TranzAlpine Wilderness Lodge Escape

Duration: 4 Days

Price: from NZ $2,119

Departure From: Christchurch

Departure Date: Flexible Dates

Tour Type: Independent Tour - Fully Flexible

Tour Operator: LOCO Journeys

Meal Plan: Meals included as per itinerary

Physical Grading: 2


The TranzAlpine Wilderness Lodge Escape is designed to let you relax, unwind, and enjoy a very special off the beaten track experience.

Set within the heart of the Southern Alps, the delightful Wilderness Lodge Arthur’s Pass offers the perfect place to rest and reconnect with nature. Arriving and departing by TranzAlpine train enhances your time away, freeing you from your daily hassles and letting you enjoy the journey as well as the destination.

If you are looking for nature experiences where you can hike without seeing another person, excellent food, and a comfortable place to sleep, then the Wilderness Lodge is for you. This was our favorite place in all of NZ.

Please contact LOCO for any pre/post travel arrangements we can help you with as part of your Arthur’s Pass TranzAlpine Wilderness Lodge escape.

TranzAlpine Wilderness
Wilderness Lodge Arthur’s Pass Lounge

Please note; the Wilderness Lodge is closed for winter, from mid May 2023 reopening for bookings from September 2023

TranzAlpine Wilderness Lodge Escape Highlights

  • The magnificent ride through the Alps on the TranzAlpine Scenic Train
  • Arrive refreshed in Arthur’s Pass alpine village
  • Stylish accommodation, gourmet food, fine wine and warm kiwi hospitality at the Wilderness Lodge
  • Relax, unwind and explore New Zealand’s wilderness on a 4,000 acre nature reserve and sheep farm encircled by snow capped peaks and glacier-fed rivers.
  • Explore stunning mountain lands and kayak and fish in lakes and rivers.
  • Add on a full day Exclusive Guided Nature Programme to experience the best of this region’s mountains, wildlife, birds and forests with your own naturalist guide.
  • Experience merino sheep shearing, sheepdogs displays, and a working high country farm.
TranzAlpine Wilderness Lodge
Relax and enjoy an Alpine Lodge Room

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 ExplorerCoastal Pacific and TranzAlpine.

Scenic Plus Class Experience

Inside the refined Scenic Plus Class carriages, it’s more than just a journey for your TranzAlpine Wilderness Lodge Escape. 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. 

taste of the west coast

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. 

Please note, Scenic Plus Class experience is currently suspended.

Your Wilderness Lodge Accommodation

Your package includes a stylish Mountain View room located within the main lodge and offer generous space and comfort with stunning Southern Alps views. Each room has a private bathroom, tea and coffee making facilities, fresh fruit and flowers. They have either a king or a queen and single bed. An upgrade to a Alpine Lodge Room is available on request, subject to availability.

Mountain View Room
Mountain View Room

Experience nature in style at Arthur’s Pass Wilderness Lodge – it’s the New Zealand you imagined.

For a detailed itinerary of the TranzAlpine Wilderness Lodge 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.
  • There is one departure each way on operating days.
  • The TranzAlpine departs Christchurch at 8.15am and arrives into Arthurs Pass at 10.50am
  • The TranzAlpine departs Arthurs Pass at 16.30pm 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 Arthurs Pass and travel through to Greymouth and then return to Christchurch.  Different timings are required and the price will also change.

Tour Inclusions

  • Return TranzAlpine Rail Journey from Christchurch to Arthur’s Pass in Scenic Class
  • 3 nights accommodation at the Wilderness Lodge, Arthurs Pass in a mountain view room
    • These are spacious with a king bed or a queen size bed and a single bed, private bathroom with showers or bath, sunny views overlooking the Waimakariri valley/mountain peaks, walking poles, tea/coffee making facilities, fresh fruit, flowers and serviced daily.
  • Return Transfers from/to Arthurs Pass Station and Wilderness Lodge
  • Gourmet dinner in the Mount Rolleston Restaurant daily
  • Full breakfast of continental and cooked options daily
  • Two shorter guided nature or farm activities each day (1 to 1 1/2 hours). These vary daily and introduce guests to natural history and farming life. Some of the regular trips offered are:
    • High Country Sheep Farm Discovery: Let a real sheep farmer introduce you to life on the farm. Watch sheepdogs work, handfeed tame sheep and learn about shearing and merino wool.
    • McKay Moa Forest Adventure: A relaxed walk to explore the Wilderness Lodge reserves. Learn about bizarre ‘moa shrubs’ and enjoy panoramic mountain views. A great trip for learning about the Wilderness Lodge conservation projects.
    • Birds and Special Plants of the Beech Forest: Explore the mossy beech forest surrounding the lodge. Search for orchids, watch birdlife and see manuka (tea tree) recolonise the grasslands.
    • Stars of the Southern Sky: Join a guide to learn the stars of the southern sky. Spot constellations, satellites and planets. The clean air and lack of light pollution here makes for brilliant clear skies.
  • Use of complimentary lodge facilities. 25km of walking trails, farm access, satellite WiFi, library and guest laundry are available for use.


