TAIERI GORGE RAILWAY TOUR – A GUEST’S PERSPECTIVE
If your looking for things to do in Dunedin NZ then the Taieri Gorge Railway should be high on your list. Here at Back to Nature Tours, we like to build a relationship with you before, during and after your experience – so if you enjoy blogging why not be a guest on ours?
Here’s a guest review from Sharon, a New Zealander who seemed to really enjoy her experience of inland Otago.
The Taieri Gorge Railway Tour
For travellers wishing to take in stunning NZ scenery whilst also viewing a true slice of both New Zealand urban and farming life – the Taieri Gorge Railway journey is for you.
This beautiful and interesting 4 hour, 116km journey runs daily and is a visual delight.
Departing from the architectural splendour of the internationally renowned Dunedin Railway Station, travellers have the chance to snap holiday photos before the journey begins. Today I am travelling with my better half and while we await our train we sip a well-made coffee at the Cobb and Co Restaurant, situated within the station.
After our coffee it is time to depart and boarding our delightful 1920’s style wooden interior train carriage is like stepping into the luxury travel of a bygone era. The mix of old and new accommodates the modern traveller well and we find the seating to be spacious and comfortable. Small wooden tables are situated between each seating arrangement, and storage compartments are located overhead to cater for extra luggage. The generous windows run along both sides of the carriage ready to frame the views to come.
Our carriage is three quarters full but not at all crowded. Our fellow commuters are a mix of nationalities with some other Kiwi travellers thrown in for good measure.
All at once the train is moving and many of us are like excited children anticipating our journey. The train conductor bids us welcome over the intercom and informs us of the location of the café carriage if we should wish to have a drink or bite to eat early in the journey. Throughout the trip the driver will pepper us with interesting historical facts.
The train travels at a leisurely pace, meandering at first through urban Dunedin. The overall mood is happy excitement as we enjoy the novelty of travelling through the first of the ten tunnels along the way before making our way into the lush countryside farmland. It is late September (New Zealand Spring) and the daffodils and blossom trees are in full bloom. New born lambs play in green paddocks along the way.
We wander outside our carriage to take in the breath-taking views from the 197 metre long Wingatui Viaduct. The views from 47metres high above the Mullocky Stream are thrilling but the outside area is railed off and safe. Other commuters are already outside donning cameras and gasping at the awe inspiring views. The conductor tells us this viaduct was built in the late 1800s and is the largest example of this type of wrought iron structure in New Zealand.
Travelling further inland, The Taieri River sparkles and twists in the sunlight beside the train. We are walled by the beauty of the Taieri Gorge which towers above us on both sides of our carriage. The striking greens of both native and introduced flora are interspersed with concentrations of striking yellow gorse flowers. My partner (who is an avid photographer) snaps a shot of a native hawk that soars beside us through the gorge. We are surrounded by visual splendour.
As we continue through the picturesque Taieri Gorge, we decide to walk through the train to the café carriage. The food is here is very reasonably priced and we purchase afternoon tea. The service is friendly and efficient. I highly recommend travellers try a New Zealand favourite – a cheese roll. They are delicious! A selection of hot and cold food, juices, hot drinks and alcoholic beverages are available on board. You may sit and enjoy a snack in the café carriage or take it back to your seat.
We are about to reach our destination of Pukerangi, situated in inland Otago. This historical area was a goldmining hub of the 1890s. Here we will disembark for about 20 minutes. A local market awaits where people can purchase homemade local crafts such as woollen hats or jewellery, watches, key rings, magnets and other souvenirs. After perusing the market, we sit in a quaint picnic area to relax.
After more photographs and a chat with one of the friendly locals, it is time to depart and travel back to Dunedin. After a time, with the sun on my face I am so relaxed I fall asleep and before I know it the train is slowing to a halt and we are back at Dunedin Railway Station. We find ourselves delighted by our adventure. I highly recommend any traveller to book this journey with Back To Nature Tours. You are bound to enjoy it.