Tranz-Alpine wonderment

We woke reminded that we were in fact, in the depths of winter.
It felt like London on a January morning. Grey, overcast, foggy mist, drizzle. Not that appealing for a trip on one of the worlds best train journeys.

We got comfy on board, apparently with the whole carriage to ourselves, and set off through Christchurch. More people joined us at the first station so we were no longer alone! We continued to look out with expectation.

“On our left we have Mount Hutt, one of the most spectacular peaks in the trip……on a clear day that is…..” said the rather un sympathetic tanoy voice. Ho hum.

But spectacular it is, despite the grey. The higher we got, the more spectacular it got and more amazing the feat of engineering it was. We glimpsed mountains through the clouds and wondered at the rivers cutting their way through the gorges. We had ourown little private outside viewing bit – the main one for the rest of the train was at the front and packed out! there was only ever 2 or 3 of us on this one.


After Arthurs Pass (Rory, please note the sign and the careful application of apostrophe tippex, even here!!) we headed through an 8km tunnel, the longest in the empire (does that still count?). As we came out the tanoy annonced a welcome to “the west” and with it, someone turned on the lights and the blue sky! Glorious is an understatement…….


The rest of the journey into Greymouth was gorgeous, lush and green up against the pure white snow, the rocky outcrops up against the blue sky, the water up against the deep green forest.

We picked up our hire car and headed south down the west coast, heading towards our overnight stop in Franz Josef Glacier. I will be a bore about this, but mountains with snow on are simply amazing. Was I deprived of mountains as a child or something, why is each view just as exciting as the last? Why do i snap away with the camera and end up with a squillion pictures of the same(ish) thing? Oh well, here it is… I share the beauty with you…. if you want to see the rest ask me in seprember!! No apologies for being a bore……

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