Great Journeys New Zealand
Great Journeys New Zealand
4.5
6:30 AM - 3:00 PM
Monday
6:30 AM - 3:00 PM
Tuesday
6:30 AM - 3:00 PM
Wednesday
6:30 AM - 3:00 PM
Thursday
6:30 AM - 3:00 PM
Friday
6:30 AM - 3:00 PM
Saturday
6:30 AM - 3:00 PM
Sunday
6:30 AM - 3:00 PM
About
Great Journeys New Zealand provide a window to the most spectacular scenery in New Zealand. With three long-distance train services and three ferries that span the country, there is no better way to experience the best New Zealand has to offer. All services feature state-of-the-art carriages with large reclined seats, panoramic windows, GPS-triggered at-seat commentary, a fully licensed cafe, and open-air viewing decks. The Northern Explorer is our Auckland to Wellington train, the Coastal Pacific travels from Christchurch to Picton, and the TranzAlpine travels through the Southern Alps from Christchurch to Greymouth. Each of our great journeys offers passengers unparalleled views of New Zealand's natural beauty, as well as providing superior transport for individual travellers, families and small groups.
Duration: More than 3 hours
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  • John S
    43 contributions
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    A superb experience.
    Travelled from Auckland to Wellington onboard the Northern Explorer train. It was fantastic. The staff were kind and professional. The train was comfortable and had everything that you need for a full day journey. The line passes through some incredible scenery as you make your way across New Zealand's north island. Highly recommended for both rail fans and adventurous travellers.
    Visited April 2023
    Traveled solo
    Written April 30, 2023
  • Melissa L
    Auckland, New Zealand12 contributions
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    Couldn’t have been better
    Utterly superb. Took my 81 year old mum who loved it too. Comfortable carriages. Excellent scenery and ability to see so much from our seats. Staff really outgoing and brilliant. What a privilege for us to have this available and to be able to share with others from near and far.
    Visited May 2023
    Traveled with friends
    Written May 15, 2023
  • Carol Ryan
    6 contributions
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    Great Train Rides
    A group of family joined me for a trip to celebrate my birthday. We took the Scenic train from Christchurch to Greymouth . Had lunch at a lovely cafe and the got the shuttle to Hokitika and.caughrlt a plane home . Great day out .
    Visited September 2022
    Traveled with family
    Written June 5, 2023
  • Diane W
    Adelaide, Australia331 contributions
    4.0 of 5 bubbles
    Last of the 3
    This completed our Journeys with New Zealand trains having completed the Tranzalpine and Coastal Pacific. Always great service and staff. This journey was a little too long. Most scenic part Wellington to the Spiral. We got off at National Park for a few days which we enjoyed.
    Visited May 2023
    Traveled as a couple
    Written June 30, 2023
  • Johanita
    1 contribution
    4.0 of 5 bubbles
    Freezing explorer
    My kids and I went on the Northern Explorer from Hamilton to National Park and back. There is free parking at the station and check in was quick and easy. The train ride was nice with big windows you can enjoy the scenery. There is a cafe on board to buy food and drinks, but it is a bit pricey so I would recommend taking your own snacks. We spent the night at national park and were back at the train station around 12 waiting for the train to arrive at 13:15. The station was locked with no one there. We had to seek shelter in a nearby bus stop because it was freezing cold. Someone arrived just before one and told us our train is delayed by an hour and sorry we can't go into the station we need to find something to do. We had nowhere to go and everything is closed at National Park between 2 and 4. We also did not have a car and would have had to walk with all our bags to the 4 square to get out of the cold so we decided to wait it out at the station. It was really freezing temperatures in the cold wind. This was truly very disappointing!! Why was the waiting room not open for passenger waiting for the train? It was such a relief when the train finally arrived and we could get out of the cold. The train ride back to Hamilton was also a bit delayed but it did not bother me. At least it was nice and cosy inside and the views were stunning.
