Great Journeys of New Zealand - 17 Day Auckland to Queenstown Signature Tour
Auckland to Queenstown
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Great Journeys of New Zealand

Great Journeys of New Zealand - 17 Day Auckland to Queenstown Signature Tour

Join us on an unforgettable guided train and coach journey through New Zealand. Travel off the beaten track in comfort and style as we bring you on this scenic adventure of a lifetime. Explore the bioluminescent glow worm caves of Waitomo, visit endangered species in a natural wildlife reserve, sip world-class wine among the vines in Marlborough, see the whales, dolphins and sea life – spend the day surrounded by wildlife in Kaikōura, discover the home of pounamu and ancient forests on the Wild West Coast, explore New Zealand’s city life in Auckland, Hamilton, Wellington, Christchurch, and Queenstown, cruise on the historic TSS Earnslaw and along the Milford Sounds all while being captivated by the storytelling of your local tour director along this great journey.

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Quick Itinerary Details

Guided Coach & Train Tours

This suggested tour costs from NZD$13,499 per person (twin share, low season)

Starts in Auckland, finishes in Queenstown

17 days/16 nights

Hotel 4 star

 Pre and post tour options? YES

 Viewed 20 times in the last 7 days

Tour Inclusions

Whale Watch Kaikoura tour
Christchurch Tram
View of the glacier from the parking lot
TranzAlpine Train from Christchurch to Greymouth
Punakaiki Rocks
Travelling through the Southern Lakes
Haast, Mrs Jones Fruit Stall and Arrowtown Visit
Milford Sound Daytrip and Cruise
TSS Earnslaw cruise and dinner at Walter Peak high country farm, Queenstown
Hamilton Gardens Guided Tour
Northern Explorer Scenic Train
Raglan Sunset Cruise
Sanctuary Mountain
Waitomo Glow Worm Caves
Mt Ruapehu Sky Waka (Gondola)
Northern Explorer Scenic Train from Tongariro National Park to Wellington
Mt Ruapehu Turoa Excursion
Wellington City Tour
Marlborough gourmet wine tour
Interislander ferry crossing
Coastal Pacific Rail Journey
16 breakfasts, 1 lunch, 7 dinners
Tour at a glance

Day 1: Welcome to Auckland
Accommodation: 4-4.5 Star Hotel

Day 2: Auckland to Hamilton on the Northern Explorer Train
Accommodation: 4-4.5 Star Hotel

Day 3: Explore Hamilton
Accommodation: 4-4.5 Star Hotel

Day 4: Hamilton to Tongariro National Park on the Northern Explorer Train
Accommodation: 4-4.5 Star Hotel

Day 5: Explore Tongariro National Park
Accommodation: 4-4.5 Star Hotel

Day 6: Tongariro National Park to Wellington on the Northern Explorer Train
Accommodation: 4-4.5 Star Hotel

Day 7: Discover the wonders of Wellington City
Accommodation: 4-4.5 Star Hotel

Day 8: Wellington to Picton on the Interislander
Accommodation: 4-4.5 Star Hotel

Day 9: Picton to Kaikoura on the Coastal Pacific Train
Accommodation: 4-4.5 Star Hotel

Day 10: Kaikoura to Christchurch on the Coastal Pacific Train
Accommodation: 4-4.5 Star Hotel

Day 11: Explore Christchurch
Accommodation: 4-4.5 Star Hotel

Day 12: Christchurch to Hokitika on the TranzAlpine Scenic Train
Accommodation: 4-4.5 Star Hotel

Day 13: Explore the West Coast
Accommodation: 4-4.5 Star Hotel

Day 14: Franz Josef to Queenstown
Accommodation: 4-4.5 Star Hotel

Day 15: Experience Milford Sound
Accommodation: 4-4.5 Star Hotel

Day 16: Explore Queenstown
Accommodation: 4-4.5 Star Hotel

Day 17: Farewell Queenstown
Accommodation: 4-4.5 Star Hotel

Tour full itinerary

Detailed itinerary: 17 day tour starting in Auckland

Day 1 - Welcome to Auckland
Great Journeys of New Zealand - 17 Day Auckland to Queenstown Signature Tour - Day 1
Explore Auckland

Kia ora! Welcome to Auckland, New Zealand’s City of Sails! Auckland is known for its multi-cultural hub of food, music, arts, and culture. Your great journey will officially begin the moment you check into your hotel room. After reading your welcome letter from your Journey Director, head out and explore all that Auckland has to offer. This is the perfect opportunity to visit the Sky Tower or shop along bustling Queen Street. You may even fancy a drink in one of the charming bars or eateries of Vulcan Lane.
After an exciting day on the town, join your fellow travellers as well as the Journey Director at this evening’s welcome reception.

