Ride the Rails 2024

2-8 May 2024

Join us as we take you on a journey to rediscover the joys of train travel. Ride the scenic Coastal Pacific (Blenheim to Christchurch), and the world renowned TranzAlpine (Christchurch to Greymouth) excursions. Take a steam journey on the Weka Pass Rail and a rainforest excursion on the West Coast. Uncover some of the unique history of NZ rail and talk to genuine railway enthusiasts.

Day 1

Thursday 02 May - Travelling to Picton

We begin our journey south from all destinations today as we are transferred to Wellington and meet at the Interislander ferry terminal for an afternoon sailing to the South Island. Lunch today is at our own cost on board. Upon reaching Picton we travel the short distance to our Blenheim accommodation, to settle in before dining together this evening.

Day 2

Friday 03 May - Coastal Pacific to Christchurch

This morning we join the Blenheim Riverside Railway - an 11km train excursion along the banks of the picturesque Taylor River from Brayshaw Park Station to Beaver Station, located in Riverside Park. We’ll also visit the Marlborough Museum, based at Brayshaw Park, which highlights the rich history of early Marlborough. We have time for lunch in town (own cost) before boarding the Coastal Pacific train. Featuring an open-air viewing carriage, this journey allows a scenic feast of southern New Zealand, with the Kaikoura mountain ranges on one side of our train and the rugged Pacific Ocean coastline on the other. Make sure you have dinner on board this evening, but please note that it is not included in the package. On arrival in Christchurch we’ll be met by our coach and driver and transferred to our accommodation, where we stay for the next two nights.

Day 3

Saturday 04 May - Ferrymead and the Weka Pass Railway and Christchurch Tram Dining

This morning we visit the extensive Ferrymead Heritage Park which features an Edwardian township including a historic railway station, workshops and model railways to name but a few of the exhibitions on site. A favourite with some is the vintage machinery and Hall of Flame (fire engines). We also get a chance to experience the tram ride, and we enjoy a picnic lunch (included) here today. This afternoon we journey out to Waipara to join the historic rural Weka Pass Rail excursion from Glenmark Station to Waikari and return. Our train today will either be their 1909 Pacific ‘A’ class Pacific steam loco no. 428, the only one of its type still operating, or one of their equally impressive Dg class Diesel-electric locos, built in 1956 and weighing over 65 tons. We return to Christchurch and this evening take you out for a special dining experience on the Christchurch Tram. Combining colonial style fine dining with inner-city sightseeing, this is a must do Christchurch experience.

Day 4

Sunday 05 May - TranzAlpine to Greymouth

We rise with the sparrows to journey on the TranzAlpine train through to Greymouth - rated as one of the world’s great scenic railway journeys! The trip is 223.8kms long and takes just four and a half hours. There are 16 tunnels and 5 viaducts, the highest being The Staircase, standing at 73m. Commentary is provided, and souvenir books may be purchased on the train. On arrival in Greymouth we will make our way to the Monteiths Brewery where we have our lunch (included) followed by a tour to experience firsthand, the making of Monteith’s fine beers, finishing with a generous tasting. We dine in early tonight at our hotel, following a couple of very full days

Day 5

Monday 06 May - Charleston Nile River Rainforest Train and Denniston Incline

This morning we take a trip to Charleston where we join the Charleston Nile River Rainforest Train that chugs its way through the spectacular limestone landscapes of the Nile River Canyon in Paparoa National Park. Lunch today is included at the Charleston Café. We then continue north to the historic coal mining town of Denniston. Here we meet the “Friends of the Hill”, a small but extremely dedicated group whose mission it is to preserve a unique piece of New Zealand history. We will hear the stories of life on the Plateau and the famous Denniston Incline, described by local residents as the "eighth wonder of the world" and recognised the world over as an amazing engineering achievement. The site is also featured in Brian Scott and David Leitch’s book “Exploring New Zealand’s Ghost Railways”. We then take a drive down to the top of the Incline brakehead for an opportunity to wander and explore this historic site, which also offers magnificent views down to the coastal plains of the Karamea Bight (if the weather permits). We enjoy our afternoon here before winding our way back down the hill, returning to Westport and checking in to our accommodation. We dine out tonight at a popular local restaurant.

