Saturday February 3, 2018
This afternoon, board the Celebrity Solstice on this fantastic Rail and Cruise Journey of New Zealand. Be up on deck as we cruise Sydney Harbour and out through Sydney Heads.
Sunday February 4, 2018
Our first day at sea, this is the perfect opportunity for you to explore and enjoy the fabulous facilities of the ship.
Monday February 5, 2018
This morning we arrive in the port of Melbourne, where we travel by luxury coach to the Dandenong Ranges to take a journey on the Puffing Billy. This century-old steam train travels from Belgrave Station through to Gembrook, with a post-preservation history spanning over 50 years, the line is one of the most popular steam heritage railways in the world. The line was originally opened in 1900 to serve the local farming and timber community and originally ran from Upper Ferntree Gully station. In 1955 the Puffing Billy Preservation Society was formed to keep the train running indefinitely.
Tuesday February 6, 2018
A day at sea to explore and enjoy the fabulous facilities of the ship. This afternoon Ian will give a talk about his life in the media.
Wednesday February 7, 2018
This morning we arrive in Hobart, the capital city of Tasmania. We are transferred to the airport for our flight to Strahan, on the west coast of Tasmania and board the West Coast Wilderness Railway. We travel along the King River Gorge, which is the iconic Rack and Pinion section of track, the first of its kind in Australia. Our unique rail journey continues deep into the West Coast mountains stopping at stations along the way until we reach Queenstown. Lunch will be served on board the train. From here we fly back to Hobart and board back onto the ship.
Thursday February 8, 2018
A day at sea to enjoy the fabulous facilities of the ship.
Friday February 9, 2018
A day at sea to enjoy the fabulous facilities of the ship. This afternoon, Ian will give a talk about his life and interest in trains and railways.
Saturday February 10, 2018
Fiordland National Park, New Zealand
Today we cruise through some of the most spectacular scenery in New Zealand as we visit Milford Sound followed by Doubtful and Dusky Sounds. The fiords will be a highlight of the cruise, with spectacular scenery and fascinating wildlife. Nothing can prepare you for the majesty of Milford Sound, star of Fiordland National Park. New vistas mesmerise at each turn – towering Mitre Peak, rising 1692 metres above the Sound, plunging waterfalls, bottlenose and dusky dolphins, fur seals and Fiordland crested penguins are amongst this wonderland of outstanding natural beauty.
Sunday February 11, 2018
Departing from Dunedin’s beautiful railway station, our train begins its scenic journey into some of New Zealand’s ever-changing, most spectacular and iconic scenery on its journey to Pukerangi, a peaceful outcrop out the other side of the Taieri Gorge. The train travels through the Southern parts of Dunedin city until it arrives at Wingatui junction, where it turns off onto the Taieri branch. From here the train sneaks across the Taieri Plains and climbs into the Taieri Gorge, a narrow and deep gorge carved out over aeons by the ancient Taieri River. The train will stop or slow down at various scenic points along the way for photos where we can disembark and stretch our legs and enjoy the best of beauty, peace and quiet that nature has to offer.
Monday February 12, 2018
Today we arrive in to the tender port of Akaroa, and board an Akaroa Harbour Nature Cruise. This award-winning cruise is packed with highlights including the rare NZ native dolphin, the Hectors dolphin, as well as penguins and other sea birds. You will also see the giant volcanic sea cliffs. We then travel to The Giants House, a historic house with original art works, terraced gardens with sculptures and mosaics. This house was the first bank manager’s house in Akaroa, built in 1880.
Tuesday February 13, 2018
Arriving in Wellington this morning, we travel to the suburb of Silverstream in the Hutt Valley, to visit the Silver Stream Railway. The beginnings of Silver Stream Railway were in 1967 when the Wellington branch of the New Zealand Railway and Locomotive Society (which changed its name to Silver Stream Railway Incorporated in 1983) began a collection of locomotives and rolling stock. Track laying on the old formation of the Hutt Valley Line did not begin until 1977. The collection of locomotives and rolling stock had previously been stored at a site by the Gracefield Branch in Seaview, and this was transferred to the present Silverstream site in 1984. The official opening of the full 1.5 kilometre track took place on 15 February 1986.
