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Dunedin Shore Excursion: Taieri Gorge Railway and City Sightseeing Guided Tour

Otago, New Zealand
  • 7 hours 30 minutes (Approx.)
  • Mobile ticket
  • Offered in: English


Board the Taieri Gorge Railway for a legendary trip on this train-lover’s shore excursion from Dunedin, which includes a 2-hour sightseeing tour by coach. You’ll journey by rail through stunning scenery surrounding the Taieri River, passing over century-old viaducts. Then see Otago University, the Dunedin Botanical Garden, stately homes and other historical sites of Dunedin and the Otago Peninsula before you’re returned to the Dunedin port.
  • Taieri Gorge Railway tour and city sightseeing combo shore excursion
  • Journey through magnificent scenery on a train trip along the Taieri River Gorge
  • See Otago University, the Botanic Garden, stately homes and other historic buildings, Baldwin Street (the worlds steepest street) St Clair beach & Esplanade, Otago Peninsula & Harbour views.
  • Covered by Viator’s worry-free policy: guaranteed on-time return to your ship

What's Included

  • Round-trip tour on the Taieri Gorge Railway
  • Dunedin city sightseeing tour
  • Professional guide
  • Worry-free Shore Excursion Guarantee
  • Port pick-up and drop-off
  • Food and drinks
  • Gratuities

Departure & Return

Departure Point

  • Port Chalmers, Otago, New Zealand
    All passengers must make their way to the private hire area in the cruise ship pavilion which is well sign posted. Please wait for a "Good Company Tours" representative, they will direct you to the buses outside the Visitor Centre. Please get there around 8.45am for a 9.00am departure.

Departure Time

  • 9:00 AM

Return Details

  • Returns to original departure point

What To Expect

After pickup from the Dunedin port, you’re transferred to the Dunedin Railway Station for your 4-hour Taieri Gorge Railway journey to Pukerangi. Admire the gingerbread style of the station, built in 1906, and get settled comfortably in a historical wooden train carriage.

New Zealand’s longest tourist railway, the Taieri Gorge Railway covers a distance of 28 miles (45 km), following the course of the Taieri River. As the train hugs the steep-walled Taieri Gorge and crosses wrought-iron viaducts of a bygone era, soak up the panoramic views. You’ll pass through nearly one dozen tunnels and stop several times for photo ops of the magnificent landscape.

Have a lunch break in Dunedin (own expense) before your 2-hour city sightseeing tour in the afternoon. Take a seat aboard the coach and learn about Dunedin’s history as you hear insightful commentary about the hilly city and its volcanic bay from the knowledgeable guide.

Discover New Zealand’s first university — Otago University — as well as 19th-century buildings including ornate homes, churches, theaters, banks and the town hall. Enjoy views of the Otago Peninsula, drive along Baldwin Street, admire the tree-lined landscape at the Dunedin Botanical Gardens and see St Clair Beach and Esplanade before drop-off at the Dunedin port.

Worry-free Shore Excursion:We will ensure your excursion ends with ample time for you to return to the Dunedin port for your ship’s departure. In the extremely unlikely event your ship has departed, we will arrange for transportation to the next port-of-call. If your ship is delayed and you are unable to attend this activity, your money will be refunded. See our terms and conditions for full details.

Port Chalmers Wharf (Pass By)

At 9.00am (depending on the cruise ship’s arrival/departure times), the coach departs the Dunedin Port and takes you to the Dunedin Railway Station.


Taieri Gorge Railway

At 9.30am, depart Dunedin by train on the Taieri Gorge Railway. You will travel through the spectacular Taieri Gorge to Pukerangi, across wrought iron viaducts and through tunnels carved by hand more than 100 years ago. This is one of the great train journeys of a bygone era. Throughout this round trip journey, there will be numerous stops to afford you some magnificent photo opportunities.

