New Zealand’s South Rail & Cruise Tour

$3999 per person
10 days
New Zealand

SMALL GROUP TOUR 10 Days New Zealand South Island with Flights

Travel from Queenstown to Christchurch with stunning highlights en route, like an overnight small ship cruise on Milford Sound, seeing Franz Josef Glacier and travelling on the TranzAlpine Scenic Train. The breathtaking moments keep coming on this exciting small group adventure!
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This small group tour covers all the must-see sights of the South Island, like stunning Milford Sound, Franz Josef Glacier, Mount Cook and exploring Queenstown and Christchurch. Cruise through Fiordland National Park and travel west to east on the scenic TranzAlpine Train. No surprise that this exciting itinerary is one of our most popular New Zealand tours!

What's included

New Zealand Discover New Zealand
Departure Location
Fly to Queenstown, New Zealand from Australia
Return Location
Fly from Christchurch to Australia
Tour Start Date & Time
October 17, 2023 9:00 am View other Times
Additional Information
Booking Code: NZSFGR10M
Price includes
  • Accommodation based on twin share room
  • Airport transfers
  • Cruise as per itinerary
  • Cruise meals and non-chargeable entertainment
  • Daily breakfast
  • Expert local guides
  • International flights from Australia
  • Rail travel as per itinerary
  • Small group tour
  • Transport in air conditioned vehicles
Price does not include
  • Any items or services not specified
  • Gratuities for guides and drivers
  • Medical and emergency insurance
  • Optional tours and activities
  • Personal expenses
Additional Prices
Solo Travellers: Please register via the Singles Travel Club or request a quote for single supplements. Travel Insurance: Insurance is essential - please ask us for a quote.

New Zealand Escorted Tour Overview

Fly to picturesque Queenstown, famously known as the country’s adventure capital. Then travel by coach to Milford Sound for the most spectacular way to explore the region – overnighting aboard the Fiordland Navigator.

Cruise to the open sea with your nature guide and friendly crew, before anchoring for the night in sheltered Harrison Cove. Wildlife viewing opportunities and a special dinner are all part of the unforgettable experience.

Following the cruise, head to Franz Josef Glacier where you have two nights to explore the lively town in the heart of the West Coast. Of course, the unmissable attraction is to get a good view of the famous 12km long glacier.

Next is another spellbinding highlight aboard one of the world’s great train journeys, the TranzAlpine Scenic Train. Travel across the South Island, from west to east, through Arthur’s Pass National Park and descend to the Canterbury Plains before arriving in Christchurch.

Complete the South Island discovery with two nights in Christchurch and explore the city by tram with a hop-on, hop-off excursion.




The Senior special deal

As advertised in The Senior magazine, book this special group tour to save $500 per person.

For a limited time this escorted tour is as low as $3999 per person, twin share.

Departures in 2023: 17 October; 17 & 21 November
Departures in 2024: 6 & 24 February; 12 & 26 March; 15 October; 5 & 19 November

Prices may vary depending on your travel dates and surcharges can apply during school holidays and peak periods.

Would you like to share with a new travel buddy?
Visit our Singles Travel Club and register for this trip with your preferred date. Then we’ll let you know if there’s another traveller of the same gender who is also keen to share.

Fly from your local city:
Airfares are included on flights from Melbourne, Sydney or Brisbane.
We’re happy to provide a quote on request for other Australian cities.

Note: Prices are per person based on twin share and can change without notice. Single supplement applies for a private room. Departures are subject to confirmation at time of booking and price may vary depending on your travel date. Minimum passenger numbers required for a My Travel Experience representative to accompany the tour.

