Posted August 2nd, 2012, 09:04 PM
The Taieri Gorge train trip is a "must" It is comparable, scenic wise, with the Durango - Silverton train in America except that is pulled by a diesel loco and not steam.
By booking on line with the Railways it will cost you approx $95 compared with approx $195 through the ship. KIds cost approx $145 with the ship and they are free if booked on line.
The web site for bookings is taieri.co.nz/bookings
As Sandy noted, a shuttle bus is provided by the railways from the ship to the Dunedin Railway Station for (in April this year) $5 each way. For another $25 the bus will take you on a City Tour when the train returns from the Gorge in the afternoon before returning you to the ship.
Two trains go to the Gorge. The ship's train leaves from the wharf next to the ship and the Railway's train leaves from the Dunedin Railway Station 20 minutes behind the ship's train. The ship's train only goes as far as Puckerangi. The Railway's train passes the ship's train at Puckerangi and continues on further up the Gorge to Middlemarch where it stops for an hour before returning to Dunedin. Lunch is available at Middlemarch at the small pub and a cafe/bakery.
The payment arrangements are that you pay when you collect the tickets at the Station just before boarding the train.
There is another train trip that leaves at the same time (0930) called the "Seasider" This train goes along the coast from Dunedin to Palmerston and is very scenic. It does not cost as much for tickets as the Gorge train and it returns to Dunedin at about 1-30 pm which gives you a couple of hours to look around Dunedin if you want to, before returning to the ship.
If you want further details about the train trip e mail me on firstname.lastname@example.org