Great Journeys of New Zealand - Signature Cities & Seas Tour
Auckland to Christchurch
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New Zealand tour itinerary name and information
Great Journeys of New Zealand

Great Journeys of New Zealand - Signature Cities & Seas Tour

Join us on an unforgettable train and coach journey through New Zealand. Travel off the beaten track in comfort and style as we guide you on this scenic adventure of a lifetime. Explore the bioluminescent glow worm caves of Waitomo, visit endangered species at a wildlife sanctuary, sip world-class wine among the vines in Marlborough, explore the natural wonders of Tongariro National Park, meet whales, dolphins and sea life – spend the day surrounded by wildlife in Kaikōura, explore New Zealand’s city life in Auckland, Hamilton, Wellington, and Christchurch and 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$8,999 per person (twin share, low season)

Starts in Auckland, finishes in Christchurch

12 days/11 nights

Hotel 4 star

 Pre and post tour options? YES

 Viewed 130 times in the last 7 days

Tour Inclusions

Whale Watch Kaikoura tour
Dinner on the Christchurch Restaurant Tram
Hamilton Gardens Guided Tour
Northern Explorer Scenic Train
Raglan Sunset Cruise
Waitomo Glow Worm Caves
Sanctuary Mountain
Mt Ruapehu Sky Waka (Gondola)
Northern Explorer Scenic Train from Tongariro National Park to Wellington
Mt Ruapehu Turoa Excursion
Wellington City Tour
Cruise on the Interislander Ferry
Marlborough Wine Tour
11 breakfasts, 1 lunch, 5 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: Discover the Regenerated city of Christchurch
Accommodation: 4-4.5 Star Hotel

Day 12: Farewell Christchurch

Tour full itinerary
Detailed Itinerary
Great Journeys of New Zealand - Signature Cities & Seas 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
Great Journeys of New Zealand - Signature Cities & Seas 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 an evening visit to Raglan – a seaside surfer town. It’s here that you’ll enjoy a Sunset Dinner Cruise on the pristine harbour.

Your accommodation: 4-4.5 Star Hotel

Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Great Journeys of New Zealand - Signature Cities & Seas Tour - Day 3
Discover Endangered and Bioluminescent Species

This morning you will depart for your next exciting excursion – Maungatautari Sanctuary Mountain. Let your guide transport you into an ancient world of ecological wonders as you explore New Zealand’s very own pest-free environment, within native forest. On this excursion, you will walk through the home of some of New Zealand’s most endangered species. Discover North Island’s robins, tomtits, kākā, pōpokotea, bellbirds, hihi, tīeke, fantails, kereru and wētā. This pre-human paradise has one of the world’s longest pest-proof fences.
Your expedition continues after a lunch stop in New Zealand’s “Kiwiana Capital”, Otorohanga. Make sure you capture a photo of the giant Kiwi birds! Next, discover the famous Waitomo Glow worm Caves and be dazzled by the seemingly star-filled sky as you glide by boat through this impressive cave formation.
Tonight, explore Hamilton's riverside walks and shops on this free evening. Enjoy one of the many nearby restaurants as the sun sets over the Waikato River

Your accommodation: 4-4.5 Star Hotel

Meals included: Breakfast
Great Journeys of New Zealand - Signature Cities & Seas 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.
Enjoy a mini excursion up to Tūroa ski field. Here you'll want to capture a panoramic photo of Middle Earth before descending into Ohakune.
Tonight, enjoy a special dinner with your fellow travellers.

Your accommodation: 4-4.5 Star Hotel

Meals included: Breakfast, Dinner
Great Journeys of New Zealand - Signature Cities & Seas 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
Great Journeys of New Zealand - Signature Cities & Seas Tour - Day 6
Tongariro National Park to Wellington on the Northern Explorer Train

Your day begins with an elevated experience up the northern face of Mt Ruapehu for panoramic views of the volcanic landscape. Drink in the views of Mt Ngāuruhoe, Mt Tongariro, and beyond across the central North Island. Joining the Northern Explorer train once again, you will wave goodbye to Ohakune 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. As you glide through rich green farmland and past dramatic coastline, enjoy the picturesque Porirua Harbour as you arrive into 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 Queen’s Wharf to Cuba street and beyond.

Your accommodation: 4-4.5 Star Hotel

Meals included: Breakfast
Great Journeys of New Zealand - Signature Cities & Seas 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
Great Journeys of New Zealand - Signature Cities & Seas Tour - Day 8
Adventure to the South - Haere ra to Te Ika a Maui

This morning you will say poroporoaki ki te motu raki (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, settle down in the comfy seats in the Premium Lounge. Treat yourself to a mimosa and enjoy a hearty seafaring breakfast, but save some room for morning tea!
On your journey across the Cook Strait you may spot pods of dolphins playing in the wake or, if you are very lucky, a whale. Don’t spend all your time inside – as you enter the stunning Queen Charlotte Sound enjoy the views as you cruise past the remnants of whaling stations, remote working sheep farms, pristine native bush and mussel farms. Admire the beauty of this coastal paradise as you arrive into the gateway of the South Island, Picton. Step off the Interislander Ferry and join your next world-class experience aboard a Marlborough Wine Tour.

Your accommodation: 4-4.5 Star Hotel

Meals included: Breakfast
Great Journeys of New Zealand - Signature Cities & Seas Tour - Day 9
Picton to Kaikoura on the Coastal Pacific Train

The morning is yours to explore Picton. Meander through the impressive Edwin Fox- the world’s oldest surviving merchant sailing ships, the local craft stores, and coastal walks. Enjoy the waterfront cafés before boarding the Coastal Pacific train for another highlight rail journey through the Marlborough Wine Region.
Today you will be travelling into Kaikōura. Relax as the train glides across remote beaches, between mountains and sea, on a timeless journey of breath-taking 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 before enjoying your luxurious ocean-front hotel.

Your accommodation: 4-4.5 Star Hotel

Meals included: Breakfast
Great Journeys of New Zealand - Signature Cities & Seas 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
Great Journeys of New Zealand - Signature Cities & Seas 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 19th-century Anglican 'gothic revival' architectural influence. Often remembered for its earthquake in 2011, the city is rebuilding itself into a multicultural haven.
Today you are free to explore the museums, Riverside Markets, Punting on the Avon, Gondola and botanical gardens. There is also a multitude of delicious cafés tucked into quaint side streets we're sure you will love.
This evening, you will re-join your fellow travellers for a special dinner and a ‘final hurrah’ on Christchurch’s historic dinner tram. Enjoy a wonderful circuit of the city while indulging in fantastic conversation and seasonal cuisine.

Your accommodation: 4-4.5 Star Hotel

Meals included: Breakfast, Dinner
Great Journeys of New Zealand - Signature Cities & Seas Tour - Day 12
Depart Christchurch

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

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Starts Status   Double (2 people sharing) Single occupancy You save  
Sep 11, 2024
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Oct 2, 2024
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Feb 19, 2025
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Mar 12, 2025
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Apr 9, 2025
(Wednesday)
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Apr 16, 2025
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