The tranquil village of Moana is a small settlement situated on the northern edge of Lake Brunner, amidst a stunning backdrop of mountains and ancient forest. And what better way to experience this paradise than on LOCO Journey’s TranzAlpine Moana Magic Escape.
Lake Brunner is the largest lake in the region and an incredibly popular location for water recreational activities including fishing and boating, summer swimming and walking.
There are not enough words to describe the peacefulness and tranquillity of Moana and Lake Brunner, New Zealand’s best kept secret.
TranzAlpine Moana Magic Highlights
Our TranzAlpine Moana Escape is primarily designed to get you there and home via the TranzAlpine including your accommodation, but there are plenty of highlights to enjoy
Return journey to Moana on the TranzAlpine train from Christchurch
2 nights accommodation at Lake Brunner Hotel
Continental Breakfast each morning
Enjoy soaking in Lake Brunner Hot Tubs
World class fishing both river and lake available all year round, upon own arrangements
Water activities including kayaking, swimming and boating, upon own arrangements
Star gazing under the clear, unpolluted night skies
Seven Department of Conservation walks (see below)
Glow worm grotto to explore
Bike tracks to enjoy
Bird watching in swamps and wetlands
A pristine, rainforest ecosystem
Rich Maori and European history
Historic and current gold mining trails to explore
TranzAlpine Moana Escape – Featured Walks
There are plenty of different walks to enjoy, some departing directly from the village, others a little further away.
Lake Side Walk: 1 hour (Return)
Access: Cross the Arnold River swingbridge then continue left along the lakeside
Highlights: Starting our list with a simple stroll along the shores of Lake Brunner, the Lake Side Walk is not so much a trail but more like a walk along the lake’s pebble beach closest to Moana town. This is a popular picnic spot to soak up the views of the lake and the mountains beyond!
Carew Fall Track: 1 hour (Return)
Access: 50m from the Lake Brunner Lodge, Mitchells, on the southern end of the lake. Alternatively, you can take the water taxi from Moana.
Highlights: While in the Lake Brunner area, go see an impressive waterfall! (Yes, another waterfall in New Zealand). This moderate walk gently climbs a mixed podocarp forest before continuing more steeply to the base of Carew Falls!
Velenski Track: 20 min (one way)
Access: Sign posted in Taku Street, Moana
Highlights: The best time to do this easy walk is at night when the glowworms are shining their brightest. Otherwise, a daytime walk will give you views of Lake Brunner and the native forest and bird life.
Rakaitane Track: 45 min (loop walk)
Access: Over the Arnold River outlet of the lake via the swing bridge, sign posted to your right.
Highlights: Delve into this mixed podocarp forest filled with mosses and fascinating trees. The easy track provides some great views of the Arnold River.
Bain Bay Track: 2 hours (Return)
Access: Outside of the Lake Brunner Lodge, Mitchells, on the southern end of Lake Brunner along the Kumara-Inchbonnie Road. Alternatively, you can take a water taxi to Bain Bay from Moana.
Highlights: This easy track provides another awesome perspective of Lake Brunner with its mountain backdrop. Walk along boardwalks through native forest to find old relics of timber mills at Bain Bay (which is also the site of a Department of Conservation campground). Bain Bay is the perfect spot for swimming, especially in summer with the warm lake heated up thanks to its dark waters.
Arnold Dam Walkway: 45 min (loop walk)
Access: Found 7km towards Greymouth from Moana along the Arnold Valley Road. The hike starts at the Arnold Dam Power Station.
Highlights: The title of the walkway is pretty explanatory of what you will see. Yes there will be a dam at the end, but the walk will also show you what our wonderful rainforest has to offer… Plus, you get breathtaking views of the Arnold River on this moderate level walking track.
Ara O Te Kinga Track: 1 hour return to the first lookout; 3 hours return to 3rd lookout point, 6-7 hours return to the summit of Mt Te Kinga.
Grade: Moderate-Difficult (depending on the length of the journey)
Access: The hike starts at the Iveagh Bay freedom camping area.
Highlights: See that mountain over there? Do you want to climb it? Course you do! A real Lake Brunner adventure awaits on this day trip to the summit of Mt Te Kinga. There are three lookout points along the way overlooking Ivegh Bay and surrounding landscape. From the third lookout, follow the marked route up to the open tussock-covered mountain top. As this is a summit hike, be prepared for a lot of uphill climbs, especially past the first lookout.
The TranzAlpine Train
A highlight of your TranzAlpine Moana Magic Escape is your return train journey to and from Christchurch. One of the world’s most celebrated train journeys, your getaway escape will start as soon as you board your train for your 4 hour scenic extravaganze. From Christchurch, Moana is the last stop prior to the train terminating in Greymouth. As you alight alongside the beautiful Lake Brunner, be satisfied that you have enjoyed the best of this iconic journey.