    Visited July 2023
    Traveled with family
    Written July 22, 2023
  • Tom Conroy
    Christchurch, New Zealand3 contributions
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    One for the bucket list!
    Fabulous experience! Staff both on board and at the terminal were very helpful, making boarding and alighting easy. The food was first class as was the service. It was comfortable, warm throughout and a smooth ride. A 'must-do' in your lifetime - and I haven't even mentioned the scenery which was truly spectacular! Well done to all involved.
    Visited July 2023
    Written August 6, 2023
  • 421Anonymous
    Atlanta, Georgia48 contributions
    4.0 of 5 bubbles
    Beautiful scenery
    The check in and arrival in Wellington were smoothly handled by a very pleasant staff. The food on board was good, mostly prepackaged and reheated, but flavorful. We even had a nice bottle of wine. You could easily bring meals and snacks with you to reduce the cost of the trip. The train was clean, even the bathrooms were in good shape throughout the day long journey. We had a table with four seats, which allowed us to play games. This isn't something which is guaranteed when you book, you need to request a table when you receive a confirmation email shortly before your trip, otherwise you will be in two by two seats, which were comfortable but having a table made travelling with children easier. The open air car was fun, it has no seats so you can move side to side easily as the landscape changes. I would recommend travelling by train over driving to Wellington, however, it is an all day trip and if you want to spend more time in the city, a plane might be a better use of your time.
    Visited August 2023
    Traveled with family
    Written August 30, 2023
  • BBRover
    Wesley Chapel, Florida60 contributions
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    A must if you visit New Zealand!
    I did the Northern Explorer route and the crew was excellent from check in through to the end of the journey! The train is very nice, clean, comfortable, and bathrooms consistently cleaned. The train has big and clean windows and the open air car is absolutely fantastic! Everything you need is onboard including audio guides for all that provides information while passing sites. If you don't do this you'll regret it!
    Visited August 2023
    Traveled solo
    Written September 4, 2023
  • Venture309513
    8 contributions
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    What a "wow" adventure
    An outstanding trip with a different view around every corner. Very comfortable train with spacious seating. Friendly staff. An informative narration throughout the trip. The open carriage was great for photos and a social area with other passengers. Many photos were taken. We enjoyed doing this through winter for the snow capped mountains.
    Visited September 2023
    Traveled as a couple
    Written September 11, 2023
  • Getaway13450816691
    1 contribution
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    Way better than flying
    It was a most excellent trip. I saw parts of the North Island I’ve never seen before. The staff on the train were really friendly and attentive and helpful. The coffees were pretty decent. The train was comfortable and had fantastic views. Overall a way better experience than flying from Auckland to Wellington.
    Visited August 2023
    Traveled solo
    Written September 11, 2023
These reviews are the subjective opinion of Tripadvisor members and not of TripAdvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

