17 Day Road and Rail

17 Day Road and Rail

Prepare your senses and camera memory for an unforgettable tour of New Zealand. Travel by coach and rail on this fantastic 17 day tour, visiting Taupō, Aoraki Mount Cook, the Marlborough Sounds, Rotorua, Franz Josef, and Queenstown!

Tour Info

Tour Type: Independent Coach Tour
From: Auckland to Christchurch
Departures: Jan 2020 - March 2021
Price: From (NZD) $4436 per person
Tour Operator: Relaxing Journeys
Duration: 17 Days
Tour Code: RJ327


16 nights accommodation
All coach, ferry and rail transport and transfers
Optional breakfasts
Daily departures
Waitomo Glowworm Caves
Māori cultural experience, with hāngī feast and concert in Rotorua
Te Puia geothermal experience
Rainbow Springs Nature Park
Agrodome farm show
Scenic Interislander cruise
TranzAlpine train journey


Prices are per person based on twin-share, and are subject to availability. Prices are correct at the time of submission but are subject to change without notice. Valid for travel January 2020 – March 2021. Blackout periods may apply. A non-refundable deposit of $250 per person is required at time of booking.

Click here for our full terms and conditions.

Chat Request Callback

Day by Day Tour Itinerary

Day 1
Arrive Auckland

Welcome to Auckland, New Zealand’s largest city and a hub for shopping and dining. On arrival you will be met and transferred to your accommodation. Enjoy the opportunity to explore this fascinating city. Auckland has so much to offer, from deserted islands just off the coast, lush native bush out west, and sophisticated inner-city streets ideal for shopping and dining. Take some time to explore Auckland’s vibrant waterfront this afternoon and even better, if time permits, add an extra day in Auckland to experience a slice of what this city has to offer.

Day 2
Auckland - Waitomo Caves - Rotorua

With an early morning departure from Auckland you will be travelling southbound towards Waitomo Caves via the city of Hamilton, which sits on the banks of the Waikato River. Enjoy a guided tour of the caves with a silent boat ride through the Glowworm Grotto – a subterranean cavern lit by the light of thousands of tiny glowworms. Arrival at your Rotorua accommodation will be in the early afternoon. Tonight you will attend a hāngī feast and concert, an authentic and intimate Māori experience. (D) (2 nights)

Day 3

This morning you will experience more Māori culture and the amazing thermal wonderland at Te Puia. Te Puia is also home to the Māori Arts and Crafts Institute, where the ancient teachings of Māori ancestors have been preserved and continue to thrive. Continue on to Rainbow Springs Nature Park, an attraction like no other. Set in 22 acres of beautiful native trees and streams, you will see a huge variety of New Zealand’s most precious inhabitants, including the Kiwi Conservation Centre. New Zealand’s thriving agricultural industry is on show at the Agrodome, where you will witness a sheep shearing display and sheep dog trials. The afternoon is at leisure.

Day 4
Rotorua - Lake Taupō

This morning, relax and have a leisurely breakfast and take in any last minute sights and activities. This afternoon take the short drive south through exotic forests until you reach the steam fields of Wairakei and Lake Taupō in the centre of the North Island. Arrive at approximately 2pm.

Day 5
Lake Taupō - Wellington

Leave this morning and cross the volcanic landscape of the Desert Road, past the majestic peaks of Tongariro, Ngāuruhoe and Ruapehu. Continue across the fertile plains of the Manawatū and along the rugged Kāpiti coastline to Wellington. Arrive late afternoon for your overnight stay.

Day 6
Wellington - Interislander Cruise - Marlborough Sounds

Today you will be transferred to the Wellington ferry terminal to check in for your Interislander ferry journey across the Cook Strait to Picton. This journey. Both Islands can be viewed, including the magnificent Kaikōura ranges, and there is often the chance to see wildlife such as seabirds, dolphins, and seals. On arrival in Picton, join the water taxi for a short cruise to your resort, where a warm welcome awaits you in this remote location. (2 nights)

Day 7
Marlborough Sounds

A day to relax and marvel at the magic that is the Marlborough Sounds. Resort staff will share their love of the sounds with you through the range of water and nature based experiences they put at your fingertips. The wide beach access is great for fishing, boating, sailing, swimming and sea kayaking, and there is a wealth of walks and meanderings in the immediate vicinity. A massage or spa treatment at the resort will complete your relaxation.

Day 8
Marlborough Sounds - Blenheim

After breakfast, return to the picturesque fishing village of Picton by water taxi. Board your coach for the short journey to Blenheim, situated in the heart of wine-growing Marlborough.

Day 9
Blenheim - Christchurch

Travel south to Christchurch today. With its international airport, Christchurch is the gateway to the South Island and the country’s second largest city. It is the hub of the Canterbury region and offers an environment that is both laid-back and action-packed. Possessing a stable sunny climate, the city’s parks and gardens are a key attraction year round and are renowned for their beauty, especially in spring.

