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Newman's 12 day NZ Rail Experience (independent)

Kansas City
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46 posts
17 reviews
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Newman's 12 day NZ Rail Experience (independent)

We have this planned as part of our honeymoon leaving Auckland March 23 for 11 nights. It uses coach and some rail (plus a quick flight)and books your lodging but allows you to decide what to do at each stop. I may post in the forums for each city, but has anyone done this tour and do they have any advice on great adventures they took or the trip itself? We appreciate local experience, nature and active exploring. The stops go like this:

Day 1 Auckland

Day 2 Auckland/Waitomo/Rotorua (glow worm caves and Geothermal)

Day 3 Rotorua Sightseeing

Day 4 Rotorua/Wellington

Day 5 Wellington/Christchurch

Day 6 Christchurch

Day 7 ChristChurch/ Mt Cook/Dunedin

Day 8 Dunedin/Queenstown - seeing the penguins

Day 9 Millford Sound (with cruise of Sound)

Day 10 Queestown at Leisure

Day 11 Queenstown/Franz Josef (glacier trip)

Day 12 Franz Josef/Christchurch

Christchurch, New...
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1. Re: Newman's 12 day NZ Rail Experience (independent)

I've not done this particular trip but I know the services and I know the routes. You have some pretty big touring day's in here which leave very little time for actual sightseeing. e.g. Rotorua/Wellington a full day, Wellington/Christchurch a full day, Queenstown/Franz Josef a full day, Franz Joseph/Christchurch a full day and by full day I mean up at 6-7am, on the road by 8am and arriving at your next stop as late as 6pm. Although I'm assuming the quick flight might be Rotorua/Wellington?

Also, as far as I am aware it is no longer possible to do the Christchurch/Mt Cook/Dunedin day trip, that was recently dropped by one of the operators.

Sorry to sound a bit negative, there is nothing particularly wrong with this trip but you will leave here exhausted. I can appreciate a desire to see as much as possible in a short time and as long as you are prepared it will be a great trip.

The trains here are pretty easy going and some of the Newmans Coach services are on modern comfortable vehicles with driver commentary.

In Rotorua you need to hit up the geothermal sights such as Waimangu Volcanic Valley or if your budget allows even better is a day excursion to the active volcanoe White Island (by helicopter to keep it short and to make it that much more exciting). In Christchurch I would do very little, just relax as you'll need the break. Just wonder up the Cultural Blvd visiting the Art Gallery, Museum, Art's centre etc and enjoy the laid back atmosphere.

In Dunedin I'm not actually sure if you are going to be able to get out to the Peninsula to see the Penguins in the time allotted. I could be wrong but most sightseeing trips go out in the afternoon and you'll only have a free morning unless they organise a trip themselves (Newmans I mean). In Queenstown you have more activities at your disposal than I can list here. Top should be Shotover Jet then maybe a guided bush hike.

Hope that helps a bit.

Kansas City
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46 posts
17 reviews
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2. Re: Newman's 12 day NZ Rail Experience (independent)

Thanks for that input, I should add that we have two extra nights in Auckland before Day 1 starts and we have an extra day betweeen 8 and 9 in Dunedin to see the peguins, so hopefully that adds some more time. Yes, the flight leg is from Rotorua to Wellington.

3. Re: Newman's 12 day NZ Rail Experience (independent)

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