We got 3 tickets for the Dunedin Railway’s Waititi Seasider train ride. It is a short 90 minute train ride, two way and seems to be available only when there is a cruise ship berthed at Post Chalmers. This trip is supposedly great for folks like us who do not have much time to spend in Dunedin. It is supposed to offer one of the best views on a train ride. Yeah…right. Boohooo….
Yang Yang enthusiasm probably motivated me to go ahead and buy the train tickets. I personally have not had much good experiences with train rides. The train was really presentable on the outside. We had the choice of hopping off the train at Port Chalmers, hence decided to bring the stroller along. The train man organised it to be tucked away in the luggage compartment, which was really nice of him.
The inside cabins were clean and tidy. We manage to secure seats with a table. This is really helpful since we have not had lunch. There were some nice brochures on the table when we sat down. Yang Yang was truly excited. It was rewarding to see him so happy and excited about the train ride.But that was probably the only part that selvage the train ride for me. Inside the train, I wished there were more ventilation or some air conditioning going. It was comfortable but rather stuffy. The brochure on the table listed out some food and drinks. We decided to buy some sandwiches…only to be told that they only had the items on the left, red highlighted side of the menu. The rest of the menu was for another train route. Bummer but lucky I brought some food of our own.
How about the views? Bluuurgh…honestly, I felt the entire train ride was a rip off when it comes to ‘stunning’ sceneries and views. There were a few but most of the time, we were looking out at long stretches of ocean (the initial part of the train ride) running parallel to a road which I drove on just the day before. Later on, there was just endless views of earth mound and the top of trees. I should have suspected this when the chap commenting on the PA needed to ‘warn’ people ahead of ‘good photo opportunities’. Every time the ‘warning’ announcement came about, passengers would grab their cameras on standby to take photos of that ‘fabulous’ scenery. They had to snap pictures real quick cause those scenes really do disappear fast.
When we get to Post Chalmers, the announcement came over the PA asked everyone to swap seats opposite of each other so that everyone could enjoy the trip on both sides of the train. So…from Dunedin to Port Chalmers, we had the scenery view. Heading back to Dunedin…it was all bush…mound and roads.
Did I enjoy the Dunedin Railway Waititi Seasider train ride? Not at all really. I felt ripped off because I felt that most of the time, I was looking at earth mound, thick bush or the top of trees that property owners may have planted so that they don’t see or hear the train. Did my boy enjoy the trip? He probably did. But then again, a LRT or subway train would thrill him just as much.
So…what if you want to see the fabulous views they claim to exists along the coast between Dunedin to Port Chalmers? Ditch the train ride, save the cash and rent a car. Drive along the coast, stop wherever you want and for however long you want to take pictures or go for a walk.. Have a picnic by the beach, have a walk. Take your time. Once you are done, pack up your stuff, load up the car and drive on. Get to Port Chalmers, park your car somewhere, see the town at your own pace and not worry about missing a train. By the time you get back to Dunedin, it is probably a good few hours later. Your family would have seen and do so much more! On top of that, you’d probably save yourself some money and the agony of regretting spending so much on the Dunedin Railway Waititi Seasider ride.