Three sensational train journeys to experience in New Zealand

New Zealand is renowned for its spectacular scenery - see it all with one of these incredible train journeys across the North and South Islands.

With some of the most beautiful landscape in the world, what better way to travel across New Zealand than by train? With many options to choose from, here are our picks for the top 3 scenic train journeys not to be missed in New Zealand:


The Taieri Gorge Railway runs between Dunedin and Middlemarch, taking in the beauty of New Zealand’s Otago region.

What you will see:

Travel through the beautiful landscape of New Zealand’s Otago region on this historic rail journey from Dunedin to Middlemarch. Leaving the beautiful architecture of the Dunedin Railway Station, travel across the Taieri Plains, through the rugged cliff walls of the Taieri Gorge, and on towards Middlemarch, winding your way through ten tunnels and over numerous bridges and viaducts. Enjoy the commentary from your enthusiastic train manager as you learn about the history behind the railway and take advantage of the many photo opportunities along the way.

What to expect:

The Taieri Gorge Railway features both modern and heritage carriages for seating areas. If you wish to be seated in a particular carriage, you can make a request for the Heritage Carriage, the Panoramic Carriage or the Modern Carriage – each has different features and all are equipped with toilet facilities. The train is heated and offers a beautiful and scenic ride in all weather conditions.

The train also provides refreshments on board by way of their licensed café, with a variety of food and beverages available for purchase. Pre-packed lunch boxes are also available if you’re looking for an easy and tasty meal! (these must be booked ahead of time).

Stops along the way:

Photo stops will be decided on the day of the journey by the train manager, taking into account the current weather conditions
The details:

The Taieri Gorge Railway offers multiple departures and journey end points. Take a look at the incredible 22 Day New Zealand Scenic and Vintage Train Explorer and explore New Zealand from the comfort of a train carriage!


Kiwirail offers two of New Zealand’s most outstanding train journeys on offer, the TranzAlpine Train and the Northern Explorer. Kiwirail fit out their carriages with large panoramic windows that allow you to thoroughly enjoy the beautiful scenery as you journey through the New Zealand landscape. The addition of an open-air carriage gives you the opportunity to step outside for some fresh air and the ultimate in viewing experiences. With GPS triggered commentary for the duration of the journey, along with on board restrooms and a café car, the TranzAlpine and Northern Explorer trains offers all the comforts you need to truly enjoy your New Zealand rail experience.

The Tranzalpine Train runs between Christchurch and Greymouth on New Zealand’s South Island.

What you will see:

Operated by Kiwirail, this spectacular inland rail journey takes you through 223 kilometres of some of New Zealand’s most outstanding scenery, from rugged mountains to rushing rivers, open plains to tranquil forest. Traversing the beautiful Canterbury Plains and winding through the majestic Southern Alps, this is a not-to-be-missed train adventure across the South Island.

Stops along the way:

  •     Christchurch Railway Station
  •     *Rolleston Railway Station
  •     *Darfield Railway Station
  •     Springfield Railway Station
  •     Arthur’s Pass Railway Station
  •     Otira Railway Station
  •     *Moana Railway Station
  •     *Kokiri train stop
  •     Greymouth Railway Station

*These stations require advance booking in order for the train to stop

The details:

Runs between Christchurch, Arthurs Pass and Greymouth
Operates daily all year round (except for Christmas Day)
Departs from Christchurch at 8:15am
Departs Greymouth at 2:05pm

The Northern Explorer is a scenic train journey running between Auckland and Wellington.

What you will see:

Experience the wonder of New Zealand’s North Island as you speed through the rugged landscape of the Tongariro National Park, see the volcanic peaks of Mt Tongariro, Mt Ngauruhoe and Mt Ruapehu, enjoy the beautiful changing landscape as you travel across the Central Plateau to National Park, and relax as you pass through the rolling green farmlands of Waitomo and the Waikato region.

Stops along the way:

  •     Auckland Strand Railway Station
  •     *Papakura Railway Station
  •     Hamilton Railway Station
  •     *Otorohanga Railway Station
  •     * National Park Railway Station
  •     *Ohakune Railway Station
  •     Palmerston North Railway Station
  •     *Paraparaumu Railway Station
  •     Wellington Railway Station

*These stations require advance booking in order for the train to stop.

The details:

Runs between Auckland and Wellington
Operates southbound from Auckland to Wellington on Monday, Thursday and Saturday departing Auckland at 7:45am
Operates northbound from Wellington to Auckland on Tuesday, Friday and Sunday departing Wellington at 7:55am


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