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$7,478 pp
RED HOT DEAL
Pay now & save!

from pp Twin Share

$4,799
Book Now Select

Single Traveller
$7,478 pp

14 Day New Zealand Rail Experience

14 Day New Zealand Rail Experience

This tour is conducted at a medium-fast pace. Some long travel days may be required to complete this itinerary and you will typically spend two nights at each destination, with some one night stays required. This trip includes a mix of sightseeing and free time to explore at your own pace. You will be required to move about unassisted, including getting on and off vehicles, walking up and down stairs and some activities will be conducted on uneven or steep terrain. You will be required to handle your own luggage.

Pace
Moderate Pace

On these packages you will travel from city to city on your own, exploring at your own pace. We have arranged transportation in most cases and day tours for you to see the destination. Enjoy the time and flexibility to linger longer or pick up the pace and see as much as possible. The choice is yours.

Escorted Type
Independent

Take advantage of our 7 day cooling-off period. 

Cooling Off Period
7 Days
Independent Tour
781 people have travelled to this destination

✓ Incredible sightseeing across both islands, including Waitomo and Hobbiton, adventure capital Queenstown, all three of New Zealand’s renowned rail journeys, cruising spectacular Milford Sound and visiting New Zealand’s famous glaciers and national parks
✓ 13 nights in 3 and 4-star accommodation
✓ 3 Breakfasts included
✓ Travel on board all three renowned Northern Explorer, TranzAlpine and Coastal Pacific rail journeys
✓ Cruise between Wellington and Picton on the Interislander scenic ferry
✓ Guided day tours along with the flexibility of independent travel
✓ Cruise Milford Sound, New Zealand’s most stunning natural attraction
✓ 7 days Compact SUV Holden Trax or similar.

✈ Needing international airfares to accompany your Inspiring Vacation? You will be able to access our flight portal after securing your package to add international airfares to your booking.

What we love about this tour

Travel with the experts for a carefully curated, value-packed discovery of the world's most iconic destinations. Our tours are bursting with must-see sights, rich experiences and quality inclusions, all at an unbeatable price. Bucket list dreams are ticked off on these all-encompassing journeys.

Itinerary

Hotel
Nesuto Stadium Hotel and Apartments or Similar

Arrival day, The rest of the day is at leisure to get acquainted with this vibrant city.

Airport transfers are not included. Our transfer portal offers the option to book your airport transfers for an easier arrival experience (additional charges apply). Access to this portal will be available through your Traveller Hub once your booking is confirmed.

Hotel
Nesuto Stadium Hotel and Apartments or Similar

Today you will be collected from your hotel to join a guided tour of Hobbiton and Waitomo. Travel south from Auckland over the Bombay Hills to the rich farmland of the Waikato region. Your journey takes you through undulating green hills reminding you that you are approaching The Shire. Your guide will give you commentary on the way to Hobbiton with insights into the areas you are travelling through, along with some background to the movies.

On arrival at Shire’s Rest you embark on your Hobbiton movie set tour. This location is the largest “green set” in the world and the only part of the set remaining in New Zealand. You see 44 hobbit holes, the Mill and the Party Tree. At this stunning location you can take a photo at the gate to Bilbo’s house, “Bag End”, looking out over the whole set to the hills in the distance. You will be treated to a sumptuous buffet lunch in the marquee. There is time for shopping before your tour continues to Waitomo. (Drive time 1 hr 20min). On arrival in Waitomo, join a 45 minute guided tour of the incredible Waitomo Glow Worm caves. Discover an ancient world 30 million years in the making. Enjoy the delicate cave formations and be wowed in the Cathedral, before taking the iconic boat ride through the glow worm grotto (subject to water levels). Marvel in silence at thousands of magical glow worms, which are unique to New Zealand before exiting the cave. Upon conclusion you will be returned to your hotel in Auckland.

