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Experience of the Week: the Coastal Pacific New Zealand scenic train

Explore with the Coastal Pacific

What is the Experience?

A scenic train journey, The Coastal Pacific scenic train was introduced in 1988 and takes a bit over 5 hours. The journey from Picton to Christchurch or vice versa follows the Pacific Ocean and the best way to take it all in is on the Coastal Pacific. This very comfortable train takes you: through Marlborough, which produces 75% of New Zealand’s total wine production; Kaikoura with its abundant marine life, including whales; and across the patchwork landscape of the Canterbury Plains.
It really is hard to beat a train for taking in scenery. And this train is specifically designed to maximise the view. Sit back, relax with a glass of Marlborough wine, and enjoy the views where open sea meets New Zealand’s Alpine scrub! The non-reflective wide panoramic side and roof windows are great for scenic photo opportunities. And the open air viewing carriage offers the chance to take in some fresh air and maybe catch some seals sunbathing along the coast.

Where is it located?

You can start the train journey from Christchurch train station or Picton train station. The Journey will take you down/up the east coast of New Zealand's South Island. This is a summer only train and operates daily between September and May. It connects with the Interislander ferry over the summer season, which takes you between the port of Picton and our capital city, Wellington, taking in the magnificent Marlborough Sounds. So it works well as a relaxing way to travel between the North Island and the South Island’s biggest city, Christchurch.

Who would enjoy this?

You don't need to be a train enthusiast to enjoy some time on a New Zealand scenic train trip. You could start your vacation off with the Coastal Pacific Scenic Train and combine it with our 9 day tour of the South Island. Trains go many places cars can't and the diversity of trips on offer means there is something for everyone. Check out our ‘Spotlight on New Zealand Scenic trains’. Hint: if marine mammals fascinate you, hop off at Kaikoura for some whale watching or a little swimming with dolphins.

Interesting Fact?

The Coastal Pacific literally hugs the coast often skirting beaches and only metres from breaking waves.