• Escorted Tour

South Island Autumn Rail Tour

Experience the scenic south in style, travelling aboard our exclusive charter train – the refurbished Silver Fern Railcar.
Each carriage is comfortably equipped with full on-board facilities and spectacular viewing.

Panoramic windows offer uninterrupted views not seen when travelling by road.

In April, autumn provides a stunning panorama of colour and when coupled with the magnificent southern-mountains’ scenery, this tour will be a wonderful New Zealand experience.

Scenic highlights abound - we operate our own charter train schedule with photo opportunities en-route.

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

Each night we stay in comfortable hotels where all guest rooms have their own private facilities and all breakfasts are included.

Morning, afternoon teas and lunches on the train are included most days as well as many dinners.

No South Island tour would be complete without including Central Otago, Queenstown, Te Anau and Milford Sound and we take you to these special places by luxury touring coaches.  From Auckland we ride the Northern Explorer train through the Central Plateau and beyond to Wellington.

Traverse the Alps, ride the historic Taieri Gorge train, journey through the spectacular scenery of central Otago, spend two nights in picturesque Queenstown and enjoy a cruise on stunning Milford Sound.

  • Arrowtown
  • Marlborough
  • Dunedin Railway Station
  • Arthurs Pass
  • Tranz-Alpine
  • Punakaiki Pancake Rocks

Your travel itinerary

Saturday 14 April

Auckland – Wellington

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Your adventure begins at The Strand in downtown Auckland or at any other regular stations on the main trunk line to Wellington. Board your carriage on the Northern Explorer train for the daylight journey and travel through lush rolling hills to Hamilton, Otorohanga and Te Kuiti.

Among today’s highlights is the circular climb up the famous engineering feat – the Raurimu Spiral to the Central Plateau and Tongariro National Park with spectacular views of Mt Ruapehu. Continue on to Ohakune, Waiouru and 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 15 April

Wellington - Picton

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Enjoy a morning city tour before transferring to 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 16 April

Picton - Greymouth

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After breakfast we travel by coach through Blenheim, past picturesque vineyards and up the Wairau Valley to the small alpine village of St Arnaud.

Continue to the former mining town of Murchison for lunch and down the Buller Gorge to Westport.

Board the ‘Silver Fern’ railcar for the nostalgic journey through the iconic, former coal mining towns of Inungahua and Reefton to Greymouth. Check into hotel for two night stay. 

Tuesday 17 April

Greymouth

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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) and Shanty Town (a replica of an old gold mining town). Return to Greymouth for dinner and a relaxing evening

Wednesday 18 April

Greymouth – Christchurch

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Our rail traverse of the spectacular Southern Alps takes us through the renowned West Coast rain forests and wetlands and the legendary town of Otira to Arthurs Pass, famous for its alpine flora, fauna and Weka population.

Cross the Canterbury Plains through Springfield, Darfield and Rolleston to the centre of Christchurch where there will be time to explore and monitor the progress of the city’s development.

Thursday 19 April

Christchurch – Akaroa - Ashburton

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A leisurely start for our excursion to the picturesque Banks Peninsula where sea views are around every turn. With its French history, quaint cottages and buildings, artisan shops and relaxed atmosphere, a special corner of New Zealand awaits.
Return to the Canterbury Plains and continue south to Ashburton for a one night stay.

Friday 20 April

Ashburton – Dunedin

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Depart Ashburton via Timaru and Oamaru (renowned for its white stone buildings) and through rolling farmland and picturesque coastline to arrive at our Dunedin inner city hotel around midday for an overnight stay.

Later enjoy a coach sightseeing tour of the ‘Edinburgh of the South’ including Signal Hill, the world’s steepest street, Botanical Gardens, University and the new sports stadium. 

Saturday 21 April

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. Lunch on board the train.

Join our coaches and continue by road through vast, timeless, tundra landscapes and ancient mountains of Central Otago, stopping at the rural art deco town of Ranfurly and continuing through other iconic towns to Clyde to view the impressive dam. Pass Lake Dunstan, Cromwell and travel along the Kawerau Valley before arriving in Queenstown for a two night stay.

Sunday 22 April

Queenstown

Breakfast iconBreakfast

Today is at leisure to enjoy ‘The Jewel of the South’ with an optional lake cruise on the historic steamship TSS Earnslaw. Maybe take the gondola to admire the panoramic views of Lake Wakatipu or for the more adventurous, a jet boat trip on the Shotover River or even a helicopter ride above Lake Wakatipu. The choice is extensive.

