Station.

 Sunday 11                   Queenstown Helicopter Flight                    $485 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.                  

Monday 12                 Te Anau Glow Worm Caves                          $106 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

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


Advantages of joining our chartered rail journeys

Train travel
Appreciate being able to walk about the carriage, comfortable seats, afternoon bar service, complimentary morning & afternoon teas and toilet accessibility.

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