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Scenic trains suggestion

9 day Essential South Island

9 days starting in Christchurch, finishing in Christchurch
Accommodation style: Boutique lodges & hotels

13 day Southern Family Adventure

13 days starting in Christchurch, finishing in Christchurch
Accommodation style: Motels

9 Day Upper South Island Rail Experience

9 days starting in Christchurch, finishing in Christchurch
Accommodation style: Boutique lodges & hotels

Classic 13 day Coast to Coast touring route

13 days starting in Christchurch, finishing in Christchurch
Accommodation style: Boutique lodges & hotels

The Classic 9 day Southern Lakes

9 days starting in Christchurch, finishing in Christchurch
Accommodation style: Boutique lodges & hotels

The Essential New Zealand

28 days starting in Auckland, finishing in Christchurch
Accommodation style: Boutique lodges & hotels

14 Day Journey to Middle Earth

14 days starting in Christchurch, finishing in Christchurch
Accommodation style: Hotel 4 star

The Classic 8 day Southern Experience

8 days starting in Christchurch, finishing in Christchurch
Accommodation style: Boutique lodges & hotels

13 Day South Island Rail, Air and Sea Voyage

13 days starting in Christchurch, finishing in Christchurch
Accommodation style: Hotel 4 star

22 Day New Zealand Scenic and Vintage Train Explorer

22 days starting in Auckland, finishing in Christchurch
Accommodation style: Hotel 4 star

 

Scenic trains

Love to relax on a train and take in the scenery? New Zealand has a lot to offer you. Our South Pacific paradise is home to some of the best scenic train journeys in the world.

You don't need to be a train enthusiast to enjoy some time on a New Zealand scenic train trip. Trains go many places cars can't and the diversity of trips on offer means there is something for everyone -- see New Zealand itineraries with train trips.

You won't regret making a scenic rail journey part of your New Zealand vacation experience. We've selected some of the the best train experiences for you here. Add your favourites to your tour ideas list

Activity ideas: Driving Creek Railway & Potteries
Driving Creek Railway & Potteries

Driving Creek Railway and Potteries has become a Coromandel icon. The dream of Barry Brickell was to establish a pottery workshop on his land. Using a railway he would have access to the clay on the land and the pine kiln fuel.

Over the next 15 years the railway developed until in 1990 it was finally licensed to carry fare paying passengers and ever since thousands of visitors have made the trip to Coromandel to experience this unique attraction. More »

Activity ideas: Taieri Gorge Railway
Taieri Gorge Railway

The Taieri Gorge train is Dunedin's prestige tourist train operating from the historic Railway Station. The trip takes you on a journey through the rugged and spectacular Taieri River Gorge, across wrought iron viaducts and through tunnels carved by hand more than 100 years ago. With full commentary, photographic stops, comfortable heating in winter and on board refreshments the train offers year round, all-weather entertainment. More »

Activity ideas: The Seasider
The Seasider

Run by the Taieri Gorge Railway, The Seasider train is Dunedin's scenic coastal tourist train operating from the historic Railway Station in Dunedin New Zealand. Departing selected Tuesdays and Saturdays, it takes you on a coastal journey from Dunedin to Palmerston and return. The seasider travels high on the cliffs of coastal Otago giving you stunning views of the sea and is one of the "must do" train trips in New Zealand. Take in picturesque West Harbout suburbs, Otago Harbour rail causeway, Mihiwaka Tunnel and spectacular cliff-top coastal scenery before reaching Palmerston, a busy highway town. Visit the museum, famous pie shop, cafes and shops. More »

Activity ideas: Tranz Alpine Scenic train
Tranz Alpine Scenic train

Considered one of the worlds great train journeys, the Tranz Alpine scenic train trip operates between Christchurch and Greynouth and vice versa. Crossing from the Tasman Sea through Arthur's Pass National Park to the Pacific Ocean. From your carriage enjoy views of the lush rain forest of the West Coast to the spectacular mountains of the Southern Alps. Travel through gorges and river valleys of the Waimakariri River. More »