4 hours Admission Ticket Included

Additional Info

  • Confirmation will be received at time of booking
  • Should your cruise ship timetable be indicating that you will be berthing in Dunedin (Port Chalmers) at 9.00am or later, this does not preclude you from booking these tour options. The timetable will simply be altered to align with the cruise ships arrival time
  • If for any reason we are unable to get you to the Dunedin Railway Station prior to the departure of the Taieri Gorge Train then the tour will be adjusted whereby you will travel by coach by road to meet the train and return to Dunedin by train
  • Wheelchair accessible
  • Stroller accessible
  • Service animals allowed
  • Near public transportation
  • Infants must sit on laps
  • Transportation is wheelchair accessible
  • Most travelers can participate
  • Collapsible wheelchairs with removable wheels can be accommodated providing the passenger is accompanied by someone who can assist them board and disembark
  • This tour/activity will have a maximum of 50 travelers
Operated by Leisure Tours

Cancellation Policy

You can cancel up to 7 days in advance of the experience for a full refund.

  • Any changes made less than 6 full days before the experience’s start time will not be accepted.
  • For a 50% refund, you must cancel 3–6 full days before the experience’s start time.
  • If you cancel less than 2 full days before the experience’s start time, the amount you paid will not be refunded.
  • Any changes made less than 2 full days before the experience’s start time will not be accepted.
  • For a full refund, you must cancel at least 7 full days before the experience’s start time.
  • Cut-off times are based on the experience’s local time.
  • This experience requires good weather. If it’s canceled due to poor weather, you’ll be offered a different date or a full refund.

