Tranz Alpine Express to Christchurch

Nov 13th, 2009, 08:18 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: Jun 2007
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Tranz Alpine Express to Christchurch

Is this train Journey higly recommended??? Is it better to take the train to Cristchurch or drive??
Piya is offline  
Nov 13th, 2009, 01:43 PM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 1,283
Hi Piya,

Yes, it's highly recommended and rated as a "top train experience". By the way, there's no "Express" in the name, it's just TranzAlpine.

Can't really comment if it's better or not than driving, it's just a matter of personal preference.

Hope this is helpful!


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wlzmatilida is offline  
Nov 13th, 2009, 01:48 PM
Join Date: Jan 2003
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Hi Piya -

We took the Tranzalpine on our first visit to NZ. We enjoyed it, but have chosen to drive on subsequent visits. If you take it, I strongly suggest you take it only one way, arranging for a rental car pick up in Greymouth and continuing down the West Coast from there.
Melnq8 is offline  
Nov 27th, 2009, 10:58 AM
Join Date: Sep 2004
Posts: 6
I definitely agree with Meliq8. We took the train from Christchurch to Greymouth and pickup our rental car there. We drove up to the Pancake rocks and then down to Hotika for 1 night. This helped break us into driving on the left side without learning this in a big city!
jgh1944 is offline  
Nov 28th, 2009, 04:31 PM
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Good advice above Piya. We took the Tranzalpine from Christchurhc to Greymouth then picked up a hire car and headed down the coast BUT we returned the car to Greymouth and caught the Tranzalpine back a few days later.

Definitely would recommend only going one way.
stormbird is offline  
Nov 30th, 2009, 01:48 PM
Join Date: May 2009
Posts: 292
It is unclear to me if you are starting from Greymouth or from Christchurch, or asking whether you should do both ways.

I believe that some people say that driving westward involves a steep decline on a mountainous road. Any comments?
Bert867 is offline  
Nov 30th, 2009, 02:14 PM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 15,734
Bert - It's been a few years since I made the drive west over Arthur's Pass - yes, it's steep and winding, but I don't recall it being any different than other mountain passes I've driven. Then again I'm from Colorado, where steep mountain passes are a way of life.

The Otira Viaduct replaced a troublesome section of the road 10 years ago.

Details on the drive can be found here:
Melnq8 is offline  
Dec 4th, 2009, 07:33 PM
Join Date: Oct 2009
Posts: 22
Hello Piya,

This is a great area, and driving or rail, you will not be disappointed. I think what will be key to consider are things such as:

- is it just you taking the journey? If so, perhaps the train presents a better option as rather than being focused on the driving you can enjoy the scenery.
- what time of year are you planning on traveling? This can make a difference if the weather forecast presents possible heavy snow or icy conditions, making the driving conditions also a little more challenging.
- if you also seek another option, perhaps consider taking a tour that includes the rail in one direction and coach return in the other.

Hope this helps - you will love New Zealand I am sure. Safe travels, [email protected]
Lisa_SeeANZ is offline  
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