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South Island Autumn Grand Rail Tour

Featuring Franz Josef, Milford Sound, The Catlins and Stewart 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 28 April

Auckland – Wellington

Lunch iconLunch Dinner iconDinner

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 29 April

Wellington – Picton - Blenheim

Breakfast iconBreakfast

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 30 April

Blenheim - Christchurch

Breakfast iconBreakfast Lunch iconLunch Dinner iconDinner

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 01 May


Breakfast iconBreakfast Dinner iconDinner

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 02 May

Christchurch – Franz Josef

Breakfast iconBreakfast Lunch iconLunch

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 03 May

Franz Josef

Breakfast iconBreakfast Dinner iconDinner

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 04 May

Franz Josef - Queenstown

Breakfast iconBreakfast Dinner iconDinner

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 05 May


Breakfast iconBreakfast Dinner iconDinner

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 06 May

Queenstown – Te Anau

Breakfast iconBreakfast Dinner iconDinner

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 07 May

Milford Sound Cruise

Breakfast iconBreakfast Lunch iconLunch Dinner iconDinner

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 08 May

Te Anau – Invercargill

Breakfast iconBreakfast Lunch iconLunch Dinner iconDinner

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 09 May

Invercargill – Stewart Island - Invercargill

Breakfast iconBreakfast Dinner iconDinner

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 10 May

Invercargill – Catlins - Dunedin

Breakfast iconBreakfast Lunch iconLunch Dinner iconDinner

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 11 May

Dunedin - Home

Breakfast iconBreakfast

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


  • 13 nights hotel accommodation
  • Cooked breakfasts daily
  • Six lunches and 13 dinners
  • All sightseeing and entrance fees as specified
  • Commentaries provided by your drivers and guides
  • Comfortable air-conditioned coaches with panoramic windows
  • One way airfare from Dunedin to Auckland (other destinations please ask)
  • All gratuities are included
  • Northern Explorer Train
  • Coastal Pacific Train
  • Trans Alpine Train
  • Inter Islander Ferry
  • Walter Peak Station Gourmet BBQ - Queenstown
  • Lunchtime scenic cruise of Milford Sound
  • Stewart Island day tour experience


Cost Per Person *
Auckland - Auckland
Twin ShareSingle 
   $ 5259  $ 6,663

*This is a cash or direct debit 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


Booking Conditions

  • A non-refundable deposit of $500 per person will secure a place on the tour  
  • FULL PAYMENT is due no later than 15 March 2022
  • Bookings made after 15 March 2022 must be paid in full at time of book



  •  Deposit – non refundable
  • After 19 February 2021   – the tour is non refundable
  • 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

Tuesday 03 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 05 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 06 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 Fiordland.

Monday 09 Ulva Island Explorer $120 per person
With lunch included this cruise will showcase some of Paterson Inlet’s stunning scenery with its hidden coves and un-spoilt beaches. While on board, keep a look out for fur seals and penguins. Paterson inlet is home to renowned wildlife sanctuary Ulva Island and we’ll stop there for a 45 minute guided walk. (Group numbers are limited).

Monday 09 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

  •  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

Terms and Conditions

For full terms and conditions please visit our website www.pukekohetravel. co.nz/termsandconditions or ask our tour consultant for a copy

Covid-19 Vaccination

• All travellers must be fully vaccinated and be able to provide a copy of the Ministry of Health Vaccine Record Card with proof of your full Covid-19 vaccination. It is important that the date of vaccination of your final dose is at least 14 days before the tour departure date.

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