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The journey on the Coastal Pacific was magnificent. The day was gorgeous — bright blue skies, warm in the sun and the scenery was sensational — even for me who has done the Kaikoura Coast so many times.
Train manager this trip was Dave McLeod who I was to meet again the next day on the Tranzalpine to Greymouth and back.
The Coastal Pacific was taken off service for a while following a serious downturn in passenger numbers following the Christchurch earthquake, but it’s back up and running again now. “It’s pity you weren’t a couple of weeks later,” said Dave. “We’d have the new carriages then and they really are very, very nice. The carriages butt up against each other so it’s nice to walk through — there’s no concertina and they have self-opening glass doors. They also have air suspension, so the ride is perfect.”
As it is, the ride on the Coastal Pacific is much, much better than down through the
North Island because the line doesn’t twist and turn in quite the same way.
Once again, for me, the scenery is at its best when the line moves away from SH1 and this is particularly true at Oaro at the southern end of the Kaikoura Coast where
SH1 heads inland and the line follows on around the coast. Here you pass through the farm property of war hero Captain Charles Upham VC and bar and Dave McLeod is fulsome in his praise of Upham’s exploits — I look to see if there is any reaction from the German tourists on the train. There’s none. Different generation — but even so, the Germans are far more accepting of their wrongs, particularly in WW2, than the
This journey is over before I want it to be. It’s been a great day as we pull into the “new” and petite Christchurch station out in Addington.
Our Coastal Pacific train runs daily throughout the summer season from Christchurch to Picton. Travel along the rugged South Island eastern Coastline, with soaring mountain views on one side and the sweeping Pacific Ocean on the other.