One of the top ten railway journeys in the world, this is an absolutely magical experience. The train goes once a day from Christchurch on the west coast of the South Island to Greymouth on the east and back, traversing some of the most spectacular scenery from the Canterbury Plain near Christchurch to the Southern Alps, stopping at Arthur's Pass high up in the mountains.
An outside observation carriage in the centre of the train enhances the feeling of being closer to the contrasting scenery (fleece and gloves needed!). Allocated seats, checked-in luggage and lovely waffles make this an unmissable experience.
Return journey from Christchurch (early start) or one way from Greymouth (lunchtime departure). I did the latter as I started from Nelson, taking a six-hour bus journey to Greymouth along almost deserted roads and past amazing scenery including part of the Buller River used in The Fellowship of the Ring, and the Punakaiki Pancake Rocks and blowholes.
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