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Open viewing carriage on TranzAlpine train between Christchurch and Greymouth
Queenstown, New ZealandMilford Sound South Island New ZealandPassenger taking photo out of the window on TranzAlpine TrainChristchurch, New ZealandAuckland, New Zealand

New Zealand South to North Drive, Cruise & Rail – 14 Days


This spectacular holiday travels from the Queenstown to Auckland and includes a stunning Fiordland Navigator overnight cruise on Milford Sound, as well as self-drive itinerary, great hotels and breathtaking train journeys aboard the TranzAlpine, Coastal Pacific and Northern Explorer!

Trip Details:

New Zealand Fiordland Navigator Cruise, TranzAlpine Train, Northern Explorer & More – 14 days

Experience the beauty of the South and North Island in this extraordinary New Zealand holiday!

Begin in picturesque Queenstown, famously known as the adventure capital of New Zealand. Then drive to Milford Sound for a spectacular overnight cruise aboard the Fiordland Navigator. Cruise to the open sea before anchoring in sheltered Harrison Cove for the night. Wildlife viewing opportunities, being accompanied by nature guides, friendly crew and a special dinner are all part of the unforgettable experience.

Jump back in the car and head to Franz Josef Glacier, where you have two nights to explore the charming alpine town in the heart of the West Coast. Of course, the unmissable attraction is the famous 12km long glacier. On a clear day, you could even be lucky enough to get a glimpse of the icy peaks from the village.

Next is another fantastic highlight aboard the TranzAlpine Scenic Train. Travel from west to east across the South Island on one of the world’s great train journeys. Through Arthur’s Pass National Park and descend to the Canterbury Plains before pulling into Christchurch.

After time to explore the southern capital, it’s another thrilling travel day, this time aboard the Coastal Pacific Train and Interislander Ferry to Wellington. Travelling between Christchurch and Picton, the Coastal Pacific meanders breathtakingly close to the sea, where the roaring Pacific Ocean meets the rising Kaikōura mountains. The Coastal Pacific isn’t just a scenic activity, combined with the Interislander Ferry it is the perfect way to connect between the South and North islands.

Enjoy two nights discovering the highlights of Wellington, the Harbour Capital, then board the Northern Explorer train bound for Auckland. Travel from the picture-perfect Kapiti coast to the volcanic peaks of the Central Plateau and fertile farmlands of Waikato.

A three-night stay in Auckland caps off this breathtaking journey, before it’s time to say Mā te wā Aotearoa – see you next time New Zealand!

Why you’ll love this trip:

  • Explore Milford Sound on the Fiordland Navigator, nothing compares to a night on the fjord
  • On the South Island, have fun staying in Queenstown, Franz Josef and Christchurch
  • Enjoy the convenience of car hire to see more of the South Island
  • Travel on the world-famous TranzAlpine Scenic Train
  • Take a ride on the heritage trams around Christchurch’s city loop
  • The Coastal Pacific train and Interislander Ferry connect the South and North islands
  • Discover the delights of Wellington and Auckland with extended stays

Your Holiday Includes:

  • Car hire – 6 days Economy, automatic vehicle
    • Unlimited kilometres
    • Pick up Queenstown Airport, drop off Greymouth Rail Terminal
  • Accommodation – 12 nights in standard rooms, twin share
    • 3 nights Queenstown – Quest Hotel, Ramada Suites or Holiday Inn
    • 2 nights Franz Josef – Punga View or Glacier View Motel
    • 2 nights Christchurch – Quest on Manchester or Ramada Suites
    • 2 nights Wellington – Mercure Hotel or similar
    • 3 nights Auckland – Grand Central Serviced Apartments or similar
  • 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)
  • Trains – TranzAlpine Scenic Train, one-way from Greymouth t0 Christchurch
    • Coastal Pacific Train, one-way from Christchurch to Picton
    • Northern Explorer Train, one-way from Wellington to Auckland
  • Ferry – Interislander Ferry connects with the Coastal Pacific, from Picton to Wellington
  • Sightseeing – Christchurch Hop On Hop Off Tram Tour
    • Auckland Hop On Hop Off Bus Tour

Departure Dates:

Starts in Queenstown on Tuesdays and Thursdays, from October 2023 to May 2024.

Surcharges may apply during peak periods, including Easter, Christmas and school holidays. Please contact us for current rates and travel at other times of the year.

Note: Departures are subject to confirmation at time of booking and price will vary depending on your travel date. Prices are per person based on twin share and can change without notice.

Get the Brochure:

View Brochure

Click on the button to view or download a copy of the brochure. The brochure includes more details and the full itinerary.

