A hundred rural New Zealand skies

Monday, July 16, 2012

I love trains. In fact, I’d originally wanted to take a cross-country train in Australia, from Sydney to Perth and back, but the timing just wasn’t right. So when I saw that New Zealand had a similar national train system, I was sold.

The KiwiRail Coastal Pacific line starts in Christchurch in the South Island and stretches all the way up to Auckland in the North Island, with another two lines passing through less traveled locales. I started out on a 7am train from Christchurch, stopping in Picton, switching over to a ferry ride across the Cook Strait to Wellington on my first stretch of the train trip north.

This Coastal Pacific ride was absolutely stunning. I didn’t like Christchurch very much (was only there for 12 hours, overnight, and it’s still earthquake-ravaged … I should give it another shot), but it was totally worth staying a night over in simply for this train ride.

We passed through much of the suburbs of Christchurch before sunrise, and then made it to the Pacific Ocean for 100 kilometers, all the while with optional headset commentary. The trip was beautiful beyond words, in a scenic train built with tourists in mind. I don’t even have anything else to say aside from “this is a must-do if you ever pass through this way” … check out the photos. All of them were taken with my iPhone 4 from behind the panoramic glass windows of the Coastal Pacific train, and left untouched.

We started out before dawn

The pastures, still frost-covered

Orange everywhere


The Pacific Ocean coming into sight

There she is!

This was taken from a train, by a camera with no zoom capacity ... incredible, huh?

Paradise, is that you?

A road alongside the ocean and the train

An estuary?

Salt mine

Nearing Picton

The train

By the time I reached Picton, I was sunburned and tired. It had started to rain so I opted to stay indoors and nap a little on the Interislander Ferry across to Wellington. No photos, I'm afraid, but the view wasn't that great in the rain.

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