New Zealand Scenic Trains Return with New Tourism Offering

traintracks entering surrounded by lush greenery

Tracey Goodall, General Manager at Scenic Journeys, has revealed that KiwiRail’s Northern Explorer and Coastal Pacific scenic trains will return later this year with exciting complimentary travel packages and tours to encourage travellers to explore regional New Zealand.

The Northern Explorer (Auckland – Wellington) will resume from 25th September and the Coastal Pacific (Picton – Christchurch) from 29th September. Due to the ongoing pandemic, the two services were halted in December 2021.

KiwiRail’s top tourism train, TranzApline (Christchurch – Grey), re-started in January with plans to offer package and tour options from early October.

KiwiRail’s three services will cater to a mix of domestic and international travellers. In addition to being able to book tickets between Auckland and Wellington, Picton and Christchurch, and Christchurch and Greymouth, there will also be new product offerings aboard all three trains to elevate travel experiences.

“We’ll be providing new visitor experiences on the Northern Explorer, Coastal Pacific and TranzAlpine – with the addition of self-guided tours and set and customized packages, which will allow people to get off the trains for a day or two to experience more of what the regions have to offer,” said Goodall.

“We are also going a step further by adding a range of high-quality, multi-day guided tours built around our scenic trains. There is a growing international market for this kind of high-quality rail cruising experience, and this will be a first for KiwiRail.”

With the diversity of the new tourism offering, KiwiRail will be able to appeal to different parts of the global tourism market while offering New Zealanders a taste of something new.

“Our new products will give visitors a greater choice and convenient new ways to see New Zealand.  Our guests will be able to both travel by train and get off the beaten track, immersing themselves in local tourism experiences, including getting out into nature; experiencing local food and wine; meeting the locals and hearing the stories – all the while knowing their accommodation and activities are taken care of for them.”

The packages and tours are expected to increase consumer expenditure in the regions along each route, supporting local jobs and businesses.

Like tourism operators across the country, KiwiRail’s scenic trains have been heavily impacted by the pandemic’s border restrictions. This new approach will help the company offer more financially sustainable scenic services and help other tourism operators as they too shift into recovery mode.