Hotel
West Plaza Hotel or Similar

Today make your way to Auckland central station to board the Northern Explorer. New Zealand's longest running passenger service, the Northern Explorer is a long distance scenic train service running between Auckland and Wellington, stopping at Palmerston North, Ohakune, National Park and Hamilton. This iconic train journey allows you to experience the extremes of New Zealand’s scenery, from the fertile farmlands of Waikato to the volcanic peaks of the Central Plateau and the sparkling Kapiti coast. 

The train has panoramic windows, open-air view carriage, a fully licenced cafe plus commentary allowing you to connect with the histories, legends and myths of New Zealand.

On arrival in Wellington, disembark your scenic train and make your way to your hotel. We recommend a short taxi service which can be found easily when exiting the station.

Hotel
West Plaza Hotel or Similar

This morning, you’ll be collected from your hotel to join a half day city sights tour of Wellington. An intimate tour looking at the unique aspects of the World’s Coolest Little Capital. Drive through Courtenay Place and Oriental Parade and head up Mt Victoria for spectacular views of the City and Harbour. Then travel the stunning, rugged coastline, now a marine reserve, stopping along the way to taste some famous Wellington coffee.

Return to the central city for a drive through the quirky Cuba Street district and along Lambton Quay, the main shopping street, for a chance to ride the famous Wellington Cable Car. We finish the tour with stops at Parliament and Old St Paul’s Cathedral. The tour concludes at your hotel around 1:30pm where the rest of the day is at leisure.

Hotel
Ibis Hotel Christchurch or Similar

A big day of stunning landscapes is ahead of you today. This morning, make your way to the central wharf to board the Interislander ferry to Picton. Connecting the North Island and South Island together since 1962, the Interislander ferry service is New Zealand's original Cook Strait ferry. Sailing between Wellington and Picton several times a day, the Interislander journey is considered one of the most beautiful ferry journeys in the world and one of New Zealand's most iconic experiences and connects seamlessly with the Coastal Pacific train which is the next leg of your journey. Board the train, sit back and relax as the beautiful South Island of New Zealand passes by.

On arrival in Christchurch, make your way to your hotel. We recommend a short taxi service which can be found easily when exiting the station.

Hotel
Ibis Hotel Christchurch or Similar

This morning you will be collected from the hotel to enjoy a half-day guided tour of Christchruch. Your guide will explain both the history of the city and the effects of the earthquake, you will see for yourself both the destructive powers of nature and the rebuild taking place.

On leaving the inner city, the tour travels to Mona Vale a historic homestead and gardens. We then travel to the Sign of the Takahe, an historic building with a lookout providing spectacular views over the city, Canterbury Plains and to the Southern Alps. The tour then travels via the Port Hills and Lyttleton Harbour by way of the Sign of the Kiwi and Governors Bay to the Port of Lyttleton.

The tour proceeds through the Lyttleton harbour tunnel to the seaside suburb of Sumner and cave rock before returning to your hotel where the tour will conclude. The rest of the afternoon is at leisure.

Hotel
Mt Cook Lodge or Similar

Today the driving portion of your holiday begins! Check out from your hotel (up to 11am) and make your way to collect your car from the Budget downtown office, located on 150 Kilmore Street.. Your car includes unlimited kilometres in a mid-sized Group C vehicle.

New Zealand is a drivers paradise, stunning scenery, leisurely speeds and easy navigable roads. Leaving Christchurch, begin the drive south. Watch the scenery and skyline become jaw-dropping with the Southern Alps towering over the horizon.

Mt Cook, locally known as Aoraki is the highest mountain in New Zealand at 3,754m. The drive takes approximately 4.5hrs from Christchurch. At the foot of the mountain sits the village of Mount Cook - a comfortable haven in one of the most unforgiving parts of New Zealand. On every side, the Southern Alps scrape the sky. On arrival check in to your hotel and enjoy the alpine village. The nearby Hooker River is accessible to see huge glacier carved icebergs.

Approximate driving distance: 330 km/205 miles, 4.5-5 hrs

Hotel
Holiday Inn Express or Similar

Leaving Mt Cook this morning, continue your drive south to Queenstown. It seems impossible the scenery can get any better, but today’s drive takes you even deeper into the majesty of New Zealand. 

