Southern Alps Experience

AK1-110 | Akaroa, New Zealand | See Special Notes

from $469.95 (AUD)*

*Price displayed in US Dollars unless otherwise noted; excursions priced in other currencies may be available on select voyages only. Prices are based on the amount Princess typically charges for each excursion, but your price may vary by voyage date and departure time.

Tour at a Glance

You will visit:
  • Tranz Alpine Express Tranz Alpine Express
You will see:
  • Arthur's Pass Arthur's Pass
  • Canterbury Plains Canterbury Plains
  • Waimakariri River Waimakariri River

Moderate Includes snack Includes meal

Excursion Length:
Approx. 9 hours

Max. Group Size: 200

Tour Overview

Your easy, full-day adventure begins with a motorcoach journey across scenic Banks Peninsular and the Canterbury Plains, a patchwork quilt of pastoral countryside that lies serenely between the mountains and the Pacific Ocean. Sit back and soak up the sights as your driver/guide shares expert narration on the history and culture of Canterbury and the flora and fauna of the ever-changing landscape.

As flat as a billiard table, the plains host a wide array of agricultural activities from grazing grass and wheat to herbs and sunflowers. In fact, the area produces more than 80% of New Zealand's grains, crops and seeds.

Soon you'll be arriving at a farm in Darfield, a town in the Malvern District's pastoral farming area. Here your hosts will treat you to a spot of morning tea before you continue to Arthur's Pass.

Arriving at the highest pass in the Southern Alps, you'll disembark the motorcoach and, if time permits, enjoy free time at the Arthur's Pass Visitor Centre. The diamond-cut crags and peaks of the Southern Alps include so many natural wonders that four national parks have been set aside to preserve and protect them.

You can learn about the Maori hunting parties that traveled here in ages past and about the road that converges here with the railway line. Built to service the gold fields of West Canterbury in Hokitika and credited with opening up the west coast of New Zealand to settlement, these engineering accomplishments offer contemporary travellers an unforgettable way to explore the landscape.

You'll board the Southern Alps Express and watch in awe as the rail belt descends through the misty mountains, your route crosses a series of steel girder bridges over deep gorges and crosses through a series of short tunnels. The highest viaduct is the famous 'Staircase' which hovers 246 feet above the river below.

Enjoy a relaxing train ride onboard carriages that include both one way seating and tabled group seating. Along the way, soak up the amazing views and savour a picnic-style box lunch and beverage. Be sure to bring your camera as there are many opportunities to capture great memories of your favourite spots.

Arriving at the railway junction of Rolleston, you will transfer back to a motorcoach for the memory-filled return drive back to Akaroa and the pier.

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Detailed itinerary

Depart from ship and travel to Darfield for morning tea

Travel time:02:00 Transport type:Air Conditioned Motorcoach
Transport Capacity (Normal Use):42
Time at site:00:30
Walking distance (yards):20
Total number of steps:8
Restrooms available?:Yes
Shopping available?:Yes
Currency accepted:NZD Credit cards accepted: Yes
Photo/Video opportunity?:Yes
Photo/Video restrictions?:Yes Notes

No flash photography

Travel by coach from Darfield to Arthurs Pass to board the train

Travel time:01:30 Transport type:Air Conditioned Motorcoach
Transport Capacity (Normal Use):42
Time at site:00:15
Walking distance (yards):50
Total number of steps:3
Restrooms available?:Yes
Free Time at Site (minutes):15

Southern Alps Express train from Arthurs Pass to Rolleston with picnic lunch box on board

Travel time:02:00 Transport type:Train
Transport Capacity (Normal Use):200
Wheelchair accessible?:No
Restrooms available?:Yes
Shopping available?:Yes
Air conditioned?:Yes
Currency accepted:NZD Credit cards accepted: No
Photo/Video opportunity?:Yes

Re-board your motorcoach and return to your ship

Travel time:02:00 Transport type:Air Conditioned Motorcoach
Transport Capacity (Normal Use):42
Walking distance (yards):50
Total number of steps:4
Restrooms available?:Yes

Tour timeline may vary to avoid overcrowding, etc.

Special Notes


Travel is one-way by the Southern Alps Express Train (2 hours) with some narration and one-way by motorcoach (5 hours) with the driver/guide offering a full narration.

Be prepared for changeable weather at Arthur's Pass.

Passengers using a wheelchair should be aware before booking this tour that the train cannot store wheelchairs.

Child Price:

12 & under reduced

Number of Steps/Walking Distance:

For information on walking distances and/or the number of steps at each stop, please see the detailed itinerary above.

Wheelchair Accessibility:

For information on wheelchair accessibility, please see the detailed itinerary above.

Camera/Video Restrictions:

For information on camera/video restrictions at each stop, please see the detailed itinerary above.

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