The TranzAlpine is just a train ride from the west coast to the east coast of the South Island, right? Don’t you believe it! Riding this train is like sitting in a theatre watching a 3D nature film unfold. No wonder National Geographic, in 2017, rated this journey as one of the 10 most scenic in the world. It’s spectacular and ever-changing.
TranzAlpine facts and highlights:
- Start the journey in Greymouth or Christchurch and finish at the other end.
- The full journey travels 223 kilometres in around 4.5 hours.
- See twisting rivers and peaceful lakes backdropped by the Southern Alps as the train ascends through the lush green landscape of the often wet West Coast.
- Pop in and out of 15 short tunnels and soar over four breath-taking viaducts, including the 72-metre high Staircase Viaduct.
- Pass through the 8.5 kilometre Otira Tunnel, the longest in the Southern Hemisphere when it was completed in 1923.
- Travel through beech forest that grows for miles in Arthur’s Pass National Park in the heart of the Southern Alps.
- Cross over the braided Waimakariri River, witnessing its gorges and valleys.
- See the farms and fields of the Canterbury plains stretching out forever.
- Catch a glimpse of the tiny towns of Moana, Otira, Arthur’s Pass, Springfield and Darfield.
- Get outdoors in the open-air carriage. It’s perfect for photography, and you can breathe in the mountain air – it’ll give you an appetite for dinner in Christchurch.
- Relax in spacious reclined seats in carriages with panoramic windows, glass shelves and skylights giving awesome views.
- Like a guided tour, a commentary includes history, culture, legends and landscape descriptions plays through the provided headphones on every seat on the places you pass by.
- Don’t go to sleep between Springfield and the township of Arthur's Pass. This section with its tunnels and viaducts crossing deep gorges is considered a railway engineering masterpiece and by many people the most spectacular part of the trip.
- Qualmark Gold Award - Endorsed Visitor Activity.