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Detailed Reviews: Reviews ordered by recency and descriptiveness of user-identified themes such as wait time, length of visit, general tips, and location information.

Popular mentions

4.5
4.5 of 5 bubbles282 reviews
Excellent
178
Very good
59
Average
22
Poor
9
Terrible
14

SteveAucklandNZ
Auckland, New Zealand179 contributions
1.0 of 5 bubbles
Sep 2020 • Friends
The great journeys of New Zealand include the TranzAlpine Express travelling between Greymouth and Christchurch. On this particular journey, it become anything but a great one.
Check in at Greymouth was smooth and professional. The Inbound train arrived on time. Then the great journey turned to a bad journey.
The train had a broken wheel and due to engineering issues, the departure was delayed by two hours. No problem except the scenic journey became anything but one.
The train had more than a broken wheel. And it got more antiquated...the screens and the automated commentary was offline and two cafe carriages were reduced to one. It meant our team had to endure a heck of a wait just to get the first food and beverage order in.
We endured microwave pies and a limited selection of beverages. You’re subject to a service level of years gone by. Not something you come to expect from a great journey.
Granted, the rainy scenery was good during the daylight part of the journey but to make it great, you should expect great service. Surly service prevailed and unfortunately turned things to a poor journey.
After a short stop in Otira, the crew insisted that we all sit back in the allocated seats and the viewing deck was off limits. Some health and safety matter was clearly ruled to be convenient just in case we decided to jump off or be an unallocated body should disaster happen.
We carried on through the long Arthur’s Pass tunnel to be advised that a stop off at the next station was for the convenience of smokers.
Really? In 2020, what dinosaur is going to hold up a while train of sane people?!
So after a thousand apologies for brake failures, additional engines to push us, broken doors and closed down cafe carriages, we are advised that we will be arriving at 9:30 to Christchurch - some 3.5 hours late.
Clearly we are victims of success. Unlike planes, the guy at the front can’t fly faster to make up time due to the poor state of our rail network.
When we reopen our borders, you cannot afford to be cute with poor service, delays and sub standard infrastructure.
Thanks to being late, cab appointments and our check in at the hotel are gone. We’ve lost money, time and faith on this really BAD JOURNEY of NZ.
You’re failure is damaging to ALL tourists.
I’m embarrassed to participate as a punter for this silly folly.
Now seeking a group refund.
Written September 27, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.
Kia Ora Steve, Thanks so much for taking the time to provide your feedback on your TranzAlpine journey. We apologise for the unfortunate delays to the journey on this day. We understand the unlikely combination of mechanical issues the TranzAlpine experienced is disappointing, however, the health and safety of our passengers and crew is imperative. Your review has been passed onto our team who are always looking at ways to improve. We hope you have received our email correspondence. Thank you for travelling with us and we are sorry that your trip did not live up to expectation for you. Best Wishes, Karen | The Great Journeys of New Zealand
Written September 30, 2020
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of Tripadvisor LLC.

Leon
2 contributions
1.0 of 5 bubbles
Feb 2020 • Friends
Due to an accident the train was cancelled. So I was already a bit disappointed but accidents can happen. Then we were offered 3 options: Cancelling the ride, ride by bus and get 50% discount or ride the train on another day. We had to get our flight in Christchurch and every other bus was already sold out so the only possibility was to ride with the bus and get a 50% discount. I hoped that they use at least nice comfortable busses like InterCity busses. But instead the ride was in a old shabby Bus without Toilets, WiFi and good legroom. It's very disappointing to pay still double the price (190$ for 2) of a InterCity Bus and have a worse experience.
Written February 11, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Eric Gunawan
Paraparaumu, New Zealand1 contribution
3.0 of 5 bubbles
Oct 2022
Took this trip solo from Wellington to Auckland years ago and it was great.

Wanted to share the experience with wife this time and booked from Auckland to Wellington.
It's not a great experience now.

Checking in (3 out of 5):
Greeted when we entered the building and was asked if we're heading to Wellington. We assumed we were asked about the region, not the stop. So our luggage were tagged with Wellington instead of our last stop which later caused an issue.
We then proceed to the desk to collect our ticket and while it wasn't the worst, certainly not the best experience. The staff (who was also the duty manager in the train) was not hospitable.

Trip experience (3 out of 5):
We liked that we were given the seats with the table and faces each other. There was another passenger which wasn't part of us and was later able to be accommodated to another seat for both our comfort.
However, we found the facilities cleanliness and hygiene gets worse as we go further along the trip. Would be better if it can be cleaned periodically.

Cafeteria (4 out of 5):
The male staff manning the counter was very nice and professional. The number of food and snacks we can choose from was excellent and the quality of the foods was fantastic. It would be perfect if the EFTPOS could work throughout the entire trip.

Offboarding (2 out of 5):
Due to check-in process, our luggage was tagged with Wellington instead of our stopping station. The lady in the cargo was not happy but tried to help anyways by letting one of us look and identify ours. She also told us to let the manager know about the situation. The manager spoke harshly and told us it was our fault and the train needs to continue moving, so we have to collect our luggage in Wellington station instead.

Suggestion for improvement to GJNZ:
1. It is safer to let passenger checked in and collect their ticket before tagging the luggage to avoid confusion.
2. Staff needs to be more professional and hospitable as the ride is quite expensive and people are going for a good experience.
3. Cleanness and hygiene of facilities could be improved.

