• NZ Booklovers

Great Railway Journeys in New Zealand and Australia by David Bowden

Updated: Nov 16, 2020


As reviewed on The Cafe, TV3!

David Bowden is a freelance photojournalist who specialises in travel books. His latest book showcases 35 rail journeys in New Zealand and Australia, both long and short distances, steam and diesel-driven trains, commuter and tourist routes. Each journey includes colour photographs of points of interest, and an accompanying map.

There are so many standouts, some of which include:


The Northern Explorer, which goes from Auckland to Wellington. It’s a day long journey where passengers can enjoy both the Auckland and Wellington harbours, but also coastal stretches, forests, rivers and volcanic domes.


The Transalpine, goes from Christchurch to Greymouth. This is considered to be the most picturesque rail journey in New Zealand and it’s also rated as one of the best in the world.

The Coastal Pacific is a journey that goes from Christchurch to Picton and takes about six hours. It passes through 22 tunnels and crosses 175 bridges. Its reconstruction after the earthquake in 2016 was the biggest railway project undertaken in New Zealand since the Second World War.


For something completely different, is the Bay of Islands Vintage Railway which dates back to 1871, with a round trip that takes about 50 minutes

And just to mention one of the many Australian rail trips in the book – The Ghan is one of the world’s best-known railway journeys that goes from Darwin to Adelaide, taking in the Outback, and making stops in Katherine and Alice Springs. The trip takes around four days, through a dramatic and ancient Australian landscape that is ever changing.

Great Railway Journeys in New Zealand and Australia by David Bowden is a handsome hardback, and an invaluable, inspiring book for people who are planning a rail trip, or if you would like to travel virtually from your armchair.


Reviewer: Karen McMillan

John Beaufoy Publishers