Gorgeous gorge: Taieri Gorge rail journey, New Zealand

in Haveyoubeenhere4 days ago

When travelling Faith and I prefer to find a balance between doing something and doing nothing; Doing nothing usually means doing something, but not too much doing something...A little confusing I guess. What I mean is sometimes we just like to do more relaxing things, take a rest day, and what's more relaxing than a train ride through some beautiful scenery?

We were down in Dunedin on the south-east coast of New Zealand's South Island; It's a very beautiful part of New Zealand, but then all of New Zealand is beautiful. We had a free day and decided to check out a train journey we'd heard about...It was basically a train ride with scenery, nothing more, but it sounded like the perfect thing to do on our rest day.

Taieri Gorge railway

The day trip begins at the very attractive Dunedin Railway Station, once New Zealand's busiest train station. Construction began in 1903 and the station was built with a multi-purpose use in mind due to Dunedin being a strong commercial and industrial centre with gold and coalfields nearby and lucrative forestry and livestock industries in the area.

You can see it pictured below. If you look carefully you'll see Faith in the lower right of the shot just below that tree...She's pretending to be a flower.

If you've followed my posts for a while you'll be familiar with my wife Faith...And that bloody beanie! I'm not sure if I've got any photos from New Zealand without her wearing it however it was cold and I think she makes it work.

We arrived at the station and watched the railway workers get the train ready for our trip and wandered about the station a little. It wasn't difficult to imagine it a hundred years ago, it hasn't changed much which is nice I think; There's nothing modern about it.

Below you can see the chap coupling the locomotive up to the carriages. The fellow in the yellow safety vest is waiting as the locomotive slowly moves backwards towards the carriages and then you can see him signalling to the train driver once it's coupled. It was all quite a simple process and one the chap has probably done a thousand times.

Soon after we were on our way heading northwest and then north following the the Taieri River up-stream.

This railway, the Otago Central Railway, began construction around 1877 not long after the gold rush began and considering the terrain it would have been very difficult to construct. There were gorges to span and mountains to tunnel and with most of the work happening manually it was a massive undertaking; This is evidenced by the fact it wasn't until 1921 when the line reached Cromwell up near Queenstown a couple hundred kilometres away.

The line was closed around 1990 as a dam was constructed and much of it was removed. The Taieri Gorge railway now operates on the remaining section between Dunedin and Middlemarch.

Once complete the line serviced those industries mentioned above and was a vital lifeline for people living and working in the areas along its route. It had it's share of trouble though.

A head on collision in 1902 forced the introduction of tablet working, for safety purposes. This required a train to collect a tablet from the tablet-station at the beginning of a section to gain access to that section of line. It would then have to drop that tablet off at the next tablet-station when it exited the section. That part of the rai line was deemed closed to all other trains as no tablet would be there for them to collect. This, and signaling, prevented any further collisions of trains travelling towards each other.

Interestingly trains were required to actually stop to collect these tablets although at some stations operators were employed to hand them to train crews so they would not be forced to stop.

There were several stops along the way and at each were information boards outlining the history of the line and the areas it went through.

We took some time to read some of the information which pretty much demonstrated how hard life would have been back in the early days. I think easy days were few and very far between. There's stories of gild miners rail workers and farmers who ran sheep in these remote areas.

As the train wound its way along the river, spanned the deep gorges and cut through mountains I was left with nothing but respect for the men who cut this line with nothing but their hands, picks and shovels. Of course, it wasn't much easier for the farmers and gold miners who worked the area although with the introduction of the railway things got just that little bit better as travel was easier and equipment more readily available.

The on-board commentary is excellent and there's a dining car where one can grab tea, coffee and cool drinks, sandwiches and cakes plus chips and other snack foods. There's no hot food service though. We grabbed sandwiches and coffee, which was remarkably good, and enjoyed the view whilst we ate. Of course, me being me, I didn't sit around for too long preferring to move about and spend some time on the open-air deck, the cold wind in my face.

The railway operates a return service but also a one-way trip which is what many hikers and cyclists prefer. They take the ride up then disembark to take on the Otago Central Rail Trail.

This trail is a really cool journey which I'd like to do one day. You can take a look at the website here if you like and a look at the one minute video lifted of their website will give you a glimpse of how legit it is! You can see that that video here.

