16 Day Great New Zealand Rail and Cruise Experience

Admire the sights of New Zealand's South Islands on the TranzAlpine Train. Highlights include Wellington,Franz Josef, Queenstown, Dunedin and Mt Cook.

Day 1. Arrive Auckland, Freedom of Choice
On arrival into Auckland, be met at the airport and transferred to your hotel in the city centre. Today, you’ll enjoy the opportunity to discover the ‘City of Sails’ with a range of sightseeing inclusions to choose from. Perhaps take a cruise on Waitemata Harbour, head off on a Waiheke Island wine tour, or explore the fantastic Auckland Museum. Alternatively, get up close to marine life at Kelly Tarlton’s Sea Life Aquarium, or set off on a Wilderness Adventure into the Waitakere Rainforest. You may prefer to take a trip to the harbourside suburb of Devonport. This evening, enjoy a special Welcome Dinner as you get to know your Tour Director and your fellow travellers.

Stay: Amora Hotel Auckland
Daily Meals Included: • Dinner

Day 2. Auckland, Glenbrook Vintage Steam Train, Ipipiri Overnight Cruise
This morning travel to Glenbrook. On arrival, board the Glenbrook Vintage Railway. Lovingly restored, you’ll enjoy a journey through the beautiful rural Franklin countryside aboard this historic steam train. Travel to Victoria Avenue and Waiuku, before enjoying a stop at the Pukeoware Depot to explore the workshop, view other historic regional locomotives undergoing restoration, and indulge in a delightful morning tea. Later, re-board the train and travel back to Glenbrook. This afternoon, head towards Viaduct Harbour to board the Ipipiri for your spectacular overnight cruise. Glide past Auckland’s iconic highlights, including the Harbour Bridge, Bean Rock Lighthouse and Devonport, as you sail out across the Waitemata Harbour towards the Hauraki Gulf. Here, you’ll see the beautiful Rangitoto Island, formed around 600 years ago by a volcanic eruption; neighbouring Motutapu, one of the earliest places inhabited by Maori; Motuihe; Browns Island; and Waiheke Island with its golden sandy beaches. Perhaps take to the waters in one of the ship’s kayaks or discover the underwater world while snorkelling. This evening, dine on fresh local produce.

Stay: Ipipiri overnight cruise
Daily Meals Included: • Breakfast • Dinner

Day 3. Ipipiri, Auckland, Rail Cruise Experience, Rotorua, Hangi Feast
Enjoy breakfast on board before cruising back to port. On arrival, board your coach and head out towards the Mamaku Ranges near Rotorua for a unique self-drive Rail Cruising experience. In Rotorua this evening, immerse yourself in Maori culture as you enjoy a traditional Hangi Feast and performance.

Stay: Two Nights: Holiday Inn Rotorua, overlooking Whakarewarewa Thermal Reserve
Daily Meals Included: • Breakfast • Dinner

Day 4. Rotorua, Freedom of Choice
Following breakfast this morning, enjoy your Freedom of Choice Sightseeing Inclusion. Perhaps experience the icons of Rotorua at the famed Agrodome Farm Show, make your way to Rainbow Springs Nature Park to see a working Kiwi nursery and visit the fascinating Te Puia Thermal Reserve; or unwind during a relaxing round of golf. Alternatively, take a ‘Hobbiton Movie Set’ tour for an enthralling insight into the making of the Lord of the Rings trilogy; embark on a thrilling 4WD Bush Safari through native rainforest; take a drive through forest and farmland to visit New Zealand’s largest boiling mud pool and colourful hot springs; or discover the local art, history and culture at Rotorua Museum.

Daily Meals Included: • Breakfast

Day 5. Rotorua, Northern Explorer Train, Tongariro National Park
This morning, depart for Te Kuiti Railway Station and board the The Northern Explorer Train for a captivating journey through the spectacular Tongariro National Park. Experience the extraordinary beauty of North Island as the rolling green landscapes chug gently by. Continue through Tongariro National Park, famed for its breathtaking snow-capped volcanic mountains. On arrival here, disembark and enjoy a night at the historic and iconic Chateau Tongariro Hotel.

