TranzAlpine Train Journey – Day 214
One of the world’s most scenic train journeys
Today we’re hopping on the TranzAlpine train between Christchurch and Greymouth. If you want to see more 365 Days: 365 Activities in New Zealand then roll on over to our epic YouTube Channel!
Today we’re gonna betaking one of the most scenic train journeys in the world.
This morning Laura and I are stoked to arrive at the Christchurch train station where we’re gonna be boarding the TranzAlpine which is one of the most beautiful train journey in the world it’s gonna take us across the stunning Southern Alps and back.
The trip is gonna take us 223km across the Southern Alps all the way to the West Coast of the South Island of New Zealand and through the beautiful Arthur’s Pass National Park but first I need to find my ticket.
So been on the train literally two minutes and robin has lost the tickets already.
You’re gonna get chucked off the train. I heard in New Zealand that they throw you off the train at full speed if you don’t have your ticket.
Once robin finally finds our tickets and the ticket inspector to show it to we can finally sit down relax and enjoy the scenery of this super famous journey through New Zealand.
At first we are passing through the Canterbury Plains which has to be the flattest part of New Zealand until we reach a little town called Springfield which marks the beginning of this huge change in scenery as we enter the Southern Alps.
We can really make the most of this epic scenery thanks to the open viewing carriages but we find that our favourite carriage ends up being the food carriage. Because it’s Christmas Eve we are really treating ourselves to lots and lots of food so be warned you’re gonna be seeing us eating a lot in this episode.
First up we obviously need to get ourselves freshly roasted coffee to go alongside the beautiful views of the beginning of the Southern Alps. But we also get ourselves a bit of a snack Laura goes for a fresh fruit bowl and I’m going for a healthy breakfast wrap.
As we get ever closer to the world famous Arthur’s Pass National Park the views are getting grander and grander. We are now seeing the stunning braided rivers that are running straight from the top of the mountain ranges the waters are turquoise and silica blue it’s a perfect picture opportunity that we can’t miss so we head for the viewing carriage.
After taking a minute to embrace the views with our own eyes Laura is getting glued to her camera and is taking hundreds of pictures those views are so stunning and so unique throughout New Zealand that we can’t miss those perfect picture opportunities.
The landscape is just so diverse between the large plains with colourful lupin flowers and the rugged snowy mountain peaks and background it’s just amazing Laura can’t stop taking pictures.
Reaching the Arthur’s Pass Station we get about 10 minutes to embrace the views while there’s two locomotives being added to the front of the train because it’s now gonna be heading through one of the longest train tunnels in the world which is the Otira Tunnel.
The Otira Tunnel is that long that it needs an extra locomotive added to the front just in case there is a breakdown in the middle of these mountains. And it was the second longest tunnel in the world when it was constructed back in 1923.
The tunnel is actually that long that I end up picking the on board magazine and doing my first suduku ever. Are we there yet, Laura?
Yes, after 8.5km we finally see the light of day as we cross into the West Coast of the South Island where the views again dramatically change to luxuriant rainforest.
We arrive in Greymouth where surprise surprise we are treating ourselves to some more food.
Because we are taking the journey back and forth to Christchurch we actually only have about an hour to explore the little township of Greymouth before the train comes back to pick us up. But there is heaps to do in Greymouth and we wrote all about it on BackpackerGuide.NZ and the link in the description below.
The journey back is taking us the very same way it’s more of the same and we’re not complaining we are planning to do more of the same and order even more food.
Because this is gonna be our dinner we are making it a real Christmas dinner we are taking ourselves some roast. And all the food served on the train is actually by a company called Wishbone which owns multiple cafes here in New Zealand and the food is actually surprisingly delicious despite being sous-vide.
We are treating ourselves to some awesome roast stuffed chicken and some New Zealand lamb shank and because it’s Christmas we are treating ourselves to some wine as well locally sourced in the Marlborough region right on top of the New Zealand South Island.
We also take the time to meet some other people in the train. this is a couple from the US which is spending their honeymoon right here in New Zealand and is having an absolute blast but to be quite honest there are two things that Laura and I cannot get enough of during this train journey. First, it’s the stunning views they’re absolutely amazing and I love the viewing carriage which offers uninterrupted views of the Southern Alps and second, well it’s the food because we’re both really greedy and as soon as we hear it’s the last call for the cafe we rush there to grab ourselves a last treat.
Yum, yum, yum, that was both a delicious and stunning train journey but for us it’s time to depart the TranzAlpine Express as we arrive back into Christchurch. And keep watching we have much more planned in both Christchurch city and Bank’s Peninsula.
This travel diary is going to be extremely lengthy today because the longer I talk the longer I stay on that chair.
Too comfortable. Ain’t moving.
Is it recording? Just making sure.