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St James Rail
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'There is no better way to travel than with St James Rail. The journeys are incredibly well researched and meticulously planned by the founder and tour leaders'

Peter and Joan (Mosman)

PO Box N400

Grosvenor Place

NSW 1220

AUSTRALIA

ABN  76 150 053 384

Tel: +61 2 9326 9660

Mobile +61 418 585 838

Email:sjr@digitor.com.au

© 2014 by St James Rail. All rights reserved.

NEW ZEALAND 2016

SCENERY, FOOD, WINE AND RAIL

with optional MS Noordam cruise to Australia

Join us for our premium 25 day tour to New Zealand with the spectacular scenery, great food and wine, dramatic rail journeys of ‘Middle Earth’, and many great hotels.

 

Enjoy the great destinations and activities - rail through Taieri Gorge, cruise on the beautifully peaceful Doubtful Sound, and Milford Sound Nature cruise, Queenstown steamship cruise & whale watching, TranzAlpine rail journey across the South Island Alps and full day 'drive your own rail cart' through tunnels and across bridges on a country rail line etc.

 

Fully escorted by those who designed the tour and travel by train and quality coach, excellent scenic rail journeys and special experiences.

 

Enjoy the fabulous wines, local seafood and gourmet NZ produce and premium accommodation, lake view rooms including all breakfasts, 8 dinners and 5 lunches.

 

Date : Wednesday 17 February to Saturday 12 March 2016

Day 1

(Wed 17 Feb)

* 'Bookings are now open.

* The tour is limited to 28 guests.

 Currently on tour

to Christchurch

 

A mid-morning departure from Australia for a mid afternoon arrival into Christchurch, New Zealand. Luncheon aboard the flight, and on arrival we transfer to our hotel and enjoy a late afternoon walk in the city. Overnight Christchurch. (Day1 - L)

 

Day 2

(Thu 18 Feb)

 to Lake Tekapo

 

A mid morning departure to Lake Tekapo – we return to Christchurch for sightseeing later in the tour. We travel through the south Canterbury Region – the expansive high ground from which the peaks of Aoraki / Mt Cook National Park grow. Our destination for our next two nights is the scenic Lake Tekapo - a small township at the southern end of the lake, with unobstructed views across turquoise water, with hills and snow capped mountains as a back drop. Enjoy a quality dinner at our beautiful accommodation, which also features  fine views overlooking the lake. Overnight at Lake Tekapo. (Day 2- B/D)

 

Day 3

(Fri 19 Feb)

 Mt Cook National Park

 

Inspect Lake Pukaki Visitors Centre, then we climb to the spectacular 700 sq km Aoraki/Mt Cook National Park - part of New Zealand’s World Heritage area. More than one third of the park has a blanket of permanent snow and glacial ice. Visit the Mt Cook Visitors Centre and enjoy some hours at Mt Cook, with the opportunity for leisurely (or more strenuous) self-guided walks. Included in the tour price, a quality luncheon at the Hermitage. We return in the late afternoon to Lake Tekapo - enjoy sunset drinks with fine views across the lake. Dinner at leisure and overnight Lake Tekapo. (Day 3 – B/L)

 

(Sat 20 Feb)

Day 4

Oamaru, Taieri Gorge Railway and Dunedin

 

South to Oamaru for a morning break in this architecturally exotic city - New Zealand’s best preserved precinct of historic commercial buildings – the Harbour-Tyne Historic precinct. Then to Dunedin to join the mid afternoon train journey through the spectacular Taieri Gorge. Enjoy light afternoon refreshments aboard as we climb through the gorge. Return to Dunedin, and we check in to our hotel for the next two nights. Dinner at leisure and overnight Dunedin. (Day 4 - B/AR)

 

(Sun 21 Feb)

Day 5

Oamaru by rail aboard the Silver Fern  and Dunedin

 