Stay: Chateau Tongariro Hotel
Daily Meals Included: • Breakfast • Dinner

Day 6. Tongariro National Park, Fell Locomotive Museum, Wellington, Freedom of Choice
Bid farewell to the beautiful Tongariro National Park following breakfast this morning. Travel to the town of Featherston where you will have the opportunity to explore the fascinating Fell Locomotive Museum, home to H199, the only locomotive of its type in the world. Delight in a relaxing afternoon tea before rejoining your coach and travelling to Wellington, New Zealand’s captivating capital city. Arrive at your hotel and enjoy time to settle in before choosing where to dine from a selection of restaurants.

Stay: Two Nights: Amora Hotel Wellington
Daily Meals Included: • Breakfast • Dinner

Day 7. Wellington
Discover the delights of the New Zealand capital with an extended stay. After breakfast, set off on a sightseeing tour taking you to the city’s best-loved landmarks and sights, including New Zealand’s national museum - Te Papa Tongarewa. Afterwards, ride Wellington’s iconic Cable Car, gaining a fresh perspective as you gaze out across this spectacular coastal city.

Daily Meals Included: • Breakfast

Day 8. Wellington, Picton, Coastal Pacific Train, Christchurch
This morning say goodbye to the North Island as you step aboard the Interislander ferry to cruise from Wellington Harbour across the Cook Strait and through the natural beauty of the Marlborough and Queen Charlotte sounds to Picton. Board the Coastal Pacific train and enjoy a thrilling journey past the picturesque landscapes of the rugged east coast to the South Island’s largest city, Christchurch. On arrival, you’ll be transferred to your hotel. Enjoy time to settle in before dinner with your fellow travellers this evening.

Stay: Christchurch, Commodore Hotel
Daily Meals Included: • Breakfast • Dinner

Day 9. Christchurch, TranzAlpine Train, Franz Josef
This morning, board the TranzAlpine train for what is renowned as one of the world’s greatest rail adventures. Head to the open-air viewing platform and enjoy stunning views as you journey through the striking patchwork farmlands of the Canterbury Plains. Follow the Waimakariri River and travel across the magnificent Southern Alps within Arthur’s Pass National Park. Disembark at Greymouth and travel by coach along the dramatic New Zealand west coast to Franz Josef, where you’ll have the opportunity to take in the dramatic terrain and icy surrounds of the striking Franz Josef Glacier. Sitting at just 250 metres above sea level, Franz Josef is quite unique as it is one of just three glaciers in the world that descends into temperate rainforest. Its low altitude and mild climate creates a spectacular environment, where stunning ice formations are juxtaposed against the lush canopy of the surrounding forest.

Stay: Franz Josef Glacier, Scenic Hotel Franz Josef
Daily Meals Included: • Breakfast • Dinner

Day 10. Franz Josef, Queenstown, Freedom of Choice
Enjoy a day of truly breathtaking scenery as you travel along the Haast River. Arrive in Queenstown, the country’s ‘adventure capital’, where you’ll choose from four tantalising restaurants in which to dine. Seafood lovers will be tempted by Finz, while the panoramic views from the Skyline Restaurant, reached by gondola, are hard to beat. Cruise aboard a vintage steamer to Walter Peak High Country Farm, or dine at your hotel restaurant.

Stay: Two Nights: Novotel Queenstown Lakeside
Daily Meals Included: • Breakfast • Dinner

Day 11. Queenstown, Freedom of Choice
Choose from a range of exciting sightseeing activities in Queenstown and its surrounds today. Lord of the Rings fans will jump at the chance to visit key filming locations, while thrill-seekers can try a ride on the famous Shotover Jet Boat, a Skippers Canyon adventure or a river safari along the Dart River. Why not tour the country’s premier wine-producing region and savour the local offerings? Nature enthusiasts may enjoy a 4WD experience at Mt Nicholas or a bird walk through the surrounding wilderness. A leisurely cruise on shimmering Lake Wakatipu is also on offer.

