The TranzAlpine Train is one of the world’s most scenic rail journeys. Covering 139 miles, it travels between between Christchurch and Greymouth on New Zealand’s South island. On the way you’ll get to see some of the world’s most amazing natural landscapes including the snow-topped Southern Alps, Arthur’s Pass, the ice-fed Waimakariri River and acres of beech forest. You can travel one way or stop off for an hour in Greymouth before taking the train back in the afternoon.
Prices from: NZ $179
Departing from: Christchurch
Journey length: 5 hours
The TranzAlpine Train route
The TranzAlpine train runs every daily (except Christmas Day), leaving Christchurch at 8:15 am, reaching Greymouth at 2:05 pm. The journey begins in Christchurch on the east coast of the South Island. The beginning of the journey crosses farms on the Plain of Canterbury, before reaching Springfield, where the Southern Alps begin. The section of the track between Springfield and Arthur’s Pass town is one of the best examples of railway engineering in New Zealand. Heading north-east, the route passes by the Waimakariri River gorge as it climbs to the high plains of Craigieburn.
As the train reaches Arthur’s Pass, you’ll discover one of the most beautiful views in the country – as the TranzAlpine crosses the Waimakariri River. From Arthur’s Pass the train travels through the 8.5km long Otira Tunnel to the west coast where you will find the scenery lusher and greener. As the train heads towards Greymouth, passengers can enjoy the views of the Otira and Taramakau rivers as well as jaw-dropping Lake Brunner.
The TranzAlpine Train
The TranzAlpine’s train’s carriages have been specially designed for sightseeing with non-reflective side and roof windows. You can also enjoy the sights from an open-air carriage too. On the air conditioned and centrally heated carriages, headphones are provided so you can listen to commentary in five languages. On board you’ll also find a licensed café which serves hot and cold food, as well as tea and coffee, wine and beer.
Why we love it
Volcanic New Zealand is one of the world’s most beautiful countries and this cross-island train offers visitors the chance to enjoy some of the most stunning views in the world from the comfort of a purpose-built train.