about cancellations

Traveler Photos

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Traveler Tips

If you have difficulty with steps you will have a difficult time getting on and off the train.
302 reviews
Total review count and overall rating based on Viator and Tripadvisor reviews
Reviews by Viator travelers
Showing 1-10 of 302 reviews
Brochure is a Bit Misleading
Gary_L, Mar 2020
First of all, the scenery is gorgeous! But what they don’t tell you is that you see the exact same thing going back as you are in the same seats. You also have to pay for a light lunch. If you have difficulty with steps you will have a difficult time getting on and off the train. Please keep this in mind. The tour of the city was informative. It’s a pretty long day.
Response from Host, Mar 2020
Thank you for the positive review, Gary. I'm happy you enjoyed (for the most part) your Taieri Gorge Railway and Sightseeing Tour from Port Chalmers. Regarding some of your comments, I would just like to address that had you read the full itinerary of your tour you would know that it's not misleading at all. Firstly, we make it clear that the railway tour is a return journey and that food and drinks are not included and at own expense. Also, the departure and return times (along with the tour duration) are also stated on your itinerary.
Wing_L, Feb 2020
The train ride was gorgeous. The driver had us waiting and looking for him when we finished. Company was called Go Now tours.
Response from Host, Feb 2020
Thanks for the review! I hope get to visit Dunedin again soon.
A Railway to Avoid
Robert_V, Feb 2020
The Taieri Gorge Railway certainly passes through some spectacular scenery. Unfortunately, a few minutes of great views is simply not enough to offset the five hours of discomfort on the train. The train itself was cramped and uncomfortable and only few of the carriages offered good photo opportunities from the seat. Ideally, you need to travel in one of the old wooden carriages where the windows open; in the more modern, metal carriages, photography from the seat is impossible through the scratched and dirty windows. Be careful about the choice of seat. If you have a choice (we did not), make sure that you sit on the left-hand side on the train going out because virtually all of the spectacular views are from this side. The train does not turn, so passengers enjoy the same views on the return journey. Many passengers on the right-hand side resorted to playing games on their mobile phones to relieve the tedium of a five-hour journey in which the best views could only be seen across the heads of other passengers. There is very little else to do on the journey except eat from the buffet car. There were absolutely no facilities - no proper toilets, no cafes, no shops - at the two stops and neither stop had good views. The buffet car itself was inadequately stocked and maintained: the cheese rolls had sold out by 11:00 and all the sandwiches by 12:00. The coffee machine broke down at regular intervals. If you are a railway buff, I suppose that this trip would be a must. To the average tourist, however, it was an endurance test that would be best avoided. As opposed to the morning on the Railway, the afternoon tour was excellent. The drive around the Dunedin provided an appreciation of this elegant city which was greatly enhanced by the knowledgeable and helpful guide.
Response from Host, Feb 2020
Thank you for taking the time to submit your review. We understand all reviews are subjective and everyone has different tastes and opinions , so please read the other reviews to fully appreciate just how good this product actually is. This shore excursion was awarded the TripAdvisor People’s Choice Award in 2018, only one of ten awarded annually in Australasia.
Underwhelming but professional
michelledanicek, Jan 2020
The tour was run very well. Cruise came in at 9:00 am, so we were a bit law to the station, but the train was held. Received a two hour of Dunedin after train ride and Billy made every effort to show us everything in the town that he thought was interesting. However, if you are a world traveller, the reality is, there just wasn’t that much to see. (eg. the local university, churches that are 80 years old, etc), and the gorge has about 8 minutes of interesting vistas.
Response from Host, Jan 2020
It is disappointing to learn that you were underwhelmed. However, as everyone is aware these reviews are very subjective and all of the reviews for this product should be considered. The majority of reviews for this excursion are constantly 5 stars. Furthermore this excursion has been awarded the People's Choice award by Tripadvisor. What maybe underwhelming for some will be an absolute highlight of their cruise for others.
Train ride too long
Sharon G, Jan 2020
Train ride is long, especially when you see the same scenery going up and back down, since only the engine changes . Due to some computer glitch we spent 1 hour on the tracks waiting to get into the station and there fore were too late for bus tour of town. Barely had time to get back to the ship, about 30 min drive or more to harbor.
Response from Host, Jan 2020
Thank you for taking the time to submit your feedback. We are sorry to hear that you felt the train ride was too long, this is an unusual comment compared to all of the other excellent feedback we receive with regard to this excursion. The excursion is always return to port in plenty of time prior to the ships departure.
Tairei Gorge
aawk55, Jan 2020
Great trip...ruggared landscape and train commentry was good. Well organised. Seated tickets was welcomed.
Response from Host, Jan 2020
Thanks for the great review of your Taieri Gorge Railway and Dunedin Sightseeing Tour. I'm glad you had a nice time. We hope you get to visit New Zealand again in the future!
Train good, Dunedin Tour poor
Darryl_M, Nov 2019
Pickup from Port was as scheduled, easy to find the tour company & get going. Bus trip from Port Chalmers to Dunedin Railway Station ok. Train trip to Taieri Gorge was excellect, great views, memorable wood carriages. Stop over in Pukerangi was nice with locals putting on a small craft market. Return trip was BORING, 50 odd miles of what we had already seen. Would recommend that if anyone offers a return by bus to take that instead. On return to Dunedin, back on the bus with Peter, and downhill all the way from here. Peter is a retired butcher, never let us forget it, showed us where his old butcher shop used to be, described how he is a champion sausage maker....... He took us to: 1. University to see where they have toga parties; 2. University student residences to see furniture they chuck on to the footpath as they leave so others can check it out; 3. lay down on the road and look up the supposed steepest street in the world; 4. Back to the University to see the "Roadies"??? Turned out to be Rhododendrons THAT WEREN'T THERE. 5. He was ready to take us to 2 other places??? obviously having forgotten the time we had to be back at the ship. All passengers made it clear we needed to return NOW! Bus tour was CRAP. No other word for it. We would have been better off if we had have been taken to the Octagon and left to wander for a while, or back to Port Chalmers to check it out. I feel so sorry for Dunedin if this is the best that they offer to tourists.