Day 10
Christchurch - Aoraki Mount Cook

This morning you head south to Lake Tekapo. Here your coach will take a short break and this is a great opportunity for you to take in the extreme beauty of the area – from the Southern Alps mountain range and iconic Church of the Good Shepherd (one of New Zealand’s most photographed monuments), to the picturesque lupins that border the turquoise glacial-fed lake. Continue through the Mackenzie Basin before arriving at Aoraki Mount Cook village.

Day 11
Aoraki Mount Cook - Queenstown

This morning is completely at your leisure. Hike one of the walking tracks, or take a scenic flight to get up close to Aoraki Mount Cook and the Southern Alps’ magnificent glaciers. You can also explore the Tasman Glacier via the terminal lake. This afternoon you will travel back down the Tasman Valley and Lake Pukaki with its beautifully unique turquoise colour. Head towards Twizel and onto O7marama before going over Lindis Pass. Follow the shores of Lake Dunstan to Cromwell and into the Kawarau Gorge to arrive in Queenstown in the early evening. (3 nights)

Day 12

Today is at your leisure to enjoy the many sights of this alpine resort situated on the shores of Lake Wakatipu. Queenstown offers something for everyone. You can enjoy the quiet beauty and tranquility of this mountain retreat and enjoy several walking trails in the town area. For sheer excitement there is white-water rafting, helicopter rides, the famous jetboats, bungy jumping to pump your adrenalin, and off-road 4WD tours with plenty of river crossings. There are cruises on the lake and a visit to a high country sheep station, and wine tasting tours. You can visit nearby Arrowtown where the main street has been preserved since the 1860s gold rush days, and you can try your luck panning for gold in the adjacent Shotover River.

Day 13

Another day at leisure to immerse yourself in Queenstown.

Day 14
Queenstown - Franz Josef

Depart Queenstown this morning, travel along the shores of Lakes Wanaka and Hawea to the Haast Pass, gateway to World Heritage-listed Westland Tai Poutini National Park. Then continue up the West Coast past spectacular mountain ranges, native forests and lakes to Franz Josef Glacier. (2 nights)

Day 15
Franz Josef

Today you have a whole day at leisure. Perhaps enjoy a guided walk, a heli-hike, or a scenic flight from the Franz Josef township. If you’d prefer a relaxing day, head to the Glacier Hot Pools nestled amongst lush rainforest, or meander through the village where you will find a wonderful selection of gifts, artwork, merchandise and cafes.

Day UP
Glaciers Upgrade Package

Treat yourself and upgrade your accommodation in Franz Josef to the 5-star Te Waonui Forest Retreat, a luxury lodge hotel nestled amongst native West Coast rainforest. Our upgrade package includes luxurious accommodation, dinner on the first night – an indulgent 5-course degustation menu in The Canopy Restaurant – and a la carte breakfast both mornings. We’ve also included a stunning Franz Josef heli-hike to help you make the most of your time in the region. Ask us for a price!

Day 16
Franz Josef - TranzAlpine - Christchurch

Board your coach and head north through Hokitika and into the small town of Greymouth, where you will stop to stretch your legs before boarding the renowned TranzAlpine train for one of the world’s great scenic train trips to Christchurch. Experience beautiful Lake Brunner, spectacular viaducts, 8.6km in the lengthy Otira Tunnel, ice-fed rivers, and the patchwork farmland of the Canterbury Plains. Arrive at approximately 6:05pm in our most English of cities, Christchurch.

Day 17
Depart Christchurch

Sadly your trip has come to an end. We hope that you have thoroughly enjoyed your experiences in New Zealand. Today you will be met at your accommodation and transferred to the airport for your onward journey. Have a safe trip home. Haera rā!


There are 4 reviews of this tour from past clients of Relaxing Journeys, averaging 4.8 out of 5.

Overall Tour Rating
Value For Money
Tour Pace
Relaxing Journeys Experience

Tour Reviews

Our 21-day Custom Road and Rail Excursion of both the North and South islands was outstanding. Thanks to the detailed preparations and suggestions by our agent Marie Sarmon and her staff, we were able to enjoy a variety of sights and experiences found only in New Zealand. The scheduling of Intercity buses, interisland ferry, Trans Alpine train, local tours, shuttles and hotel accommodations occurred without a hitch, allowing us the opportunity to experience a really "Relaxing Journey." We highly recommend the Custom Road and Rail package offered by Relaxing Journeys. Thanks again for a great trip.
Overall Tour Rating

Value For Money


Tour Pace

Relaxing Journeys Experience
We enjoyed the tour but there were a few things that we wished would have been different. Although Lake Taupe was beautiful our hotel was far away from the lake. If we had just gone on to Wellington we could have had an extra day there. Also although Blenheim was a nice town we would have rather gone to Christchurch and had an extra day. We would have rather had more train rides than bus. Super shuttle was great. We loved traveling in New Zealand.
Overall Tour Rating

