For fans of the "slow television" movement - which brought immersive rail journeys such as the Norwegian Bergensbanen and Australian Ghan to the small screen - have been waiting for New Zealand's own scenic railways to get the same treatment.

It was to great excitement then – yes really – that TV network Prime and KiwiRail announced their collaboration on the new television production Go South.

The epic, 12-hour viewing marathon is filmed along the country's most beautiful stretches of railway, transporting viewers from Auckland to Milford.

TranzAlpine: The series GO SOUTH features New Zealand's famous Kiwi scenic railways. Photo / Supplied
TranzAlpine: The series GO SOUTH features New Zealand's famous Kiwi scenic railways. Photo / Supplied

KiwiRail's Head of Tourism and Marketing Ahleen Rayner promises it'll have been worth the wait.

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"Worldwide, there has been a resurgence in demand for immersive journeys, and it's definitely something we've seen reflected here in New Zealand."

The series, which takes up a solid half-day's viewing, features the Auckland to Wellington Northern Explorer, then boards the Interislander train ferry before taking the recently opened Coastal Pacific to Christchurch and finally crossing to the West Coast via the TranzAlpine.

The series is inspired by the surprise international success of Norwegian TV station NRK's "minutt for minutt" series which followed journeys such as the Bergen railway and Hurtigruten coastal route in real time.

The panoramic open carriages of the TranzAlpine crosses New Zealand's Southern Alps at a leisurely pace. Your eyes will wish it went slower.

It spawned a series of international adaptations following rail journeys as far afield as China and the Netherlands and has earned a wide base of fans who cite the relaxing, almost meditative qualities of the TV genre as its main appeal.

While Go South won't be broadcast minute for minute (the whole journey take over 40-hours) the remaining footage shows a generous portion of New Zealand's most beautiful rail-side vistas.

"To capture the footage, special cameras were positioned throughout our ferries and trains, including the cabs of our locomotives – meaning viewers also have the unique opportunity of seeing what our drivers see," she said.

One of the factors that made the journey even slower was the closure of the line between Picton to Christchurch, following the Kaikōura quakes.

Slow train: Interislander train ferry links journeys in GO SOUTH. Photo / Supplied
Slow train: Interislander train ferry links journeys in GO SOUTH. Photo / Supplied

"The return of the Coastal Pacific in December connected the dots between Picton and Christchurch, and increasing numbers of customers are booking the entire journey from Auckland through to Greymouth," says Ahleen.

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The line's re-opening has been great news for real-life rail enthusiasts too, with more people booking rail journeys with KiwiRail than ever before.

"Last summer we experienced a record tourism season and we're expecting similar results this year," said Rayner.

For the casual viewer who's not ready to commit to the whole 12-hours, a redacted 3-hour version is also available.

Then again for those that want the full, unabridged 40-hour version - there's nothing quite like riding the rails for oneself.

Go South is made with the support of NZ On Air. The three-hour journey starts 9.30pm, Saturday 19 January on Prime. The extended 12-hour journey commences later the same evening at 1.30am
Great Journeys of New Zealand, visit www.greatjourneysofnz.co.nz