The Great Journeys of New Zealand (formerly KiwiRail Scenic Journeys)

The Great Journeys of New Zealand (formerly KiwiRail Scenic Journeys), Christchurch: Hours, Address, The Great Journeys of New Zealand (formerly KiwiRail Scenic Journeys) Reviews: 4.5/5

The Great Journeys of New Zealand (formerly KiwiRail Scenic Journeys)

The Great Journeys of New Zealand (formerly KiwiRail Scenic Journeys)
4.5
Other Outdoor Activities
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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
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About
The Great Journeys of 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 is travels from Christchurch to Picton, and the TranzAlpine travels through the Southern Alps from Christchurch to Greymouth. Our three Interislander ferries connect out north and south islands in style. Each of our great journeys offers passengers unparallelled views of New Zealand's natural beauty, as well as providing superior transport for individual travellers, families and small groups.
Suggested duration
More than 3 hours
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Detailed Reviews: Reviews order informed by descriptiveness of user-identified themes such as cleanliness, atmosphere, general tips and location information.
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4.5
185 reviews
Excellent
104
Very good
51
Average
15
Poor
5
Terrible
10

Shirley W
Guildford89 contributions
Mar 2020 • Couples
We took the Transalpine train from Christchurch to Greymouth on a cloudy, rainy Sunday. Although we were initially disappointed at the lack of sunshine the magnificent scenery, viewed through panoramic windows, made up for it in spades. This truly was a scenic journey. The train initially travels over the flat, agricultural Canterbury plains and then rises gradually into the Southern Alps, going through mountain passes, gorges (with glacial rivers of the most astonishing blue water) and through remote highlands where sheep stations still operate. The descent into Greymouth is just as interesting. There is a fact-filled commentary along the way which can be accessed via headphones. The train has a restaurant car with a good range of food at affordable prices.
Luggage has to be loaded into a luggage wagon at the start of the journey and there is room in the carriage for hand luggage. The whole operation was very efficient.
One word of warning - if you are hiring a car at Greymouth make sure to get to the rental agency quickly. They are all based in the railway station which is small and cramped; queues build up quickly and the wait can be lengthy.
Written April 1, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Alan Byde
Motueka, New Zealand2 contributions
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.

Hannah
75 contributions
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.
Karen_GJNZ
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.

SteveAucklandNZ
Auckland, New Zealand177 contributions
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.
Karen_GJNZ
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
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.

Anthony H
Auckland, New Zealand16 contributions
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.
Kirsten_GJNZ
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.

Ashok Poduval
Palmerston North, New Zealand9 contributions
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.

Cécile S
Auckland, New Zealand3 contributions
Oct 2020
I booked this as a surprise for my son who turned 13 and adores trains. Can't say that this is my idea of fun but my son, an entire month later, is still thanking me for it. And it actually was pretty good for a 12-hour ride. The seats around the table were comfortable, we could charge our devices, the range of food and drinks was pretty good with reasonable prices, the audio commentary was interesting and the staff were so attentive and friendly! Of course this is New Zealand so the scenery was fantastic even on a wet day. I expected to be bored out of my brains but was pleasantly surprised.
Written November 25, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Karen_GJNZ
Kia Ora, Thank you for your lovely feedback, it’s much appreciated! So great to hear you and your son had an enjoyable and by the sounds memorable time travelling with us! Such a great way to travel with food and beverages on board, outdoor viewing decks for fresh air all whilst enjoying New Zealand’s beautiful scenery. We hope you’ll join us again one day. Best Wishes, Karen | The Great Journeys of New Zealand
Written December 2, 2020
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

AndEri38
Auckland Central, New Zealand90 contributions
Jul 2020
We did the trip from Greymouth to Christchurch on a Saturday. The web site said a departure at 1.30pm. Check in said 2.00pm. Actual departure 3.20!!!!. At no point (Greymouth turning the train around, Moana, Otira and Arthur's Pass) did we experience any urgency from the staff to pick up the pace.
From Arthur's Pass, the journey was in the dark while commentary continued to point out the highlights of views and sights to be seen. Riveting!!!!
The result was various people missed flights, were late for dinner with friends and worse, missed the Crusader's game.
In these troubled times this was not KiwiRail's finest hour.
Written August 20, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Karen_GJNZ
Kia Ora AndEri38, Thank you for taking the time to provide your feedback. We apologise for the late departures on this day and to hear you are disappointed by this. We understand this is really unfortunate during winter months when there is less daylight in the evening. Our crew are always looking at ways to improve so I will pass on your feedback. 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 16, 2020
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Adrian G
1 contribution
Aug 2021
Terrific customer service. Easy refund process (via email) during this difficult time. It took less than a week for the full amount to be refunded with my credit card provider. Thanks from Melbourne, Australia.
Written August 30, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Kirsten_GJNZ
Kia Ora Adrian G, Thank you for taking the time to provide us with your wonderful feedback. We are so pleased to hear that you found the refund process easy. I will pass your comments onto our customer services team who will be pleased to hear these. We hope you can come see us one day soon! All the best, Kirsten | The Great Journeys of New Zealand
Written September 5, 2021
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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