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“Excellent!”

Coastal Pacific Train
Ranked #32 of 247 things to do in Christchurch
Certificate of Excellence
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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: Bathroom facilities, Food available for purchase, Activities for older children, Wheelchair access, Activities for young children
Reviewed 29 April 2014

I got the cheap $109 summer fare ticket from Wellington to Christchurch from Kiwirail website and it's a real bargain.From Wellington rail station I took the shuttle bus to the ferry harbour about an hour before departure time, checked in and board the ferry. The ferry was more than 30 minute late but the train waited for us. The staffs on board were nice and helpful and the audio commentary is a perfect complement to the fantastic view along the journey. I really enjoyed the trip!

1  Thank mike66jakarta
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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126 - 130 of 240 reviews

Reviewed 27 April 2014

A bucket list train ride - far better than driving to take in the wonderful NZ scenery. Auckland train station is something that they should be very proud of - far better than anything in Oz.

Thank Brian H
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 23 April 2014

We got the train from Picton to Christchurch, on a through ticket with the interislander ferry. We were travelling for the whole day but what a fantastic day. As in previous reviews the ferry was very late ( out of the company's control due to the weather) so the train was held for us, this seemed fair as most of the train passengers were getting off the ferry. The railway staff were ultra efficient, our luggage was handled for us and loaded onto a baggage car, we had numbered seats and carriages, so no jostling for space. Once on board the train we were given headsets for a commentary of the journey. The buffet car was well stocked and the stewardess ,even came round with a selection of ice creams for purchase, the service was more like that on an aeroplane than a train. The scenery is amazing, especially from the viewing carriage, at times is almost as if the tracks are actually on the beach. The seats are very comfortable and we had plenty of space to move around. The train is also very very clean.Because we were running late the stewardess even came round and asked everyone if there was anyone they wanted to contact to let them know of the late arrival, she phoned ahead to our hotel for us.
All in all a fantastic journey, with spectacular scenery and outstanding service.

Thank shazneary
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 21 April 2014

Had seen the TV advertisement and looked at the website, so was really looking forward to this trip. We had flown from Mangonui in the Far North to Blenheim to catch the train to Christchurch. We had had no delays in flights which meant we were in time for the 1.35pm train. Unbeknown to us was the fact that when you catch the Coastal Pacific south you depend on the ferry to Picton being on time, if it isn't then the train runs late, in this instance a hour late. That was bad enough except at Blenheim Station there is no-one there to tell you what is happening. Luckily someone had gone across to the i-site and found out. So an hour later we got on the train. Lovely train with huge windows and pretty comfortable seats. At this point I would like to point out that the staff on the train were brilliant and very professional. The train driver apologized for the delay, and proceeded to tell us that this train had a small engine. Didn't think much of it, but it turned out that instead of being an hour late into Christchurch it was actually an hour and a half.

The trip itself was average. Quite a large amount of it was not even on the coast, and the parts that were, you can have seen just as well by car as the road often followed the tracks, even right next to us, and often in this case going faster than us. The weather didn't play its part either which did not help, but I was very dissappointed and overall was very glad to get to Christchurch and off the train. It seemed to take forever and it was not enjoyable. The cafe onboard though is great and the pie is a must try even though it is heated via microwave, it is still one of the best pies I have ever tasted.

Tranzrail really need to up there game with this, as the ferry is always late, the day before it was 2 hours late, which consequently means the train is 2 hours late to all stops and Christchurch. It is a very bad look for tourists and I certainly would not recommend this trip. We did the Tranz Alpine the next day, which was far more scenic and worth the time and money.

My tip is if you want to see the coast, drive, there are carparks and pullover bays for cars. That is what I will do.

Thank subee40
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 20 April 2014

A lot of people take the bus because of the extra cost of the train. But if you pre-book online you can find cheaper tickets. It is well worth it and make sure you go to the viewing carriage.

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

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