Your Southern Alps to Sydney | Rail & Sail Package

Southern Alps to Sydney | Rail & Sail

Princess Cruises


  19 Nights

  Australia/ New Zealand

  Princess Cruises


Join us on this scenic guided tour through the heart and soul of New Zealand. Discover off the beaten track locations and bustling urban centres by three world-famous scenic rail experiences.

On our Classic New Zealand Highlights Tour you will see it all, travelling between Auckland and Queenstown aboard all four of our world-famous journeys. Boarding in Auckland, your first few days are aboard our Northern Explorer train travelling through the volcanic heart of the North Island. Cruising between islands, the Interislander journey takes a leisurely course around Wellington Harbour and through the magnificent Marlborough Sounds to Picton. From Picton, you'll voyage through vineyards and along the Pacific Coast to Kaikoura and then Christchurch aboard the Coastal Pacific train. Your final journey is aboard the TranzAlpine train, traversing the Southern Alps on a breathtaking journey from east to West Coast.

Your Fly, Tour & Cruise Package Includes:

  • $600 flight credit per person
  • 14 night Classic NZ Highlights Tour with Great Rail Journeys of New Zealand, Auckland to Queenstown
  • Includes 3-4 star accommodation, 18 meals, rail journeys, activities, experienced Tour Director plus more
  • 1 night 4-star accommodation in Auckland with breakfast
  • Select private transfers in Auckland
  • 4 night cruise onboard Coral Princess, Auckland to Sydney
  • All onboard meals in complimentary dining venues & selected non-alcoholic beverages
  • A wide range of onboard activities & entertainment

Pricing is per person twin share and based on travel 06-25 October 2023

Solo traveller pricing available. Please speak to one of our travel consultants for more details

On sale until 30 September 2023

Tour Highlights:

  • Encounter the volcanic peaks of Middle Earth in Tongariro National Park
  • Witness the engineering marvels of Raurimu Spiral and Otira Tunnel
  • Sip world-class wine amongst the vines in Marlborough
  • Whales, dolphins, and sea life – spend a day with wildlife by the ocean in Kaikōura
  • Uncover the home of the sacred pounamu, mesmerising blue lakes, and ancient forests on the West Coast
  • Discover Haast Pass on a unique Kiwi-style Road Trip adventure
  • Be captivated by the storytelling of your Tour Director throughout your great journey

Day by Day Itinerary:

Day 1: Explore Auckland

Kia Ora!

Welcome to Auckland, New Zealand’s City of Sails! Auckland is known for its multicultural hub of food, music, arts, and culture.

After checking into your hotel and reading your welcome letter from your Tour Director, head out and explore all that Auckland has to offer. This is the perfect opportunity to visit the Sky Tower or go shopping along bustling Queen Street. You may even fancy a drink in one of the charming bars or eateries of Vulcan Lane.

Your tour officially begins this evening, as you join your fellow travellers and Tour Director this evening for a welcome reception.

Accommodation: 3.5 – 4 Star Accommodation (1 night)

Meal inclusions: A welcome drink is included in tonight’s reception.

Activities: Welcome Reception 

Day 2: Auckland to Ohakune

A Scenic Journey to Ohakune

Today, you will marvel at rural New Zealand’s lush landscapes from the comfort of your seat onboard the Northern Explorer scenic train journey. From the green pastures of the Waikato to the icy mountain streams of Ruapehu, you won’t want to miss a moment. If you are interested in culture and history, be sure to listen to the audio commentary as you cross historic viaducts and traverse up the Raurimu Spiral, an engineering marvel. This experience is one like no other.

At the base of this geological wonder is Ohakune, 'the carrot capital of New Zealand', where you’ll stay the next two nights to experience your chosen adventure.

Accommodation: 3.5 - 4 Star Accommodation (2 nights in Ohakune)

Meals Included: Breakfast

Activities: Northern Explorer Scenic Train Experience, Mini excursion to view expansive views across the volcanic landscape.

Day 3: Ohakune – Volcanic Plateau

Discover Tongariro National Park

Today is free for you to discover one of the region's many exciting excursions. Choose from the 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 native forest.

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!

Accommodation: 3.5 - 4 Star Accommodation (2 nights in Ohakune)

Meals Included: Breakfast

Day 4: Ohakune to Wellington

The Northern Explorer Scenic Train

After breakfast, we begin our day by travelling from National Park to Mt Ruapehu. You won't want to leave this mini excursion to Middle Earth without a panoramic photo in hand!

Joining the Northern Explorer train once again, you will wave goodbye to this UNESCO World Heritage Site 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 acquire the best views from the train.

As you glide through rich green farmland and past a dramatic coastline, indulge in afternoon tea while drinking in the views. All too soon the train will arrive into Wellington leaving the picturesque Porirua Harbour behind you.

