Great Scenic Railway Journeys

Celebrating New Zealand Scenic Railways

Kingston Flyer
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Celebrating New Zealand Scenic Railways

New Zealand is roughly 1600 kilometers long and compares in size to Great Britain or Japan. It consists of two main islands, the north and south. Its geography varies from rugged mountain peaks and glaciers, to subtropical forests, and volcanic plateaus. The Pacific Ocean lies on its eastern shores and the Tasman Sea on the Western.

New Zealanders and visitors alike love the seclusion these islands offer. Even the major cities are non-crowded and serve as easy gateways to the natural beauty that surrounds them. The country’s vast network of railroads makes it easy for folks to connect - not only to its cities and towns - but also to all the natural wonders the country has to offer.

We begin our railway adventure on the north island, in the rural town of Glenbrook, which lies just south of Auckland. Here we’ll take a trip back in time on one of New Zealand's premier heritage trains, the Glenbrook Vintage Railway. This line offers a true picture of what railroading was like 100 years ago in this country. From its historic steam engines and buildings, all the way down to the uniforms worn by the staff.

From there we will venture to the north eastern coastal town of Coromandel for a journey on one of the most unique railways in the world. We'll introduce you to Barry Brickell, an artist who originally hand built this rail-line to transport the rich clay out of the hills for his pottery studio. A journey day on this line not only includes fine art, but engineering feats, conservation efforts, and spectacular views.

Next, we will take several trips throughout the country on New Zealand’s only main line passenger rail company, the Tranz Scenic. We’ll start with the Overlander at National Park and travel south to Wellington. From there we will take a ferry across the Cook Straits to Picton and pick up the Tranz Coastal for an unforgettable journey along the rugged and beautiful eastern coastline. Along the way we will stop in the small coastal town of Kaikoura and venture out on the Pacific Ocean to do some whale and dolphin watching. Once back on board we head to Christchurch to pick up the Tranz Alpine. Considered one of the world’s greatest rail journeys, this trip climbs into the Southern Alps and across the south island to Graymouth.

Our next trip takes us just north of Christchurch, to the town of Waipara, home to the Weka Pass Railway. Here passengers get to carve their way through millions of years of geological history. This journey offers unique views of some of the most breathtaking limestone formations in the world.

From there we head south to Dunedin, home to the Taieri Gorge Railway. After departing from one of the most beautiful railway stations in the world, the train travels up the Taieri Gorge to Middlemarch. This trip crosses over high viaducts and through several tunnels. It also offers passengers the rare opportunity to get off the train for a photo run-by they do high in the mountains.

Our final stop on our rail adventure takes us to one of the country’s favorite vacation spots, Queenstown. Here we will climb on board New Zealand's most famous vintage steam train, the Kingston Flyer. After journeying through the spectacular scenery that surrounds the train, we’ll head out on Lake Wakatipu onboard the only coal fired passenger steam ship in the southern hemisphere, the Earnslaw.

This is just a taste of what you will experience as Great Scenic Railway Journeys explores New Zealand, where you can find some of the world's best railway adventures.