Following breakfast we transfer to Dunedin’s impressive railway station to board the Silver Fern rail cars for our scenic coastal journey north to Oamaru. Enjoy splendid coastal views on the rail journey, an hour to explore Oamaru, and a simple luncheon aboard.  We return to Dunedin for a brief town tour, to Lanarch Castle, or perhaps a walk in the Botanic Gardens at sunset. Dinner at leisure and overnight Dunedin. (Day 5 – B/L)

 

Day 6

(Mon 22 Feb)

Milford Sound and to Te Anau

 

Following an early breakfast we head south from Dunedin and visit Invercargill for lunch. If the weather is good, we plan to travel to the Bluff, famous for New Zealand’s Bluff Oysters – sought by oyster aficionadas around the world, and fetching US $6.50 each in New York’s Grand Central Oyster Bar !  A relaxing day of beautiful scenery and travel through the southern most tip of New Zealand’s South Island. Then on to Te Anau for our two night’s accommodation. Enjoy lake view accommodation, and a quality dinner tonight. Overnight Te Anau. (Day 6 - B/D)

 

Day 7

(Tue 23 Feb)

Doubtful Sound

 

Doubtful Sound gets much less traffic than its neighbour Milford, but is an equally impressive wilderness area of rugged peaks, dense rainforest and thundering post-rain waterfalls. Cruise the crystal clear waters of Lake Manapouri, cross  Wilmot Pass, to Deep Cove, then board a catamaran for a three hour cruise that takes in the most dramatic scenery of Doubtful Sound. The tour also includes a visit to the impressive Manapouri Power Station. We return to Manapouri and then transfer by coach back to Te Anau in the late afternoon for dinner at leisure and overnight. (Day 7 - B/L)

 

(Wed 24 Feb)

Day 8

Milford Sound

 

We head south to Milford Sound - the 119km road into the Sound is an amazingly scenic road – through lateral moraine, beech forest, with stunning river and mountain views, and on through a man-made tunnel as we drop down into the Sound. Join our nature cruise on the grand, brooding, serene and wild, Milford Sound. After the cruise we will ascend from Milford Sound, stopping en route to visit a number of specially scenic spots, including the Chasm Walk to the Cleddau River. Then on to Queenstown. Our accommodation is in lake view apartments with great views and excellent facilities. Dinner at leisure and overnight Queenstown. (Day 8 - B)

 

(Thu 25 Feb)

Day 9

(9 Feb)

Day 10

Queenstown  and TSS Earnslaw

 

A relaxing day exploring in and around Queenstown. We’ll ascend by Skyline Gondola for a spectacular 220 degree panorama over Queenstown, with breathtaking views of Coronet Peak, The Remarkables mountain range and across Lake Wakatipu to Cecil and Walter Peaks. We’ll cruise on Lake Wakatipu aboard the TSS Earnslaw – watch the stokers fuelling the fireboxes and hear the sound of the steam engines working as we take a nostalgic cruise on this beautiful lake. There are also options for more adrenalin inspiring activities (O) that we will advise you about closer to the time. Overnight Queenstown and dinner at leisure. (Day 9 - B)

 

(Fri 26 Feb)

Day 10

Arrowtown, Wanaka and to Franz Josef Glacier

 

After an early breakfast we head north through Arrowtown - the best example of a gold-era Chinese Settlement in NZ. Then to Lake Wanaka for a morning break.  Along the edge of Lake Hawea, before climbing into Mt Aspiring National Park and crossing Haast Pass. Then north along the coast to the two most famous glaciers in the Westland National Park – the Fox and Franz Josef Glaciers - unique, as nowhere else at this latitude have glaciers advanced so close to the sea. Dinner and overnight at the very smart Scenic Hotel, Franz Josef Glacier.  (Day 10 - B/D)

 

(Sat 17 Feb)

Day 11

TranzAlpine Express to Greymouth

 

After breakfast we head north along the west coast, stopping at Hokitika Gorge, to Greymouth - a small historic gold mining community. We join the TranzAlpine Express - that traverses the Southern Alps between Greymouth and Christchurch. The trip is 223.8 kilometres long and takes four and a half hours, with 16 tunnels and 5 viaducts. An open air viewing carriage allows many opportunities for photography. Overnight Christchurch. (Day 11 - B)