Your accommodation: 4-4.5 Star Hotel

Meals included: Dinner
Day 2 - Auckland to Hamilton on the Northern Explorer Train
Great Journeys of New Zealand - 17 Day Auckland to Queenstown Signature Tour - Day 2
The Beginning of your Scenic Journey

Your journey awaits as you join the Northern Explorer scenic train. Marvel at rural New Zealand’s lush landscapes from the comfort of your scenic carriage. From the sparkling waters of the Waitemata Harbour to the green pastures of the Waikato – you won’t want to miss a moment.
Arriving in Hamilton, your coach awaits you to bring you to the famous Hamilton Gardens. Surrounded by beauty, you will learn about the history, context, and meaning of each garden.
In the early afternoon, enjoy some free time in the heart of Hamilton before departing for your next activity. 

Your accommodation: 4-4.5 Star Hotel

Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Day 3 - Explore Hamilton
Great Journeys of New Zealand - 17 Day Auckland to Queenstown Signature Tour - Day 3
Discover Endangered and Bioluminescent Species

This morning you will depart for your next exciting excursion. Let your guide transport you into an ancient world of ecological wonders as you explore New Zealand’s very own pest-free environment. On this excursion, you will visit the home of the most endangered species in the country.  This pre-human paradise is one of the world’s longest pest-proof fences.
Your expedition continues after a lunch stop in New Zealand’s “Kiwiana Capital”, Otorohanga. Next, discover the famous Glow-Worm Caves in the Waikato and be dazzled by the seemingly star-filled sky this afternoon.
Tonight, you will have a free evening to explore Hamilton's riverside walks and shops. Enjoy one of the many nearby restaurants as the sun sets on the Waikato River.

Your accommodation: 4-4.5 Star Hotel

Meals included: Breakfast
Day 4 - Hamilton to Tongariro National Park on the Northern Explorer Train
Great Journeys of New Zealand - 17 Day Auckland to Queenstown Signature Tour - Day 4
Explore Tongariro National Park

Joining the Northern Explorer train once again,  today you’ll soar over icy mountain streams as you travel to Tongariro National Park; the home of three volcanic mountains. Tongariro National Park has a diverse range of ecosystems and spectacular landscapes.  In 1993, it was recognised by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site and was the first property to be inscribed with the criteria describing the cultural values it holds in the Māori people.
Tonight, enjoy a special treat and dinner with your fellow travellers.

Your accommodation: 4-4.5 Star Hotel

Meals included: Breakfast, Dinner
Day 5 - Explore Tongariro National Park
Great Journeys of New Zealand - 17 Day Auckland to Queenstown Signature Tour - Day 5
Another day to explore Tongariro National Park

Today is free for you to discover one of the region's exciting excursions. Choose from the many optional activities on offer and personalise your perfect holiday. Perhaps you will hop aboard a rail cart journey or join a horse trekking experience that takes you along expansive hills, mountains, rivers and into the native bush.
If you're after an active day, why not explore Ohakune’s historical cycle trail? Rent e-bikes and discover old viaducts, tunnels, old settlers’ camps and reclaimed native forests along the Old Coach Road.

Your accommodation: 4-4.5 Star Hotel

Meals included: Breakfast
Day 6 - Tongariro National Park to Wellington on the Northern Explorer Train
Great Journeys of New Zealand - 17 Day Auckland to Queenstown Signature Tour - Day 6
Tongariro National Park to Wellington on the Northern Explorer Train

Your day will begin with a mini excursion up to Tūroa ski field. Here you'll want to capture a panoramic photo of Middle Earth before descending into Ohakune. Joining the Northern Explorer train once again, you will wave goodbye to Ohakune, New Zealand's 'Carrot Capital', as you settle into your uber-comfortable seat. Don’t get too comfortable though; dramatic rivers, gorges, and ravines are just around the bend! Stretch your legs and explore the open-air carriage to get the best view on the train.
A little later, why not indulge in a treat from the onboard licensed café? As you glide through rich green farmland and past dramatic coastline, enjoy the picturesque Porirua Harbour as you arrive into Wellington.
Welcome to Wellington – New Zealand’s windy capital! You’ve arrived at Wellington Railway Station which is just a stone’s throw from downtown, the Beehive and Parliament Buildings. You won't want to waste a moment of time after checking into the hotel - your evening is free to explore this culinary capital from Cuba street and beyond.

Your accommodation: 4-4.5 Star Hotel

Meals included: Breakfast
Day 7 - Discover the wonders of Wellington City
Great Journeys of New Zealand - 17 Day Auckland to Queenstown Signature Tour - Day 7
Explore Wellington

The perfect day does exist – and it includes exploring Wellington! Today is free for you to experience vibrant Wellington as you please. Start by joining our Wellington City introduction tour and then head off to explore Cuba street’s cafes, bookstores, and eccentric shops. Get cultured at the Te Papa Museum or Zealandia to uncover the rich stories of Aotearoa New Zealand. You won’t get bored with the plethora of activities on offer. From urban eco-sanctuary, cable cars, botanical gardens, and more, the list goes on!
Enjoy dinner tonight with your fellow travelers.

