There are 3 trains
The Coastal Pacific goes from Christchurch to Picton and back in a day
They are both running a limited service at the moment.
If you want to book at NZ prices check the process at
The other train is mothballed at the moment. The City Council is considering its future due to no cruise ships which provide its main passenger source
I am a suspicious of the "railnewzealand" web site as mentioned in reply #2 because of the use of a .com address (most NZ firms use something like co.nz) plus a date of 2015, plus Mark Smith of seat61 fame referring to "greatjourneysofnz " as the "official site of KiwiRail". The last mention has a tag "copyright 2021 kiwirail" at the bottom of the page. It really bugs me that an outfit called Kiwi.com rakes up thousands of complaints aboat shonky air tickets !
As mentioned above, both trains are operating on a very restricted schedule (2 trips per week) due to the lack of tourists. Your profile doesn’t say where you are from but assuming it is not Australia, don’t book anything you can’t cancel as it is not certain that our borders will be open anytime soon.
I gave the direct websites for the trains in my#1. Do not use anywhere else.
There are a number of Rail booking sites which will charge you more.
The TranzAlpine and Coastal Pacific
are not taking bookings past end of October at the moment.
Not sure where MA is, suspect USA and personally doubt tourists will be allowed from there next March but who knows.
>>The other train is mothballed at the moment. The City Council is considering its future due to no cruise ships which provide its main passenger source<<
Curse this pandemic! My husband and I had a trip on the Taieri Gorge Railway during our honeymoon back in 1997 and it was lovely. I think that must have been pre-cruise-ship-masses as I remember it being reasonably quiet. It would be sad if it was yet another victim of the pandemic.
>>It would be sad if it was yet another victim of the pandemic.<<
Too true. Whilst Kiwis often curse the tourist hordes and thousands of us are relishing the chance to see our own country in relative peace & quiet, many people forget that those same tourists support regular services such as Intercity buses (which are only just emerging from hibernation now that the Aussies are back) and the three scenic trains. Luckily the ferries were relatively unscathed due to the freight they carry.
We travelled on the Taieri Gorge route with Dunedin Railways in March 2020 prior to Covid19 lockdown and thought it was enjoyable and good value for money. The most scenic sections are in the gorge itself.
We had specifically booked in advance a day when there would be no cruise ships in port so that the train would be uncrowded. (It transpires that the cruise ships were not permitted into port by that stage so every day would have been similar).
The same company operate "The Seasider" which runs from Dunedin along the scenic coastline.
Dunedin Railway Station is worth a visit in its own right.
Hopefully when tourists return these trains will operate again.
Serendipitously, this morning there's an article about the journey, by train, from Auckland south.... Northern Explorer, Coastal Pacific, and Trans Alpine.