Explore the country like never before. Great Journeys New Zealand is excited to present our fresh approach to exploring the country by rail. Our new all-inclusive, fully-guided train and coach journeys offer you the perfect balance of luxury and adventure. You’ll experience our famous Northern Explorer Train, Coastal Pacific Train and TranzAlpine Train while taking part in a wide variety of immersive activities. Your New Zealand itinerary is sorted for you as you glide elegantly through the land of the long white cloud. One day, you’ll be taking in incredible views in the unmatched comfort of the train. Next, you could be experiencing highlights that are only possible by rail.
These tours are NZ rail travel reimagined, with the convenience of a guide and levels of luxury to suit your travel style. All of this while still offering that fond nostalgic feeling of rail travel from years gone by. Everything is taken care of for your New Zealand itinerary. But, here’s more on what you can expect.
Guided scenic train tours
They say the best way to explore and experience New Zealand is with a local. Thankfully, we’re offering you just that. Our new journeys are fully-guided. This convenience means you won’t need to waste any of your valuable time having to research or figure out logistics ahead of time. Our guides are experts in all things Aotearoa. Or, you could say they’ve been there, done that. With an expert guide alongside as you discover the best places to visit in New Zealand, you’ll learn, see, and experience more. Personalised service, attention and insights are some of the key benefits of our new NZ rail tours.
If you prefer to march to the beat of your own drum, we also offer self-guided options. If you usually prefer to plan trips by yourself, self-guided could be fantastic for you. You’ll still enjoy the comfort of the scenic train, just on your terms. Don’t worry, you won’t miss out on experiencing the Northern Explorer Train, Coastal Pacific Train or TranzAlpine Train portions of the trip.
Full tour to explore New Zealand
If you are planning a New Zealand itinerary, you want to experience as much of our country as possible. From the most popular places to visit in Auckland to an exciting Franz Josef heli-hike, right through to cultural experiences when you visit National Park. Aotearoa is simply stunning and offers a travel experience like no other. Leave no stone unturned, walk the best day hikes in New Zealand and meet the locals. With our new tours, you get up close and personal with the best places to visit in the country.
New Zealand itinerary options
No two people enjoy travelling in exactly the same way. So, we’ve meticulously crafted two main tour options. You can then customise each tour to suit your travel style and budget. Want to explore a certain area this time around? Not a worry! You can travel in style, whatever your style is.
Without further ado, we introduce the Signature Auckland to Queenstown and the Classic Auckland to Queenstown. Each rail experience is all-inclusive and guided, with varying flexibility, additional add-ons, upgrades and time on the tracks. That way, you can choose the train adventure to fit your budget and travel preferences.
Signature Auckland to Queenstown
The Signature Auckland to Queenstown tour is our premium package. This comprehensive train journey is truly luxurious. In fact, you get to explore every nook and cranny of the country in 4 to 4.5-star accommodation. Our Signature Auckland to Queenstown tour is a journey where the travel days become a highlight of the experience just as much as the stops along the way. Travelling over 17 days, you’ll gasp at the beauty of nature, dazzling cities and charming local attractions. Along the trip, you’ll experience the best places to visit in New Zealand, including:
- National Park - Mount Ruapehu and Ohakune
- Franz Josef
- Milford Sound
Between these locations, you’ll see the jaw-dropping river gorges and ravines along the famous Northern Explorer, Coastal Pacific and Tranzalpine train routes.
Classic Auckland to Queenstown
Our Classic Auckland to Queenstown tour is creating a new legacy for what a scenic train holiday can be. Like our signature option, this comprehensive tour is all-inclusive and takes you right through the heart and soul of Aotearoa. You’ll take in all of the highlights from the Northern Explorer, Coastal Pacific and TranzAlpine train routes in less time and stay in 3 to 3.5-star accommodation. Travelling over 15 days, you’ll hop on and off the train immersing yourself in some of the best things to do in New Zealand.
