New Zealand train journeys

Experience the beauty of New Zealand by train 

New Zealand offers breathtaking views, and a train journey across the country is one of the most comfortable ways to see the Pacific beaches, majestic mountains, fjords, wineries and volcanoes. A New Zealand train journey allows you to travel through both the North and South Islands, while discovering New Zealand’s most stunning cities and their fascinating history. 

Our planned 14-day trip starts in the adventure capital of the world, Queenstown, and ends in bustling Auckland. If you prefer, you can also start your train journey in Auckland and end it in Queenstown. 

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The Remarkables, Queenstown, New Zealand

The journey starts from Queenstown

There’s plenty to do in Queenstown, and once there you can take a gondola up the mountain from the very centre, or take a lake cruise on the Lake Wakatipu steamer. For the more adventurous, there’s bungee or skydiving, jet boating, rafting, ziplining or mountain biking in the mountains.

However, the town also offers more leisurely activities such as fishing, canoeing, cycling or winery visits. In summer you can play golf in the stunning scenery and in winter ski on the Queenstown area’s many slopes.

From Queenstown, fly to charming Christchurch, where you can explore the city’s street murals, historic quarter and botanical gardens, or take a guided tour on a historic tram. A punting boat trip on the River Avon is also worth experiencing.

Take the Coastal Pacific train to Picton

From Christchurch, you can start the real train journey by taking the Coastal Pacific train to Picton. Considered one of the most beautiful train journeys in New Zealand, you’re sure to enjoy the spectacular views.

Christchurch, New Zealand

The train journey follows the Pacific coastline northwards between sea and mountains, taking in remote beaches, vineyards, rugged coastline and spectacular scenery. Once you arrive at Picton station, it’s a short walk to catch the ferry to Wellington, New Zealand’s capital. The ferry ride is one of the most spectacular in the world.

Next, head to Wellington, where you can get a taste of history with a visit to the Te Papa Museum and a ride on a historic cable car. In Wellington, you can also meet kiwi and other New Zealand wildlife at Zealandia Ecosanctuary. Nearby, you can discover the region’s diverse wines on a winery tour.

Northern Explorer train to volcanoes

From Wellington, you can continue your New Zealand train journey on the Northern Explorer train, which will take you to the World Heritage-listed Tongariro National Park station. The national park offers a wealth of activities, being a great destination for skiing in winter and hiking in summer, or alternatively you can play golf, go fishing, mountain biking or enjoy hotel facilities.

Wellington, New Zealand

In the national park you can see three active volcanoes: Mt Tongariro, Mt Ngauruhoe (Mount Doom in the Lord of the Rings films) and Mt Ruapehu.

TranzAlpine and stunning scenery

Embark on an unforgettable journey through the Southern Alps aboard the TranzAlpine train. This train ride is considered to be one of the world’s most impressive journeys, covering an impressive 223 kilometres from start to finish and taking just under 5 hours to complete.

The TranzAlpine train journey takes you coast-to-coast through the Great Divide, a formidable chain of mountains that runs through New Zealand’s South Island. Get ready to experience this region’s awe-inspiring beauty as you traverse its indomitable spine of mountains.

To the east lies the serene city of Christchurch, where you can unwind in beautiful gardens. You can also go horse trekking from Springfield, which takes you through the mountains. On the west, Lake Brunner is a great place to relax and enjoy the peace and quiet. Additionally, you can explore the glacier country from Greymouth. In the centre, Arthur’s Pass offers a variety of fantastic mountain hikes.

TranzAlpine, New Zealand
Auckland, New Zealand

Get a taste of New Zealand’s big city atmosphere in Auckland

From Tongariro National Park, you can continue your New Zealand train journey to Auckland, the country’s largest city. There you can visit the Auckland War Memorial Museum, where you can learn about New Zealand and Maori history and culture. For the best views of Auckland, visit Auckland’s Sky Tower for spectacular views of the city and harbour.

To get the most out of your visit to Auckland, check out the local restaurants in the idyllic Parnell area or take a taxi to Ponsonby. A ferry trip to historic Devonport is also a great experience, or if you prefer, you can enjoy dinner at one of the many harbour restaurants in Wynyard Quater or Princes Wharf.

Waiheke Island is a convenient ferry crossing from Auckland and, with its world-famous wineries, is a great destination for wine lovers. Waiheke Island is the most densely populated and second largest island in Hauraki Bay. Many locals also have their own holiday homes on the island, which is no wonder, as it has stunning scenery and is only a short ferry ride from the bustling centre of Auckland.

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