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Ride the Rails - Coastal Pacific and TranzAlpine 2020

6-12 March 2020

Download PDF Itinerary

Double or twin share $2,760.00

Single Accommodation $3,360.00

Deposit to confirm booking $460.00

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Ride the Rails- Coastal Pacific & TranzAlpine 2020

Join us as we take you on a journey to rediscover the joys of train travel. Ride the scenic Coastal Pacific (Blenheim to Christchurch), and the world renowned TranzAlpine (Christchurch to Greymouth) excursions. Take a steam journey on the Weka Pass Rail and a rainforest excursion on the West Coast. Uncover some of the unique history of NZ rail and talk to genuine railway enthusiasts.

Due to nature of this tour, a level of basic fitness, together with a flexible attitude, is required.

Day 1

Friday 06 March - Travelling to Picton

A leisurely start from all destinations today as we are transferred to Wellington and meet at the ferry terminal for an afternoon sailing across Cook Strait to Picton.

Upon arrival we make the short transfer to our Picton accommodation, The Picton Yacht Club Hotel, where we settle in before dining in together this evening.

Day 2

Saturday 07 March - Coastal Pacific to Christchurch

This morning we visit the Marlborough Museum, based at Brayshaw Park in Blenheim, which highlights the rich history of early Marlborough.

It is from here we join the Blenheim Riverside Railway - an 11km train excursion along the banks of the picturesque Taylor River from Brayshaw Park Station to Beaver Station, located in Riverside Park. We have time for lunch (included) before boarding the Coastal Pacific train. Featuring an open-air viewing carriage, this journey allows a scenic feast of southern New Zealand, with the Kaikoura mountain ranges on one side of our train and the rugged Pacific Ocean coastline on the other. We will be dining on board this evening (included and pre-ordered). We are met by our coach and driver and transferred to our Christchurch accommodation, Pavilions Hotel, where we stay for the next two nights.

Day 3

Sunday 08 March - Ferrymead and the Weka Pass Railway

This morning we visit the extensive Ferrymead Heritage Park featuring an Edwardian township, including a historic railway station, workshops and model railways to name but a few of the exhibitions/museums on site.

A favourite with some is the vintage machinery and hall of flame (fire engines). Today is the park’s monthly Steam Day, therefore, we enjoy not only a train excursion but also ride a number of their historical trams.
We enjoy a picnic lunch today and this afternoon we journey out to Waipara to join the historic rural Weka Pass Rail excursion from Glenmark Station to Waikari and return. Our train today will either be their 1909 Pacific ‘A’ class Pacific steam loco no. 428, the only one of its type still operating, or one of their equally impressive Dg class Diesel-electric locos, built in 1956 and weighing over 65 tons. We return to Christchurch, dining in again in anticipation of our early start to board the TranzAlpine next morning.

Day 4

Monday 09 March - TranzAlpine to Greymouth

We rise with the sparrows to journey on the TranzAlpine train through to Greymouth - rated as one of the world’s great scenic railway journeys!

The trip is 223.8kms long and takes four and a half hours. There are 16 tunnels and 5 viaducts, the highest being The Staircase, standing at 73m. Commentary is provided, and a souvenir books may be purchased on the train. On arrival in Greymouth we have time to stroll around town and enjoy lunch of our own choice and cost. This afternoon we join the Monteiths Brewery tour to experience firsthand the making of Monteith’s fine beers, finishing with a generous tasting. We dine in early tonight at The Ashley Hotel, following a couple of very full days.

Day 5

Tuesday 10 March - Charleston Nile River Rainforest Train and Denniston

This morning we take a trip to Charleston where we join the Charleston Nile River Rainforest Train to experience the spectacular landscapes of the Nile River Canyon in Paparoa National Park.

We continue north to the historic coal mining town of Denniston. Here we meet the “Friends of the Hill” a small but extremely dedicated group whose mission it is to preserve a unique piece of New Zealand history. We will hear the stories of life on the Plateau and the famous Denniston Incline, described by local residents as the “eighth wonder of the world” and recognised the world over as an amazing engineering achievement. The site is also featured in Brian Scott and David Leitch’s book “Exploring New Zealand’s Ghost Railways”. We then take a drive down to the top of the Incline brakehead for an opportunity to wander and explore this historic site, which also offers magnificent views down to the coastal plains of the Karamea Bight (if the weather permits). Winding our way back down the hill, we return to Westport for a welcome dinner and bed at our accommodation, the Westport Motor Hotel.

Day 6

Wednesday 11 March - Westport to Nelson

This morning we make our way through Inangahua and the lower Buller bush-clad gorge featuring Hawks Crag.

We make a stop at the remains of the Kawatiri Station for a stroll around and a chance to explore the tunnel and a bridge constructed as part of the old Nelson railway but never used - a site also featured in “Ghost Railways”.
We have time for a picnic then continue on to central Nelson, for a cuppa and short look around (time permitting). We then visit Founders Heritage Park, home of the Nelson Railway Society. We dine in tonight at our Nelson accommodation, The Hotel Nelson.

Day 7

Thursday 12 March - Travelling Home

Departing Nelson this morning we follow State Highway 6 passing through Rai Valley, stopping at Pelorus Bridge and Havelock for a leg stretch.

Bypassing Blenheim, we travel on to Picton where we have lunch (own cost) prior to departure on our afternoon sailing which will return us to Wellington. Here we farewell fellow travellers and are transferred to our respective home towns.

The cost of the tour includes

  • All coach travel
  • Interislander Ferry transfers
  • Good quality motel or hotel accommodation
  • 2 course or buffet evening meals
  • All breakfasts
  • Morning teas on coach travelling days
  • Entry Marlborough Museum, Blenheim
  • Train excursion Riverside Railway, Blenheim
  • Train journey Coastal Pacific
  • Entry, train & tram rides Ferrymead, Christchurch
  • Train excursion Weka Pass Railway, Waipara
  • Train journey TranzAlpine
  • Tasting and tour Monteiths Brewery, Greymouth
  • Train excursion Nile River Rainforest Train, Charleston
  • Friends of the Hill Museum, Denniston
  • Entry Founders Heritage Park, Nelson
  • Train ride and guided tour of workshops Nelson Railway Society
  • Lunch Days 2, 3, 5, and 6 as per itinerary

Departure Detail

The door to door transfers on the Tranzit Travel Club tours are such a bonus. Being picked up at my door and dropped back after our travels made things so easy! - Liz Black