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What’s so great about Weka Pass what to see and best things to do

Steam train passing Frog Rock, Canterbury, South Island,New Zealand

VINTAGE TRAIN JOURNEY THROUGH EXTRAORDINARY NATURAL SCULPTURAL LANDSCAPE

Evocative names such as Frog Rock make you want to check out the place. Visitors get to travel on one of Aotearoa New Zealand’s best vintage train rides. Together with ancient rock drawings, distinctive shell and fossils embedded in the exposed cliffs this is one journey nobody wants to miss.

WHAT TO DO HIGHLIGHTS

  • Weka Pass Historic Reserve take an easy 40-minute walk to a large overhang shelter that features examples of early Māori rock art along the way look at exposed cliffs for evidence of shells and fossils
  • Weka Pass Railway trip will be a memorable holiday occasion. A premier visitor experience.

Weka Pass Railway is a vintage rural railway traversing the limestone beauty of the Weka Pass out from the small settlement of Waipara. The tracks cross farmland, irrigation reservoir and vineyards before climbing grades as steep as 1:50 (2%) as it winds through cuttings in the Pass.  Frog Rock and The Seal. The Pass is home to various species of bird, including the weka, kaka, and kiwi, and was also home to the extinct moa.

Weka Pass railway @my_world_in_hdr
Water supply tank for steam engines at the Glenmark Station of the Weka Pass Railway

BEST TIME TO GO

  • When the vintage train is operating

WHERE TO TAKE THE BEST SELFIE

  • On the train of course

SOCIAL MEDIA

Weka Pass railway @my_world_in_hdr1
Weka Pass railway @vanessaortynsky

HEROES

  • Nineteenth century unsung workers who in the 1880’s moved tons of clay and limestone by hand to form all the cuttings and large embankments. The Weka Pass section was completed in just over two years. The land was once under the sea and some of the surrounding limestone rocks have weathered into unusual shapes. Most notable are Frog Rock and Seal Rock, in the middle of the Weka Pass. Seashells and fossils may be seen in the walls of many cuttings. The line opened to Waikari in 1882

NOTORIETY

  • Vandals, archaeologists in the 1920’s had the ancient rock drawings over-painted in red and back house paint destroying their archaeological value.
Frog Rock, Weka Pass @jahnheath

WHO TURNED UP AND NAMED THE PLACE

  • Weka Pass is a locality in the northern Canterbury region of New Zealand’s South Island between the towns of Waipara and Waikari. The area is named after the weka, a native bird.

POPULATION

  • Permanent population – 0 (zero)

WEATHER

Weka @Sabine-Bernert

TRAVEL PACK INFORMATION

  • Regular passenger services were withdrawn in 1939 and the Waiau Branch closed on January 15th, 1978. The line to Waikari was purchased by the Weka Pass Railway Inc. after the end of a union embargo in 1983.
  • Weka Pass is located in northern Canterbury between the towns of Waipara and Waikari. The Waipara River gradually cut a bed through the soft limestone and mudstone creating distinctive limestone formation.

Unique journeys, personal adventures.

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