The Southerner travels between Christchurch, Dunedin and Invercargill daily and takes in the beautiful scenary and magic of many places along the way. From the Canterbury Plains with the snow covered Southern Alps, to the rugged Otago Coastline to the rolling hills of Southland, when riding this train you can see it all.
Departing Invercargill shortly before 8:30am your day starts by passing through the industrial and residential areas of Central and East Invercargill before heading into the bright green Southen Countryside famous for it's dairy farms and produce. Passing through many small settlements on the way. The first stop is Edendale which is known for the cheese and milk products from the Dairy factory. Mataura and its paper mill is next followed by Gore, home of Country Music and the Trout Fishing Capital of New Zealand.
After winding your way through the rolling hills of Southland and South Otago you will find yourself in Balclutha on the banks of the mighty Clutha River. Once you have passed through Milton and skirted the shores of Lake Waihola it's on to the Edinborough of the south, Dunedin.
Dunedin is the home of scarfies, during the Education year being home to the oldest University in New Zealand. Along with the magnificent turn of the Centurary Railway Station and Carisbrook (The House of Pain for many visitng Rugby and Crickect teams) Dunedin is also the gateway to the magnificent Taieri Gorge. For more information on this please Click Here.
Once leaving Dunedin you skirt around the edges of the magnificent Otago Harbour before heading into the hills. After passing through three tunnels and travelling around the edge of Blueskin Bay you will find yourself in Seacliff's, which is appropriately named with it's big cliff's and the raging Pacific Ocean below. The Sceneary you will see between Dunedin and Oamaru is just amazing and definitely the best part of the trip.
Next it is in to Merton where you will see the Southbound Southerner express which left Christchurh earlier in the day and the crews change over. The Invercargill crew will head back down South and the Christchurch crew will take you to your final destination.
Shortly after leaving Merton you will pass through the small settlement of Palmerston and then will soon find yourself at Shag Point where you will once again enjoy the beauty of the Pacific Ocean and the Otago Coastline before heading away from the coast and into Oamaru.
Oamaru is home to the White Stone and has still has the historic buildings being used today. Oamaru is also home to a colony of Penguins and a fleet of fishing vessels. After crossing the Waitaki River you will find yourself in South Canterbury and will find yourself passing through many small settlements before reaching the town of Timaru.
Timaru has an attractive man made harbour which is a busy port. Caroline Bay, which you pass shortly after leaving Timaru Station is well known for the carnivals it hosts between Christmas and into the New Year with rides, attractions and outdoor concerts.
After leaving Timaru, and the coastline you will find yourself on the mighty Canterbury Plains with the Southern Alps in the background. After passing through Ashburton where the cafe counter closes for the day and crossing the Rakaia river you will soon find yourself on the outskirts of Christchurch.
After crossing 313 bridges, passing through 7 tunnels and seeing the great sceneary of Southland, Otago and Canterbury the day's journey has come to an end. Christchurch is widely known as the most english city outside of England, and also as The Garden City is situated on the banks of the Avon River. Christchurch has many tourist attractions including The Antartic Centre, Gondolas, Airforce World, The Arts Centre and Orana Wildlife park. It is also the gateway to the Ski fields and attractions of the Southern Alps and departure points for The Southerner's sister trains, The Tranzapine and The Tranz Coastal.