Make Tracks on These New Zealand Rail Experiences

All aboard! If you go choo-choo over trains, or fancy the thought of streaking across the countryside, sipping a beverage and staring out the window in awe, a railway adventure is just what you need to make the most out of your New Zealand holiday. Now, don’t think this blog isn’t for you if trains aren’t quite your thing, preferring to steam your way from A to B on the effort of your own, smaller, self-drive engine… there’s nothing wrong with mixing it up a little. In fact, we heartily recommend it.

New Zealand rail experiences are so much more than they seem on the packet, transcending original assumptions and bringing a whole lot of oomph to the table, making your itinerary that little bit more interesting. Let’s take a look at three popular New Zealand rail journeys.

  1. The TranzAlpine

The TranzAlpine Waits

Connecting the word iconic with a railway line may feel odd at first, but the TranzAlpine experience is world-renowned and highly favoured, earning positive reviews and rapt smiles aplenty. If you’ve done it once, you still haven’t done it enough, with each season offering a new trove of sights and memories, from making snow balls at Arthur’s Pass in winter, to the open carriage in summer, traversing the deep ravines and gorges. Taking around four hours, this railway trip has been described as scarily scenic, glorious, not to be missed, wonderful and a must for all ages. Take the time to find out why.

  1. The Northern Explorer
The Northern Explorer

It shouldn’t come as a surprise that the Northern Explorer takes you into the beating heart of Middle Earth, traversing the resplendent Tongaririo National Park, home of three startling volcanoes and the filming site of Mordor. Tongariro, Ngāuruhoe and Ruapehu are show-stopping photo opportunities, surrounded by snowfields and ancient lava flows – words don’t do this experience justice. New Zealand trains aren’t like those you ride at home, instead of buildings, concrete and people, you’ll see dense beech forests and the sparkling waters of the Kapiti Coast.


  1. The Tairei Gorge Railway
The Tairei Gorge

New Zealand railways dare travellers to look at the world through guileless eyes, embracing the beauty and complexity of the natural world without looking away, not even to take another picture. There’s simply too much to see. The Tairei Gorge Railway combines the ingenuity of man with perfect natural craftsmanship, exploring the ancient plans before delving into the eponymous gorge and navigating the tunnels, bridges and viaducts with smooth precision. It’s the perfect example of what we’re capable of if we work with the environment, complementing its existing shape and glory.


  1. The Little Guys
The Driving Creek Railway

New Zealand train adventures aren’t restricted to the three big names mentioned above; from the Driving Creek Railway on the Coromandel, to the Steam Train at Shanty Town near Greymouth, there are a tonne of different options available. Not a big fan of sitting still for too long? Why not take in a single or multi-day cycle tour and explore old railway lines, like the celebrated Otago Rail Trail.

Are you ready and chugging to go? Find out more about New Zealand Rail experiences and speak to our New Zealand Railway enthusiasts.