The Tranz Alpine for a Day

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August 9th 2016
Published: August 9th 2016
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We slept in a manner of speaking for our first night in the van. Pillows are 2 thin little wafers, blankets one thin quilt, so our little electric heater went flat out all night. A visit to an op shop is on the cards very soon for 2 more pillows, a blanket, plus a basin for carrying washing up, umbrellas, door mat, and a fry pan with a lid.
And to make it even more tough we had a 6am start in order to catch to 8-15am departure of the TranzAlpine express.This train takes you from the Christchurch train station, on the east coast of the South Island, through the Arthur's Pass and onto Greymouth which is on the west coast. Two vastly different climates, west being temperate and wet, east dry and cold.The train carriages are equipped with massive windows, heating, comfy seating, on board bar and cafe car, as well as licensed throughout. There is a front open carriage for better picture taking, and stops along the way.We were blessed with a sunny cloudless day, and a massive snow fall 3 days ago, making each turn a picture perfect experience.There is an hours stop in Greymouth, which is the largest town on the West Coast, founded by early gold and coal miners, with fishing, tourism and beer brewing current draw cards.Yes the trip is pricey, but so very scenic. It cost us $800- return. Once in a lifetime, one of the great train trips of the world.The train line goes over huge high viaducts, through 15 tunnels including the 8 km Otira tunnel and takes you up to an elevation of over 700metres. You wind your ways through the valleys and passes, over huge rivers and right beside the mountains.

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