South Island Railway Adventure

Easy Twin Share

From $4,785 per person

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Thursday 07 – Wednesday 13 September 2023 (7 Days)

Perfect for all train lovers and enthusiasts! The South Island offers many stunning train journeys throughout the unique landscapes of the south. On this rail adventure we board the world-renowned TranzAlpine train taking us from Christchurch through the towering Southern Alps to Arthurs Pass. We also ride on small private railways and visit historic sites, towns and museums of the South Island.

Day 1              Thursday 07 September 2023
Our journey starts today with a flight from Auckland to Christchurch. On arrival we will take a short orientation tour of the city before checking into our accommodation. Tonight, we are in for a treat as we dine on the Christchurch Tramway Restaurant. A mixture of old and new, this luxury heritage tram showcases Christchurch’s inner city while serving premium local cuisine and beverages with outstanding service.
Accommodation:  Distinction Hotel, Christchurch – 2 nights 

Day 2              Friday 08 September 2023
After breakfast this morning we travel north to Waikari to embark on an exclusive private charter of a vintage railcar on the historic Weka Pass Railway. We travel on the 12.8-kilometre scenic line through stunning limestone formations, down the escarpment to the Canterbury Plain. This round trip showcases the exceptional beauty of the Waikari and Waipara areas. Afterwards we return to Christchurch stopping for lunch (own cost) along the way. The remainder of the afternoon is at leisure to spend relaxing or exploring Christchurch.
Tonight, we will enjoy dinner in the hotel restaurant.

Day 3              Saturday 09 September 2023
Today we have a full day of railway highlights and changing landscapes. We begin early with the TranzAlpine train journey across the Canterbury Plains. This scenic passage travels across towering viaducts, through spectacular gorges and into the lush forest of Arthurs Pass National Park. Meeting our coach here, we descend into the West Coast and make our way to the popular heritage park, Shantytown.  Here, there will be time to enjoy some lunch (own cost) and explore the living museum before we enjoy a ride on the vintage steam train and try our hand at gold panning in the flowing streams. Departing Shantytown, we travel along the scenic West Coast arriving in Fox Glacier. Tonight we dine together at our hotel.
Accommodation: Heartland Hotel Fox Glacier, Fox Glacier – 1 night

Day  4             Sunday 10 September 2023                          
Today we enjoy a day of ever-changing spectacular coastal, rainforest, and alpine scenery.  The journey along the West Coast features native rainforest, wetlands, bush-fringed lakes, sand dunes and surf-pounded shingle beaches. Heading inland over the Haast Pass, the scenery changes dramatically as the road descends into Otago past the waters of Lakes Wanaka and Hawea. We stop at Arrowtown, a historic gold-mining town before reaching Queenstown with the remainder of the afternoon at leisure. Tonight, our dinner will be one to remember. Cruising across the stunning Lake Wakatipu in the 1912 vintage steamship, the TSS Earnslaw we disembark at Walter Peak High Country Farm. Surrounded by the history of one of the first farms in the region, the ambience of the Colonel’s Homestead provides the perfect location to enjoy a delicious gourmet BBQ dinner which the chef will prepare in front of us. After dinner enjoy an entertaining farm experience including a sheep shearing demonstration.  On the magical night-time cruise home, enjoy the camaraderie of a sing-along with the ship’s pianist or breathe in the fresh night air on the moonlit decks as you watch the lights of Queenstown draw nearer.
Accommodation: Copthorne Hotel & Resort Lakefront, Queenstown – 1 night

Day 5              Monday 11 September 2023
After breakfast, farewell Queenstown and travel to Dunedin. Along the way, we explore the historic Hayes Engineering Works and Homestead learning the legacy of English immigrants Ernest and Hannah Hayes, who settled in Central Otago in 1882. Explore the homestead and enjoy lunch (own cost) at leisure in the onsite cafe before travelling on to Dunedin. Envisaged as the "Edinburgh of the South", Dunedin was founded in 1848 and is characterised by the permanence of many handsome stone buildings and historical monuments with a clear Scottish heritage. Dinner tonight will be at our hotel.
Accommodation: Scenic Hotel Southern Cross, Dunedin – 1 night

