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“Scenic journey from Christchurch to Picton”

Coastal Pacific Train
Ranked #28 of 237 things to do in Christchurch
Certificate of Excellence
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Attraction details
Owner description: KiwiRail Scenic Journeys is New Zealand's only long distance passenger train operator. We take passengers across New Zealand in comfort and style through some of the most scenic areas of the North and South Islands. It is an experience, not just a journey. The Coastal Pacific is our summer train, traveling between Picton & Christchurch in the South Island between October and April each year. It's a dramatic tour of New Zealand's coastline between the Pacific Ocean and the breath-taking Kaikoura ranges, journeying through 22 tunnels, across 175 bridges and past spectacular wildlife. Coastal Pacific services connect with the Interislander Ferry & Sounds Air Scenic flights in Picton, taking passengers to and from the capital city, Wellington. KiwiRail Scenic also operate the Northern Explorer (previously the Overlander) between Auckland and Wellington, and the TranzAlpine between Christchurch and Greymouth.
Edinburgh, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
58 reviews
21 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 53 helpful votes
“Scenic journey from Christchurch to Picton”
Reviewed April 12, 2013 via mobile

I booked this journey at the tourist Information centre in Christchurch the day before and got a one way ticket for $99. I used the free shuttle from my hostel to the train station which was efficient and the checking in process at the station was quick and easy. The seats are comfortable and there is various commentary during the journey explaining the sights you are passing. The outdoor viewing section is well worth venturing to although wrap up warm - I didn't take a coat and was very cold standing there!!!

Visited April 2013
3 Thank Clare Q
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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240 reviews from our community

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Date | Rating
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English first
Level Contributor
110 reviews
28 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 24 helpful votes
“Really enjoyable train trip”
Reviewed April 6, 2013

We had a lovely relaxing ride from Blenheim down the east coast of the South Island to Christchurch - would recommend a one way trip only unless you were spending a few days in Picton or Blenheim surrounds as part of your stay. The trains are clean, comfortable, with great visibility outside and a decent cafe where you can buy drinks and food.

Visited March 2013
Thank Feuvolant
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Salt Lake City
Level Contributor
63 reviews
33 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 26 helpful votes
“Picton to Christchurch”
Reviewed April 4, 2013

If you have time, I highly recommend taking the train. You pass through such beautiful scenery and you are quite comfortable. If you are lucky you may spot some whales passing through Kaikoura - we were not lucky. We did spot a lot of seals though. We purchased a KiwiRail 7 day pass, so we took the ferry from Wellington to Picton, and made a quick transfer to the Coastal Pacific - our luggage was checked in Wellington and we didn't have to worry about in our transfer, it was waiting for us in Christchurch. There are food options on the train, but they are quite expensive, so we packed some snacks from the grocery store. If you book your seats early enough, you can request to sit at a grouping of 4 seats with a table. Not a big deal, but nice to put some stuff out. All other seats do have a tray you can fold out.

Visited March 2013
1 Thank EJ81
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
San Francisco, California
Level Contributor
23 reviews
8 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 31 helpful votes
“One of the most scenic train journeys in the world”
Reviewed April 3, 2013

Our trip to see the Albatross out of Kaikoura included the magnificent scenic drive from Picton to Kaikoura. For this part of our trip we hired a car. We had the car for 3 days, after which we returned it and continued our time in New Zealand exploring using public transport only. New Zealand has 3 scenic train routes. One runs from Auckland to Wellington (The Great Northern Explorer) another crosses from coast to coast though the mountains (The Trans Alpine Express) and the third is the Coastal Explorer running from Picton to Christchurch. We thought the drive to Kaikoura was gorgeous. The train also stops in Kaikoura for those who want to get off and explore the region. We carried on all the way to Christchurch. Traveling by train along this route gave us the opportunity to see much more of the countryside as the train zig-zags in and out from coast to inland and back again. KiwiRail provides headsets and an amazing commentary.
I would highly recommend this trip and all the other two scenic journeys. This review is just a little introduction to the opportunity. I'm a writer on an around the world air ticket. My travels have given me so much to write about - I'll be busy for the next year or so!

Visited February 2013
5 Thank belindabigsur
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Auckland Region, New Zealand
Level Contributor
7 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 7 helpful votes
“Great Journey”
Reviewed April 2, 2013

Just took the Coastal Pacific Journey between Christchurch and Picton.. The views specially around Kaikoura Coast and Marlborough were unforgettable.. We were lucky to see a Pod with over a 100 Dusky Dolphins swimming along the coast before we get to Kaikoura..

Visited March 2013
1 Thank MauOscarBlog
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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