TranzAlpine – Taste of the West Coast

Duration: 2 Days

Price: from NZ$745

Departure From: Christchurch

Departure Date: Flexible Dates

Tour Type: Independent Tour - Fully Flexible

Tour Operator: LOCO Journeys

Physical Grading: 2


Enjoy a Taste of the West Coast with this brilliant TranzAlpine tour including an overnight stay and return rail journey.

The TranzAlpine is a spectacularly scenic rail trip running from the East Coast to the West Coast of the South Island.  Match this with an overnight in Greymouth and take a glimpse into the life of a ‘Coaster’.

In spring, the vista out of the train window is starting to come alive.  From the green pastures filled with playful lambs, the graceful weeping willows that show off their spring growth, to the newly emerging Alpine Flowers around Arthur’s Pass.  And do not forget there is always a chance of a magical spring dump of snow! In winter snow will cover the mountains and sometimes the whole landscape. Summer offers the brown hues of tussock and green grasslands.

Your Taste of the West Coast departs from Christchurch Railway Station rolling out of the city and onto the expansive pastures of the Canterbury Plains. From here you will meet the Waimakariri River Gorge to make the ascent into the Southern Alps.  

Before reaching Arthur’s Pass you will have encountered 15 short tunnels and crossed 4 dramatic viaducts. Have your camera ready as this last section crossing the Waimakariri River one last time is stunningly beautiful and will leave a lasting impression on one’s psyche.

The train will stop briefly at Arthur’s Pass before descending through the 8.5km long historic Otira Tunnel to re-emerge out the other side into the vibrant and lush green landscape of the West Coast.  From here to Greymouth the train tracks meander along a series of river valleys nestled between the mountainous hills.  Midway the train approaches Lake Brunner and the quaint fishing town of Moana sitting on its northern edge.  This is a great alternative stop to Greymouth as the area is incredibly attractive with an abundance of walks. 

Contact LOCO if you would like a package price to stay at the beautiful Lake Brunner which offers a slightly different taste of the West Coast.

The West Coast has a natural rugged beauty, along with its remoteness, lush rainforests, and its rich gold and coal mining history, its no wonder visitors are drawn here from all over the world. On your stay you will be taken to a few of the West Coast’s little gems.

You’ll explore the famous Punakaiki Blowholes and Pancake Rocks, a limestone landscape of pancake-shaped rock formations, blowholes and surge pools. You’ll experience an exhilarating treetop adventure, strolling in the canopy of New Zealand’s famous rainforest, listening to the birdsong while gazing at the breathtaking vistas, before visiting the Hokitika Gorge and its surreal turquoise waters.

LOCO Journeys can tailor-make this tour to a journey that delivers you to your desired destinations, your time, budget and the train timetable.

Fully Flexible Tour

Taste of the West Coast Tour Highlights

  • TranzAlpine Train Return Journey
  • Reserved Seating
  • Panoramic Windows
  • Licensed Cafe for snacks, hot drinks and meals
  • Terrific audio commentary telling the stories of what you can see
  • Enjoy the open-air viewing carriage for that photo opportunity
  • Travel the Great Coast Road, rated as one of the top 10 coastal drives in the World
  • View the famous blow holes and pancake rock natural formations
  • Walk amongst the trees on an exhilarating treetop adventure among temperate rainforest giants.
  • Be inspired by a sensational vista of the majestic snow capped Southern Alps, Lake Mahinapua and the Tasman Sea.
  • Visit Hokitika Gorge with its vivid turquoise water.
Hokitika TranzAlpine
Hokitika Gorge

Please Note: Operating days for Taste of the West Coast are train timetable dependent so please do Contact Us to discuss your travel options.

A longer package with a one-way TranzAlpine train journey and return or onward travel by car-hire or a return flight to Christchurch can be arranged.

Prices will be adjusted accordingly and are available upon application.

TranzAlpine Booking Classes

The TranzAlpine offers 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. 

