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Coastal Pacific

With the sea stretching to the horizon in the east and the Kaikoura mountains stretching to the sky in the west, the Coastal Pacific journey between Picton and Christchurch is one of the most astonishingly beautiful in New Zealand.

The Coastal Pacific is a seasonal train, running from Spring through to Autumn.

pacific journey

The Journey

Explore the stunning Kaikōura Coastline, famous for its marine mammals and whale watching, through the idyllic Canterbury Plains to the Garden City of Christchurch.

Travelling between Christchurch and Picton, the Coastal Pacific journeys breathtakingly close to the Pacific Ocean, where the roaring sea meets enormous bush-clad mountains. The Coastal Pacific isn't just a scenic activity, combined with the Interislander Ferry it is the perfect way to connect between Wellington, Blenheim, Kaikoura and Christchurch

The Coastal Pacific runs once daily taking just over 5 hours from the Christchurch Railway Station to Picton.

Once you reach Picton you can take our Interislander ferry to Wellington and board the Northern Explorer train to Auckland to carry on your train journey through the North Island.

Coastal Pacific Timetable

Christchurch Picton
Operating times

The Coastal Pacific Christchurch to Picton train runs daily each morning from late September to late April. 


Call 0800 ARRIVAL for current timings. 


The Coastal Pacific Picton to Christchurch train runs daily each afternoon from late September to late April. 


Call 0800 ARRIVAL for current timings. 

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Frequently Asked Questions

How do I reserve a seat?

We automatically reserve your seat(s) when you complete your booking. Your seat number(s) will be on your Boarding Pass, which we print the day before travel ready for your arrival.

See our Seat selection page to find out more about the allocation process.

Which seats are better?

All our seats are the same. They are large, they are comfy, they are reclined - and they all have amazing views!

To cater for everyone's needs, we have two arrangements:

  • Paired seating: this is rotated prior to travel so that all seats face the direction of travel. The paired seating provides a huge amount of legroom and a large flip-down tray-table for your personal use.
  • Table seating: this allows you to enjoy travelling as a group, playing games and sharing food & drink together. However, two people will be sitting against the direction of travel and the legroom is shared.

All seats have New Zealand 3-pin power sockets and a headphone socket for listening to the onboard commentary (headphones are supplied). 

Please see the On board our trains section to explore our carriages, facilities and seating arrangements.

Is there long term parking at the Station?

To find out information about you departure and arrival station, including long and short term parking, please see our Stations pages.

Can I take my luggage on board?

We have plenty of room in our secure luggage carriage for all your wheelie bags, backpacks, suitcases, golf clubs, bikes and sport equipment.

However, we only have room for small day bags and handbags on-board. This is because the overhead shelves are made from glass to allow the views to flow into the carriage - so its nice not to obscure them with large bags.

For more information about checking in you larger bags and your luggage allowance, please see our page on Luggage.

Should I bring food and drink?

We have a fully licensed café on board that sells nibbles and snacks, hot and cold food, teas and coffees, soft and alcoholic drinks. You can view our menu online  and even pre-order whilst booking.

You will find that our sandwiches and snacks are similarly priced to New Zealand supermarkets - and it saves you the bother of nipping into the shops on your way to the station!

However, bringing your own snacks and non-alcoholic drinks is allowed, although we do ask that you respect other passengers by not bringing anything with a strong odour.

You are not allowed to bring alcoholic drinks on board, due to our license.

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