Ultimate Rail, Cruise & Coach Experience

Doubtful Sound
from £5740 18 nights | Sep - Apr Exc. flights See price details
  • Departs:
  • Sep - Apr


Experience the north and south islands of New Zealand on this luxury small group tour from our partner, Grand Pacific Tours, who specialise in New Zealand. Travelling in ultimate comfort by coach and rail follow a classic touring route that includes the glorious Bay of Islands, thermal Rotorua, iconic Milford Sound and the West Coast glaciers as well as the cities of Auckland, Wellington, Christchurch and Dunedin.


  • Dolphin watching and cruise in the stunning Bay of Islands
  • Traditional Maori hangi and concert in Rotorua
  • Spectacular TranzAlpine train journey
  • Evening cruise on vintage steamship TSS Earnslaw
  • Overnight cruise on majestic Doubtful Sound
  • Nostalgic steam train journey on the Glenbrook Vintage Railway

Enjoy the best of New Zealand at a relaxed pace. Combine rail, coach and an exclusive overnight cruise on a tour that will appeal to rail enthusiasts and their travelling companions.

Both of the two rail journeys are diverse; you will experience the romance of the bygone era on an operating steam railway and see the magnificent Southern Alps on the TranzAlpine, rated as one of the world’s great train journeys.

Benefits of 'Ultimate' Touring

Luxury Coaches

One of the key features of this itinerary is the transportation used by Grand Pacific Tours. Purpose built, the Ultimate Coach is in a class of its own. Travel on a full size coach (13.5 metres long) which would normally house 48 seats and has been reconfigured with only 20 luxury leather seats. Experience surroundings akin to the 'pointy end' of an aeroplane as you enjoy the extensive onboard features which include:

  • 20 luxury leather fully reclining seats adjustable headrest & calf support
  • Panoramic viewing, air-conditioning and seat belts
  • Wood grain timber tray table with built in cup holder
  • Seat side personal storage area providing easy access to your travel bag
  • Personal audio control unit with multiple music channels & set of headphones
  • Individual USB point for charging your camera, mobile phone and iPod
  • Stylish centre galley area equipped with refrigerated drinking fountain and fridge
  • Complimentary daily on board Wi-Fi allowance
  • Onboard restroom

Ultimate Tour Extras

As part of the Ultimate Small Group Tours experience you will receive a number of exclusive extras:

  • A deluxe Travel Set including Travel Bag & Ticket Wallet
  • Complimentary pre dinner drink at the welcome dinner
  • Cloth bag including boxed mints & complimentary bottle of water
  • Access to daily newspaper and a range of glossy magazines
  • An intimate farewell dinner including selected beverages