Scenic Plus Couple

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 and savour the flavours, 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 and you’ll be prepared to enjoy your taste of the West Coast. 

Taste of the West Coast Accommodation

Bella Vista Greymouth offers the perfect no-fuss accommodation close to central Greymouth. You will be assigned a comfortable, warm Queen Studio unit with ensuite bathroom.

Greymouth Accommodation

For a detailed Taste of the West Coast itinerary, the TranzAlpine timetable, departure days, and Tranz Alpine fare conditions, please see below.

Click here for alternate South Island tours featuring the TranzAlpine train.

Departure Dates & Timetable

  • TranzAlpine operates daily departures between late September and early May
  • 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 08.15 arriving into Greymouth at 13.05.
  • The TranzAlpine departs Greymouth at 14.05 arriving in Christchurch at 19.00.
  • You must be at the station at least 30 minutes prior to departure.

Tour Inclusions

  • Return train journey on the TranzAlpine
  • 1 nights accommodation at the Bella Vista Greymouth in a Queen Studio room
  • 10% discount voucher for the Monteith’s Brewery
  • Punakaiki Blow Holes and Pancake Rocks 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: Punakaiki and Pancake Rocks departs at 2pm after the TranzAlpine train arrives and Hokitika Gorge and Tree Top Walkway morning tour brings guests back for the departing train the next day.
  • 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 - TranzAlpine Train - Greymouth
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. Once you arrive into Greymouth, you will meet for your tour to Punakaiki Blowholes and Pancake Rocks. The tour departs from the Greymouth i-SITE Visitor Information Centre at the Railway Station. Leaving the central West Coast you will travel via the Great Coast Road, rated as one of the top 10 coastal drives in the World. With some of the best scenery on offer you will need a camera on hand to capture the views. This 45 minute drive will take you to the small coastal township of Punakaiki where you will get to view the famous blow holes and pancake rock natural formations. Your guide will give you time to explore the area and local shops before checking out Truman Track, a short walk to more stunning scenery. If time allows you may also visit The Cavern, a open cave located in near the township. The blow holes and pancake rocks is one of New Zealand’s must do activities and one not to be missed. Your tour guide will bring you back to your accommodation at the Bella Vista Greymouth. Tonight for dinner, perhaps head out to the Monteiths Brewery. Monteith’s Brewery is a local brewery and something of a New Zealand legend! The Craft Brewery Experience lets you smell the sweet aromas of the beer as it brews and just soak up the atmosphere of the Brewery. The café has a selection of New Zealand fine foods inspired by the sea, bush and land. Go on a wonderful food journey unleashing some surprising flavours that have been complemented with Monteith’s beers. They have a free museum to explore or shop all things Monteith's.
This morning you will be picked up at your accommodation for your Hokitika Gorge and Treetop Walkway Tour. This tour includes, an exhilarating treetop adventure among temperate rainforest giants. Experience life with the birds high in the ancient Rimu and Kamahi tree canopy. Easy access for all to enjoy along a steel platform 20 metres high and over 450 metres long. Gently sway in harmony with the forest on the Mahinapua Springboard. View the exquisite Lake Mahinapua through the richly diverse forest foliage. Thrill seekers will feel their hearts pump and the adrenalin rush as they climb to the top of Hokitika Tower 40 metres above the forest floor. Be inspired by a sensational vista of the majestic snow capped Southern Alps, Lake Mahinapua and the Tasman Sea. The famous Hokitika Gorge, walk across the swing bridge and enjoy this magical place. The vivid turquoise water surrounded by lush native bush, it is well worth a visit and a key photo stop on the West Coast must do list. If time allows your tour guide will call into the Jade Factory in Hokitika. For many New Zealanders Pounamu – also known as NZ Jade or greenstone, is more than a souvenir – it has a treasured spiritual significance. Pounamu is found in many places on the West Coast and is prized for its strength, durability and beauty. Your tour guide will bring you back to the Greymouth Railway Station for your departing TranzAlpine train journey this afternoon. Your tour ends in Christchurch..

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