The New Zealand Coastal Pacific Explorer

Let the sea be your guide

This is a fantastic seasonal journey from the eastern seas of New Zealand, right along the coastal route to the lush mountains of Kaikoura in the west. Enjoy a breathtaking journey from Picton to Christchurch along one of the prettiest rail journeys in the world.

About this journey

This stunning journey is a seasonal special, operating from Spring through to Autumn along the coastal track

Coastal Pacific – Christchurch – Rangiora – Kaikōura – Blenheim – Picton

Enjoy this spectacular journey, from dramatic seascape coastline to imposing bush-clad mountains. Take in the fresh air in an open-top carriage and continue your adventure with plenty of connecting services.

This is a seasonal daily service and takes approximately 5 hours to complete

Discover your journey below


Kaikōura Canterbury Plains Picton Christchurch
A small coastal town nestled in the South Island of New Zealand, Kaikōura is famous for its incredible wildlife, especially the sperm whales and fur seals. Wildlife is everywhere to be found in this beautiful town. Take in the miles of stunning grazing land of New Zealand’s South Island. from the Hundalee Hills to the plains of North Otago beyond the Waitaki River, this is a journey that doesn’t disappoint. The Māori name for Picton is ‘Waitohi’, and describes a major hub town in the Marlborough Region of New Zealand.

Picton is famous as a ferry port and a major transport hub, boasting a population of over 4,300 people.

Christchurch is possibly the most quintessentially English of towns in New Zealand. Famous as a garden city, visitors can take a punt along the Avon River or cycle around the pretty town, enjoying the eateries and culture of this pretty town.

The Route

Christchurch – Rangiora – Kaikōura – Blenheim – Picton

The Seating

The seating on board the Coastal Explorer is arranged in a 4 seat with an aisle down the middle configuration. These can either be as a table or in forward-facing pairs. The large panoramic windows make this a great way to experience the dramatic landscape

The Coastal Explorer’s carriages are thoroughly modern with air bag suspension for a smooth journey, and beautiful panoramic windows for an unspoilt view. You’ll enjoy journey commentary using GPS triggers (available in five languages) and HD overhead video displays.

On-Board Amenities

There is a café carriage on board, serving a range of light meals, drinks (both soft drinks and alcoholic drinks), and snacks. Each carriage has toilet facilities on board and a fantastic viewing carriage to immerse yourself in the landscape.

All carriages boast central heating, air conditioning and washroom facilities. There is also an open-air viewing carriage where visitors can enjoy the sea air.


This is a daily regular train service running from late September through to late April, it can be used to hop on and hop off.  The train leaves daily from Christchurch at 7:00 am, arriving in Picton at approximately 2:15 pm.