Connecting Your Journey

The Coastal Pacific is the perfect way to connect between Christchurch and Wellington. However, no tour of New Zealand would be complete without visiting the Coastal Pacific's two iconic destinations, Kaikoura and Blenheim.

map of The Great Journeys of New Zealand

Connecting with New Zealand on the Coastal Pacific

The Coastal Pacific train is the perfect way to connect between New Zealand's two islands and remains a vital link between two of it's greatest cities, Christchurch and Wellington. Whilst the route is most commonly used to connect between New Zealand's second and third largest cities, the Coastal Pacific also connects you with two of New Zealand's tourist destinations, Kaikoura and Blenheim.

With a Flexi or Flexi Plus ticket, you can stop off along the journey for a day, a week, or a month, for no extra charge. This allows you to explore New Zealand fully, whilst returning to the relaxing calm of the Coastal Pacific at any time to continue your journey onwards.

The Coastal Pacific leaves Christchurch in the early morning and by late morning it has reached the beautiful seaside resort of Kaikoura. Although renowned for its marine life, Kaikoura nestles among the foothills of the Kaikoura mountain ranges and is one of the most picturesque places in New Zealand. There is plenty to do in Kaikoura and at least a couple of day's spent relaxing here is recommended.

The Coastal Pacific then skirts around the coast and heads inland to Blenheim. New Zealand's unique brand of zesty Sauvignon Blanc is grown almost entirely in and around Blenheim. Cellar door tours and sunny afternoons spent dining amongst the vines are two things that we highly recommend.

The Coastal Pacific pulls into the idyllic fishing harbour of Picton in the early afternoon. Picton is the perfect base to explore the mesmeric scenery of the Marlborough Sounds, either on foot or by bike. Alternatively, book a holiday home hidden away in an inlet on the water's edge, which can only be reached by water taxi. Also from Picton, you can travel west around the coast and visit the peaceful town of Nelson and explore the serenely beautiful Abel Tasman National Park.

Connecting with the North Island

You will find more than fishing boats and expensive yachts bobbing around on the water at Picton,  for this sleepy town is also the gateway to the North Island. When you arrive, you will see at least one of our three iconic Interislander ferries docked on the western side of town, preparing to set sail for Wellington. This ferry connects with the Coastal Pacific, and after a short walk around the harbour you can step straight onto the ferry and head to the North Island.

The Interislander cruise across the Cook Strait is one the one of the most beautiful ferry journeys in the world. The journey takes three hours, much of which is spent meandering through the inspiringly beautiful Marlborough Sounds. If you are planning to visit both our islands then this is the way to do it!

From Wellington, you can take the Northern Explorer train to continue your scenic expedition across New Zealand. The Northern Explorer connects you to the volcanoes of the Central Plateau and the mountain wildernesses of the Tongariro National Park. The Northern Explorer will also connect you with the magical Waitomo Caves before bringing you to New Zealand's largest city, the sprawling metropolis of Auckland.

Connecting with the West Coast

If you are heading southbound on the Coastal Pacific, then your destination will be Christchurch. From here, the world-famous TranzAlpine will take you on the ride of a lifetime over to New Zealand's glacial West Coast. The landscape here has been carved, crushed and crunched by millions of years of seismic turmoil - and the odd ice-age.

Major stops on the TranzAlpine journey include Arthur's Pass, perched high in the Southern Alps, and Moana, which sits aside the blissful Lake Brunner. The TranzAlpine's final destination is Greymouth, although we do sell fares to all the way through to Queenstown via InterCity coaches.