Coastal Pacific coming to Kaikōura from December

coastal pacific map

From 1 December 2018, people will be able to ride KiwiRail's Coastal Pacific scenic journey once again. Two years on from the 2016 earthquake that halted the service, KiwiRail's GGM Sales and Commercial, Alan Piper says, 

“We are delighted to confirm this well-loved service will be running again this summer, allowing thousands of travellers from around the world to once again enjoy this spectacular coastline by train”

“This will be very welcome news for the people of Kaikōura, as the Coastal Pacific plays a critical role in the local economy by bringing thousands of tourists into the area."

“Before the earthquake the Coastal Pacific carried about 43,000 passengers into the Marlborough/Kaikōura regions during its summer season.  These passengers are estimated to spend almost $35m in the two regions, supporting more than  300 local jobs,” Mr Piper says.

The railway will highlight some of the amazing work done along the transport corridor, which has reconnected access along the coastal route between Picton and Christchurch, and especially here in Kaikōura.

“Overall, TranzAlpine passenger business has grown by 90% over the past five years, while the Northern Explorer is up 71%. KiwiRail is determined to champion tourism growth across the country, working with national and regional partners to deliver connected journeys and quality tourism experiences,” Mr Piper says.


The Coastal Pacific service was suspended after the 14 November Kaikōura earthquake in 2016.  The Main North Line reopened to restricted freight services in September last year, just 10 months after the devastating earthquake.

Freight services have been running at night to allow work to continue during the day to repair the rail and road.  Day time freight services are set to resume later this year.


Key Facts:

  • The Coastal Pacific will run daily from December 1, 2018 (except for Christmas Day) through until late April 2019
  • The Coastal Pacific services departs from Christchurch each morning, and returns  from  Picton each afternoon
  • Booking for this service can be made by visiting 
  • Key stops along the route include Rangiora, Kaikōura and Blenheim
  • The journey includes 98km travelling along the rugged PacificCoastline. It also journeys through 22 tunnels and crosses 175 bridges

Special fare for local residents and NCTIR staff


Book your ticket for Great Journeys of New Zealand at Kaikōura i-SITE.

Kaikōura i-SITE offers a special local residents and NCTIR staff ‘Welcome Back’ discount of 20% for travel on the Coastal Pacific. Fare is valid for travel between any scheduled station on the Coastal Pacific route between Christchurch and Picton.

Booking period: 3rd August 2018 to 26th April 2019
Travel period: 1st to 19th December 2018 and 1st to 27th April 2019.
Terms and Conditions: Fare is only available to current residents of Christchurch City, Waimakariri, Hurunui District Council, Kaikōura & Marlborough Regions and NCTIR staff. All adult passengers must be a current resident. Only bookable in person at Kaikōura i-SITE. Proof of residency must be provided at time of booking i.e. utility bill. For NCTIR Staff, if unable to prove residency then staff ID or proof of NCTIR employment is sufficient. Applies to bookings to a maximum of nine passengers Seating subject to availability and may not be available on all services.

Please note only bookable in person at Kaikōura i-SITE by presenting your utility bill for residents or NCTIR ID for NCTIR staff.

19 September 2018