New Zealand Train Services
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Quick Answers
- How to Book
- Luggage
- Bikes, Pets, Etc
- Extra Assistance
- Seating Request
- Check In Times
- Fare Types
Passenger Train Services
- Auckland to Wellington train
- Wellington to Auckland train
- Christchurch to Picton train
- Christchurch to Greymouth train
- Christchurch to Kaikoura train
- Kaikoura to Christchurch train
- Greymouth to Christchurch train
- Picton to Christchurch train
Train Timetables from
- Auckland
- Hamilton
- Otorohanga (Waitomo Caves)
- National Park
- Ohakune
- Palmerston North
- Wellington
- Picton
- Blenheim
- Kaikoura
- Christchurch
- Arthurs Pass
- Greymouth
Day Train Excursions
- Arthurs Pass Excursion
- Kaikoura Excursion
- Greymouth Excursion
Train and Ferry Services
- Auckland-Christchurch
- Christchurch-Auckland
- Wellington to Christchurch
- Christchurch to Wellington
- Auckland
- Hamilton
- Tongariro National Park
- Ohakune
- Palmerston North
- Wellington
- Picton
- Kaikoura
- Christchurch
- Greymouth
- Railway Stations
- Bus / Coach Services

Frequently Asked Questions

Do I need a Reservation?

Yes, as all long passenger train services in New Zealand are 'Reserved Seating/One Class' services, so it is recommend that you make a reservation in advance, as there is no guarantee that there will be seats available on the day you want to travel.

In all cases there is only one long distance passenger train service a day.


How do I make a reservation?

To search for online fares, timetable information and make to make online train reservation/s, click on the 'National Train Services' link at the top of this page or one of the passenger train links under Passenger Train Services located left of this page.

If you want to make a train reservation, click on 'Online Fares & Reservations' link and a new 'Tab' will show allowing you to make online reservations. 

If you do not see a new 'Tab', check to make sure that 'Block Pop Up Windows' is not tick in the 'Options' section of your web browser. If it is ticked, please can un-tick it.

When making an 'Online Reservation' you have acknowledged that you are fully aware of the 'Booking/Amendment/Cancellation/ Refund' Conditions of your reservation/s.

All train and train/ferry reservations must be made at least 24 hours prior to travel date and time.

Alternatively, you can make reservations by phone or Skype through the Rail New Zealand Travel Centre.


How do I pay for my reservation

Payment can be made by the following credit/debit cards -

          a. Visa (Not Visa Electron Debit Card)
          b. Mastercard
          c. Westpac Visa DebitPlus (New Zealand only)
          d. New Zealand Post Visa 'Prezzy' card (New Zealand only)
          e. New Zealand Post Prepaid Reloadable Visa card (New Zealand only)

For an 'Online Reservation' booking a credit card/debit card from the above list is required to confirm the reservation.


Can I make a reservation in advance and pay for it on the day of travel

The answer is no.

You can not make a reservation and pay for it on the day of travel.


How do I receive my Ticket if I live overseas

You will be travelling on an 'Electronic' Ticket which is emailed to you, so there is no need to have a ticket.

It is strongly recommended that you print out your 'E-Ticket/Itinerary/Voucher' and include it with your other travel documents. Failure to do so, may result in disruption of your travel plans and/or additional fare/s to be paid.

Valid photo ID may be required on check in


Luggage Requirements

You are entitled to check in 2 pieces suitcases per person with a maximum total weight of 40kgs (or 20kgs per suitcase) per person.

If you are travelling in an international airline ticket, the luggage/suitcase allowance will be of the airline issuing your international airline ticket.

Size must be no more than 200 linear cm (height plus length plus width).

Each fare paying passenger can take one small hand bag and/or personal items such as camera, coat, etc, on board. Passengers are responsible for all carry on luggage.

Unaccompanied luggage will not be carried on any long distance passenger train services or on any Cook Strait ferry service..

All luggage should be covered by insurance.


Carriage of Bicycles, Pets, Un-accompanied Luggage, Freight, etc

Bicycles can be carried on any long distance passenger train service or Cook Strait ferry service but will incur a charge for each train and/or ferry sector travelled.

