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Grand Tour of New Zealand

(Tour code: NZS17)22 days exploring North and South Island

Enthralling scenery and breathtaking views are found at every turn in the 'Youngest Country on Earth'. Discover steaming geysers, picturesque mountains, bottomless fjords and lush forests on this tour showcasing the beauty of New Zealand's North and South Islands.

Tour Highlights
  • Bay of Islands
  • Auckland
  • Three vintage railway excursions
  • Journeys on the Northern Explorer, TranzAlpine and Coastal Pacific trains
  • Rotorua
  • Te Anau
  • Lady Knox Geyser
  • Wellington
  • The International Antarctic Centre
What’s Included (Full details)
  • Standard Class Rail
    Heritage Rail Excursions
  • 18 Nights' hotel accommodation
  • Transfers & Porterage in New Zealand
  • Return Scheduled Flights
    Upgrades Available

Itinerary & Map

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Departure Times

Provisional departure and return times, where available, can be found together with our dates and prices by clicking on the 'Prices & Availability' button. We write to all booked customers approximately 10 weeks prior to the start of their tour to advise the exact departure and return time for their particular group.

Flying to New Zealand
Days 1-3

London to Auckland

Departing from London we fly via Singapore to Auckland, arriving mid-morning on Day 3. On arrival we take an orientation tour including views of the Manukau and Waitemata Harbours, before transferring to the Rendezvous Hotel. Tonight we enjoy dinner together.

Waitangi Treaty Ground
Day 4

To Paihia and Waitangi Treaty House

Today we travel northwards through scenic farmland to Paihia, located in the truly magnificent Bay of Islands. Here we visit the Waitangi Treaty House, where in 1840 Maori and British people reached an historic agreement which effectively marked the birth of New Zealand. We spend two nights in Paihia at the Kingsgate Hotel Autolodge.

Bay of Islands
Day 5

Bay of Islands

After a leisurely morning, today we enjoy a cruise around the bay, passing golden beaches. Later we continue up to the rugged Cape Brett, and (weather permitting) travel through the 'Hole in the Rock' to Otehei Bay on Urupukapuka Island.

Day 6

Auckland, the ‘City of Sails’

This morning we drive south back to Auckland, the country's largest city, known as the 'City of Sails' for the number of yachts that take to the waters around it. We explore on a sightseeing tour, taking in the Hauraki Gulf and the volcanic islands that are characteristic of this beautiful area. We then visit the iconic Auckland War Memorial Museum.

Glenbrook Vintage Railway
Day 7


This morning we take a trip on the Glenbrook Vintage Railway, operated by steam enthusiasts. We then travel across the Bombay Hills, through Waikato Valley to Rotorua, the Maori's spiritual home. We visit the Rotorua Museum, which gives an insight into the region's history and culture. We spend two nights in Rotorua at the Distinction Hotel.

Day 8


We visit Wai-O-Tapu (Sacred Waters) to see the Lady Knox Geyser volcano. Here we marvel at the rainbow-coloured pools and former mud volcano, where you can hear the unique sound of erupting, boiling mud.

The Northern Explorer
Days 9-10

Northern Explorer to Wellington

Transferring to Hamilton, we take the Northern Explorer train for a journey through King Country. We view spectacular scenery from panoramic windows including the peaks of Tongariro National Park, Mount Ruapehu and stunning river gorges. We spend two nights at the James Cook Grand Chancellor Hotel or the West Plaza Hotel. On Day 10 we enjoy a sightseeing tour of Wellington. We drive along pretty Oriental Bay to Mount Victoria for stunning views and see the Parliament Buildings.

Day 11

To the South Island by ferry

Today we take the Interislander ferry across Cook Strait to Picton on the South Island. On arrival in Picton we board the TranzCoastal train for a scenic journey to Christchurch via Blenheim, the Marlborough wine region and down the Pacific Coast through Kaikoura. We spend tonight at the Quality Hotel Elms in Christchurch.

Days 12-13

Dunedin and the Taieri Gorge

We cross Canterbury Plains through Timaru and Oamaru, stopping at Moeraki to see the mysterious spherical boulders scattered on the beach. We check in at the Scenic Hotel for two nights. On Day 13 your morning is free to explore Dunedin. In the afternoon we follow the trail of 19th century gold miners to the gold fields of Central Otago on the Taieri Gorge Railway in carriages dating back to the 1920's.

Te Anau
Day 14

Te Anau

Today we travel to Te Anau, nestled by the serene waters of Lake Te Anau, the second longest lake in New Zealand. We cruise across the lake for a guided tour of the Te Anau Caves, with their subterranean limestone caverns and magical glow worm grotto. We spend two nights at the Distinction Luxmore Hotel.

Milford Sound
Day 15

Milford Sound

We travel into the Fiordland National Park for a cruise on stunning Milford Sound. Lush rainforests cling precariously to the fiord's cliffs and the cruise takes us past magnificent waterfalls and out to the Tasman Sea. We enjoy a buffet lunch on board the ship.

Day 16

To Queenstown

This morning we travel to Queenstown, a popular destination loved by outdoor enthusiasts thanks to the magnificent surrounding scenery. Here we enjoy a ride on the Skyline Gondola, which offers a wonderful panorama, before checking in to the Copthorne Hotel Queenstown Lakeview.

Lake Wakatipu
Days 17-18

Queenstown and Lake Wakatipu

Today we enjoy a sightseeing tour, driving across Shotover River to historic Arrowtown, the site of a major gold rush in the 1860s and a 'Lord of the Rings' film location. We continue to Gibbston Valley Winery for a tour of the cellars and wine tasting. Day 18 is at leisure, relaxing in Queenstown overlooked by Lake Wakatipu.

Franz Joseph Glacier
Day 19

Franz Josef Glacier

Travelling past Lake Wanaka, we descend to the Haast River. Continuing through the native rainforest by coach, we pass Fox Glacier before reaching the Franz Josef Glacier. An overnight stay and dinner at the Scenic Hotel Franz Josef Glacier or Quality Hotel Elms allows us to view the glacier or to take a helicopter flight to the snowfield (payable locally).

Day 20

The TranzAlpine

We visit Hokitika, the centre for New Zealand jade, before boarding the TranzAlpine train for Christchurch at the township of Arthur's Pass. On our last night we stay at the Sudima Hotel and enjoy a farewell dinner together.

Flying home
Days 21-22

The Journey Home

On our final day in New Zealand we visit the International Antarctic Centre, before transferring to the airport for our flight home, which lands in London mid-morning on Day 22.

Please note

Please note that while every departure of this tour will feature the same excursions, the order may differ from that shown above.


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Julie Longfield
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Lori Mcclaren


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