On arrival in Queenstown make your way to your hotel for check in and enjoy the remainder of the day at leisure.

Hotel
Holiday Inn Express or Similar
Meals
Breakfast

Today drive 288km (approximately 3hr 30 min) to Milford Sound Visitor Terminal in time to join your 1.30pm cruise. 

Sit back and relax as your 2 hour cruise departs from Milford Sound Wharf, and makes its way out past the iconic Mitre Peak. Cruise the length of the 16km fiord, out past St Annes Point Lighthouse, while listening to informative commentary from our skipper who will highlight points of interest along the way including the mighty Lady Bowen Falls, Lion Mountain, Copper Point, Seal Rock and Stirling Falls.

Whether you choose to keep warm with a complimentary tea/coffee seated inside our lounge or want to get outside and breathe in the pristine sea air, you are going to be inspired by the majesty of the region.

This cruises has strictly limited passenger numbers, rewarding you with an intimate experience of Milford Sound while allowing for unobstructed photo opportunities from our outdoor viewing decks.

Be sure to keep an eye out for seals basking in the sun, pods of dolphins or rare Fiordland Crested Penguins that can be found seasonally within the region.

Drive back to your accommodation in Queenstown.

Hotel
Holiday Inn Express or Similar
Meals
Breakfast

Enjoy a free day at leisure to explore Queenstown at your own pace.

Optional Tour - Half Day 4WD Skippers Canyon

Join a Skippers Canyon adventure is a half-day heritage tour that follows the rugged and once treacherous Skippers Road. Travel the road that was hacked by hand into the sheer cliff sides of the Shotover River Valley making this an exciting adventure the whole family will enjoy. As your guide navigates this awe-inspiring canyon you will visit many historic sites such as the Skippers Suspension Bridge and the township of Skippers. Visit the restored school house where you will gain a real insight into the local heritage through photos and histories of life in this tough environment. British Automobile Association voted Skippers Canyon Road as one of the 25 most scenic roads in the world. Hotel pick up and drop off included.

Hotel
Wanaka Hotel or Similar
Meals
Breakfast

Today, make the short drive to Wanaka. The suggested route is via Cardrona Road along the Crown Range. The Crown Range road climbs to high altitudes and crosses a mountain chain the Cromwell route doesn’t.

While the Crown Range Road is a shorter distance to journey between Queenstown and Wanaka, travel time is longer and the road is more challenging than the usual route through Cromwell. You should also allow time to stop and admire the massive views, which are often accompanied by amusing encounters with kea (mountain parrots).

On arrival in Wanaka make your way to your hotel for check in and enjoy the remainder of the day at leisure.

Hotel
Franz Josef Glacier Punga Grove or Similar

Leaving Wanaka, make your way up the western coast of New Zealand. This trip tracks down the West Coast through the breathtaking Haast Pass and to Glacier country. Fox Glacier and Franz Josef allow you to see two glaciers in one day.

The Fox and Franz Josef Glaciers are unique relics of the last ice age. Mighty rivers of solid white, tumbling down ice-hewn rock valleys, they are classically beautiful in the glacial sense. Nowhere else in the world have glaciers advanced so close to the sea at this latitude.

On arrival in Franz Josef make your way to your hotel for check in and enjoy the remainder of the day at leisure.

Hotel
Ibis Hotel Christchurch or Similar

Continuing driving the West Coast until arriving in Greymouth. On arrival in Greymouth, drop your car before boarding the TransAlpine train to Christchurch.  Car hire depot is located next to the train station.

Considered one of the world's greatest train journeys, this journey you’ll see epic vistas, travel the edges of the ice-fed Waimakariri River, traverse the Southern Alps, and see miles of native beech forest.

The train has panoramic windows, open-air view carriage, a fully licenced cafe plus commentary allowing you to connect the scenery all around you.

On arrival in Christchurch, disembark your scenic train and make your way to your hotel. We recommend a short taxi service which can be found easily when exiting the station.

Today your journey of New Zealand comes to an end. Please make your own way to the airport. We hope you have been inspired.
 