Day 6

Tuesday 07 May - Westport to Nelson

This morning we make our way through Inangahua and the bush-clad lower Buller Gorge featuring the remarkable Hawks Crag. We make a stop at the remains of the Kawatiri Station for a stroll around and a chance to explore the tunnel and a bridge constructed as part of the old Nelson railway but never used - a site also featured in “Ghost Railways”. We’ll have a picnic lunch (included) before we continue our travels to Nelson. Here we visit Founders Heritage Park, home of the Nelson Railway Society, and also featuring a historic brewery, a cycling museum and a Bristol Freighter for the secret aircraft enthusiasts. We then check in to our Nelson accommodation, where we enjoy relaxed in house dining on our last night together.

Day 7

Wednesday 08 May - Homeward Bound

Departing Nelson this morning we follow State Highway 6 passing through Rai Valley, stopping at Pelorus Bridge and Havelock for a leg stretch. Bypassing Blenheim, we travel on to Picton where we have lunch (own cost) prior to departure on our afternoon Interislander sailing to Wellington. Here we bid farewell to our fellow travellers before being transferred to our respective home locations.

The cost of the tour includes

  • All coach travel
  • Interislander Ferry transfers
  • Good quality motel or hotel accommodation
  • 2 course or buffet evening meals (except dinner on board the train)
  • All breakfasts
  • Morning tea on coach travelling days
  • Marlborough Museum, Blenheim: entry
  • Riverside Railway train excursion, Blenheim
  • Coastal Pacific Train journey
  • Ferrymead, Christchurch: entry, tram rides
  • Weka Pass Railway, Waipara: train excursion
  • Christchurch Tram journey; dinner
  • TranzAlpine Train
  • Monteiths Brewery, Greymouth: lunch, tasting and tour
  • Nile River Rainforest Train, Charleston: train excursion
  • Friends of the Hill Museum, Denniston
  • Founders Heritage Park, Nelson: entry
  • Nelson Railway Society: train ride and guided tour of workshops
  • Lunch Days 3, 4, 5, and 6 as per itinerary

Departure Detail

Before you book a tour with Tranzit Tours, please take the time to read and understand these Terms and Conditions below.

Pricing Validity

All costs associated with each tour are outlined in full within each tour itinerary. All pricing quoted is valid for the dates of tour when booked.

Reservations and Payments

Bookings for all Tranzit tours can be made through any Tranzit Coachlines Reservations Centre or an approved Travel Agent. Any person making a booking for others shall be deemed to have accepted these Terms and Conditions on behalf of all individuals they are booking on a tour and it is the responsibility of the person making the booking to bring these Terms and conditions to the attention of those individuals booked.

A deposit as stated in the Tour Itinerary is payable to secure the booking.

The balance must be paid in full by the date stated in the Tour Itinerary.

Any reservation made within fourteen (14) days of the tour departure must be paid in full at the time of booking.

Cancellations, Postponements and Alterations

Cancellations by the Customer

Cancellations 45+ days before tour departure date – a cancellation fee valued at 15% of your deposit, plus any other fees charged by other providers such as accommodation, ferry, activities etc.Cancellations 44 – 8 days before tour departure date – a cancellation fee valued at 15% of the total tour cost, plus any other fees charged by other providers such as accommodation, ferry, activities etc.

Cancellations within 7 days before tour departure date – a cancellation fee valued at 25% of the total tour cost, plus any other fees charged by other providers such as accommodation, ferry, activities etc.No refunds will be made for cancellations made within one day of departure or once travel has commenced. Refunds will not be provided for unused portions of a tour, unless the Customer can provide genuine reason and documentary evidence that services were unable to be utilised (and a refund if applicable is available from the other provider) in which case the company will review each request and may provide a partial refund at the sole discretion of the company.