 

(Sun 28 Feb)

Day 12

Christchurch

 

Enjoy a leisurely day of sightseeing in this fine English city – as it rebuilds from the earthquake that damaged much of the city centre – evidence that is still very clear. Punts gliding along the Avon River, ride the gondola from the Heathcote Valley Terminal to Mt Cavendish, explore the International Arctic Centre or the Christchurch Art Gallery and Museum. Dinner is included tonight aboard the Christchurch Tramway Restaurant Car. Overnight Christchurch. (Day 12 – B/D)

 

(Mon 29 Feb)

Day 13

Travel by train on the TranzCoastal to Kaikoura

 

Our TranzCoastal rail journey travels through 22 tunnels and crosses 175 bridges to Kaikoura. Famed for its marine life, the dining options around town also feature crustaceans and local seafood in abundance. On arrival we enjoy some sightseeing, as well as some free time to explore the coast at leisure. Dinner at leisure. Overnight Kaikoura. (Day 13 -B)

 

(Tue 1 Mar)

Day 14

Kaikoura whale watching and wine tasting

 

Join a whale watching and marine life cruise - Giant Sperm Whales are the stars of the show and year-round residents – but also resident are Fur Seals, pods of Dusky Dolphins and the endangered Wandering Albatross. You may also see migrating Humpback Whales, Pilot Whales, Blue Whales and Southern Right Whales. Luncheon is at the beautifully located Kaikoura Wine Company with its fine backdrop of the ocean. Overnight Kaikoura. (Day 14 – B/L)

(Wed 2 Mar)

Day 15

TranzCoastal to Picton, Cook Strait and Wellington

 

This morning we rejoin the TranzCoastal for the delightful rail journey from Kaikoura north to Picton, before transferring to the InterIslander ferry through the Cook Strait to Wellington. At Picton we join the InterIslander ferry for the scenic cruise through Cook Strait to Wellington. There are spectacular views of the sheltered waters of Queen Charlotte Sound, as well as of Wellington as we approach. Overnight Wellington for two nights. (Day 15 - B)

(Thu 3 Mar)

Day 16

Wellington

 

After breakfast there is time for a relaxed morning stroll, before heading off for sightseeing that includes the cable car from Lambton Quay to the manicured Botanic Gardens, providing magnificent city and water views. We visit the acclaimed Te Papa ‘Museum of New Zealand’ with its huge Maori collection, as well as Wellington Cathedral. View the famous ‘Beehive’ of the Houses of Parliament as well as fine views over Oriental Bay. Overnight Wellington.(Day 16 - B)

(Fri 4 Mar)

Day 17

The Northern Explorer to Taumarunui

 

An early start sees us join the KiwiRail Northern Explorer service, crossing volcanic plateaus, Mount Ruapehu, the world famous Raurimu Spiral, and stunning river gorges – all from panoramic windows or open air viewing decks. Mid afternoon we arrive into the small township of Taumarunui, where we alight and transfer to our accommodation. There is some free time to explore this small village, and then dinner together before our full day rail excursion tomorrow. (Day 17 – B/D)

(Sat 5 Mar)

Day 18

drive your own rail cart on the Okahukura railway line

 

Transfer to Tokirima to join the abandoned Stratford – Okahukura railway line. Jump aboard our awaiting rail carts to begin our journey through the rugged king country landscape. Drive your own motorised rail cart through 10 hand-dug tunnels (the longest of which is 1.5km,) enjoy a morning tea stop at one of the old station platforms, and stop in the old prison township of Ohura for lunch. Then to Lake Taupo – New Zealand’s largest lake - for our overnight stop, with dinner included. Enjoy the view from your lake view suites.  Dinner and overnight Taupo. (Day 18 - B/MT/L/D)

(Sun 6 Mar)

Day 19

Taupo to Rotorua and Pauanui

 

