Fotoeins Fotografie

the visible wor(l)d, between 🇨🇦 and 🇩🇪
KiwiRail Coastal Pacific train, Picton to Christchurch, South Island, New Zealand, fotoeins.com

New Zealand: Coastal Pacific from Picton to Christchurch

Previously: on board the Interislander ferry to cross New Zealand’s Cook Strait from Wellington on the North Island to Picton on the South Island.

There are cheaper or faster ways to travel between Wellington and Christchurch. But I love boats, and I love trains. So, an alternative is a trip with KiwiRail Scenic Journeys, combining boat and train. After 3.5 hours, the ferry across Cook Strait arrives in Picton at 1140am. I make my way out of the ferry terminal, and walk the short path to the train station nearby. My luggage on the ferry is automatically transferred onto the train, as I’ve paid for both legs of the trip in its entirety.

At 1pm, the Coastal Pacific train trundles out of Picton for the 5-plus hour journey to Christchurch, with key stops in Blenheim and Kaikoura. Ahead are smooth rolling hills; green meadows; salt flats (at Lake Greenmere); the rugged and snaking Pacific coastline around which the train tracks cling; and finally, the emergence of the towering Kaikoura mountains, “merely” the northern extension of the much taller mountain range to the south.

Early-winter skies are dark as our train arrives a little before 630pm at the southern terminus in Christchurch. People shuffle onto the platform, I dig out my contact information, and I hop into a taxi to the place I’m staying.

Ferry, train, first sighting of the Southern Alps: it’s another glorious day in New Zealand.


KiwiRail Coastal Pacific train, Picton to Christchurch, South Island, New Zealand, fotoeins.com

KiwiRail train at Picton station

KiwiRail Coastal Pacific train, Picton to Christchurch, South Island, New Zealand, fotoeins.com

Comfy seating with accompanying commentary

Marlborough region, south of Blenheim, on KiwiRail Coastal Pacific train, Picton to Christchurch, South Island, New Zealand, fotoeins.com

Marlborough region, south of Blenheim

KiwiRail Coastal Pacific train, Picton to Christchurch, South Island, New Zealand, fotoeins.com

Modes of transport

KiwiRail Coastal Pacific train, Picton to Christchurch, South Island, New Zealand, fotoeins.com

Free standing blur

Salt ponds on Lake Grassmere, Marlborough region, on KiwiRail Coastal Pacific train, Picton to Christchurch, South Island, New Zealand, fotoeins.com

Salt ponds on Lake Grassmere, Marlborough region

Coastline near Wharanui, Marlborough to Canterbury, on KiwiRail Coastal Pacific train, Picton to Christchurch, South Island, New Zealand, fotoeins.com

Coastline near Wharanui, Marlborough to Canterbury

KiwiRail Coastal Pacific train, Picton to Christchurch, South Island, New Zealand, fotoeins.com

Alternative transport

KiwiRail Coastal Pacific train, Picton to Christchurch, South Island, New Zealand, fotoeins.com

… I’m trained az, bru …

Northeast coastline, South Island, on KiwiRail Coastal Pacific train, Picton to Christchurch, South Island, New Zealand, fotoeins.com

Northeast coastline, South Island

KiwiRail Coastal Pacific train, Picton to Christchurch, South Island, New Zealand, fotoeins.com

Lead car, engine

On KiwiRail Coastal Pacific train, Picton to Christchurch, South Island, New Zealand, fotoeins.com

Covered open-air observation car

Kaikoura mountains over the Pacific, on KiwiRail Coastal Pacific train, Picton to Christchurch, South Island, New Zealand, fotoeins.com

Kaikoura mountains over the Pacific

West to Kaikoura mountain ranges, on KiwiRail Coastal Pacific train, Picton to Christchurch, South Island, New Zealand, fotoeins.com

West to Kaikoura mountains

KiwiRail Coastal Pacific train, Picton to Christchurch, South Island, New Zealand, fotoeins.com

Beauty as understatement

Seaward Kaikoura mountain range, on KiwiRail Coastal Pacific train, Picton to Christchurch, South Island, New Zealand, fotoeins.com

Seaward Kaikoura mountain range

Planned stop in Kaikoura, on KiwiRail Coastal Pacific train, Picton to Christchurch, South Island, New Zealand, fotoeins.com

Planned stop in Kaikoura town

Kaikoura station, on KiwiRail Coastal Pacific train, Picton to Christchurch, South Island, New Zealand, fotoeins.com

Kaikoura station

Last light at Spyglass Point (Piripaua), on KiwiRail Coastal Pacific train, Picton to Christchurch, South Island, New Zealand, fotoeins.com

Last light at Spyglass Point (Piripaua)


More travel on the South Island:

•   Traveling from Wellington across Cook Strait to Picton on the Interislander ferry.
•   Traveling from Christchurch over the Southern Alps to Greymouth on the TranzAlpine train.

Disclosure: No Connection, Unpaid, My Own Opinions. I have not received compensation for this post, and I have no material connection to Kiwi Rail or Tourism New Zealand. I made the photos above on 14 July 2012. This post is published on Fotoeins Fotografie at fotoeins.com as http://wp.me/p1BIdT-2po.

11 Responses to “New Zealand: Coastal Pacific from Picton to Christchurch”

  1. threeweeksinnz

    I like your sentence “just another day in New Zealand”. The number of huge mountains can be overwhelming sometimes. Their sheer height was just something I’m not used to. I realised just how wide, brown and flat Australia really is.

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply
    • fotoeins

      Hi, Leanne. I wrote “just another day in New Zealand” to mean the opposite of that! I was very lucky, I feel lucky that the weather was sunny and clear for most of the time I was in New Zealand; the South Island was an incredible experience and left indelible impressions. I would love to go back to New Zealand and spend even more time on each of the two islands. Thanks for your comment!

      Like

  2. Christina

    Ah, I love driving down that route. What a beautiful train journey this must be, when you can just sit back and relax. I’ll have to have quite a few rest stops to take pictures 🙂 Only 2 weeks to go 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply
    • fotoeins

      Hi, Christina. OK now I’m envious you’re going back! Then again, I would be envious of anyone going to New Zealand. 🙂

      An advantage of the train is having someone else drive, being able to walk between carriages, and there’s even running commentary about scenery, locations, history, etc. An advantage of driving a hired car is stopping everywhere on demand to make photographs; this in turn can also be a “disadvantage”, as I’d be stopping a lot!

      Like

    • fotoeins

      Hi, and thanks! I did two of three available train journeys with KiwiRail; I’ll have another upcoming post on the second journey, which was an east-to-west crossing over the South Island. I hope you can hop on a train when you’re in New Zealand!

      Like

    • fotoeins

      Hey, Erik. Clearly, there are advantages and disadvantages to taking the train or hiring one’s own vehicle. I’d like to think the advantages of taking the train outweigh the disadvantages. In a car, I would stop everywhere and it would take forever to reach my intended destination. 🙂

      Like

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