Cancellations of one half of a twin share booking will result in the Customer cancelling being charged the cost of a single booking, if the Company is unable to match the twin share booking with another Customer.

Alterations by the Customer

The Customer may transfer their booking to another person for the same tour and commencement date, but only if the other person satisfies all of Tranzit Tours requirements in relation to the tour and provides us a completed Booking Form. The Customer must notify Tranzit Tours in writing of the intended transfer at least 30 days prior to the commencement date of the tour. A $60 transfer fee per person/per transfer will apply (in addition to any supplier change fees).

Cancellations or Postponements by the Company

Tranzit Tours reserves the right to cancel, reschedule or postpone a tour. With the exception of the Force Majeure section below, Tranzit Tours will:In the event of a tour being cancelled by the company prior to departure and not postponed – refund the total amount paid in respect of that tour or provide a credit, but will have no further liability to the Customer.

In the event of a tour being postponed – rebook the Customer for the new departure date or provide a credit, but will have no further liability to the Customer.

In the event of a Force Majeure event that occurs prior to, or during, a tour such as but not limited to fire, flood, volcanic eruption, earthquake, avalanche, severe weather, power outages, labour disruptions, pandemic, government controls or other events outside Tranzit Tours control that interrupts the ability to operate the tour in full or in part, or if Tranzit Tours determines that the quality of the tour or the health and safety of the Customer would be compromised, Tranzit Tours reserves the right to cancel, postpone, or shorten the tour and will be excused and released from its obligations without liability of any kind. Customers will receive a credit for postponed tours. For cancelled or shortened tours, refunds in these circumstances will be in full less any unrecoverable costs (i.e. expenses already incurred or fees charged by other providers).

The Customer will be advised of any increased tour costs as a result of the postponement. Credits will be equal to the value of the payment made and must be used within 12 months. Customers are strongly advised to take out travel insurance.

In the event of cancellation or postponement by the company, Tranzit Tours is not responsible for any consequential loss incurred by the Customer. Customers are again advised to take out travel insurance.

Alterations by the Company

Before Tour Commencement: If a major change to the tour needs to be made before departure, we will inform the Customer of the change as soon as practicable and will advise of any consequential price increase or decrease.Tranzit Tours reserves the right to alter a tour (including the itinerary) and substitute accommodation facilities should unforeseen circumstances beyond our control make changes necessary. Whilst every effort is made to adhere to the itinerary as provided, the company reserves the right to alter the touring and attractions as dictated by circumstances and conditions outside the company’s control.  Alterations may be made to ensure the smooth running of the tour.  Every attempt will be made to ensure alterations do not adversely affect the operation of the tour.  The company will not be held responsible for weather-based cancellations, or those closures made at the tour provider’s discretion.

Tranzit Tours will inform the customer as soon as practicable and will advise of any consequential price increase or decrease.

Insurance

Tranzit Tours recommend that you purchase comprehensive travel insurance to cover against things like lost or damaged luggage, accident or sickness, loss or theft of personal belongings and documents, or the need to cancel or shorten your tour.  Please note that special conditions will apply for pre-existing medical conditions with all travel insurance policies.

Health and Fitness

Tranzit Tours are generally able to accommodate most fitness abilities; however, some tours may require a certain level of physical fitness for full enjoyment of tour activities. The Customer must inform Tranzit Tours, at the time of booking, of any health or fitness restrictions that may limit participation of tour activities or put the Customer, tour staff or other customers at risk. The Customer acknowledges that their suitability for a tour, or any activity within a tour, is wholly the Customer’s responsibility.