Inclusions at a glance

  • Flights – Return economy airfare to Queenstown & from Christchurch
    • Fly from Melbourne, Sydney or Brisbane (ask for other cities)
  • Transfers – Airport transfers in Queenstown & Christchurch
  • Accommodation – 8 nights in standard rooms, twin share
    • 4 nights Queenstown – Heartland Hotel, Copthorne Hotel & Apartments Lakeview
    • 2 nights Franz Josef – Punga Grove Motel
    • 2 nights Christchurch – ibis Hotel or Heartlands Hotel Christchurch
  • Cruise – 1 night aboard Fiordland Navigator, private cabin, twin share
    • 3-course dinner & cooked breakfast prepared by the onboard chef
    • Kayaking & tender boat activities (weather dependent)
  • Meals – Daily breakfast, Farewell group dinner, meals on the cruise
  • Transport – Return transfers from Queenstown to Milford Sound
    • One-way coach transfer from Queenstown to Franz Josef to Greymouth
  • Train – TranzAlpine Scenic Train, one-way from Greymouth t0 Christchurch
  • Sightseeing – Christchurch Hop On Hop Off Tram Tour
Calm waters of Milford Sound New Zealand
Cruising the calm waters of Milford Sound in Fiordland National Park – just one of the many highlights of the South Island
  • DAY 1
  • DAY 2
  • DAY 3
  • DAY 4
  • DAY 5
  • DAY 6
  • DAY 7
  • DAY 8
  • DAY 9
  • DAY 10

Fly to Queenstown, New Zealand

Welcome to New Zealand.  On arrival in Queenstown, you will be transferred to your hotel.  Meet your tour guide and the remainder of the day is free to explore at leisure. Overnight at Queenstown hotel.


Lake Wakatipu Cruise and Lunch

Step aboard the historic TSS Earnslaw for a quintessential Kiwi experience on Lake Wakatipu and in the high country of Walter Peak. Complete with a delicious gourmet barbecue lunch and a look at New Zealand's farming life, this tour shows you the beautiful country in a stunning lakeside setting.

Your voyage begins with a cruise aboard a century-old steamship, which carries you across the lake from Queenstown. Once you arrive at Walter Peak, relax on the lakeside terrace of the Colonel's Homestead Restaurant and savour the tantalising aromas as the chef gets some great local produce sizzling away on the grill. The seasonal lunch menu gives you plenty to choose from, with salads, vegetables, and succulent meats cooked on the outdoor rotisserie or grill, along with tasty vegetarian options and a scrumptious dessert. After lunch, you get time to explore the history of Walter Peak High Country Farm, join an entertaining farm demonstration, or explore the lakeside gardens before cruising back to Queenstown.


Mount Cook Tour

At 3724m, Aoraki/Mt Cook is by no means among the world’s tallest, but with the nearby Mt Cook village just 750m above sea-level, the mountain can be viewed without any acclimatisation whatsoever, and so this tour is perfect for people of all levels of fitness.

The guided tour begins with pickups in Queenstown and Frankton, before you then travel through the stunning Kawarau gorge to Cromwell. After making a comfort stop in the quaint township of Omarama (where you have the option to taste one of the best creamy chicken pies in New Zealand), climb your way through Lindis Pass, one of only 3 alpine roads through the otherwise impassable Southern Alps. When exiting the Pass, you may catch glimpses of the mighty mountain itself; but before arriving there is much more to see, including what many consider one of the most beautiful lakes in the world. Lake Pukaki is one of the bluest lakes you will ever see, and is framed by the backdrop of Aoraki and its brothers in the Southern Alps. The location of several scenes from the Lord of the Rings trilogy, Lake Pukaki is a destination in and of itself. You soon pass the delta where the mountain’s various rivers, creeks and streams converge to form the lake, and the mountain continues to grow steadily in stature and grandeur until the scale of the view makes you feel powerless. Arriving at the alpine village of Mt Cook and the Hermitage - home of the Sir Edmund Hillary Alpine Centre - you now have the freedom to explore in whatever way suits your energy levels and budget.


Drive to Milford Sound for overnight cruise

Today your will be transferred from Queenstown to Milford Sound over 5 hours’ drive, stopping at Te Anau along the way.