Airport transfers are not included. Our transfer portal offers the option to book your airport transfers for an easier arrival experience (additional charges apply). Access to this portal will be available through your Traveller Hub once your booking is confirmed.

Inclusions

  • Incredible sightseeing, visit Waitomo and Hobbiton, travel on the world’s most scenic rail journey, cruise the waters of spectacular Milford Sound and visit New Zealand’s famous glaciers and national parks
  • 13 nights in 3 and 4-star accommodation
  • 3 Breakfasts included
  • Travel on board the Northern Express, Coastal Pacific and TranzAlpine scenic trains
  • Cruise between Wellington and Picton on the Interislander scenic ferry
  • Cruise Milford Sound, New Zealand’s most stunning natural attraction
  • Included sightseeing throughout
  • Enjoy the flexibility of independent travel
  • 7 days Compact SUV Holden Trax or similar

  • See Hobbiton, the original set from the multi-award winning Lord of the Rings trilogy
  • Venture in to Waitomo Caves where the darkness comes alive with mesmerising glow worms
  • Take a tour looking at the unique aspects of the world’s ‘Coolest Little Capital’, Wellington
  • Travel on board the iconic Northern Explorer, Coastal Pacific and TranzAlpine train journeys
  • Catch the Interislander Ferry from Wellington to Picton, considered one of the most beautiful ferry journeys in the world
  • Explore Christchurch and see how it has been rebuilt from the devastation of earthquakes
  • Drive to the highest point in New Zealand, the iconic Mount Cook
  • Continue the drive to Queenstown, driving the stunning Crown Range
  • Spend time in Queenstown, the adventure capital
  • See both magnificent Franz and Fox Glaciers 
  • Cruise the spectacular waters of Milford Sound
  • See two glaciers in one day, Franz and Fox Glaciers

Northern Explorer, between Auckland and Wellington
TranzAlpine, between Greymouth and Christchurch
Coastal Pacific, between Picton and Christchurch 

Scenic Class carriage experience combines comfort and panoramic views, making our trains the perfect way to explore New Zealand. 

At the heart of our Scenic Class experience are spacious reclined seats, panoramic windows, glass shelves and skylights. These details bathe our carriages in light and bring New Zealand's famous landscapes to your seat. 

Scenic Class carriages deliver extremely wide viewing angles by spacing the seating out. This spaciousness also creates generous amounts of legroom and comfort. All seats have a power outlet for you to stay switched on for the whole journey.

You can connect with the history and stories of New Zealand by tuning into the audio commentary system. The audio commentary system is mounted in the arm of your chair. To make the most of the system, we recommend packing a nice pair of comfortable headphones with a mini-jack connector. 

Step into the outdoors by visiting the Northern Explorer Open-air Carriage. This incredible experience provides a unique way to explore New Zealand's great outdoors. Breathe in the mountain air and the scents of pine forest, get tanned in the sun and get wet in the rain! 

While training around New Zealand you might like to stroll through the Scenic Cafe carriage where you'll find a great selection of hot and cold snacks and drinks. 

Or perhaps toast your special journey with a bottle of bubbles or an award-winning local wine?  Whatever it is that makes you smile inside, you are likely to find it in the licensed Café Carriage.

Driver License Requirements

All drivers must be 21 years old or over and hold a Full, current non probationary drivers licence (with an English translation shown on the driver licence) for their home country. If the licence is not issued fully (i.e. every single endorsement) in English, it must be accompanied by either an international driver permit or an approved translation. There is no maximum age for hiring a vehicle in New Zealand.

Additional Authorised Drivers have to be registered on the rental agreement.
Each additional driver will cost $5+GST NZD per day up to a maximum of $25+GST NZD for the entire length of rental. Partner / Spouse (not restricted to marriages / relationships between individuals of any gender) are exempt from this fee.

All additional drivers must meet the above criteria 

Deposit

A credit card issued in the renter’s name must be provided at time of collection. A minimum of $100 NZD pre-authorisation will be charged plus total value of any optional extras elected

Damage Excess 

Nil.