Wednesday February 14, 2018
Today we arrive in the unique city of Napier in the Hawke’s Bay area and have a coach panoramic tour. We first drive through Napier’s Art Deco CBD, and continue through Esk Valley past vineyards, stone fruit orchards, pip fruit orchards and avocado plantations. We have a photo stop at Bluff Hill, which overlooks the port before returning to our cruise ship.
Thursday February 15, 2018
A day at sea to enjoy the fabulous facilities of the ship. This afternoon, Ian will give a talk about his life in comedy.
Friday February 16, 2018
Bay of Islands
Today we arrive in the spectacular Bay of Islands, one of the most historic area’s in New Zealand dotted with 150 scenic islands. We will have a sightseeing tour to Waitangi, where the Treaty between settlers and Maori’s was signed in 1840. We then travel on the famous Bay of Islands Vintage Railway, which operates on part of the former Opua track and offers train rides through the scenic Northland countryside.
Saturday February 17, 2018
After breakfast we will disembark the ship. We enjoy a sightseeing tour of gorgeous Auckland, the largest city and commercial centre of New Zealand. Our morning tour takes in the main sights of the city, including the Harbour Bridge, which spans the beautiful Waitemata Harbour
Sunday February 18, 2018
Today we travel to Waiuku to experience the golden era of “steam age” train travel at the Glenbrook Vintage Railway operating through picturesque rural countryside over 7.4 km of the former New Zealand Railways (NZR). The Glenbrook Vintage Railway owns and operates a number of historic and valuable heritage locomotives both steam and diesel, from the smallest locomotive, a 3 ton diesel shunter, to the giant 110 ton JA 1250 “Diana” steam locomotive. The rest of the day will be at your own leisure.
Monday February 19, 2018
This morning we board the Northern Explorer train for our journey to Wellington. The train service is a scenic rail journey through the five unique geographical regions of the North Island. Travelling from Auckland, New Zealand’s largest city, through the central heartland of the Northern Island. Along the way, we travel through the farming landscapes and rocky sea scapes of the lower North Island and ascending through stunning river gorges to the volcanic plateau passing the majestic volcanoes of Mt Tongariro, Mt Ngauruhoe and Mt Ruapehu, the home of the North Island ski fields. Upon arrival in Wellington, we are transferred to our hotel.
Tuesday February 20, 2018
This morning we will have a sightseeing tour of the main sights of Wellington, including the Houses of Parliament known as “the Beehive”. We visit Mount Victoria, where we have 360 degree views of the city, then travel by cable car to the Botanical Gardens. The afternoon is free for independent sightseeing.
Wednesday February 21, 2018
This morning we are transferred by coach to the ferry port for a short journey across Cook Strait to Picton, here we board The Coastal Pacific train to Christchurch. Travelling via Kaikoura, the home of whale watching and then onto the gateway to the beautiful Marlborough Sound with the famous wine growing region of Blenheim. The journey takes us through some of New Zealand’s finest horticultural and farmland areas of the Canterbury Plains to the rugged Kaikoura mountain ranges on one side of our train, the Pacific Ocean coastline on the other with views of marine wildlife such as seals and penguins all from the comfort of our carriage. Arriving into the South Island’s largest city Christchurch, we are transferred to our hotel where we spend the next two nights. Note: Should The Coastal Pacific train not be operating on this day we will replace this day with a flight from Wellington to Christchurch.
Thursday February 22, 2018
On our excursion today we travel on one of the most scenic train journeys in New Zealand – the TranzAlpine Express Train. From Christchurch we cross the flat Canterbury Plains to the small community of Darfield. We continue through beautiful alpine scenery as we enter the Arthur’s Pass National Park. Marvel at the alpine scenery as we sit back and enjoy the commentary and an included lunch on board the train.
Friday February 23, 2018
This morning we will be transferred to the airport for the flights to Australia.