The train ride is beautiful - one of the most recommended train rides in the world according to several sources we've read. The terrain is quite varied - we saw farms, hills, river gorges, mountains, and several river villages on the way down. There are also many tunnels, with the longest being 8.5 km - we were in the dark for quite a while. Given the recent snow in New Zealand, not only the mountain tops were white but much of the surrounding hillside and lower reaches of the mountains were also snow-covered.
We sat across from and talked to two very nice folks from Christchurch. We periodically walked up to the open-air observation car to take photos of the passing countryside. Willie, our conductor, kept giving us all facts about the route, with some New Zealand humor thrown in (example: "this area is noted for the spotted kiwi, which is seldom spotted").
We'll let the photos do the rest of the talking.
|Entering the Southern Alps|
|A river gorge in the mountains|
|Paul outside the train at the Springfield stop|
|Another gorgeous gorge...|
|Snow capped mountains in the Southern Alps|
|The train at Arthur's Pass, high point of the tracks|
|Top of the Southern Alps|