Your accommodation: 4-4.5 Star Hotel

Meals included: Breakfast, Dinner
Day 8 - Wellington to Picton on the Interislander
Great Journeys of New Zealand - 17 Day Auckland to Queenstown Signature Tour - Day 8
Adventure to the South - Haere ra to Te Ika a Maui

This morning you will say Haere ra to Te Ika a Maui (good-bye to the North Island) as you sail to the South Island, crossing the Cook Strait on the Interislander ferry. As the shores of the North Island slowly disappear, enjoy a hearty seafaring breakfast in the Ocean View restaurant.
Around mid-day, you will be spoiled with harbour views entering the Queen Charlotte Sound. Admire the beauty of this coastal paradise as you arrive at the gateway of the South Island; Picton. Step off the Interislander Ferry and join your next world-class experience on a Marlborough Wine Tour!

Your accommodation: 4-4.5 Star Hotel

Meals included: Breakfast
Day 9 - Picton to Kaikoura on the Coastal Pacific Train
Great Journeys of New Zealand - 17 Day Auckland to Queenstown Signature Tour - Day 9
Picton to Kaikoura on the Coastal Pacific Train

The morning is yours to explore sunny Picton. Meander through the local craft stores and coastal walks, or perhaps take a cruise to the Queen Charlotte Sound. Enjoy the waterfront cafes before boarding the Coastal Pacific train for another highlight rail journey through the Marlborough Wine Region.
Today you will be travelling into Kaikōura. Relax and let the train glide you across remote beaches, between mountains and sea, on a timeless journey of breathtaking beauty. Keep an eye out for the fur seals lazing on the rocks!
Once in Kaikōura, the evening will be yours to enjoy some iconic kai moana (seafood) at one of the quaint restaurants.

Your accommodation: 4-4.5 Star Hotel

Meals included: Breakfast
Day 10 - Kaikoura to Christchurch on the Coastal Pacific Train
Great Journeys of New Zealand - 17 Day Auckland to Queenstown Signature Tour - Day 10
Kaikoura to Christchurch on the Coastal Pacific Train

Today will be a once-in-a-lifetime experience of whale watching! Enjoy today’s thrill of an up-close encounter with the world's largest-toothed predator, the Giant Sperm Whale. If you would prefer to gain an aerial experience of the wildlife, why not request a plane or helicopter ride to capture the true grandeur of it all?
After this outstanding experience, we're sure you will be feeling peckish. Head to the beach to sample some iconic New Zealand food - you can't go wrong with the humble Kiwiana fish and chips. Work off the deep-fried delights by wandering through the wonderful array of local artisan stores and souvenir shops.
In the late afternoon, your journey will continue, once again, on the Coastal Pacific Train en route to Christchurch, or “The Garden City”. The spectacular scenery doesn’t cease to amaze as you journey south through the rolling hills and flat plains. Enjoy the relaxing journey with a glass of wine in hand from the scenic café.
Enjoy a peaceful evening before hitting the town the following day.

Your accommodation: 4-4.5 Star Hotel

Meals included: Breakfast
Day 11 - Explore Christchurch
Great Journeys of New Zealand - 17 Day Auckland to Queenstown Signature Tour - Day 11
Explore Christchurch

Christchurch, the hub for South Island exploration is also a wonderful city that blends modern architecture and technology with the existing 19th-century Anglican influence. Often remembered for its earthquake in 2011, the city is still rebuilding itself into a multicultural haven. So, without further delay, jump on the historic tram to learn the history, tales and culture of Ōtautahi Christchurch.
Enjoy your free time as you explore the Arts Centre, Quake City Museum, Antarctic Centre, and botanical gardens. There is also a multitude of delicious cafes tucked into quaint side streets we're sure you will love. If you are in the mood for something different, set off for Akaroa, an ‘incroyable’ French coastal settlement just outside the city. 
Dinner awaits as you join your fellow travellers once again to tell them about the exciting places you discovered. 

Your accommodation: 4-4.5 Star Hotel

Meals included: Breakfast, Dinner
Day 12 - Christchurch to Hokitika on the TranzAlpine Scenic Train
Great Journeys of New Zealand - 17 Day Auckland to Queenstown Signature Tour - Day 12
The TranzAlpine Scenic Train

The moment has come to experience the world-famous TranzAlpine journey through the Southern Alps to the West Coast!
On this fantastic escape, you will see epic vistas, soar on the edges of the ice-fed Waimakariri River, traverse the Southern Alps, and experience miles of native beech forest. The natural scenery isn’t the only marvel though. The TranzAlpine will also pass through the Otira Tunnel, a true engineering marvel of almost 100 years!
Once you arrive on the West Coast, you will travel even further off the beaten track by coach to Punakaiki Pancake Rocks. Here you will walk amongst limestone formations before finishing your day in the coastal town of Hokitika.

