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Tranzalpine express

Thursday, June 1, 2006

The TranzAlpine travels from coast to coast on New Zealand's south island and is rated as one of the world's great scenic railway journeys. It travels between Christchurch and Greymouth, through the Canterbury Plains, farmlands, gorges and river valleys of the Waimakariri River.

Each day the train climbs into the Southern Alps, through lush beech rainforest, across five viaducts and through 16 tunnels. An open viewing car allows uninterrupted photography.

The train passes through little towns along the way — Springfield, Moana and Brunner, with brief stops just to pick up and drop off passengers.

At Arthur's Pass the stop is long enough for a leg stretch and photo opportunities. It is in the heart of the Southern Alps and the highest of the mountains have glaciers, tussock basins, flowering herbs and alpine grasses. Winter snow makes it all very beautiful and passengers generally want to stay longer than the scheduled stop.

The journey is 223.8 kilometres and takes 4½ hours. In the days when the Maori people took greenstone or jade from east to west, it took 20 or 30 days!

There is a café serving hot and cold food, tea and coffee. Each day, a lady from Springfield boards during the short stop to sell homemade, still-warm muffins.

The TranzAlpine is ideal for a weekend away or holiday highlight.


Across the centre of New Zealand's south island


TranzAlpine fares start at $47 per person for a four hour one-way trip. They run regularly every day.

Air New Zealand has flights to Christchurch. Sale and validity dates apply.

One-way fare from;
  • Sydney, $328
  • Melbourne, $333
  • Brisbane, $336
  • Adelaide, $437
  • Perth, $549
  • Darwin, $882

Please note that the prices listed are valid at the time of filming.

For further information

New Zealand
Ph: 0011 64 4 495 0775
Fax: 0011 64 4 472 8903

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