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“It didn't run - again” 2 of 5 bubbles
Review of Coastal Pacific Train

Coastal Pacific Train
Ranked #28 of 228 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.
Level Contributor
248 reviews
93 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 131 helpful votes
“It didn't run - again”
2 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 3 July 2014

We checked our booking at Picton station on arrival from North Island on the ferry in March only to be told that the train was not running for at least a few days because of mechanical failure. It might be running in 4 days time when we had booked for but it might not. If not there was a bus alternative.

Our NZ tour agents ATS Pacific knew nothing of the problem but we soon learned from others that this failure to run the train was pretty common and had persisted for at least 12 months.

On theory was that the train only ran when full and was often swapped for a bus at the last minute if it was not full.

Another theory was the new carriages had been bought from China and has been found to contain asbestos so they had been withdrawn!

Whatever the truth of the reason for the failure, the train did not run so we obtained a refund and drove our hire car to Christchurch along pretty much the same route as the tracks.

Our tour companies in NZ and in UK were dismayed that the train operators had not felt it necessary to tell passengers or tour operators of the problems.

Visited March 2014
Thank EssexRichard
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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239 reviews from our community

Visitor rating
Date | Rating
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English first
Dorking, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
127 reviews
48 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 35 helpful votes
“Beautiful scenic trip”
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 1 July 2014

The train is very comfortable, but turn up and go hasn't yet hit NZ Railways. We sat around in the waiting room (at the crack of dawn) with the train in the platform and a man tinkering on his computer behind a wire screen for half an hour. We could have had another half an hour in bed or been on the train being served breakfast!

Visited February 2014
Thank Mayso
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Perth, Australia
Level Contributor
32 reviews
12 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 28 helpful votes
“Forget the rest, this is the best.”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 30 June 2014

Great scenery. Clean carriages with very helpful staff. Very interesting and worthwhile train trip. We did the worst first (TransAlpine) then did this one and it was so much better. Highly recommended.

Visited March 2014
1 Thank Terry C
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Bognor Regis, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
11 reviews
8 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 10 helpful votes
“A 'must do' for visitors to South Island”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 16 June 2014

I have traveled on this train and the connecting ferry a number of times and enjoyed every trip, even in the rain, although it is better on a sunny day. Sometimes the train is so close to the sea, you can watch the surfers riding the waves. For parts of the route the road and rail run parallel, but there are many stretches where there is not enough room for both leaving rail as the only means of viewing the deserted beaches and amazing scenery. The train staff are excellent, as is the train itself. This is not an intercity express, it is a leisurely ride giving time to savor New Zealand's mountains, coastline and wide braided rivers in all their glory. Take a camera to the observation carriage and capture some stunning images.

Visited April 2014
Thank Timsvideochannel1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Auckland, New Zealand
Level Contributor
7 reviews
5 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 5 helpful votes
“it was actually in 2011, as part of a tour”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 1 June 2014

such breath taking scenery -- saltworks, kaikours and north canterbury farmlands. seeing whales and seals. a definite must do train journey.

Visited September 2013
Thank Katherine5063
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

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