Taieri Gorge Railway… A Perfect Birthday Gift!

Perhaps I should begin by telling you that I have the best dad the universe has ever created (no offense intended to your own dad, I’m sure he’s great).

I would stand up anywhere, at any time, and be completely unashamed to say so. He’s gentle, kind, and incredible. Without him, I would never have had so many amazing experiences. With him, my life has been far more wonderful than I could ever have imagined or hoped for. He’s an excellent role model, is always there for me, and is (of course) one of the most important people in my life. I’m very, very, extremely blessed that God gave me him as a father, and I couldn’t ask for anyone better. So, with this in mind, you can imagine that his birthday would be a very special day at our house. And for a guy who just happens to be the very best dad the world has ever seen, no ordinary present would do.

My luck is incredible. I won the lottery of the century with my parents.

My mom is just as incredible as my dad. Using her powers as a master word ninja, she conjured up a media pass to the Taieri Gorge Railway.

The Taieri Gorge Railway is advertised as, “one of the greatest rail trips in the world!”  Now, whether or not this rings true for everybody is something that can’t be measured; but we certainly enjoyed it. Cameras, snacks, and mandolin in hand, we boarded one of the restored train cars we would spend the next four hours in. They weren’t as old-fashioned as you might imagine. In fact, the one we’d been assigned to looked disappointingly modern. Thinking back on it, I would guess that it wasn’t restored at all, but had been added to the train as a more comfortable option. All well though; five minutes into our journey we discovered a train car that could have come straight from the early nineteen hundreds. We moved there as soon as we could, bumping from one side of the train car to the other in our attempts to get to the back of the train. Outside, the beautiful South Island landscape was rushing past. Cows looked up as we sped by them on our way out of town. A dozen horses in a dusky golden field tossed their manes and raced away from us. Just past them was the local racecourse, and beyond that only the blue mountains emerging from the ocean of waving grass. And before long, we were in the gorge.

Boarding the train
Boarding the train
Through a tunnel, taken from the caboose.
Through a tunnel, taken from the caboose.


Bridge across part of the gorge.
Bridge across part of the gorge.


The boys got to help work the engine!
The boys got to help work the engine!
My handsome brother.
My awesome brother.


And my mum
And my beautiful mum


View of the sunset from the train.
View of the sunset from the train. The sky was on fire!


Beautiful, isn’t it? Oh, and did I mention that the two little guys and Dad were allowed to ride in the engine itself? There couldn’t have been a more incredible way to spend Dad’s birthday.

5 Replies to “Taieri Gorge Railway… A Perfect Birthday Gift!”

  1. ideal way to celebrate indeed. And you are indeed blessed- cheers to Tony!

  2. Lauren Gonsalves says: Reply

    Nice story Hannah. Loved the picture of the tunnel. Where was the birthday man during all of this? Safe travels!

    1. He was in the front, riding with the train operators along with the little guys. Cool, right?!

  3. Oh, Hannah – what FUN – and such love. Happy!

  4. wow that is quite an adventure

Leave a Reply