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“Beautiful journey but very touristy!”
Review of TranzAlpine Train

TranzAlpine Train
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$38.53*
and up
TranzAlpine Train Pass from Christchurch to...
Ranked #8 of 257 things to do in Christchurch
Certificate of Excellence
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Attraction details
Recommended length of visit: More than 3 hours
Owner description: The TranzAlpine is a long-distance train between Christchurch and Greymouth, from one coast of New Zealand to the other. Unlike normal passenger trains, the TranzAlpine is designed to provide a window to New Zealand's best scenery, with large reclined seating and huge panoramic windows. The spectacular TranzAlpine journey begins by roaming through the vast farmsteads of the Canterbury Plains to the spectacular gorges and valleys of the Waimakariri River. The TranzAlpine then ascends into the majestic Southern Alps to Arthurs Pass National Park, before descending through lush beech forest to the West Coast town of Greymouth - a great base for visits to Punakaiki and the always-popular glaciers. All services feature panoramic windows, reclined seating, GPS triggered at-seat commentary, a fully licensed cafe, toilets, and open air viewing decks. The TranzAlpine is operated by The Great Journeys of New Zealand, and runs daily throughout the year.
Useful Information: Wheelchair access, Bathroom facilities, Activities for young children, Food available for purchase, Activities for older children
Reviewed July 25, 2013

I recently made the trip to Greymouth and back for work when the road was closed due to snow and really enjoyed myself. The scenery really was exquisite! The fresh snow made everything vivid and beautiful - even the boring farmland!

The train itself was pleasant. The carriages have been fitted nicely and were far from full. The staff were pleasant and not continuously hovering! The food was disappointing - pricey as I have begun to expect from tourist institutions, limited in range and in volume and everything was heated in the microwave! I do understand that there are limitations on what can be done on a train but I felt that the effort put into making refreshments available on a 4 hour expensive journey was very poor. It was especially criminal that they microwaved what would have otherwise been a very decent Steak and Cheese pie!

The trip itself was a little amusing in that we ran almost an hour over time. This was predominantly due to several minor issues - a section of track that was damaged necessitating several kilometres travelling at walking pace and the points were frozen (after only a mild frost!) and could not be defrosted hence we had to backtrack several kms to take a different track!

My other issue was that of the price - as a tourist oriented venture it seems that Tranzrail think they can charge the earth! Apparently it is even more expensive if you book from overseas!

Overall, I do recommend this trip - especially over winter when it has been snowing as it really is stunning and the train itself is very well set-up. Just make sure you take your own snacks!

Thank HutJa
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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2,241 - 2,245 of 2,716 reviews

Reviewed July 20, 2013

Very comfortable journey (apparently the carriages were fairly new) - the seats were cosy and head rests altered so when you dozed off your head was supported. As we were 4 people travelling, we had seats with a table in between us, which was very handy. The carriages were clean and the staff were regularly removing the rubbish. Viewing platform had easy access and staff would advise of the times when it needed to be closed when approaching the long Otira tunnel, due to fumes. Headsets are handed out at the beginning of the journey providing you with intermittent commentry about various points of interest (really well done).

Cafe food was of good quality and reasonably priced (often you expect that you are going to be ripped off when you are in a "captive" environment).

Last but not least - the purpose of the journey is generally to see close up some of the wonderful views, and from east to west and return, the wow moments continued. A must do on our list, now ticked off.

A fantastic day out, very relaxing with world class views with wonderful staff.

Thank Kiwilanders
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed July 18, 2013

This is one of the great NZ rail trips. However, The prices charged by Tranzrail are ripping off tourists and making some of the most scenic parts of New Zealand out of the price range of New Zealanders. The staff were great and the trip was New Zealand countyside at its best. The first half of the trip to Arthurs Pass is easily the most scenic.

1  Thank Mike P
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed July 16, 2013

We did the TranzAlpine in mid June. The train is not full.
We took it at Christchurch and heading to Greymouth.
There are stunning views along the way, especially Arthur's Pass is just stunning!

The most fab thing is the open area cabin. If you are not afraid of chilly winds, you can definitely get many awesome photos at that cabin.

1  Thank Candyho
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Reviewed July 12, 2013 via mobile

I got a cheap deal online ($59) so thought 'why not?' And booked it, despite it not being my kind of thing.

I'm glad I did though!
They pick you up for free in the morning, and the staff are super friendly.

The views are simply stunning, and I like that you can get off and stretch your legs at 2 points along the way.
The commentary was good, and the food wasn't as expensive as I thought it would be.
The train is comfy, the outside viewing platform doesn't really give you much better views than sitting inside though I don't think, and there were lots of tourists making a person-free photo difficult.
All in all it was a good experience and I recommend it!
The intercity wait for you to go to glaciers too, even though we were delayed.

2  Thank E B
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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