• Yesteryear steam train nostalgia with modern carriage comfort
• Steam train hauled wherever possible, diesel hauled elsewhere
• Stylish air-conditioned carriages
• Two 2-night stopovers (Queenstown & Te Anau)
• Comprehensive sightseeing and prepaid ground attractions
• Arthurs Pass by rail
• Oamaru heritage visit
• Bill Richardson’s Transport World
• Milford Sound Cruise
• Arrowtown visit
• Earnslaw Gourmet Barbecue evening cruise to Walter Peak Station (Farm Show)
• Taieri Gorge Rail trip with Dunedin Railways
• Rakaia Gorge visit
• Quality 4 to 5 star hotels
• Meals every day: Full breakfast (7), Dinner (7), Lunch (4)
• Luxury coach sightseeing and transfers
• Transfers to and from Christchurch Rail Station (Christchurch area only)
• Fully hosted tour (Tour Director/ Host)
Click on a day to expand
CHRISTCHURCH to ARTHUR’S PASS and return | By rail – Steam Train expected, but may be Diesel hauled (Tue)
Step aboard your heritage Mainline Steam Train for an exclusive adventure! Depart from Christchurch Railway Station to ride the rails over the famed ‘TranzAlpine’ route in air-conditioned comfort behind your powerful steam locomotive. Ride through the farmland of the Canterbury Plains to Springfield where the Southern Alps appear to rise from the plains as a barrier wall of snow capped mountains. The line from here to Arthur’s Pass is considered the most spectacular part of the route – and a masterpiece of railway engineering. Enjoy views of the dramatic Waimakariri River gorge as your train climbs towards Craigieburn. Pass through 15 short tunnels along the way and cross four remarkable viaducts, including the 72 metre high Staircase Viaduct. Cross the Waimakariri River again for the run through to Arthur’s Pass Station. Spend some time exploring photogenic Arthur’s Pass then re-join your train and return to Christchurch for a brief city sights tour.
CHRISTCHURCH to OAMARU, then to DUNEDIN | By rail – Steam Train expected, but may be Diesel hauled (Wed)
Transfer to Christchurch Station this morning. Continue south by rail to follow the Canterbury Plains through Ashburton and Timaru. Cross Latitude 45 degrees South (half way between the Equator and the South Pole) to reach Oamaru. Stop here for several hours and explore the Victorian heritage buildings, steam punk attractions, galleries, shops and crafts.
Reboard your train and pass by Moeraki, site of the famous ‘Moeraki Boulders’. See pretty coastal villages and pass through several short tunnels and across viaducts as your rail route snakes past beaches, cliffs and farmland to reach the southern city of Dunedin. The city’s Railway Station, built in a grandiose Edwardian Baroque style, may be New Zealand’s most photographed building. Transfer to your CBD Dunedin accommodation on arrival.
DUNEDIN to INVERCARGILL, then TE ANAU | By rail – Steam Train expected, but may be Diesel hauled (Thu)
Rejoin your train this morning for the journey ever southwards! Ride through Dunedin’s southern suburbs then pass Lake Waihola, a popular recreational and wetland area. Continue south to Balclutha and cross the mighty ‘Clutha’, New Zealand’s largest river by volume. Pass through Gore and view the lush, green sheep farms of the Southland region then ride through to Invercargill, New Zealand’s southernmost city. Invercargill is notable for its Scottish settlement heritage, a characteristic it shares with Dunedin city to the north.
Leave your train in Invercargill and board coaches for the transfer to one of the city’s developing attractions – Transport World.
Explore the city a little more by coach then drive north to Lumsden and onto Te Anau for another 2-night stay. Te Anau village is regarded as the ‘gateway’ to the wonders of Fiordland National Park and is located delightfully beside the shore of New Zealand’s second largest lake.
TE ANAU to MILFORD SOUND and return | By tour coach (Fri)
Depart Te Anau by luxury tour coach this morning and drive to Milford Sound along New Zealand’s most scenic mountain road! Whatever the weather delivers today, we know this visit will be another tour highlight. Rolling farmland and 400 metre deep Lake Te Anau yield to soaring mountains that rise on both sides during the climb towards the Homer Tunnel (altitude; 945 metres). Descend through the spectacular Cleddau Valley to reach Milford Village and meet your cruise boat. Explore the ice-age grandeur of Milford Sound and Mitre Peak and enjoy lunch as you cruise through the fiord. Expect to see seals and hopefully a variety of other marine life today. Your cruise boat guide will relate stories and give insights into the dramatic geographical grandeur of this natural wonder carved out by a monstrous ice-age glacier. Enjoy your cruise then meet your tour coach again this afternoon for the return drive to Te Anau.
