“In the warmth and comfort of the carriage, coffee in hand, it was a great pleasure to take in the ever changing scenery.
“If you ever have the chance to go on the TranzAlpine, take [it]!”
On 30 June & 14 July, nine lucky GrownUps winners went on a trip of a lifetime – taking a ride on the five hour TranzAlpine train route from Christchurch to Greymouth.
It’s one of the four great journeys of New Zealand, an experience our winners highly recommend. Not only would winner Rosie go on the TranzAlpine trip again, she’s, “raving about it to others!”
If you’ve heard about the route, which transports passengers through some of New Zealand’s most breath-taking vistas, you mightn’t be surprised the spectacular views were a highlight of the trip for many.
Mareese says, “The Alps were snow covered, and glistening in the crisp blue sky, looking very regal. At times, I felt like I could just reach out and touch them, as they seemed so close.”
Rosie’s highlight was: “The snow-capped mountains in the distance in the frosty morning sun getting closer and closer until we were surrounded by their majesty! Stunning scenery, especially looking down into the Waimakariri River.”
Of course, it’s easy to enjoy stunning views when carriages are purpose-built to provide panoramic windows. Richard, who drove over Arthur’s Pass on his honeymoon wanted to traverse it by train to celebrate his 50th anniversary. He was particularly impressed with the wide windows which, “allowed us to see from the bottom of valleys with braided rivers to the tops of snowy peaks.”
The train also offers an open air viewing carriage, which passengers can freely stroll to. Richard said:“, Going to the open air observation carriage took my breath away both literally and figuratively – it was a very cold but spectacular encounter with the landscape that allowed me to take photos without reflections off window glass. That was probably the highlight for me.”
Many of our winners have loved trains and rail travel their entire lives. Rosie says she has, “a passion for trains and went from Auckland to Wellington several times as a child; trips that were magical to me.”
A sentiment also shared by Doug, who remembers, “being fascinated by trains in my childhood [and] this fascination remains strong today, making this trip most enjoyable for myself.”
And of course, there’ve been some great advances in train design since our winners were young. Richard was impressed by the modern New Zealand designed and built rail carriage. He remembers that his, “previous encounters with rail in New Zealand were long, slow overnight treks on the North Island main trunk in second class, going from Auckland to Palmerston North back in the 60s.”
“So you can imagine what a pleasant surprise the TranzAlpine was!” Richard says.
Lindsay describes the facilities as, “first class.” Rosie agrees, saying that the seats were very comfortable and spacious – and provided, “excellent visibility,” of the landscapes.
The audio commentary system was a hit with our winners. Patsy says that it was, “great hearing about the area as it is now and was in the past,” and Richard says that, “the commentary on the headset filled in a lot of gaps in my knowledge of the region and its history.”
So do our winners recommend this journey? We’ll let them answer that!
“I would recommend this trip to anyone to see this beautiful part of our country.” Doug
“I would definitely consider going again, and I would also recommend this trip to be on anyone’s bucket list. For me personally, I would … incorporate it with some other activities on the West Coast, or continue on from Greymouth with a rental car to explore the region further.” Mareese
“We had a wonderful trip away loved every minute of it … would love to another a trip on the tranzalpine again would be nice when snow is fully down around the area would be so great to see and also in the summer I can imagine the landscape would also give you a completely different view.” Patsy
“I would love to go again in summer to see the changes in the countryside.” Lindsay
Have you been on the TranzAlpine route? Would you recommend it to others? Let us know in the comments below.
Or take the journey yourself – visit http://greatjourneysofnz.co.nz/tranzalpine to book your trip.