Planning your next trip? A scenic rail adventure is just the ticket to get you off the beaten track. Take in the stunning autumnal landscapes, enjoy the peaceful serenity of off-peak travel, and make the most of exclusive discounts and experiences. It's sure to be an adventure you won't want to miss. 

As New Zealand shifts from sunny 'bach' weather to crisp mornings perfect for tea and snuggles, the appeal of train exploration becomes irresistible.

Autumn, with its unique blend of colours and tepid temperatures, offers the perfect canvas for a relaxing journey. Here are our top five reasons why a scenic train journey during this season is an experience not to be missed.

Just made me fall in love with this country more than ever. David from Australia

Enjoy the Colors From Your Seat

Views of Autumn's Vibrant Hues

The first and foremost reason to set off on a great train journey in autumn is the breathtaking view of changing foliage, especially aboard the Coastal Pacific. From the comfort of the carriage, witness the landscape transform. The rails carve through rolling hills and forests in Hurunui, emerging onto the Kaikoura coastline before ducking through the wineries of Marlborough, which have turned a hundred shades of orange after their harvest.

Departing from Christchurch, you'll be spoiled with an incredible sunrise while you pass the North Canterbury wine region, through pastures of grazing sheep and cows before winding through rolling hills. Passing golden vines, and pine forests, the smell of autumn will reverberate through the open viewing carriage before the ocean air distinctly settles in. The views from the train offer a front-row seat to nature, and at some points of the journey, inaccessible by any other means of transport. Keep an eye out for dolphins and seals! 

A Photographer's Dream

For photography enthusiasts, the TranzAlpine journey is a dream come true. The unique perspectives offered from the open viewing carriage present an opportunity to capture autumn in all its glory. Whether it's the golden light of the afternoon sun casting long shadows across the Staircase Viaduct or the chill mist coming off Lake Brunner - each moment presents a picture-perfect scene waiting to be immortalised through your lens. 

Keep your camera handy – just when you think it's time for a break, another stunning shot pops up around the corner.

Experience Ideal Weather

Crisp Autumn Air

Autumn adds a cozy layer to train rides, with the crisp outside air contrasting the snug warmth inside. Roaming the train to the open viewing carriage lets you breathe in the fresh, cool air – a mix of fallen leaves, misty waterfalls, and on the Northern Explorer, open plains below volcanic peaks. It turns the journey into a feast for the senses, not just a visual treat.

Rainy Days and Moody Ambience

Even the rainy days of autumn have their charm when viewed from the train. The raindrops create rhythmic patterns on the windows. Imagine gazing out of the panoramic windows while listening to the audio commentary. The landscapes, washed in the rain, appear more vivid and the air fresher, enhancing the moody autumn landscapes. It's a magical experience, watching the world go by, shrouded in the mist of the Southern Alps.

For an elevated experience as high as your surrounding peaks, book the Scenic Plus dining experience. Satisfy your taste buds with a menu that's been crafted with local produce, wine and beer - feasting on not only the views, but the produce grown in your surrounds.

Exclusive Autumn Offers and Discounts

Seasonal Savings for Families

Autumn also brings with it exclusive offers and discounts on train journeys, making this the ideal time for family trips. This season, Great Journeys New Zealand is offering a $25 Child Fares offer over the school holidays, making the journey more accessible, allowing families and groups to experience the magic of autumn without straining their budgets. This offer is available to anyone purchasing a full priced adult fare.

If you're an AA or NZMCA member, you can receive 10% off any of the scenic journeys.

Explore during the Quiet Season

One of the hidden gems of traveling by train in autumn is the serenity of the off-peak season. Autumn train rides bring their own charm, different from summer's buzz. It's a quieter time with more room to unwind, letting the gentle train rhythm and peaceful landscapes soothe you into a state of calm reflection.

The Crew are a Highlight

The decrease in passenger numbers also means more attentive service and personal touches from the train crew. With fewer travellers, the crew tend to spend more time pointing out special landmarks, wildlife and become part of the experience. This level of service, combined with the stunning autumn scenery, makes for an incredible travel experience.

For an added layer of luxury and personalised service, consider the Scenic Plus option. Here, you'll enjoy table service from a dedicated crew, enhancing your journey with a local touch. This is complemented by exquisite cuisine, crafted from local ingredients sourced from the regions you pass, and paired with fine wines and beers produced in the very vineyards you can view from your seat.

Autumn Events and Seasonal Activities

Discover Local Events by Train

Around New Zealand, Autumn is a season of celebration. Many regions host festivals and events celebrating everything from history to fitness and sport. Taking a train journey during this time offers the unique opportunity to discover local flare and participate in these seasonal activities.

Here are just a few events to keep an eye out for:

Scenic Stops Along Your Journey

Incorporating scenic stops and local events into your train journey allows you to explore regional towns across New Zealand.  From carrot harvesting in Ohakune to diving into the Wildfood Festival in Greymouth. It's an opportunity to step off the train and immerse yourself in the local culture. 

Ready to set off?

Your Autumn Adventure Awaits

So, what are you waiting for? If you want to experience the crisp air of autumn, on a spacious train running through incredible landscapes while enjoying the crew's insights and finding local events with a discount, then this is your chance!

So, pack your bags, grab your camera, and set off on a bucket-list adventure.

Travel this April on one of our Scenic experiences