Your accommodation: 4-4.5 Star Hotel

Meals included: Breakfast
Day 13 - Explore the West Coast
Great Journeys of New Zealand - 17 Day Auckland to Queenstown Signature Tour - Day 13
Explore the West Coast

This morning you start your West Coast adventure by visiting one of the South Island’s most popular activities– The Treetop Aerial Walkway. This elevated adventure will get you acquainted with the locals – the ancient Rimu and Kamahi trees of course.
After your sky-high experience continuing into glacier country, you'll reach Franz Josef. Franz Josef glacier is quite unique in that it survives in coastal rainforest temperatures. We’ll drive as close as possible, but if you’d prefer to get up close, we recommend booking an optional helicopter flight. This will ensure you are getting the best possible view of this natural wonder.
After our glacial experience and checking into our hotel, you’ll have some free time to enjoy Franz Josef town. Indulge in a little retail therapy, the helicopter flight, nature walk or tap into some natural tranquillity at the hot pools.

Your accommodation: 4-4.5 Star Hotel

Meals included: Breakfast, Dinner
Day 14 - Franz Josef to Queenstown
Great Journeys of New Zealand - 17 Day Auckland to Queenstown Signature Tour - Day 14
Explore the Southern Lakes

Heading southwards, enjoy exploring the Southern Lakes region as you marvel at the sublime scenery. From glacier country, you will tread through the incredibly dense West Coast rainforest. In the distance, enjoy the spectacular picture-perfect mountain peaks as you journey along the clifftops.
After enjoying Haast, you will continue south through the dramatic Haast Pass and alongside impeccable lakes. The next stops will have you sipping aromatic coffee and perusing through the delicious South Island fruit selection of fruit stalls. Charming and quirky Arrowtown is next on the itinerary.
After an exciting plunge into the gold rush village history, you have arrived in the world-famous resort town of Queenstown!

Your accommodation: 4-4.5 Star Hotel

Meals included: Breakfast
Day 15 - Experience Milford Sound
Great Journeys of New Zealand - 17 Day Auckland to Queenstown Signature Tour - Day 15
Explore Milford Sound - The 8th Wonder of the World

Make sure you charge your camera before you set off on today’s adventure. Today you’re heading to Milford Sounds/ Piopiotahi to be engulfed in towering peaks and to waltz through plunging valleys.
After travelling through native rainforests, meadows, and knobs (yes knobs!), you will join your cruise in Milford Sounds. Jump aboard and meander down the sound where you will experience the rumble of Bowen and Stirling Falls as they plummet from glacial hanging valleys sharply into the sea. Marvel at the sheer pinnacle of Mitre Peak, rising from the deep waters of the fiord. Or, if you’d like to soar like the Piopio (ancient bird), why not elevate your day by flying into the Sounds by plane or helicopter?
After this adventure, you will be heading back to Queenstown for the evening. Sip cocktails and indulge in Queenstown’s exciting nightlife along the sparkling Lake Wakatipu.

Your accommodation: 4-4.5 Star Hotel

Meals included: Breakfast
Day 16 - Explore Queenstown
Great Journeys of New Zealand - 17 Day Auckland to Queenstown Signature Tour - Day 16
Explore Queenstown

Queenstown truly has something for everyone. Personalise your day to be as active or relaxed as you’d like. Whether it’s sipping wine in Gibbston Valley or bungy jumping with AJ Hackett, there is no shortage of activities to delight your senses.
Enjoy a final hurrah this evening as we board the TSS Earnslaw Cruise. Reflect on your great adventure with your fellow travellers as you cruise to your dining experience at Walter peak overlooking the beautiful Table Bay.

Your accommodation: 4-4.5 Star Hotel

Meals included: Breakfast, Dinner
Day 17 - Farewell Queenstown
Great Journeys of New Zealand - 17 Day Auckland to Queenstown Signature Tour - Day 17
Depart Queenstown

Your journey will finish after breakfast. You will be transferred to Queenstown Airport for your departing flight.

Your accommodation: 4-4.5 Star Hotel

Meals included: Breakfast
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Great Journeys of New Zealand - 17 Day Auckland to Queenstown Signature Tour

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This tour has 2 departure dates.
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Starts Status Twin/Double (2 people sharing) Single occupancy You save  
Feb 15, 2023
(Wednesday)
NZD$13,499 NZD$15,359 Enquire Book
Mar 29, 2023
(Wednesday)
NZD$13,499 NZD$15,359 Enquire Book
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