by train in New Zealand is
a fantastic experience but only possible in some routes. I
will try to explain better: NZ, the land of the long white clouds,
has a small population which does not economically justified
a passenger line exception for transportation of minerals, timber and
the 40 million sheep around. There are few trains that are primarily
for tourist passengers. As a tourism line they offer spectaculars
rides for anyone visiting New Zealand.
Travelling by train in
North Island, there is only one train line, which is the train from the city of Wellington to Auckland (and vice versa). The
name is Overlander, and takes 12 hours to complete the trip
stopping by several small towns along the way. Some of these
stops are the Tongariro National Park and many medium-sized cities such as Palmerston North and Hamilton. The train is very comfortable with dining car,
bar and the so-called "Observation Carriage", an open
wagon where tourists can take photos of cliffs, gorges, crossing rivers, volcanoes and forests,
and countless sheep that will require an extra memory card to photograph all of them. The fare is
around NZ $ 90
promotional price and it is practically the same price to go the same route by plane.
Travelling by train in
is a must, just do not forget a
good jacket, a camera, take extra memory cards and batteries.
The Tranzscenic operates all trains North and South
Island in New Zealand and you can buy online. http://www.tranzscenic.co.nz/
South Island also has only
two lines, but those two are able to make a Kiwi fly,
so beauty are of the places in the way ( weather permitting).
The first route is called "Coastal Pacific" and runs from Picton to Christchurch (and vice versa
). The seats are lined with sheepskin, so tourists
could feel like a King or a Queen. The on-board service is impeccable, highly
delicious meals (charged separately), and stunning wines
that you will see double the number of poles along the route. All
this comfort through green valleys, beautiful cities of which
you never heard about and spectacular views of the Andes mountains near Kaikoura. At
some points, the train goes really close to the sea, almost on the
beach (see photo at the top of the page). The one-way trip per person in
a promotional price costs around NZ $ 60, with a duration of 5 hours
that will goes flying (unless big Luiz is on board, and in this case
he will be gone in the first hour after drinking all the wine).
Do not forget to go to the wagon in the end of the train to take pictures
(and please take a good sweeter).
route is called 'TranzAlpine' and as the name says,
it crosses the Alps out of Christchurch, to the quiet
little town of Greymouth on the Tasman Sea. This journey is so spectacular that even
big Luiz gets contemplative. It was voted one of the most beautiful train journeys in the world. The journey
has 223 km, passes through 16 tunnels and 5 viaducts, being the highest with 73 meters of pure defiance. The train goes down the mountainsides, with
snowy peaks around, going into river valleys with crystal
waters reflecting the colours of the landscape. One after another,
beautiful landscapes at every turn. In this train there is also an open wagon for photos, where you can freeze
your great moments of the trip as well as your soul. The trip takes 4 ½ hours but it seems much less, unless you travel all the time the wagon
taking pictures (but be aware hypothermia, the temperature
drops specially when the train enters in the tunnels, it seems
like it falls to minus - 1000 degrees).
another coat, the train is going in the tunnel!