Coastal Pacific reopening in December 2018

The coast is clear and the Coastal Pacific is on track for reopening on the 1st December 2018. So come and discover this historic and incredibly beautiful journey!

Coastal Pacific cruises along the coastline near Oaro 1000x650

The Coastal Pacific returns!

It’s the news we’ve been waiting for since the Kaikoura earthquake spectacularly dismantled the Coastal Pacific railway  in November 2016.

Now, after an epic rebuild programme, KiwiRail has declared the Main North Line ready for passenger trains to return, with the Coastal Pacific reopening scheduled for December 1, 2018.

Rebuilding the Coastal Pacific railway following the Kaikoura earthquake

Getting the Coastal Pacific back on track

Following the destructive 7.8 magnitude Kaikoura earthquake, much of State Highway 1 around Kaikoura was torn and buried beneath landslides, with the railway dismantled and dragged into the sea. Rebuilding seemed an impossible task.

Since early 2017, undaunted by the impossible, thousands of workers have been toiling day and night, steadily clearing mountains of debris, reinforcing cliffs and banks, repairing roads and rails. Now, thanks to their incredible efforts, the Coastal Pacific railway is ready for long-distance passenger trains - and with the story of the earthquake and the immense rebuilding effort on show, the Coastal Pacific set to be the most incredible journey in New Zealand.


head to the Kaikoura mountains following the Coastal Pacific reopening

What's in store on New Zealand’s newest train journey

The Coastal Pacific’s journey around the stunning Pacific coastline was always the equal of its scenic sibling, the world-famous TranzAlpine. And, like the TranzAlpine, the Coastal Pacific has been ranked among the best train journeys in the world. However, it has never attracted the same award-winning accolades. But that could be about to change.

With the glistening Kaikoura mountains dominating the western skyline and the sparkling Pacific Ocean stretching to the eastern horizon, the Coastal Pacific train’s panoramic windows are filled with exquisite scenery. As you recline into your seat with magnificent views filling your eyes, you can almost smell the salty sea breeze wafting into your senses!

taking in the view from the Coastal Pacific open air vieing carriage
spotting marine wildlife from the Coastal Pacific train near Kaikoura following the Coastal Pacific train reopening

See dolphins, seals and albatross

It isn’t just scenery that wows passengers on the Coastal Pacific. For two hours, the Coastal Pacific train meanders along the Kaikoura coastline. This is the home of New Zealand must-do activities, such as Whale Watch Kaikoura, Dolphin Encounters, and the densely populated seal colony at Point Kean.

Keep your eyes peeled, there are chances to spot dolphins, seals and albatross playing in the ocean as you drift by. Our attentive staff are keen to help with this and will make an announcement if they see a large pod - so don’t feel compelled to stare out of the window the whole way!


Looking down on Kaikoura town and Beach Road from the Kaikoura Peninsula

Experience Kaikoura

Set on the piedmont alluvial plains of the Seaward Kaikoura mountains, the gorgeous seaside town of Kaikoura is exactly midway along the Coastal Pacific railway. We thoroughly recommend stepping off the train for a day or two and experiencing this profoundly beautiful area. The town's modern history, following the 7.8 magnitude Kaikoura earthquake, adds further intrigue to this hugely popular holiday destination.

With a Flexi and Flexi Plus fare, stopping over in Kaikoura is free! So, whether you are looking to enjoy a family fun adventure or tick-off some Kaikoura must-do experiences, taking time out to explore this beautiful town is a must-do!


travelling through the vineyards of Blenheim on the Coastal Pacific train

Relax, it's wine country!

One of the great benefits of train travel is leaving the car behind and concentrating on having a good time with friends and family. If you come unaccompanied, then don’t worry. You’ll soon find yourself immersed in fun conversations and making friends with like-minded individuals - no-one travels alone on our trains! And, to help fuel fabulous conversation, we have a great selection of local wine on board the Coastal Pacific.

With Blenheim one of the Coastal Pacific’s primary destinations, it would be wrong not to celebrate the region’s world-renowned viticulture. So, while the train is roaming through the vines south of Blenheim, why not raise a glass of Sauvignon Blanc or Pinot Noir to one of New Zealand’s global successes - we’ve got a great selection of wine in our licenced café!


lunch in Saint Clairs vineyard

Indulge in Blenheim

What could be better than stepping off the train and taking lunch in a beautiful vineyard, sharing exotic local delicacies with world-class fine wine, whilst soaking up the blissful Marlborough sun! Then, take an organised tour or a cycle ride around the cellar doors of the world's most celebrated wineries, before settling down for an evening of fine dining, then retiring to an exclusive boutique hotel! Blenheim has it all, in glorious abundance.

With a Flexi or Flexi Plus fare, you can stopover in Blenheim free of charge and explore this incredible region at your own pace!

 Travel from Wellington to Christchurch with Coastal Pacific and Interislander

Connect with the Interislander Cook Strait ferry

With the Coastal Pacific reopening, you can once again travel from Auckland to Wellington to Christchurch and the West Coast in a scenic travel extravaganza.

The wild card in this journey is the Interislander Cook Strait ferry between Wellington and Picton. The 92km ferry between Wellington and Picton is one of the most beautiful ferry rides in the world, gliding you gently through the dramatically beautiful Marlborough Sounds, bringing you the best slow travel has to offer.

The Coastal Pacific train connects seamlessly with the Interislander ferry at Picton, and when booking a through journey, your baggage will be transferred between Interislander and Coastal Pacific services for you. Simply select a journey between the North Island and South Island and the Interislander fare will be included with your Scenic train journey.

Coastal Pacific travels through the sea mist

Coastal Pacific bookings now open

With the Coastal Pacific now open for reservations, it is best to book your seat as soon as possible. Demand is expected to be high and seats are limited.

The Coastal Pacific train will return as a seasonal service for summer 2018/19, with the first train running on Saturday 1st December 2018, and the last running on Sunday 28th April 2019.

The 2019/2020 season is due to start from September 27th 2019.

During the season, the Christchurch to Picton train departs daily from Christchurch Railway Station at 07:00, arriving in Picton at 13:15.

The Picton to Christchurch train departs daily from Picton Railway Station at 14:15, arriving into Christchurch at 20:30.

Coastal Pacific train prices

Coastal Pacific train prices are going to remain at 2016 pre-earthquake rates, which is excellent news!

So start planning and get booking - Coastal Pacific train fares are going to be the hottest tickets in New Zealand!