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.
The Northern Explorer train service is a scenic rail journey through the five unique geographical regions of the North Island - travelling between Auckland, New Zealand's largest city - home of the Sky Tower, through the central heartland of the North Island to Wellington - New Zealand's harbour capital and arts and culture centre.
Along the way, you will see fantastic views of New Zealand farmland, rugged bush landscapes before ascending up the world famous Raurimu Spiral to the volcanic plateau passing the majestic volcanoes of Mt Tongariro, Mt Ngauruhoe and Mt Ruapehu - the home of the North Island skifields and descending through stunning river gorges to the farming landscapes and rocky sea scapes of the lower North Island - all from large panoramic windows and the open air viewing deck of the Northern Explorer train.
The Northern Explorer carriages have an advanced air bag suspension system for quieter and smoother travel, un-tinted, non-reflective, panoramic side and roof windows to capture the dramatic coastal and mountain views of the magnificent North Island. GPS triggered journey commentary in five languages at your seat via headphones, plus information displays and overhead HD video and are centrally heated/air conditioned for passenger comfort.
Each carriage has onboard washroom/toilet facilities, with '2 Seat-Aisle-2 Seat' seating either as reclining forward facing seats with head and foot rests or 'Table Group' (4 people around a table) seating allowing you to experience the amazing views of the magnificent North Island, through panoramic side and roof windows, while enjoying the company of other passengers.
The Northern Explorer train has a café carriage offering a range of alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks, snacks and light meals and a viewing carriage for sweeping views of the North Island.
For mobility-impaired passengers, there are spaces for wheel chairs and a disabled public toilet. Wheelchair hoists provide access to the café carriage from track level.
For hearing-impaired passengers - a hearing loop covers all of the café carriage saloon and serving area. The Northern Explorer train is a reserved seating 'One Class' non-smoking service.
The Northern Explorer train operates -
Auckland to Wellington - Monday, Thursday and Saturday
Wellington to Auckland - Tuesday, Friday and Sunday
Stops along the way include Papakura, Hamilton, National Park, Ohakune, Otorohanga (Waitomo), Palmerston North and Paraparaumu.
The Northern Explorer train connects with various bus and coach services at Hamilton from Rotorua and Tauranga and at Palmerston North and Wellington to and from other North Island destinations.
You can travel onto Kaikoura and Christchurch from Wellington on the Coastal Pacific (Season from September to May) train and ferry service.
So, sit back and enjoy a genuine kiwi rail experience on the Northern Explorer train travelling through 5 unique regions of the North Island with its spectacular scenic beauty.