Arthur's Pass, NZ and the Tranz Alpine Train

Old Jul 1st, 2007, 09:14 AM
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Arthur's Pass, NZ and the Tranz Alpine Train

We have an opportunity in January to ride the Tranz Alpine train fom Christchurch to Arthur's Pass and return by motorcoach. We will not go all the way to the west coast and the glaciers. Will Arthur's Pass and the scenery going and returning provide stunning mountain views? Does the Tranz Alpine stop at all for photographic opportunities? Is Arthur's Pass dramatically scenic?
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Old Jul 1st, 2007, 01:50 PM
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Views - very good. Stunning- dramatic? I'm not sure if I would use those words. But I may be jaded from my previous travels.

Photo stops - No.
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Old Jul 1st, 2007, 02:01 PM
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I think that it is a fine trip up to Arthurs Pass. The tracks cross several impressive ravines with great scenery, and you finally end up in the middle of the Southern Alps at the Pass. The train does not stop until Arthurs Pass. The Pass is quite beautiful and scenic, although I'm not sure I'd say it is dramatic - certainly not breathtaking (IMO).

I'm curious why you are taking a motorcoach back - why not return via the train? You will get 4-5 hours at the Pass before you return, which will be plenty of time for walking around and eating lunch. You can book this trip as the TranzAlpine Day Excursion.
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Old Jul 2nd, 2007, 04:15 AM
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It's all relative. I travelled from Greymouth to CHC some years ago and it is a fondly remembered journey. Grey as grey could be till Arthurs Pass - and on the other side - glorious sunshine and - yes - some very nice scenery.

It's not the Karakoram which truly is stunning, awesome - but it's a trip well worth doing.

Having said all that - my trip was in April and not in Kiwi summer.

Does that make a difference, I wonder
?
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Old Jul 2nd, 2007, 05:44 AM
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We Took the train from Christchurch to Greymouth in November 06. I would concur with those above that the views are beautiful but I would not say stunning or dramatic compared to some other places we have been. I think it has been suggested on these pages that one sits on a certain side of the train to best enjoy the views.
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Old Jul 2nd, 2007, 07:58 AM
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The right side generally faces the mountains.
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Old Jul 2nd, 2007, 07:07 PM
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The right side when westbound, the left side when eastbound, right?
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Old Jul 2nd, 2007, 07:20 PM
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I think so.
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Old Jul 3rd, 2007, 08:27 AM
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That's right -er - correct.
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Old Jul 3rd, 2007, 07:50 PM
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Just a thought. If you are just going to the pass and back, why not drive. You will have much more freedom to pull off the road at the many photo ops and short hiking opportunities.
As I said, just a thought.
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Old Jul 4th, 2007, 03:11 AM
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I and my family enjoyed our trip in the Transalpine - it is good to sit there and watch for the period of time but I would not call it a must.

the seating is really irrelevant - i thought it was important but because of the massive windows on both side it makes no great difference - see my trip report
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