Maximum group size: 20

Itinerary & Accommodation

Day 1: arrive Auckland (D)
Upon arrival in Auckland you will be met and transferred to your hotel. This evening meet your travelling companions over a complimentary pre-dinner drink.
Overnight: Crowne Plaza Hotel Auckland
Day 2: Auckland-Bay of Islands (B,D)
Enjoy an Auckland city sights tour before travelling to the Parry Kauri Park to see a magnificent example of a Kauri Tree. Enjoy a visit and informative talk at the Kauri Museum in Matakohe, then travel via Whangarei to the Bay of Islands. This afternoon enjoy a guided tour of the Waitangi Treaty Grounds, the location of the signing of the treaty between the Maori tribes and the British.
Overnight: Hotel Scenic Hotel Bay of Islands
Day 3: Bay of Islands (Free day) (B)
Today is a free day. Choose from the many optional activities available including the Cape Reinga coach trip via Ninety Mile Beach or a spectacular scenic flight. This evening is also free and you may like to enjoy a relaxing dinner cruise.
Overnight: Hotel Scenic Hotel Bay of Islands
Day 4: Bay of Islands-Auckland (B,D)
This morning travel aboard a luxury catamaran to Cape Brett and the famous Hole in the Rock. Keep an eye out for bottlenose and common dolphins before returning to Paihia. Travel south via Whangarei to Auckland
Overnight: Crowne Plaza Hotel Auckland
Day 5: Auckland-Rotorua (B, D)
This morning enjoy a city sights tour of Auckland before travelling to Glenbrook Vintage Railway for a nostalgic 15km trip back in time on a resorted vintage steam train. Continue to Rainbow Springs, spanning 22 acres of native trees. A highlight will be the Kiwi Encounter experience which offers a unique behind the scenes tour of a working kiwi nursery and hatchery.
Overnight: Regent of Rotorua
Day 6: Rotorua (B,SD)
Today begins with a Gondola ride at the Skyline Rotorua for breakfast with spectacular views over Lake Rotorua and also time for a thrilling luge ride! Travel to the Agrodome where you see a shearing display and sheep dog trial. Enjoy some free time this afternoon before travelling to Te Puia to see the boiling mud pools and awesome geysers that Rotorua is famous for. This evening experience an entertaining Maori Hangi and Concert.
Overnight: Regent of Rotorua
Day 7: Rotorua-Wellington (B,D)
Travel along the Thermal Explorer Highway to spectacular Huka Falls then continue to Lake Taupo for some free time in this lakeside town. In the afternoon travel via Tongariro National Park and the snow capped peaks of Mt Ruapehu and Mt Tongariro. Drive along the Kapiti Coast to Wellington, New Zealand’s capital for a two-night stay.
Overnight: InterContinental Hotel Wellington
Day 8: Wellington (B)
A highlight this morning will be time to explore Te Papa, New Zealand’s fabulous National Museum that embraces both Maori and European themes. Reboard your coach for an extensive city sights tour which will highlight Wellington’s tremendous history and culture. Enjoy free time at leisure this afternoon. This evening is also free and you may like to dine out at one of the many fine restaurants in the capital city.
Overnight: InterContinental Hotel Wellington
Day 9: Wellington-Christchurch (B,D)
This morning board the Interislander Ferry, cross the Cook Strait and enjoy the magnificent scenery as you travel through the Marlborough Sounds to Picton. On arrival in Picton you will board the Coastal Pacific Train and journey down the South Island’s epic east coast through the whale watching town of Kaikoura towards Christchurch.
Overnight: The George Christchurch
Day 10: Christchurch (B)
Today visit the International Antarctic Centre designed to provide an entertaining and informative account of life on Antarctica. This is followed by an introductory city tour of Christchurch. This afternoon includes a journey on board the Christchurch Tram at your leisure. This evening is also free to enjoy one of the many eateries near your hotel (own expense).
Overnight: The George Christchurch
Day 11: Christchurch-Arthur's Pass-Fox Glacier (B,D)
This morning board the TranzAlpine, renowned as one of the great train journeys of the world. Travel over massive viaducts, river valleys and spectacular gorges as you ascend to Arthur’s Pass located in the centre of the Southern Alps. Board your Ultimate coach and travel to Hokitika, famous for its Greenstone before continuing via Franz Josef to Fox Glacier where time is available to experience a scenic flight (optional, weather permitting) over the spectacular glaciers.
Overnight: Distinction Hotel Fox Glacier
Day 12: Fox Glacier-Queenstown (B)
See the snow capped peaks of the Southern Alps as you travel south along the West Coast. Continue via the Haast Pass, an area of stunning beauty before arriving into picturesque Queenstown, a year round resort situated on the shores of magical Lake Wakatipu. This evening is free and you may choose to dine out at one of the many fine restaurants.
Overnight: Heritage Queenstown
Day 13: Queenstown (Free Day) (B,SD)
Today is a free day. There are plenty of sightseeing options and your Tour Guide and Coach Captain are available to assist. This evening board the vintage steamship TSS Earnslaw and cruise across Lake Wakatipu to Walter Peak Station. On arrival sit back and relax, as you are treated to the best of New Zealand’s high country cuisine in the Colonel’s Homestead. After dinner enjoy a short farm tour then reboard the TSS Earnslaw for a sing along by the piano as you cruise back to Queenstown.
Overnight: Heritage Queenstown
Day 14: Queenstown-Doubtful Sound-Overnight cruise (B,L,D)
Today travel via Te Anau to Lake Manapouri. Enjoy a picnic lunch as you cruise across this glacial lake. A short ride over the Wilmot Pass brings you to the boarding point to join the Fiordland Navigator for an amazing overnight experience. As you cruise through the pristine beauty of Doubtful Sound, naturalist guides will provide commentary and point out the resident wildlife. When evening falls enjoy a delicious carvery buffet prepared freshly by the onboard chef.
Overnight: Fiordland Navigator
Day 15: Doubtful Sound-Te Anau (B,D)
Start the day with a hearty breakfast before heading back to Deep Cove for the trip back to Manapouri. Return back to the wharf and meet your Ultimate Coach for the journey back to Te Anau. This afternoon cruise across Lake Te Anau to visit the Glow Worm caves where you can admire the incredible limestone caverns, waterfalls and mystery of the Glow Worm Grotto.
Overnight: Distinction Te Anau Hotel & Villas
Day 16: Te Anau-Dunedin (B, D)
Travel via Gore and Balclutha to Dunedin known as the “Edinburgh of the South”. After time for lunch board the Silver Fern railcar for a journey along spectacular clifftops overlooking the Pacific Ocean and Blueskin Bay. On return to Dunedin's historic Edwardian Railway Station, board the coach for an informative city tour before arriving at your hotel.
Overnight: Distinction Dunedin
Day 17: Dunedin (B,D)
Travel along the Otago Peninsula to Larnach Castle where you will hear of the tragic and scandalous history on a guided tour. Enjoy time to wander around the Garden of International Significance followed by morning tea in the grand ballroom. Return to the city for some free time. You might like to board the Taieri Gorge Limited for a journey through spectacular scenery.
Overnight: Distinction Dunedin
Day 18: Dunedin-Christchurch (B,SD)
This morning visit Olveston House, a prestigious historic home before travelling to Oamaru, famous for its limestone. This evening enjoy a farewell dinner with your new found friends.
Overnight: The George
Day 19: Christchurch - depart (B)
Time to say goodbye today. You will be transferred to the airport for your flight home after your memorable New Zealand holiday.



