13 July 2022 | Written by Bachcare Holiday Homes

Discovering the Secrets of New Zealand on a Scenic Rail Journey

Back to Blog

There is something truly magical about a New Zealand rail journey as you travel through some of the world’s most majestic and idyllic landscapes. From volcanic craters to glacial valleys, fjords to lush rainforests, a rail journey in New Zealand is the best way to explore all that this beautiful country has to offer.

Whether traveling with a guide or touring the country on your own, there is no better way for visitors to see all of New Zealand than by train. With numerous routes, scenic stops, and types of terrain available, there is a New Zealand rail journey to suit everyone’s interests.

Why not try a trip on the TranzAlpine, which meanders through the Southern Alps, or the Coastal Pacific, which offers stunning coastal views? Or, for travelers who want a more relaxed trip, the Marlborough Flyer explores some of the most beautiful parts of New Zealand’s wine region.

TranzAlpine Train NZ

Image Credit: Flickr – denisbin

This sought-after rail journey takes passengers through the Southern Alps, offering stunning views of mountains, glaciers, and valleys. The TranzAlpine is one of the most popular routes in New Zealand and connects Christchurch with Greymouth.

The journey takes around five hours and covers 223km one-way, but offers plenty of stops along the way to get out and explore the breathtaking scenery. Along the way, encounter stunning vistas, travel along the banks of the icy Waimakariri River, scale the Southern Alps, and enjoy miles of iconic beech forests.

The TranzAlpine is sure to satisfy any adventure seeker, offering a genuinely unique rail journey through what’s called the most awe-inspiring scenery in New Zealand.

East & West North Island Rail Tour

Image Credit: Wikicommons

Experience the natural beauty of Te Ika-a-Māui aboard the East & West North Island Rail Tour. Passengers journey from Palmerston North to Gisborne, Marton to New Plymouth, and the Wairarapa lines aboard a heritage train with open-air viewing balconies.

In addition to the breathtaking views, passengers will also enjoy stops at fascinating locations along the way. Visit the Tangiwai Memorial, take a trip down the Desert Road, and dine aboard a charter boat on Lake Taupo. Then, roam the expansive stretch of Manawatu Gorge, which is only accessible by rail.

This unique rail tour is a fantastic way to experience the beauty of Te Ika-a-Māui and take in its rich history and culture. There’s no better way to discover New Zealand’s most beautiful scenery, history, and engineering feats than from the comfort of your chair.

Coastal Pacific

Image Credit: Wikicommons

The Coastal Pacific is another in-demand rail journey in New Zealand, hugging the Pacific coastline between Christchurch and Picton. This journey takes passengers through some of the most beautiful coastal scenery in the country, with stunning views of the sea and mountains.

Wind through the idyllic Kaikoura Coast, known for its abundant marine life and soaring mountain peaks. Enjoy a break at the vineyards of Blenheim, New Zealand’s top producer of wine, guaranteed to add flavor to any adventure. Then, experience the grassy plains and clear lakes dotted throughout the pristine Canterbury countryside.

So for breathtaking coastal views, exploring stunning mountain ranges, or soaking up the vineyards tour, the Coastal Pacific is an excellent choice that will suit every taste.

Marlborough Flyer Steam Train

Image Credit: Flickr – Sid Mosdell

The Marlborough Flyer is the historic World War I Memorial Locomotive Ab608, “Passchendaele,” so this rail journey is steeped in rich history and wonder. Beginning in Blenheim, which lies at the heart of NZ’s wine country, passengers disembark on a short but memorable journey ending in Kekerengu.

Along the way, passengers will traverse the lofty Dashwood Pass and the fertile fields of Awatere Valley, all while breathing in the splendid coastal air of the Pacific Ocean. Upon reaching Kekerengu, travelers can enjoy the sights of lush farmlands and abundant wildlife.

For passengers wanting to explore the diversity of New Zealand’s landscape while touring idyllic vineyards, then the Marlborough Flyer Steam Train is their best choice. It’s a beautiful way to experience the history of New Zealand while enjoying an unforgettable rail journey.

Northern Explorer

Image credit: Flickr – denisbin

The Northern Explorer is a must-do for those who want to experience the best of New Zealand’s North Island. Connecting bustling Auckland with charming Wellington, this journey takes passengers through some of this fascinating island’s most remote and rugged parts.

The Northern Explorer offers something for everyone. Passengers enjoy numerous stops along the way, including the historic Raurimu Spiral, the volcanoes of Tongariro National Park, the Ruapehu mountain streams, the “paapa” (clay) Rangitikei cliffs, and the sandy beaches along the Kapiti Coast.

Whether passengers are looking for scenic views, historic sites, or incredible natural wonders, this 648km rail journey explores the dramatic landscapes that make New Zealand’s North Island one-of-a-kind.

Taieri Gorge Railway

Image Credit: Flickr – denisbin

The Taieri Gorge Railway is a world-famous train journey through the stunning Central Otago Hinterland and up the rocky Otago Coast north of Dunedin. The train leaves daily from Dunedin’s downtown to traverse this rugged and breathtaking terrain.

The Taieri Gorge Railway offers passengers a chance to see some of the most beautiful scenery in the country as they cross the Taieri Plains and climb into the Taieri Gorge. Along the way, passengers will see towering mountains, pristine rivers and streams, and native bushland. 

This journey is a must-do for those looking to explore the wild beauty of New Zealand’s South Island. With its stunning scenery and unique history, the Taieri Gorge Railway is an experience you won’t want to miss.

Parting Thoughts

No matter which New Zealand rail journey travelers choose, there is no doubt that it will be an unforgettable experience. With so many stunning landscapes to explore and so much history and culture to discover, a rail journey is a highly-recommended way to see everything this unique country has to offer.

Whether you are seeking adventure, a relaxing escape, or a luxurious experience, there is no better way to explore the beauty and secrets of New Zealand than on a scenic rail journey. So sit back, relax, and enjoy the ride!

Back to Blog
Previous article
Top Scuba Diving Locations in New Zealand

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Please complete all fields.

Close mobile menu
Search holiday homes List your home