Day 6              Tuesday 12 September 2023                        
Making our way back to Christchurch, we stop at Oamaru, a gorgeous harbour town famous for some of New Zealand’s best 19th century architecture.  Here, enjoy a leisurely lunch (own cost) perhaps in the Victorian precinct. Continuing our journey, we enjoy an exclusively chartered ride at Pleasant Point Railway. Full of history, this train journey travels along one and a half miles of the original 38 mile long Fairlie line that was closed after 93 years of service. Volunteers have brought this line back to a shadow of its former glory.  On arrival into Christchurch, we enjoy a farewell dinner in the hotel restaurant.
Accommodation: Distinction Hotel, Christchurch – 1 night

Day 7              Wednesday 13 September 2023                              
Today after breakfast we have one final stop to enjoy; the Ferrymead Heritage Park. Inspired by the first railway in New Zealand that opened in 1863 running from Ferrymead into Central Christchurch, the park features an early 1900s (Edwardian) township complete with its own school, church, jail, railway station and more.  Today our tour concludes with our flight from Christchurch to Auckland.

Rydges Latimer Christchurch

Rydges Latimer Hotel

Overlooking Latimer Square, this luxury hotel accommodation offers stylish rooms surrounded by stunning natural beauty. Rydges Latimer Christchurch is the perfect base for any travellers staying in Christchurch.

Heartland Hotel Fox Glacier

Heartland Hotel Fox Glacier

Heartland Hotel Fox Glacier sits in the heart of the old gold rush township of Fox Glacier village, close to many of the attractions and activities this adventurer's paradise has to offer. All 51 guest rooms offer a comfortable and relaxing stay after a long day exploring the area with all the in-room amenities a guest could need.

Distinction Hotel Dunedin Exterior at Night

Distinction Dunedin

Distinction Dunedin Hotel is located in the heart of the city, formerly Chief Post Office built in 1937 this hotel combines the historic charm with modern amenities and finishings to create a unique stay for guests whilst being close to many of the attractions and activities the area has to offer. All 121 elegant guest suites and studios are spacious and modern with all of the facilities and furnishings a guest could need.

Copthorne Lakefront Hotel Queenstown

Copthorne Hotel & Resort Lakefront

The Hotel blends superior facilities and comfort with friendly personal service. The property offers a relaxing atmosphere combined with stunning panoramic lake and mountain views, situated within a tranquil garden setting. With 240 guest rooms, including six suites and over 80 rooms that have views of Lake Wakatipu and the Remarkable mountain range. The hotel is within walking distance of Queenstown central shopping and entertainment area.

Tour Inclusions

  • Door to door home collection & drop off service available from select areas - refer to further information available here
  • Auckland – Christchurch return flights with Air New Zealand - other ports on application / price on application
  • 6 nights’ accommodation - twin/double rooms, all with private facilities (single rooms available with surcharge)
  • Tour admissions as per itinerary
  • Touring in modern air-conditioned vehicle
  • Breakfasts (B), Dinners (D) where indicated on your daily itinerary - 6 x Breakfasts, 6 x Dinners
  • Roadside Morning Teas – where possible
  • Christchurch Tram Restaurant
  • Weka Pass Railway
  • Tranzalpine Rail Service to Arthurs Pass Village
  • Shantytown Heritage Park
  • Walter Peak BBQ Dinner
  • Pleasant Point Railway
  • Ferrymead Heritage Park

Tour Payments Per Person ($NZD)

Twin/Double Share: $4,785.00
Single Supplement: $800.00
Non-refundable deposit due at time of booking $200.00

Discounts available for Travel Club Members - Please Enquire

Full balance of tour payment due by Thursday 27 July 2023

Early Bird Offer Book and pay in full by Wednesday 10 May 2023 and receive $150.00 discount per person!