Want to Stay Longer or Upgrade?

Let us know if you’d like to add flights from Australia or extend your stay in New Zealand.

There’s also the option to upgrade the hotels or have a larger rental vehicle.

Ask us today about staying in other properties or adding more services. We are happy to design a holiday that will suit you best.

Travelling Solo?

We can look after you. Please request single traveller rates.

Booking Conditions:

This special deal is available for a limited time. Please contact us for current rates.

All prices are per person, based on twin share, and listed in Australian dollars (AUD). Prices are accurate as of 16 May 2023.

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 Australia & New Zealand Travel Company’s Terms & Booking Conditions prior to making a reservation. By booking any travel service with us, you have agreed to be bound by these terms and conditions.

How to Book

To make a booking please call Australia & New Zealand Travel Company on 1300 168 910 or email reservations@anztravelco.com.

You can also select a trip and request it via this website – please make sure you enter the quantity for the number of people travelling. In the ‘Additional Information’ field on the Checkout page, add your preferred departure date plus any other information that will help us process your booking, such as departure city and travel preferences.

No payment is required to submit an online booking request, but your booking is pending and no place is being held. Your booking status will be advised when you hear from our travel consultants. Bookings are normally actioned within 24 hours – Monday to Friday.

Itinerary & Booking Info

Travel Style

Independent self-drive with cruise and trains



Day 1 Arrive Queenstown
Welcome to New Zealand. On arrival in Queenstown, please collect your rental car and overnight at Queenstown hotel.

Day 2: Explore Queenstown and surrounds
Although celebrated as New Zealand's ‘adventure capital’ Queenstown offers far more than a fast-paced action-packed holiday. Settled on the shores of Lake Wakatipu beneath a soaring panorama of the Remarkables Mountain Range, this alpine town is surrounded by a plethora of historic, gastronomic and scenic wonders.

Head down the Gibbston Valley wine trail to sample some of the region’s best Pinot or catch a ride on the 100 year old Steamship – the TSS Earnslaw – to Walter Peak Station for dinner and a farm tour. Browse the waterfront cafes and have lunch at Michelin star chef Josh Emett's ‘Rata.’ Check out nearby historic Arrowtown and enhance your experience with a four wheel drive trip to Macetown.

Take a leisurely lakeside stroll or ride the gondola for breathtaking views. Drive through Lord Of The Rings country – or for the really fanatic, jump aboard one of many dedicated LOTR tours. If you do really want the adrenaline rush Queenstown is known for, take your pick from the Shotover Jet, Bungy, Canyon Swing, Zipline, Luge or Heli-ski.

Day 3: Drive to Milford Sound for overnight cruise
Drive from Queenstown to Milford Sound over 5 hours stopping at Te Anau along the way.

Spend the night aboard the iconic Fiordland Navigator and wake up to dawn in one of the most beautiful places on earth. The cruise style is relaxed, allowing plenty of time to view the fiord’s spectacular waterfalls, rainforest, mountains and wildlife. It’s the ultimate Milford Sound experience!

Enjoy accommodation in private cabins with ensuite bathrooms.
3-course buffet dinner and cooked breakfast prepared by our on-board chef
Choose to explore the shoreline by kayak or small boat
Specialist nature guide on board. Take a Milford Guided Walk for an extra $50 per person.
Wildlife sighting opportunities – seals, penguins and dolphins
Duration: 1 night

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.

This cruise style is relaxed, allowing plenty of time to view the fiord’s spectacular waterfalls, rainforest, mountains and wildlife – you’re bound to encounter seals and, if you’re lucky, maybe dolphins and penguins too.

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 carvery 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 traveller, indulge in some star-gazing and story-sharing or simply retire to your private cabin.

The next day you’ll be able to dig into a hearty breakfast before heading back out to the Tasman Sea (weather permitting) and exploring more of the fiord.

Day 4: Drive to Milford Sound to Queenstown
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 for your overnight accommodation.

Day 5 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.

Day 6 Explore Franz Josef Glacier
Franz Josef is a small but lively town in the heart of the West Coast, known for its 12 km long glacier. Surrounded by lush rainforest-clad mountains the township has a vibrant and bustling atmosphere. To see the ice from a viewpoint you can walk along the valley floor to the viewpoint below the terminal face. However, to go on the glacier itself you must take a licensed helicopter tour.

Day 7 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.
Drop your rental car at the Greymouth Train Station depot located inside the train station building before boarding your train to Christchurch.

TranzAlpine Scenic Train: Greymouth to Christchurch
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.