Depart Te Anau by luxury tour coach for the drive to Queenstown this morning. Pass through lush Southland farmland initially then more rugged countryside as you drive further north. Return to the Otago region and make your way to the lakeside village of Kingston. Here you will meet Lake Wakatipu, New Zealand’s longest and third largest lake. Carved out by an ancient glacier (in similar manner to Milford Sound), Lake Wakatipu is one of New Zealand’s deepest lakes – so deep that the bottom of the lake is actually below sea level. Surrounded by impressive mountains, this lake is regarded as one of New Zealand’s most scenic so have your camera ready! Drive onto Frankton then visit pretty Arrowtown, a gold rush era village located in an idyllic riverside setting. See often-photographed Lake Hayes before making your way into Queenstown early this afternoon. The rest of today is yours to explore or relax.
Relax or explore as you wish today! There are many optional activities and we can help you to choose something to suit your preferences… Ride a gondola to Bob’s Peak and take a luge ride if you want to! Or take a thrilling jet boat ride, bike, hike, bungy jump, skydive or play a round of golf. Your hotel provides a regular shuttle service to and from the town centre so you can explore the many shopping opportunities, walk along the lakefront or spend the day doing as much or as little as you prefer!
This evening, cruise to Walter Peak Station aboard the 1912 vintage steamship TSS Earnslaw.
Learn about high country farm life and enjoy a gourmet barbecue dinner at the Colonel’s Homestead.
Return aboard the Earnslaw and take part in a magical night-time piano sing-a-long!
QUEENSTOWN to MIDDLEMARCH, then to DUNEDIN | By tour coach, then rail (Mon)
Leave Queenstown this morning by tour coach and drive via Cromwell and Alexandra to Middlemarch. This is ‘gold country’ and you will drive through a variety of landscapes that once hosted thousands of gold miners and settlers searching for gold and hoping to strike it rich. Gold was found and some did strike it rich, while others toiled diligently in hard conditions without success or reward.
Arrive at Middlemarch, meet a Dunedin Railways train and ride the rails along the historic Taieri Gorge route, all the way back to Dunedin. Enjoy a variety-filled route this afternoon with stately river views and deep, majestic canyons. The train negotiates the gorge with ease, travelling through ten tunnels and over numerous bridges and viaducts. The natural wonders along the route and the man made engineering marvels will leave you amazed. Expect the train to stop or slow down at various scenic points along the way so you can take photos, stretch your legs and enjoy the best of beauty all around. Return to Dunedin for a brief city sights tour and transfer to tonight’s accommodation.
DUNEDIN to ASHBURTON, then to CHRISTCHURCH | By rail – Steam Train expected, but may be Diesel hauled (Tue)
Transfer to Dunedin Station this morning. Rejoin your private train and ride the rails north around the scenic coastal route to Seacliff, Karitane and Waikouaiti. Enjoy numerous tunnels and viaducts and delightful coastal views during today’s journey. Travel on through Palmerston, Oamaru and Timaru to reach the town of Ashburton early this afternoon. Tour coaches will transfer you to significant local attractions including the Plains Railway Museum and the renowned Ashburton Aviation Museum. If time allows later, your coaches may drive inland across the Canterbury Plains to the foothills of the scenic Southern Alps to meet the spectacular Rakaia Gorge. Continue onto Christchurch this afternoon where your Explore NZ Rail & Steam Train Tour adventure will conclude later this afternoon.
Breakfast and Lunch included
T & Cs
Terms & Conditions
Terms & Conditions
Tour prices are in New Zealand dollars and include GST (current rate; 15%). Prices are per person, twin share basis. An additional price applies to guarantee single person room occupancy.
Deposit, Payment and Acceptance of Terms:
A deposit of NZD$500 per person is required to confirm the booking. Payment of the deposit confirms the tour client has read and accepted the Tour Booking Terms & Conditions and a contract has been formed. Full payment can be made at any time but is required no later than 90 days prior to departure (full payment is required for bookings made less than 90 days from tour departure).