Response from Host, Dec 2019
Peter only started driving for us this season, although he has many years experience as a coach driver. We encourage our drivers to add their own life experiences into the tour as this makes every drivers tour & commentary more personal. But it seems that Peter has gone overboard with the “personal side” & forgotten to focus on Dunedin itself. We’ll be discussing this with Peter & taking him out on a refresher famil to remind him of what he’s meant to be showing visitors & the commentary he’s meant to be providing. As far as back tracking over the same places, we do have multiple road works & detours in place around the city which is making our normal tour route more difficult to follow. All our drivers are having to travel over the same path to get to the next location, as there’s often no other choice. This is adding more time onto the tour, often sitting in traffic. Peter has used the word “Rhodies” as an abbreviation for Rhododendron, which is what the “locals call them” & there are certainly many Rhododendrons to view around the city. The city is a blaze with colour. Most passengers are interested to see how the University students live on campus. Couches in the street (sometimes on fire) are one of the common sights to be viewed. Without the students, Dunedin would not be what it is today, a lively University city. It’s not always pretty, but it is what it is. I agree with this customer that the return trip via train is just repeating the same terrain & doing a one way train & returning by coach is far more interesting. It’s a shame that when you try to get people to book for a one way option, they don’t want to because they think they’re going to miss seeing something. I guess they have to experience it to understand the benefits of the one way train. Coming off the train & already feeling bored was not a good start for the City Tour. If Peter had held things together better & focused on showcasing Dunedin, it would have saved the day. Unfortunately, we know this wasn’t the case. Peter was well aware of the time he was meant to return to Port Chalmers being 4pm-4:15pm at the latest. We apologise if Peter somehow lost track of time, this is unacceptable & does not normally happen. This Tour option does not state that there is time in Port Chalmers for wandering through the settlement after the city tour. The Train journey takes the lion’s share of the day & our target return time to Port is always 1 Hour prior to sailing.
One of the best shore excursions ever
William_J, Nov 2019
We really enjoyed this excursion. The train trip is quite enjoyable with very pretty scenery. On our excursion food was available for purchase on the train (that is, not included) and it was fine. You are asked to trade seats with the persons opposite you for the return train trip; this is a win-win and also only fair. The city tour after the train trip was unexpectedly thorough and informative. The Dunedin area is quite pretty and the tour guide was humorous and informative. We've done well over 100 shore excursions and this was one of the best.
Response from Host, Nov 2019
Thank you for such a positive review of the Taieri Gorge Railway Tour and City Sightseeing. It's great to hear that you rate this as one of your best shore excursion experiences! It's always great to hear such awesome feedback on this excursion, which won the Travellers Choice Award last year on TripAdvisor. And thanks for highlighting the Dunedin Sightseeing section as well. This part of the tour is often praised as an unexpected bonus for many travellers and it's great to hear you enjoyed it so much! Thanks again for your review and we hope you get to return to New Zealand again soon!
Worth the ride
Gabor_W, Nov 2019
This was a great way to spend our day in Dunedin. We did it October while on a Ruby Princess cruise. There were not issues at all getting to the bus on time to get to the railway. We did make sure we got off the cruise ship first thing. The train ride is a very enjoyable ride with great views. It was a great way to meet people and enjoy their company for the day. The scenery is worth the trip. The tiny town at the end was really more of a flea market, but the prices were great. I got a great deal on Stirling Silver earrings. It is a little repetitive because the train repeats the drive on the way back, but it was still beautiful. The sightseeing tour at the end was really just a drive around with one spot to get off and take some pictures. It was some great scenery and a beautiful drive through the hills with gorgeous homes. They could not do much else with the time restraints. Well worth the money.
Response from Host, Nov 2019
Thank you for taking the time to write such a positive and detailed review of your Taieri Gorge Train Journey from Dunedin. This particular shore excursion is one of our most popular and highly acclaimed tours we offer and it's great hear such nice feedback on it. With regards to the train repeating the trip back down to Dunedin, this is partly to give people sitting on the opposite side of the carriage a chance to see the stunning views of the Gorge. And you are correct in your assessment regarding the fact that this tour offers a lot of things to see in Dunedin and Otago within the time constraint with the cruise ship. Thanks again for the nice review and I hope you get to visit NZ again soon.
Taieri George shire excursion
Shaun S, Oct 2019
The advice given by Viator for the meeting of the tour operator was wrong. Firstly, the company we were supposed to meet subcontracted their work out to another and secondly we were supposed to meet the operator outside the port. In actual fact all tour operators meet their passengers inside the terminal. The misinformation by cost of was confusing. The tour itself on the train is good There viewing platforms on the front and rear only takes 4 people . The scenery is excellent but the train trip is long and whilst you get 20 minute break at the end of the track. You have to back down on the same route. There are other tours being offered that take passengers up by train and back down by bus. This 8s a much better option. The tour has a two hour tour around duniden but after a long train journey we just wanted to go back to ship.
Response from Host, Oct 2019
Thanks for the 5 star review Shaun. I am pleased to hear that you enjoyed your time on the train through the Taieri Gorge. The train does have some great viewing platforms, which offers some truly stunning scenery of the Otago countryside. With regards to your comments about the meeting instructions, we have updated this so that it is crystal clear for all passengers on this shore excursion on exactly where to meet. Also, regarding your comments on the length of the train ride, the time of 4 hours on the train is already mentioned in the itinerary for this tour. Many people enjoy the fact that they get to spend more time on the train as it is the highlight of this tour, but we also understand that the train times won't be for everyone - so to each their own. Thanks again for the positive review and we hope you get to visit New Zealand again soon.


Product code: 2950PRTDUDCLT71CS