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“A Very good journey”

Coastal Pacific Train
Ranked #31 of 251 things to do in Christchurch
Certificate of Excellence
More attraction details
Attraction details
Recommended length of visit: More than 3 hours
Owner description: The Great Journeys of New Zealand operate three long distance trains and three inter-island ferries that take passengers across New Zealand in comfort and style through some of the most scenic areas of the North and South Islands. The Coastal Pacific train travels between Picton & Christchurch in the South Island. It's a dramatic tour of New Zealand's coastline between the Pacific Ocean and the breath-taking Kaikoura ranges. The Coastal Pacific journeys through 22 tunnels, across 175 bridges and past spectacular wildlife and marine-life. Coastal Pacific services connect with the Interislander ferry at Picton to provide onward travel to and from the capital city, Wellington. The Great Journeys of New Zealand also operate the Northern Explorer (previously the Overlander) between Auckland and Wellington, and the TranzAlpine between Christchurch and Greymouth.
Useful Information: Food available for purchase, Activities for older children, Wheelchair access, Activities for young children, Bathroom facilities
Reviewed April 4, 2014

With modern airfares very competitive people tend to overlook the train. I had initially booked to fly back to Auckland from Christchurch when I became aware of this railway and the fact that, as I had an extra day I could catch the train all the way up both islands. The fare was about $130 which if you compare to UK prices is very good for what is a scenic 5 hour train journey. My hotel arranged a free shuttle to the train station and I arrived at 6:30am. The bag and ticket check-in was painless - although I had paid for "oversized bag" as I didn't know my bag was included in the fare. One of the cool things about the bag checking process was that they checked my bag all the way to Wellington (they actually put it on the ferry) so I didn't have to hand carry it which was nice. The train was really comfortable and spacious. The observation car is a fantastic idea and I spent most of my time in here. The only problem with the observation car is that you cannot hear any onboard train announcements because of the train noise - it would be nice if they turned up the volume a bit or had an LCD with updates/map. If you are going to go in the observation car I would suggest bringing a jumper - it can get quite cold especially as I travelled in Autumn. The staff were very friendly and went out of their way to help you - wish we had similar train staff in the UK. The buffet was reasonably priced with the exception of the tea which was incredibly small for the $4 you were paying. The scenery was truly fantastic and the route takes you through some fantastic farmland, mountain and coastal vistas. The observation car really lets you smell New Zealand as you are traveling with the wind in your hair. We saw plenty of wildlife - seals, birds of prey etc. You also have time to chat and meet people as you travel - its more relaxed than air travel and its full of like-minded people who are enjoying traveling. I would recommend this train journey!

1  Thank LeightonAlexander
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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134 - 138 of 240 reviews

Reviewed March 26, 2014

The station at Blenheim is not manned so you just have to trust the train will arrive (was running 20 minutes late the day we took it). The trip was lovely with varrying scenery along the way. The train was only half full the day we took it so we were able to move to a better seat. I spent most of the trip in the open air viewing carriage so I could take photos without window reflections. The viewing carriage is loud, dusty and wobbly but worth it. Food options are limited so bring your own if needed.

Thank A D
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed March 26, 2014

Excellent staff assistance at Picton Railway station...couldn't be more helpful; went out of her way to make sure we got "sea side" seating as we were travelling the whole distance in one trip!
Train condition and seating facilities were fine.
One less than fabulous facet of the trip was the lack of ventilation of the carriage...if there was airconditioning of some sort it wasn't working. It was at the point where I was feeling quite clammy. Hate to think what it's like in summer!

Thank 308Jaygee
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed March 23, 2014

We made this train trip both ways,( because our car was in Picton) and it paid off as you see things that you missed the first time, there wasn't anything that we didn't dislike We both like train travel so it was other one off our list. The TranzAlpine will be our next in the winter.

Thank Philip N
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed March 20, 2014

Many thanks to whoever came up with the improvements to this service! The new carriages were clean and very comfortable, and the food on the new menu was excellent. As always, the staff both in the station and on the train were very helpful.

Thank mjdrex
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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