TranzAlpine – Explore Hokitika

Jump aboard the TranzAlpine scenic train and explore Hokitika in style. Travelling through the Southern Alps to Greymouth you’ll be wowed by the vistas from your window – from the Canterbury Plains, over viaducts, through the Otira Tunnel and out into the lush green tropical landscape of the West Coast. Matched with a couple of sightseeing tours to provide you with a more personal West Coast experience.

You’ll board the TranzAlpine scenic train in Christchurch, ending your epic rail journey in Greymouth where you will be met for your tour to the Shantytown Heritage Park. The village was constructed and opened in the early 1970s and consists of 30 re-created historic buildings, born out of the desire of the Greymouth community to preserve the West Coast Gold mining history. Over the years they have gifted a collection of thousands of artefacts. Its a great place to experience the gold rush days and listen to some old stories, enjoy a Stream Train ride, try your hand at Gold Panning, visit Chinatown, or take a short walk in the rainforest. There is also King Dick’s café to enjoy a lovely lunch or snack while you explore the history.

Hokitika is described as a ‘cool little town’, a delightful West Coast town with plenty on offer to see and do. This is where you will be based for your short break. A great way to introduce you to the old port town of Hokitika and what life was like in the mid-1860s gold-rush times is to read Eleanor Catton’s book The Luminaries. It’s a captivating read full of interesting characters. Many of the locations described in the book can still be found as you wander around town. With a free day to explore, enjoy the vibrant arts scene, delve into eclectic mix of independent stores, soak up the pioneer spirit at the Hokitika museum, watch the glass-blowing masters at work, seek out your very own personal Pounamu, or simply relax at some of the many fantastic eateries and enjoy some true West Coast hospitality. And don’t forget to check out the famous West Coast sunset from the beach!

Before heading back to Greymouth for your return trip to Christchurch you’ll be taken to the famous Hokitika Gorge along with the Treetops Walkway to immerse yourself in the some of the West Coast’s natural wonders. Take a short walk to view the beautiful blue green waters of the Hokitika gorge. The walk takes you first through dense native forest to a viewing platform where the vibrant water will take your breath away. At Treetops Walkway you’ll experience a walk amongst the canopy of the mature rimu forest on a 450 metre long elevated steel walkway, viewing tower and gently swaying cantilever. Spectacular views can be had of nearby Lake Mahininapua, the surrounding forest and the Southern Alps.

At the end of your tour you’ll be dropped off back at the Greymouth Railway Station for your return TranzAlpine rail journey to Christchurch. Sit back and unwind, reflect on your trip to the Coast or hang out in the open-air carriage to get some lasting snapshots of the scenery in reverse.

Please contact LOCO for any pre/post travel arrangements we can help you with.

TranzAlpine Booking Classes

The TranzAlpine has recently brought in two distinct service levels to their train journey. Both classes are worthy of what you pay, and both a thoroughly enjoyable way to make the most of your TranzAlpine train experience.

Scenic Class Experience

Glide through the heart of New Zealand’s beautiful scenery in Scenic Class carriages, with epic landscape views filling your window while you relax in your seat.

In Scenic Class you’ll experience spacious reclined seats with generous amounts of legroom and comfort, panoramic windows, glass shelves and skylights. And to heighten your comfort, state-of-the-art airbag suspension has been used to guarantee a smooth ride across our rugged New Zealand terrain.

While onboard, you might like a stroll to the Scenic Cafe carriage where you’ll find a great selection of hot and cold snacks, drinks and ice creams. Indulge in a freshly brewed specialty tea or barista coffee married with a sumptuous cake? Or perhaps toast your special journey with a bottle of bubbles?

The Scenic Cafe opens for coffee and breakfast before the train departs and continues serving throughout the day. You can take a seat in the Scenic Cafe carriage and feast upon the views whilst eating. But you are also welcome to return to your seat to dine and drink if you would prefer. The day is yours to do as you choose! 

During the hot summer months, the Open-air Viewing Carriage is a great place to get some fresh air and enjoy the great outdoors while on the move. You can whittle away the hours chatting and gazing out upon spectacular scenery and wildlife. It is also that perfect place for capturing those magical views on camera.

Learn the stories of our land while you travel by plugging into the Scenic Class Audio Commentary at your seat. The commentary provides a seamless stream of stories, narratives and facts about the places outside your window and is available on all three Scenic Class services, including the Northern Explorer, Coastal Pacific and TranzAlpine.

Scenic Plus Class Experience

Inside the refined Scenic Plus Class carriages, it’s more than just a journey. You’ll be treated to fresh food, captivating commentary, great hosting and spectacular views, all delivered to your seat while you ease back and enjoy the journey. There really is no better way to discover New Zealand. 