Deposit and Full Payment Options:
CHEQUE – Payable please to Pacific Trailways Ltd.
INTERNET BANKING – Pacific Trailways Ltd. BNZ Account number 02-0400-0116109-001.
CREDIT CARD – Visa and Mastercard only.
Cancellation Charges and Refunds for client cancellation:
All cancellation charges apply ‘per person’. For cancellation 90 days or more prior to tour start date, loss of deposit applies. For cancellation:
89 – 61 days prior to tour start date: cancellation fee is 40% of the tour price
60 – 00 days prior to tour start date: cancellation fee is 100% of the tour price. No refund can be made once the tour is underway and there are no refunds for unused tour components.
Travel Insurance. Comprehensive travel insurance is strongly recommended from time of booking. Cancellation fees will not be waived in any circumstances where travel insurance may have covered you.
Cancellation by Pacific Trailways:
1. Tour Operation. If the tour cannot operate due to insufficient numbers, Pacific Trailways reserves the right to offer an alternative departure, or a full refund. 2. Locomotive Operation (prior to tour departure). If the featured locomotive is rendered unable to operate before the tour starts, Pacific Trailways will make every effort to arrange a similar or alternative locomotive. In the unlikely event another locomotive is not available to operate the tour, Pacific Trailways will refund all monies paid. In the cancellation circumstances above (1. & 2.), a full refund of tour price paid will be the full extent of our responsibility to you the client. Any additional costs you may incur as a result of cancellation by Pacific Trailways will be your responsibility and we expect you to seek remedy via travel insurance cover.
Itinerary amendments. Pacific Trailways reserves the right to amend the itinerary if/as necessary due to weather and/or operational requirements and to substitute accommodation, transport and sightseeing services if required. If weather or other circumstances or conditions on a particular day (or days) prevent rail travel, alternative transport will be substituted on the affected day/s to continue the tour and meet itinerary obligations.
Train Operation (during the tour). In the event the chartered Mainline Steam locomotive or carriages, and / or chartered Kiwirail locomotive or Dunedin Railways locomotive or carriages are rendered unserviceable or unable to operate for any reason during the tour, Pacific Trailways will make every effort to use suitable alternative rail services to complete the affected tour sectors. If suitable chartered and/or scheduled rail services are not available, Pacific Trailways reserves the right to substitute coach transport to complete the affected tour sectors. If rail or coach transport is utilised / substituted for any reason above, no refund or reimbursement applies and the transport substitution is the full extent of our responsibility to you.
Luggage on tour – limits per passenger.
(1.) One small to medium soft-sided cabin bag that can be stowed in the carriage overhead luggage space plus a handbag and personal items. (2.) One piece of luggage with a total length, width and depth of up to 150 cm (60 inches) and weighing no more than 23 kg (50 pounds). Note: Your train has limited onboard space for large luggage. Ground crew will transfer your large luggage items from hotel to hotel each day of the tour, by coach or van.
Seat change daily on coach sectors. To provide a fair and equitable viewing experience for all tour participants during road sectors of the tour, a daily seat change policy applies aboard tour coaches. The process will be explained during the tour and all tour party members are expected to participate.
Hotels. A minimum of 4-star hotel accommodation is the tour standard, with some hotels rated at 4.5 or 5-star standard. Tour accommodation is on the basis of standard ‘twin or double-bed’ rooms that may not include lake or scenic views.
Guaranteed single occupancy rooms. Limited single occupancy rooms may be available at the time of booking. To secure a guaranteed single occupancy room, the Single Room Supplement price must be added to the per person share twin price.
Single tour members and twin share rooms. Single travellers may book ‘twin share’ basis and Pacific Trailways will make every effort to select appropriate same gender roommate pairings. Single travellers booking on this basis must accept that there is no guarantee of compatibility with your selected roommate and that smoking is not permitted in rooms.
Smoking. New Zealand Government laws forbid smoking in public and chartered transport, railway stations, tour coaches, aircraft, airport terminals, accommodation, restaurants, bars, cafes and other recognised public places. Opportunities to smoke will be made available as possible within these boundaries and in circumstances that do not cause discomfort to non-smoking tour members.