Exception 

Chip on windscreen will incur a  $60+GST fee

Cost of tyre replacement is not covered unless the Road Side Assistance is purchased at the counter.

Rates Include

Goods and Services Tax (GST), currently at 15%, Unlimited kilometres Standard Motor Vehicle Damage Waiver, Nil excess

Rates Exclude

Special Request Delivery Fees, Optional Extras (GPS, child safety seats, etc), Fuel. 

These above items are to be paid directly by clients on car collection

Budget Standard Terms and Conditions can be found here

Fine Print

This product requires full payment upfront to secure your booking.
 
Once you have created your booking you will be directed to your invoice to choose your preferred payment method.

This is a land only package.

This package does not include international airfares. If you would like to add airfares to your booking our flight portal will be available via your Traveller Hub. The flight portal will allow you to search for all available airfares to your destination. The function works like most general flight search engines allowing you to select your preferred airline, book different cabin classes (eg. Business class) and view flight durations and transit times to your destination. 

The flight portal will be available via your Traveller Hub once the following criteria has been met:

  • Your booking is confirmed
  • Your departure date is within 11 months
  • You  have completed your passenger detail form

Visit our Flight Hub for more information on terms and conditions, amending your flights and information on luggage allowances.

Some of our packages will include airport transfers in either one or both directions when arriving or departing from your destination. To know if transfers are included please view the ‘inclusions’ section of your selected package. If airport transfers are stated, transfers will be included as advised.

If transfers are not included, we also offer the option to book your airport transfers using our online portal. Access to this portal is available through your Traveller Hub once your booking is confirmed. Transfers are readily available and do not need to be booked until your final hotel list has been confirmed. Once you have made a transfer booking, please refer to your confirmation email for all transfer details including a local contact number for the transfer company.

If you book pre and/or post-tour accommodation on your own arrangement, and the tour includes transfers, note that these will be forfeited. The transfers are only provided in line with the tour dates and pre and/or post-tour accommodation purchased through Inspiring Vacations when available.

It is the traveller's responsibility to ensure they have a valid passport. The passport must be valid for a minimum of six months from the intended date of return. Visas may be required for your destination. For further visa information, click here.

Fitness Requirements
While the tour itinerary should give you some guidance and overview to the expected requirements, to determine if this tour is right for you we categorise each of our tours in terms of their intensity. These guidelines are to ensure that each tour group is conducted as expected and to ensure the overall satisfaction of all Inspiring Vacations customers.

As a general rule, porterage is not included, therefore at all times you are expected to handle your own luggage where help may not be available.

This particular tour is categorised as a “3”.

3 – Moderate Tour: A good level of fitness and mobility is required, as this tour includes a moderate level of physical activity and is considered a medium-fast paced tour. You should be able to walk up and down stairs and able to walk reasonable distances of approximately 2 kilometres per day or more with ease. Any physical ailments you may have must be disclosed at the time of booking to determine your suitability. If you have any form of walking aids, other than a walking stick or hiking poles, then this tour is not suitable.

Accommodation
The accommodation listed is subject to change. Any changes will be of an equal or higher standard. Bedding configurations (double or twin) are requests only. All efforts will be made to meet your preferences, but we can’t guarantee your request will be available at all properties.

Single travellers
When booking this tour, solo travellers will be presented with two options:

1 - Single Supplement
By paying an additional $2,679.00 per person, in addition to the twin-share price, you guarantee the privacy of your own room throughout the entire trip.

2- Shared Room with a known friend
If travelling together with a friend, you can opt to share your room with him/her and avoid paying a single supplement. 

You and your friend can create a unique booking each. Creating a unique booking, gives each of you the flexibility of making different travel arrangements (such adding extra accommodation, flights, etc), make separate payments and have individual access to our Traveller’s Hub

During the purchase path, you will need to provide your friend’s booking ID (if known) or at a minimum, your friend’s full name.

Travel Insurance
Travel insurance is recommended to protect yourself against the unexpected. In addition to the support that a policy may provide, you may be asked to present a copy of your travel insurance documentation while traveling.

