Famous New Zealand Rail Journeys
Rail Tours

Famous New Zealand Rail Journeys 
South Island New Zealand’s challenging landscapes demanded some remarkable feats of early railway engineers. While our rail network isn’t vast, thanks to their skill and determination, there are some incredible voyages available. Hop aboard and rediscover the romance of rail travel, taking in some of the world's truly remarkable landscapes from a unique vantage point. Our great train trips travel through remote national parks, across spectacular volcanic landscapes, over braided river valleys and alpine passes and along rugged coastlines with steep mountains on one side and the Pacific Ocean on the other. 

On the South Island, the most popular rail route is the TranzAlpine. The fantastically scenic rail trip on the TranzAlpine - one of the world’s greatest - crosses the Southern Alps on a journey that links the city of Christchurch to historic Greymouth, a river town on the rugged West Coast. Highlights include the 73 metre high Staircase viaduct, Arthur’s Pass National Park and the Otira tunnel. The TranzAlpine covers 223.8 kilometres in four and a half hours. There are 19 tunnels and four viaducts. An outdoor viewing carriage will get you close to the fresh alpine air and spectacular scenery.

New Zealand flowersThe Trans Alpine is included in all of these escorted tours:

Between Picton and Christchurch you can catch the Coastal Pacific. The scenery is remarkable, with the Kaikoura Ranges rising steeply on one side and the Pacific Ocean swells washing over a rocky coastline on the other. Seals and penguins can often be seen on the rocks. If you have a rail pass, make a stopover at the town of Kaikoura for a whale-watching safari. The next stage of this journey chuffs across the Canterbury Plains, where vast braided rivers dissect a patchwork of horticultural and farming landscapes. In total, the Coastal Pacific carries you through 22 tunnels and across 175 bridges. 

In the North Island, the Northern Explorer links Wellington and Auckland. A remarkable 12-hour journey through the volcanic heart of the North Island with highlights including Tongariro National Park and the famous Raurimu Spiral, an amazing feat of railway engineering. The Northern Explorer’s carriages all have large windows for panoramic views of the magnificent landscapes. At the rear of the train, a special observation carriage includes lounge-style seating surrounded by glass on three sides. There are also open-air observation areas and a buffet car for meals, drinks and snacks.

Local market New ZealandBetween Picton and Christchurch you can catch the Coastal Pacific. The scenery is remarkable, with the Kaikoura Ranges rising steeply on one side and the Pacific Ocean swells washing over a rocky coastline on the other. Seals and penguins can often be seen on the rocks. If you have a rail pass, make a stopover at the town of Kaikoura for a whale-watching safari. The next stage of this journey chuffs across the Canterbury Plains, where vast braided rivers dissect a patchwork of horticultural and farming landscapes. In total, the Coastal Pacific carries you through 22 tunnels and across 175 bridges. 

Our other rail experiences rely on the passion and dedication of enthusiasts. Southland has the Kingston Flyer, Dunedin has the Taieri Gorge Railway and Auckland is the launching point for amazing boutique steam train trips around the whole country.

Call 1-800-221-2474 9AM - 5PM Mon-Fri Eastern Time or (516) 248-2042 outside USA/Canada  Although we have provided as much information as possible on our website, we are happy to answer your questions directly on the phone. Sometimes, it is just easier to speak to one of us. We are awaiting your call. Call (800) 221 - 2474 or email