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CarlPost5 Sep 29th, 2004 07:10 PM

TranzAlpine and Arthur's Pass

We will be visiting New Zealand for the first time in November and have a question about the TranzAlpine train journey.

Should we take a roundtrip from Christchurch-Greymouth or should we take the roundtrip from Christchurch-Arthur's Pass ? My concern with the Greymouth roundtrip is that it is almost a 9 hour train journey and that the return trip might not be too exciting.

Is the Arthur's Pass-Greymouth segment worth the trip ? Also, if we dont take this, we have about 5 hours in Arthur's Pass - any recommendations on what we can do there ? We will not have a car and driving back one way from Greymouth or Arthur's Pass is not an option.

Thanks in advance for any input into this dilemna !

ALF Sep 29th, 2004 07:21 PM

I think that the track from CChurch to Arthur's Pass is much more scenic than the track from Arthur's Pass to Greymouth (a significant portion is in a tunnel). Unless you intend to go to Greymouth and head down the west coast, I don't see it as worthwhile to go all the way. There isn't much at Arthur's Pass, a couple of restaurants and shops. You can eat lunch, then take a walk on one of the nearby trails. I'd recommend the Devil's Punchbowl hike, which goes to a nice waterfall.

CarlPost5 Sep 29th, 2004 07:33 PM

Thanks ALF. Any more tips on what to do at Arthur's Pass?

On the train ride from CHC-Arthur's pass, I read someplace that it is better to sit on one side of the train. Is that true ?

Since I am directionally challenged ;-), can you please tell me if I should sit on the left or right hand side of the train for the CHC-Arthur's Pass trip ? How about the return ?

Thanks !

Dick Sep 30th, 2004 08:55 AM

We did the roundtrip to Greymouth and it was a mistake.

IT was too much time on the train..killed the day. Same scenery on the way back as the way out.

ALF Sep 30th, 2004 12:27 PM

Here is a list of short walks in Arthur's Pass:

We have only done Devil's Punchbowl and Bridalveil Track - both have some very nice views.

I think it would be best to sit on the starboard (right side, facing forward) to get the best views of the waterfalls and cataracts as you go over the many trestles that wind up to Arthur's Pass.

CarlPost5 Sep 30th, 2004 04:31 PM

Thanks ALF !

So sit on the right facing forward on the CHC-Arthur's Pass segment and on the left on the return then ?

ALF Sep 30th, 2004 06:53 PM

Yes, right side up to the Pass, left side down to CChurch. Also, bring a warm jacket so you can get some views from the open carriage at the back of the train.

dhui Nov 4th, 2004 11:58 PM

agree that the train ride is too long..
the ride from CH to Greymouth takes 4.5hrs while a drive would just take 3 hrs.

as I m going from CH to Franz Josef Glacier, think if I should take the train from CH, get off @AP and rent a car to go Glacier?

Kiwi_acct Nov 5th, 2004 02:08 AM

Hi there dhui

Not so sure about the availability of rental cars in Arthurs pass. The town is VERY small. Chances are if you got a rental there you would be paying a relocation fee at the least.

You would be better off going into Greymouth and getting your rental there. (Make sure you prebook) there are car rental places at the railway station.



ALF Nov 5th, 2004 05:07 AM

I am quite sure that there are no car rental agencies in Arthur's Pass. If your destination is Greymouth, then you should either rent a car in CChurch and drive over, or take the TranzAlpine and rent in Greymouth.

dhui Nov 5th, 2004 08:05 AM

thx, Steve and ALF!

if then, I would take the train to Greymouth and get a car from there.

Any ideas on how long does it take to drive to Franz Josef Glacier area?

dotty Nov 5th, 2004 12:26 PM

hi, dhui,
It's about 3 1/2 hours driving time from Greymouth to Franz Josef. When in Greymouth go north for a few kms to Punakaiki and the Pancake Rocks and blowhole. South from Greymouth takes you past Hokitika which warrants a visit, especially to the Jade factories.
To Alf and Steve, thanks for the info about the AP / Grey section of the trip. My husband and I were wondering about doing the round trip in January when down in Chch for a couple of weeks, will now look at just the section to AP. I'm sure we can amiably fill in some time over a coffee and a couple of little strolls, rather than in a tunnel! Have done the drive several times over the years, time for a change.

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