TranzAlpine & West Coast Glaciers to Queenstown

Duration: 2 Days

Price: from NZ$565

Departure From: Christchurch

Departure Date: Flexible Dates

Tour Type: Independent Rail & Coach Tour

Tour Operator: LOCO Journeys

Meal Plan: No meals included

Physical Grading: 2


It is your time to ride New Zealand’s premier rail journey on this two day adventure from Christchurch to Queenstown.

The TranzAlpine train trip has been running in its present guise since 1987, traversing the Southern Alps mountain range and is often referred to as one of the best rail trips in the world due to the stunning scenery it passes through. The modern carriages and huge picture windows make for an incredibly comfortable ride and you won’t miss a single view on the 5 hour, 119km journey.

This short independent tour will deliver you not only the highlights of the TranzAlpine train journey, but also the delights of New Zealand’s West Coast including the fabled Glaciers and the resort town of Queenstown.

Your travel arrangements are all taken care of for your trip, all reservations confirmed and your itinerary will work like clock-work.

This tour is completely flexible so if you want to add additional days, change activities and attractions, include pre or post accommodation or transfers, that is also possible – just let us know.

TranzAlpine & West Coast Tour Highlights

  • TranzAlpine Train Journey (one-way)
  • Reserved Seating
  • Panoramic Windows
  • Choose from Scenic Class or Scenic Plus
  • 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
  • Disability Accessible
  • Enjoy the open-air viewing carriage for that photo opportunity
  • Tour through New Zealand’s West Coast
  • Visit Franz Josef Glacier and overnight in the village
  • See Lakes Hawea and Wanaka
  • Enjoy seeing the vineyards of Gibbston Valley
  • Lake Wakatipu and Queenstown
  • All coach transport or car-hire as detailed in your itinerary
  • One nights motel accommodation in Franz Josef
Destination Queenstown
Queenstown awaits your arrival.

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

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 Class

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, your 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. 

Your West Coast Accommodation

Set in the heart of the Franz Josef Glacier village is the homely Bella Vista Franz Josef. A small, personal accommodation option, Bella vista offers four star quality just a few minutes stroll from local restaurants and activities.


Should Bella Vista Franz Josef not be available on the dates you wish to travel, a similar alternative will be found.

For a detailed itinerary, the TranzAlpine timetable, departure days, and booking conditions, please see below.

Should you wish to continue your journey, add Queenstown accommodation, activities and beyond, please let LOCO know at the time of your enquiry.

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

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 08.15 arriving into Greymouth at 13.05.
  • You must be at the station at least 30 minutes prior to departure.

Tour Inclusions

  • All tours, activities as specified within the itinerary
  • 1 night motel accommodation in Franz Josef Glacier
  • Christchurch to Greymouth TranzAlpine one-way train journey
  • Modern air-conditioned coach or car-rental

Pricing Notes

  • Advertised price based on per person, twin share
  • A single supplement is available for $69
  • Price will vary depending on the date of departure.
  • Price is based on travelling on Intercity on a limited timetable. Other transport operators are available at a higher cost.
  • Please note: The Glacier Valley Shuttle will only be included from Oct-Mar due to insufficient daylight hours on arrival into Franz Josef.
  • Cancellation and amendment charges will be advised at the time of booking
  • Price is subject to change unless paid in full

Tour Itinerary

Day 1 | Christchurch - TranzAlpine Train - Greymouth - Franz Josef Glacier
Your early morning departure is rewarded with incredible scenery today onboard the TranzAlpine Scenic Train, considered one of the world's great train journeys. It travels between Christchurch and Greymouth, from one coast of New Zealand to the other. From your carriage you'll see the fields of the Canterbury Plains and farmland, followed by the spectacular gorges and river valleys of the Waimakariri River. Your train then climbs into the Southern Alps via Arthurs Pass before descending through the lush beech rainforest to the West Coast town of Greymouth before onward travel to the West Coast Glaciers. Your coach to Franz Josef Glacier departs from the Greymouth Railway Station. The journey to the Glaciers is southward through the lush bush covered landscape sandwiched between the base of the Southern Alps and the Tasman Sea. As you travel down the West Coast enjoy the beautiful landscape of vast rainforests, gushing waterfalls and snow-capped mountains before arriving into the small village of Franz Josef. From here you can explore the world famous Franz Josef Glacier. You will be met at your accommodation by a representative from Glacier Shuttles and taken on a short tour to view the glacier. Your shuttle vehicle will transfer you up the Franz Josef valley to the road end. Here you will have the opportunity to walk to view the glacier from a viewing platform. Or enjoy one of the short walks available in this area. You will be returned to your accommodation by the Glacier Valley Shuttles. If you would like to stay an extra night here in Franz Josef, simply let us know.
Another early start allows us to make the most of our day's journey through the remote and rugged landscape of the West Coast. We cross over to the East Coast through the dramatic Haast Pass, the southernmost pass in the Southern Alps. On the other side, enjoy picture-postcard views of vibrant blue lakes like Lake Hawea, Lake Wanaka and Lake Dunstan as you make your way into scenic Queenstown, arriving in the late afternoon.

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