Home THE JOURNEY Train Train Travel: Great Journeys New Zealand

Train Travel: Great Journeys New Zealand

Pinterest Business recently released their Trend Report for the new year, highlighting some of the key trends they are predicting on seeing in 2023. In the wake of the pandemic, travelers are looking for ways to travel with the smallest ecological impact, choosing trains as their primary form of transit and boasting about it – leading to a new term: “train bragging.”

Offering quicker boarding, extra legroom, scenic views, and a lower carbon footprint, Gen Z and Millennials are finding a renewed love for this timeless mode of transportation – with searches for ‘Train Trip Aesthetic’ growing by over 205%! With mountains, glaciers, fiords, vineyards, beaches, rainforests, and more, New Zealand has everything to offer, all from the comfort of a train car.

Great Journeys New Zealand

Great Journeys New Zealand, a division of KiwiRail, recently announced new rail tourism offerings, bringing together the three scenic train journeys of TranzAlpine (Christchurch/Greymouth), Northern Explorer (Auckland/Wellington), and Coastal Pacific (Picton/Christchurch) across the two islands of New Zealand.

Beginning this month, Great Journeys will be offering multi-day packages and fully guided tours, designed to connect visitors with New Zealand’s regions, and allow travelers to step off the beaten track and explore what each region has to offer, with activities, food, and beverage options, and pre-organized accommodation. Each package provides a unique experience, including views of the volcanic peaks of Middle Earth in Ruapehu to sighting the mystical Blue Lake in the northern reaches of New Zealand’s Southern Alps, immersive wine tastings among the vines in Marlborough wine region, and whale, dolphin, and albatross encounters in Kaikōura.

Staying in small towns and dazzling cities, visiting world-famous activities, and charming local attractions, Great Journeys of New Zealand showcases the best of New Zealand, beyond the beaten track, including highlights only possible by train. Great Journeys New Zealand is dedicated to the Tiaki Promise – a commitment to care for New Zealand, for now, and for future generations.

Northern Explorer | Auckland – Wellington

The Northern Explorer is a 12-hour train trip between New Zealand’s biggest city, Auckland, and its capital, Wellington, in the North Island. Through the quaint farmsteads and river valleys of King Country and Rangitikei, across the vast plains of Waikato and Manawatu, beneath the imposing peaks of Ruapehu and Tongariro; the Northern Explorer journeys through the heart of the North Island providing incredible views of New Zealand’s scenic diversity in a single day-long adventure.

Coastal Pacific | Picton – Christchurch

This picturesque six-hour journey travels the east coast of the South Island between Picton in the north and Christchurch in the south, offering incredible views of the Kaikōura Ranges on one side and the swells of the Pacific Ocean on the other. 

Travel through New Zealand’s biggest and most famous wine region of Marlborough, pass the salt fields of Lake Grassmere (where the waters turn pink in the summer heat), and on to the coastal settlement of Kaikōura – famous for its seafood and whale watching. Look out for the sperm whales that visit Kaikōura year-round, or spot orca over the summer, and humpback whales in our winter months (June and July). Keep a watch for seals and penguins along the rocky coastline too. This journey also navigates the patchwork of the Canterbury Plains, crisscrossed by vast braided rivers.

TranzAlpine | Christchurch – Greymouth

The TranzAlpine is regarded as one of the world’s greatest train trips, as it travels coast to coast across the South Island’s stunning Southern Alps. The five-hour journey runs between the city of Christchurch in the east, to the river town of Greymouth on the rugged West Coast. Highlights include an ascent into the Southern Alps, traveling through stunning Arthur’s Pass National Park and the Otira tunnel, as well as traversing breath-taking bridges and viaducts, seeing the snow-capped mountains, lakes, braided rivers, and diverse forest landscapes.

Enjoy all this in the comfort of our carriages featuring huge panoramic windows, an onboard licensed café with a range of delicious Kiwi flavours, and GPS-triggered at-seat audio commentary.