Tip for future customer:
Best experience is between National Park and Wellington.
Written November 7, 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Ashok Poduval
Palmerston North, New Zealand10 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Jan 2020
My wife and I traveled from Greymouth to Christchurch on the Tranzalpine train on 30 January 2020. It was a most amazing scenic experience. The train is very well run with an audio commentary provided through individual earphones. There is a dining car that provides good food during the 4 hour journey, and a carriage with the sides open for photography. Even the normal carriages have large glass windows that allow excellent viewing.
Written February 3, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Lyn E
Sydney11 contributions
1.0 of 5 bubbles
Sep 2023 • Couples
We had planned to take the TranzAlpine train from Greymouth to Christchurch. Sadly the weather intervened and our train was cancelled. I understand that these things happen and have no problems with Great Journeys having to make this difficult call in exceptional circumstances.

My low rating is not given due to the cancellation, but rather to the lack of customer service in light of that decision. We had already booked in for the train, left our luggage and we’re killing time in Greymouth assuming the trip was on, only to be informed at the very last minute of it’s cancellation. We were informed that they had organised a bus to take us to Christchurch if we wanted, we had some questions about the situation but the people in the Greymouth train station could not answer any as they said they were only an agent of the train company. We were told that if we took the bus we would be still charged 50% of the base train fare. Given the limited time and information we had to weigh up our options, we took the bus so that we were not stranded. The journey was about 4 hours and there was no refreshments or time to organise our own before we left. There were staff on the bus who did not interact with us at all and seemed to be enjoying their own food and drink on the trip, but nothing was offered to the passengers. I was very unhappy about being charged 50% of the base train fare for a replacement bus service and wrote to the company to express my disappointment at their poor customer service and paying for a service we did not receive. In an email exchange with them I was told “The amount refunded is over and above our usual terms and conditions and has been offered as a gesture of goodwill.” I am still a little confused how I can be charged for a service I did not receive (ie, a tourist train experience)

Again, I say that I understand that no one controls the weather and that these things happen, however I would have expected far better customer service in the light of that decision. Sadly, I would not travel with Great Journeys or Kiwi rail in the future.
Written September 28, 2023
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Alan Byde
Motueka, New Zealand2 contributions
4.0 of 5 bubbles
Mar 2020
This story took place maybe ten years ago, say 2011. Not sure. Family friend bought a Mercedes car, favoured by collectors. It was in Wellington, he was in Picton. He travelled to Wellington by air, suggesting I fly across and return by ferry with him and the car. I booked a flight by Sounds Air, to fly from Picton airport. It is a small place but grows year by year. Port means door, which it is. "Big trees from little acorns grow." There was a character on UK TV years ago whose catch phrase was "If you 'avven't bin to Manchester, you 'avven't lived." Swap Picton or Wellington for Manchester. I know which I prefer.

Sounds Air bus collected me from my home to take me eight kms to Picton Airport. Couldn't fly, fogged out. We went 20kms more to Blenheim which was clear. I've flown before, but that moment the pilot opens the throttle on the turbo-prop motor, the seat thrust me, the ground opened, see for miles, is ever a thrill. In twenty minutes over Cook Strait we landed at Wellington, beside the harbour.

We found each other, taxi, the Merc, coffee, then the ferry. There is a difference between flying and ferry, mainly size. Refreshment of several sorts, comfortable armchairs, spacious airy saloon, time to chat. Slightly more than three hours back by sea to Picton. Sea was moderate, the wind like a whetted knife on deck. It was a lazy wind, couldn't be bothered to go round me, went straight through.

Entered the Sounds by Tory Channel, bare hills and woodland gliding past, then out in to the wider Sounds. To starboard lie the remnants of a whaling station, last used in the twenties. A whale watch continues, watchers surveying Cook Strait. At times in the year whales cruise through, but when Killer Whales are seen, the Marinas at Picton and Waiawa have Rays staying out of the way of Killer Whales, who eat them. Ferries could go faster but in almost land-locked Sounds the wash can, like a tsunami, sweep up beaches and erode the land. Maori burials were often by the shore, erosion revealed them. It was stopped.