Activity ideas: The Northern Explorer Scenic Train
The Northern Explorer Scenic Train

The Northern Explorer is a journey through the heart of the North Island, travelling between Auckland -- New Zealand's largest city -- and Wellington - New Zealand's arts, culture and political capital. Travelling in specially designed carriages you'll enjoy wonderful views of magnificent North Island scenery. You'll travel through rugged gorges inaccessible to cars, see characteristic New Zealand farm land and experience world famous engineering wonders.
  More »

Activity ideas: Goldfields Railway, Waihi
Goldfields Railway, Waihi

In the early 1900's the expansion of the Waihi mine meant that more materials and people were needed in the region and so the government of the day linked Waihi to the main trunk line in 1905. Further expansion 23 years later and Waihi connected with the east coast and the port of Tauranga. The steep gradients, the tight curves and the 9km long tunnel on this section of track became difficult and expensive to maintain for the ever increasing freight traffic and so in the early 1980's the track was dismantled leaving just a short section between Waihi and Waikino.

Soon after  the Goldfields Steam Train Society purchased the track with the objective to run a passenger service using heritage machinery and preserving this districts railway history for the enjoyment of future generations. Today you can enjoy a relaxing trip on the Goldfields Railway pulled by one the many restored engines as you travel along the Ohinemuri River. More »

Activity ideas: Bay of Islands Vintage Railway
Bay of Islands Vintage Railway

The Bay of Islands Vintage Railway Trust is a heritage Steam railway in Kawakawa, home of the world famous Hundertwasser toilets, in the Bay of Islands region of Northland, New Zealand. The railway at Kawakawa was the North Island’s first railway to be opened and the first to run a rail passenger service in the North Island. The Bay of Islands Vintage Railway is unique in the world as it is the only working railway in the world where the trains travel down the middle of a State Highway and right through the middle of the town. The star attraction Gabriel, built in 1927 is a fine example of a working steam engine and is the only one in her class left in the world. Today the railway operates on part of the former Opua track and offers train rides to visitors using both steam and diesel locomotives. See a working vintage steam engine and enjoy a ride through scenic countryside for a unique experience and a great family day out! More »

Activity ideas: Pleasant Point Museum & Railway
Pleasant Point Museum & Railway

Pleasant Point Museum and Railway is an award winning homage to the region's past.  Board the Fully restored steam train at the original Railway Station, built in 1875, which is in the centre of the quaint country town of Pleasant Point. Travel down the track to the Keanes Crossing complex where there is vintage railway rolling stock; including steam locomotives an 85 ton Ab699 built in 1922 and a 16 ton D16 built in 1878.  One of the worlds only Model T Ford Railcars runs daily throughout the summer months (check the timetables).  At the historic museum you can walk through and marvel at the interesting displays of railway memorabilia. Also have a look at the displays of old computers and at the vintage printery see how newspapers were printed in years gone by.  Many of the machines here are more than 100 years old.  Some of the unique features of this award winning attraction include New Zealand's only restored half-birdcage carriage built in 1895, locomotive and wagon turntables and the former 1912 Washdyke signal box. See more details and timetables here. More »

Activity ideas: Dunedin Railway Station
Dunedin Railway Station

Dunedin railway station is considered are of the finest buildings of its type anywhere in the world. Built in 1906 to serve the what was then New Zealand's commercial centre it was listed in 2006 amongst the ‘200 must see places in the world' by prominent travel publisher DK Eyewitness Travel. Located within easy walking distance of the Octagon, the building is indeed impressive with its classic architecture and impeccably maintained gardens. The station is also where you begin the famous Taieri Gorge Scenic Train journey. More »

Activity ideas: Tranz Alpine Scenic Train
Tranz Alpine Scenic Train

Considered one of the world's greatest train journeys, the TranzAlpine scenic train travels both ways between Christchurch and Greymouth,from one coast of New Zealand to the other. From your carriage you'll see the vast windswept Canterbury Plains, spectacular gorges, river valleys and native beech rainforest. A highlight for many is the crossing of the Southern Alps, passing through Arthur's Pass National Park. More »