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“Another NZ wow experience”
Review of TranzAlpine Train

TranzAlpine Train
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$399.22*
and up
Arthur's Pass National Park with TranzAlpine Train Small Group Tour from...
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$326.22*
and up
Full-Day Alpine Safari 4WD tour including TranzAlpine Train from Christchurch
Ranked #4 of 239 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: Food available for purchase, Bathroom facilities, Wheelchair access, Activities for older children, Activities for young children
Jamaica
Level 6 Contributor
315 reviews
117 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 159 helpful votes
“Another NZ wow experience”
Reviewed November 23, 2013

Not sure to be disappointed or not. We got a phone call from kiwirail the night before advising of the first half from Greymouth would be by bus to Arthurs Pass the rest by the train. W were assigned seats on the train (good so you don't have to fight any pushy person - NZ has lots of PRC citizens). Food and beverage car (courteous and professional staff) in the middle of the train and an open air standing only observation car at the rear. The trip took the same amount of time as it were all the way by train. Awesome scenery.
It was never explained what was causing the change but others i spoke to say it has been going on for awhile. Anyway kiwirail is unpredictable so be prepared for any transport means and don't get too uptight if there is a change. Remember this is rated as one of the world's best train rides.

Visited November 2013
Helpful?
2 Thank im44
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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English first
Level 2 Contributor
8 reviews
3 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 6 helpful votes
“Disaster of a trip - check the small print”
Reviewed November 23, 2013

Easily the worst trip we went on while in New Zealand.
We went one way from Greymouth to Christchurch in early November and arrived to find out that part of the journey had been replaced by coach. Apparently this was "clearly stated" in the very tiny small print at the bottom of the tickets, but we were not informed of this when we booked.
Once the coach arrived, the drivers seemed to take great delight in making everyone wait outside for an excessive amount of time before boarding.
The coach trip was excruciating - our driver turned his microphone to top volume and spent 2.5 hours uninterrupted telling us his life story among other very uninteresting facts about dinosaurs. This was verging on torture.
The air conditioning on the bus was also not working, so it was very hot and stuffy, especially at the back.
Half way to Arthurs Pass the bus broke down. The driver announced that he didn't have any way to contact anyone for help and that he intended to sit a wait for someone to come and rescue us. And so we waited... for an hour. One passenger resorted to hitch-hiking in an attempt to find a way to get help! Luckily the train crew realised there were 60 people missing and came to collect us with a new bus. Miraculously the old bus then became fixed and ended up arriving at the train station before us...(?)
We all started to wonder whether this was some kind of hidden camera show as surely a company that runs these trips every day could not be so unprofessional and unprepared for a break-down?!
Finally we made it to the train which was very comfortable and the views were actually really great. But it could not make up for the disaster of the last 4 hours...
We would NOT recommend this trip!

Visited November 2013
Helpful?
1 Thank SHKGS
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Kent, United Kingdom
Level 6 Contributor
308 reviews
140 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 229 helpful votes
“You need the weather to make the most of this trip”
Reviewed November 19, 2013

A very good trip and service. We prefer the seating for views on the right hand side, rows C AND D going from Christchurch and on the left hand side coming back.
Observation car good for photography. Cafe ok for coffee but for food limited and very expensive. Take your own food.
The weather was ok for us although no blue skies or sun. This would greatly improve the views, as everything looks so bleak without the sun or blue skies. So it is really pot luck.
Overall we thoroughly enjoyed the trip, but had to return the next day as I left my glasses on board. Thank goodness the staff found them and handed them in. Many thanks and much appreciated

Visited November 2013
Helpful?
Thank Mike1946
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
Level 5 Contributor
72 reviews
30 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 37 helpful votes
“Not so much bang for the buck”
Reviewed November 19, 2013

The Tranzalpine train was much recommended by our guidebook, but for the cost of a round-trip, we found only some of it spectacular. About half of the scenery on this train which travels from the Pacific ocean on NZ's east to the Tasman Sea on it's west is ordinary. The best views are brief, and high in the mountain passes where we looked down steep gorges to pale braided rivers below. The train itself is new and very nice with great leg room and big windows. However, at Arthur's Pass, due to construction we were transferred to a very crowded bus with no leg room and an elderly driver who repeated his same commentary on the return trip. At Greymouth, we had very little time to grab lunch and head out for a brief glimpse of the Tasman sea before re-boarding the bus. I would recommend going just one way Christchurch to Greymouth, then going on down the west coast to the glaciers, or getting off at Arthur Pass and taking a leisurely hike (there's a waterfall we learned) while waiting for the train to head back to Christchurch.

Visited November 2013
Helpful?
1 Thank Paola010
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Betchworth, United Kingdom
Level 6 Contributor
222 reviews
70 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 69 helpful votes
“A train ride to remember”
Reviewed November 17, 2013

A great train ride over the NZ alps ... Beautiful scenery ... The train was great too ...a good cafe and an open air look out carriage which was cool (fun as well as weather!!)

Visited November 2013
Helpful?
Thank Belinda C
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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