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Train Travel from Picton to Christchurch on 17-18th September 2014

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My wife and I will be traveling in NZ from 9th -20 Sept 2014. We have booked our tickets to arrive in Auckland in early September and depart from Christchurch on 20th Sept 2014. We were planning to go to Christchurch from Wellington by taking the Inter Islander Ferry either on the17th or 18th and take the train then on from Picton to Christchurch. To our dismay we are unable to book our advance passage on the train as on all the dates concerned they are all blanked out and there is a message on the website that trains will only resume services in October. 2014 onwards, I am presuming that trains will not run in September.

If this is true it leaves us with no option but to drive to Christchurch. What I would like to know how are the driving conditions in September ( being early Spring) on these roads...do the cars need snow tires and chains. Sad to say I am not at all familiar with their usage. What other alternative do I have ? Your advice and views will be most appreciated.

Thank you

Moorthy

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