This overnight cruise through the heart of Fiordland provides astonishing views and the ultimate Milford Sound adventure. You’ll start by departing from the Milford Sound wharf in the late afternoon before cruising through Milford Sound accompanied by our specialist nature guide. They’ll explain the history and geology of the area and be on hand to answer your questions.

The Fiordland Navigator then anchors in a sheltered cove. From here you can join the guide and explore in the vessel’s tender craft (small boat) or kayaks. If you prefer, you can simply relax on deck and soak in the beauty of this amazing place. If you’re feeling brave, there’s always the option of a refreshing swim too. All activities are weather dependent.

As evening falls, you’ll enjoy a delicious carvary buffet in the dining saloon – a feast prepared freshly by our on-site chef. Then it’s time to relax in the company of your fellow travellers, indulge in some star-gazing and story-sharing or simply retire to your private cabin.


Drive to Milford Sound to Queenstown

After a comfortable night aboard the iconic Fiordland Navigator, wake up to dawn in one of the most beautiful places on earth. Dig into a hearty breakfast before heading back out to the Tasman Sea (weather permitting) and exploring more of the fiord. 

Disembark to Fjord Navigator this morning and make your way back towards Te Anau. Admire waterfalls gushing into pools of sparkling water, take in the panoramic views from The Divide and the Hollyford Valley Lookout and take a thrilling walk over a footbridge at The Chasm.  The biggest lake in the South Island, Lake Te Anau is the perfect pit-stop. Admire the picturesque lake, capture some photographs and stop for a bite to eat.  From Te Anau, travel on to Mirror Lakes and stop here to take more photos!

Carry on your journey towards Milford Sound, as you come across many other scenic spots. Along the way you’ll pass through small farming towns like Kingston, home of the famous Kingston Flyer steam train, and Mossburn, the deer capital of New Zealand.  This two-hour drive along Lake Wakatipu and into southern farmland is absolutely stunning The glistening waters of Lake Wakatipu are framed by the appropriately named mountain range, The Remarkables. You will arrive back in Queenstown late afternoon at your overnight accommodation.


Queenstown to Franz Josef Glacier (via Wanaka)

From Queenstown, you'll cross the Crown Range - the highest sealed road in New Zealand - to arrive in the Alpine town of Wanaka, gateway to Mt Aspiring National Park. Skirting the shores of both Lake Wanaka and Hawea, you will enter the small town of Makarora. Stop at Blue Pools for a 1 hour return walk through native beech forest to a glacier-fed swimming hole. Continue on through the remote seaside settlement of Haast before heading up the wild West Coast - a 600 km stretch of bush and native rainforest. Fox Glacier welcomes you first, then comes your destination for the night - Franz Josef township.


Franz Josef Nature Tour

Nestled in thick historic West Coast forest and a stone's throw from wild black sand beaches, this is one of the world's most unusual glaciers. Beautiful blue skies or magical misty rain. With easy walking at your pace, information on glaciology, geology, geomorphology, flora and fauna, local legends, history and small guided groups with fantastic guides, you will experience this glacier in style and in the best hands with the only local company.

Wander past glacier rivers and streams and through beautiful podocarp forest; discover hidden natural treasures such as native snails, wild native mushrooms and dozens of species of native orchids; listen to native bird song and waterfalls; see if you can spot a Chamois or a Tahr on the huge snow-capped mountains above while drinking a cup of tea and talking one-on-one with your guide. This tour will be a highlight of your travels and you won't regret splashing out for a guided tour of this beautiful area of New Zealand.


Franz Josef to Greymouth Train Station

Today you’ll head north through the historic gold mining region of Hokitika. Known for its Greenstone (Pounamu) this seaside town has a rich history dating back to the 1860’s. Head to the coast and take in the endless sea-views or pick up a souvenir at one of the many craft shops. Continue on to Greymouth, the largest town on the West Coast and the starting point for the next leg of your journey - the TranzAlpine Scenic Train. 