There is one bicycle per passenger. Bicycles need to have removable pedals, folding handlebars and chains to be covered.

Passengers are advised to pre-book their bicycles in advance, especially on any long distance passenger train services as space is limited. Bicycles that have not been pre-booked, carriage of the bicycle can not be guaranteed.

Animals or pets are not permitted on any long distance passenger trains except for seeing-eye dogs.

Long distance passenger train services do not carry un-accompanied luggage or freight.

Pets (except for see-eye dogs) are not allowed in the passenger areas of any Cook Strait ferry.

Other animals can be carried on any Cook Strait ferry but are subject to the terms of carriage of the ferry operator.

Cook Strait ferries do not carry un-accompanied luggage.


Requiring Extra Assistance

Both train and ferry staff are highly trained in supporting passengers to make their trip enjoyable.



Under New Zealand law all long distance passenger train services are non smoking services.

There are short smoking stops at Hamilton, National Park, Ohakune, Palmerston North, Kaikoura, Arthurs Pass and Greymouth if travelling by a long distance passenger train.

On Cook Strait ferry services, there is a smoking area on each ferry.


Do I need to have travel insurance

It is recommended that you have travel insurance when travelling, to cover your luggage, personal belongings, medical/hospital care and trip disruption and trip cancellation.

If you have medical insurance in your own country, please check with your medical insurer as to what level your insurer will cover you to before leaving your country.

If you require travel insurance or require to top up your medical/travel insurance, please contact your professional travel agent for advice.


Seating Requirements on Train Services

Seating assignment on all long distance passenger trains services is done on 'Check In' on the day of travel.

Seating requirements can be requested at the time of a reservation being made. Any seating request can not be guaranteed unless it is for medical reasons.


Check In Times

Final check in time for all long distance passenger train services is 30 minutes before schedule departure time.

Final check in time for foot passenger's on a Cook Strait ferry service is 45 minutes before schedule sailing time.


Are there any 'Senior' fares or discounts?

There are no 'Senior' fares or discounts on any long distance passenger train services.


Are meals included in my train fare?

No. Meals and/or refreshments are not included your train fare.

Each train has a Cafe Carriage, where you can purchase alcoholic/non alcoholic drinks, snacks and light meals.


Are there discounted fares available?


There are 3 fare levels for adult and children travelling on any train or train/ferry service

a.  'Refundable/Changeable' Fare

    - A refundable up to 72 hours prior to travel date.  If cancelled within 72 hours of travel date, there is no refund.
    - Can be change to another travel date up to 72 hours of travel. No date changes are permitted within 72 hours of travel date.
    - Fully Refundable up to 15 days prior to departure date
    - 14 - 8 Days prior to departure - 25% Cancellation Fee as charged by the rail operator
    - 7 - 3 Days prior to departure - 50% Cancellation Fee as charged by the rail operator
    - 3 Days or less prior to departure - 100% Cancellation Fee as charged by the rail operator
    - No refund after missed travel, No show or after travel date

b.  'Non Refundable/Changeable' Fare

    - No refunds once reservation has been confirmed and paid for
    - No date changes are permitted within 72 hours of travel date

c.  'Non-Refundable/Non-Changeable'  Fare

     - No refunds once reservation has been confirmed and paid for.
     - No changes to travel date can be made once reservation has been confirmed and paid for.
     - Non-Refundable/Non-Changeable' fare is subject to availability until a reservation has been confirmed and paid for.
d.  'Adult' -

 Is a person 15 years and over.
e.  'Child'

A child is from 2 years up  to 14 years travelling with an Adult.

     A Child under 14 years must be accompanied by an adult or guardian 18 years and over and can not travel by alone.

    If a Child aged between 14 to 15 years travelling with an adult or family, a 'Child' fare applies.  If travelling alone, an 'Adult'
     fare applies.

f.  'Infant'

     An infant is a child 1 month to 23 months travelling with an adult (Over 18 years) being a parent or guardian.

     An infant must be carried on the adult's lap in order to travel free. If a seat is required, then a 'Child' fare must be paid for.

*  A NZ$30.00 Cancellation Fee will apply to all current and new Refundable/Changeable bookings if cancelled prior to travel date
   if  booked prior or after 28 May 2013.


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