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Drive or train to Kaikoura

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12 posts
1 review
Drive or train to Kaikoura

Hi guys,

I'm travelling from Christchurch to Kaikoura for a night. Was wondering if it makes sense to drive there as opposed to taking a bus? Does the sights in Kaikoura mostly require a car to get around?

Reason being, if I don't need the car for Kaikoura, I can return the car in Christchurch first to save a couple days of rental expenses.

13 replies to this topic
Christchurch, New...
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for Zhuhai, Christchurch, South Island
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40,155 posts
450 reviews
1. Re: Drive or train to Kaikoura

When are you travelling? Prior to the Kaikora earthquakes the Coastal Pacific train only operated in the summer but it hasn't run since 2016. Their website is still not clear exactly when it will resume although indications are that it should be running by the end of 2018. The alternative is the Intercity bus.

If you are only planning to do the whale watch and or dolphin swim/watch etc then you can manage without a car in Kaikoura.

Canberra
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2. Re: Drive or train to Kaikoura

I was in Kaikoura last month. There is definitely no train service.

You can catch a InterCirty bus from the Bus Exchange in Christchurch. They have a waiting room and ticket seller there.

Christchurch, New...
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for Zhuhai, Christchurch, South Island
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3. Re: Drive or train to Kaikoura

Elsaif, as above, this train hasn't run in winter for a number of years so your information from June is not relevant if the OP is travelling in summer and the train returns as expected. The freight trains have been running for over 6 months so the line itself is usable. It becomes a marketing exercise for Kiwi Rail.

Canberra
Level Contributor
2,074 posts
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4. Re: Drive or train to Kaikoura

The OP has not revealed when the OP wants to catch a train to Kaikoura.

I saw with my own eyes that there was no passenger train service to Kaikoura last month.

California
Level Contributor
11,204 posts
73 reviews
5. Re: Drive or train to Kaikoura

The OP stated they will be wanting to go to Kaikoura in early November in an earlier thread.

Christchurch, New...
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for South Island
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6. Re: Drive or train to Kaikoura

Regardless of whether you get there by train or bus you can walk from one end of Kaikoura to the other very easily and quickly.

Level Contributor
12 posts
1 review
7. Re: Drive or train to Kaikoura

Hi guys, thanks for the replies. And sorry for the confusion, I will visiting Kaikoura in early November. So I see that the verdict is that the passenger train services have not resume even though tracks are usable. The alternative will be to take the intercity bus then I guess?

Might just stick with the rental car for convenience and the freedom to explore more places if we end up with more time on our hands. Hoping it will be a decent scenic drive between Christchurch and Kaikoura?

By the way, how is parking generally like in Christchurch city? Car rental company I am going for only allows pick up and drop off at the airport, so likely I will be holding on the car from arrival to departure...

Christchurch, New...
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for Zhuhai, Christchurch, South Island
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8. Re: Drive or train to Kaikoura

In Chch City Council car parks the first hour is free and there after between $2.80 & $3.00 per hour. On street parking is metered at $3.10 per hour. Wilson’s Parking charges from $5 per day . There is 3 hr free parking in both Botanic Gardens’ car parks.

New Zealand
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for South Island
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30,239 posts
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9. Re: Drive or train to Kaikoura

Where are you staying in Chch? If staying in a centrally located motel (with free off-street parking) you can leave the car at the motel and explore the inner city on foot. The car is there for when you want to explore further afield.

Christchurch, New...
Level Contributor
408 posts
246 reviews
10. Re: Drive or train to Kaikoura

The road to Kaikoura is quite scenic once you get out of Christchurch and past Waipara, especially the last section from Oaro where the road hugs the coast and you should be able to see seals on the beaches.

Also you need to take into consideration the cost of an extra day's car hire (+ fuel) compared with the cost of return tickets on the bus.

Finally the Coastal Pacific Train is due to re-start on the 1st December 2018, for the first time since the November 2016 Kaikoura Earthquake. As before the earthquake, there will be one train a day from Christchurch to Kaikoura departing at 7:00am & arriving at 10:06am (& travelling on to Picton) - and one train a day returning from Picton departing Kaikoura at 4:47pm & arriving in Christchurch at 8:15pm (tickets starting at $120 return). I know this is outside your travelling dates but info is put here for other readers...)

Edited: 21 August 2018, 23:57
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