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New Zealand Rail Passes

#1271 climbing the Opapa incline #1271 climbing the Opapa incline - Joseph Christianson

New Zealand’s KiwiRail passenger system targets visitors with three trains operated mainly for their scenic values rather than as routine transportation. All three trains use coaches designed specifically for sightseeing:

  • The Northern Explorer travels the 11-hour daytime run between Auckland and Wellington in the North Island three times weekly.
  • The Coastal Pacific runs a five-hour daylight trip between Picton (a short ferry trip from Wellington) to Christchurch on the South Island daily during the summer season, October through April.
  • The TranzAlpine operates a 10-hour daylight round-trip from Christchurch through the mountains to Greymouth, on the Tasman Sea.

KiwiRail Scenic Journey Rail Passes are available for summer-season travel, Sept. 25 through May 1, in two forms:

  • Fixed passes for travel on every day over a 7-, 14-, or 21-day period.
  • Freedom passes for travel on a limited number of days during the summer season.

Prices start at $NZ599 (about $US362) for seven continuous days of travel and $NZ417 for three days during the season. See for more information.

Ed Perkins, editor

For more travel tips from Ed Perkins, see our companion site Ed on Travel

New Zeland’s Coastal Pacific Line is reopening. See Ed’s report

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