Arriving at Wellington Railway Station, you are just a stone’s throw from downtown, the Beehive, and Parliament Buildings. Welcome to New Zealand’s Capital City! You won't want to waste a moment of time after checking into the hotel - your evening is free to explore this award-winning cultural and culinary capital from Queen's Wharf to Cuba Street and beyond.

Accommodation: 3.5 - 4 Star Accommodation (2 nights in Wellington)

Meals Included: Breakfast, Afternoon tea aboard the train

Activities: Northern Explorer Scenic Train, Mini excursion to view expansive volcanic views across the North Island

Day 5: 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 Te Papa, New Zealand’s National Museum, or visit Zealandia Eco-Sanctuary to surround yourself by native birdlife and regenerating forest. You won’t get bored with the plethora of activities on offer. From coffee, culture, historic buildings to botanic gardens and much more…the list goes on! If you need any suggestions or recommendations, just reach out to your helpful Tour Director or our Travel Centre to pre-book an experience.

Enjoy dinner tonight with your fellow travellers and Tour Director.

Accommodation: 3.5 - 4 Star Accommodation (2 nights in Wellington)

Meals Included: Breakfast, Dinner

Activities: Wellington City Introduction Tour, Group Dinner

Day 6: Wellington to Blenheim

Crossing the Cook Strait

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, enjoy a hearty seafaring breakfast on board.

Around midday, you will be spoiled with captivating harbour views as you enter 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 onboard a Marlborough Wine Tour!

Accommodation: 3.5 - 4 Star Accommodation (1 night)

Meals Included: Breakfast

Activities: Interislander Ferry, Marlborough Wine Tour

Day 7: Blenheim to Kaikoura

The Coastal Pacific Scenic Train

After enjoying a delightful breakfast, the morning is yours to explore.

You’ll hear the hoot of the Coastal Pacific train as it pulls in, to bring you on yet another scenic experience. This time – along the rugged coastline of the South Island. On this train journey, you will glide across remote beaches, between mountains and sea, on a timeless voyage of breath-taking beauty. Keep an eye out for the fur seals lazing on the rocks!

Once in Kaikoura, the evening will be yours to enjoy some iconic kai moana (seafood) either at the sublime Sudima Kaikoura or at one of the popular restaurants.

Accommodation: 3.5 - 4 Star Accommodation (1 night)

Meals Included: Breakfast

Activities: Coastal Pacific Scenic Train Experience

Day 8: Kaikoura to Christchurch

Explore Kaikōura

Today will be a once-in-a-lifetime experience. You will have the opportunity to go whale watching!  Enjoy today’s optional thrill of an up-close encounter with the world's largest-toothed predator, the Giant Sperm Whale who live in the waters of Kaikoura year-round.

Want to get an aerial experience of the wildlife? Why not request a plane ride to capture the true grandeur of it all?

Whether you have decided to go whale watching or swimming with the dolphins and seals, we're sure you will be feeling peckish. Head to the hub of the action on the main street 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 won’t cease to amaze as you journey south through the rolling hills and extensive plains. Enjoy the relaxing journey with a glass of wine in hand.

Accommodation: 3.5 - 4 Star Accommodation (2 nights in Christchurch)

Meals Included: Breakfast, Dinner on train

Activities: Coastal Pacific Scenic Train Journey

Day 9: Explore Christchurch

Exploring The Garden City

Christchurch, the hub for South Island exploration is also a wonderful city that blends modern architecture and technology with the existing 19th-century Anglican ‘gothic revival’ architectural influence. Often remembered for its earthquake in 2011, the city is rebuilding itself as 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, Christchurch Art Gallery, and Botanical Gardens. Ride on the city tram to uncover Christchurch's great history or relax as you punt on the Avon River. There is also a multitude of delicious cafés 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 an hour and half from the city centre.

Dinner awaits as you join your fellow travellers once again to tell them about the exciting places you have discovered.

Accommodation: 3.5 - 4 Star Accommodation (2 nights in Christchurch)

Meals Included: Breakfast, Dinner

Activities: Christchurch Tram City Tour, Group Dinner

Day 10: Christchurch to Punakaiki

The TranzAlpine Scenic Train

The moment has come to experience the world-famous TranzAlpine scenic train journey through the Southern Alps, emerging in the West Coast!

On this fantastic escape, you will see epic vistas, soar on the edges of the ice fed Waimakariri River, traverse through the Great Divide, and experience ever-changing landscapes. The natural scenery isn’t the only marvel, though. The TranzAlpine passes through the Otira Tunnel, a true engineering marvel of 100 years!

Once you arrive at the West Coast, a private coach will take you even further off the beaten track to Punakaiki, where you will explore curious limestone rock formations and blowholes.

