Christchurch > Greymouth > Christchurch

Jul 07, 2011

I had a brilliant day on the Tranzalpine train from Christchurch to Greymouth, New Zealand, and back. 

If you'll be in either city on trip to the South Island, I wholeheartedly recommend taking a day to take the roundtrip. It is a beautiful breather. 

It's an early morning departure, but these colors and shapes lets me know I am in the right place. 

Caveat: I had a GREAT day... and I was traveling on a July weekday. I don't like crowds and was blissed out to be in a quiet car. If you're traveling in the height of summer, it may be a wholly different experience.  

The first big chunk of the trip was flat, sheep, flat, sheep.

We had a quick stop in Springfield with this posted. 

Springfields are EVERYWHERE. 

Weather was lovely the first couple hours and then it got craptastic.

The scenery was still stunning! There was an open air car to take pictures from on one end and a tiny open platform on the other.

When I first stepped out I was hit hard by cold wind. It reminded me of going to the top of Jungfrauwoch in Switzerland last December, but like 60 degrees warmer. ;^)

Having that Swiss Alp experience then and the NZ Alp experience now makes me feel like a very Lucky Brandy.

Being a Brave Minnesotan, I weathered the open platform for a long time before I finally needed to warm up my icy fingers. Icy rain kicked in and it was just too much to handle.

I headed to the snack bar, hoping, hoping there would be a gluten free and warm something for me to eat and warm up. 

I gotta tell you, this baked potato and coffee was pretty much heaven. 

Greymouth was so very gray with tons more of icy rain. Only an hour in town before the train headed back.

It was super dark and gloomy. I could barely see the alps through the clouds/fog/weather. But the scenery was still gorgeous and oh-so-dramatic!

I so enjoyed sitting back and watching the world roll by. I really do love a train ride.

Today was far easier than Jungsfrauwoch which I think was 4 trains each way from Zurich. I was totally wiped out by the end of that 8-train day in the December cold. 

Sure, I'm a bit worn by the cold rain, but exhilarated. 


Update from Future Brandy: This day still stands out as one of my favorite days full stop. So darn thankful for the experience.

It was far more about the mood and quiet time watching the landscape roll by, than snapshots or an experience with New Zealanders or culture.

Taking the 278 miles/446 kilometres round trip in one day anchored a sense of NZ's scale in my mind and my body. 


Want more posts like this in your Inbox? Sign up here for Brandy's weekly newsletter. 
After clicking Submit, check your email to confirm your subscription.