Flight offers great views, ferries reveal histories. To do them both in one day gave me great memories.
Written February 5, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

jan
Perranporth, UK120 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Dec 2022
Travelled from Christchurch to Greymouth, hired a car, spent two nights in Kumara and returned by train. All stages of the train journey were easy - booking, parking, managing luggage and the journey itself. The staff were friendly, helpful and engaged both on train and at each end. The train was comfortable and clean - including the toilets - and there was a good range of drinks and food to choose from (veggie as well as meat). We travelled in a family group with a toddler and again it was made easy. The views were amazing in both sunshine and rain and we saw far more than we would have done travelling by car. The available commentary was interesting and informative. I would strongly recommend this trip either as part of a longer journey or staying a couple of days before returning.
Written December 19, 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Hannah
80 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Mar 2020
We did the Christchurch to Arthurs Pass and back and highly recommend this option. We had an amazing time. At Arthurs Pass there are several hiking trails and a small town to explore. Train had an interpretive narration the way there and food options were plentiful and several different options. Everyone was friendly. Traveled in March.
Written November 21, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.
Kia Ora, Thanks for your fabulous feedback! What a great way to use TranzAlpine by doing a return trip to Arthurs Pass! With the small town and day hikes to do before hopping back on the train in the afternoon. We are so pleased you enjoyed your trip with us. We hope you’ll join us again one day. Best Wishes, Karen | The Great Journeys of New Zealand
Written December 1, 2020
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of Tripadvisor LLC.

bodhi_sam
Orlando, FL275 contributions
3.0 of 5 bubbles
Feb 2024 • Couples
Northern Explorer was a horrific experience. 10 hour trip turned into 12.5, with NO AIR and suffocating heat. Staff was making jokes about how they can’t help with AC not working and offering nothing for relief. They wouldn’t even open the through-doors to allow the air from the open air carriage to come through. We were in car B, the ONLY one without air. A behind the open air carriage was great and C VIP had AC no problem. It was very noticeable that the staff were avoiding our car by the end of the trip as well, not making as many pass throughs for trash collection.

For our second leg on Pacific Coastal, I requested seats behind the open air carriage and shared our B car suffocating experience and that we were terrified of a repeat. The response was sorry, we can’t guarantee anything. They put us in car B again even though the car behind the open air carriage was empty.

I would highly suggest skipping Northern Explorer and just doing the Pacific or Alps trips since they are shorter. The only reason I’m giving 3 stars is because the views are beautiful. The environment was horribly uncomfortable and customer service was shameful.
Written February 15, 2024
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Anthony H
Auckland, New Zealand16 contributions
4.0 of 5 bubbles
Nov 2020
I must say the train journeys were excellent but I made the mistake of booking a lot more with Great Journey's and I shouldn't have . I was charged much more than if I had booked myself privately.
The booking of hotels etc I left to Great Journeys thinking that they would have deals and special prices, I was wrong, as I later found out I paid over 30% more for the hotels and ferry bookings . When I contacted them to ask why, I was 'fobbed off' as a complaining tourist.
But as I said the actual train journeys were an experience to remember.
Written January 17, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.
Kia Ora Anthony, Thank you for providing us with your feedback regarding your recent trip on our services. All our advertised Packages are inclusive and include a Scenic train journey/Interislander ferry with food and beverages along with accommodation and in some cases transfers and activities. Before bookings are completed and paid, customers are required to approve all components and the overall cost. We are sorry that what you requested didn’t live up to your expectations. We are constantly reviewing our range of suppliers, their product and costs to ensure our customers get great value for money, and we have made some changes based on your feedback. We’ll pass your feedback onto the Packages team for consideration with the existing and future packages so that changes can be made where appropriate. Thanks again for your feedback. Kirsten | The Great Journeys of New Zealand
Written January 25, 2021
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of Tripadvisor LLC.

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