Value For Money


Tour Pace

Relaxing Journeys Experience
We enjoyed every part of our 19 day tour of the North and South Islands. All arrangements made by Relaxing Journeys went very smoothly. A buses, taxis, super shuttles were on time. Hotels were of good quality and value. Hotel locations were good too. Any questions posed to Toni were responded to very quickly. Toni was great! We especially loved our 2 days at Raetihi Lodge. It was a well needed break in the middle of our otherwise busy touring schedule. Wonderful country and all of the people of NZ who we met were warm and friendly!
Overall Tour Rating

Value For Money


Tour Pace

Relaxing Journeys Experience
My wife and I chose the 16 Day Road & Rail tour for our honeymoon and absolutely loved it! We actually customized it by making it a 17 day tour by adding an extra night in Wellington. We chose the mid range hotel option. We also added one pre-tour day in Auckland, which I highly recommend if you are coming from the United States as we did. We arrived from San Antonio, Texas so the extra day helped us recover from some mild jetlag. We started our tour in late May and completed it in mid June. The weather was nice for us even though it was late Fall and just a few weeks away from Winter beginning. It was also a nice change for us since we were coming from a very hot Texas. This time of the year the train does not operate from Picton to Christchurch but this was okay because the coaches weren't full since it wasn't peak tourist season. We would probably have enjoyed the train ride a little more but there is always next time if we have the chance to come back during New Zealand's summer. We had quite a few highlights on our tour. For one, we added visiting the Hobbiton movie set to our tour. My wife is a huge fan of the LOR and Hobbit movies and I enjoyed them quite a bit as well. It was very surreal visiting a place that we had seen on the movies that seemed a world away. If you enjoyed the movies I suggest you visit Hobbiton. Another highlight was staying at the Bay of Many Coves. The Raetihi Lodge was closed during this time of the year so our tour consultant recommended the Bay of Many Coves. It was a fantastic choice and a memorable place for honeymooners. I'm sure the Raetihi Lodge is very nice but we loved the Bay of Many Coves and their staff were fantastic alongside giving each of their guest one on one attention. I recommend bringing some food (snacks or meals), and beverages since it is quite secluded with the only way in and out of the resort being by water taxi or helicopter. With that said the dining selections were top notch! While we were at Mt. Cook we did a stargazing adventure that we booked at the hotel. Coming from a city with over 1.5 million people we don't get to see stars that often and certainly not from the southern hemisphere. It was amazing being able to look up and see billions of stars and the Milky Way Galaxy as well as seeing two shooting stars in the matter of minutes. The cherry on top of the cake was being able to play in the snow in June. Something unheard of to us Texans! It is hard to put into words everything that we experienced during this tour. We really only had two issues during our time in New Zealand on this tour. One, when we arrived in Lake Taupo our bus was late and there was no shuttle waiting for us when we arrived at the bus station. I'm glad we had purchased a sim card for one of our phones at the Auckland airport because we had to call Super Shuttle. (Tip: Purchase a sim card to obtain a local number and avoid major international charges) They quickly arranged for a taxi to pick us up and scheduled one to pick us up the next day at the hotel to return us to the bus stop. The second issue we had was it was foggy the day we were in Franz Josef and we were not able to do our heli-hike. We were told because of the nearby rainforest environment, often times they are unable to fly during our dates. Happily, our payment for the heli-hike was quickly reimbursed when our tour concluded. We sincerely recommend this tour if you want to see a lot of both islands and we highly recommend using Relaxing Journeys to arrange your tour throughout New Zealand.
Overall Tour Rating

Value For Money


Tour Pace

Relaxing Journeys Experience



New Zealand has a great deal of things to see and do, why not add one of our optional sightseeing activities to your trip. Prices are per adult (we'll adjust your quote for any children).

Enquire about our 17 Day Road and Rail

17 Day Road and Rail
Independent Coach Tour
Tour Code: RJ327
From (NZD) $4436 per person
Save (NZD) $443 per person
Enquire Now

Terms and conditions apply. Please see tour overview for more information.

4 reviews (4.8/5)

Prepare your senses and camera memory for an unforgettable tour of New Zealand. Travel by coach and rail on this fantastic 17 day tour, visiting Taup... Read More

Itinerary Map

Click to view a larger image.

17 Day New Zealand Independent Coach Tour Tour
Regions Visited

Click on each area to view more information.

Like this tour?

Upgrade this tour by adding one of our carefully selected optional tours & activities or go ahead and request a quote to guarantee your spot.

Custom Itinerary

You can also create your dream holiday by using our custom itinerary planner.
Create your Custom Itinerary