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Grand Rail Experience

Grand Rail Experience

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Key Information:
Tour Duration: 14 day(s)
Group Size: 1 - 12 people
Destination(s): New Zealand  
Specialty Categories: Railway Trips   Ecotourism  
Season: January - December
Airfare Included: No
Tour Customizable: No
Minimum Per Person Price: 3565 US Dollar (USD)
Maximum Per Person Price: 5070 US Dollar (USD)

Your Itinerary:

Day 1: Auckland, Freedom of Choice Touring. You will be met and transferred to your hotel. Today you choose an activity and we will include it. Stay: Auckland, Skycity Hotel.

Day 2: Auckland, The Overlander, Rotorua. This morning we board the Overlander Train and journey to Otorohanga. Continue to the world famous Waitomo Caves and be guided into an ancient labyrinth of limestone caverns to see the thousands of glow worms that call these caverns home. Continue to Rotorua by coach. This evening enjoy a Maori Hangi (feast) and cultural performance. 2 Night Stay: Rotorua, Park Heritage. Includes: (B), (D).

Day 3: Rotorua, Freedom of Choice Touring. Rotorua is New Zealand's oldest and best known thermal resort, where generations of visitors have enjoyed its waters and learned of its Maori heritage. Today we give you the opportunity to choose the activity at no extra cost. You may visit the ‘Must See Three’, Te Puia, the Agrodome sheep show and Rainbow Springs. Perhaps visit the Polynesian Spa for a spa treatment and leisurely soak in a natural thermal mineral pool, take a half day Ecothermal Tour or a tour of the Rotorua Museum and cultural experience at the Realm of Tane. County home stay option available tonight. Includes: (B), (D).

Day 4: Rotorua, the Overlander, Tongariro National Park. This morning we travel to Te Kuiti by coach and join the Overlander Train for a tour through the heart of the North Island. Travel over world-famous Raurimu Spiral. Spend this evening in World Heritage-listed Tongariro National Park, nestled at the base of majestic Mt Ruapehu. Stay: Tongariro National Park, Chateau Tongariro. Includes: (B), (D).

Day 5: TranzMetro Train, Wellington. This morning we head south to Featherston. Travel through Taihape, renowned as the 'Gumboot Capital' of New Zealand. Every year a festival is held here to celebrate this essential item of rural 'kiwi' footwear. Continue through the Manawatu Gorge and the Wairarapa region to Featherston. On arrival into Featherston, we visit the Fell Engine Museum before we board the TranzMetro Train for our short journey to Wellington, via the Rimutaka Tunnel. 2 Night Stay: Wellington, James Cook Hotel Grand Chancellor. Includes: (B), (D).

Day 6: Wellington at Leisure. Today we take a short stroll to the Wellington Cable Car whose service from Lambton Quay to Kelburn began in 1902. Ascend to the top and perhaps visit the Cable Car Museum or take a walk around the tranquil Botanic Gardens. These gardens contain native bush including the Lady Norwood Rose Garden with over 100 rose species. Rejoin our coach and journey to Mt Victoria for the best view of the city, harbor and surrounding regions. View Parliament buildings including the ‘Beehive’. Continue onto Te Papa the ‘National Museum of New Zealand’. Here is the past, present and future on display. Our morning sightseeing tour concludes and the remainder of today is at leisure for you to explore Wellington. Includes: (B).

Day 7: Wellington, TranzCoastal Train, Christchurch. This morning we join our cruise for a journey between the North and South islands. Travel across Cook Strait and through the picturesque Marlborough Sounds and Queen Charlotte Sound to Picton. On arrival join the TranzCoastal Train for a scenic journey between mountains and sea. Continue to Christchurch, known as the Garden City, with its distinctive English feel. Stay: Christchurch, Hotel Grand Chancellor. Includes: (B), (D).

Day 8: TranzAlpine Train, Franz Josef. This morning board the award-winning TranzAlpine Train, voted one of the top rail journeys in the world. Travel through gorges, river valleys and across the Southern Alps. Disembark at Greymouth and continue to Hokitika. Stay: Franz Josef Glacier Hotel. Includes: (B), (D).

Day 9: Franz Josef, Queenstown, Dine Around Dinner. Enjoy incredible scenery today as we leave this World Heritage-listed area. See spectacular mountain ranges, untouched native forests, lakes and glaciers. Journey along the shores of beautiful lakes Wanaka and Hawea, to the alpine resort of Queenstown with the Remarkable Ranges close by. Tonight choose from four different dining experiences.
Two Night Stay: Queenstown, Novotel Gardens Hotel. Includes: (B), (D).

Day 10: Queenstown, Freedom of Choice Touring. Queenstown is an exhilarating, year-round, alpine resort, perfect for adventurers and leisure-seekers alike. Nestled on the shores of Lake Wakatipu, overlooked by the majestic Southern Alps, the town was named because it was fit for a Queen. Today we have a selection of activities for you to choose from. A Queenstown Double Decker Explorer tour, an Original Wine Tour of some of the local and award-winning wineries, an exhilarating jet boat ride on the Shotover River or a relaxing garden tour might appeal. Perhaps take the 'Safari of the Scenes' or an adventure into Skippers Canyon by 4WD or a Lakeshore Forest and Bird Walk. Includes: (B).

Day 11: Kingston Flyer Steam Train, Milford Sound, Te Anau. Take a trip back in time today aboard the Kingston Flyer, New Zealand’s famous vintage steam train. Travel from Kingston to Fairlight through alpine desert and tussock grasslands. Continue to Milford Sound and on arrival into Milford join a cruise for a journey on this magnificent, glacier-carved fiord. This afternoon return to the delightful lakeside town of Te Anau. Stay: Te Anau, Luxmore Hotel. Includes: (B), (D).

Day 12: Dunedin, Freedom of Choice Touring. Arrive in the charming Scottish-influenced town of Dunedin. Today choose a Freedom of Choice activity and we will include it! Perhaps join the Taieri Gorge Railway Excursion, or view the magnificent Royal Albatross or Yellow-eyed Penguin on the Otago Peninsula. You could even visit the Speight's Brewery. Stay: Dunedin City Hotel. Includes: (B), (D).

Day 13: Dunedin, Seasider Train, Mt Cook. This morning we board the Seasider Train at Dunedin’s stately railway station, and journey north along the east coast. We travel into World Heritage-listed Mt Cook National Park, home to Australasia’s highest mountain, Mt Cook. You may wish to take an optional scenic flight over this alpine region for bird's eye views over the landscape (weather permitting, own expense). Stay: Mt Cook, The Hermitage. Includes: (B), (D).

Day 14: Lake Tekapo, Christchurch. Today visit Lake Tekapo and view the tiny Church of the Good Shepherd, built from local stone and oak in tribute to the hard working early pioneers of the land. Dwarfed by the surrounding mountains, the church is a definite photographic highlight. Travel through Burkes Pass to the Garden City of Christchurch. Your tour concludes on arrival in Christchurch and a departure transfer to the airport is included. Includes: (B),

Notes:
Airfare is not included in the tour price.

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Australia and Oceania   New Zealand   Local Culture   Railway Trips   Ecotourism