DAY 1 Thursday January 31, 2019 Departure
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.
DAY 2 Friday February 1, 2019 At sea
Our first day at sea, this is the perfect opportunity for you to explore and enjoy the fabulous facilities of the ship. This afternoon Phil Brady will give a talk about his life in the media starting with his time at Channel 9 from 1958 with Graham Kennedy on In Melbourne Tonight to today!
DAY 3 Saturday February 2, 2019 Melbourne
This morning we arrive in the port of Melbourne, where we travel by luxury coach to the Dandenong Ranges to take a journey on 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.
DAY 4 Sunday February 3, 2019 At sea
A day at sea to explore and enjoy the fabulous facilities of the ship. This afternoon Phil Brady will give a talk about the glory days of Hollywood.
DAY 5 Monday February 4, 2019 At sea
A day at sea to enjoy the fabulous facilities of the ship. This afternoon Phil Brady will run a fun session of trivia.
DAY 6 Tuesday February 5, 2019 Fiordland National Park
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.
DAY 7 Wednesday February 6, 2019 Dunedin
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.
DAY 8 Thursday February 7, 2019 Akaroa
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.
DAY 9 Friday February 8, 2019 Wellington
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.
DAY 10 Saturday February 9, 2019 At sea
A day at sea to explore and enjoy the fabulous facilities of the ship.
DAY 11 Sunday February 10, 2019 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.
DAY 12 Monday February 11, 2019 Tauranga
This morning we arrive in Tauranga, a harbourside city in the Bay of Plenty region on New Zealand’s North Island. Today we will enjoy a magical rail experience. We first travel inland to Mamaku, past Lake Rotorua, and board our own self-drive Rail Cruiser to travel through the beautiful Dansey Road Scenic Reserve, on the steep 1:35 gradient railway between Mamaku and Tarukenga. We then see the famous geysers and volcanic activity of Rotorua.
DAY 13 Tuesday February 12, 2019 Auckland
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.
DAY 14 Wednesday February 13, 2019 Auckland
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 leisure.
DAY 15 Thursday February 14, 2019 Wellington
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. We travel from Auckland, New Zealand’s largest city, through the central heartland of the Northern Island. Along the way, we enjoy the farming landscapes and rocky sea scapes of the lower North Island and ascend 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.
DAY 16 Friday February 15, 2019 Wellington
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.
DAY 17 Saturday February 16, 2019 Christchurch
This morning we are transferred 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.
DAY 18 Sunday February 17, 2019 Christchurch
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.
DAY 19 Monday February 18, 2019 Departure
This morning we will be transferred to the airport for the flights to Australia.