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Rail Tour - Top of the South

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

Kiwis enjoy nothing more than sitting back in comfort and watching the world go by – in this case, the picturesque top of the South Island.

 After the ‘Northern Explorer’ rail traverse of the North Island, the South Island awaits.

• A tranquil Marlborough Sound • Picturesque Kaikoura Coast • Banks Peninsula • Scenic Southern Alps • Wild West Coast • Buller Gorge Hinterland • the Abel Tasman Coastline • three memorable train journeys – Auckland - Wellington: Coastal Pacific to Christchurch: Tranz Alpine to Greymouth.

There is time to relax in Blenheim, Christchurch, Akaroa, Hokitika and Nelson. Carriages are comfortably equipped with full on-board facilities and spectacular viewing through panoramic windows, offering uninterrupted views not seen when travelling by road. 

Travelling by rail, coach and ferry allows you to become part of the fabulous scenery. Your tour escort and the crew will ensure your eight-day tour is relaxing, fun and memorable.Each night we stay in comfortable hotels where all guest rooms have their own private facilities.

Daily breakfasts, most lunches and many dinners are included on tour. We look forward to welcoming you on our fifth ‘Top of the South’ Rail Tour.

Your travel itinerary

Monday 15 March

Auckland – Wellington

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Board the popular ‘Northern Explorer’ train at The Strand in downtown Auckland or at any other regular station on the main trunk line for the daylight adventure through lush rolling hills to Hamilton, Otorohanga and the King Country. Among today’s highlights are 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 Wellington for a one night stay.  Enjoy a welcome dinner at our centrally-located hotel.


Tuesday 16 March

Wellington – Blenheim

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After breakfast, enjoy a Wellington city tour including the Botanical Gardens and Mt Victoria before crossing Cook Strait by ferry to Picton. On arrival transfer by coach to your  hotel in the heart of the Marlborough Wine Country.  


Wednesday 17 March

Blenheim – Christchurch

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After breakfast, travel by coach to the Omaka Aviation Museum for a guided tour of the museum with its aeroplanes and artefacts from WWI, mannequins and props made by Weta Workshop. Lunch is included at a local vineyard. We join the ‘Coastal Pacific’ train for a leisurely journey to Christchurch. This special section of picturesque coastline railway line has reopened following the 2016 earthquake and the opportunity to see the progress as you pass through Kaikoura, will create a lot of interest. Continue inland through the hill country of North Canterbury to Christchurch, arriving at our inner city hotel in the evening for a two night stay. Dinner on board the train.

Coastal Pacific and Tranz Alpine train journeys These two world-renowned train routes travel through some of the most spectacular scenery in New Zealand. Rocky coastlines, picturesque sea views, agricultural farmland, the rugged Southern Alps and historical towns all make the journey a wonderful experience.



Thursday 18 March


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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 with time to enjoy the history, harbour and French character. Lunch at own expense before returning to Christchurch.


Friday 19 March

Christchurch to Hokitika

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Today board the Tranz Alpine train to traverse the spectacular Southern Alps to the West Coast. Cross the Canterbury Plains through Darfield and after a short stop in Springfield, climb the mountain range including a stop at Arthurs Pass - famous for its Weka population. Our descent takes us through Otira and the renowned rain forests and wetlands to Greymouth, followed by a short drive through to Hokitika for a one night stay. 

Hokitika Hokitika is a small town in the West Coast region of New Zealand’s South Island, 40 kilometres south of Greymouth, and close to the mouth of the Hokitika River.

Saturday 20 March

Hokitika to Nelson

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After breakfast depart by coach for a brief visit to the former Brunner Mine site, scene of New Zealand’s worst mining disaster in 1896.  Continue on the scenic drive up the West Coast, stopping off at the nationally-acclaimed Punakaiki Rocks, alongside the Buller River and up the Buller Gorge to Murchison for lunch (own expense). Later depart for Nelson for a two-night stay.

Punakaiki This small West Coast community is a popular tourist attraction with its limestone pancake-shaped rocks and blowholes that produce spectacular water formations.

Buller Gorge The scenic drive through gorges and dense forest follows the Buller River towards its source – Lake Rotoiti in the Nelson Lakes, passing through the iconic towns of Murchison and Inungahua on the way to Nelson.

Sunday 21 March

Nelson (Sightseeing)

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Our tour of the region includes travelling to Motueka and the seaside village of Kaiteriteri with its picturesque golden sands. Board the scenic cruise along the Abel Tasman National Park coastline to Totaranui, passing Split Apple Rock on the way and return to Kaiteriteri. Lunch is served on-board. Return to Nelson by coach with scenic attractions along the way. Farewell dinner tonight



Monday 22 March

Nelson - Home

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After breakfast, a free morning in Nelson to enjoy the famous Nelson Market, the WOW Museum, the Classic Car Museum or simply relax. Transfer to Nelson Airport for your afternoon flight home.



•Travel by train & coach as specified

•Seven nights hotel accommodation

•Cook Strait ferry crossing 

•Guided tour of Omaka Aviation Museum

•Lunch at a local vineyard in Blenheim

•Cooked breakfasts daily

•Four lunches and seven dinners

•All sightseeing and entrance fees as specified

•Commentaries provided by your drivers and local guides

•Comfortable air-conditioned coaches with panoramic windows

•All transfers

•Luggage handling on tour



Cost Per Person *
Auckland - Auckland
Twin ShareSingle 
   $ 3,195  $ 3,795
 One night Auckland - pre tour  POA  
 Extra night Auckland – post tour  POA  

*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


• Cancellation insurance

• Items of a personal nature

Booking Conditions

•A non-refundable deposit of $400 per person will secure a place on the tour.  

•FULL PAYMENT is due no later than 12 February 2021 

•Bookings made after 12 February 2021  will require full payment.



• Deposit – non refundable

• After 12 February 2021  – no refund

• All cancellation charges are on a per- person basis.  

•No refund can be made once tour is   underway.

• 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 $150 per person.


Travel Insurance

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


Health and Fitness

At times, entering and exiting the train can be very demanding for those with limited mobility. A good standard of health and fitness is required and clients should be independently mobile. Mobility frames are not practical or permitted.


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