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The Great Journeys of New Zealand (formerly KiwiRail Scenic Journeys)
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TranzAlpine- Greymouth to Christchurch by Train
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Northern Explorer- Auckland to Wellington By Train
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Northern Explorer-Wellington to Auckland By Train
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Recommended length of visit: More than 3 hours
Owner description: 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.
Useful Information: Food available for purchase, Wheelchair access, Activities for older children, Bathroom facilities, Activities for young children
Reviewed 10 March 2014

Very well designed new carriages - very comfortable, beautifully air conditioned, pleasant café-bar with decent food at reasonable cost, huge windows, excellent observation car and friendly staff. Our single journey from Christchurch to Greymouth started in mist which soon cleared and then we enjoyed beautiful weather which allowed some stunning scenery to be seen at its best. Commentary, if you chose to use it, was interesting and informative. This journey was another highlight of a wonderful trip to New Zealand as was the sister journey on the Coastal Pacific train.

Thank DCM821
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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92 - 96 of 134 reviews

Reviewed 7 March 2014

This is a great way to get across the south island. It is a 2 1/2 hour relaxing ride with beautiful scenery. Yes, weather plays a big part in what you are going to see. We started out with a lot of fog, not seeing much of anything. It probably cleared in about an hour. The seats are comfortable. There is informative audio throughout the ride that you are provided headphones for and an open air car that you can take pictures from. There is also a food car where you can purchase food and drinks. Purchase your train tickets wisely. The prices vary greatly depending on how the tickets are purchased. If you are purchasing online from a foreign IP address, the prices are much higher. I called the Kiwirail office and got a much cheaper rate.

Thank Camiro61
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 28 February 2014

What a delight, a new train carriages with stunning facilities. Nice viewing platform, smart cafe design and commentary on the journey. The only downside to the wonderful trip is the 1/2 hr daily delay was not published on the website, as fixing rail way is not single days task. I would definitely come back and ride with them again!

Thank ak0793
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 27 February 2014

We were looking forward to this, the ride from Greymouth to Christchurch on Feb 27, 2014, and had booked it months in advance. While the train is reasonably modern, the problems were the following:
a) the train was half hour late in arrival at Christchurch;
b) the scenery, while interesting for neophytes, is inferior to many drives we have taken on these islands.
c) the audio commentary is a great idea, especially thru earphones (instead of broadcast to everyone, interested or not), and the content was generally well researched. Unfortunately, it was technically challenged, as it was not linked in time with the train's actual travel, as it should, and could, have been, linked to GPS. Consequently, the narrator was often out of sync with the actual location of the train! Moreover, the recording had defects, 'drop outs', when words or phrases would disappear. Finally, p/a announcements did not stop the commentary, they only made it impossible to hear what was being said, and thus forcing the listener to miss that portion of the script. Airlines have this figured out - they stop the recording for the duration of the announcement - so why is this impossible for the train?
d) the distribution of luggage at the end point, at Christchurch, was plain terrible: the checked luggage was simply placed on a short conveyor belt, stretching roughly from the engine to the end of the first passenger car, on the narrow platform. People were stacked 3-4 deep, searching for their bags, and then, if/when they retrieved them, it was exceedingly difficult to move past the sea of humanity, to exit the station! For some reason, only one side of the belt was accessible to the passengers - a barrier was placed to keep them from the other side, which would have solved most of the problems - a level of stupidity that was hard to believe (there was no danger to anyone on the other side of the belt - in fact, it was safer than the available side, as it was further from the train!). Finally, for bags that were missed by their owners, they traveled the length of the (short) belt, to find themselves at the end, where they had no escape, sitting on this moving belt as it scraped away their exterior...
I ask you: is this any way to run a train?

Thank MHSanFrancisco
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 15 February 2014

This was a very pleasant and relaxing conclusion of our South Island tour - getting back from Greymouth to Christchurch without the drive. The train itself is very good - comfortable and with great all-round vision, and the open car with no windows is good for photos. Only part of the journey gives great views, and you need to have clear weather. For us it was heavy cloud from Greymouth to Arthur's Pass, and that was nothing special. But on the east side the sun came out and for an hour the views took your breath away. For a 4 hour train ride it must be possible to do better food. They do better on the train from Birmingham to London in the UK - and I never thought I would ever say that!

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

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