That's an adventure we'll have to take on another trip though as we were already heading back to Dunedin.

The Taieri Gorge Railway keeps alive some of the history of the Otago Central Railway...Since 1877 trains have snaked their way along these tracks and whilst only a small section remains it's enough to give people an idea of how necessary and vital this line would have been to the development of the area.

We paid $103AUD each for our trip and on-board food and drinks are extra. I'd say it's a great way to see some scenery one would not normally see if driving and to learn a little about the history of the area. We used it as a rest day, that was the intention, but it's really an activity in itself and well worth the effort.

Thanks for hopping on board this post, I hope you also get the chance to ride this rail trip someday.


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Was it difficult to use the cover image you went with over the second one with all the loud flowers and Faith's pretending?

Can't wait to see New Zealand. You and I have talked about it before, I look forward to going over there and changing their opinion, one person at a time.

Yeah, I wasn't sure which to use...Went with the one I did because I flipped a coin. I have other images but they're mine and Faith's only, just wanted to offer a sample for the blockchain.

You'll love NZ mate, I hope you make it there soon.

I have SO used the coin flip method!! It's actually brilliant when you're at a stand still Cuz if it works.. cool. If it doesn't, it was a coin flip anyway.

I was leaning towards the picture I actually used as it sort of matched the title more than the other so it was good heads won the day.

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Very nice, my wife and mother in law went to New Zealand once and left me at home. I'm not sure if they did this trip but knowing them they wouldn't have made it out of the shopping centres.

Can't remember why I didn't go, think I was working but I remember being totally bumbed that I couldn't go.

I have always wanted to go to NZ and kind of wish I did before the lock down. Oh well, we will need to wait until lock down ends

We never shop when we go away- We don't really see the point. We get what we want here and when we go away there's always better things to do than shop, even if that's sitting in a café people watching.

New Zealand is somewhere I will go multiple times in my life, this I know. It's an amazingly beautiful place with friendly people and loads to do.

I'm with you on that, unfortunately my wife likes to shop and my mother inlaw is an even bigger shopper. I prefer the beach.

Every time we go away we have the same argument. Mum in law will push everyone to go to the shop I will want to go to the beach, she will crack it. Say fine! Beach then shopping. Will go to the beach without sunscreen get burned then blame everyone for getting burned and say that's why she doesn't like the beach.

I will say, but we asked if you wanted sunscreen thats why you got burned, she will say "no you didn't and sunscreen doesn't work".

Me and my wife now have wages on which day and times this argument will play out. We are at a 50/50 win rate. Its a fun game.

We go to Port Douglas... my mother inlaw wants to go shopping.... its the same shops as Melbourne, I can never understand.

Thailand, oh my God. Don't even want to go there and that MBK mall hate it. I spent 2 days there. Well at the bar down stairs getting absolutely smashed. Then I get into trouble because some Thai girls were trying to rort my pockets. Wife still says they were lady boys, not that I would have ever found out.

Here's a good game, what's the one disagreement without fail that you and faith have every time you go away? Every couple has one. Well couples who have been together for a long time, you and faith look like you're pretty solid and have been together for quite some time.

If you don't mind me asking that is.

Disagreement when we're away...I'm going to say none but I've still got a couple of things to say in response...

  • I need to know the points of the compass wherever I go...I need to be able to point to north ,south, east and west. Nothing can proceed until that has been established. It may annoy Faith. Lol.
  • I'm always asking her, have you got your passport. I'm paranoid about her losing it. She also gets annoyed about that.

We're pretty good together, don't argue about dumb stuff and when we travel hardly ever do we have words or disagreements.

Haha yes see that's what I ment. Little things you know that are coming up.

I bet if you asked her she could pin point when and where you will be when those questions arise.

I'm a pain in the arse for patterns and habits and no doubt I have a few of my own that drive my partner up the wall.

But on a few occasions I have anticipated an occurrence and she looks at me and says "you seriously pay that much attention to this stuff?"

🤣

We all have our idiosyncrasies I guess...I have so many I'm surprised Faith has stayed around for 33 years, and yet here she is.

Likes the entertainment, plus you seem like a great bloke 👍🏾

I understand what you mean when you say doing something, but not too much doing something. You had quite an adventure visiting Taieri Gorge Railway.

