You’re picked up at your hotel in Christchurch and transferred to the railway station to board the TranzAlpine for one of New Zealand’s most scenic train rides. Relax during the approximate 2.5-hour train journey to Arthur's Pass.
Your independent rail trip crosses the flat farmlands of the Canterbury Plains before winding through Waimakariri Gorge and the high country’s tussock fields until you reach the magnificent Southern Alps. En route, you’ll pass multiple tunnels and viaducts including the 240-foot-long (73-meter) Staircase.
On arrival at Arthur's Pass, you’re greeted by your guide for a small-group tour of the national park by minivan, following a former stage coach route down Otira Gorge, a common place for the Maori to search for greenstone. Hop off the minivan for several short bush walks as you’re guided along riverside paths in the forest.
Back in your vehicle, you’re driven through the South Island high country, stopping to view the craggy cliffs at the Cave Stream, which meanders underground. From the highway, get a glimpse of Castle Hill where weatherworn limestone outcrops form a unique mountain landscape. If you’ve got the energy, you can hike to the top for an encompassing view of the surrounding countryside.
Your full-day tour includes morning and afternoon tea along with lunch at a local hotel before you make the return trip to Christchurch by minivan, stopping in the sweeping Canterbury Plains to see Waimakariri Gorge.