The Tranz-Alpine train operates between Christchurch, Arthurs Pass and Greymouth - from the east coast to the west coast of New Zealand's South Island.
The views are spectacular, one of the cleanest quality of air I’ve seen in a long time! As seen from the map, you travel west crossing the Canterbury Plains and the spectacular gorges and river valleys of the Waimakariri River. You’re basically heading from the Southern Alps to the alpine village of Arthurs Pass for a short break before descending through the Otira Tunnel to the West Coast of New Zealand's South Island, crossing lush alpine beech rain forests to Greymouth – a great base for visits to Punakaiki and the always popular glaciers at Franz Josef and Fox Glacier.
Talking a little bit about the train itself, it’s carriages have advanced air bag suspension system for quieter and smoother travel, un-tinted, non-reflective, panoramic side and roof windows to capture the beauty of the Southern Alps and alpine forest landscape views of the central South Island, GPS triggered journey commentary in five languages at your seat via headphones, plus information displays and overhead HD video and are centrally heated/air conditioned for passenger comfort.
This train has a café carriage offering a range of alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks, snacks and light meals and an open viewing carriage for views of the Southern Alps and alpine rain forest landscape of the South Island's west coast.
You can also travel from Greymouth along the west coast down to Franz Josef, Fox Glacier, Wanaka, Queenstown, Milford Sound or up to Punakaiki, Westport, Nelson and back to Christchurch by scenic bus/coach.
Another option on this scenic train service can be on RailBus New Zealand's Christchurch to Franz Josef and Queenstown or the Queenstown to Franz Josef and Christchurch scenic travel journeys. You can maybe take a day excursion from Christchurch to either Arthurs Pass or Greymouth travelling on the Tranz Alpine train.
So, sit back and enjoy a genuine kiwi rail experience through the rugged Southern Alps and alpine rainforests of the South Island!