The Classic Auckland to Queenstown tour offers you the flexibility you wouldn't expect from a traditional rail trip. With an ample amount of free time, you can personalise your adventure to suit your travel style - relaxed, adventurous or a mixture of the two. On the trip, you’ll find fun things to do in the North Island and South Island, stopping at:
The Classic Auckland to Queenstown gets you up close and personal with stunning landscapes along the iconic Northern Explorer, Coastal Pacific and Tranzalpine train routes. All you need to do with our fully-guided tours is book. We sort the rest.
Aside from views you just need to see to believe, each of our new NZ train tours features an incredible array of highlights. Of course, each traveller has their own taste and preference, and we can’t squeeze every highlight into this blog, but here are some of our favourite things to do on these tours. Each of these activities can be included as part of your tour - just let us know what you would like to experience along your journey.
Things to do in the North Island
The North Island is known for its eye-catching beaches, geothermal areas and bustling cities. In fact, the North Island is home to about 77% of the whole population. It’s hard to pick just a few highlights from the top part of the country, but our favourite fun things to do in the North Island include:
Waitomo Glowworm Caves
Glowworms are a real site to behold. And the best place to see these spectacular sparkling lights is in Waitomo. The Waitomo glowworm caves allow you to view the beautiful twinkling glowworms as you learn about the cave system and these sparkling insect larvae.
Forgotten World Adventures
It’s not every day you get to discover a forgotten world. This fully guided tour allows you to travel by jet boat or rail cart as you explore the seemingly untouched Taumarunui area.
Tongariro National Park
The Tongariro National Park is a real gem in North Island’s crown, home to the famous Tongariro Crossing. This dual World Heritage area features large ski fields, volcanic landscapes and arguably the best day hike in New Zealand.
Things to do in the South Island
Of course, the North Island is stunning in its own right. But some of the most iconic scenes and landscapes you may have seen on postcards are from the South Island. Luckily, you will see some of these incredible views from the comfort of the train. But, some of the other best places you may visit in the South Island include:
Queen Charlotte Sound
Although it’s not technically one of the country’s Great Walks, the Queen Charlotte Sound is one of the most popular hiking areas in the country. There’s a reason Captain Cook chose to park up here often. Queen Charlotte Sound offers up stunning bays and some of the best day hikes in New Zealand.
Beautiful rainforests? Breathtaking waterfalls? Milford Sound has both of these in abundance. Milford Sound looks like a scene from Jurassic Park as sheer cliffs contrast sparkling flat fiords. Milford Sound is so seemingly untouched that chances are you won’t get phone reception here.
Whale watching in Kaikōura
Kaikōura is the area that a giant whale population chooses to call home. For travellers visiting this stunning stretch of coastline, you’ll have the chance to see these majestic creatures breach out of the water.
These are just a few of the highlights you may get to experience. Some activities on your guided or self-guided train tour may be seasonal. Along your journey, you’ll also get to wine and dine local delicacies that will simply take your breath away. Kiwis are great at making incredible wine and other delicacies.
Ready to book your New Zealand rail adventure?
We're over the moon at Great Journeys New Zealand with our brand new approach to scenic NZ train travel. What makes us so excited is that we truly believe that our tours will create lifetime memories, no matter how you customise them. Covering the iconic Northern Explorer, Coastal Pacific, and TranzAlpine train routes means you’ll see some of the most incredible views only NZ rail travel allows. Despite all of this, being guided by a local along with a luxurious level of comfort are what makes these tours truly special.
So what are you waiting for?! Book your spot on either our Signature Auckland to Queenstown or Classic Auckland to Queenstown guided scenic tours today. Once you’ve booked, we take care of everything else. We’ll see you soon at the railway station.
Explore our Signature Tours
Our Signature Tours will take you to hand-picked New Zealand destinations. This tour is designed for those who want a stress-free, scenic journey like no other.