State Highway 1 is open north of Kaikoura and we are pleased to announce bus service will return to this route from 18 December onwards. Services will operate daily morning and afternoon's in both directions between Picton and Christchurch, both of which will have Gold seat upgrades available.
The Coastal Pacific will be back to service as early as possible for the 2018/2019 season and it is hoped the season will be extended if possible. This could mean an earlier start date than September 2018. We will continue to keep you updated as a return to service date becomes clearer. In the meantime we can book coach transportation for you between Picton and Christchurch.
TranzAlpine Service Information: Due to work in the Otira Tunnel and other track maintenance, this train service will run between Christchurch and Arthurs Pass only and will be replaced by bus between Arthurs Pass and Greymouth on the following dates 07 May, 18 June, 30 July, 10 September, 15 October & 26 November 2018.
This travel itinerary would suit a 8 to 30 day stay in New Zealand
Travel Day 1: Auckland to Wellington
By Train - Depart: 7.50am - Arrive: 6.25pm
This morning you board the Northern Explorer train in at Auckland and head south passing through the farming landscape of the Waikato region to the rugged bush country ascending to the Volcanic Plateau via the famous Raurimu Spiral, passing the the Volcano's of Mt Ngauruhoe and Mt Tongariro for a short stop at Tongariro National Park.
From Tongariro National Park you pass Mt Ruapehu the home of the North Island skifields of Whakapapa and Turoa, the ski town of Ohakune before descending through stunning river gorges to the rolling farming landscape of the Palmerston North region to Wellington - the Harbour Capital, for a 1 or more nights stay in New Zealand's capital city.
This train service operates Monday, Thursday and Saturday.
Travel Day 2: Wellington to Christchurch
By Ferry/Train - Depart: 8.15am - Arrive 6.25pm
From Wellington you board an Interislander ferry for a daytime sailing from Wellington, with it's picturesque harbour, crossing Cook Strait before entering the magnificent Marlborough Sounds. The 3 hour (92 kilometers) ferry journey is aboard the ferry Kaitaki, a modern ship with a range of on board facilities from eateries, a shop, two movie theatres, a games arcade, a large bar with live entertainment, numerous passenger lounges, 3 open air decks and a friendly on board crew to assist you. Your Interislander journey ends at Picton located in a sheltered marine harbour where you will have time to experience this charming small town. From Picton you board the Coastal Pacific train travelling South along the eastern coast of the South Island, passing through the local Marlborough vineyards, Lake Grassmere Salt Ponds and stopping at Kaikoura - famous for viewing whales and dolphins. From Kaikoura you travel south, following stunning coastline to the northern Canterbury Plains and onto the garden city of Christchurch for 1 or more nights stay.
Travel Day 3: Christchurch to Greymouth and Franz Josef
By Train - Christchurch to Greymouth - Depart: 8.15am - Arrive: 12.45pm
By Bus - Greymouth to Franz Josef - Depart: 1.30pm - Arrive: 5.05pm
Today travel between Christchurch and Greymouth, from one coast of New Zealand to the other and return. From your carriage you'll see the fields of the Canterbury Plains and farmland, followed by the spectacular gorges and river valleys of the Waimakariri River, as you ascend through the Southern Alps to the alpine village of Arthurs Pass. From Arthurs you descending through the Otira Tunnel to the lush beech rain forests to the West Coast to Greymouth – a great base for visits to Punakaiki and the always popular glaciers. From Greymouth you can head south by coach through native alpine rain forest and over swift rivers to arrive at the South Island's glacial town of Franz Josef for 1 or 2 night stopover.
Travel Day 4: Franz Josef to Queenstown
By Scenic Bus - Depart: 8.00am - Arrive: 4.15pm
This morning you leave the Glacial region by coach, heading south through lush alpine rainforests forests passing tranquil lakes encircled with native forest. Cross the Haast River and climb past towering mountains with their cascading waterfalls to Haast Pass. Leaving Westland the scenery changes from West Coast Rain Forest to the arid conditions of Central Otago. Journey along the shores of Lakes Wanaka and Hawea to the peaceful alpine community of Wanaka. From Wanaka, follow the Clutha River to the hydro lake, Lake Dunstan before entering the Kawarau Gorge with its turbulent river, passing Lake Hayes and onto to Queenstown for 2 or more nights stay.
Please note: You must purchase a RailBus Scenic Essential Pass before you can make any travel sector reservations
Itineraries are a guide only and times / schedules are subject to change. Accommodation is additional and not included with your pass