The Coastal Pacific








About the journey

The Coastal Pacific train operates between the delightful port of Picton - the gateway to the beautiful Marlborough Sounds - to Kaikoura - the home of whale watching and onto Christchurch - the South Island's largest city.

Your journey takes you through the wine growing region of Blenheim to the rugged Kaikoura mountain ranges on one side of your train, the Pacific Ocean coastline on the other with views of marine wildlife such as seals and penguins to some of New Zealand's finest horticultural and farmland areas of the Canterbury Plains, all from the comfort of your carriage.

Along the way you pass through the town of Kaikoura, where you can break your journey to take in whale watching or get up and close by swimming with the dolphins.

Scenic Plus Experience

Scenic Plus will be available on the Coastal Pacific train from 14 December 2023. When you take your Scenic Plus seat, in the exclusive carriage, you'll enjoy an enhanced dining experience where both hot and cold dishes are freshly made in the custom built kitchen carriage. The locally inspired, seasonal dishes are served at your seat, while you sit back and enjoy the sensational scenery. The complimentary drinks menu is carefully selected to match the sumptuous lunch and afternoon tea. Enjoy New Zealand's world famous Sauvignon Blanc or Pinot Noir wines or sit back with a cold beer or freshly made coffee and tea.  Scenic Plus dedicated hosts are on hand to answer questions, add local knowledge and ensure you have the best journey possible.


The Carriages

The Coastal Pacific train's carriages have advanced air bag suspension 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 South Island, GPS-triggered journey commentary in five languages at your seat via passenger headphones, plus information displays and overhead HD video.

All carriages are centrally heated, air-conditioned with onboard washroom/toilet facilities, forward facing or 'Table' (4 people around a table) seating allowing you to share experiences through large panoramic windows.

There is an open-air viewing carriage where all your senses are awakened by the clean, fresh sea air and a Café Carriage offering a selection of alcoholic and nonalcoholic hot/cold drinks, snacks, and light meals.

The Coastal Pacific train is a non-smoking, reserved seating service.


For mobility-impaired passengers, there are spaces for wheelchairs 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.


Operating Days

14 DEC 23 – 05 MAY 24 7 days a week

06 MAY 24 – 18 SEP 24 Not Operating

19 SEP 24 – 31 DEC 24 Thursday to Sunday

01 JAN 25 – 27 APR 25 7 days a week

28 APR 25 – 30 JUN 25 Not Operating

 Coastal Pacific does not operate on Christmas Day.


Stops along the route include Blenheim, Kaikoura, and Rangiora.


Scheduled Track Maintenance

26-27 December 2023 Running CHC-BHE-CHC only

Bus replacement BHE-PCN-BHE

01-03 January 2024 Running CHC-BHE-CHC only

Bus replacement BHE-PCN-BHE


More Details

The Coastal Pacific train connects at Picton with various Cook Strait ferry sailings to and from Wellington on the North Island.

This train connects Blenheim with bus and coach services to Nelson and services from Nelson to Blenheim.

You can take a day excursion from Christchurch to Kaikoura travelling on the Coastal Pacific train.

So, sit back and enjoy a genuine Kiwi rail experience through the South Island's northeastern rugged coastline.