At the heart of the Scenic Plus experience is the refined Scenic Plus Class carriage, with huge panoramic windows, glass shelves and skylights, bathing you in those gorgeous coastal and mountain landscapes. 

With freshly prepared food inspired by the fields that glide past your window and regional wines to match, you’ll be immersed in the flavours of our land. As you admire the views our Scenic Plus hosts will recount the stories and histories of the passing landscapes and landmarks. 

When you step off the train, you will have experienced some of the best New Zealand has to offer. 

Duration: 3 Days

Price: From $719 NZD

Departure From: Christchurch

Departure Date: Long Weekends (Fri-Mon) until 29 March 2021

Tour Type: Short Break

Physical Grading: 2

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Departure Dates & Timetable

  • The TranzAlpine will operate a limited edition ‘long weekend’ service, operating Friday, Saturday, Sunday and Monday until 29 March 20201.
  • A daily service will operate during school holidays, 25 September to 12 October 2020
  • There is one departure each way on operating days.
  • The TranzAlpine departs Christchurch at 08.15 arriving into Greymouth at 13.05.
  • The TranzAlpine departs Greymouth at 14.05 arriving in Christchurch at 18.31.
  • You must be at the station at least 30 minutes prior to departure.

Tour Inclusions

  • Return train journey on the TranzAlpine
  • 2 nights accommodation at the Bella Vista Hokitika in a King Studio room
  • Shantytown Heritage Park and Gold Panning Tour
  • Hokitika Gorge and Treetop Walkway Tour
  • A personalized service with local knowledgeable guides offering full commentary.
  • Comfortable, modern van with electric doors, air conditioning, tinted windows and microphone.
  • Dropoff and pickup from accommodation

Pricing Notes

  • Advertised price based on per person twin share, subject to availability
  • Duration of the Tours: Shantytown Heritage Park and Gold Panning Tour at 2pm after the TranzAlpine train arrives and Hokitika Gorge and Tree Top Walkway morning tour brings guests back for the departing train.
  • Accommodation is based on room only – continental breakfast can be added for NZD $15 per person.
  • Single supplements available on request
  • Price is subject to change unless paid in full

Tour Itinerary

Day 1: Christchurch to Hokitika
Your journey begins at the Christchurch Railway Station, where the iconic TranzAlpine awaits. Often regarded to be one of the world’s great train journeys for the scenery through which it passes. The journey is 223 kilometres oneway, taking almost five hours. You will see epic vistas, travel the edges of the ice-fed Waimakariri River, traverse the majestic Canterbury Plains and Southern Alps, and see miles of native beech forest. On arrival into Greymouth Railway Station you will meet your tour group for a trip to Shantytown Heritage Park. Shantytown has lots to offer including a Stream Train ride, Gold Panning, Chinatown, short walks and also King Dick’s café to enjoy a lovely lunch or snack while you explore the history. The Gold Rush village is living history in a recreated gold-rush village. Real experiences, real stories and a warm welcome awaits you… Visit the Museum, Steam Collection and Foundry, enjoy a Steam Train ride, visit Chinatown and the Sawmill, watch the Holographic Theatre and take the opportunity to go panning for Gold. Visit Shantytown’s sweet shop, jade and gem store and their onsite cafe. After your visit you will be transferred to your accommodation in Hokitika, the 'coolest little town' in NZ. Your accommodation is at the Bella Vista Hokitika which is only a stone’s throw from the town centre. Walk into town tonight for dinner at one of Hokitika's great restaurants.
Today is a free day to explore Hokitika. Check out the arts and crafts scene! Watch the glass-blowing, try your hand at stone carving. If you are feeling energetic follow the Heritage walking tour loop around town that takes in interesting Goldrush sites, buildings, statues and views. There are information panels along the way that bring the history to life. In the late afternoon be sure to head to Sunset Point to watch a spectacular West Coast sunset.
This morning you will check out of your motel before being picked up for your Hokitika Gorge and Treetops Walkway tour. The famous Hokitika Gorge is a magical place with its vivid turquoise water surrounded by lush native bush. Take a leisurely walk among the West Coast rainforest and listen to the birdlife on the Treetops Walkway. Thrill seekers will feel their hearts beat and the adrenalin rush as they climb to the top of Hokitika Tower 40 metres above the forest floor. Check out the sensational vista of the majestic snow capped Southern Alps, Lake Mahinapua and the Tasman Sea. At the end of the tour you will be transported back to the Greymouth Railway Station for your return TranzAlpine Rail journey to Christchurch where the tour ends.

For more information about this tour, price queries and updates on specials, please Enquire Now.