Pricing Notes

  • Advertised from price based on per person twin share, subject to availability
  • Single supplements available on request
  • Public Holidays: A surcharge of $89 per person will be applied to these days.
  • Check in/Check out not permitted on Christmas Day (December 25)
  • Cancellation Policy: If cancelled within 45 days of departure a 25% cancellation fee applies. Full tariff is payable for cancellations
    within 7 days of arrival. We recommend clients have comprehensive travel insurance policy to cover the loss of
    deposit or holiday payment through cancellation, as well as loss of personal belongings and health.
  • Lunches are available on request for guests staying over at the Lodge or those who may need lunch in the
    field or on their departure or arrival days.

    • Packed Picnic Lunch ($29) Fresh sandwiches, fresh fruit, a homemade dessert slice and fruit juice.
    • Restaurant Lunch ($39 – $69) A range of options available in the Mt Rolleston Restaurant
  • Longer Full Day or Half Day Guided Group Activities – additional to the shorter complimentary activities. Activities change daily with bookings made by guests the night prior. A minimum of 2 persons generally required.  These are payable direct.  Trips include:
    • Upper Otira Glacier Adventure: A superb challenging summer hike. Climb high into a glacial basin and enjoy mountain panoramas, alpine flowers, cascades culminating in a mountain picnic below Mt Rolleston.
    • Limestone Castles & Easy Kayaking: A relaxed guided tour/walk to a landscape made famous by the Narnia film ‘The Lion, the Witch & the Wardrobe‘. Paddle a gentle mountain lake and enjoy lunch amongst natural limestone castles.
    • Southern Alps Mountain Hike: Traverse beech forest to open mountain tops high above the Waimakariri River. Learn about alpine plants and enjoy lunch at a historic hut which once sheltered shepherds when this area was part of the Wilderness Lodge farm (now Arthur’s Pass National Park).
    • Wonderful Waterfalls of Arthur’s Pass: A special trip for waterfall and photography enthusiasts. Visit waterfalls and cascades throughout Arthur’s Pass National Park and explore ‘bonsai’ mountain beech forests. Picnic beside a mountain stream.
  • Exclusive Guided Nature Programme:  This full day guided activities programme is tailored exclusively to your requirements, ensuring you experience the best of this region’s mountains, wildlife, birds and forests with your own naturalist guide. Note: Exclusive guiding must be arranged in advance at time of booking.
    • Half Day (4 hours without lunch) for 1-2 persons is NZD$810
    • Full Day (7.5 hours with lunch) for 1-2 persons is NZD1150
    • Price includes: personal guide, refreshments, picnic lunches, transport, conservation licence, 15% tax and equipment (kayaks etc).  A 50% surcharge applies on NZ public holidays.
  • Pre/post flights or other travel arrangements are available on request
  • Price is subject to change unless paid in full