After breakfast we head the short distance to explore Rotorua, visiting the geothermal areas that have made Rotorua famous, with its unique volcanic landscape - thermal springs, geysers, bubbling mud pools and lakes. It is rich in Maori heritage, and as you will see from the tourist infrastructure, amongst New Zealand’s premier tourist attractions. We will aim to experience as much of the natural qualities of Rotorua as possible, aiming to minimize the exposure to abject commercialism. We’ll include a visit to Lake Rotorua, and a geothermal park, before heading to the Coromandel Peninsula for our two night stay at the smart Puka Park Resort, Pauanui. (Day 19 - B)

 

(Mon 7 Mar)

Day 20

Coromandel Peninsula and Driving Creek Railway

 

The Coromandel Peninsula is less well visited than many of the tourist areas of New Zealand, however its lovely location, with pretty bays, abundant birdlife, and coastal scenery make for a very enjoyable day of sightseeing. We visit the Driving Creek Railway and Pottery, a unique one hour rail journey up steep grades, across four trestle bridges and around two spirals - a rail experience that climbs into the hills and passes art works en route. Quality local pottery is also inspected and available for sale. We return to Puka Park Resort for dinner and overnight.  (Day 20 – B/D)

 

(Tue 8 Mar)

Day 21

to Paihia and the Bay of Islands

 

After breakfast we head around the Hauraki Gulf and north towards Whangarei – our journey features fine beaches and some of the North Island’s best coastal scenery. We enjoy lunch en route and then head to the Bay of Islands and the picturesque township of Paihia. With a range of dinner options and attractive seaside location, we enjoy a two night stay on the edge of the Bay of Islands. Overnight Paihia. (Day 21 – B)

 

(Wed 9 Mar)

Day 22

Bay of Islands and Waitangi National Reserve

 

A full day of exploration around the Bay of Islands region, including a cruise across the Bay to Russell for lunch and around the world acclaimed fishing grounds. We’ll also visit the Waitangi National Reserve, inspecting a number of features, including the centrepiece of the Reserve, the 1832 built Treaty House, where eight years later the Treaty of Waitangi was signed. Overnight at Paihia on the Bay of Islands. (Day 22 – B/D)

 

(Thu 10 Mar)

Day 23

to Auckland

 

After breakfast we join our coach for the journey south to Auckland. We’ll stop in the Hokianga region for lunch, visit Omapere and Opononi, Matakohe with its superb Kauri Museum. We travel through the lakes and forests of the Kauri Coast and visit the Waipoua Kauri Forest and the Park Information Centre. A short diversion will enable those who wish to take one of the short Kauri Walks (20 min) to the Te Matua Ngahere (Father of the Forest) with a 5 metre diameter trunk. On approach to Auckland we cross Auckland’s Harbour Bridge and then head to our accommodation for two nights in Auckland.

(Fri 11 Mar)

Day 24

Auckland

 

A day of sightseeing in this harbour city, including a ferry across to Stanley Park and lunch at Cheltenham overlooking the beach. Explore the harbour side precinct and down towns shopping area. Overnight Auckland.

(Sat 12 Mar)

Day 25

fly to Australia or return to Australia on the Holland America Line ship MS NOORDAM(Optional)

 

A relaxing morning and an opportunity for any last minute purchases in New Zealand before heading to Auckland airport for flights back to Australia, arriving in Australia early evening. (Day 25 – B)

 

******

Or if you prefer to return to Australia by cruise, we board the MS Noordam for our thirteen night cruise around the coast of New Zealand, across the Tasman Sea to Hobart and Melbourne, and to Sydney.

 

Late morning we board the MS Noordam. We’ve booked comfortable oceanview cabins with verandahs, however superior cabins are also available. Our cruise takes us overnight to the picturesque Bay of Plenty’s Tauranga, then to the art deco town of Napier, calls at Wellington, picturesque Akaroa, to Dunedin, then cruises in the Fjordland National Park. From here we head across the Tasman Sea to Hobart, Melbourne and then to Sydney on Fri 25 March. A relaxing way to return to Australia, with great scenery in some new cities we visit, as well as the opportunity to visit Wellington and Dunedin again. The vessel is a very comfortable mid-sized ship, offers quality food and a high level of service by the staff. Owen and Takako can provide more details of the experience. The cruise fare is $3,990 per person, twin share, in oceanview cabins with private balconies.