Considered one of the world's great train journeys, the TranzAlpine Scenic Train takes you from Greymouth to Christchurch. You'll travel across the South Island from the west to the east coast through Arthur's Pass National Park. From the comfort of your carriage see lush beech forest, deep river valleys and the spectacular peaks of the Southern Alps. Descend to the windswept Canterbury Plains before arriving in the city of Christchurch.

On arrival at the Christchurch train station, please catch a taxi to your overnight accommodation for 2 nights.


Explore Christchurch

The Christchurch Tram City Tour Loop in New Zealand is ready to take you on an amazing ride on the heritage trams, filled with history and the best sightseeing in the city!  The wonderfully restored heritage Trams are one of the main attractions in Christchurch and now you too can enjoy a trip through the city centre in comfort and style!

Friendly drivers are well-informed regarding the history and facts of the city.  They will share their knowledge about the various landmarks and sights on the way and, with a day-long ticket in hand, you can hop on and off as many times as you like throughout the day!

The trip takes you to various main stops so that you can also enjoy punting on the Avon and sign up for the Christchurch Botanic Gardens Caterpillar Tour.  Some of the main sights that you will enjoy from the comfort of your Tram include New Regent Street, The Art Gallery, Cathedral Junction, Avon River, the Canterbury Museum and the Arts Centre.  Remember, you can hop off at any of the stops to get a closer look at these and other attractions along the way.

Your trip starts at New Regent Street and takes you through Cathedral Junction and then on to Cathedral Square. 

Next up you will pass the Canterbury Museum as well as Hagley Park, Cranmer Square and finally Victoria Square.  At the moment, there are 17 stops along this route. You are welcome to board at any of the 17 tram stops and, with your ticket for the day, you can get on and off as you please.  The trams run at intervals of 15 to 25 minutes so you won’t have long to wait until another one arrives.  The seats inside offer cosy and secure seating, while the outside seats are not weatherproof.  Due to safety reasons, all children on the trams must be accompanied by a paying adult. 

Tonight, share wonderful memories together on your last night in New Zealand. Bid goodbye to your Tour Manager at dinner in the hotel.

DAY 10

Depart Christchurch, fly to Australia

After breakfast, transfer to the airport for your departure flight. Tour Concludes – Memories Begin.

More about New Zealand

For a country that’s only 18% bigger than the state of Victoria and has a population less than the city of Melbourne, it packs a whole lot of amazing experiences into a small space. Plus, an exchange rate in favour of the Australian dollar is nice bonus. Split into two main islands, the North Island is where you'll find the capital of Wellington and the country's largest city of Auckland. It also has proud Maori heritage and rich cultural experiences. On the South Island, also officially named Te Waipounamu, the natural wonders shine brightly. Explore stunning Abel Tasman National Park, the great Southern Alps and beautiful Milford Sound.
This small group tour covers all the must-see sights of the South Island, like stunning Milford Sound, Franz Josef Glacier, Mount Cook and exploring Queenstown and Christchurch. Cruise through Fiordland National Park and travel west to east on the scenic TranzAlpine Train. No surprise that this exciting itinerary is one of our most popular New Zealand tours!

My Travel Experience Review

4.4out of 5

This 10-day South Island small group tour offers the ideal balance of included activities and time to explore on your own. Includes 8 nights hotel accommodation, overnight cruise on Fiordland Navigator, TranzAlpine train, coach transportation, sightseeing and flights from Australia.

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More about this tour

See the brochure

Click here to view, download or print a copy of this tour brochure.

The brochure includes details of the inclusions, full itinerary and other relevant travel information. Information contained in the brochure is subject to change and at the time of booking you will be provided with an updated copy that includes the current details for your reservation.

Tour departures

This travel package departs on select dates in 2023 and 2024.

Departures in 2023: 17 October; 17 & 21 November
Departures in 2024: 6 & 24 February; 12 & 26 March; 15 October; 5 & 19 November

Prices can vary, depending on your travel date.

