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Top of the South Island

Rail Tour


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 Picton, Christchurch, Akaroa, Greymouth 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

Saturday 28 November

Auckland – Wellington

Lunch iconLunch Dinner iconDinner

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.


Sunday 29 November

Wellington – Picton

Breakfast iconBreakfast Dinner iconDinner

After breakfast, enjoy a Wellington city tour including the Botanical Gardens and Mt Victoria before crossing Cook Strait by ferry to Picton. Food available on board. On arrival, check into our centrally-located hotel in this attractive seaside hamlet. 


Monday 30 November

Picton – Christchurch

Breakfast iconBreakfast Lunch iconLunch Dinner iconDinner

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.


Tuesday 01 December


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Depart by coach for a day on Banks Peninsula. The drive through natural beauty has spectacular views verlooking 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.


Wednesday 02 December

Christchurch – Greymouth

Breakfast iconBreakfast Lunch iconLunch Dinner iconDinner

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 for a one night stay.

West Coast This somewhat isolated region sandwiched between the Tasman Sea and the Southern Alps is picturesque, unique, remote and wild. The drive up the Nikau-palmed coastline through Punakaiki to Westport is spectacular. As an aside, the Kotuku (a white heron) which habitats the region, is depicted on the NZ $2 coin.


Thursday 03 December

Greymouth - Nelson

Breakfast iconBreakfast Dinner iconDinner

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.


Friday 04 December

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


Saturday 05 December

Nelson - Home

Breakfast iconBreakfast

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.

*Itinerary Subject to Change and confirmation from Kiwirail and schedule. 


•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 
 Estimated Cost* Subject to KiwiRail Confirmation and Schedule



 $2,995  $3,395

*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


• 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 09 October 2020

•Bookings made after 09 October 2020 will require full payment.


• Deposit – non refundable

• After 09 October 2020 – 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 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