(Day 25 – B/L/D)

(Sun 13 Mar)

Day 26

Tauranga

 

A full day to explore Tauranga and the lovely beachside community, or walk to the headland for great views. (Day 26 - B/L/D)

(Mon 14 Mar)

Day 27

Napier

 

Explore the art-deco Napier with the best collection of preserved art deco buildings following their rebuilding after an earthquake. (Day 27 - B/L/D)

Day 28

(Tue 15 Mar)

Wellington

 

Wander the city streets and picturesque harbour side, or visit Te Papa if you did not before. (Day 28 - B/L/D)

(Wed 16 Mar)

Day 29

Akaroa

 

The small community is reached by tender from the ship, and the lively arts and crafts of the village are appealing.

(Day 29 - B/L/D)

(Thu 17 Mar)

Day 30

Dunedin

 

There are opportunities to visit new places in Dunedin from our earlier visit. (Day 30 - B/L/D)

Day 31

(Fri 18 Mar)

Cruising Fjordland National Park

 

From the MS Noordam you will enjoy the scenery of the fjords that are only accessible by boat. A full day of scenic cruising in the Fjordland. (Day 31 - B/L/D)

(Sat 19 - 20)

Day 32 - 33

Crossing the Tasman Sea

 

Two days at sea as we cross the Tasman Sea to Tasmania – enjoy the many features aboard, lectures, films, swimming pool, entertainment, or just relax on the open deck. (Day 32 and Day 33 - B/L/D)

(Mon 21 Mar)

Day 34

Hobart

 

Berthed in downtown Hobart, walk to the Salamanca Markets and main city centre. (Day 34 - B/L/D)

(Tue 22 Mar)

Day 35

Crossing Bass Strait to Melbourne

 

A day at sea as we head north along the eastern coat of Tasmania and across Bass Strait to Melbourne. (Day 35 - B/L/D)

(Wed 23 Mar)

Day 36

Melbourne

 

Catch the tram from outside the wharf and head in to Melbourne to explore the city. (Day 36 - B/L/D)

(Thu 24 Mar)

Day 37

at sea to Sydney

 

Our final day at sea as head along the east coast of Australia to Sydney.  (Day 37 - B/L/D)

Day 38

(Fri 25 Mar)

disembark Sydney

 

A morning arrival, and after breakfast, we alight for the ship in Sydney. (Day 38 - B)

*On some days additional activities will be possible, some at no extra cost, others at additional own cost. Optional additions to the tour (at extra cost) when shown below are followed by (O). Meals included are shown as Breakfast (B), Lunch (L), Dinner (D), Afternoon Refreshment (AR).

FARES

 $11,895 (person (twin share), plus airfares from Australia)

 $  2,895  single supplement for hotels

 $  3,990  The cruise fare aboard MS Noordam to Australia

                  (per person(twin share), in oceanview cabins

                  with private balconies)

Tour fare includes:

  •  25 day escorted tour

  •  24 nights accommodation in 4-5 star standard hotels

  •  Breakfast included every morning

  •  8 dinners and 5 lunches

  •  Scenic Rail Journeys

  • Quality coach travel

  • All transfers when part of the group

  • Sightseeing and entrance fees as indicated

  • Meals as shown in the itinerary for each day

 

Tour size:

  •   Limited to 28 guests 

  •    Currently On Tour

 

BOOKING AND ENQUIRY

*Bookings are confirmed on receipt of the booking form and your deposit. The booking form is attached to each tour brochure or can be downloaded above. After receipt of the booking form and deposit, we will send a confirmation letter to you.

For booking, any further details or information,

use the "BOOKING AND ENQUIRY" buttoms above  or  call us on

+61 2 9326 9660

+61 418 585 838

or  email at