Due to the updated fire risk, now currently “red status” in Marlborough which is a total fire ban, we have made the responsible decision to run our impressive vintage red and white, classic Da1431 locomotive (to haul our original renovated Victorian carriages) between Picton and Seddon, which includes the Dashwood Pass (the highest risk area in the region).
Departing Picton Station and travelling up the Picton Elevation – one of the steepest gradients in the country at 1-in-37 this incline. Upon reaching the plateau, the journey then takes on a more sedate nature and the train meanders alongside the Para Wetlands, home to an abundance of birds, game fish and unique wetland vegetation.
The long river crossing across the wide Wairau River is another tour highlight, providing entry to the magnificent Wairau Valley with the distant southern mountains in the backdrop.
A sea of vineyards on both sides, greets the train on the stretch to Blenheim town – clear evidence that Marlborough is indeed home to 80% of New Zealand’s wine production, most famously the sauvignon blanc variety. South of Blenheim, The Marlborough Flyer then traverses the rolling southern hills of Marlborough, snaking through the Dashwood Pass, bursting into the beautiful Awatere Valley, and the magnificent sea of vineyards with the snow-capped peak of the majestic sentinel, Mount Tapuae-o-Uenuku in the background.
The final stretch crosses the Awatere River on the historic Awatere Road Rail Bridge built in the same era as the train.
The Marlborough Flyer has the advantage of balconies at both ends of each carriage which enables passengers a convenient viewing position.
Enjoy some time to stretch the legs in Seddon with a photo opportunity and refreshments, before the return journey to Picton and your ship.
TOUR DURATION: Approximately 5 hours return
Departure is from Picton Railway Station which is conveniently located across the road from the cruise ship shuttle drop off point.