1903 you say? That's a long time and the railway is still standing. There's a lot of history to the place. Lovely pictures. I'd definitely want to visit NZ someday. 😊

1903 is when the railway station was begun. The railway began construction in 1877.

It was a nice day of doing something whilst doing nothing. 🙂

Now that's what I call onboarding!! Haha funny how in travel pics we wear the same hat in all the photos as it's all we have.

Jamie's a huge fan of a train ride, he would like this. I moan, but secretly quite enjoy it too.

Yeah, she had a different one but this one is her go-to and so...Just about every picture she's wearing it. Lol. It's all good though, she makes it look good...Better than me in a beanie. #notsogood

Trains are good I think and we've been on a lot of them when away, for transport and also as an event. Steam trains etc. This was a pretty good day of sitting around chatting and watching the scenery. Just relaxing.

Wow what an awesome train journey.

It was pretty cool...Relaxing and scenic.

Man, that looks sweet. I would say that was a bargain. As long as the coffee is good I don't mind about the hot snacks. Look at that bloody weather too. Its gorgeous!

It was nice mate, just what we needed.

I'd done all the driving as we moved around NZ to that point and so it was nice to sit back and take in some scenery, sip some pretty good coffee and chat, eat snacks and poke Faith on the way back to Dunedin as she fell asleep half way back! 😂

We thought it was reasonably priced and am glad for the experience.

It's funny how they always need a good nudging halfway through our on the return from these things to keep them awake! Lol

Train travel is best way to go, allowing you luxury of feasting your eyes on the scenery. My spot would have been on the open deck enjoying the absolute feel of the region.

Old stations, memories of steam trains, nostalgia of what we had all but gone, here in South Africa.

Had we made New Zealand that was my number one plan train travel, we would have had to rely on motor vehicles going further down South where no rail was laid.

Another great outing and yes Faith did blend in with the flowers, tell her the beanie is meant to be put to good use, blow what others feel...

@tipu curate

We really enjoy train travel...It sort of feels old-worldy and also gives people a chance to see stuff in a more relaxed manner. I'd been doing all the driving up to this point so it was nice to be able to sit back and stare out the window.

There's some epic Australian rail journeys we'll do someday too, but this little one in NZ was a good one!

The open air observation deck was awesome...Fresh air, the sensation of moving, the rhythmic sound of the rails...So good.

Re: The beanie...She loves it and I reckon wears it well...She has a few...Tea cosies I call them. 🤪

Well Faith's tea cosies look good, wish I had cold enough weather to enjoy the ones I still have stashed away from Norway and Scotland 🙃.

We traveled on Eurail Pass in the 70's Scandinavia and Western Europe.

Extensive travel through Southern Africa growing up, only way to get anywhere. Standing out on small deck on older trains watching the world go by, getting soot in the eyes was all part of the adventure, truly missed now!

So next time you venture down the tracks be sure to think of us over here who can no longer enjoy this pleasure.

We did some Eurail travelling too. Quite a lot actually.

I had it in my head that I wanted to take an overnight train with a sleeper cabin so did Salzburg to Paris via Munich. It was cool! Of course, the cabin wasn't big but it was an experience I'm glad we had.

All the other stuff has been mainly fast trains around Europe. We think it's a good way to travel.

This is definitely my kind of do nothing, low key day, where I can take photos and sit and take in the views and history! We are desperate to make it to NZ but it may need to wait a year or so. Our rands don’t go quite as far as the AUS $. But we will get there eventually. Thanks for the inspiring post.

You'll get there and I reckon you'll love it - NZ is amazing and my only gripe is I waited so long before I went there!

Get it done! You'll not regret it. 🙂

New Zealand certainly has some absolutely stunning places, definitely a place I need to visit (among the many others on my list lol). Excellent shots, keep up the great work.

There's always a lot on the list when it comes to places to see right? That's how it should be too I reckon...When one has nothing else on the list well...Not trying hard enough! 😁

NZ is epic, and I'm lucky it's not too far away. We'll be back and I hope you make it there too.

Amazing how such an old bridge is still in operation, very cool and the whole journey just looks great. Colours in the photos look pretty epic mate.

It's a really nice spot and we're glad we did this little trip...Better than sitting in the pub that day.