Daily Meals Included: • Breakfast

Day 12. Queenstown,Milford Mariner Overnight Cruise
Embark on a scenic drive today as you journey along the iconic Milford Road to Milford Sound, where you’ll enjoy a stunning overnight cruise aboard the Milford Mariner. Explore the full length of this wonderful fiord with a specialist nature guide, taking you past magical waterfalls, untamed rainforest and towering mountains, before anchoring in a sheltered cove. From here, you’re able to board a smaller boat, take the kayaks for spin or, if you’re willing to brave the water, perhaps go for a swim. Others may prefer to simply relax on board and soak in the incredible surroundings. Later you’ll savour a freshly prepared carvery buffet. You might like to enjoy some stargazing on the deck with your fellow travellers tonight before retiring to your private cabin.

Stay: Milford Mariner overnight cruise
Daily Meals Included: • Breakfast • Dinner

Day 13. Milford Mariner, Dunedin
Wake up to the serene setting of Milford Sound this morning. Indulge in a hearty breakfast on board, before further exploration. Leave the Fiordland region and travel through the rolling and spectacular Southland countryside to Dunedin on the east coast. Known as the Edinburgh of the south, Dunedin was planned in Scotland and still maintains its Victorian and Edwardian heritage.

Stay: Dunedin, Scenic Hotel Southern Cross
Daily Meals Included: • Breakfast • Dinner

Day 14. Dunedin, Taieri Gorge Railway, Mt Cook
This morning, step aboard the Taieri Gorge Railway and journey through the beautiful Southland countryside. One of the world’s greatest train trips, the Taieri Gorge Railway reveals some of the South Island’s most diverse and spectacular scenery. The train snakes through tunnels and over bridges with ease, almost becoming part of the wider landscape. Disembark at Pukerangi, and from here, journey north to view the unusual Moeraki Boulders. These large spherical stones, formed over 60 million years ago, can be found along a stretch of Koekohe Beach on the Otago Coast. Maori legend tells that the boulders are remains of calabashes, kumaras and eel baskets that washed ashore after the legendary canoe, the Araiteuru was wrecked at nearby Shag Point. Later, continue to World Heritage-listed Aoraki Mt Cook National Park to view Australasia’s highest mountain, Mt Cook, and admire the sublime alpine scenery.

Stay: APT HIGHLIGHT! Two Nights: Mt Cook, The Hermitage Hotel
Daily Meals Included: • Breakfast • Dinner

Day 15. Mt Cook, Freedom of Choice
Choose your sightseeing activity today. Perhaps visit the Sir Edmund Hillary Alpine Centre, including a visit to the planetarium and a stargazing session with an astronomer. Mt Cook National Park is home to some of New Zealand’s most spectacular landscapes, so you may like to join a guided nature walk and discover the native flora and fauna. Or, during the summer months, board a MAC boat and get up close to icebergs on the Tasman Glacier Terminal Lake.

Daily Meals Included: • Breakfast • Dinner

Day 16. Mt Cook, Lake Tekapo, Christchurch
Travelling from Mt Cook, journey between towering mountains and along the azure shores of Lake Pukaki to Lake Tekapo. The intense blue colour of the waters is unlike anything else, created by fine dust particles from surrounding glaciers. Visit the tiny Church of the Good Shepherd and take some time to enjoy the surrounds. Continue to Christchurch where your tour concludes.

Daily Meals Included: • Breakfast

See further details about this tour here: http://www.aptouring.com.au/trips/newzealand/nrc16?utm_source=tourismnz&utm_medium=third_party_web_listing&utm_content=20160321_tourismnz_newzealand2017&utm_campaign=newzealand2017

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