West Coast Silver Fern Excursion

  • Duration:6 days
  • Distance:1496km
  • Operates:7/9
from $1999 per person
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From 07 Sep 2018 to 12 Sep 2018



7th to the 12th of SEPTEMBER 2018


Dunedin Railways presents a six day, five night guided West Coast Rail Excursion on the iconic Dunedin Silver Fern Railcar leaving Dunedin on Friday 7th September and returning on Wednesday 12th September.

Follow the track from Dunedin up the East Coast before heading west through Arthur’s Pass and over and through the spectacular Southern Alps to Greymouth. Enjoy travelling to Hokitika and Westport before you return to Dunedin. Highlights include crossing the Southern Alps at Arthurs Pass, the Denniston Mine area and spectacular Incline remains, the Pancake Rocks at Punakaiki, and an optional visits to the Treetops experience south of Hokitika and Shanty Town including a buffet dinner in Greymouth.

 Along the way you will experience the fertile Canterbury Plains and Foothills as we approach and cross the majestic Southern Alps with the winter snows still dominating. The West Coast arrival at Otira always impresses the traveller as we continue to Greymouth passing through rain forest and by lakes, farms and typical west coast settlements. During the time on the coast you along with your fellow travellers will travel to Westport and Hokitika by coach. The days spent on the coast will allow you to experience some of the highlights of any visit to the western side of the Alps.

For those who enjoy the romance and adventure of luxury rail travel this is a trip not to be missed. Enjoy a hearty breakfast each day along with some lunches and dinners that are included then relax as our knowledgeable and friendly crew take you on this unique and exciting experience with a group of like-minded travellers.



FRIDAY 7th September:

Departing Dunedin at 10am in the Silver Fern Railcar will be a leisurely journey in first class comfort.  With panoramic windows allowing for magnificent views in the comfort of air-conditioning you will be transported in style up the East Coast of the South Island to Ashburton.  Please bring a packed lunch with you or let us know in advance if you’d like to pre-order a lunch box for $18.50. We will have a short stop in Timaru later in the afternoon. When we arrive in Ashburton there will be a coach transfer from the Silver Fern to the Hotel Ashburton where you will overnight and enjoy a buffet dinner while meeting with your fellow travellers.  Passengers can also join the journey in Oamaru and Timaru today.

Dinner included.


SATURDAY 8th September:

After breakfast this morning transfer back to the Silver Fern at 8.45am and continue travelling north up to Rolleston. From here we will turn west (and turn the seats!) and travel along the Midland Line as we make our way across the South Island to the rugged West Coast. We will stop to collect lunch in Springfield. Once into the foothills we will journey past high country farmlands and forests. We’ll pass through gorges and travel beside and across the Waimakariri River before we traverse the magnificent Southern Alps. Prior to our arrival into Greymouth you will see and hear about aspects of early coal mining ventures and other industries of the coast. We will transfer from the Greymouth Station by coach to the Ashley Hotel. Greymouth will be our base for the next three nights. Enjoy a buffet dinner this evening at the Ashley.

Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner included.


SUNDAY 9th September:

After breakfast this morning at the hotel we will collect your packed lunch and depart at 8.00am. Enjoy the scenery as we pass through the Grey River Valley, Reefton, Inangahua Junction and the Lower Buller River Gorge and on up the coast to Waimangaroa. From here it is an 8km journey up the hill to the Denniston Plateau. See and learn something of the harsh conditions endured up there especially by the ladies and children that once called this place home. Much of that early coal mining history and life is displayed on information panels along with relics and a few of the old buildings that remain. The Department of Conservation have reinstated the top part of the world famous Denniston Incline which is a marvel in itself to experience. Our knowledgeable Train Manager will lead a tour of this fascinating open-air Museum. You will return to Greymouth this afternoon via Westport and historic Charleston to enjoy the beautiful views of the West Coast and the Tasman Sea. A highlight on this stretch of highway is the geologically impressive Pancake rocks at Punakaiki. There will be an opportunity to stop here and take in some memorable sea scape views. You’ll have a free evening tonight in Greymouth to explore.