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Reminds me of our Alaska Cruise, where we took the The White Pass and Yukon Route (WP&Y, WP&YR) a Canadian and U.S. Class II 3 ft (914 mm) narrow-gauge railroad linking the port of Skagway, Alaska, with Whitehorse, the capital of Yukon. We road the train to the Yukon boarder and had to disembark to go through customs and then a bus to a restaurant in Carcross for lunch, then the bus drove us back to Skagway to get back on the cruise. It was the first railway built in Alaska during the gold rush and had similar terrain to navigate.

Trains, Alaska and restaurants...Speaking my language here mate.

There's something decidedly old-worldy about train travel and I find it really pleasing. They talk about the rhythmic motion, the souds of the bogies ont he tracks...I don't know, makes sense I guess.

Faith and I have always wanted to travel to Alaska, and still intend to do so. I'd like to go to the Yukon too, learn more about the gold rush, the history...And find a nugget the size of my noggin. A noggin nugget so to speak. (I had to get that in...Just rolls of the tongue so nicely.)

Well the train ride we took and bus after delved into the gold rush alot.

That'd be cool I think...Getting an understanding of how the old timers did it. Hard work I'd say.

I hope to be able to get back to traveling after corona is over. New Zealand looks very pretty and with the way they've handled the current pandemic, I'd happily support them by being a tourist.

I hope you make it to NZ some day, and my own country, Australia, for that matter. There's lot's to see, in both and the people are friendly. I'm not sure where you are but if you're in the UK, EU or USA your money goes a long way down here.

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Now that's my kind of holiday on tour lazy day XD

I really want to take one of the trains across the country but the glorified flying bus is cheaper -_-

I'm starting to think there's no ugly parts of NZ XD

but I also think there's no real ugly parts of anywhere

It was cool, just a day trip, but nice and relaxing.

We're keen to do the Indian Pacific, Sydney to Perth, some day and also The Ghan, Adelaide to Darwin. Both are supposed to be really nice...The thing is that they're expensive! We were thinking to train one way and fly the other. Might happen someday.

And yes, NZ is bloody awesome. I regret not travelling there sooner.

They really are D|

Your post just made me want to change my answer from the question you asked about what place I'd like to visit right away and say New Zealand!! Huh!! :D

New Zealand is an amazing place to visit...Diverse, fairly low=population and such beautiful scenery!

Pink Bennie looks cool.. matches the scarf and goes with black I suppose, so all is good. I bet her ears are nice and warm too! That train tour looked quite interesting and you can't beat the beautiful scenery. New Zealand is on our bucket list. I think we'll get there some day, not looking forward to the plane flight. Hopefully someone comes out with something fast to cut down on that time. Glad you guys got away and had a fun time together.

She wears a beanie well I guess...Me, not so good.

You will not regret the effort to get to New Zealand...And maybe you'll visit my little island when you're down here too. The flight sucks...Same for when we travel to EU. The last time we cam back from Finland from the moment we left @tarazkp's house to the moment we entered our own in Australia it was 32 hours...Ono about 3 hours sleep all up. Needless to say we hit the rack pretty quickly after getting home.

I hope you get to NZ BD, you'll have a blast!

Doing nothing usually means doing something, but not too much doing something...

Our kind of holiday too @galenkp plus both hubby and I looove train rides, still want to do one of those sometime but will be a little closer to home, perhaps the Victoria Falls in Zimbabwe.
I'd love to visit NZ sometime, have cousins who emigrated there and they regularly share photos of your stunningly scenic country!
Enjoy the laidback holidays and I must add your wife's a very pretty flower, beanie and all;)

If you have family there you've got a perfect excuse to visit NZ, as if any one needs an excuse better than, it's amazingly beautiful! I hope you get there.

share photos of your stunningly scenic country!

You know, one of the ultimate insults for an Aussie is to be called a New Zealander...And vice versa.

My country is Australia, their country is New Zealand. 😆

You probably know about the often fierce rivalry NZ and AU have...It's usually just good-natured teasing, unless sport is involved, and we had a few laughs when we were in New Zealand, people having a dig at us...And us returning fire.

The cool thing is we served under the same banner in World War One, they called us ANZAC's, Australian New Zealand Army Corps; The served with distinction and that legacy lives on...I'm sure the blokes back then teased each other just as much as we do now, but we would come to the others' aid in a shot, no question.

I hope you get there, and whilst you're over this way you should stop in at my little island as Australia offers something completely different again.