Please ask us for your preferred departure date and we will advise availability and current rates. Minimum passengers numbers are required for this group to have a My Travel Experience escort.
Let us know if you would like to travel at other times of the year.

Tour start time

The start time listed for this tour is a guide only and will be confirmed by our office.

If you book international flights, you will be advised of your flight details and check-in times when your booking is confirmed.

Important to remember...

The day-by-day tour descriptions are intended as an indicative guide only. Travel by nature is unpredictable. Weather patterns, sea or river conditions, road accessibility, public holidays, travel restrictions and a multitude of other factors may necessitate itinerary changes that are ultimately for the client's benefit. It is essential that travellers are flexible and open minded in this regard.

Speak to a travel specialist

The My Travel Experience team are travel experts and we're here to help you enjoy the best holiday - from the time you start to plan your trip until the day you return home. We are only a phone call or email away whenever you need us, so please contact us today with any questions.

Email Phone 1300 168 910 (in Australia) or +61 400 226 454 (from overseas or via mobile).

New safety measures, more flexibility and greater peace of mind.

The wellbeing and safety of our passengers and staff is always a priority, especially as we adjust to a new world for travellers. My Travel Experience is committed to ensuring your peace of mind with customer-friendly booking practices and enhanced health and safety standards on our trips.

We work closely with tour operators that have received the Safe Travels stamp by the World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC), which enables travellers to recognise companies around the world that have adopted health and hygiene global standardised protocols.

To help you book with confidence, we will assist you if any unexpected situations arise and My Travel Experience also offers clients as much flexibility as possible when making bookings.

Safe travel requirements:
International regulations are constantly changing as the COVID-19 pandemic evolves. Travellers need to be prepared to take a COVID-19 test prior to departure from Australia and be able to provide proof of their fully vaccinated status.

Local authorities, as well as airlines and cruise companies, may have additional requirements in place for departures. We recommend you check these in advance and again before arriving at the airport. If you're transiting through other destinations during your trip, check on any local requirements at each transit destination and confirm any specific requirements for onward travel with your airline.

Only get tested through verified official testing centres. Scammers are taking advantage of travellers by charging for fake tests. If you're unsure where to get tested, contact the local health authority for advice.

You may still need to provide evidence of a negative COVID-19 PCR test result even if you've been vaccinated. If you've had a COVID-19 vaccine, you should carry your International Vaccination Certificate along with your negative PCR test results while travelling from/to Australia, especially if you have one or more transit stops. Some destinations may ask for proof of testing and vaccination before allowing you to transit through or cross their border.

These guidelines are subject to change as the global situation evolves. The enforcement of certain measures (i.e. covid testing, social distancing, mask-wearing etc.) will vary in different regions.

It's your responsibility to check with local health authorities for best practices in their region and to make sure you meet all the criteria to be eligible to travel.

How to make a booking:

The special deal is valid for a limited time and may change without notice.

Published price was correct as of 27 February 2023. Please contact us for current rates.

Advertised price is based on lead-price departure(s) and rates will be advised for your preferred travel date prior to any payment being required.

All prices are per person, based on twin share, and listed in Australian dollars (AUD). The package is subject to confirmation at the time of booking and prices may change without notice. Booking conditions and cancellation fees apply.

Please read My Travel Experience Booking Terms & Conditions prior to making a reservation. By booking any travel service with us, you have agreed to be bound by these terms and conditions.

To make a booking please call My Travel Experience on 1300 168 910 or email

You can also select a trip and request it via this website - please enter your preferred departure date (if known) and the number of people travelling. If you wish to submit an enquiry, please let us know your travel dates plus any other information that will help us provide a quote, such as departure city and travel preferences.

No payment is required to submit an online booking request - your booking is pending confirmation and no place is being held.

Your reservation status will be advised when you hear from our travel consultants. Bookings are normally actioned within 24 hours - Monday to Friday.

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New Zealand's South Rail & Cruise Tour

$3999 per person
10 days
New Zealand

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