Accommodation: 3.5 - 4 Star Accommodation(1 night)

Meals Included: Breakfast

Activities Included: TranzAlpine Scenic Journey, Punakaiki Pancake Rock Excursion

Day 11: Greymouth to Franz Josef – West Coast

Explore the West Coast

This morning you’ll start your West Coast adventure by visiting one of the South Island’s most popular activities– the West Coast Tree Top Walk. This elevated adventure will get you acquainted with the locals – the ancient Rimu and Kamahi trees.

After your sky-high experience, continue south into Glacier Country. Franz Josef Glacier is quite special in that it survives in the warm coastal rainforest temperatures. With a short walk to a viewpoint, you'll get a fantastic view of the vast valley, as well as a sneak peak of Franz Josef Glacier itself. If you would 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 your glacial experience and checking into the hotel, you’ll have some free time to enjoy Franz Josef town. Indulge in a helicopter flight, nature walk or tap into some natural tranquillity at the local hot pools.

Accommodation: 3.5 - 4 Star Accommodation(1 night)

Meals Included: Breakfast

Activities Included: West Coast Tree Top Walk, Short Nature Walk to Glacier Viewing Point

Day 12: Franz Josef to Queenstown

Exploring the South

A Unique Kiwi Style Road Trip

Today you will be exploring the mountainous Haast Pass. With changing landscapes around every bend, this journey to Queenstown will be one of the most scenic drives you may ever take. Marvel at the beaches, crystal blue lakes and rivers, mountain peaks, lush vineyards, charming plains and stunning glaciers as your Tour Director guides you between local hidden gems.

Emerging on the other side of the pass, explore a local fruit hotspot before exploring the cobblestone streets of the historic goldmining settlement of Arrowtown.

After an exciting plunge into the history of this gold rush village, you will arrive in the world-famous resort town of Queenstown!

Accommodation: 3.5 - 4 Star Accommodation (3 Nights in Queenstown)

Meals Included: Breakfast

Activities Included: Scenic coach journey through Haast Pass with stops along the way, Haast Visitors Centre, Mrs Jones' Fruit Stall and Arrowtown Visit

Day 13: Queenstown

Explore Queenstown

Enjoy a free day to explore everything Queenstown has to offer.

Today, we highly recommend you join an excursion to the 8th Wonder of the World – it truly is a remarkable experience. Milford Sounds/ Piopiotahi is a scenic escape approximately three hours from Queenstown. The natural landscape will engulf you as you waltz through plunging valleys and towering peaks.

Take this encounter to the next level by booking a return visit by plane and soar like the Piopio (ancient bird) back to Queenstown.

Whether you’ve decided to hop aboard the steamship lake cruise on the iconic TSS Earnslaw, or marvel at the power of ancient roaring rivers – tonight you have a free evening to indulge in Queenstown's exciting nightlife. Sip cocktails and indulge in the sparkling views of Lake Wakatipu.

Accommodation: 3.5 - 4 Star Accommodation (3 Nights in Queenstown)

Meals Included: Breakfast

Day 14: Explore Queenstown

The Close to an Adventure of a Lifetime

Queenstown truly has something for everyone. Personalise your day to be as active or relaxed as you’d like. Whether it’s exploring Walter Peak on a horse trekking adventure, joining the historic steamship across Lake Wakatipu or sipping wine in Gibbston Valley, there is no shortage of activities to delight your senses.

This evening is your ‘final hurrah’ as you enjoy a farewell dinner. This is the perfect time to reminisce and share photos and phone numbers with your new friends.

Accommodation: 3.5 - 4 Star Accommodation(3 Nights in Queenstown)

Meals: Breakfast, Dinner

Activities: Farewell Dinner

Day 15: Departing Queenstown

Your journey will end after enjoying a final breakfast with your fellow travellers.

Not ready to leave Queenstown? Reach out to our Travel Centre to pre-organise your extended stay.

Meals: Breakfast

Activities: Transfer to airport

Cruise Itinerary:





21 Oct 23

Auckland, New Zealand


9.00 pm

22 Oct 23

Bay of Islands, New Zealand

8.00 am

4.00 pm

23 Oct 23

At Sea



24 Oct 23

At Sea



25 Oct 23

Sydney, Australia

6.00 am


* Conditions apply. Offer is limited, subject to availability and change without notice. Promotion is correct and valid at the time of publication. Booking and full supplier terms and conditions apply. Valid for new bookings only and not combinable with any other offer (unless stated).

Prices listed are per person in Australian Dollars, based on twin occupancy, including all discounts unless otherwise stated. The offer is subject to availability at time of booking and shown on the lowest outside category available at the time.  Fares are capacity controlled and are subject to change at any time without notice. Prices/Offers are correct as at 12 July 2023 and can be withdrawn without notice. Cabin categories include prepaid government fees and port taxes unless otherwise stated.  Hotels may charge resort fees not included in this package, payable direct upon check in. Visas are not included.  Payments made by credit card will incur a surcharge. Air credit is applicable on airline of choice, subject to availability and subject to the carriers’ flight schedules and conditions.