Payment of a deposit by the Customer to secure a Tranzit Tour acts as a warranty that:

o   the Customer is reasonably healthy and/or fit to participate in the tour, and

o   the Customer does not have a health, physical condition or disability that would create risk to themselves, tour staff or other customers, and

o   the Customer indemnifies Tranzit Tours from all actions, claims and demands arising out of any want of health or fitness.

Tranzit Tours reserves the right to decline a booking on medical, health or fitness grounds at its sole discretion.

Tranzit Tours reserves the right to remove a Customer from a tour, or quarantine a Customer on tour, if their health and/or fitness interferes with the tour or staff safety or other Customers safety or tour experience in any way. Any additional costs associated with a Customer’s removal from tour or placement into quarantine, shall be borne by the Customer. Refunds will be made in accordance with these Terms and Conditions. 

Authority on Tour

Tranzit Tours are operated by staff with decision making authority while on tour. By travelling with Tranzit Tours, you agree to accept the authority of the driver/guide and their decisions are final in all matters likely to affect the wellbeing, safety or experience of any customer or staff member on board. Failure to adhere to reasonable requests or any inappropriate behaviour that is degrading the experience of other customers, may result in the Customer being removed from the tour. If a Customer is asked to leave a tour, any costs associated with returning home will be borne by the Customer and any unused portion of the tour will not be refunded.

Responsibilities

Tranzit Tours include goods and services provided by other operators such as hotels, attractions and transportation companies. Customers are advised to familiarise themselves with the terms and conditions on which these services are supplied. Accordingly, Tranzit Tours will not be responsible and will be excluded from liability for any loss, damage, omission or acts being negligent or otherwise, committed by other goods and service providers used in connection with the tour.

Tranzit Tours is not liable for any loss, damage, delay, or injury caused to the traveller or their baggage whilst under the care or control of a third-party provider. A Customer’s baggage and personal effects shall be carried at the owner’s risk as provided for under the Carriage of Goods Act.

Tranzit Tours is not responsible for any losses or additional expenses to the Customer due to tours impacted by Force Majeure events that occur prior to, or during, a tour such as but not limited to fire, flood, volcanic eruption, earthquake, avalanche, severe weather, power outages, labour disruptions, pandemic, government controls or other events outside Tranzit Tours control that interrupts the ability to operate the tour in full or in part, or if Tranzit Tours determines that the quality of the tour or the health and safety of the Customer would be compromised.

Acceptance of Risk

The Customer acknowledges that all Tranzit Tours may be subject to risks and dangers beyond that which might be experienced by the Customer at home. Except as provided in law, the Customer acknowledges that they assume all risk and Tranzit Tours is not liable for misadventure, death, injury, delay or loss which occurs during the tour.

Seat Rotation

For the enjoyment of all travellers Tranzit Tours operates a seat rotation system which all travellers must participate in as a condition of booking.

Photographs

Photographs used to market any Tranzit Tour depict typical scenes experienced, but the subject matter may not necessarily be seen or experienced whilst visiting a destination within a tour.

Whilst on tour, the Customer may be included in photographs and/or film taken by the guide or driver. These photographs may be used for future promotional advertising purposes and by booking on a Tranzit Tour the Customer authorises the use of any images they are captured in to be used without further consent or any payment of any kind. If the Customer does not authorise the use of their image for promotional purposes, they must make this known at the time of booking.

Privacy Policy

Any personal information that Tranzit Tours collects about the Customer may be used for any purpose associated with the operation of a tour or to send the Customer marketing material in relation to Tranzit Tour products. The information may be disclosed to our agents, service providers or other suppliers to enable Tranzit Tours to operate the tour. Tranzit Tours will otherwise treat your details in accordance with our privacy policy (available on our website).

Applicable Law

The laws of New Zealand govern these Terms and Conditions to the fullest extent allowable.

I bought our Tranzit tour to the West Coast as a birthday present for Mum. We loved travelling together and made so many memories. I have travelled this coast before and never seen the views I saw from the coach - just amazing! - Meg453, Trip Advisor