Children
Children must be 5 years old or above and share a room with parents at all times. Children are charged the same price as adults.

Group Size
This package is made up of multiple components which will be provided by different operators throughout your trip. As such, group size will differ between operators and can be as intimate as 2 people or as lively as up to 60 people, depending on the activity and advertised inclusions. There may be unique cases where your selected travel date exceeds the expected group size for special events or types of activities, particularly during popular times of travel. For packages that include a train or cruise, you will be travelling with other passengers up to the capacity of this component.  

When travelling with a group, no matter the size, we ask you to be understanding of the various needs and preferences of your group - patience with your fellow travellers is sometimes required for the benefit of everyone's travel experience. 

Bedding requests
We do our best to meet your bedding preference, however, bedding configurations (double or twin) are requests only and cannot be guaranteed. All efforts will be made to meet your preference, however, any changes are beyond our control and limited by the hotel facilities and availability.

Tour Styles - This package is an Independant style.
To meet the needs of various types of travellers, we choose to operate various types of tours and depending on your selected package will mean different services are provided throughout your trip. The following descriptions of each tour style we hope will ensure that each traveller has appropriate expectations before they start their travels: 

  • Independent - On these packages you will travel from city to city on your own, exploring at your own pace. We have arranged transportation in most cases and day tours for you to see the destination. Enjoy the time and flexibility to linger longer or pick up the pace and see as much as possible.

Who is operating this package
We have partnered with a wide range of third party operators who assist in fulfilling your booking and delivering an enjoyable on-tour experience. Each package will consist of multiple operators meaning both guides and fellow travellers may change day to day. But don't worry, regardless of the operator, you'll be in good hands to experience the most out of each destination.

All participants must be in good physical condition to fully engage in this journey. For the safety and welfare of yourself and fellow travellers, if you are feeling unwell prior to departure, we advise staying home and contacting us to arrange alternate plans.

Prior to selecting your trip, carefully review the itinerary to assess your ability to comfortably manage our travel style. Please be aware that if, based on evaluation by our leader or local representative, a participant is deemed unable to safely complete the itinerary, we retain the right to exclude them from all or part of the trip without reimbursement.

It is advisable to consult your physician for current medical travel advisories and any required vaccinations before embarking. We recommend carrying a first aid kit and any necessary medications in their original packaging, as they may not be readily available during travel. For those carrying medication, it's essential to check your government's foreign travel guidelines for local restrictions or regulations.

To enhance your journey, we are offering guests a choice of the following optional activities (prices are per person):

  • Half Day 4WD Skippers Canyon (Day 10) - $323 per person

Optional tours can be selected once you have finalised your tour purchase and paid your deposit. When completing your Passenger Booking Form, you will be asked if you would like to add Optional Tours, where any applicable cost will be added to your final balance. If you choose not to select them at this time, you can choose to add them later by logging in to your Account online.

Please note that you must select your Optional Tours no later than 70 days before departure, after which you will be required to purchase them on tour. Please keep in mind that anything purchased on-tour is subject to availability and prices may vary as you will be paying in local currency. We appreciate your understanding.

You can enhance your holiday by arriving or departing before or after the tour. On this tour you can choose from the following options:

Pre Tour Accommodation

  • $278.00 per room, per night for double and twin share
  • $278.00 per room, per night for solo travellers

Post Tour Accommodation

  • $260.00 per room, per night for double and twin share
  • $260.00 per room, per night for solo travellers

Please select the number of extra nights required in the 'Additional Nights Accommodation' field when making your purchase. The additional cost for these arrangements will be added to your final payment invoice and are subject to availability.

  • International Flights
  • Hotel transfers not mentioned in the itinerary
  • Meals, unless stated in the itinerary
  • Arrival airport transfer
  • Departure airport transfer
  • Car Parking costs
  • Personal expenses
  • Optional activities
  • Anything not mentioned in the itinerary
  • Travel insurance (highly recommended)

Departure Dates for 14 Day New Zealand Rail Experience

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