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Tranzalpine from Arthur's Pass to Christchurch in Summer

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lafayette hill, pa...
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Tranzalpine from Arthur's Pass to Christchurch in Summer

We are going to be on an escorted bus tour which ends in Christchurch. On the last day, we go to Lake Tekapo. We can then get to Christchurch, either on the TranzAlpine Train from Arthurs Pass or continue by coach through the Rakaia Gorge to Christchurch.

We will be doing this on Feb 9, 2012. I've seen lots of comments re this, but most of them have been about winter, or doing the whole trip. Given that this is summer, and that we are only doing part of the train ride, would you recommend doing it by train or taking the coach?

If you do recommend by train, and given that we're going to Christchurch, I should try to get the A-B seats, right?

TIA

Wellington, New...
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1. Re: Tranzalpine from Arthur's Pass to Christchurch in Summer

Which seat you get is really irrelavant as every seat has great viewing. I would have thought in summer that a coach trip from Arthurs pass would be the most scenic and I have found the views on the train coming back into Christchurch in the evening disappointing. Coaster who travels this route daily is very complimentary of the coach trip

Christchurch, New...
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2. Re: Tranzalpine from Arthur's Pass to Christchurch in Summer

I don't quite understand the route. If you are on a tour leaving Tekapo surely you will all travel through Rakaia Gorge to Arthurs Pass & drop off those who have opted to pay extra for the train trip - OR will they provide a more direct alternative for those staying on the coach (Mt Somers to Darfield then east to Chch instead of west to AP?). Arthers Pass is worth seeing so the question is whether you will see it from the bus if you don't opt for the train.

lafayette hill, pa...
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3. Re: Tranzalpine from Arthur's Pass to Christchurch in Summer

Thanks for the advice. I looked at the map, zhuhai2007, and, you're right, it doesn't make sense. So, I've written to the tour company to find out whether everyone goes to Arthur's Pass or not. It seems to take them a while to respond as they have to contact the actual tour operator.

Assuming that we all do go to Arthur's Pass, then it seems like my best experience is to stay on the coach.

However, if we all get to see the Gorge, but the only way to get to see Arthur's Pass is to take the train, would you guys suggest taking the train, or taking the coach?

What if (somehow) one has to choose between Arthur's Pass or Rakaia Gorge, which is better?

Sorry for the multiple options, but this affects when I can leave Christchurch, and, thus, when I can fly home, and I'd like to make my flight reservations as soon as I can.

Thanks, again, for your help.

lafayette hill, pa...
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4. Re: Tranzalpine from Arthur's Pass to Christchurch in Summer

OK. I was able to get a response from the tour company. As zhuhai2007 suspected, everyone goes from Tekapo through the Rakaia Gorge. At Darfield, those wanting to do the Tranz-alpine trip are bussed along SH73 to Arthurs Pass train station where we would take the TranzAlpine to Chirstchurch. Those wanting to stay on the coach will just go from Darfield directly to Christchurch. (Sorry for just relying on the brochure, and giving you incomplete information earlier).

Given that, and your comments above, it would seem like I should take the coach to Arthur's Pass, and then the TranzAlpine back to Christchurch, right?

Christchurch, New...
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5. Re: Tranzalpine from Arthur's Pass to Christchurch in Summer

Hi, this is a very long winded way for you to get to experience the TranzAlpine but the good news is that the most dramatic scenery is on the short section between Arthur's Pass and Springfield and after that the coach and train would practically follow each other side by side. So certainly worth it.

With a little bit of luck you may be among the first ever to ride the brand new carriages which are due to be added to the TranzAlpine around Feb 2012.

Dublin, Ireland
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6. Re: Tranzalpine from Arthur's Pass to Christchurch in Summer

As you mentioned earlier, if you can - try to get a seat on the left hand side of the train (not sure of how the seat numbers work). The majority of the scenery will be on that side and you wont have to be leaning across people if you want to take photographs.

Edited: 18 July 2011, 21:13
Greymouth, New...
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7. Re: Tranzalpine from Arthur's Pass to Christchurch in Summer

An interesting Itinerary, If I read it correctly, your last night is in Tekapo, there is no way that you would be im darfield in time to catch a train to Arthur's pass.

It looks more likely that the bus would go from Tekapo to Arthur's pass in time to catch the train to Christchurch, and if you choose not to take the train, then travel the section of road from Springfield / Arthur's pass twice over the Porters pass.

lafayette hill, pa...
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8. Re: Tranzalpine from Arthur's Pass to Christchurch in Summer

Hi Coaster2:

I did not mean to imply that we'd be taking the train from Darfield to Arthur's Pass, but, rather that the tour would split (around Darfield), and some of us would go BY BUS to Arthur's Pass to take the train to Christchurch, while others would go (by another bus) from Darfield to Christchurch.

I think that's what you're saying, too, and assuming that's the case, I plan to go to Arthur's Pass on the bus and then take the TranzAlpine back to Christchurch. It means extending my trip by a day, but that seems to be worth it.

If I've misunderstood you, please let me know.

To all of you, thanks for taking the time to help.

9. Re: Tranzalpine from Arthur's Pass to Christchurch in Summer

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