Personal expenses. Items and/or services not specified as included under ‘Highlights and Inclusions’ are deemed to be personal expenses and are not included in your tour price. Items considered to be personal expenses may include but are not limited to scheduled airfares and taxes, accommodation and meals and transport not included under ‘Highlights and Inclusions’, food not included on the regular tour menu, drinks, personal items, laundry, passport and visa fees, excess baggage, fuel surcharges, optional excursions and gratuities.
Personal belongings and lost items. Valuables on tour should be kept to a minimum and packed in your hand luggage along with personal items such as a camera, phone, small personal appliances, essential changes of clothing, toiletries and other personal items. You are responsible for your personal items at all times and must ensure you have adequate travel insurance cover in the event of any loss.
Health requirements. Payment of the deposit is a warranty by you that you or any persons covered by your booking are sufficiently fit and healthy to undertake this tour and associated travel arrangements. Pacific Trailways reserves the right (at its discretion) to remove tour participants who prove unable to meet these health requirements or who prove to be incapable of caring for themselves or who become a hazard to themselves or other tour members. No refund applies in such circumstances if the tour has commenced and Pacific Trailways is not responsible for any associated travel arrangements or repatriation costs.
Passport & Visa Requirements. It is the client/s total responsibility to meet passport and/or visa requirements for travel to and from New Zealand. Pacific Trailways is not responsible for, nor liable for, any loss or damage suffered by the client (or any person covered in the booking) resulting from client/s failure to meet required passport and visa conditions.
Pre and post tour connecting transfers, transport and air travel. Transport and travel before and after your tour are not included in your tour arrangements and these are your responsibility. Pacific Trailways will make every effort to keep your tour to the stated itinerary schedule but is not responsible for any missed connections before or after your tour.
Tour map. The tour map included on the website and in the brochure is not necessarily to scale. The map depicts an indication of the daily itinerary and route however the actual tour route may vary from the depicted tour route if operational or safety requirements make route changes necessary or desirable.
Illustrations. All photographs on the Pacific Trailways website, Pacific Trailways Facebook site and in Pacific Trailways brochures illustrate and depict genuine events, places, occurrences and experiences. The use of these illustrations and images does not guarantee that such events, places, occurrences and experiences will necessarily be experienced or seen as depicted in the photograph or illustration.
Force Majeure. Force Majeure means an event or circumstance that is beyond the reasonable control of Pacific Trailways Ltd and that could not have been reasonably prevented by Pacific Trailways Ltd. It may include, but is not limited to, war, armed conflict, criminal damage, riot, civil strife, industrial dispute, terrorist activity or the possibility or threat of any such activity, natural disaster including but not limited to earthquake, volcanic eruption, cyclone, hurricane, tornado, tsunami, flooding, high or low water levels, fire, landslide, adverse weather conditions, nuclear or other industrial accident causing environmental contamination, or any change of law. In the event that Pacific Trailways Ltd cancels or changes your tour arrangements in any way due to a Force Majeure event, Pacific Trailways Ltd will not be liable to refund any part of your tour deposit or tour purchase price paid by you if Pacific Trailways Ltd subsequently changes or cancels your tour arrangements in connection with a Force Majeure event. As such Force Majeure events cannot be predicted and are beyond the control of Pacific Trailways Ltd it is your responsibility to purchase travel insurance that will adequately cover you against these risks.
Additional costs. Pacific Trailways is not responsible for any additional costs which may be incurred by tour participants as a result of events beyond the company’s control. Examples may include (but are not limited to) strikes, industrial action, weather or any other man-made or natural occurrence.
New Zealand law applies. All Pacific Trailways Booking Terms and Conditions and operations are governed by the laws of New Zealand and all parties submit to the jurisdiction of the New Zealand courts.
7 Breakfasts, 4 Lunches, 7 Dinners
4 Star - 5 Star Hotels
Steam & Diesel Locomotives
Luxury Coach Transfers
Itinerary Visits and Activities
Arthurs Pass by rail
Oamaru heritage visit
Bill Richardson’s Transport World
Milford Sound Cruise
Earnslaw Gourmet Barbecue evening cruise
Taieri Gorge Rail trip with Dunedin Railways
Rakaia Gorge visit
and much much more!...