Day 8 Explore Christchurch
The Christchurch Tram City Tour Loop in New Zealand is open and ready to take you on an amazing ride on our 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. 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. Just like any other city, you must ensure the safety of your child in traffic. The trams are happy to accommodate folded prams on board.

Day 9: Christchurch to Wellington
After you check out of your hotel, please catch a taxi to the station in time for your departing train to Wellington: Depart: 7.00am – Arrive: 5.45 pm

This morning you board the Coastal Pacific train. Travel through the Canterbury plains before heading east to the coast and north along the rugged coastline that separates the majestic Kaikoura Ranges from the sea. Kaikoura is famous for viewing whales and dolphins. Continue further north along the coastline before turning inland, passing Lake Grassmere Salt Ponds and the wineries of Blenheim to the Picton – the gate way of the beautiful Marlborough Sounds.
At Picton, you board your Interislander ferry for your 3 hour (92 kilometre) journey. A modern ship with a range of onboard facilities from eateries, a shop, movie theatre, a games arcade, a large bar with live entertainment, numerous passenger lounges, open air decks and friendly crew to assist you through the Marlborough Sounds and out to Cook Strait before entering picturesque harbour of Wellington – The Harbour Capital and New Zealand's capital city. Overnight for 2 nights.

Day 10: Hop on Hop off Bus Wellington
Wellington’s Hop on Hop off City Tour is a 1.5 hour tour of Wellington with 10 stops at some of the top sightseeing attractions that Wellington has to offer. Choose to stay on for the entire 1.5 hour loop, or hop off at an attraction and hop back on an hour later! This trip allows you to see Wellington the way you want to, travelling in comfortable air-conditioned modern mini buses and interacting with friendly drivers – you won’t get lost in the back of this bus!

The best hop off and hop on stops in Wellington have been hand-picked. Enjoy stunning 360-degrees views of all of Wellington, the Harbour and Cook Strait; watch planes take off below you.
Travel through some of the inner-city streets, see a stunning coastline as you drive around the bays to the outer suburbs. On this city tour, you will get a great overview of what our “cool little capital’ has to offer its visitors!

Day 11: Wellington to Auckland by train
Depart: 7.55am – Arrive: 6.45pm. This morning you board the Northern Explorer train heading along the Wellington's coast line to the rolling farming landscape of the Palmerston North ascending up through stunning river gorges of the central North Island to the volcanic plateau passing Mt Ruapehu to National Park for a short stop. From National Park, your journey takes you along the volcanic plateau, passing the volcanoes of Mt Ngauruhoe and Mt Tongariro before descending down the famous Raurimu Spiral to the rugged bush country and through rolling framing landscape of the Waikato region and onto Auckland – the city of sails. Overnight Auckland for three nights.

Day 12: Hop on Hop off Bus Auckland
Start your Auckland hop-on hop-off bus tour at Philips Corner/Princes Wharf. You can create your own sightseeing itinerary with a flexible ticket, valid for one day. Listen to interesting audio commentary during the entire loop on the red circle or blue circle route. Buses depart regularly throughout the day on a seasonal schedule. If you’d like, hop on and off throughout the day to explore Auckland on your own or visit top attractions. Discover New Zealand history at the Auckland Museum, meet King and Gentoo penguins at Kelly Tarlton's SEA LIFE Aquarium, and soak up the city skyline from the Sky Tower, to name a few.

Day 13: Free day to Explore Auckland
Auckland, based around 2 large harbours, is a major city in the north of New Zealand’s North Island. In the centre, the iconic Sky Tower has views of Viaduct Harbour, which is full of superyachts and lined with bars and cafes. Auckland Domain, the city’s oldest park, is based around an extinct volcano and home to the formal Wintergardens. Near Downtown, Mission Bay Beach has a seaside promenade.

Day 14: Depart Auckland
Please check out of hotel the hotel this morning, then the tour concludes and memories begin!

Please note: The day by day descriptions published are intended as an indicative guide only. Travel by nature is unpredictable. Weather patterns, road conditions, public holidays, travel restrictions and a multitude of other factors may necessitate itinerary changes that ultimately are for the client’s benefit. It is essential that clients are flexible and open minded in this regard.

Travel Tips

See our blog article for more information about driving in New Zealand.

How to Book

Bookings can be made by calling Australia & New Zealand Travel Company on 1300 168 910 or email to reservations@anztravelco.com.

Online booking requests may also be submitted via this website by selecting a trip. Please make sure you include your preferred departure date in the ‘Additional Information’ field on the Checkout page.

Bookings are pending and not confirmed until you receive a status update from an Australia & New Zealand Travel Company consultant.


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