Truly, a ride of a lifetime, the TranzAlpineTrain is the most scenic train ride in New Zealand
Operated by, Tranz Scenic, the train travels once daily between Christchurch, Arthur's Pass and Greymouth on the west coast of South Island. The train passes through breathtaking scenes of misty mountains of the Southern Alps. The train takes about 4½ hours to traverse a one-way distance and covers 223 Km. Through the journey it crosses 19 tunnels and four bridges; the Staircase Viaduct is 73 meters high.
Leaving the Christchurch station in the morning, the train travels through the Canterbury Plains across the Waimakariri River to Rolleston. From here the train turns to the Midland Line and within an hour of starting the journey it climbs the Southern Alps crossing the Waimakariri River Gorge.The train crosses steel girder bridges over deep gorges and offers a variety of spectacular scenery. This is the point of the Staircase Viaduct.
About 2 hrs after departing from Christchurch, the train makes a stop at Arthur's Pass where visitors have enough time to get out of the train, relax and take some pictures. After leaving from Arthur's Pass, it enters the Otria Tunnel, which is 8.6 Km long. The train then follows a deep valley that has a broad river, there are several small bridges across this river, look for the waterfalls. Before reaching Greymouth, the train crosses the Old Brunner Mine and Dobson, an old coal-mining town.
Visitors who wish to get back the same day can make an hour stop at Greymouth and then take the train back to Christchurch. If not, then visitors can take the one-way train from Christchurch to Greymouth and then take a bus down the west coast to Franz Josef Glacier.
The TranzAlpine Train offers only one class of seating arrangement and it is comfortable and set usually in bays of four around tables. There are also unidirectional seating arrangements where seats are lined with the panoramic windows. Both types of seating arrangements are good to enjoy the amazing views.
The train also has a café bar that serves light snacks, coffee, tea and also microwaveable meals that are made available at reasonable prices. In the center of the train is a full-length open-air viewing platform. The platform is excellent for taking photographs and watching the scenery.
The TranzAlpine Train offers a journey that is worth looking forward to. Be ready to experience some exotic scenery along the way.