Accommodation Options

The Regent of Rotorua, Rotorua

  • Grade: Deluxe
  • Type: Unique and Boutique

A designer boutique hotel and spa, the Regent of Rotorua…

The George

  • Grade: Superior
  • Type: Hotel

Located about 20 minutes from Christchurch International…

Distinction Te Anau Hotel & Villas, Te Anau

  • Grade: Superior
  • Type: Hotel

Situated on the lakefront, a couple of minutes walk from…


A variety of accommodation options are included in this holiday, some of which are listed above. For further details, please contact us.

Prices & Dates

Airfares start from around £825 per person and are quoted separately to the holiday price.

When enquiring, our Travel Specialists will provide the best fare possible from your preferred airline / airport. We recommend booking early to secure the best airfares.

01 Sep 2018 - 31 Aug 2019

Prices from £ per person

Twin Share Single Supplement 
£5,740 £1,816

Guaranteed Departure Dates
2018 07 & 21 Sep; 10 & 28 Oct; 14 & 20 Nov; 18 Dec
2019 06, 11 & 26 Jan; 10 & 17 Feb; 08,15 & 28 Mar; 15 Apr; 03 May

*Departure dates are based on the start date in New Zealand. Please note that it takes 2 calendar days to travel to New Zealand from the UK.

Price Includes
Ultimate touring coach with 20 luxury leather reclining seats on a full size vehicle, 2 door access and panoramic windows ● Professional Coach Captain ● Fully Escorted ● Personalised Meet and Greet on arrival ● Return airport transfers in New Zealand ● 18 nights premium hotel accommodation ● Six 2 night stays ● Hotel porterage ● 4 rail journeys ● 5 cruises ● Bonus group photo ● All sightseeing and pre-paid attractions ● GST (New Zealand Goods and Services Tax) ● Comprehensive documentation pack (includes durable travel bag, ticket wallet, toiletry wet pack, New Zealand travel diary, luggage label, personal name badge, personalised itinerary, optional tours directory, postcard, customs required resealable plastic bag, and touring map)

18 cooked breakfasts including a specialty breakfast at Skyline Restaurant - Rotorua ● 14 sumptuous dinners including 3 specialty dinners: Maori Hangi and Concert - Rotorua, Walter Peak Homestead - Queenstown, Farewell Dinner, selected beverages - Christchurch ● 1 picnic lunch ● 2 delicious morning teas including an Ultimate High Tea: Larnach Castle

Note dinner on Day 1 not included for anyone arriving later than 8pm.

Price Excludes
International and domestic flights and airport taxes ● Tips and gratuities ● Travel insurance

Please note:
The average age for travellers on this tour is approximately 60-80 years.

● Luggage Limits on coach - All travellers are supplied with a Grand Pacific Tours Travel Bag for personal and small items which can be carried on the coach when travelling. In addition, each traveller is entitled to travel with ONE suitcase on tour measuring (length + width + depth) no more than 140cm. Weight limits also apply to luggage due to Occupational Health and Safety issues. Approximately, the maximum weight allowed is 20kg (44lbs). Please be aware that oversized or overweight luggage may be refused to be carried by coach companies. All luggage is entirely at the ‘owners risk’ whilst on tour and we strongly recommend that travel insurance be taken out by each traveller to cover accidental damage or loss.

Solo Travellers
If someone is not compatible with the person they have been matched up with, any additional costs incurred to assist with changing their room type will be at the traveller's expense and will be subject to availability. Acceptance of Single to Twin share basis is subject to the individual's medical condition being suitable for this type of arrangement.

We pride ourselves on our ability to tailor make holidays for our clients. Please let us know if you have any specific requests.


Save up to £350pp on selected NZ escorted tours

31 Jul 2018
Save up to £350pp on GPT escorted coach …

How to book

Book this trip

So that we may send you a personalised quote and confirmation of availability, please click on the link below and complete our Enquiry form. One of our Travel Specialists will then be in touch to complete your booking or answer any further questions you might have.

travel guaranteeWe will always offer the best price available at the time of booking and guarantee no surcharges - see our 100% Guarantee for full details.

View booking conditions

Speak to a specialist: 1-844-584-0668

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Tailor Made

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