Tour Itinerary

Day 1 | Christchurch - TranzAlpine Train - Arthur's Pass - Wilderness Lodge
Starting at Christchurch on the east coast of the South Island, the TranzAlpine departs at 8.15am and begins its journey by roaming across the vast patchwork plains of Canterbury - one of New Zealand's primary agricultural regions. On the far side of the plains, you will arrive at Springfield, where the Southern Alps rise from the plains like megalithic skyscrapers, creating a seemingly impenetrable barrier. For many years, Springfield was the end of the line with the Alps forming a formidable blockade. Eventually, a route to the West Coast through the Alps was agreed upon and construction began. This section, between Springfield and the township of Arthur's Pass, is considered a masterpiece of railway engineering and is the section for which the TranzAlpine is most famed. The route firstly heads north-east to join the Waimakariri River gorge. This aqua-blue river will appear and disappear out of your window several times as the TranzAlpine clings and climbs up the cliffs above it. During the ascent to the high plains of Craigieburn, there are 15 short tunnels and four dramatic viaducts, including the 72-metre high Staircase Viaduct. The most iconic views come at the far end of the Craigieburn Straight, where the high plains stretch out to give a stunning view of Mount Binser and the edges of Arthur's Pass National Park. Shortly after, the train meets again with the Waimakariri River and then crosses it to reach Arthur's Pass at approximately 10.51am. This section is stunningly beautiful and is where the famous views of the TranzAlpine crossing the Waimakariri River are taken. On arrival into Arthur's Pass Station you will be met by a representative and transferred to the Wilderness Lodge where you will stay and explore for the next 3 nights. The Lodge is located 16km from the Arthur's Pass Station and sits on a 4000-acre farm & nature reserve surrounded by spectacular Arthur's Pass National Park. On arrival at the Lodge you have the option to relax in your beautiful surroundings or to start exploring. This itinerary over the next few days is just a sample itinerary. You are able to tailor make your stay to the activities that interest you as described above, from the tours that are included in your stay to a fully exclusive guided tour. After settling in to your surroundings, at 5pm its time to join one of the shorter guided nature or farm activities. Hike the McKay Moa Forest to bizarre shrublands where ‘inside-out plants’ have evolved to protect themselves from giant leaf-eating Moa birds (now extinct). Back at the lodge, you have time to change for dinner before meeting for a relaxed welcome prior to dinner in the Mt Rolleston Restaurant. Make sure you order a picnic lunch to take away on your guided trip tomorrow. Extra charge applies.
This morning before breakfast: Explore the beech forest to discover a secret world of mosses, lichens and fungi. Look for mistletoes, rare birds & see seedling beeches invading manuka shrubland. After a hearty breakfast, at 10am, join a guide to explore a spectacular limestone landscape of mountain lakes, sculpted rock and tussock grassland in the drylands east of the Wilderness Lodge (Limestone Castles & Easy Kayaking). Approx. 5.5. Hours, Extra Charge Applies. At 5pm you have the option to Explore the Wilderness Lodge Farm with a farmer guide. Watch sheep-dogs in action, handfeed the lambs, learn about growing fine merino wool and see sheep shearing. Dinner is in the Mt Rolleston Restaurant. At 10pm if you are not too exhausted from your day out, let a guide bring the southern night sky alive. See planets, shooting stars, nearby galaxies, the Southern Cross & the spectacular Milky Way
This morning, rise early for 6.30am and join in a kayak safari to paddle a mountain lake as the sun rises over the Southern Alps. Spot wildlife and enjoy refreshments on a beach before returning to the lodge for breakfast. Approx. 2.5 Hours, Extra Charge Applies. Breakfast is held in the Mt Rolleston Restaurant and then at 10am you can either do the: Upper Otira Challenging Adventure - Hike the finest summer walk in the National Park to a high valley with gardens of giant daisies and buttercups to reach a remnant glacier. Approx. 6 Hours, Extra Charge Applies or Explore the Wonderful Waterfalls of Arthur’s Pass on a relaxed easy trip involving several short walks to the most scenic corners of the National Park. Approx 5 Hours, Extra Charge Applies. Early evening - Hike the Broad Stream Gorge, carved from sedimentary greywacke rock. Search mossy beech forest for rifleman, NZ’s smallest bird, and drink crystal clear alpine water straight from a tumbling cascade. Then its back for a relaxing dinner and evening at the Mt Rolleston Restaurant.
This morning, walk in the footsteps of the first explorers and discover our vast braided river. Spot rare braided river birds and watch first light on the snow-capped Southern Alps. Enjoy breakfast in the Mt Rolleston Restaurant before departing back to Arthur's Pass Station. You have the option today to stay on and enjoy your surroundings at the lodge before they transfer you to the station for your return TranzApine rail journey at 4.28pm, or head back to Arthur's Pass Village for lunch and explore one of the walks such as the Punchbowl Waterfall Walk or Walk the Historic Village. Once back on board the TranzAlpine, melt into your seat with an afternoon beverage to recap on your wonderful stay at the Wilderness Lodge and all your amazing adventures as you descend from the Alps. You arrive into Christchurch Railway Station at approximately 6.31pm. Tour Ends.

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