When it is time to leave the shores of the beautiful Lake Brunner, you have a choice as to which way to travel. It may be you want to travel to Greymouth for more West Coast adventures. Or, at an additional cost and subject to availability, you can complete your TranzAlpine train experience to Greymouth departing at midday before returning to Christchurch. The included option for this your as costed in the tour price, is to leave Moana at mid-afternoon giving you more time to enjoy this wonderful destination before returning directly to Christchurch.
TranzAlpine Train Inclusions
TranzAlpine Return Journey
Licensed Cafe for snacks, hot drinks and meals
Terrific audio commentary telling the stories of what you can see
Air Conditioning and heating for those cooler days
Enjoy the open-air viewing carriage for that photo opportunity
TranzAlpine Moana Escape Accommodation
Situated in the centre of Moana on the shores of the West Coast’s largest lake, Hotel Lake Brunner offers quality accommodation, food, drink and a great atmosphere. Contemporary studios and apartments offer a comfortable stay while you enjoy everything this wonderful destination has to offer.
For a detailed itinerary of the TranzAlpine Moana Magic Escape, the TranzAlpine timetable, departure days, and fare conditions, please see below.
For alternate TranzAlpine Escapes click here, and for a wider selections of South Island rail packages featuring the TranzAlpine and other rail journeys, click here
Departure Dates & Timetable
TranzAlpine operates daily departures until 01 May 2023
The TranzAlpine does not operate on Christmas day.
The train typically operates on Friday, Saturday, Sunday and Monday during winter months.
There is one departure each way on operating days.
The TranzAlpine departs Christchurch at 8.15am and arrives into Moana (Lake Brunner) at 12.05pm
The TranzAlpine departs Moana (Lake Brunner) at 15.03pm and arrives into Christchurch at 19.00
You must be at the station at least 30 minutes prior to departure.
Please advise if you wish to leave Moana (Lake Brunner) and travel through to Greymouth and then return to Christchurch. Different timings are required and the price will also change.
Return TranzAlpine Rail Journey from Christchurch to Moana (Lake Brunner) in Scenic Class
If you wish to return to Christchurch via Greymouth, an additional charge will apply and is dependent on availability.
2 nights accommodation at Lake Brunner Hotel, Moana in a Lake View Studio Suite including continental breakfast
1 x hot tub session for 2 adults.
Advertised from price based on per person twin share, subject to availability
Single supplements available on request
Pre/post flights or other travel arrangements are available on request
Lake Brunner Hotel Hot Tubs: There are two hot tubs, 3 x sessions, 10.30 – 12 noon, 2.30 – 4pm, 7.30pm – 9pm.
They will supply towels and drinking water, pre arranged platters can be arranged and hotel bottle store is available between 11am and 11pm for purchase beverages.
Your morning begins on board the TranzAlpine, one of New Zealand's most scenic train journeys. At your seat, you can listen to the location-triggered headphone audio-commentary as the train meanders out of Christchurch and across the Canterbury Plains. The cafe carriage is available for passengers to enjoy food and beverage or takeaway back to your carriage seat. The Train also has an open-air carriage, perfect for those photographers wanting to capture some of the stunning landscape. The train winds up through the Waimakariri River Valley over dramatic viaducts and through 15 short tunnels, including the 72-metre high Staircase Viaduct. This section of the journey up into Arthurs Pass in the Southern Alps is stunningly beautiful. The train stops briefly at Arthurs Pass Station before entering the 8.5km Otira Tunnel, descending through to the West Coast where the landscape becomes quite different. The scenery becomes more green and vibrant as you are nestled intimately between the mountainous hills with the rugged, broad, riverbeds meandering alongside the tracks. At Inchbonnie the TranzAlpine loops back on itself to head around the lush lake valleys to Moana, on the banks of the spectacular Lake Brunner. You arrive into the cute little station overlooking the lake and after disembarking from the train, its a 5 minute walk to the Lake Brunner Hotel. You walk across the overbridge and follow the road up before turning right into Ahua Street where you will find the Lake Brunner Hotel, your accommodation for the next 2 nights. After checking in, enjoy a spot of lunch at the Kingfisher Restaurant and Bar. This afternoon is yours to explore at leisure. Explore the lake edge or take a 40 minute wander up to Kotuku Pottery. A special place to visit, they make all the pottery by hand from mugs to sculptures - salt glazed and coal fired..
Day 2 | Moana
Today is yours to explore at leisure. There are many walks, see some that we have outlined above in the 'Introduction' or relax and enjoy the lake. In the evening, you can dine at the Kingfisher Restaurant and Bar or the local Station House Cafe. After dinner, enjoy the amazing view above Lake Brunner with the clear unpolluted night skies or check out the Glow Worms grotto accessible from the village (See the Velenski Track).
Day 3 | Moana - TranzAlpine Train - Christchurch
Another leisurely day to explore your beautiful surroundings. You will check out of your hotel room at 10am. Leave your luggage at reception. Your train back to Christchurch arrives at 3.00pm, but please be at the station 10-15 minutes prior. If you are travelling on to Greymouth your train will arrive at 12 noon. Enjoy your return journey on the TranzAlpine taking with you special memories of your time away.
For more information about this tour, price queries and updates on specials, please Enquire Now.