Are door to door collections included on this tour? YES

Yes. Leisure Time Tours offers a free home collection and drop off service from selected Hamilton, Tauranga, Rotorua and most Auckland City areas. Our complimentary collections are based on your individual post code, other home collection locations available at an additional cost. Alternatively you may wish to meet us at our Hamilton depot in which case you can park your car in our secure yard free of charge for the duration of your holiday. For all tours that have a flight component, we can also offer door to door collections from Wellington, Christchurch and Dunedin city areas.

Please refer to our Home Collection flyer for further information about this service.

Is the Guaranteed twin Share Price available on this tour? YES

Yes. Our Guaranteed Twin Share price is available for those passengers willing to share with another single traveller of the same gender. If there isn’t another passenger of the same gender to share with we GUARANTEE our twin share price. Leisure Times Tours accepts no responsibility for the compatibility of passengers travelling under this arrangement. If someone is not compatible with the person they have been matched up with, all additional costs incurred to assist with changing their shared room type to two single rooms will be at the expense of both travellers and will be subject to availability. Acceptance of a guaranteed twin share room is subject to the individual’s medical condition being suitable for this type of arrangement.

Please note that the guaranteed twin share pricing is not available to pre & post tour accommodation arrangements.

What fitness level is required for this tour? EASY LEVEL

To ensure that you select the right tour for you, we’ve developed a very clear set of fitness recommendations for our tours. These physical ratings clearly explain how much physical exertion is required to participate on each tour. 

Level 1 – Easy

  • Relaxed paced tour
  • Be able to participate in guided or unguided small walking tours at a relaxed pace.
  • Walk on mostly level ground
  • Tackle an occasional flight of stairs
  • Occasionally need to stand for up to 10 minutes
  • Able to get on and off transportation unaided

Level 2 – Moderate

  • Be able to participate in walking tours with time to rest at least every 10 minutes
  • Stand for 15 minutes without needing to sit down
  • Tackle a flight of stairs or incline
  • Able to get on and off transportation unaided
  • Walk confidently on bush tracks

 Level 3 – Active

  • Participate in walking tours without having to rest for up to 20 minutes
  • Walk up an incline equal to a flight of stairs without stopping
  • Stand for 30 minutes without needing to sit down
  • Walk over uneven ground and walk through soft sand
  • Able to get on and off transportation unaided
Is this tour a guaranteed departure? NO

This tour will be guaranteed once there are 10 passengers booked on the tour.

Can you assist with pre & post tour accommodation? YES

Yes we can. Should you wish to arrive earlier or stay longer we can book in some pre and post tour accommodation for you. Please ask at the time of booking if you require this.

Will there be a daily seat rotation on this tour? YES

Passengers rotate seats in the coach daily so that all passengers have the opportunity to enjoy forward and window seating. All passengers are expected to participate as a booking condition.

Are roadside morning teas included on this tour? YES

Yes. A point of difference is that wherever possible we offer our passengers roadside refreshments served from the coach. This gives all passengers the chance to mix and mingle over a hot cuppa allowing us to share our experiences as we journey together.

Do I need travel insurance?

Leisure Time Tours strongly advises all passengers to purchase a travel insurance policy. A comprehensive travel insurance policy may prevent you from spending extra money in case of an emergency and will help you feel protected during your holiday. We are agents for Cover More Travel Insurance. Ask us for a no obligation insurance quote today.

How much luggage can I bring?

Luggage is restricted to one suitcase and one small item of hand luggage per person. Baggage handling of one suitcase per person, at each hotel, is included in the trip price. Carry-on/hand luggage handling is the responsibility of each guest and all personal items must be taken off the coach by you each day of the trip.

What clothing should I pack?

When on tour, dress is generally relaxed and casual with an informal dress standard on most occasions. Casual wear is recommended for travelling with something a little more formal for evening dining. If taking part in outdoor activities, make sure you have a waterproof coat, comfortable footwear and dress in layers to help you adjust to any sudden changes in climate. Be prepared for New Zealand’s powerful sun, even on cold windy days, bringing a hat, sunglasses and sunscreen.

South Island Railway Adventure Map

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