Monday 23 April

Queenstown – Arrowtown - Te Anau

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After breakfast, explore the former gold mining settlement of Arrowtown before following the Lake Wakatipu shoreline and travelling through farmland to the beautiful Lake Te Anau for a two night stay. The afternoon option to cruise across Lake Te Anau to visit the impressive Glow Worm Caves is available.

Tuesday 24 April

Te Anau – 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. You will be captivated by the closeness and beauty of this World Heritage region as you cruise alongside pristine native forests, enjoying lunch along the way. Return to your hotel for dinner.

Wednesday 25 April

Te Anau – Bluff – Dunedin

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An early morning start as we drive through the rich Southland countryside to Bluff for a brief stop (the start or end of SH1). Board our train to Invercargill and head north through Gore and Balclutha to Dunedin.

Thursday 26 April

Dunedin – Christchurch

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After breakfast we head north along the coastal rail route through Palmerston, Oamaru and Timaru and the plains via Ashburton to return to Christchurch and say farewell to our charter train. Farewell Dinner tonight to end our wonderful southern rail experience.

Friday 27 April

Christchurch – Auckland

Breakfast iconBreakfast

Transfer to the airport for return flights to Auckland or other destinations. 

Highlights at a Glance

  • Exclusive chartered train
  • Raurimu Spiral – Central Plateau
  • Cruise Queen Charlotte Sound
  • Trans Alpine rail traverse of the Southern Alps
  • West Coast highlights including Hokitika
  • Taieri Gorge Train
  • Coaching through Central Otago with its open tussock
  • Queenstown’s snow-capped mountains        
  • Milford Sound lunch cruise
  • Dunedin city sights tour
  • Two nights in Greymouth, Queenstown, Te Anau and Dunedin
  • Porterage and transport of your luggage

Inclusions

  • Travel on a chartered train
  • 13 nights hotel accommodation (see details)
  • Cooked breakfasts daily
  • Eight lunches and 12 dinners
  • Morning and afternoon tea on board the train
  • All sightseeing and entrance fees as specified
  • Commentaries provided by your experienced escort, drivers and guides
  • Comfortable air-conditioned coaches with panoramic windows
  • Airfares from Christchurch to Auckland and other destinations (conditions apply)
  • Luggage handling on tour

Cost

Cost Per Person * Twin ShareSingle Supplement
 Auckland - Auckland   $5,499  +$1,045
 From Wellington (13 days)        $5,295  +$945
 One night Auckland - pre tour             Price on application  
 Extra night Christchurch – post tour  Price on application  

*This is a cash or cheque price. Credit cards will incur a 2% fee

Exclusions

  • Cancellation insurance
  • 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 02 February 2018. 
  • Bookings made after 02 February 2018 must be paid in full at time of booking.

Cancellations and Refunds

  • Deposit – non refundable
  • After 02 February 2018 – no refund
  • All cancellation charges are on a per-person basis. 
  • No refund can be made once tour is underway.

Travel Insurance

We strongly advise all participants to take out suitable travel insurance to cover cancellation costs.

Please ask us for a quote.

Optional Tours

The options below proved popular with our previous groups.

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

Sun 22 April    Lake Wakatipu Cruise (TSS Earnslaw)      $79 per person

A three and a half hour excursion departing Steamer’s Wharf in Queenstown at noon on the coal-fired TSS Earnslaw. Spectacular views of the resort township and the Remarkable Ranges abound. Enjoy afternoon tea at Walters Peak Station.

 

Sun 22 April    Queenstown Helicopter Flight    $455 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 passed Coronet Peak and the Wakatipu Basin.    

   

Mon 23 April  Te Anau Glow Worm Caves $81 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.

 

Tues 24 April   Te Anau Fiordland Helicopter Flight   $400 per person
An opportunity to enjoy a 40 minute helicopter flight over some of the most spectacular scenery in the world. Includes a high alpine landing. 

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 comfortably.
  • Mobility frames are not practical or permitted.

Frequently Asked Questions

Travelling alone?   Don’t hesitate to book if you are on your own.  Although we are unable to guarantee twin share accommodation for participants travelling individually, 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.

Can I extend my holiday?

Yes, it is possible to extend your holiday at the end of the tour.  Simply advise us before you make your final payment and prior to issuing your airline ticket (if applicable). 

Can I deduct the airfare from the tour cost?

Yes, where we have included return airfares, if you wish to arrange your own airfares, simply deduct $140 (approx).


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

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