Fields of yellow rape on Canterbury Plains Mt Hutt behind New Zealand
Colin Monteath/© Colin Monteath
Between the rugged coastline of the Banks Peninsula and the snowcapped peaks of the Southern Alps, the Canterbury Plains, formed by mountain rivers, make up one of New Zealand’s most fertile regions. The aerial view of the patchwork of green farms intersecting at Charing Cross has become an iconic New Zealand image. The plains are traversed by the TranzAlpine train, a scenic rail journey sweeping from Christchurch to Greymouth on the South Island’s west coast, taking in Arthur’s Pass National Park, the glacial Waimakariri River and many of Canterbury’s hill country farms.
TranzAlpine Scenic Journey From Christchurch
When I heard that the TranzAlpine Scenic journey from Christchurch to Greymouth is considered as one of the most beautiful train journeys in the world onboard the TranzAlpine train, it was obvious that this was something we could not miss. It was also the best mode of transport to make our way from Christchurch to Fox Glacier Village with the final leg of the journey from Greymouth via a very comfortable InterCity bus. The TranzAlpine train passes through 16 tunnels and over 5 viaducts through some very dramatic landscapes of snow covered peaks, frozen glacial rivers, beech forests and river valleys. There couldn’t be a better introduction to the West Coast of New Zealand’s South Island. You want to be spend most of your time in the viewing deck, the views are fantastic. Don’t forget to take your jacket.