KiwiRail has announced the arrival of a new premium service on the TranzAlpine or Coastal Pacific scenic trains called Scenic Plus, launching just in time for summer.
The new Scenic Plus offer includes a regionally-inspired menu delivered to the seats of passengers, who can sit back and enjoy the spectacular views. The service also includes an onboard host providing commentary of the landscapes, people and places along the way.
Ahleen Rayner, executive general manager tourism & marketing for KiwiRail Group, says the new offer is perfect for New Zealanders missing out on their international travel and looking to explore the country this summer.
"Our Scenic Plus experience offers guests the taste of the South Island, a captivating hosted experience and spectacular views, so they can be fully immersed in one of New Zealand's most beautiful journeys," Rayner said.
"We know Kiwis are going to spend a lot of time in their own backyards and we've taken visitor insights on board to deliver a world-class experience. This is more than just a train journey, it's a bucket list must-do for all Kiwis."
KiwiRail has teamed up with LSG SkyChefs NZ Limited, a company that is usually flat-out supplying meals to the dozens of flights leaving Aotearoa every day.
Together they are serving up food "inspired by the flavours of the land". The Great Journeys of New Zealand menu will include a cold breakfast, lunch, cheese platters and farewell canapés.
"We're bringing the stories, scenery and taste of our land right to their seats. Guests will be able to savour the local delicacies and regional wines from our carefully curated menu, supported by stories of our heritage and iconic landscapes," Rayner said.
The menu spotlights food from local producers, including Canterbury grass-fed roast lamb on the TranzAlpine between Christchurch and Greymouth, while Marlborough salmon and Kaikoura crayfish will be served on the Coastal Pacific, which travels between Christchurch and Picton.
"It is really important for us to showcase the regions that we travel through. We know it's been a tough year for tourism operators or those impacted by the effects of lockdown on tourism," Rayner said.
She added that Scenic Plus is an example of KiwiRail's renewed focus on "value over volume", which the company believes is a more sustainable tourism model.
For Kiwis eager to get out and see the country, regardless of which class of ticket is purchased, passengers are promised world-renowned carriages with large panoramic windows and skylights through which to enjoy New Zealand's spectacular landscapes.
Scenic Plus is now available to book for TranzAlpine journeys departing from October 16 and Coastal Pacific for journeys departing from October 20.
The Scenic class will still be available with a range of fresh food and beverages available from the café car.