A Travellerspoint blog

The TranzAlpine


View 2011 TranzAlpine Rail Journey on alexchan's travel map.

large_5550_13157303728256.jpgOn the Canterbury Plains heading towards the Southern Alps.
Today we took what was described as one of the most beautiful rail journeys in the world ... the TranzAlpine from Christchurch [Christchurch-travel-guide-1139252] to Greymouth on the West Coast, passing through the Southern Alps including Arthurs Pass.

As it was spring, we could see the mountains were still beautifully snow-capped. It was sunny and the snowy peaks were very nicely illuminated.

We took the return journey an hour after we arrived as it was the only way we could fit it into a standard weekend. At this time of year, the light was weakening by mid-afternoon and the scenery was nowhere as bright. The waters of the Waimakariri River weren't as blue as in the morning and neither were the skies.

For this time of year, I'd recommend travelling ex-Christchurch if you can only do the journey in one direction.

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Posted by alexchan 17:00 Archived in New Zealand Comments (0)

The devastated beauty


View 2011 TranzAlpine Rail Journey on alexchan's travel map.

large_5550_13157299226593.jpgThe devastated city centre.
The heart of Christchurch [Christchurch-travel-guide-1139252] is one of few places in New Zealand that looks old ... this is a fairly young country compared to, say, Europe. The city centre had a good collection of buildings that made New Zealand look like it had some architectural history. Unfortunately a lot of this was destroyed in the earthquake of February this year.

We drove around the "red zone" which is still a restricted area and saw for ourselves the damage. The daily lives of many people and businesses have not yet returned to normal. Business owners can't get into their shops, employees cannot get to work ... or worse, they've lost their jobs.

In the evening, we had dinner with my friends from school and uni days. It was Stephanie's birthday. I was born in the same hospital as her ... just one day earlier. We could have been swapped at birth!

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Posted by alexchan 17:00 Archived in New Zealand Comments (0)

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