For 28 years the Readers’ Rail Tours have been taking our loyal readers on unforgettable journeys exploring the rich history and culture of New Zealand. The tours were created as a way for like-minded travelers to come together and enjoy this unique experience of rail, cruise and coach travel - all while forming lifelong friendships and memories.
All these later, we’re just as passionate about bringing you, our readers, an experience of a lifetime by discovering the beauty of your own backyard. From the deep South to the far North, we’ll leave no stone unturned.
Operating in October, April and May each year, our 14-day tours alternate between the north and south islands, presented by The Dominion Post, The Press and The Sunday Star-Times newspapers. Each tour offers a variety of day-to-day excursions ranging from garden tours, scenic walks, cultural museums, luncheon cruises and much more.
Unlike any other travel package, we offer our readers the unique opportunity to get to know our editorial team behind the news you love to read as they join us on tour. You’ll also find comfort in our experienced tour leaders whose duties extend far beyond simply offering commentary - our friendly and trusting crew will ensure that your luxury and comfort is our priority.
The tours offer a full service of all transport, porterage, day excursions and activities, good quality hotels and most meals (specified in itineraries). To find out more about what exciting adventure we’re planning next, click below on the tour that interests you.
About the Tours
Seats on our tours sell quickly. Our advice is to lodge your deposit as soon as you’ve made your decision to join us.
Coaches and Hotels
We use luxury 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.
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 train carrier. 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 on-track timetables to take into account scheduled traffic. There will be opportunity, if conditions permit, to stop the train at scenic spots.
While on the tour you will be assisted by our tour guides and drivers. To guarantee our staff and other travelers enjoy the tour, you will need to be able to climb and descend 15 steps, walk unassisted for 400 metres and be able to look after yourself for an extended period if required. If there are any issues around this or, you have any concerns, please discuss your situation with us.
The Notebook and Times
While on the railcar, our crew 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.
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 Readers’ Rail Tours do 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 3.5% surcharge.
Stuff Ltd reserves the right to cancel the tour, or parts thereof, for reasons beyond its control. The deposit of $300 per person is non-refundable.