Tranzalpine Train

Nov 7th, 2005, 03:19 PM
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Join Date: Jan 2005
Posts: 1,276
Tranzalpine Train

We are planning to be in Christchurch and the South Island in June/July 2006 for about 6 days. A friend of ours who is from that area suggested that we rent a car and drive to Te Anau to do the Milford Sound/Doubtful Sound part of our trip and then drive up to Greymouth, leave the car there and take the train back to Christchurch. I am wondering if it makes more sense to do it the other way? Train first and then drive back? I am not sure what the times are on the train, but I want to make sure we have the best possible daylight hours so that we can see the countryside as we travel. Any thoughts? How would I find out the train schedule and costs? Thanks for all of the help on the website. I am SO looking forward to this trip and now we are down to the nitty gritty.
jcasale is offline  
Nov 7th, 2005, 11:01 PM
Join Date: Jul 2004
Posts: 204
Hi, jscsale,

I am planning a trip to the SI in December and have just booked our tranzAlpine train tickets.

For the timetable and other information of the train, go to:

Happy planning.
maxi is offline  
Nov 8th, 2005, 04:33 AM
Join Date: Oct 2005
Posts: 255
The Tranzalpine departs from Christchruch in the morning (around 8 am), reaches Greymouth in the afternoon (around 12pm) and leaves Greymouth at 2 pm to return to Christchurch around 6pm. I'd rather do the journey in the morning (as I did in September 2004 during my NZ holiday) than evening .. but its really a function of your itinerary.
ANUJ is offline  
Nov 8th, 2005, 05:06 AM
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Thanks to both of you for the info. I am leaning toward morning also. Then we can just start driving when we get to Greymouth and maybe make it to the glacier area that afternoon.
jcasale is offline  
Nov 8th, 2005, 05:49 AM
Join Date: Jul 2004
Posts: 468
keep in mind that if winter comes early there could be snow on some of those roads. The Milford sound road (homer tunnel) gets closed with avalanches hazards. But it could also have no snow and be sunny. Just be prepared to alter your plans.
wilees is offline  
Nov 18th, 2005, 11:30 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 5,546
When you get to Greymouth, consider first driving a half hour north to see Punakaiki rocks. If you stop for lunch, you will reach FJ by early evening.

Note that there are discounts for students, seniors, and other deals. Make your reservation as soon as you reasonably can, and note the cancellation rules.
Jed is offline  
Dec 1st, 2005, 12:30 PM
Join Date: Dec 2005
Posts: 2
Hi...We went to NZ in 2004 and stayed at The Croft in Te Anau. A wonderful self contained cottage overlooking Lake Te Anau. This is a wonderful base to see Milford Sound.
Regarding the train trip to Greymouth. We drove from Christchurch through Arthurs Pass to Greymouth and spent a night in Greymouth and caught the afternoon train back to Christchurch before flying out. The reason for this was that they slug you an extra charge if you start your rental from Greymouth. All the car rental places are at the train station, so it is easy to drop the car and hitch a train ride. It is daylight on the train trip until the last hour, when most of the good scenery is passed. The train trip itself is wonderful. We went in August. Good luck with whatever you decide.
Donalea is offline  
Dec 2nd, 2005, 06:22 AM
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Thanks for the recommendation on the B&B in Te Anau. It looks wonderful. As for the one way rental, I was able to find a fairly decent rate with nzrentacar that would allow us to pick up the car in Greymouth and drop it off in Christchurch. The only requirement is that we keep the car for 6 days, which I think is exactly what we plan to do, so it all works.
jcasale is offline  
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