There’s definitely something special about experiencing the beauty of New Zealand from the comfort of a unique rail and coach tour. In April we’ll be travelling by private train and coach through the South Island on our Readers’ Rail Tour – and you’re invited to be part of the fun!
The 2017 South Island Spectacular will feature a 14-day trip which includes excursions that are rarely included in tours of this type. You’ll visit Stewart Island, Milford Sound/Doubtful Sound, Queenstown, Te Anau and ride on the famed Taieri Gorge excursion train. We cross the alps to visit the West Coast and have access to Westport via the Buller Gorge. We’ll be using the Otago Train Trust’s refurbished 94-seat Silver Fern railcar. This is the only fully operational Silver Fern railcar running at present.

 Accommodation is in comfortable hotels well prepared to meet our travellers’ needs. You’ll have lunch and morning and afternoon teas on the railcar which is fully licensed. We provide table service and handle your bags.

The tour is managed by experienced trip leaders and your tariff includes your rail and air fares, hotel rooms, dinner and fully-cooked breakfast daily, transfers and off-rail lunches as specified in the itinerary. The tour tariff includes air fares for Auckland to Dunedin and then Christchurch to Auckland.

Seats on our South Island tours sell quickly. Our advice is to lodge your deposit as soon as you’ve made your decision to join us. If you wish to attend the Rail Tour you will need to register for the Rail Tour by contacting

Sunday Star Times Readers’ Rail Tour Attention: Daniel Towers        PO Box 90741 Victoria Street West, Auckland 1010  

Phone: 0800 0800 99 (free number)

$5,925 per person (twin share). The single supplement is $6,425 (guaranteed solo room by choice). Seats on the railcar are strictly limited. Please be advised the price is inclusive of return air fares to Auckland. Fares less airfare are also available. Please refer to the booking form. A non-refundable deposit of $100 per person will secure your place - this is due by Friday, 6 January, 2017. Final payments are required no later than Friday, 3 February, 2017

Payment information:

Once you've registered, we will issue you with an invoice including all payment details. If you don't wish to pay immediately online, payments can be made via credit card, internet banking, cheque or cash deposit, all at your nearest bank. Please note credit card payments will incur a 2% surcharge. If you have any trouble with
payment, please contact Daniel Towers (contact details listed above).

Coaches and Hotels
We use Weir Bros coaches for our off-rail touring, for transfers and sightseeing when required. We stay overnight in comfortable quality hotels. All rooms have full facilities. Your tariff includes breakfasts and dinners as specified in the itinerary. You will be advised of dinner times before arrival at your hotel.


Your tariff includes 13 full breakfasts, 13 dinners, on-board lunches which are specified in the itinerary, and morning and afternoon teas on the train. Tea and coffee are provided. A range of juices and other beverages are available (charges apply). We cater for special dietary needs.


We handle your bags. You can take one small shoulder-type bag in the cabin for personal items. All your baggage must be clearly and securely labelled with your own labels in addition to any tags we may provide.

On-tour charges

Your tour cost does not include items of a personal nature, insurance, room service, any alcoholic beverages, laundry costs or telephone calls made from hotel rooms. Please ensure you settle any outstanding charges before you depart the hotels.


Informality is our byword. Our travellers opt for comfortable casual daytime attire. Cool weather gear is advisable. Comfortable walking shoes are advised at all times, especially if you intend to leave the train or coach at viewing spots along the tour.

Conditions and safety

Train tour safety is the responsibility of Dunedin Railways. The train manager is in charge and his or her instructions about boarding and alighting are to be followed at all times. The charter nature of the train requires us, from time to time, to alter ontrack timetables to take into account scheduled traffic. There will be opportunity, if conditions permit, to stop the train at scenic spots. The Notebook and Times
While on the railcar, your escorts will make daily announcements about forthcoming departure times and any scheduled changes. We advise that you bring a notebook to record any alterations and note meal and departure times. If you wish hotels to give you a wake-up call, please advise reception. From time to time schedules beyond our control may alter arrival and departure times. Seating policy
We do not allocate seat numbers. We rotate passengers throughout the journey so that everyone can experience a range of views. It’s the fairest way.


The Sunday Star Times does not sell travel insurance and is not an agency for travel insurance. Our advice is that you purchase a policy or seek the advice of your insurance broker. Check with your credit card company; some offer travel insurance when payment is made by card. However payment by credit card attracts an additional 2% surcharge.


The Sunday Star Times reserves the right to cancel the tour, or parts thereof, for reasons beyond its control. The deposit of $100 is non-refundable. The tour starts and finishes at the Auckland Airport. The tour does not include transfers prior to its commencement or at the conclusion of the tour.