Breakfast and Lunch included.


MONDAY 10th September:

Following breakfast, we’ll head for a day out in Hokitika departing the hotel at 8.45 am. Enjoy the coastal scenery as we travel to Hokitika. An optional excursion today is a visit to the Treetops Walk and café. The Treetops Walk is a relatively new venture that offers an exhilarating walk along a high sided platform/walkway 20m above the rainforest floor.  At over 450m long this easy access platform allows you to experience life in the canopy of the majestic Rimu and Kamahi trees. If conditions are clear then a spectacular view of the Southern Alps including Mt Cook is possible. Native birds such as Kereru, Tui, Kaka and others can possibly be seen at close quarters. The option of climbing the viewing tower from the walkway offers a different scene again as the expanse of Lake Mahinapua opens up. Lunch in the café is included before we head back to Hokitika for some free time experiencing the historic and retail options available in the town which has a proud history of its early gold mining, forestry and tourism activity. Mid-afternoon return to Greymouth and enjoy some leisure time in Greymouth this evening or join us for an optional excursion to Shanty Town including a Steam train, gold panning, and dinner with return transfers from the hotel departing at 3.30pm. The cost will be $65 per person payable before we depart Dunedin.

Breakfast included


TUESDAY 11th September:

Enjoy breakfast this morning before we transfer back to the Station at 8.45am bidding farewell to Greymouth and the West Coast as we cross back over the Southern Alps to Ashburton in the Silver Fern.  A packed lunch will be provided and enjoy a farewell dinner tonight with your travelling companions and friends at the Hotel Ashburton.

Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner included.


WEDNESDAY 12th September:

After our last breakfast together, we’ll transfer to the Silver Fern at 8.45am to travel back down the coast. We’ll have a short lunch stop in Timaru with an expected arrival at Dunedin Railway Station around 4.30pm.

Breakfast included.



Travel in luxury on the Silver Fern Railcar from Dunedin Station and return.
Accommodation in Twin or Double rooms. Single rooms available at extra cost.
Transfers and coach tours as described in the Itinerary.
5 Breakfasts, 3 lunches, 3 dinners.
Full commentary on all sections of the journey.
Knowledgeable and friendly crew throughout.
Free pouring tea and coffee aboard the Silver Fern.


Light refreshments will be available for purchase from the food and drink trolley during the rail section of the tour.


$1999 pp for all services as described in the Itinerary.

$439 for single supplement

$49 for Treetops Walk and Lunch

$65 for Shanty Town and Dinner


To ensure your place on this excursion a deposit of $500pp is required at the time of booking, with the balance due by Friday 3rd August 2018.

For bookings and more information contact the Ticket Office at Dunedin Railways  03 4774449 or email [email protected]

Your Train/Tour Manager Allan Boyer has a vast knowledge of the locations to be visited. Having run regular tours to the area for over 25 years as well as managing several Taieri Gorge Trains to Arthurs Pass during this time his experience will only add to yours. Allan and his fellow crew members are enthusiastic about this unique departure and as a team are looking forward to welcoming you to join them on the board the Silver Fern and to help make this journey a memorable and rewarding occasion for you.


DUNEDIN RAILWAYS and OPERATING STAFF expressly reserve the right to amend, vary or cancel any part of the rail Tour Itinerary what so ever and shall not be liable in respect to any delay, loss, damage, sickness, additional expense or injury however caused or damage to or loss of property or baggage and will not be responsible for alteration or late running of the services as detailed in the itinerary by suppliers of those services. A non-refundable deposit of $500 per person is required at the time of booking to secure your place. Full payment is due one month prior to departure and is non-refundable. Dunedin Railways reserves the right the cancel the Rail Tour should we not reach minimum numbers. In this instance all deposits would be refunded.



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