Exploring New Zealand by rail is a great way to see the country, while enjoying comfort and luxury. Train rides combine the convenience and accessibility of ground travel with spacious seating, viewing carriages, restroom facilities and dining cars to ensure you have a fantastic experience. Though more expensive than buses, they offer more comfort and enjoyment, making them perfect for a special trip for a weekend or a treat. Trains are a great way to explore, and there are several main routes you can take offering unique views.
The TranzAlpine. For those wanting to explore Canterbury and the West Coast, this is the perfect route. Winding through the majestic Southern Alps, this is a true mountain train experience. The views are stunning, through wide river valleys and up along the snow line during the winter season. The service runs between Christchurch and Greymouth, and you can either take a one-way trip or a return journey. There are many special deals on offer, depending on how long you wish to stay on either side.
The Northern Explorer. The North Island offers a range of prime scenery, and one of the most comfortable ways to see it is along the Northern Explorer train line. The line runs between Auckland and Wellington, including through the Tongariro National Park. This means you’ll see volcanic landscapes as well as rich natural forest. You can stop half way, or purchase a package deal to enjoy either Wellington or Auckland.
The Coastal Pacific. The east coast of the south island is a beautiful mixture of rolling hills and rugged coastline. The Costal Pacific line runs between Blenheim and Christchurch, giving you the best views of mountains-to-sea Canterbury and Marlborough. The trip through North Canterbury gives you a chance to see real agricultural New Zealand, and along the coastline you can spot native sea life including seals and whales.
New Zealand’s train system has declined over the years, however there are still lines operating that offer a superb travel experience.