As a sightseeing train, the Taieri Gorge Train carves and rollicks its way over 130 year old iron viaducts and through spectacular plunging gorges and verdant farming lands, reliving trips that first started in the 1870s.
It departs from palatial Dunedin Railway Station which perches on the edge of town in resplendent black and white stone, surrounded by elegant gardens and crowned with a soaring clock tower. As the train rumbled over century-old viaducts, one couldn’t help but wonder at the exceptional engineering, cutting rail line through such inhospitable country. Numerous iron lattice viaducts flatten a path over sharp ravines and sheer gorges while numerous narrow tunnels dot the path blasted through jagged hills. The Taieri River escorts the train on its journey always trickling hundreds of metres below.
In a sign of entrepreneurial foresight, the Dunedin Council purchased the line after the government closed it in 1990 as it no longer provided an economic or useful service.
Stops are made at a number of old remote stationsand a lively commentary helps relive the pioneering spirit of early farmers exploring the opening of the the central Otago Plains.
With only a house or two visible on the whole journey and no road access, the journey will suit train enthusiasts who will love the preservation of this historic line while sightseers will enjoy the remote rugged country and stunning panoramic vistas.
Tip: Ask for a seat on the right hand side as it leaves Dunedin for the best views of Taieri Gorge.