Suitable for all ages although this is a 4 hour return trip (minimum) so see below.
Leaving from the old central Dunedin train station, the trains that travel along the Taieri Gorge track are a mix of old and modern carriages pulled by diesel electric engines.
The route climbs up through the gorge which provides for stunning scenery over Taieri Gorge River (only seen from a train trip) and much to the delight of kids, means the train passes through 10 tunnels and over countless bridge and viaducts! There is live commentary during the trip providing info on the surrounding scenery as well as the building of the train track.
The shorter of 2 routes is still a 4 hour return trip to Pukerangi, including various stopping points on the way, during which you can get off the train to take photos and stretch your legs. When the train reaches Pukerangi, the engine is moved from one end of the train to the other for the return trip. This is something that passengers often enjoy watching as well. The longer trip goes all the way to Middlemarch – a small settlement at the end of the line. This is a 6 hour return trip.
TOP TIP: Even the shorter journey is still a long time to spend on a train and while it depends on each kid, the chances are, they’ll be eager and engaged for the outward trip but in need of snacks and an activity for the return journey. You might want to bring colouring, books or small games with you. You can take your own food and drink and there’s also a cafe-bar on board that you can buy e.g. sandwiches, cheese rolls (the iconic snack of the South) and pies from.
It’s also worth looking out for the special family event the ‘Crunchie Train’ which operates during the July school holidays each year with tickets selling out quickly from the beginning of May. Look at the website here for more details.
Related tagsDunedin, Otago, Outside, Rainy-day
Tel: 03 477 4449
Address: Trains depart from Dunedin Railway Station, Anzac Avenue, Central Dunedin
Open: Train operate to Pukerangi most days throughout the year, generally once a day at 12.30 during winter months and twice a day at 9.30am and 2.30pm during the summer. Trains to Middlemarch generally operate once a week on Sundays in the winter months and twice a week (Fridays and Sundays) during the summer. The timetable can be viewed online here but is subject to change and it’s always a good idea to phone before you make plans.
Price: Train tickets to Pukerangi cost $91 for 1 Adult + 1 Kid. Additional kids $28 (this fare changes to $99 for the morning summer trip, check by phoning). Train tickets to Middlemarch are $113 for 1 Adult + 1 Kid. Additional kids $28.